Custer Lives!

Fort Wallace, Kansas

 

In July 2009 I visited the site where Fort Wallace once stood. There's nothing left of the Fort except for the cemetery. To get to the site you must drive down a gravel road for about one mile, turn left and drive about .8 mile east. Enter the Wallace Township Cemetery and drive down a long tree lined lane until you come to a short stone wall. The Fort Wallace Cemetery is within the stone wall. The remaining graves are, for the most part, arraigned in two rows on the east side of wall. A few have modern stone headstones and a few "standard" military issue from the Plains Indian Wars type still remain. The US Army headstones have a small round brass badge next to them. The civilian wooden markers are by far the most interesting. They have a range of information on them, ranging from nothing but "unknown" to a mini-biography including a death story. In 1867 the Soldiers erected a monument to their fallen comrades in the cemetery. It still stands but is now enclosed in a metal shed. I didn't have a 28mm or shorter lens with me so I couldn't get the whole monument in frame for my photos. In 1885 the US Army exhumed 88 Soldiers and moved them to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

As you leave the Wallace Township Cemetery you'll see some information signs on your left just inside the gates. They have a map of the Fort's buildings and layout. There's Fort Wallace history timeline also. The Fort was south of the information signs and is on private property. The information sign warns you not to trespass.

Fort Wallace, initially Camp Pond Creek, was established in September 1865. Fort Wallace was involved in many conflicts involving the local Indians, earning a nickname as "the fightingest Fort in the West". The Indians put up a strong resistance against the Whites and the railroads before finally succumbing. Fort Wallace was ordered shut down on May 31, 1882. On October 19, 1888 the Fort Wallace Cemetery was given to the city of Wallace.

On July 12, 1867 General George Armstrong Custer and seven companies of the US 7th Cavalry arrived for duty at Fort Wallace. In November 1868 Troopers from the US 5th Cavalry joined General Custer's 7th Cavalry in the controversial Battle Of The Washita, where Chief Black Kettle was killed.

If you visit this site be sure to also visit the Fort Wallace Museum about two miles away. It's a little gem that shouldn't be missed.

 The roadside sign directing you to the cemetery.

Fort Wallace was across the gravel road from this information sign.

The long gravel road inside the cemetery leads to the graves.

The remaining Fort Wallace graves.

A US Army Mounted Rifleman's grave and the brass marker.

The Monument to the military dead.

An unknown casualty.

A casualty from my home state of Indiana.

A modern marker to a US Army KIA.

The Fort Wallace sign at the Fort Wallace Museum.

 

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