Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
Fort Leavenworth Facts:
- Military Population: 3,597 - Family members on post: 3,465 - DA & DOD Civilians: 3,012
- Housing: Privatized Housing Quarters: 1,583 - Single Soldier Quarters: 234 - Distinguished Visitor Quarters: 14 - Visiting Officer Quarters: 233
- Size of Post: 5,634 acres/8.8 square miles
Fort Leavenworth, the oldest active Army post west of the Mississippi River, has served the needs of our nation since 1827.
Col. Henry Leavenworth, with the officers and men of the 3rd Infantry Regiment from Jefferson Barracks at St. Louis, Mo., established an Army post on the west bank of the Missouri river instead of the east bank where he was directed to. As an experienced commander he knew the significance of using terrain that favored his mission. Therefore he chose the formidable terrain on what is now the Kansas side of the river.
Fort Leavenworth played a key roll in the country's westward expansion and served as a forward destination for tens of thousands of Soldiers, surveyors, emigrants, Native Americans, preachers and settlers who passed through.
For 30 years, the post was the chief base of operations on the Indian frontier. In 1839, Col. S. W. Kearney marched against the Cherokees with 10 companies of dragoons, the largest U.S. mounted force ever assembled. Throughout the war with Mexico, Fort Leavenworth was the outfitting post for the Army of the West.
During these early years, Soldiers from Fort Leavenworth protected wagon trains hauling supplies over the Santa Fe, Oregon and other trails to most forts, posts and military camps of the West, some as far as the Pacific Ocean. When the Kansas Territory was organized in 1854, Governor Andrew Reeder set up executive offices on post and lived for a short time in the quarters now known as "The Rookery." The Rookery is said to be the oldest existing home in Kansas that has been used for its original purpose.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Camp Lincoln was established on post as a reception and training station for Kansas volunteers. News of the approach of Confederate Gen. Sterling Price prompted construction of Fort Sully, a series of earthworks for artillery emplacements on Hancock Hill, overlooking what is now the Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery. But Price's forces never reached Fort Leavenworth, having met defeat at Westport, Mo., which is now part of Kansas City. During its long history, the post was never subject to enemy attack.
For three decades following the war, the Army's chief mission was control of the American Indian tribes on the Western plains. Between 1865 and 1891, the Army had more than 1,000 combat engagements with Apache, Modoc, Cheyenne, Ute, Nez Perce, Comanche, Kiowa, Kickapoo and other tribes.
In 1866, the U.S. Congress authorized the formation of four black regiments - the 24th and 25th Infantry Regiments and the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments. The 10th Cavalry Regiment was formed at Fort Leavenworth under the command of Col. Benjamin H. Grierson. Today, a monument stands at Fort Leavenworth in tribute to the Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments.
The United States Disciplinary Barracks was established in 1875.
The fort's first Catholic Church was built in 1871, and was later replaced by St. Ignatius Chapel in 1889. St. Ignatius Chapel was destroyed by fire in December 2001. The first Protestant chapel, Memorial Chapel, was built by prison labor in 1878 of stone quarried on post.
In 1881, Gen. William T. Sherman established the School of Application for Cavalry and Infantry. That school evolved into the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.
World War I was the first opportunity to evaluate the impact of Sherman's school. Graduates excelled in planning complex American Expeditionary Forces operations. By the end of the war, they dominated staffs throughout the AEF.
In the years between the World Wars, graduates included such officers as Dwight D. Eisenhower, Omar N. Bradley and George S. Patton. During World War II, some 19,000 officers completed various courses at Fort Leavenworth. By the end of 1943, commanders and staffs of 26 infantry, airborne and cavalry divisions had trained as teams at the school. General Patton
In 1946, the school was given its current name. In 1959, the college moved to the newly built J. Franklin Bell Hall on Arsenal Hill. In 1985, the Harold K. Johnson wing was added to house the Combined Arms and Services Staff School. Eisenhower Hall was dedicated in 1994. Classes for the School of Advanced Military Studies and the School for Command Preparation, as well as the Combined Arms Research Library, are located in Eisenhower Hall. In 2007, the Lewis and Clark Center became the new home to the Command and General Staff College.
Fort Leavenworth continues to be on the leading edge of the Army's future. The community's pride in its history of service to the Army and the nation is matched by its readiness to meet the challenges of the future.