National Park Service News Release: Fort Scott National Historic Site
Fort Scott NHS
PO Box 918
Fort Scott, KS 66701
Contacts: Barak V. Geertsen, (620) 223-0310
Wrap up of Civil War featured in this year’s 34th Annual Candlelight Tour at Fort Scott NHS
Fort Scott, KS – “We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom,” (Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address)
On December 4 and 5, 2015, Fort Scott National Historic Site will host its 34th annual Candlelight Tour. With the site’s commemoration of the Civil War Sesquicentennial concluding; this year’s tour will feature scenes from 1865 at Fort Scott and will focus on the new birth of freedom brought about by the Civil War.
The year 1865 saw the closing chapters of the Civil War. Scenes in this year’s candlelight tour will reflect Fort Scott’s reaction to these events. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox in April brought jubilation to the people of Fort Scott, a mood that was tragically marred one week later by the assassination of President Lincoln. Fighting continued in the Fort Scott area until June, when Confederate General Stand Watie surrendered his forces in the Indian Territory.
As the guns fell silent, the army began withdrawing troops from Fort Scott and life began to return to normal in town. However, normal had changed. By the end of 1865, slavery was abolished by virtue of the ratification of the 13th Amendment, which declared that neither “slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist in the United States.” The First Kansas Colored Infantry regiment mustered out and its soldiers, free black men, started to return to their homes in Kansas. An African American school had been established in Fort Scott as education opened doors to equality and advancement.
All of these events will be featured in this year’s candlelight tour. During the candlelight tour, over 700 candle lanterns illuminate the site and over 100 reenactors bring the fort to life. This year’s tours will be offered December 4 and 5, 2015. Tours on December 4 will begin at 6:30 p.m. and go every 15 minutes until 9:00 p.m. On Saturday, December 5, the tours will run from 5:00 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Ticket sales begin on November 1. Reservations are required and advanced purchase is recommended to get your choice of tour times. Visitors may pick up tickets at the site’s visitor center or reserve them by calling (620) 223-0310. Payments can be made via cash, check or charge (Discover, MasterCard, Visa). Tickets are $8.00 for adults; children five and under are free. Tickets are nonrefundable. Western National Parks Association, which operates the site’s bookstore, sponsors the tour. Proceeds generated cover the cost of conducting the tour.
From November 1-March 31, Fort Scott National Historic Site, a unit of the National Park Service, will be open for its winter hours of operation from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily. For more information about the candlelight tour or other events at the site, call 620-223-0310 or visit our website.