Fort Scott 2012 Civil War encampment reoccupies the high ground

Fort Scott National Historic Site News Release

Release Date: April 4, 2012
Contacts: Galen Ewing, (620) 223-0310, galen_ewing@nps.gov

Reoccupying the High Ground: Commemorate the 150th Anniversary of
the Return of the Military to Fort Scott during 2012’s Civil War Encampment 

Fort Scott – When Captain Benjamin Moore chose to locate Fort Scott on a high point of ground in April of 1842, little did he know then the significance that spot would play in the Civil War, almost twenty years later. During the war, military units from Kansas began concentrating at Fort Scott as early as August of 1861. In March of 1862, they were joined by units from Ohio and Wisconsin along with a formal military command structure that reestablished a military post at Fort Scott utilizing that high piece of ground and the surrounding area. The post would take on importance as a key to the Union war effort in the Trans Mississippi West.

Throughout the weekend of Saturday, April 14th and Sunday, April 15th, visitors can experience the sights and sounds of the Civil War at Fort Scott National Historic Site, a unit of the National Park Service, in historic Fort Scott, Kansas. Union Army re-enactors will represent Infantry, Cavalry, and Artillery soldiers of 1862. One hundred and fifty years ago the Civil War was well underway and the belief that this was to be a short confrontation was rapidly fading. Kansans, who had been terrorized in the 1850s by violent conflict over the issue of whether Kansas would be free or slave, were now swept into a firestorm as bushwhackers and jayhawkers inflamed passions along the Kansas-Missouri border. Fort Scott National Historic Site offers you an opportunity to experience those events, honor our Civil War ancestors and discover Fort Scott’s role in a war that claimed over 600,000 lives.

Living history volunteers will re-create those tempestuous times in Fort Scott’s history. At 9 a.m. on both days you can watch the Infantry and Cavalry raise the “Morning Colors” above the Fort. Walk through a period-correct military camp and talk to the soldiers to learn about life in the mid-19th century. You can also watch them march and hear the sounds of small-arms and cannon being fired. If that is too much for your ears you can relax and listen to authentic Civil War music being played by the “Hawthorne String Band” at 1 p.m. on Saturday. At 2 p.m. come and find out if those hoop skirts were comfortable while watching a Civil War Fashion Show.

Then at 3 p.m. on Saturday listen and participate in speeches given by Senator James Lane and General James Blunt and if your patriotic fever is raised high enough you can sign up to be enlisted. At 4:30 p.m. a special program entitled “Rhetoric of the Civil War Press” will be given, which will explore how newspapers played a crucial role in shaping public perception of the events leading up to the Civil War. Come as guests to a Civil War-style wedding at 6:30 p.m. You will see a soldier and his beloved fiancée “tie the knot” and learn about the trepidation felt among couples during a time of the Civil War.

Come Saturday and visit Dave Tollefson, a member of Camp #5, Sons of Union Veterans in Olathe, KS. He will bring his private collection of Civil War artifacts. Some of the items he will bring include a rifled musket display, sabers, and defused cannon balls.

On Sunday at 10 a.m. listen to “Salt Pork and Hardtack – Feeding the Army of the Border”, a subject that was always on the minds of soldiers. Come join in a period Church Service at 11 a.m. on the Fort Parade Ground. The last program of the day, “Homeward Bound – The Indian Expedition of 1862,” will focus on a major military expedition leaving Fort Scott in order to restore pro-Union Cherokee land which they had been forced to abandon in 1861 by pro-Confederate Cherokee. Army drill and historic weapons firings will once again be featured Sunday afternoon.

Also, in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, a special exhibit will be available for viewing. This exhibit will focus on the significance of the war in the West. This three-panel exhibit will provide information on the cause of the war and why individuals fought, the strategic importance of the war in the West, and the impact of the war on civilians.

The schedule of activities is listed below:

9:00 a.m. – Flag Raising
10:00 a.m. – Cavalry Drill
11:00 a.m. – Infantry Drill and Weapons Demo
12:00 noon – Artillery Drill and Weapons Demo
1:00 p.m. – Civil War Music: Hawthorne String Band
2:00 p.m. – Civil War Fashion Show
3:00 p.m. – War Meeting Program
4:00 p.m. – Flag Retreat
4:30 p.m. – Rhetoric of the Civil War Press
6:30 p.m. – “Till Death Do Us Part” – Civil War Period Wedding

9:00 a.m. – Flag Raising
10:00 a.m. – Salt Pork and Hardtack: Feeding the Army on the Border - talk
11:00 a.m. – Church Service
12:00 noon – Artillery Drill and Weapons Demo
1:00 p.m. – Cavalry Drill
2:00 p.m. – Infantry Drill and Weapons Demo
3:00 p.m. – Homeward Bound – The Indian Expedition of 1862 - talk

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 our web site at www.nps.gov/fosc.

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 395 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.

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