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Old Guard Mess & Muster moves off-site
Annual event honors area village's history
Old Guard Cheyenne Village 2024
Pictured is an aerial view of the Cheyenne/Lakota Indian village in Pawnee County. The site was purchased in 2000 by the Fort Larned Old Guard.

LARNED — This year’s annual gathering of the Larned Old Guard will revisit a historic Indian encounter from its original site.

Normally, the Old Guard conducts its annual Mess & Muster from the confines of the Fort Larned quadrangle. 

This year, on April 27, the gathering will move off-campus and head to Confrontation Ridge, en route to the nearby Cheyenne/Lakota Indian village.

Hancock’s War

On April 19, 1867, Maj. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock ordered a Cheyenne-Lakota Indian village approximately 30 miles west of Fort Larned destroyed. 

Hancock had come to Fort Larned with a large force of soldiers to keep order on the plains. When his army of 1,400 soldiers approached the Indian village, the inhabitants fled, fearing another massacre like the one at Sand Creek in 1864 in the Colorado Territory. Angered by what he thought of as bad faith from the Indians, Hancock ordered the village and all its contents burned. This sparked a summer of Indian raids throughout the area known as “Hancock’s War.”

Rediscovered history

Over time, the village site’s location was lost until George Elmore, Chief Ranger at Fort Larned, and Larned resident Earl Munger found it. The Fort Larned Old Guard, established as a  non-profit organization in 1988 to aid the Fort in restoring, preserving, developing and interpreting the Fort’s resources, purchased the site in 2000 to preserve it for posterity.

This year’s Mess & Muster will explore the history of Hancock’s Expedition, as well as the search for the site and its preservation. 

Most of the programs will be at the village site itself, with an evening dinner and program at Fort Larned.  

Lunch for the village site and/or evening dinner can be ordered online at: The deadline for meal reservations is April 19.

Schedule of Events

All programs and events are free and open to the public; however, there is a charge for meals.

8:30 a.m. - Board Meeting at Fort Larned (all are welcome)

10:30 a.m. - Meet in Fort Larned parking lot. Brief introduction and handouts

10:45 a.m. - Leave parking lot for Confrontation Ridge

11:15 - Confrontation Ridge stop

Noon - Cheyenne/Lakota Indian Village Site

Lunch - Pre-ordered Boxes for $12 are highly recommended, or bring your own.

Time to roam the site. Bring your own lawn chair. A few extra chairs will be provided. Portable toilets will be available.

1 p.m. - Cheyenne/Lakota Village Destroyed 1867 - Rediscovered 1976, presentation by George Elmore, Fort Larned National Historic Site Chief Ranger/Historian

1:30 p.m. - Cheyenne Camp Life – 1867, presentation by Ken Wiedner & Assistants. Ken creates historically accurate period Cheyenne clothing and daily use items for museums.

3 p.m. - Break

3:15 p.m. - Recognizing Our History: The National Landmark Process, presentation by Kevin Eads, Fort Larned National Historic Site Superintendent

3:45 - Return to Fort Larned National Historic Site

5 p.m. - Retreat Ceremony at Quadrangle

6 p.m. - Dinner for $25 - Reservations required (catered by Great Western Dining)

7 p.m. - “The Village...will be entirely destroyed.” Hancock/Custer Expedition of 1867, program by Dr. Leo Oliva. 

Dr. Oliva is a noted historian, speaker and book author covering our frontier/plains military history and the complex relationship between the Native American culture and the concept of Manifest Destiny.