Mount Oread Civil War posts

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Watertower Park now sits on top of Mount Oread where the Civil War posts were formerly located

Lawrence, Kansas was not well defended in the early part of the Civil War. That ended with William Quantrill's devastating guerrilla raid August 21, 1863. By early 1864 Union soldiers were permanently camped on the top and slopes of Mount Oread, then to Lawrence's southwest. It seems the camp was originally named Camp Ewing, after Brig. Gen. Thomas Ewing.[1]

Soon a battery of cannon was placed on the top of Mount Oread and in July 1864 construction began on Fort Ulysses, also on Mount Oread. The citizens of Lawrence helped in the fort's construction. Its date of completion is unknown, although it was still under construction in December. It is very possible it was never finished.[2]

The advance of Confederate Maj. Gen. Sterling Price in Missouri in October 1864 brought an urgency to efforts to protect Lawrence. The town was placed under martial law and a large guard detail protected the town each night. On October 18 the provost marshal at Lawrence decreed all businesses in Lawrence were to remain open only five hours a day. The situation returned to normal once Price was defeated at the Battle of Westport on October 23 and had to retreat back south.[3]

The military complex on Mount Oread was used until the end of the Civil War. With the War's end the usefulness of the installations ceased and they were soon abandoned.


  1. ^ "Kansas Forts During the Civil War" by William C. Pollard, Jr.; Pollard, "Forts and Posts in Kansas: 1854-1865" (Ph.D. dissertation, Faith Baptist College and Seminary, 1997), pp. 19-20; "Deserters Captured," Kansas Daily Tribune (Lawrence), February 9, 1864, p. 2.
  2. ^ "Sick Soldiers," Kansas Daily Tribune, May 19, 1864, p. 3; Maj. Samuel R. Curtis, report, The War of the Rebellion (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1893), Series I, Vol. XLI, Part II, p. 102; Capt. William D. McLain, report, <The War of the Rebellion, Series I, Vol. XLI, Part II, p. 347; untitled story, Kansas Daily Tribune, August 12, 1864, p. 3; untitled story, Kansas Daily Tribune, September 22, 1864, p. 3; "The Fort," Kansas Daily Tribune, December 4, 1864, p. ; "Earthworks at Lawrence," Freedom's Champion (Atchison, Kans.), August 4, 1864, p. 3.
  3. ^ Untitled story, Kansas Daily Tribune, October 14, 1864, p. 3; "Guard Duty," Kansas Daily Tribune, October 13, 1864, p. 3; Capt. Asaph Allen, "A Special Order," Kansas Daily Tribune, October 18, 1864, p. 3; "Our Provost Marshal," Kansas Daily Tribune, October 20, 1864, p. 3; Richard Cordley, A History of Lawrence, Kansas, from the First Settlement to the Colse of the Rebellion (Lawrence: E. F. Caldwell, 1895), pp. 265-7.

Coordinates: 38°57′47″N 95°15′26″W / 38.96306°N 95.25722°W / 38.96306; -95.25722