General Henry Leavenworth, active in the War of 1812 and the Plains Indian Wars, established Fort Leavenworth in 1827. Although evacuated in May 1829, it was refortified in the fall. Fort Leavenworth is the third oldest continuously active military base in the United States, and the oldest active military base west of the Mississippi River. The fort was established along the Santa Fe Trail to protect settlers and merchants traveling westward as well as maintaining peace with the American Indian tribes that still lived in the area. After the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1954, Fort Leavenworth tried to keep the peace among the settlers in Kansas.
Fort Leavenworth also played a role in the Civil War. The fort recruited volunteers from Kansas, and although Confederate General Sterling Price hoped to take over the fort, he and his troops abandoned the plan after defeat at Westport, Missouri. After the Civil War the fort’s main job was to control the American Indian tribes that roamed the plains of the Midwest. The fort was also the outfitting post for the Army in the West. In 1866 the United States government authorized the formation of four African American regiments. The 10th Calvary was formed at Fort Leavenworth under Colonel Benjamin Grierson and they became known as the “Buffalo Soldiers.” In 1875 the United States Disciplinary Barracks (USDB) was built and remained in operated until 2002, when a new facility was created.
In 1881 General William T. Sherman established the School of Application for Cavalry and Infantry. Many famous officers graduated from this school, including Dwight D. Eisenhower, Omar N. Bradley, and George S. Patton, Jr. In 1946 the school changed its name to the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Fort Leavenworth is still an active military base today.
Entry: Fort Leavenworth
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: June 2012
Date Modified: February 2013
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