This weekend, visitors to the Fort Scott National Historic Site can take part in the 150th anniversary of the military’s return to the fort and the role it and Kansas played in the Union’s effort in the West.
Fort Scott is near the border of Kansas and Missouri that once was known as the Permanent Indian Frontier and Bleeding Kansas. It also is one of the sites in Kansas that helped ignite the Civil War.
Established in 1842 as a base for the Army’s peacekeeping efforts along the Permanent Indian Frontier, the fort was first garrisoned by light cavalry and infantry soldiers.
The 31 years that the fort operated closely paralleled what the nation was going through.
During much of the fort’s early years, the soldiers escorted wagon trains traveling the Santa Fe and Oregon trails, surveyed unmapped territory and developed communications with the Plains Indians.
The fort was abandoned briefly when Kansas became a state in 1861 and reopened in 1862 as a major military supply base for troops stationed in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and the Indian Territory.
It is one of the few permanent forts of its kind and time period to have been restored in its entirety.
This weekend, Union Army re-enactors will represent the infantry, cavalry and artillery soldiers of 1862. At 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, the infantry and cavalry re-enactors will raise the “morning colors” above the fort. Visitors will be able to walk through the period-correct military camp and talk with soldiers to learn about life in the mid-19th century. The re-enactor soldiers will also march and fire small arms and cannons. Civil War-era music will be played at 1 p.m. Saturday, and at 2 p.m., a Civil War fashion show with hoop skirts will be shown.
Other events will include speeches and exhibits on the Civil War. At 11 a.m. Sunday, visitors can join in a period church service on the parade grounds.
Fort Scott National Historic Site, a unit of the National Park Service, is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information, call the site at 620-223-0310 or visit www.nps.gov/fosc.