This western outpost, named for General Winfield Scott, was established
by U. S. Dragoons in 1842. The fort was located on the military road
that marked the "permanent Indian frontier" stretching from Minnesota to
Louisiana and stood about midway between Fort Leavenworth and Fort
Gibson. By 1853 the Indian frontier had moved west and troops were
withdrawn. Two years later the buildings were sold at auction, and they
became the town of Fort Scott.
From 1855 to 1860 this area stood at the heart of the territorial struggle over slavery, and in 1858 the town was raided by Jayhawkers attempting to free one of their members from jail. One local resident was killed. With the onset of the Civil War, Fort Scott was reactivated to serve as the Union headquarters and supply depot for southeast Kansas. The town was threatened by Confederate guerillas from Missouri until 1865. After the war ended, the post was abandoned.
In 1869 the army returned to protect railroad construction in southeast Kansas. In 1873 the post was abandoned. The restored fort is now a National Historic Site administered by the National Park Service.