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Picturing history: Larned Trail Center

Published: Wednesday, March 14 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

Members of the Mormon Battalion camped at this site in Pawnee County, Kan., on Sept. 8, 1846. The Santa Fe Trail Center of Larned, Kansas is presently located at the site.

Kenneth Mays

Members of the Mormon Battalion camped at this site in Pawnee County, Kan., on Sept. 8, 1846. The Santa Fe Trail Center of Larned, Kansas, is presently located at the site.

A Mormon Battalion historical marker there notes that the campsite provided plenty of firewood, but the exhausted soldiers were unable to use it because of the soaking rains that had fallen that day. Members of the camp were "like so many drowned rats." The rains created problems for the battalion the next day as well in the form of swollen Pawnee River, requiring that ropes be used to pull wagons through the river and up the opposite bank.

The Fort Larned National Historic Site and some good trail ruts are found just a few miles away. Fort Larned, however, had not yet been built when the Mormon Battalion passed by.

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