Fort Wallace/Kit Carson
Fort Lyon Road


  1. Joseph W. Snell and Robert W. Richmond, "When the Union and Kansas Pacific Built Through Kansas" Kansas Historical Quarterly, 49 (Summer 1966) 164.

  2. Junction City Union, June 30, 1866; Morris F. Taylor, First Mail West: Stagecoach Lines on the Santa Fe Trail (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1971), 115-116; David K. Clapsaddle, "The Fort Riley/Fort Larned Road," Kansas History, 16 (Summer 1993): 124-137.

  3. Ibid.

  4. Taylor, First Mail West, 122-123, 127; David K. Clapsaddle, "The Fort Hays/Fort Dodge Road," Kansas History, 16 (Summer 1991): 101-102.

  5. Snell and Richmond, "When the Union Pacific and Kansas Pacific Built Through Kansas, Concluded," Kansas Historical Quarterly 49 (Autumn 1966): 347. The town was officially named Phil Sheridan in honor of the Union general of Civil War Fame who in 1868 was the commander of the Department of the Missouri. In that year he temporarily moved his headquarters to Fort Hays in preparation for the winter campaign of 1868-1869. Regardless, the town was, almost without exception, referred to by the shortened name of Sheridan.

  6. Taylor, First Mail West, 130-132.

  7. Penrose to Assistant Adjutant General (AAG), August 30, 1868, Selected Letters Sent by Captain and Bvt. Brigadier General Penrose, U. S. Army Commands, Record Group 98, National Archives.

  8. Luke Cahill, "Recollections of a Plainsman," MSS 13-5a8, State Historical Society of Colorado Library, Denver.

  9. Taylor, First Mail West, 112, 131. In 1865 the BOD surveyed a road from Pond Creek Station to Fort Lyon and, in the same year, a military road was developed between Forts Wallace and Lyon. In both cases these roads ran to the Fort Lyon established in 1860 as Fort Wise in the Big Timbers area at the site of William Bent's New Fort. In 1862 the name was changed to Fort Lyon and, in 1867, the post was moved upstream some 20 miles following a devastating flood. This location is sometimes called New Fort Lyon to distinguish it from the original post known as Old Fort Lyon. Kansas State Historical Society, "Kansas Historical Sites and Structures in Kansas," Kansas Historical Quarterly, 40 (Summer 1957): 137; George Bird Grinnell, "Bent's Old Fort and its Builders." Kansas Historical Collections, 15 (1919-1922): 91.

  10. Robert W. Baugham, Kansas Post Offices (Topeka: Kansas State Historical Society, 1961), 46.

  11. Mrs. Frank Montgomery, "Fort Wallace and its Relation to the Frontier," Kansas Historical Collections, 17 (1926-1928), 194.

  12. Taylor, Frist Mail West, 131; Colorado Chieftain, June 25, 1862.

  13. Cahill, "Recollections of a Plainsman," 8.

  14. Montgomery, "Fort Wallace," 194. The Cheyenne Wells Station was located five miles north of the present city of Cheyenne Wells. Margaret Long, The Smoky Hill Trail: Following the Old Historical Pioneer Trail on the Modern Highway (Denver, W. H. Kistler Stationery Company, 1943), 65.

  15. Penrose to AAG, August 30, 1868.

  16. Cahill, "Recollections of a Plainsman," 8; Penrose to AAG, September 19, 1868. Sand Creek, also known as Big Sandy, was called Dry Creek by the Cheyennes. Grinnell, "Bent's Old Fort and its Builders," 91.

  17. Cahill, "Recollections of a Plainsman," 8; Penrose to AAG, August 30, 1868. Kiowa Springs was also called Collins Springs. (Carl Julius) Ado Hunnius, Map of Kansas-1870, Map Drawer AA, Kansas State Historical Society.

  18. Cahill, "Recollections of a Plainsman," 8; Penrose to AAG, August 30 1868.

  19. Cahill, Recollections of a Plainsman," 8; Penrose to AAG, August 30 1868.

  20. Lydia Spencer Lane, I Married a Soldier or Old Days in the Army (reprint, Albuquerque: Horn and Wallace Publishers, Inc., 1964), 187.

  21. Stan Hoig, The Battle of the Washita, The Sheridan-Custer Campaign of 1867-69 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1976), 54-68.

  22. Taylor, First Mail West, 134.

  23. Penrose to AAG, December 7, 1868. Luke Cahill's report that escorts were in place between Forts Wallace and Lyon prior to the stage company's request appear to be in conflict with Penrose's letter. Cahill wrote: "At each of the above stations ten men and a corporal or a sergeant were stationed, the duty of those men being to guard the station and also to escort each coach. Four men could take station on top of the coach and accompany it to the next station and five men and one non-commissioned officer would remain at the station to guard the stock tenders and the company property. The men would take turns in escorting the coaches. Fort Lyon had to furnish men as far north as Kiowa Station and Fort Wallace as far south as Rush Creek. Luke Cahill, "Pioneer Days in Bent County," Bent County Democrat, March 1, 1923.

  24. Donald J. Berthong, The Southern Cheyennes (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1963), 339-340; George E. Hyde, Life of George Bent Written from His Letters (Norman; University of Oklahoma Press, 1968), 328; Robert M. Utley, Cavalier in Buckskin: Seorge Armstrong Custer and the Western Military Frontier (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1988), 74; Taylor, First Mail West, 218; Colorado Chieftain, June 3 & 17, 1869.

  25. Cahill, "Pioneer Days in Bent County."

  26. Miguel Antonio Otero, My Life on the Frontier, 1864-1882(Albuquerque; University of New Mexico Press, 1987), 37-38.

  27. Ibid., 27-19.

  28. Montgomery, "Fort Wallace," 227.

  29. Baugham, Post Offices of Kansas, 103.

  30. Montgomery, "Fort Wallace," 227.

  31. Snell and Richmond, "When the Union and Kansas Pacific Built Through Kansas-Concluded," 347.

  32. Taylor, First Mail West, 147.

  33. Otero, My Life on the Frontier, 35-37.

  34. Colorado Chieftain, March 10 & 24, 1870; Hunnius, Map of Kansas 1870.

  35. Regimental Returns, 5th Us S. Infantry, Microcopy 665, Roll 58, National Archives.

  36. In the battle of Summit Springs which took place near present Sterling, Colorado, Carr's Fifth Cavalry devastated the Dog Soldiers' village, killing 52 warriors, capturing 17 women and children, and confiscating huge stores of equipment and provisions. Among those killed was Tall Bull, the undisputed leader of the Dog Soldiers. This humiliating defeat essentially broke the back of Cheyenne resistance. Consequently, the depredations common to the Fort Wallace/Fort Lyon Road were unknown on the Kit Carson/Fort Lyon Road. James T. King, War Eagle: A Life of General Eugene A. Carr(Lincoln, University of Nebraska Press), 94-119.

  37. Rocky Mountain News, April 12, 1870.

  38. Frances A. Roe, Army Letters from an Officer's Wife 1871-1878 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1981), 2.

  39. The correspondent quoted in note 37 stated that he made the trip from Fort Lyon to Kit Carson in twelve hours.

  40. Taylor, First Mail West, 150; Hunnius, Map of Kansas-1870.

  41. P.G. Scott, "Diary of a Freighting Trip from Kit Carson to Trinidad in 1879," Colorado Magazine 8 (1931-1932): 146-148.

  42. Ibid., 149-151. The toll was set as follows: fifty cents per wagon at low water; not more than a $1.50 during other times. Morris F. Taylor, Trindad, Colorado Territory (Trinidad: trinidad State Junior College, 1966), 104. Path each chose to cross the Arkansas at the old ford near Bent's fort instead of the toll bridge, thus avoiding the toll costs.

  43. Taylor, First Mail West, 158.

  44. Ibid., 162-163.

  45. Table of Distances on the Santa Fe trail from Fort Leavenworth to Santa Fe, as Compiled by Bvt. Maj. Henry L. Kendrick in 1849, House EX. Doc. No. 17, 31 Cong., 1 sess. (Serial 573), 92. By 1863 Fort Leavenworth had superseded Westport as the eastern terminus of the Santa Fe Trail.

  46. Taylor, First Mail West, 163.
    Used With Permission of the Author:
    David Clapsaddle

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