Historic Resource Study
Not much changed at Fort Union in 1858. The post commander, Captain Andrew J. Lindsay, Regiment of Mounted Riflemen, and quartermaster, Captain Fred Myers, reported again that the buildings of the post were "rotten," "unsafe," and practically beyond repair. The amount of space per soldier in the barracks was only about half of what army regulations specified. The quartermaster and commissary storerooms were "insufficient in capacity and afford but little protection to the property stored in them." A request to rebuild the post, perhaps of adobes, was sent through the chain of command one more time. Somehow the request was introduced into Congress and funds were appropriated the following year to rebuild Fort Union. 
Meanwhile the garrison, comprised of mounted riflemen, put up with the conditions as best they could. Many of them apparently turned to intoxicants to help assuage their situation. Because whiskey could be purchased at the post sutler's store, restrictions were placed on soldiers' access to the business during 1858 in an attempt to quell drunkenness. By order of the new post commander, Captain Robert M. Morris, Regiment of Mounted Riflemen, "no Enlisted man" was "permitted to enter the Sutler's store, except" during specified hours. The restrictions were not severe, however, and the results were apparently negligible.  More stringent restrictions were imposed by Major William Chapman, Second Dragoons, in 1861: "The abuse of the indulgence granted to enlisted men by previous commanding officers to purchase intoxicating liquors at the Sutler's Store, has become so great an evil as to demand its prohibition in future except in orders signed by Company Commanders."  No record has been found to show if this was more effective than the rules issued in 1858. 
The post commanders during 1858 included Colonel Loring, Captains Andrew J. Lindsay and Robert M. Morris, and Second Lieutenant Herbert M. Enos, all of the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen. The average aggregate number of officers and men at the post in 1858 was 290. Some were assigned to field service against Indians and others served as an escort to horses and mules sent to Utah for the troops engaged in the "Mormon War." General Garland, because of ill health, relinquished command of the department to Colonel Bonneville in September. An escort of mounted riflemen from Fort Union accompanied Garland across the plains. Surgeon Letterman went with Garland to St. Louis as his attending physician. Garland's party had a difficult trip to Fort Leavenworth because prairie fires had destroyed the grass. As a result many of the horses became weak and some had to be abandoned. From the Arkansas River an express was sent to Fort Union for provisions for the men and corn for the horses. It was immediately sent out and the party eventually reached Fort Leavenworth. 
Among the officers who arrived at Fort Union in 1858 was Second Lieutenant John Van Deusen DuBois, Company K, Regiment of Mounted Riflemen. DuBois kept a journal during the time he was in New Mexico which provides another source of information and perspective on the post and the army in the Southwest.  His journal included service at some other posts in the Southwest and travels to several areas. Some of his observations on those ventures, as well as his brief time at Fort Union, add to an understanding of the life of the soldier in New Mexico.
DuBois was part of an expedition from Fort Bliss, Texas, against the Apaches and Navajos in present Arizona in 1857, led by Lieutenant Colonel Miles, Third Infantry. The troops carried their supplies on pack mules. His description of the beginning of that adventure was probably typical of many other experiences with pack mules. "Our 'start' was very ludicrous," he wrote. "The mules packed for the first time scattered in every direction - Some kicking their cargoes off other carried away by the cargoes - Tin pans and camp kettles rattling - mules braying - drunken men singing fighting & swearing - formed as strange a mingling of sweet sounds as one hears generally." One of DuBois's pack mules ran away and was not recovered until late the next day. 
The officers apparently carried a supply of whiskey. During a freezing rain on the third day out, DuBois and the surgeon "emptied several flasks of pure whiskey which seemed weak as water - we were so nearly frozen." The enlisted men had their liquor too. At one camp a mounted rifleman killed an infantryman in a fight, "no cause known except rum." 
Captain George Sykes joined the expedition in the field, having left Fort Fillmore just one day after his child had died. Syke's was assigned to escort the paymaster to Tucson, leaving behind his dead child and grieving wife. DuBois knew this was "very hard," but an officer had to do his duty. "The ladies of the Army," DuBois recorded, "must pass many miserable hours alone or else own a husband who thinks but little of his reputation." The young officer concluded that he was fortunate not to have a wife at this stage of his career. 
DuBois completed the expedition and returned to Fort Bliss in the fall of 1857. On December 16 of that same year he began his march to Fort Union. At the first camp, he noted, "It is very cold - camp life in the winter is not pleasant." A severe winter storm followed for several days. When the weather warmed, camp life improved. On the sixth day out, "I passed a pleasant evening reading - my little stove keeping my tent as warm as was comfortable - A hot punch & a pipe were companions." 
A few days later, while camped near Socorro, "A wagon from Fort Craig arrived bringing me a captive indian chief of the Kiowa's - he was severely wounded but all his flesh wounds (three in number) had closed and a shattered elbow joint alone pained him now. His pain should have been intense but I never saw him change his expression - I could not but pity him."  This was the Kiowa prisoner who was treated at the Fort Union hospital and returned to his people as an envoy for peace in March 1858. 
DuBois and his company reached the community of Algodones on January 3, 1858, "a good camp." That evening "a party from Albuquerque arrived & we were very jolly for an hour in the corn agents." These agents, employees of the quartermaster department, were important to the successful operation of the army in the vast territory. They were stationed throughout New Mexico, many in small communities such as Algodones where there was no post. Their primary duty was to purchase and store feed for livestock, thus their designation as "corn agents." According to Robert W Frazer, "they were entrusted with purchasing corn, fodder, and other commodities, and with renting facilities, supervising storage, and a variety of other tasks."  The feed they kept for the military was used by traveling units, such as that led by DuBois. Some of the agents also owned their own mercantile business and a few operated a tavern. Most of the corn agents were Anglo-Americans, as DuBois confirmed: "All these little towns are alike in every respect. Some American makes all the money." 
DuBois added to the folklore of the region when he visited the ruins of Pecos Pueblo, declaring that from the mission church, "a ghost is said to stalk at every half hour of the night & cry in grave-yard tones - 'Long time between the drinks.'" He also provided a description of how the pueblo looked 20 years after it was abandoned by its last Indian residents. He mistakenly identified the kivas, religious chambers of the Indians, as "large tanks for water." With his soldier eye, DuBois declared the military position of Pecos Pueblo, with its commanding view of the surrounding area, to be "perfect." 
Although DuBois and his fellow officers consumed considerable amounts of whiskey and he mentioned drunken officers and soldiers several times, he maintained a sharp double standard regarding intoxication. On the day his party reached Las Vegas, DuBois wrote: "I saw a drunken woman to day the first I ever saw in the territory. How it did disgust me." 
On January 9, 1858, after 25 days on the road and 443 miles from Fort Bliss (by his count), DuBois and company arrived at Fort Union early in the afternoon. He was pleased to be at his destination.
"Col Loring and Capt Lindsay met me - The company was quartered - my goods unpacked & I was home once more - not "my home" but home theoretic - The place looks like a log village the houses are scattered in every direction - The quarters are all of logs but are very comfortable  - I hope to enjoy myself here but suppose I will not - The regimental band is now playing - it is a great addition to a post."
DuBois did not write in his journal again until late February 1858, when he recorded "All January I passed my time in arranging my room - transferring the command of 'K' Company to its first Lieutenant - A McRae  - and calling upon the ladies of the post." His initial view of life at Fort Union continued: "I was perfectly delighted with my new home - We were like a band of brothers. I could not have selected from the regiment a more choice band of companions."  DuBois, like Katie Bowen before him, tended to accentuate the positive side of life at the post.
On February 3, 1858, DuBois was "detailed with twenty three men to escort the mail party." Such escort duty was a routine assignment for troops stationed at Fort Union, and DuBois provided one of the few records of that aspect of a soldier's life. The young officer had not been on the route of the Santa Fe Trail before, but he was provided with written directions, including estimates of miles between water sources and suggested places to camp. The soldiers rode in wagons, which also carried their camping gear and supplies. From DuBois's comments, it appears that his escort traveled in four wagons pulled by mules. Because it was difficult for escort wagons to keep up with the rapid pace of the mail party, it was common practice for the escort to start a few days ahead of the mail, travel at a leisurely speed until the mail caught up, and then attempt to stay with the mail until the escort assignment was completed.  DuBois was to escort the eastbound mail until he met the westbound mail or reached the Arkansas River.
The escort detail started from Fort Union in the middle of the afternoon of February 3, and stopped "at a point of timber" at the edge of the Turkey Mountains to load firewood for the trip. They carried their own supply of firewood because of the scarcity of timber at most campsites along the trail. The men had supplied themselves well with whiskey before leaving the post, and DuBois recorded that they "arrived in camp at Burgwin Springs some time after dark with as drunken a set of men as I ever saw." It was still winter. "The night was very cold and the sudden change from a warm room & good bed to a wagon & a few blankets was not as agreeable as it might have been. The duty was a most disagreeable one." 
The next day the troops "arrived in camp early" at the Rock Crossing of the Canadian River. They saw herds of antelope. DuBois was disheartened because, "for hours I attempted to get a shot without success." The mail party had not yet overtaken the detail and DuBois "felt in some doubt as to the propriety of my going further without them. After sleeping upon the subject I concluded to push on and not wait for it until near the Cimmaron river," approximately another 120 miles. He obviously did not anticipate any trouble with Indians on that portion of the route. 
They "encamped the next night at Willow Creek near Apache Spring." It was another cold day and they suffered through rain, snow, and wind during the night. The following day, February 6, they reached Rabbit Ear Creek, "a warm camp." By this point, DuBois confessed, "I was somewhat alarmed about the mail but would not alter my determination." He continued with the assumption that the mail was safe and would overtake the troops in due time. Actually, DuBois was moving quite rapidly, having covered approximately 90 miles in a little more than three days. He apparently had doubts that the troops could keep up with the mail party when it did arrive. At the same time, so long as he was ahead of the mail, the troops would provide clear warning to any Indians intent on mischief that protection was at hand. 
The next day DuBois became somewhat lost, something that may have happened to many overland travelers although most never admitted it. "I intended camping at Cedar Spring," he confided to his journal, "but after a long days march I followed a trail to the left as directed by my table of distances & after looking every where for Cedar trees I finally saw some cotton woods and on reaching them found a good camp with water and grass." That was all he and his troops required, but "I did not know where I was as this spring is not mentioned on my directions." He was not truly lost because all he had to do was return to the main trail and follow it toward the east. Soon after getting back on the trail the next morning, DuBois was relieved when he "saw the mail behind us." 
He did not slow down, however, but traveled ahead of the mail party to his camp at "Enchanted Spring," also known as Upper Cimarron Spring and Flag Spring. He considered this "the only pretty spot I had seen since leaving Fort Union. The spring encircles a large rock making a border of about two feet in width and extending beneath the rock nearly that distance." After setting up camp, DuBois and some of the soldiers went hunting. They returned to find "the mail party and passengers collected around my fire." 
DuBois was still determined to keep ahead of the mail party. The following morning "I started very early at half past three A.M. & came on to 'Deadman's hollow' to breakfast." The escort waited there "until the mail was in sight before starting." They kept ahead of the mail all day, stopping for dinner at the "lower crossing" of the Cimarron River, where they crossed and rested "about an hour." They pushed on and made camp for the night at Middle Spring on the Cimarron River (north of present Elkhart, Kansas), where the mail party caught up and joined the camp. "The mail party collected around my fire at night," DuBois noted, "& being quite jovial were some alleviation to the cold & snow." 
The next morning the soldiers broke camp and departed ahead of the mail, stopping to fix breakfast at the "foot of 18 mile ridge." "In crossing this ridge - which as the name imparts is eighteen miles long - we saw our first buffalos." They stopped for dinner at the "Head of 18 mile ridge" at a point called "the barrels." This was a point on the Cimarron River, which DuBois declared "only runs above ground in a few places," where some travelers had sunk some barrels into the sandy bed of the stream to collect water (some travelers called this Barrel Spring). The escort camped at Lower Cimarron Spring (later known as Wagonbed Spring because a box from a freight wagon was set into the spring to collect water), where the mail party again joined their encampment. 
Because two of the escort teams were "no longer able to travel forty miles per day," DuBois left two teams and wagons with the sergeant and eleven men at Lower Cimarron Spring to recuperate until the rest of the soldiers with the other two wagons accompanied the mail to the Arkansas River and returned. The next morning, February 11, DuBois again started ahead of the mail, stopped for breakfast at Sand Creek, "stopped again about midday to hunt buffalo - again to dine and encamped near the Battle ground." He described this location as "where a fight took place between the Texans & New Mexicans before either belonged to the United States." The battle had occurred in 1843. On the way that day, DuBois recalled, "where we stopped to hunt buffalo is a place called the Bone yard." This he described at the place "where a train of over three hundred animals was once all frozen to death in one night." 
There were at least two separate losses of mules to winter storms that could have produced the "Bone yard." The first occurred in 1844 to a caravan of wagons belonging to Edward Glasgow and Henry Connelly. That was the year of the big floods in present-day Kansas, when many Santa Fe traders were unable to cross the plains in the spring and early summer because of high water. These wagons left Independence for Santa Fe in mid-September. On October 12 they were caught in an early blizzard south of the Arkansas River, where many of their mules froze to death. The teamsters managed to save some of the mules by driving them to some timber approximately 15 miles away. The site where the mules perished may have been what DuBois called the "Bone yard." It should be noted that another wagon train, belonging to Albert Speyer, was a few days ahead of Glasgow and Connelly's train. When the blizzard struck, Speyer was caught near Willow Bar on the Cimarron River in present Oklahoma, where he reportedly lost most of his mules in one night. The leaders of both caravans had to go to New Mexico and obtain more mules, and they did not arrive in Santa Fe until late November 1844. 
The second great loss of mules occurred in 1850, when a military contract wagon train belonging to Brown, Russell & Co. (James Brown, William H. Russell, and John S. Jones) was caught by a fall storm. They started late in the season because of an increased need for military supplies in New Mexico and because an attempt to transport supplies through Texas to New Mexico had not been successful. The contract to deliver 600,000 pounds of freight was signed on September 4, 1850, and the supplies were sent in five separate wagon trains which departed from Fort Leavenworth between September 14 and October 2, 1850. One of these trains was forced to stop at the crossing of the Arkansas River because of deep snow and cold conditions. The teamsters set up temporary winter quarters and intended to wait until warmer weather returned. A messenger from New Mexico arrived to request that the supplies be brought to Santa Fe as quickly as possible. The train of 30 wagons headed south from the Arkansas. The first day they had nice weather, but the second day another winter storm struck and forced the train to go into camp. This would place them near the point where the 1844 wagon trains had first lost mules to a blizzard. The 200-300 mules in the 1850 train were herded into a temporary corral where they allegedly all froze during the night. Some of the firm's other trains were caught by a snowstorm in New Mexico and also lost many mules. James Brown, who went in advance of the trains to Santa Fe, died there on December 5, 1850. The surviving partners (Russell and Jones) later (in 1854) received $38,800 from Congress to help pay for their losses. 
When William B. Napton traveled the trail from Missouri to New Mexico in 1857, less than a year before DuBois's escort, he noted "a great pile of bleached bones of mules that had been thrown up in a conical shaped heap by the passing trainmen." Napton believed them to be from the Brown, Russell & Co. tragedy.  It is probable that DuBois described the same place. Whichever incident contributed the bones that DuBois and Napton saw, the "Bone yard" was a vivid reminder of the hazards of traveling the Santa Fe Trail during the winter season.
On the morning of February 12, DuBois recalled, "we breakfasted at a water hole in the sand hills & by one o'clock P.M. reached the crossing of the Arkansas." Of the country through which they had just passed, he wrote, "from Enchanted spring to the Arkansas is not even a bush for fuel and on the Arkansas there is no wood within twenty miles of the crossing." The mail party had problems crossing the Arkansas. "The river was frozen over but not hard enough to bear the mail wagons." Everything was taken from the wagons and carried "over by hand." The mules were driven across to "cut a road for the wagons." The escort started their return trip before the crossing was completed, and DuBois "returned to where the Road reachs the River." There his troops "encamped in a severe snow storm." 
The westbound mail had not arrived, so DuBois started back to the rest of his command at Lower Cimarron Spring on February 13, stating "I had only two days provisions to reach the party I had left behind in charge of every thing." He expected the westbound mail to overtake the escort along the way within a few days. DuBois and his men camped the next night at "the Bone yard" and "rejoined my party" at Lower Spring "by ten o'clock" on February 14. He was pleased to note, "Every thing was in good order - they had killed two buffalos and the mules had much improved." 
DuBois, up to this time, "had not seen an indian & I felt no alarm for the safety of the mail party." However, at mid-morning the following day, February 15, the westbound mail crew and passengers arrived "and informed me that two or three hundred indians were at Sand creek hunting." Sand Creek was just a few miles north of Lower Spring. DuBois soon had the escort ready to accompany the mail on the road toward Fort Union, and they all camped that night at the barrels. The following day the soldiers killed a buffalo and the mail and its protectors "were very late on the road." They traveled approximately 50 miles before halting for the night at the lower crossing of the Cimarron River. 
DuBois apparently headed out the following morning ahead of the mail. While the troops were eating breakfast, "the Comanches came into my camp & informed me that the Kiowas were unfriendly & had killed three mexicans who had come to the Cimaron to trade with the Comanches." DuBois stopped the escort to eat dinner at his favorite spot, "Enchanted Spring," where he was visited by the Comanches again. DuBois expected the mail party to join him there, having "given them orders to come on to this spring to dinner." However, "I waited at this place until sun down - The mail not arriving." By evening he "feared that something might have happened." 
DuBois then thought "that they might have kept to the main road," because Enchanted Spring was at least one-half mile north of the main route of the Santa Fe Trail. "I started & just as I arrived in camp at Cold Spring I heard the cracking of their whips & on they came on a run reporting that they were followed for some distance by a hundred mounted Kiowas." The mail party was frightened and "had some amusing tales to tell." DuBois was not amused, however, and declared "I concluded that they would never desert their escort again." 
The Kiowas did not threaten the mails accompanied by troops. The soldiers and the mail left Cold Spring early on February 18 and stopped for breakfast at Cedar Spring. There DuBois left the two teams that had been left earlier at Lower Spring because they were no longer able to keep up with the mail. The other teams and half the escort accompanied the mail wagon to Cottonwood Creek and camped for the night. The next morning they reached Rabbit Ear Creek, where DuBois had left feed for his mules on the return trip. He discovered that his "cache of corn at this place had been robbed by the Mexicans." 
DuBois was worried that he might not be able to keep up with the mail. "I was out of corn and my mules growing rapidly exhausted." By stopping to rest four times during the day, the escort managed to stay with the mail to Rock Creek. There, after resting awhile, the mail conductor decided to proceed without the escort. Before the mules were hitched to the mail wagon, the eastbound mail and its escort, led by Lieutenant Alfred Gibbs, Regiment of Mounted Riflemen, arrived at Rock Creek. Both mail parties and their escorts "remained together that night." 
DuBois "begged a feed of corn" for his mules from the eastbound escort and thereby managed to stay with the westbound mail the approximately 40 miles to the Canadian River on February 20. The mail conductor chose to attempt a night drive without the escort from the Canadian River, but a winter storm struck that evening. When DuBois and his troops reached Ocate Creek the next morning, they found the mail party in camp with their mules "nearly broken down by their nights drive." After resting awhile they proceeded slowly because of the storm and "reached Burgwin Spg . . . [at] four o'clock P.M." By this time "the snow was four inches deep - my mules were tired." 
DuBois again divided the remainder of his command, leaving one wagon at Burgwin Spring and taking the other and several of the soldiers to continue with the mail wagon in an attempt to reach Fort Union. "It became very dark," he recorded. "We lost the road & wandered around in the snow for some time within two miles of the post." After searching for some time, they "saw some black object in the snow towards which we directed our course & by hunting the trail on foot reached Fort Union at 9 P.M." on February 21, "having traveled 87 miles in two days."  Thus ended DuBois's first escort duty at Fort Union. He did not reveal when the three wagons and soldiers he had left behind reached the post, but they presumably made it through in a few days after they were no longer forced to keep pace with the mail wagon. Other escorts continued to be sent to safeguard the mails. DuBois next assignment, as noted in chapter three, was to help escort Captain Randoph B. Marcy and a large herd of horses and mules to Utah. He arrived back at Fort Union from that adventure on September 13, 1858.
DuBois soon settled into the routine of life at the garrison, commanding his company of riflemen and recording in his journal some of what was happening there. At the end of September 1858 he noted that General Garland, Surgeon Letterman, and others had recently passed through Fort Union on their way "to the states." This left Colonel Bonneville, for whom DuBois had little respect (revealed in his description of the colonel as a "gallant and experienced indian fighter?"), in command of the department. A civilian contract surgeon, Joseph Howland Bill, arrived to replace Dr. Letterman. "Next came the fall exodus of recruits," who had recently crossed the plains from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Union, to their assignments at posts throughout the Department of New Mexico. They were accompanied by Major John S. Simonson and Lieutenants Gordon Granger, Roger Jones, Ira W. Claflin, and John Henry Edson, all Regiment of Mounted Riflemen. 
Before these officers left Fort Union, DuBois noted, "We gave them a ball in the Quartermasters storehouse & did all we could to make them comfortable."  Major Simonson provided a detailed description of that event, worth quoting in its entirety because it reveals how entertainment was dispensed at Fort Union in the late 1850s:
"On the 21-22 & 23d we were in camp at Fort Union. Maj Backus  reached Fort Union from the Ratoon and Fort Bent route on the 22d. Same night the officers at Fort Union gave us a party - (I say us meaning the ladies and officers of our command) - the party was gotten up---arrangements, invitations, decorations, and supper, all in one day, - (same day it was given) and was in Elegant Style, and most lavish in good things in the eating and drinking way."
"The room for dancing, promenading &c was in the Quartermaster Storeroom --- the supper room was the quartermaster's office --- a small room on the left of which was the Ladies dressing room, and another on the right the gentleman's. The dancing hail or room was highly decorated --- being first lined on Each Side with white paulins  --- The dirt floor also having a canvass paulin for carpet and to dance on --- The ceiling also was canvass --- on the white paulins sides of the room were Six or Eight circular saw blades as reflectors, with 3 candles in front of Each --- between these reflectors were crossed Sabres --- festooned with red sashes tastefully interwoven --- There were also company guidons on their staffs in conspicuous position --- and at the lower end of the Hall centre, was the New Regimental flag of the Rifle Regt, --- at the upper end cenre, was the dear old Flag which we carried in Mexico perforated and torn by Musket balls, --- The very flag that was first at the Gareta de Belen and first on the palace, the celebrated halls of Montezuma!"
"The Orchestra or Musick, was at the lower end on Elevated Seats, and behind curtains --- two Brass Howitzers on their carriages graced the lower corners of the hall --- and stacks of Rifles at suitable distances all round next to the walls. There were some fine paintings, pictures, and maps, apparent on the sides amid the cross Sabres and reflectors --- company assembled at 1/2 past 8 oclock evening --- The parson, myself and another member of the church were there! ---we however were merely lookers on --- I left before 12 the Suppertime, after renewing my acquaintances with several persons --- but understood that everything went off well and pleasant." 
Following the departure of many officers and the recruits to other stations and the dispatch of two companies of riflemen stationed at Fort Union to field duty against the Navajos, DuBois, "the only line officer of the post," reported at the end of October 1858 that "we are very lonely here now." For a time "Lt. Edson remained at the post with his wife & they add very much to our little society." 
At the end of November DuBois noted "this month has been like all the others I ever passed at military posts, quiet & uneventful." Another officer, Captain John G. Walker, Regiment of Mounted Riflemen, joined the garrison during November, accompanied by his wife, whom DuBois called for some unexplained reason "the Madame." The only activity DuBois recorded in his journal was a hunting trip with Captain Shoemaker, Paymaster Major Thomas G. Rhett, and Rhett's brother. "We killed game enough to eat," he noted, "but no more. Remained absent four days & returned." 
In December DuBois accompanied Major Rhett and his brother to Santa Fe. "It was my first visit and I did enjoy it." He remarked about the numerous gambling tables and the "baile rooms," and declared that "the fair ones of Santa Fe though not pretty are pretty enough to dance with." He observed that Colonel Bonneville left his headquarters at Santa Fe the day after DuBois arrived in the city, heading for the "Navajo War." Like many of his fellow officers, DuBois was no fan of Bonneville. Of "Bonny," he stated "rumor says that the Colonel intends interfering with the preliminaries of peace agreed to by Col. Miles --- By making the condition so hard that the indians cannot fulfill them." The "Navajo War," he concluded, ". . . promises to create quite a furor." 
Back at Fort Union, the arrival of Lieutenant Julian May, regimental quartermaster of the mounted riflemen, "produced no change in the unvaried monotony of Post Life." When DuBois heard from his sister that another of his boyhood "sweethearts" had recently married, the bachelor officer declared, "I must be getting old." Although he provided no details, DuBois reported that "Christmas passed off pleasantly. We had all the luxuries of the frontier, and were sorry when evening came." A few days later he related that "New Years Eve passed like Christmas pleasantly and quietly." 
Activity increased at Fort Union in mid-January 1859 with the return of the two companies of mounted riflemen from the "Navajo War." Even before the troops returned, DuBois "had heard of the signing of the treaty and the immediate distribution of the companies." The return of several officers to the post made it possible to conduct a general court-martial. Prisoners were brought from Fort Garland to stand trial along with those at Fort Union. DuBois revealed that "the Court was in session a week during which I enjoyed myself very much."  It was not clear if he enjoyed the sessions of the court or the opportunity to spend time with the other officers whom he had not seen for several months, but probably the latter.
At Fort Union the three companies of mounted riflemen continued to man the post during most of 1859, with an average aggregate garrison of 264. Commanding officers included Colonel Loring, Captain Walker, and Major Simonson, all Regiment of Mounted Riflemen. Several changes in personnel occurred during the year. In January the post council of administration selected W. H. Moore as the sutler to replace George Alexander. The actual transfer of the sutlership apparently did not take place until late in 1859. Moore served as sutler at Fort Union during and a few years after the Civil War. Captain Van Bokkelen arrived in February to serve as post and subdepot quartermaster. In August Assistant Surgeon Elisha I. Baily replaced the civilian contract surgeon, Dr. J. H. Bill, who had served as the post surgeon since the previous September. In October Reverend Stoddert took leave from his office as post chaplain at the request of Colonel Bonneville. It had been verified that a lengthy article in the National Intelligencer the previous year, which was highly critical of the army's war against the Navajos and signed by "Civis," had been written by Stoddert. He had not, after all, agreed with the "peculiar views" of the post officers. Stoddert, probably as requested, submitted his resignation in December, and it was readily accepted. 
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