Fort Scott Military Post History
Fort Scott, initially called Camp Scott and named in honor
of General Winfield Scott, was established on May 30, 1842 at the Marmaton
River crossing of the Fort Leavenworth-Fort Gibson
Military Road. It was among nine forts originally planned
to line the area between the Great Lakes and New Orleans to separate
proposed Indian lands and white settlements.
When the fort was established in 1842, the nation was still young and
confined largely to the area east of the
Mississippi River. Yet within a
few years, Fort Scott's soldiers became involved in events that would lead
to tremendous spurts of growth and expansion. As the nation developed,
tensions over slavery led to the conflict and turmoil of "Bleeding Kansas"
and the Civil War.
As a young America grew, settlers hungry for land forced
west of the Mississippi River. When they arrived in this area,
guaranteed land where white settlement would be forbidden. Established in
1842, Fort Scott served as one of a line of forts from Minnesota to
Louisiana that helped to enforce this promise of a "permanent Indian
frontier." Soldiers kept peace between white settlers, native peoples like
the Osage, and relocated Eastern tribes.
The Old Fort Scott Hospital has been restored
and now serves as the Visitor's Center, Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
Image available for photo prints &
Positioned on a bluff overlooking the confluence of Mill Creek and the
Marmaton River, Fort Scott
filled a gap between
to the north and Fort Gibson,
Oklahoma 150 miles south. The fort was home to
infantry soldiers and the dragoons, an elite unit of troops trained to
fight both on horseback and on foot. The infantry performed many of the
fatigue duties, including fort construction, while the dragoons went on
In the 1840s, settlers flocked westward to
California. When conflict
arose along the
Santa Fe and
Oregon Trails dragoons were called on to
keep the peace. Two expeditions rode escort on the Santa Fe Trail in 1843.
The next year, dragoons from Scott and Leavenworth marched into Pawnee
country to persuade that tribe to cease hostilities against the Sioux. In
1845, they patrolled the Oregon Trail as far west as South Pass, Wyoming parleying
with Indian tribes as they went.
Both infantry and dragoons left Fort Scott to fight in the
Mexican-American War (1846-48), which brought vast new lands into U.S. possession.
Some Fort Scott dragoons marched with Stephen Kearney into New Mexico and
California, while others served with Zachary Taylor at Buena Vista.
Infantry soldiers from Fort Scott also fought with Taylor and participated
in Winfield Scott's overland march to Mexico City.