Fort Larned Old Guard 2024 Mess & Muster

Fort Larned's work to educate people of all ages about frontier history. (Courtesy photo.)

Fort Larned, Kansas, will be the site for rediscovered history of the Hancock Expedition and the Cheyenne-Lakota Indian Village on April 27.

On April 19, 1867, Maj. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock ordered a Cheyenne-Lakota Indian village approximately 30 miles west of Fort Larned to be destroyed. Hancock had come to Fort Larned with a large force of soldiers to keep order on the Plains. The above courtesy photo shows Fort Larned’s work to educate people of all ages about frontier history.

When his 1,400 strong army approached the Indian village, the inhabitants fled, fearing another massacre like the one at Sand Creek in 1864 in the Colorado Territory. Angered by what he thought of as bad faith from the Indians, Hancock ordered the village and all its contents burned. This sparked a summer of Indian raids throughout the area known as Hancock’s War.

Restoration work

The village site’s location was eventually lost to history until Fort Larned Ranger George Elmore, and Larned resident Earl Munger found it. The Fort Larned Old Guard purchased the site in 2000 to preserve it.

This year’s Mess & Muster will explore the history of Hancock’s Expedition, as well as the search for the site and its preservation. Most of the programs will be at the village site itself, with an evening dinner and program at Fort Larned.

Lunch for the village site and/or evening dinner can be ordered online at: www.` The deadline for meal reservations is April 19.

Schedule of events

All programs and events are free and open to the public; however, there is a charge for meals.

Morning schedule

8:30 a.m. – Board meeting at Fort Larned (all are welcome);
10:30 – Meet in Fort Larned parking lot. Brief introduction and handouts;
10:45 – Leave parking lot for Confrontation Ridge;
11:15 – Confrontation Ridge stop; and
Noon – Cheyenne/Lakota Indian Village site. For lunch attendees can pre-order a box for $12 (highly recommended) or bring their own. There is time to roam the site. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lawn chair (a few extra chairs will be provided). Portable toilets will be available at the site.

Afternoon activities

1 p.m. – Cheyenne/Lakota Village Destroyed 1867-Rediscovered 1976, George Elmore, Fort Larned National Historic Site Chief Ranger/Historian

1:30 – Cheyenne Camp Life – 1867 Ken Wiedner & Assistants. Wiedner creates historically accurate period Cheyenne clothing and daily use items for museums;

3 – break;

3:15 – Recognizing Our History: The National Landmark Process, Kevin Eads, Fort Larned National Historic Site Superintendent;

3:45 – Return to Fort Larned National Historic Site;
5 – Retreat ceremony;
6 – Dinner for $25 – Reservations required (catered by Great Western Dining); and

7 – “The Village…will be entirely destroyed.” Hancock/Custer Expedition of 1867. Presentation by Leo Oliva who is a noted historian, speaker and book author covering frontier/plains military history and the complex relationship between the Native American culture and the concept of Manifest Destiny.