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

Kansas's First National Park Celebrates 50 Years, August 30
Fort Larned National Historic Site Bill Signed August 31, 1964

     The 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson's signing legislation, sponsored by Kansas Senator Frank Carlson and Congressman Bob Dole, which created Fort Larned National Historic Site will be commemorated on Saturday, August 30, during Labor Day activities at the Fort. Everyone is welcome at this event. There will be living-history programs throughout the weekend. The tentative schedule for August 30 follows (programs in the quartermaster storehouse and on parade ground):
     10:00 a.m.: Period music by Prairie Larkspur
     10:20 a.m.: Welcome by National Park Service Representative, introduction of special guests (dignitaries are invited to speak), reading of letters from Larned Attorney Glee Smith and Senator Bob Dole, both instrumental in establishing Fort Larned National Historic Site, and announcements
     10:45 a.m.: "Fort Larned, the Military Years, 1859-1878" by Leo E. Oliva
     11:30 a.m.: Lowering of small storm flag and raising of the 37-star, 36' x 20' garrison flag, with special color guard, including McConnell air Force Honor Guard, and retired U.S. Army Colonel Sam Young on bugle
     12:00 noon: Free lunch of hot dogs, baked beans, chips, drink, and dessert provided by Fort Larned Old Guard
     1:15 p.m.: "Fort Larned, the Farm Years," by speaker to be announced
     1:45 p.m.: "Fort Larned, the National Park Years, 1964-Present" by Chief Ranger George Elmore
     2:30 p.m.: Fort Riley 1st Infantry Band Concert, "The Army Story with Emphasis on Fort Larned Years"
     3:30 p.m.: Free time to visit fort and living-history activities
     4:30 p.m.: Fort Riley 1st Infantry Band performing period marches
     4:45 p.m.: Retreat Ceremony, lowering garrison flag, firing mountain howitzer, Colonel Young on bugle

     Schedule is tentative; please check website for up-to-date information: {}.

     The pen that President Johnson used to sign the legislation creating Fort Larned National Historic Site in 1964 will be on display at the Fort all weekend.

Fort Larned Participates In A New Teacher-Ranger Program
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger

     With all of the changes of the 21st century, it has become highly important for Fort Larned National Historic Site to upgrade its educational perspective. Teacher Ranger Lou Ann Barker has been working closely with the park's staff this summer to help introduce the concept of Distance Learning via the Internet. In a short time Lou Ann has become oriented to the National Park Service agency and the operations at Fort Larned National Historic Site. She assisted with guided tours, summer kids' programs, and the Fort Larned Fourth of July event. She has researched and reported on needed revisions for each of the education programs ranging from Preschool through Seventh Grade.

Lou Ann Barker at Fort Larned National Historic Site
     Lou Ann is a western Kansas native. She grew up near Jetmore, Kansas on a farm located four miles north of the current Horsethief Reservoir. Upon completing an associate degree in education at Dodge City Community College, she transferred to Fort Hays State University to earn an MS in School Counseling. She has more than 20 years of classroom experience as an elementary teacher and school counselor. She taught in far southwestern Kansas for 8 years and central Kansas for 7 years. In addition to teaching in the U.S., she has lived and taught abroad for 7 years in four of the former Soviet Union countries: Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, and Azerbaijan. After enjoying her second-grade classroom for many years at Fort Larned USD 495, she has taken a position teaching third grade in Ulysses, Kansas.

     Mrs. Barker has been happily married to A. C. Barker, an educator as well, for 23 years. They have three children: Dalton, Nina, and Luke, plus a dog named Megan, and their foreign cat from Azerbaijan, Lucky. The Barker family enjoys great adventures involving history and travel; they never shy away from the next challenge around the bend! We truly appreciate her help with our education programs.

FLOG Chair's Column
by Rex Abrahams
It is time to Celebrate!

     Fort Larned turns 50! What you say? I thought Fort Larned was established in 1859? It was, but now we are celebrating Fort Larned's 50th year in the National Park System. Fort Larned was designated a National Historic Site and became Kansas's first National Park in 1964. It is time to party.

     Saturday, August 30 is the day. The Saturday of Labor Day Weekend, we have a host of special programs lined up. Prairie Larkspur will kick the day off with some period music. Old Guard members Chris Day and Janet Armstead, both of whom have served on the Fort Larned Old Guard board, have presented their music programs at numerous places. Now we have them back to start the day in style. A special welcome by a National Park Service representative and other dignitaries will lead us into the reading of letters from retired Larned Attorney Glee Smith and from former Senator Bob Dole. Both were instrumental in getting Fort Larned into the National Park System, and each has sent a special letter commemorating the event.

     The pen President Lyndon B. Johnson used to sign the legislation creating Fort Larned National Historic Site will be on display in the visitors' center during the entire weekend! His daughter, Luci Baines Johnson Turpin, was planning to provide a video presentation for the August 30 program, but illness of a granddaughter will prevent that. A letter from Luci Johnson Turpin may be available to read at our celebration.

     There will be focused programs presented on Fort Larned in the historic Quartermaster building:
          Fort Larned - The Military Years by Dr. Leo Oliva.
          Fort Larned - The Farm Years by a representative of the Frizell family.
          Fort Larned - The National Park Service years by Chief Ranger George Elmore.

     Free Food! The Old Guard is sponsoring a free Hot Dog and all the trimmings meal at noon on Saturday. Hot Dogs, Beans, Chips, Drink and a special Birthday Cake are free to the public and volunteers. We want to bring people out and make this a real old-time celebration!

     To close the day's events, the 1st Infantry Division Band from Fort Riley is coming to present the Grand Finale! Their program "The Army through the years" will pay special tribute to Fort Larned and the soldiers who served this post. What a treat we have in store. The garrison flag will be lowered at the end of the day with the official bugle call and firing of the mountain howitzer.

     You will not want to miss this event! Make plans to be there on Saturday, August 30. Stay the weekend and enjoy additional activities. On Sunday, we will celebrate Smokey the Bear's 70th anniversary in the National Park Service. Living-history programs are presented throughout the weekend. Looks like it will be a celebration like no other. Come out and enjoy the festivities!

     Other events coming soon include the biennial Santa Fe Trail Rendezvous, September 18-20, sponsored by Fort Larned National Historic Site, the Santa Fe Trail Center, and Santa Fe Trail. The Old Guard will be serving lunch at the Fort on Saturday, September 20, and there will be several presentations during the afternoon and evening at Fort Larned.

     The annual Fort Larned Candlelight Tour, which was cancelled last year because of the government shutdown, is scheduled for Saturday, October 11. The Old Guard board will also be meeting that day, and all members are welcome to attend.

     We hope to see you at these events bringing to life the history of this national treasure, Fort Larned.

Superintendent's Corner
by Betty Boyko

     (Betty Boyko is currently serving as acting superintendent at Fort Larned National Historic Site. She is superintendent at Fort Scott National Historic Site at Fort Scott, Kansas.)

     Fifty years ago Fort Larned National Historic Site was established as the first unit of the National Park Service in Kansas. If the first superintendent had a crystal ball he would have seen the Fort as it is today and the work to get it to its present state. Eight of the nine original stone buildings have been restored to their 1867-1869 appearance. Project funding for restoration of the ninth building, the Commanding Officer's Quarters, has been requested. Thanks to assistance of Senator Bob Dole, the blockhouse, torn down during the ranch period, was rebuilt. Senator Dole has been one of the Fort's most ardent supporters.

     Other accomplishments include removal of the old highway bridge; completion of the paved and enlarged parking lot; the new "foot" bridge (on the site of the original bridge over the Pawnee River); and attracting many very active volunteers who bring life to the military period of the Fort and/or work behind the scenes to rebuild horse-drawn wagons for display; prepare and serve fantastic meals cooked on the old wood stoves; provide horse-drawn wagon rides to visitors; demonstrate life in the barracks and officers' quarters; and play fun baseball games "following" the rules of the 1860s.

     In addition to their regular duties of education, interpretation, protection, and maintenance, park employees provide numerous on-and off-site programs about life at the Fort and on the Santa Fe Trail, while responding to such emergencies as the recent wind and hail storm on Mother's Day weekend that damaged 126 windows.

     As we reflect on the achievements of the past 50 years, we also realize that our successes are the direct result of the active support provided to us by local and regional communities, businesses, organizations, institutions, partners, and volunteers. Fort Larned consistently receives support for the Christmas and Candlelight programs. Army aviators from Fort Riley landed helicopters on the parade ground and conducted Retreat ceremonies. The First Infantry Division Band from Fort Riley provided concerts and military music for the 150th anniversary of the founding of Fort Larned. These examples are just a small sampling of the great partnerships created throughout the years.

     Fort Larned National Historic Site is also extremely fortunate to have an active long term relationship with its "friends" group, the Fort Larned Old Guard, which recently completed a very successful fundraising drive. The Old Guard has assisted with the planning, execution, and in some cases, funding of activities and historic programs such as the "traveling trunk" series. The Old Guard has purchased items of historical significance to Fort Larned, such as the presentation sword presented to then lieutenant (and later major general) Frank Baldwin, a two-time recipient of the Medal of Honor, who served at Fort Larned.

     It has been a fantastic fifty years for Fort Larned, built on a multitude of partnerships. It is the cornerstone for the future. As we move into the next fifty years, we anticipate the restoration of the Commanding Officer's Quarters which will provide numerous historic interpretative opportunities for staff, volunteers, and the Old Guard. Long-term goals include enhancing current and developing new partnerships as we explore both the opportunities and challenges associated with technology and the associated outreach possibilities. We look forward to engaging new and younger volunteers and have already begun to engage youth in communities throughout the United States through our Long Distance Learning Technology. I am excited about how this will impact visitors not only to the Fort but to the community.

     Thanks to all of you for what you have done and continue to do for Fort Larned National Historic Site. I hope you will join us on August 30 for our 50th anniversary celebration.

Fort Larned Celebrates 50 Years As The First National Park Site In Kansas
by Celeste Dixon, Park Ranger

     On August 31, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Public Law 88-541 which created Fort Larned National Historic Site. According to the enabling legislation the purpose of creating what would be the first National Park Service site in Kansas was to "commemorate the significant role played by Fort Larned."

     This Labor Day weekend the staff, volunteers, and Old Guard members will be helping to commemorate the Fort's 50th anniversary on Saturday, August 30, 2014. On Sunday, August 31, 2014 a joint celebration with Quivira National Wildlife refuge will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the introduction of Smokey the Bear as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife's forest fire prevention spokesperson.

     As with previous Labor Weekend events, there will be volunteers and staff providing living-history demonstrations in the historic buildings, as well as special programs and talks.

Fort Larned Roll Call: Kaci Ferguson
by Ellen Jones, Park Ranger

     A new uniformed employee is quickly finding her niche at Fort Larned. Kaci Ferguson, a senior at Fort Hays State University, has walked through the park service door via a new program called Pathways. Kaci will assist with our day-to-day park mission and in return she will hopefully achieve her career goals from on-the-job training. During the school year she will be working special events and most weekends.

Kaci Ferguson
     Kaci is originally from the Phillipsburg, Kansas, area. Her family manages a farm growing alfalfa and wheat near Glade, Kansas. Cattle are a part of the family business too. Kaci graduated from Phillipsburg High School in 2011 and will graduate from Fort Hays with a BA in English next May. She plans to continue with graduate school.

     Kaci has done some extensive traveling since becoming a college student and has earned the Study Abroad and Global Leadership Certificates. Last year, through the Study Abroad Program, she spent a semester studying in Italy. This year she visited Costa Rica for a month, came home for a week or so, and took off again for China! She was in China the entire month of July. Fort Hays University has a partnership with China. When asked which was her favorite trip she does not hesitate in answering "Italy!" She stayed in Torino, host city of the official 2006 Winter Olympics. Torino was the first "big city" experience for Kaci. She studied Italian Art History and the Italian language. She loved every minute of her time in Italy and enjoyed some mini-trips to several surrounding countries.

     The park staff got to know Kaci through the Volunteer-in-Parks Program. She visited one of our events with a friend in 2012--and that same day she became a volunteer in period clothing learning all about Fort Larned history. Her next event she was handed a camera and became the official photographer for the entire weekend. She is up to any challenge. We knew she would make a great addition to our staff from the first day we met her! When asked what she likes about Fort Larned she replies, "It's such a cool complex of history. I really like the atmosphere." If you see Kaci at the fort this year be sure to say hello and introduce yourself.

Volunteer Roll Call:
Kaitlin O'Brien & Chelsea Blakely

     Fort Larned National Historic Site is part of the Southern Plains Network in the National Park Service which provides information and collaboration on natural resource monitoring. The Fort Larned staff has enjoyed having two volunteers work with the park's natural resources through Southern Plains Network. The interns have placed plant species signs where the public can observe native plants. They are currently working on a native plant brochure. The nature of their work has also afforded them the opportunity to do a little gardening in the Fort Larned Heritage Garden!

Kaitlin O'Brien
     Howdy! My name is Kaitlin O'Brien and I am a senior at Texas A&M University studying Rangeland Ecology and Management with a minor in Soil Science. I have been a member of the Texas A&M Range Club and Plant Identification Team for 3 years, serving as an officer and the incoming President. Our team has competed at the International Level, most recently receiving 2nd High Point Team at the Society for Range Management Meeting in 2014. I have worked at the S. M. Tracy Herbarium for the past 2 years. I began as a teaching assistant in the Fall of 2013, working with students taking Agrostology (the study of grasses) and Plant Taxonomy (flowering plants). I have always had a passion for learning about plants and rehabilitating grasslands back to their natural states, and I am very excited to have the opportunity to work at Fort Larned. I plan to attend graduate school to pursue a Master's degree in Fire Ecology to further study the ecological effects of fire on native rangelands. I hope one day to work in Environmental Consulting to provide expertise in restoration and healthy land management practices.

Chelsea Blakely
     Howdy! My name is Chelsea Blakely and I am a senior at Texas A&M University. My major is Ecological Restoration with a minor in Soil and Crop Science. I have been a member of the Texas A&M Range Club and the Plant Identification Team for one year, competing with the team in the international plant identification competition. I also play for the Texas A&M Women's Rugby Club and have served as team captain for my senior year. My career interests and passions lie within the realm of Natural Resource Management. I believe that the use of our wildlands and the resources they provide us are more than just space for building or natural materials for harvesting. They perform certain functions that are not only necessary for the well-being of the ecosystem as a whole, but also for our well-being. When we overuse or improperly manage these wildlands, they become degraded. My passion is restoring damaged ecosystems. My goal is to become a conscious steward of the land and to be able to one day integrate my knowledge of restoration ecology and utilize restoration practices in the face of ecosystem degradation in a way that is naturally sustainable and that considers the interconnectedness of ecosystems and the people living within them.

     Kaitlin and I were hired as interns for the Southern Plains Network and have worked at four different parks over the course of the summer. The involves numerous tasks with relation to prairie restoration, grassland monitoring, and exotic and invasive plant species problems. We have worked in Texas and Oklahoma in addition to Fort Larned, with each park offering different challenges. At Fort Larned, we are helping to identify exotic and invasive plant species that often disrupt the natural ecological state of the prairie. Once these problem species are identified, we can develop a long-term plan to help control exotic species and reintroduce native species in order to rehabilitate the natural prairie.

Post Commanders: George Edward Head
by Celeste Dixon, Park Ranger
(This is nineteenth in a series on the commanding officers of Fort Larned.)

     When Captain George Edward Head of the 3rd U.S. Infantry assumed command of Fort Larned in July 1871 from Major Richard Dodge, it was obvious that the frontier post was at a crossroads in terms of its mission. Captain Head had only 93 men under his command at that time, however, the fort's records show there was not much to occupy the men's time. As was the case under Major Dodge's tenure as post commander, the garrison dealt with mostly routine matters on a daily basis with a few out of the ordinary events thrown in to keep things lively.

     The main concern for the Army at this time was dealing with deserters, and Fort Larned was no exception to this problem. During the month of July 1871 Corporal William Kelso was detailed to take two 6th Infantry deserters back to Fort Hays, while Sergeant Timothy McCarthy took four privates to the mail crossing at the Smoky Hill River to take any deserters they encountered there into custody. They actually captured two privates who deserted from Fort Larned and brought them back to their respective units for prosecution.

     One day prisoners were working at the post woodpile without shackles, which were being altered to make them more comfortable per the recommendation of the post surgeon. The prisoners made a run for freedom at sunset and escaped across the creek despite being fired upon by the sentry on duty at the time. Search parties failed to find them so the prisoners were able to make a clean getaway. Captain Head suspected the sentry on duty at the time helped them escape but since he had no evidence, other than his suspicions, he could not arrest him. He also thought that some local sympathetic ranchers might be hiding the runaways.

     Captain Head was originally from Massachusetts and joined the Army during the Civil War in May 1861 as a 1st Lieutenant in the 11th Massachusetts Infantry. He served as regimental adjutant from October 1, 1862, to April 24, 1863, and was promoted to captain on July 12, 1864. He received a brevet promotion to major on August 1, 1864, for gallant service during the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse.

     Like many volunteer Army officers he decided to make the Army a career after the Civil War. Although he had a distinguished Army record throughout the war he seems to have run into a bit of trouble afterwards. By April 1869 his record indicated that he was unassigned; an examination of some correspondence indicates why that was the case. In March 1869 Brevet Captain J. H. Hays made a complaint against Brevet Major Head. It seems that Head owed Hays the sum of $32.50, which he had repeatedly promised to repay and had then failed to do so. This offense, as well as charges of "intemperance," were listed as reasons for his referral to a retiring board in St. Louis, MO during the summer of 1869.

     Fortunately for Captain Head, the officer who recommended him for the retiring board, Brigadier General E. D. Townsend, decided to withdraw his objections to having him serve in the Army. The retiring board was dissolved before it could hear Head's case, which left him in the limbo of "awaiting orders." In a letter dated August 31, 1870, written in Washington, D.C., General Townsend explains that his change of heart was due to the reports of several "reliable persons that Capt. Head had eschewed the habit of drinking entirely." He also, personally observed Captain Head. who came with him to D.C., and said the he believed him to be "a reformed man." Captain Head himself submitted copies of a letter written by F. M. Cooley (a former Civil War Army commander) to his mother-in-law, in which Cooley assures her that he will recommend Captain Head for a brevet promotion based on his performance at the Battle of the Wilderness. Cooley goes on to state that "it is perfectly just and safe to recommend Major Head for gallantry in any action that he participated in. . . I always regarded Major Head and Capt. Ellsworth the two most reliable officers in the regiment." By December 31, 1870, Captain Head was assigned to the 3rd U.S. Infantry, apparently with a new lease on his Army career.

     The summer of 1871 at Fort Larned saw very little Indian activity around the post. In fact, the tribes around the fort were so peaceful that only two or three men with just a few rounds of ammunition in a mule-drawn wagon could easily, and safely, go to Fort Hays and back to pick up supplies for the fort. The garrison's services as escorts for wagon trains along the Santa Fe Trail were also not requested that summer. The fort did provide escorts for railroad surveying parties, or for prisoners going between posts and prisons, as well as taking supplies from train depots to remote camps.

     In October 1871 the post chaplain opened a school for the children of the military personnel stationed at the post. It was located on the north end of the "additional commissary warehouse." The Quartermaster's Department provided a detail of men to furnish the requisite number of benches and desks for the students.

     Also during the month of October, Major James P. Roy of the 6th U.S. Infantry arrived to assume command of the post. Captain Head resumed his duties as company commander of the 3rd U.S. Infantry troops stationed at Fort Larned. On April 20, 1886, he received a promotion to major in the regular Army. By May 19, 1891, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the 14th U.S. Infantry before retiring on July 10th of the same year.

     During Captain Head's relatively short tenure as Fort Larned's commander, events at the post were mostly quiet and routine. The Indian threat had so diminished by the summer and fall of 1871 that mail carriers who used to take their lives in their hands every time they went out could now safely take wagonloads of letters and dispatches between posts without incident. As an example, Corporal A. J. Carr was able to deliver a wagonload of mail to Fort Hays by himself, camping at Walnut Creek both ways. Considering that Indian opposition to the mail station at Walnut Creek was the impetus for sending Army troops to the area in the first place it seems that Corporal Carr's solo mail delivery journey presaged the close of Fort Larned's usefulness in that regard.

Bob Dole Visits Fort Larned National Historic Site
by Celeste Dixon, Park Ranger

     Bob Dole, former congressman and senator from Kansas, returned to see Fort Larned again. Dole introduced the enacting legislation to make Fort Larned the first National Park Service unit in the State of Kansas.

     Dole stopped by Fort Larned in June after a meet and greet session with the citizens of Larned at the Broadway Grill and Pub in town. Acting Superintendent Betty Boyko, Chief Ranger George Elmore, and Park Ranger Ellen Jones represented Fort Larned at the gathering. It was a chance for the citizens of Larned to meet and share stories with the former senator. Dole's stop at Larned was part of a tour of communities in Kansas counties he'd been on since April. The stop in Larned was 49th out of a total of 105 planned for the trip.

     Senator Dole did not have a lot of time, so his aids drove his car around the fort so he could look at the buildings. He did stop by the Blockhouse and got out to take a closer look. During his time as senator he introduced the legislation that authorized the funds for reconstructing that building. He also got out to admire the new bridge and told park staff he thought the commemorative markers in the cemetery were a wonderful improvement.

     During his visit Senator Dole expressed his desire for the National Park Service to continue its work making Fort Larned the nationally recognized tourist center it deserves to become.

The Ordnance Sergeant
by Sam Young, Park Volunteer

     U.S. Army General Order No. 31, issued on June 12, 1851, established the chevrons (rank insignia) for ordnance sergeants to be the three inverted stripes of a sergeant with a star, color crimson. There were no ordnance sergeant chevrons prior to 1851 or after 1899.

     U.S. Army Special Order 57, 9 Feb 1866, directed Ordnance Sergeant Robert Lilly Nicholson to report to the Commanding Officer, Fort Larned, Kansas. He reported for duty on 19 Mar 1866. According to George Elmore, Fort Larned National Historic Site's Chief Ranger, "Nicholson is the only ordnance sergeant we had at Fort Larned. I would really like to visit with him as he saw the transformation (of the fort) from the adobe post to the stone, saw Generals Custer and Hancock here, and almost everything that happened in or around the stone buildings."

     Nicholson was born into a poor tenant farming family on 11 Jan 1832 in Caistor, Lincolnshire, England. Following the death of his mother in 1854, he immigrated to the United States in search of a better life. His father had died when Robert was 16. On 13 Jan 1855 he enlisted in Co. A, 4th U.S. Infantry Regiment, was promoted to corporal in May 1856, and sergeant in July 1857. When he reenlisted on 13 Nov 1859, he was the First Sergeant. At his second reenlistment on 20 Feb 1864, he was already an ordnance sergeant. On 7 Nov 1865, he married Mary A. E. Long from Georgia.

     Unfortunately no records exist of Nicholson's activities at Fort Larned. What is known is that Lieutenant Thompson administered the oath at Nicholson's 3rd reenlistment on 20 Jan 1867, Lieutenant Charles Campbell administered the oath at the 4th reenlistment on 20 Feb 1870, and Captain William J. Lyster administered the oath at the 5th reenlistment on 20 Feb 1875.

     With the closing of Fort Larned on 13 Jul 1878, Ordnance Sergeant Nicholson continued in the performance of his duties at Fort Larned until being reassigned to Fort Ellis, Montana Territory, in Oct 1878. On 7 May 1885, he retired from the Army and died on 26 Mar 1893. He is buried in Sunset Hills Cemetery, Bozeman, Montana. On 19 Apr 1893, his wife Mary applied for a widow's pension. The Nicholson's did not have children.

     Since there are no records describing Nicholson's duties, we need to look at the authorization for the ordnance sergeant positions and what we today would call the job description.

     In 1832 Congress authorized the rank of ordnance sergeant. This enabled the Army to have highly trained and experienced ordnance soldiers at the increasing number of frontier posts and coastal defensive forts. This position falls within the purview of the U.S. Army Ordnance Department, which is responsible for the procurement, distribution, and maintenance of weapons, ammunition, and associated supplies and equipment. But the ordnance sergeant does not belong to the Ordnance Department. He is a member of the Post staff. Ordnance sergeant responsibilities included the maintenance of arms and ammunitions at army installations and the provision of those supplies to armies in the field.

     According to Article XIV, Revised Regulations of the U.S. Army, 1861, the Secretary of War selects from the sergeants of the line of the army as many ordnance sergeants as the service may require, not exceeding one to each military post. These sergeants must have faithfully served eight years (four years in the grade of noncommissioned officer), and pass a series of examinations, to include mathematics and writing. Additionally, "ordnance sergeants will be assigned to posts (not regiments) when appointed, and are not to be transferred to other stations except by orders from the Adjutant-General's office." It further states, "When a non-commissioned officer receives the appointment of ordnance sergeant, he shall be dropped from the rolls of the regiment or company in which he may be serving at the time."

     Additional information regarding the ordnance sergeant, including duties, is found in The 1865 Customs of Service for Noncommissioned Officers and Soldiers, by August V. Kautz, in paragraphs 246-250. "The duty of ordnance sergeants relates to the care of the ordnance, arms, ammunition and other military stores at the post to which they may be attached, under the direction of the commanding officer, and according to the regulations of the Ordnance Department. If a post is evacuated, the ordnance sergeant shall remain on duty at the station, under the direction of the Chief of the Ordnance Department, in charge of the ordnance and ordnance stores, and of such other public property as is not in charge of some officer or agent of other departments; for which ordnance stores and other property he will account to the chiefs of the proper departments until otherwise directed. An ordnance sergeant in charge of ordnance stores at a post where there is no commissioned officer shall be held responsible for the safe-keeping of the property, and he shall be governed by the regulations of the Ordnance Department in making issues of the same, and in preparing and furnishing the requisite returns. If the means at his disposal are not sufficient for the preservation of the property, he shall report the circumstances to the Chief of the Ordnance Department."

     From the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps Hall of Fame we find the story of a Buffalo Soldier who, before becoming an Ordnance Sergeant, earned the Medal of Honor. "Ordnance Sergeant Moses Williams, born 10 October 1845, in Carrollton, Louisiana, was probably the son of slaves. In 1866, he enlisted in the 9th Cavalry, one of two newly authorized African-American cavalry regiments. Williams, illiterate like so many freedmen, signed his enlistment papers with an 'X,' but his signature proudly appears on his first reenlistment papers in 1871. While serving as a Buffalo Soldier, despite the arduous duties and long days in the field, Williams learned the reading, writing, and mathematics skills needed to later become an Ordnance Sergeant.

     "The 9th Cavalry was raised in Louisiana and sent to west Texas in the summer of 1867. Sergeants were appointed from the ranks. Within a year, Williams was promoted to First Sergeant of Company F. In 1871, following his first reenlistment, he was transferred to Company K to serve as First Sergeant. The 9th Cavalry served in west Texas until 1875, scattered out in a string of small posts protecting the mail and stage route between San Antonio and El Paso, Texas. In 1875, the 9th Cavalry transferred to New Mexico, where Williams reenlisted again in 1876 and was reassigned as First Sergeant of Company I.

     "While in New Mexico, the 9th Cavalry was embroiled in the Victorio War of 1879-1880 and a sequel known as Nana's Raid in 1881. Chief Victorio and his Warm Springs Apaches took to the hills, raiding farms and ranches rather than submitting to life on the reservation. It took a year to run Victorio to ground, but even after his death and the capture of most of his band, an old warrior named Nana escaped and, with about 40 others, continued raiding. A detachment of 22 troopers, including Williams, caught up with Nana on August 16, 1881. A running battle ensued, ending with a determined stand by the Apaches. During the fight, Williams repeatedly led flanking attacks. At one point, he personally rallied the detachment and brought it back into the fight. When the outnumbered cavalry was forced to withdraw, Williams and his lieutenant stood up to draw the enemy's fire enabling the unit to rescue three cutoff troopers. In 1896, he was awarded a Medal of Honor for his conspicuous gallantry that day.

     "Williams continued to serve in the 9th Cavalry until 1886, when his application for ordnance sergeant was approved. Ordnance sergeants had to have at least eight years of service and a minimum of four years as a noncommissioned officer; they were also required to pass a physical examination as well as an examination by a board of officers. Williams was probably the first African-American ordnance sergeant. Williams reported to Fort Buford, North Dakota, where he served as ordnance sergeant until the post closed in 1895. When Fort Buford closed, he reported for duty to Fort Stevens, Oregon, at the mouth of the Columbia River. Fort Stevens was ungarrisoned at the time. During this period, the Corps of Engineers was in the process of building the West Battery to mount four of the latest ten-inch seacoast defense guns. As the Fort's caretaker, Williams was responsible for 22 large cannon, a magazine with 1,200 shots and shells, and the new guns, themselves.

     "Ordnance Sergeant Williams retired in 1898 after 32 years of service. Possibly retiring because of ill health, he died on August 23, 1899, at age 52 and was buried in the Vancouver Barracks Cemetery. The old Buffalo Soldier and Ordnance Sergeant is a shining example of service to country, bravery, endurance, self-improvement, and leadership."

Edward Wynkoop Site Bulletin At Fort Larned
by Celeste Dixon, Park Ranger

     Fort Larned has a new site bulletin on Edward W. Wynkoop. The project was collaboration with Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, with which Wynkoop also has a connection. Chief of Interpretation at Sand Creek, Shawn Gillette, and Fort Larned Park Ranger Celeste Dixon worked on the project together with help from volunteer and Old Guard member Sam Young.

     Site bulletins are park produced publications that provide more details about subjects pertinent to the individual parks. They help give visitors a fuller picture of the park's story since the park brochure is usually intended for an orientation and broad overview of the park. "Parks usually produce their own site bulletins since the subject matter is most often site specific," said Chief Ranger George Elmore. "As far as we know, this is the first time two parks have worked together to produce a site bulletin on a subject that relates to both parks."

     Edward Wynkoop is certainly central to the story of both Sand Creek and Fort Larned. As an officer in the 1st Colorado Regiment (which started as infantry and changed to cavalry) he was one of many state militia members who filled in at frontier forts during the Civil War. He met Black Kettle and some other Cheyenne chiefs while commanding Fort Lyon, Colorado. He was the officer who convinced these chiefs to place themselves under the protection of the U.S. Army in the area along Sand Creek where Colonel John Chivington later attacked them, killing many women and children.

     Although he had no idea that they would be attacked, Wynkoop felt a certain amount of responsibility for the event, mainly because he took the Army officials at their word that they would protect the Indians there. His outrage over the Sand Creek Massacre would help lead to an investigation into the circumstance surrounding it.

     Wynkoop would later be appointed as a special Indian agent to the Cheyenne and Arapaho by President Andrew Johnson in 1866. Wynkoop choose to set up his agency headquarters at Fort Larned and actually rented the Sutler's Quarters at the fort to live in while here. The time he spent as Indian agent was mostly taken up with trying to maintain peace between the Indians and the settlers. After Black Kettle was killed in the attack on the Washita in November 1868, Wynkoop resigned. He later wrote, "I most certainly refuse to again be the instrument of murder of innocent women and children."

     Wynkoop accepted the job of Indian agent because he truly wanted to make the life and situation of the Plains Indians better. Although he would later realize how impossible that was in the political and social climate after the Civil War, his actions on behalf of the Cheyenne and Arapaho would prompt George Bent to describe him as "the best friend the Cheyenne and Arapaho ever had."

     The new site bulletin is available at both Fort Larned and Sand Creek Massacre National Historic site, as well as on the Fort's website at {}.

     August 30-Sept. 1, 2014: Labor Day Weekend, 50th anniversary celebration of Fort Larned in the National Park Service on August 30
     October 11, 2014: Candlelight Tour
     December 13, 2014: Christmas Past

Deadline For Next Issue: November 1, 2014

Membership Reminder
     Annual memberships in the Fort Larned Old Guard expire on December 31. If you have not renewed for 2014, please send dues to membership chair Linda Peters, 1035 S Bridge St, Lakin KS 67860. Additional donations are always welcome to assist with projects of the Old Guard..

Fort Larned Old Guard Contact Information
     The officers, members of the board of directors, dues information and email's are listed on this page of information. Please feel free to contact any of us.

Schedule of Annual Events
     True to life stories of the Indian Wars along the Santa Fe Trail, brought to life by some of the greatest volunteers in the West. . . ! Visit the most complete Indian fort surviving from the days when Custer and Buffalo Bill Cody rode through this part of the West on their missions. Original restored buildings to that time period, a visitor center, Park Rangers will guide you through this adventure of the Old West.

     Memorial Day Weekend (Saturday, Sunday & Monday) largest living history event in western Kansas - experience a working frontier fort.

     Labor Day Weekend (Saturday, Sunday, & Monday) Re-enactors bring Fort Larned back to life for the holiday weekend.

     Candlelight Tour (2nd Saturday of October) Entertaining evening tours with vignettes from the fort's history.

     Christmas Open House (2nd Saturday of December) Old-fashioned Yuletide celebration with hot apple cider, cookies and Christmas carols.

Santa Fe Trail Research Site

Santa Fe Trail Research Site
"E-Mail & Home Page"
Larry & Carolyn
St. John, Ks.
© "Forever"