Historic Firearms at Fort Larned
"A great many Indians think they are better armed than they were formerly, but they must recollect that we are also."
-Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock to Cheyenne chiefs, Fort Larned, April 12, 1867.
In an era of conflict on the Great Plains, the tools of war were essential. In the two decades Fort Larned was active - from 1859 to 1878 - the weapons available to troops changed continuously as new technology became available. At Fort Larned, the army's need to keep costs down limited the implementation of some advances in weapons technology. A variety of historic and replica weapons used at Fort Larned are viewable today at Fort Larned National Historic Site.
Infantry also carried bayonets, though they were ineffective in combat against mounted warriors armed with superior melee weapons. As faster-loading guns became available, bayonets and bayonet tactics became less important than they were in an age of slow-loading muskets.
Despite its smaller size, the mountain howitzer could still pack a punch: it could send a 12-pound projectile over 1000 yards. However, these cannons usually proved to be more cumbersome than advantageous against an evasive and fast-moving opponent like Plains Indians. Artillery units were not typically assigned to Fort Larned as a result.
Fort Larned National Historic Site often provides weapons demonstrations during special events. See our Schedule of Events.
Did You Know?
Military planners located Fort Larned in a looping curve of the Pawnee Fork. General Hancock later grumbled that the river would accommodate a surprise attack against the fort. More...