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Kansas Military Timeline

1744 - French build Fort Cavagnial near present site of Fort Leavenworth, closed 1764

1827- Colonel Henry Leavenworth establishes Fort Leavenworth; first permanent white settlement in what became Kansas

1842 - U.S. Army establishes Fort Scott to protect the "Permanent Indian Frontier"

1845-1848 Mexican War

1853 - Fort Riley established in 1853 as Camp Center. Built to protect travelers on both the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails.

1854-1861 Territorial "Bleeding" Kansas era

1856 - John Brown and followers murder 5 pro-slavery men in "Pottawatomie Massacre"

1858 - Marais des Cygnes Massacre, Linn County, five free-state men murdered

1859 - Camp Alert established by the U.S. Army along the Pawnee River. The post was later moved and renamed Fort Larned.

1861-1865 Civil War

1861 - Muscogee Creek Indian chief Opothleyahola refuses to join the Confederacy and leads some 9,000 members of his band to Fort Row, Wilson County, Kansas to await assistance from the Union. They are pursued by Confederate troops and many perished because of the battles and harsh winter conditions.  Remnants moved as far north as Fort Belmont, Woodson Co. and LeRoy, Coffey Co. 

1863 - Opothleyahola dies at the Sac and Fox Agency in Quenemo, Osage County.

1863 - William Quantrill and his Confederate guerillas raid Lawrence, town burned and 150 people killed

1864 - During retreat of General Sterling Price's Rebel Army from Westport (Kansas City, Missouri), Union troops under General Samuel Curtis win decisive victory at Battle of Mine Creek, Linn County

Fort Ellsworth established to protect the Kansas Stage Line.

1865-1880 Plains Indian Campaigns

1865 - Fort Hays built to protect military roads and the Smoky Hill Trail

Fort Dodge was also established as a supply depot

Fort Wallace started as Camp Pond Creek, near present-day Wallace

1866 - The African American 10th U. S. Cavalry is organized at Fort Leavenworth. The "Buffalo Soldiers" participated in the Plains Indian Campaigns.

Colonel George Armstrong Custer joins newly organized 7th Cavalry at Fort Riley

Fort Ellsworth renamed Fort Harker

1867 - Custer is court-martialed at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas for going AWOL to visit his wife. He is reinstated at the request of General Sheridan so he can participate in Sheridan's winter campaign.

1868 - 1869 - Escalating Indian-White conflict on the plains leads to General Phil Sheridan's winter campaign against plains Indian tribes. Kansas Governor Samuel Crawford resigns to organize and lead the 19th Kansas Cavalry into Indian Territory to join Sheridan and Custer's troops.

1878 - Chiefs Dull Knife and Little Wolf of the Northern Cheyennes lead their people in a flight from starvation on the reservation in Oklahoma to their home lands in Yellowstone. The trek climaxed on Sept. 27, 1878, when 284 braves, women and children made their final stand on the bluffs of Ladder Creek, now Beaver Creek, just south of Scott County State Park. This encounter with the U.S. Cavalry was the last Indian battle in Kansas. The site--Squaws Den Battleground--drew its name from the pit in which the women and children were placed after helping to dig rifle pits for the warriors. The breastworks the Indians dug to withstand the attack by soldiers are still visible.

1891 - Comanche, cavalry horse and survivor of the Battle of the Little Bighorn (Custer massacre), dies at Ft. Riley

1896 - Frederick Funston joins the Cuban army in its fight for independence from Spain.

1898 Spanish-American War

1898 - Frederick Funston of Allen County, commands the "20th Kansas" and sails for Philippines to help suppress insurrection. Kansas also sends the 23rd Kansas Volunteers to Cuba, an all African American regiment and one of the first to be commanded by black officers.

1899-1901 Philippine Insurrection

1906 - While commanding the Presidio, Frederick Funston takes control of San Francisco after the earthquake.

1915 - Dwight D. Eisenhower graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with the rank of second lieutenant

1916-1917 - Frederick Funston participated in General Pershing's expedition in pursuit of Pancho Villa into Mexico during the Mexican Revolution.

1917-1918 World War I

1917 - Camp Funston, on Ft. Riley reservation, established to train troops for service in World War

1918 - Major General James G. Harbord, Americus, is General John J. Pershing's chief of staff

1941-1945 World War II

1941 - Japanese attack Pearl Harbor and U.S. enters WWII

1942 - A German prisoner of war camp was built in Concordia

1943 - Abilene's Dwight D. Eisenhower named Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe

1945 - End of WWII; General Eisenhower visits Abilene on Victory Tour

1951-1953 Korean Conflict

1953-1961 - Eisenhower is the 34th U.S. President

1961-1975 - Vietnam Conflict

1967 - Captain Riley Leroy Pitts, a resident of Wichita and commander of C Company, 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry serving in Vietnam, received order for his unit to reinforce another company. Pitts died in the conflict and received the Medal of Honor for giving his life in combat.

1968 - The 69th Infantry Brigade and the 995th Maintenance Company of the Kansas National Guard were called to active duty to serve in Vietnam from April 1968 until the end of 1969.

1970 - Vietnam Conflict protests disturb several college campuses; student union fire at Kansas University linked to these activities

1972 - By the end of the Vietnam Conflict, 900,000 Kansans had served in the military, 700 died or were listed as missing in action.

1975 - Lloyd Stearman, a native of Wellsford, dies. Stearman, a graduate of Kansas State Agricultural College, working with Walter Beech and Clyde Cessna, formed Travel Air Manufacturing in Wichita. The aviation pioneer later built thousands of training planes for World War II.

1976 - James Jabara of Wichita, the world's first jet ace, dies. Colonel Jabara flew 163 missions as a combat pilot during the Korean War, piloting an F-86 Sabrejet at speeds up to 700 miles an hour.

1990-1991 Operation Desert Storm

2001-present War In Afghanistan

2003-present Iraq War

Entry: Kansas Military Timeline

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: July 2014

Date Modified: July 2014

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.