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Kansas Forts - Page 3

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Indian AttackFort Downer (1867-68) – Situated on the Smoky Hill route to the Colorado gold fields, the location was first utilized as Downer’s Station, a Butterfield stage stop established in 1865. The post was named for James P. Downer, a Civil War veteran and a member of the party that originally surveyed the Smoky Hill Trail. In 1866, Indians massacred many of the area residents and the following year, in May, 1867, the location was fortified and became a military post called Fort Downer.  That same year, the post was used by George A. Custer as a base for Indian Operations. It was also burned in an Indian attack that year. It was abandoned in May, 1868. The fort was located south of WaKeeney, Kansas in Trego County on Downer's Creek about 50 miles west of Fort Hays.



Fort Hamilton (1858) - Not an official military fort, this site was a stronghold of Charles A. Hamelton, the leader of the mob that perpetrated the Marais des Cygnes Massacre. The "fort" was a substantial log cabin situated near an elevation known as Sugar Mound in Linn County. Later, it was taken by free-state men and was occupied by Captain Weaver's company of some 30 men who named it Fort Hamilton.



Fort Harker (1864-1880) - See full article HERE!  


Fort Hays (1865-1889)  - See full article HERE!



Fort Henning (1861-18??) - Shortly after President Lincoln's second call for volunteers in the spring of 1861, three blockhouses were erected at Fort Scott for the purpose of guarding quartermaster's, hospital and ordnance stores. Fort Henning, one of these blockhouses, stood at the corner of Scott Avenue and First Street, on the site afterward occupied by the post office building. It was built under the supervision of Captain William Holcke, an engineer of the United States Army, who also superintended the erection of the other two blockhouses. Some years after the war Fort Henning was purchased by Dr. W.S. McDonald and removed to the lot immediately south of his residence, in order that it might be preserved as a historic relic of the war. On December 3, 1904, a flag was raised over old Fort Henning in its new location with appropriate ceremonies. While the fort was used for military purposes it was garrisoned by troops belonging to the Sixth Kansas, under command of Lieutenant C.H. Haynes.


  Fort Insley (1861-18??) -  The largest of three blockhouses erected at Fort Scott in the spring of 1861, under the supervision of Captain William Holcke, it was located on the point of the mound, where the Plaza school building was afterward erected. It was garrisoned by a detachment of the Sixth Kansas and was used for storing ammunition.



Fort Jewell (1870) – The post was built in May, 1870 following the killing of white settlers by Indians at the mill dam on the Solomon River. It was named in honor of Lieutenant-Colonel Lewis R. Jewell of the Sixth Kansas Cavalry, who died curing the Civil War of wounds received in the battle of Cane Hill, Arkansas. Built and defended by 28 local settlers, who organized themselves as the "Buffalo Militia,” the fortress was built of four feet thick sod walls, stood seven feet high, and enclosed a space of fifty square yards. The local volunteers were relieved in June, 1870 by a Company of U.S. soldiers who remained until Fall.


Though the fort is gone today, it stood in present-day Jewell which is now bounded on the south by Delaware Street and on the west by Belle Street.  A bronze plaque and monument stand in a city park four blocks west of the old fort site. Jewell is located on state highway K-14 southeast of Mankato in Jewell County, Kansas.






Fort Kanses (early 1700’s) – Not a military post, Fort Kanses was a French trading post constructed at the Kansa Indian village, a little below Isle au Vache, or Cow island, in what is now Atchison County. It was probably the first place in Kansas where white men lived as permanent settlers. In 1757 it was described as storing more than 100 bundles of furs. The ruins of the trading post were still visible when Lewis and Clark came through in the beginning of the 19th century.



Fort Lane (1856-1857) - Named for James H. Lane, this unofficial fort was established in 1856 and was a stronghold for the free-state men of Kansas during the Kansas-Missouri Border War. It was abandoned in 1857 and destroyed during Quantrill's Raid of Lawrence in August, 1863. It was located on the east side of Mt. Oread, which is now occupied by Kansas University, about where Spooner Hall is on the northeast corner at 14th and Jayhawk Boulevard in west Lawrence, Kansas.

Fort Larned (1859-1878) - See full article HERE! 


Fort Leavenworth (1827-Present) - See full article HERE!



Fort LincolnFort Lincoln (1861-64) – Located just a few miles west of the present-day semi-ghost town of Fulton, Kansas, Fort Lincoln was established by Union General James H. Lane in the summer of 1861. The post was located on the north side of the Osage River and consisted of a stockade and a large blockhouse. Primarily used to house Confederate prisoners, it also served as part of a border defense system of Fort Scott during the Civil War, protecting Kansas residents against attacks from Confederate forces. Later, the post’s name was changed to Fort Osaga, then to Fort Fulton.  


After the Battle of Drywood Creek, across the border in Vernon County, Missouri, which occurred on September 2, 1861, Lane believed that the Confederates would attack Fort Scott the next day. He ordered the town of Fulton evacuated and the citizens and troops to fall back to Fort Lincoln. However, the attack didn’t happen, and the citizens soon returned to their homes. The post was garrisoned troops under Lane’s command until January, 1864. Later the buildings were moved to Fort Scott. Fort Lincoln was located about 12 miles north of the city of For Scott, and just a few miles west of Fulton.


Fort Mann (1846-1848) - Located on the Santa Fe Trail just a few miles west of present-day Dodge City, Fort Mann was established in 1846 by master teamster, Daniel P. Mann,  as a halfway station between Fort Leavenworth and Santa Fe. Though not an "official” military post, it was ordered to be built by Captain William M. D. McKissack, assistant quartermaster to the Army of the West, who was stationed in Santa Fe.

Daniel Mann, along with 40 teamsters began the construction of the post in April, 1846 on the north bank of the Arkansas River. Consisting of four flat-roofed buildings connected by a high stockade, the could only be entered through to 12” thick gates. In the center was a 6-pounder cannon, mounted on light wagon wheels for mobility.

The fortress was strategically positioned at a site on the route that all supply trains, regardless of the route they were taking to Santa Fe, would have to pass by. The wagon trains that passed by and the fort itself was often the target of hostile Indians. In June, 1947, the post was attacked by some 400 warriors and though the untrained men were able to repel the attack, the fort was soon abandoned. That summer, bands of Kiowas, Apaches, Pawnee and Comanches became more aggressive, killing 47 travelers, destroying 330 wagons and stealing some 6,500 head of stock and horses.


The post quickly fell into disrepair and supply trains were afraid for the lives. Finally, in October, regular military troops were sent to the post to rebuild and enlarge the post, as well as once again, providing protection along the trail. However, conditions at the post were deplorable with insufficient supplies and poor leadership. By the following year, the ineptness proved futile, officers were forced to resign and the troops returned to Fort Leavenworth.  Two years later, Fort Atkinson was established to provide protection along the Santa Fe Trail. Fort Mann was located about three miles west of Dodge City.



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