Dedication of Bent’s New Fort Panels Draws Huge Crowd

New Bents Fort Dedication

On October 19th, over 100 guests got to walk on the site of Bent’s New Fort…something that few people had (legally) done in over 160 years. On that day new panels commemorating the site were unveiled and guests were able to tour the remains of the famous trading post that William Bent established in 1849 along the Banks of the Arkansas River near present-day Lamar, Colorado.

For some of the guests, the day was an emotional one. Cathy Loomis from Denver sent this note to BFC a few days ago:

I was thrilled to attend this dedication, and to walk the grounds–at least part of them–that my Great Great Grandfather, Aaron Dillon Robbs walked in 1866. He was a member of the US 5th Vol. Infantry who came here from Camp Wardwell/Ft. Morgan, in the early spring of 1866. He was mustered out in Nov of 1866 at Ft. Leavenworth.

The US Volunteer Infantry men were all former [Confederate] POW’s who joined the units to get out of prison camps. They were promised they could come west, and not go back east to fight against the CSA. None of them were originally given guns. They escorted wagon trains on foot–they were not trusted with horses either. Most of them were like my grandpa–from hideously poor roots, uneducated, untrained in any skill and illiterate. But they stuck out their positions until mustered out. The 5th–Grandpa’s unit–was the last to muster out. They were the ‘grunts’ of the Army. They were at the tail end of the supply chain, got the poorest equipment and uniforms yet they stuck out the period they promised to serve. They are the forgotten men of the southwest.

Source: Bent’s Fort Chapter of the Santa Fe Trail Association Newsletter

Filed Under: EducationEventsFeaturedHistoryProwers CountyRecreationTourism


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