I'm currently writing Sarah Snares a Soldier, Book 5 in the Brides with Grit series. This book mentions Fort Wallace in western Kansas so here's some of its history and a photo from FtWallace.com.
Wallace County, Kansas had several BOD Stage Stops of its own. The most prominent, namely the Pond Creek Stage Station, was situated 1 1/2 miles west of present day Wallace. A "home" station renowned for its food, this little stage stop saw so many Indian attacks that Camp Pond Creek, a military encampment, was situated right next to it. When the BOD was sold to another company in 1866 (the Indian raids were so numerous by this time that the business had become unprofitable), Camp Pond Creek moved a few miles east to the Smoky Hill river and was renamed Fort Wallace in honor of W.H.L. Wallace, a general who died at the Battle of Shiloh.
|Fort Wallace as it stood in 1867|
Although Fort Wallace was no longer attached to the Butterfield Overland Despatch, soldiers stationed at Fort Wallace still had their hands full trying to protect those settlers who were moving through on their way west. Many of the most prominent trails that pioneers used cut straight through the best buffalo hunting grounds. Indians, whose livelihood depended on the buffalo, did not treat the trespassers lightly. Instead, as buffalo began to scatter and become scarce, Indians began to view their new neighbors with something less than friendly eyes. This made the presence of Fort Wallace an absolute necessity.
Although according to official counts the number of men stationed at the Fort never exceeded 350, these soldiers saw more encounters with Indians than any other Fort, rightfully earning Fort Wallace the distinction of being the "Fightin'est Fort in the West." General George Armstrong Custer was stationed at Fort Wallace and saw his first battle with the Indians not far from the fort. Other great frontier men, such as George Forsyth, Buffalo Bill Cody, and Wild Bill Hickok, were also stationed at Fort Wallace at various times."
Because I'm from Kansas and been through Wallace County, it easy to imagine the fort out in the middle of nowhere, because it's still open land today. The soldiers stationed there were a part of history, good and bad, even if they didn't know it at the time.
Could you have lived in this time and place? I'd love to hear from you readers "why" or "why not"!
The first books in the Brides with Grit series are available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. This clean, sweet western romance series features strong women finding love on the Kansas frontier.