Within a year of opening, the Fort Hays-Fort Dodge Road lengthened beyond Fort Dodge.
The U.S. Army built a number of outposts to increase the Army's presence in Indian Territory as General Philip Sheridan extended the Southern Plains Indian campaign south.
On Nov. 12, 1868, Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and the Seventh Calvary left camp six miles east of present-day Dodge City. Gen. Alfred Sully's supply train joined him five miles south at Mulberry Creek. With 1,100 men, they embarked on a six day 90 mile march into Indian Territory. They stopped at the confluence of Wolf Creek and Beaver River. The District of the Arkansas named the post Camp Supply.
Building crews called the name Camp Supply a "misnomer, for while there was a partial supply of everything, there was not an adequate supply of anything." The Camp, made with high walls and heavy timbers, was well-built and extremely defensible. There were numerous gun ports and places from which to fire shots to protect the Camp.
On Nov. 27, Custer and his troops won the infamous Battle of Washita in Indian Territory 60 miles south of the Camp. His Calvary massacred scores of Cheyenne killing their horses after the battle. They took 53 Cheyenne women and children captive who Custer transported to Camp Supply before pursuing other victories in Indian Territory.
In addition to being a garrison for 600 men, Camp Supply was a temporary reservation for a large number of defeated Native Americans. This increased the demand for supplies which came down the Fort Dodge-Camp Supply Road from Forts Hays and Dodge. In the winter of 1868 and 1869, 400 wagons with freight including 400,000 rations traveled from Fort Hays to the Camp. In the spring of 1869, Sheridan's troops took Cheyenne prisoners to Fort Hays via the Fort Dodge-Camp Supply Road.
This road was not immune from Indian attacks. In the spring of 1870, the Kiowa and Cheyenne attacked mail detachments and supply trains. Patrols from the Camp had to rescue travelers several times and the Army added defensive stations along the road. Eventually, military escorts protected mail and contracted suppliers from raids.
The Native Americans were not the only danger along the road. Blizzards could kill faster than the lightly armed marauding Indians.
The Army established other roads in the early 1870's connecting Camp Supply to Fort Reno, Okla. and Fort Elliot, Tex. Provisions for those posts came from Fort Dodge. The Fort Dodge-Camp Supply Road was an important supply route during the Red River War of 1874 and 1875.
After the Red River War military roads were safe enough for civilians to travel. The Fort Dodge-Camp Supply road turned into a trail of commerce rather than a military supply line. Civilian contractors took over mail routes, military posts became way-stations and stage lines were initiated. The Fort Dodge-Camp Supply Road became the Dodge City-Camp Supply Road.
Part of the Road served as a branch of the Western Cattle Trail and, in the 1880's, the government put up a telegraph line on the route.
On Dec. 30 1878, Headquarters, Division of Missouri renamed Camp Supply Fort Supply. By then, the post was no longer a temporary base, but was an important part of a ring of forts designed to encircle any remaining hostile tribes.
On Feb. 26, 1895, the Army abandoned Fort Supply and turned it over to the Dept. of Interior.