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Abstract of journals from the 1845 Kearny Expedition

Abstract of journals from the 1845 Kearny Expedition
Date: 1846
This excerpt from the congressional report of the Secretary of War includes the abstracts of two journals, one by Lieutenant William B. Franklin, a topographical engineer, and another by Lieutenant H.S. Turner of the 1st dragoons stationed at Fort Leavenworth. Under the command of Stephen Kearny, the 1st dragoons and their accompanying engineers left Fort Leavenworth on a military march, heading northwest on what would become the Oregon Trail, down along the Rocky Mountains to Mexican territory, and back up via the Santa Fe Trail. This march was intended as a display of the United States' military power to both native tribes and the British government (which at this time was exerting its authority over Oregon Territory). For the most part this abstract details their route, but it does include a transcription of a conversation between Kearny and a Sioux chief named Bull Tail.


Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday

Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday
Creator: Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900
Date: June 22, 1856
During a lull, Cyrus K. Holliday reported from Topeka, Kansas Territory to his wife, Mary Holliday, in Meadville, Pennsylvania that Colonel Edwin V. Sumner had forced proslavery troops back to Missouri and camped on the border. Two free state men from Wisconsin had killed proslavery supporters near Osawatomie. Governor Wilson Shannon had resigned. A "large mass convention" was planned for July 2nd and 3rd, with a meeting of the free state legislature on the 4th. Cyrus advised Mary and Mr. Nichols to wait until after the 4th to travel to the territory.


Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday

Cyrus Kurtz Holliday to Mary Dillon Holliday
Creator: Holliday, Cyrus Kurtz, 1826-1900
Date: July 2, 1856
Cyrus K. Holliday wrote from Topeka, Kansas Territory, where hundreds of free state supporters were gathering for a Mass Convention on the 3rd and meeting of the free state legislature on the 4th, to his wife, Mary Holliday, in Meadville, Pennsylvania. Cyrus reported that U. S. dragoons from Fort Leavenworth and Fort Riley were camped around Topeka, since difficulty was expected. [In fact, U. S. and proslavery troops dispersed the free state legislature on the 4th.) Two companies of northern immigrants had been turned back at the Missouri River. Cyrus seemed skeptical that effective action would be taken against this outrage.


Fort Harker, Kansas

Fort Harker, Kansas
Creator: Gardner, Alexander, 1821-1882
Date: 1867
This stereograph shows U.S. Army troops on the grounds of Fort Harker, Kansas. The photo was taken 500 miles west of St. Louis, Missouri, in present day Kanopolis, Kansas. It is from Alexander Gardner's series, Across the Continent on the Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division.


Fort Harker, Kansas, 218 miles west of Missouri River

Fort Harker, Kansas, 218 miles west of Missouri River
Creator: Gardner, Alexander, 1821-1882
Date: 1867
This is a photo showing U. S. Army troops on the grounds of Fort Harker, Kansas. Fort Harker (originally called Fort Ellsworth) was established in 1864 in order to provide protection for the Kansas Stage Line and military wagon trains transporting goods along the Smoky Hill Trail and the Fort Riley Road. The fort closed in 1872 and was located in present day Kanopolis, Kansas. It is from Alexander Gardner's series, Across the Continent on the Kansas Pacific Railroad.


Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
Date: 1864
This photograph of Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, was taken in 1864 by an unidentified photographer. The building in the background is the guardhouse, and in the foreground is an African-American battery. This battery appears to be the precursor to the 9th and 10th Colored Regiments, formed in 1866.


Map of the route pursued by the late expedition under the command of Col. Stephen Watts Kearny

Map of the route pursued by the late expedition under the command of Col. Stephen Watts Kearny
Creator: Franklin, William Buel, 1823-1903
Date: 1845
This map, included in the Report of the Secretary of War, illustrates the route taken by Stephen Watts Kearny and the 1st Dragoons in an 1845 expedition. This expedition began in Fort Leavenworth and proceeded on a circular march, heading northwest on what would later become the Oregon Trail, down along the Rocky Mountains to Mexican territory, and back up via the Santa Fe Trail. This march was intended as a display of the United States' military power, both for the benefit of local Indian tribes and also for the British government, which at this time was trying to exert control over Oregon Territory. The map was drawn by a topgraphical engineer named Lieutenant William B. Franklin. It was published in U.S. serial set 480.


O. E. Learnard to friends

O. E. Learnard to friends
Creator: Learnard, Oscar E.
Date: June 6, 1856
From an embattled Lawrence, Learnard again wrote of near daily "occurrences of exciting interest," including skirmishes between the two "antagonistic parties" and actions of federal troops to "quell disturbances." The problem was with Missourians who had crossed over the border, not "actual settlers." Learnard claimed to be ready to do battle with them over the issue of "slavery or liberty in this country," and predicted that if things continued in this same direction, the entire country would soon be "embroiled in civil war."


Oscar E. Learnard to S.T. Learnard, his father

Oscar E. Learnard to S.T. Learnard, his father
Creator: Learnard, Oscar E.
Date: August 10, 1856
Oscar Learnard wrote from Lawrence of his continued commitment to the "Sacked City," insisting that he would not be "bullied or frightened" by those committing outrages in Kansas Territory. He commented on the political composition of the territory and Lawrence, where he found many Douglas Democrats. Although there were some "fanatics" and "abolitionists," most residents of Lawrence were "western men" who had been driven to oppose the administration by the outrages. He insisted that the significance of the New England Emigrant Company had been exaggerated and that although more violent confrontations were likely, Kansas would eventually be free.


Report of a summer campaign to the Rocky Mountains, etc., in 1845

Report of a summer campaign to the Rocky Mountains, etc., in 1845
Creator: Kearny, Stephen Watts, 1794-1848
Date: September 15, 1845
This typescript recounts the journey of the 1st Dragoons under the command of Stephen Watts Kearny. In 1845, the dragoons (cavalry troops) left Fort Leavenworth on a circular march, heading northwest on what would become the Oregon Trail, down along the Rocky Mountains to Mexican territory, and back up via the Santa Fe Trail. This march displayed the military power of the United States to both native tribes and to the British government (which at this time was exerting its authority over Oregon Territory). Kearny described in detail the route taken by the dragoons, their encounters with the Pawnee, Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho, the soil and landscape of the plains, and the traders moving goods to and from Santa Fe. Kearny also discussed his opinion on the best way to protect American settlers traveling to Oregon--he disliked the idea of establishing a military post near Fort Laramie and instead advocated making large circular marches every few years to remind the Indian tribes of "the facility and rapidity with which our dragoons can march through any part of their country." The report includes a postscript by General Winfield Scott and was published as part of the Report of the Secretary of War delivered to the 29th Congress, in serial set 480, document 2, no. 1, pp. 210-214.


Samuel Newell Simpson to Hiram Hill

Samuel Newell Simpson to Hiram Hill
Creator: Simpson, Samuel Newell
Date: July 7, 1856
Samuel Simpson wrote from Lawrence, Kansas Territory to Hiram Hill. Simpson reported to Hill that the Topeka Legislature had recently been dispersed by U.S. Troops under order of President Pierce, and that southern emigrants were coming into Kansas Territory by "hundreds" while the northern emigrants found themselves forced out by proslavery supporters. Short on time, Simpson kept his report regarding Hill's properties short; Whitney had almost finished his home, offers had been made on various lots, Mr. Fuller continued to be a problem.


"The Latest Indian Feat," Topeka Tribune

"The Latest Indian Feat," Topeka Tribune
Creator: Topeka Tribune
Date: August 16, 1867
This article is a reprint of an editorial from the St. Louis Democrat that expresses concern over the military's inability to protect travel routes through Kansas. To resolve this problem, the editorial's author (who is unnamed) proposes that mounted troops are needed to pursue the Indians and force them onto reservations. Furthermore, he argues that giving presents, making annuity payments, and signing treaties with the Indians has broken down the U. S. government's authority over these tribes.


Thomas J. Marsh to George L. Stearns

Thomas J. Marsh to George L. Stearns
Creator: Marsh, Thomas J.
Date: July 18, 1857
Thomas J. Marsh, who arrived in Kansas Territory on July 11, 1857, made Lawrence his base of operation. He was an agent for the Massachusetts State Kansas Committee. His objective was to observe and financially support free state efforts to capture the legislature at the polls in early October (this included conducting a census). During his first week in Kansas Territory, Marsh attended the "entirely harmonious" Free State Party convention in Topeka and reports on initial efforts to organize the campaign. Heis very concerned about "petty, personal feuds" among the leadership in the territory. Marsh had discussed this issue with the men involved and believes the "discordant elements have been harmonized." Upon his return to Lawrence, Marsh found "U. S. Dragoons parading the streets" and Governor Walker threatening to make numerous arrests because of the unauthorized election of city officials the previous Monday.


William B. Hutchinson to Cyrus Kurtz Holliday

William B. Hutchinson to Cyrus Kurtz Holliday
Creator: Hutchinson, William , 1823-1904
Date: June 6, 1856
William B. Hutchinson of Lawrence, Kansas Territory wrote to Cyrus K. Holliday in Topeka, K. T., requesting support for a People's Mass Convention in Topeka on July 4. The gathering Free-Staters would be armed in case of opposition. Colonel Edwin V. Sumner had received orders on June 4th from K. T. Governor Wilson Shannon to disband unlawful military forces. The camp from which Hutchinson wrote had complied, but John W. Whitfield and his troops, camped at Bull Creek, refused. Hutchinson described northern enthusiasm to aid financially the free state cause. John H. Reeder and James H. Lane were speaking in northern states.


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