Monday, June 30, 2014

Fort Aubrey.

If you are interested in Kansas history then one subject of interest would be its forts.  During the Civil War many other state regiments did duty at Kansas forts.  There were many forts in Kansas the more famous were the likes of Fort Scott, Fort Riley and Fort Leavenworth, will the rest were let to pass into history.
One of these was that of Fort Aubrey, its not known when it was built, the Kansas records says  late August or early September of 1865, however it looks like it was built before June of 1862. One of the other state regiments that did duty at Kansas forts or had encampments through Kansas was that of the Forty-Eight Wisconsin, this regiment was organized On February 1, 1865.

Fort Aubrey, in eastern Hamilton County, Kansas, was established by the US Army in the 1850s. It originally had no name and was not made a truly permanent post until 1865. It was originally established to serve as a temporary resting place for traveling troops. The location of the fort is based upon a recommendation by François Xavier Aubrey, for whom the fort is named.

The intermittent camp was established at the site of a spring fifteen feet wide and three feet deep. The spring was on Spring Creek, near the Arkansas River, and was on the Santa Fe Trail. The spring was used by soldiers, civilian travelers and Indians as they passed through the area.

The camp had no name for most of its existence. Some structures were built there and these were at times left completely unused. Sometimes details of a few men stayed in the camp to keep it ready for use. 

The camp was named Camp Wynkoop in May 1864, in honor of Fort Lyon's commander, Maj. Edward W. Wynkoop. Around that time a stage station was built at Camp Wynkoop. When the camp was again abandoned in August the stage station remained. The camp was in a dangerous area, as hostile Indians at least once killed four soldiers working near the camp.

Indian troubles in the area increased, so in August or September 1865 a permanent fort, named Fort Aubrey, was built by two companies of the 48th Wisconsin Infantry. The permanent fort was short lived, being closed April 15, 1866.

Kansas State Records.

Fort Aubrey. About the close of the Civil war a number of volun- teer regiments were ordered to the western frontier to quell Indian uprisings, and these men erected several temporary fortifications at various points along the border of civilization. One of these was Fort Aubrey, which was located on section 23, township 24, range 40 west, on Spring creek, about two and a half miles from its mouth, not far from the present village of Mayline in Hamilton county. It was built by Companies D and F. Forty-eighth Wisconsin infantry, under the command of Capt. Adolph Whitman. The exact date of its establish- ment is not certain, but it was late in August or early in Sept., 1865. It was abandoned on April 15, 1866.

Kansas Historical Quarterly, 1973.
ON SEPTEMBER 15, 1865, Bvt. Maj. Gen. W. L. Elliott, at District of Kansas headquarters, Fort Lyon, Colorado territory, issued Special Order No. 20, which stated: "The Post to be established near Aubrey's Crossing of the Arkansas, formerly Camp Wynkoop, will be known as Fort Aubrey."  Located 20 miles east of the Colorado line, at a spring branch, on the north side of the Arkansas, the site was four miles east of present Syracuse, Hamilton county, in Sec. 23, T. 24 S., R. 40 W.
Up to his point all the information gives, credit to the Forty-Eight Wisconsin on establishing the fort.  However you will see in the Wisconsin report that it says nothing about establishing or building or help build the fort.  It only states that they were to report to the fort for duty.  How they got credit for building it I have no idea.   

Adjutant General Report of Wisconsin.
In June of 1865, Company L., was sent to Fort Aubrey.

On the 1st of October, 1865, companies B and I, under command of Major Butt, were ordered to Fort Dodge. Ks ; companies D and F, under Captain Whitman, to Fort Aubrey, Ks., and companies C
and K, under command of Lieutenant Colonel Shears, to Fort Lyon, Colorado Territory. These posts are situated on the Arkansas River, distant from Fort Lamed, as follows : Fort- Dodge, sixty miles ; Fort Aubrey, one hundred and sixty miles; Fort Lyon, two hundred and ten miles. Their duties were escorting mail and government trains, as protection against roving bands of Indians, garrison and fatigue duty.

Forty-Eight Wisconsin, Co. D., Field notes.
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