National Historic Site to host Memorial Day events

Submitted by Kathryn Danley, May 16

For the Memorial Day holiday this year, you and your family are invited to visit Fort Scott National Historic Site to experience the sights, sounds and smells of a frontier military fort. Celebrate the weekend with living history programs, cooking demonstrations and artillery firings.

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Saturday programs will focus on life at Fort Scott in the 1840s, with special presentations from our site volunteers on cooking, buying merchandise and washing clothes the old fashioned way. Gary Herrmann will demonstrate what soldiers and people ate in the 19th century. Barry Linduff will do a presentation on the many goods available for soldiers and civilians in the Sutler store. Come join Post Laundress Sarah Moppin as she demonstrates washing soldiers’ clothes, 1840s style. Living history stations will also include officer wives conducting a tea party and a soldier baking bread in the bake-house. At 2 p.m., come witness the power and sound of artillery. Kids of all ages are invited to join our soldiers in lowering the flag during flag retreat at 4 p.m.

Activities will continue on Sunday and Monday with more artillery demonstrations, a special wreath laying ceremony and programs focused on various historical events in which Fort Scott was involved. Join fort volunteer and master gardener Kelley Collins to learn more about the historic uses of herbs and flowers. Meet at the garden behind officers’ row. Help welcome several hundred motorcyclists to Fort Scott participating in the annual KC Thunder Ride to remember those who died in service and honor all veterans by joining them in a brief wreath laying ceremony at 1 p.m. on the Parade Ground. “Flash Flood” will focus on the role that the dragoon soldier played in westward expansion.

Monday’s guest speaker, Dr. Jeremy Tewell, will present a program examining the issues facing the nation in the 1864 presidential campaign. With the war seemingly at a standstill, and northern morale plummeting, Abraham Lincoln insisted on reunion and emancipation as conditions of peace. His Democratic opponent, George B. McClellan, made the Union the one condition of peace, although many in his party considered the war a failure and demanded a cessation of hostilities. That November, the new birth of freedom Lincoln and his armies had struggled to achieve hung in the balance.

On Monday at 2:45 p.m. will be a special Memorial Day program honoring Fort Scott’s fallen officers, followed by observance of the National Moment of Silence at 3 p.m.

The schedule of activities is listed below:


10:00 a.m. – “What a Mess” – Feeding a Frontier Army

11:00 a.m. – Guided Tour

1:00 p.m. – “Fish Hooks, Plug Tobacco, and Hard Candy”- Post Sutler Talk

2:00 p.m. – “The Gun That Shoots Twice” – Artillery Demonstration

3:00 p.m. – “Red Armed Women of the West” – Laundress Demonstration

4:00 p.m. – Flag Retreat


11:00 a.m. – Guided Tour

1:00 p.m. – KC Thunder Ride Wreath Laying Program

2:00 p.m. – “The Gun That Shoots Twice” – Artillery Demonstration

3:00 p.m. – “Flash Flood” – Westward Expansion Talk


10:00 a.m. – “Scents, Seasonings, and Stimulants” – Officer’s Garden Tour

11:00 a.m. – Guided Tour

1:00 p.m. – The Presidential Election of 1864

2:00 p.m. – “The Gun That Shoots Twice” – Artillery Demonstration

2:45 p.m. – Honoring Fort Scott’s Fallen Officers

3:00 p.m. – National Moment of Remembrance

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