By Jim Misunas
LARNED — Fort Larned National Historic Site will introduce the third of five Civil War Trading Cards during a ranger interpretive program at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in the Fort Larned Visitor Center. Buffalo Soldiers at Fort Larned will tell the experience of these legendary American soldiers at Fort Larned.
After the program, the Larned Post Band will perform their summer concert at 2 p.m.
The Buffalo Soldiers Company A, 10th U.S. Cavalry, was stationed at Fort Larned from the summer of 1867 to January of 1869 and is featured on the trading card.
Shortly after the Civil War, Congress authorized the creation of four new cavalry regiments in 1866, two of which Legislation stated were to be “composed of colored men.”
These units represent the first professional African-American soldiers in the country’s peacetime army. Sunday’s program will explore the military experience of the Buffalo Soldiers.
Why would these men join the Army? Why the name “Buffalo Soldiers?” What were their duties and who was the commander leading them? What contributions are the Buffalo Soldiers credited during their time at Fort Larned?
African-American troops, or Buffalo Soldiers, were among the troops who provided protection for Santa Fe Trail travelers. Company A was one of the first of these new units ordered to frontier military service after they were raised and trained.
The Buffalo Soldiers were transferred after an altercation with white soldiers, and a soldier shot the Cheyenne brave, Little Heart, in a tragic incident of miscommunication.
Band director Sarah Langness will lead the band in the performance of “The Star Spangled Banner,” “Wild Irish Rose,” “Darktown Parade,” “Cuba Libre Waltzes,” “Mr. Thomas-Cat,” and “Veni, Vidi, Vici.”
Band members include Afton Linderer, Kate Schroeder, Jennifer Applequist, Kimberly Langness, Marc Webster, Russell Linderer, Michael Wysong, Michael Wysong, Kwinter Hartshorn, Rachel Wysong and Bryce Gevara.
After the concert take time to tour the buildings and talk with the various interpreters who are helping bring this frontier military post to life.
The second Civil War trading card was Flying the Flag. Every active military post today flies an American flag to identify it as a representative of the U.S. government and it was no different in the 1860s. Frontier military posts flew large 20-by-36 foot garrison flags to make sure no one would miss them as they traveled the wide open plains.
Fort Larned proudly flew the large garrison flag most days throughout its 19-year history as a visible symbol of the U.S. Army’s presence in the area and the protection they provided to travelers along the Santa Fe Trail. The fort’s position along the trail provided an ideal place for many cultures to come together under the protection of that flag. Both White and Hispanic traders carried goods between Missouri and Santa Fe, and would often stop to resupply at the Fort’s Sutler’s store. They could also rest in a protected area, or wait for an available Army escort.
Fort Larned National Historic Site is six miles west of Larned on K-156. Information on visiting is on the internet at www.nps.gov/fols, or by calling 620-285-6911, or email to email@example.com.