October’s Free Ebook Will Be
Here is a little teaser of some images I am using for inspiration while writing a new free ebook (It will be free for a limited time on Kindle). I thought you might want a glimpse of the building that Lt. Col. Lewis lived in while commanding Ft. Dodge.
Another famous soldier lived there as well, General Armstrong Custer. The commanding officers’ home was re-purposed into a Soldiers’ Retirement Home, but the soldiers had a reputation for being troublemakers. The story goes that each evening the soldiers would request their ration of whiskey, then head outdoors to drink and push each other around. The fighting among the soldiers became so hazardous that the nightly drinking bouts were canceled and the croquet mallets confiscated because the soldiers were knocking each other upside the head, using the croquet mallets as weapons. The Soldiers’ Home was much quieter after this point in their history and suffered fewer injuries in the nighttime hours.
The fort itself was only open from 1865-1882. Ft. Dodge was named after its first commander, Col. Henry Dodge, not as an honor, but more of a curse. The first year the fort was open the troops were sent to Ft. Dodge with no winter provisions. The soldiers made sod houses and dugouts for their housing so they called it Camp Dodge. The post was raided by Indians several times; many times the soldiers awoke with all the horses stolen. They also had camp sickness often as disease ran rampant in the primitive conditions. The post was never popular with the troops and the last dozen years it was maintained by a dozen soldiers, mainly to guard the mail sacks.
In 1890 the Kansas Soldiers’ Home was established because the buildings were still built solidly.