"I have now over 200 in camp, and they are in a most deplorable condition?.I have a mother with her dying babe in my office. The rest are in camp, in a condition next to death. Most of them have no shelter?.Your agent here has no funds, no tents, nor clothing. Do for heaven's sake send something along at once?.Two poor creatures died during last night's storm."
Plea from Fort Scott's chaplain, September 1864.
During the Civil War the ground in front of you witnessed both hope and despair. As a haven for refugees, Fort Scott offered respite from war, but conditions here all too often spawned tragedy.
The war transformed the Fort Scott area into a refugee center, harboring a broad mix of Indians, slaves, free blacks, and white settlers. Most were women, children, and elderly men. Three buildings from the former fort served as hospitals for both soldiers and civilians. At times tents sheltered the overflow of sick and wounded.
[Photo caption reads] Hospital tents (above) crowd the former parade ground, directly in front of you, in one of Fort Scott's few Civil War photos. The chaplain referred to the tents in 1864:
"Dr. Slocum and myself removed about twenty of the sick to a hospital tent in the Plaza."