Best Preserved Frontier Fort in the West - Fort Larned Old Guard Newsletter

May 7 annual meeting to feature a 'Galvanized Yankee'
     A morning Santa Fe Trail seminar on "Before Becknell," an afternoon visit to Indian and buffalo hunters' camps, and an evening with a "Galvanized Yankee."

     All this-and more-is on tap for Old Guard members who attend this year's annual meeting, Saturday, May 7, 2005. Co-sponsored by the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail and the Fort Larned Old Guard, the day-long program features speakers and activities that should appeal to anyone with an interest in the Santa Fe Trail, Fort Larned, or Plains Indian cultures.

     A schedule and reservation form is enclosed with this mailing. Please plan to take part. This is a great opportunity to interact with Old Guard members and others who share a love of Western history. Reservations are required by Thursday, April 28, 2005. Return your form today!

Private Jeremiah Stokes at the Fort
     Private Jeremiah Stokes of County Tipperary, Ireland; veteran of the 63rd Regiment, Georgia Infantry and the 2nd Regiment, U.S. Volunteers, epitomizes, in his life, three hallmarks of 19th-century American history: the experience of an immigrant from the Irish famine, the experience of a Confederate Civil War soldier, and the experience of a federal soldier in the Indian Wars.

     In a slide-illustrated talk, Joseph Meany will tell the story of his research and "retracement" of Stokes' American journey to Savannah, Georgia, through the Atlanta campaign of 1864 and the Indian War of 1865 and from County Tipperary, Ireland, to Fort Larned, Kansas. Meany's program will be presented immediately following the Old Guard's business meeting at 7:00 P.M. Saturday, May 7, 2005.

     Joseph F. Meany Jr. received his MA and PHD degrees from Fordham University, in New York City and held a "Free-Place," for four academic terms, at the University of London's Institute of Historical Research.

     He worked in the State Historian's Office of the New York State Museum for 31 years where he served as Senior Curator (History), Staff Historian, Senior Historian, and, from 1994 until his retirement in 2001, State Historian of New York.

     He taught a graduate seminar, "Introduction to Historical Agency Management and Practice" in the Public History Program at the State University of New York at Albany. Meany also served on the New York State Board for Historic Preservation, 1991-2001. Plan to attend his informative program.

     April 28 - the date reservations are due for the Old Guard's annual meeting May 7

Meet Kevin McMurry
     Midwest Regional Director Ernest Quintana has announced the selection of veteran NPS manager Kevin McMurry as the Superintendent of Fort Lamed NHS and Nicodemus NHS. McMurry is relocating from the position of Superintendent at the William Howard Taft NHS in Cincinnati, Ohio. He replaces Steve Linderer who recently retired.

     A native of Colorado, McMurry has lived in northwest Kansas where some family still reside. I am pleased to return to the Great Plains," he says.

     McMurry has also served at Ozark National Scenic Riverways in Missouri, Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, The North Atlantic Regional Office in Boston, Gateway National Recreation Area in New York and Jersey, and Homestead National Monument in Nebraska. He has also completed management assignments at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, Canyonlands National Park in Utah, NPS headquarters in Washington DC, Buffalo National River in Arkansas, and Morristown National Historical Park in New Jersey.

     Prior to government service McMurry owned a construction company in southeast Nebraska where his wife Gail and grown children currently reside.

     Since February 20, 2005, I have been assigned to Fort Larned as superintendent, replacing Steve Linderer, who as you know has moved to a richly deserved retirement. On behalf of a great team of park employees and with personal regards from Midwest Regional Director Ernest Quintana, I appreciate this opportunity to contribute news from the National Park Service side of our "partnership." We are all glad to have a strong and supportive relationship with a group of friends such as the Old Guard!

     Although the National Park Service is charged with preserving and managing this nationally significant historic site, I know we can achieve much more with assistance and insight from many interested others.

     "On our watch" together, I look forward to the many collective accomplishments we'll all share by utilizing the different resources and abilities of the Park Service and the Old Guard, as welI as the many groups associated with the Santa Fc Trail and other regional tourism interests. As I plan to call on you, please feel free to also contact me anytime we can work together for some mutual benefit.

     In the near future exciting events will be taking place at the Fort, many of which are described in the 2005 schedule brochure (enclosed), which was funded again this year by the Old Guard!

     On May 7, we look forward to your participation in the Old Guard annual meeting being held jointly with the Wet/Dry Routes Chapter, Santa Fe Trail. information about this informative and enjoyable event is also enclosed with this issue.

     Also, in addition to Santa Fe Trail Days activities and other upcoming events, we will soon begin a major restoration project to stabilize the foundation and walls of HS-5, the Commissary and Arsenal building. Over two years of work, this project will be completed by park employees and a select team of park service specialists, historic architects and engineers from across the country.

     Beginning in late July, I invite you to visit your National Park site to view this extensive effort in preserving an important part of Fort Larned for our grandchildren . . . and their grandchildren!
Kevin D. McMurry, FLNHS Superintendent

Camp No. 15 Pawnee Fork, Kansas April 18th 1867
Special Field Orders No. 13

     1 . . . . . As a punishment for the bad faith practised by the Cheyennes and Sioux who occupied the Indian Village at this place, and as a chastisement for murders and depredations committed since the arrival of the command at this point by the people of those tribes, the village recently occupied by them which is now in our hands will be entirely destroyed.

     All property within the village, such as tools, camp Equipage etc, will be preserved and taken up as captured property by Captn. GW Bradley, A.Q. Mr, Chief Quartermaster of the Expedition. Brevet Major General J.W. Davidson, Major 2nd U.S. Cavalry, Acting Inspector General of this Department will take an accurate inventory of all species of property in the village, previous to its destruction.

     Brevet Major Genl. A. J. Smith, Colonel 7th U.S. Cavalry, Comandg. Dist of the Upper Arkansas, is charged with the execution of this order.

By Command of Major Genl Hancock
"Signed" W.G. Mitchell
Captn. and A.A.A. General

Official Copy
WG Mitchell
Captn and AAAGn

Notes from the Chairman
Greetings from Fort Larned
     On behalf of the Board and members of Fort Larned Old Guard, I extend a warm welcome to Kevin McMurry, the new Superintendent of Fort Larned, Kansas. We look forward to working with Kevin and the staff as we continue our mission of supporting Fort Larned.

     One of our recent projects was the acquisition of an original order from by General Winfield Scott Hancock ordering the destruction of the Cheyenne-Sioux village on the site now owned by the Old Guard. The purchase price of this historic document was $2,300, plus a commission of $300.

     We felt this investment was important to preserving the history of Fort Larned, and would welcome contributions above and beyond your annual membership. Please help!

     As you plan for the coming months, please consider visiting Fort Larned on any summer holiday. Memorial Day, July 4, and Labor Day are all observed in special ways at the Fort. The schedule is listed from the link above. These are wonderful events shared by people of many different interests and include opportunities for family outings, nature study, learning about history, and celebrating holidays. Volunteers are what make these events special and I want to thank them for their time and energy.

     Please send in your reservations for the annual meeting on May 7, 2005. We look forward to seeing you as you enjoy this diamond on the Santa Fe Trail.
Wayne Hagerman, Fort Larned Old Guard Chairman

Old Guard purchases historic document
by George Elmore, Ranger, FLNHS
     Tucked away, in the far southeast corner of Ness County, Kansas, is a historic site pivotal to the Indian Wars. During the winter of 1866-67 there on the Pawnee River (known as Pawnee Fork in the 1860s), over a thousand Cheyenne and Sioux Indians were encamped. On April 17, 1867, General Winfield Scott Hancock, through Special Order NO. 13 ordered that the village be burned.

     Hancock's original order was recently purchased by the Fort Larned Old Guard. This very interesting historical document will be on display at the Fort on May 7 and will be formalIy donated to the National Park Service at the Fort Larned Old Guard's annual meeting that evening,

     In 1867 the U.S. Government decided to secure the Plains using a military expedition of such a large force that the Indians would be impressed or awed into peace.

     To this end General Hancock left Fort Riley with a command of about 1,400 men. The force included Lieutenant Colonel George Custer and his 7th U.S. Cavalry, plus artillery, infantry, a pontoon train to cross rivers and even an "embedded" press core to report for Eastern newspapers. With its long baggage and supply train, the outfit stretched for miles along the trail.

     The expedition reached Fort Larned April 7, 1867. On April 13, the force headed up the Pawnee Fork toward a large Cheyenne and Sioux village about 32 miles upstream. The village consisted of perhaps 130 Cheyenne lodges and 140 Sioux lodges housing some 1,500 people.

     About noon the next day, the expedition was stopped just west of present Burdett, Kansas, by 300 mounted warriors. After tense negotiations, an agreement was reached to continue the talks near the village. The Indians retreated and the military column advanced. Fearing another Sand Creek-style massacre, however, the Cheyennes and Sioux fled their village during the night -- leaving their lodges up, fires going, dogs and belongings behind.

     April 15, upon finding the village deserted, Hancock ordered Custer in pursuit of the fleeing Indians. When word reached Hancock that an attack had been made on a stage station along the Smoky Hill Trail, the general issued his order to burn the village. As a result, there were even more Indian depredations in the region in the following months. In effect, General Hancock started the Indian war he hoped to prevent.

     The village site was purchased by the Fort Larned Old Guard in conjunction with the Archaeological Conservancy in June 2000 in an effort to preserve the site as an historic landmark. The original Field Order NO. 13 purchased by the Old Guard is intended to help with historical interpretation and documentation of this pivotal historic meeting between the U.S. military and Plains Indians.

Don't miss this!
     The Solomon Valley Highway 24 Heritage Alliance will host a seminar at the Bison America Institute in Morland, Kansas, at 9:00 a.m., Saturday, April 16, to begin the search for the location of the battle between Cheyennes and U. S. troops on July 29, 1857.

     Speakers will include Don Rowlison, director of Cottonwood Ranch; Marsha K. King, archaeologist with the Kansas Department of Transportation; John Sipes, historian of the Southern Cheyennes and Leo E. Oliva, frontier military historian.

     There is no admission charge. Lunch is available for $5 (reservations required by April 11). A followup field day will be held on July 23, 2005, to look at the possible sites and search for evidence. Everyone is welcome to attend.

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