When William Quantrill and his men attacked Lawrence, Kansas on August 21, 1863, the town was not properly defended, leaving 180 men and boys dead. By the following year, soldiers were permanently encamped on the top and slopes of Mount Oread, then to the southwest of Lawrence. The site was then called Camp Ewing. When a battery of cannon was later placed at the top of the hill, the post was renamed Camp Lookout.
In the spring of 1864, many of the soldiers in the camp were ill and were transferred to the German Methodist church in Lawrence, which was used as a hospital.
In August 1864, construction of a fort began, which was called Fort Ulysses. By the end of the year, it was not complete but contained several government storehouses. It is not known whether the fort was ever completed, but the troops were removed, probably at the end of the Civil War. Later the University of Kansas was built on the hill.
Any remaining structures of the barracks and trenches are long gone, however, a very simple granite marker is located near “The Pioneer” sculpture south of Fraser Hall on the University of Kansas campus. The marker reads: “Site of Barracks and Trenches 1863.”
©Kathy Weiser-Alexander, updated August 2020.