• Fort Parade Ground and Officers Quarters as seen from Guardhouse

    Fort Scott

    National Historic Site Kansas

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  • Heat Warning

    For the next few days, predicted highs in the afternoon will be in the upper 90s to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. While visiting the site, drink plenty of water and stay indoors as much as possible.

  • Exhibits Closed

    Beginning Monday August 25, the infantry barracks museum will be closed for remodeling and to prepare for a new theater and exhibits. Work is expected to be completed by spring of 2015. The site's movie will be played in the visitor center upon request.

Post Recreation - Overview

Soldiers playing checkers in the aquad room.

Leisure activities for both soldiers and officers were important to the health and well being of soldiers. Some leisure activities were simply a release from the pressures of military life,such as card playing. Others helped maintain good physical condition and taught skills that would enhance life on the frontier (e.g. hunting, fishing, boxing, horseback riding). Some leisure activities also promoted social skills and cameraderie. For example, soldiers would sometimes have dances or plays. Officers and their wives would have dinner parties, afternoon tea socials,engage in literary talents or other activities to alleviate the routine of army life. These pages will explore some of the activities that were important to the mental and physical health of officers,enlisted men and their families or engage in other activities.

Areas of the fort important to leisure activities include the second floor of the officers' quarters and the squad room of the dragoon barracks. The officers and their wives would entertain guests in the dining room and the parlor. The squad room in the barracks would be a place where the men read by feeble candlelight, played checkers on homemade checkerboards, or amused themselves with other games such as euchre, seven-up, forty-five and poker, at which the stakes were dried beans instead of money. Other areas of the fort where leisure activities would have been pursued were the prairie and the backyards of the officers' quarters. Hunting and horseback riding would have taken place in the prairie away from the fort, while the backyards were used for outdoor games and socials.

 
 
Woman riding sidesaddle on horseback
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Did You Know?

Joseph Barnes, Surgeon General 1864-82

Two of Fort Scott's surgeons, William Hammond and Joseph Barnes served as Surgeon Generals during the Civil War. One of them, Joseph Barnes, was attending physician at the deaths of both Presidents Abraham Lincoln and James Garfield and he oversaw the autopsy of President Lincoln. More...