Historic Resource Study
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     The soldiers in the frontier army could be effective only if properly supplied with food, clothing, shelter, medical care, arms and other equipment, ammunition, and transportation. The quartermaster department was responsible for all those components, except food (which was procured and distributed by the commissary of subsistence department), medical supplies (handled by the medical department), and arms and ammunition (furnished by the ordnance department). The major portion of the military budget went to those subsistence and maintenance departments. Each purchased huge quantities of material and took care of vast amounts of property. Civilian employees were hired to assist all three, most of whom worked in the quartermaster service. [1]

     When Major Andrew W. Evans, Third Cavalry, wrote in his inspection report in 1868 that "the Quartermaster Depot of Fort Union is an extensive establishment," it was almost an understatement. Some comprehension of what he intended may be found by reading the reports in appendices L, M, N, and O. The huge complex (covering approximately 400 acres of land) of quarters, offices, storehouses, granaries, repair shops, corrals, stables, hay stacks, and wood piles, which included the commissary department and the department of clothing, camp, and garrison equipage (a division of the quartermaster department), required the shipping of thousands of tons of supplies into and out of Fort Union and the labor of many people. For a time Fort Union, including these operations, was the largest economic establishment in New Mexico Territory.

     In fact, throughout most of the era Fort Union was active, the army was the major business enterprise and the primary employer in New Mexico. Economic development of the region was thoroughly affected by military purchases of commodities, services, and labor. [2] Because Fort Union was the supply depot for the region during much of its occupation, and a subdepot during a portion of the 1850s, it was at the center of storing and distributing equipment and provisions, as well as military transportation, for a large territory. It was also predominant in contracting for products and services and hiring civilians for numerous tasks. The construction of the first, second, and third posts at Fort Union and the supply depot (covered in chapters 2, 5, 6, and 7) was done under the direction of the quartermaster department, and keeping buildings repaired was a constant task. The Fort Union ordnance depot (later arsenal) served the military department (later district) from 1851 to 1882. Its services were vital to the field operations of the army, but its economic influence was markedly less than the quartermaster and commissary departments because it spent few funds in the territory beyond a small labor force and minor purchases of forage and other supplies.

     The expansion of the United States and the military occupation of the American West during the late 1840s increased transportation costs of the army more than fifteen times. The total transport expenditures of the army in 1846 was $130,000. In 1851, the year Fort Union was established, transportation costs exceeded $2,000,000. The cost of shipping supplies to the troops in the West was far greater than the value of the supplies. The cost of maintaining draft animals in New Mexico was almost seven times greater than feeding them at Fort Leavenworth. While it cost less than $50 a year to keep a horse or mule at Leavenworth, it required about $330 in New Mexico. [3]

     Transportation had become the largest single item in the military budget, accounting for almost one-half of the entire army appropriation by the early 1850s. [4] That remained true until the Civil War. Military freight sent to New Mexico via the Santa Fe Trail accounted for a considerable part of the total. That important overland route, which had been utilized primarily by merchant-traders from 1821 to 1846, became flooded with military freight thereafter. As Frazer noted, "the army had no choice but to import because New Mexico afforded so few of the goods that it required." [5] The transportation of military equipment and supplies comprised the greater part of traffic on the Santa Fe Trail from the time of the Mexican War until the railroad superseded the historic wagon route more than three decades later.

     Soon after the close of the Mexican War the quartermaster department phased out its freighting operations and began to contract with civilian firms for the transportation of supplies from Fort Leavenworth to New Mexico. The rates were reduced but still costly. The quartermaster department estimated that it was spending an average of $14.75 per hundred pounds of stores carried from Fort Leavenworth to Santa Fe in 1848. That same year James Brown of Independence, Missouri, agreed to carry freight from Fort Leavenworth to Santa Fe for $11.75 per hundred pounds. The following year Brown formed a partnership with William H. Russell, and they contracted to freight supplies from Fort Leavenworth to Santa Fe for $9.88 per hundred, with an additional 5% for the transport of bacon. In 1850 two contractors (David Waldo and the firm of Brown, Russell and Company) agreed to move 750,000 pounds of freight from Fort Leavenworth to Santa Fe at the rate of $14.333 per hundred (total value of those contracts was over one million dollars). [6]

     In 1851, the year Fort Union was established, the army sent 452 wagons loaded with supplies to New Mexico. The rate was $8.59 per hundred to Santa Fe and $7.875 to Fort Union. The rates changed little until 1853, after Garland took command of the department. Distressed by the deficiency of supplies in department storehouses, Garland, despite the lateness of the season, urgently appealed for the shipment of more provisions from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Union as quickly as possible. Contracts were signed in September 1853 with three freighters (Alexander Majors, James B. Yager, and the firm of Russell, Waddell & Co.). Because of the hazards of crossing the plains at a time when grass was dormant and freezing temperatures and snowstorms were possible, the rates were more than double those most recently obtained, $16 per hundred pounds. [7]

     The following year, when contractors were able to depart from Fort Leavenworth in the spring, rates returned to about what they had been before 1853. In 1854 the rate to Fort Union was $7.96 per hundred pounds. In 1855 the army contracted with the firm of Russell, Majors and Waddell to transport supplies to New Mexico from Fort Leavenworth for two years, with rates set at so much per hundred pounds per hundred miles and adjusted to the season of the year. The rates ranged from a low of $1.14 for goods shipped from May 1 to July 31 to a high of $3.60 for supplies sent between December 1 and February 28. The distance between Fort Leavenworth and Fort Union was determined to be 728 miles, so rates to the post were calculated at 7.28 times the established rate per hundred pounds per hundred miles. Thus the rate per hundred pounds from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Union at the low end of the scale was $8.30 and at the high end it was $26.20. This method of setting rates was retained in subsequent contracts, each of which had a slightly lower rate through 1860. In 1860 Russell, Majors and Waddell sent 837 wagons with over five million pounds of freight to New Mexico. [8]

     Not only was it costly to transport supplies to New Mexico, there was the additional problem of distribution among the posts in the department. Colonel Sumner, in his economy drive in New Mexico in 1851-1852, attempted to have only quartermaster wagon trains handle transportation within his department. He soon found it necessary, however, to employ civilian teamsters and to contract with civilian freighters to accomplish the distribution. By the spring of 1852 Sumner admitted failure to achieve his goal of military freight being moved only by the army in New Mexico, and he declared the department was "very much pressed for transportation." [9] He purchased draft animals where he could find them, employed civilian teamsters, and hired a civilian wagon master to oversee transportation at the Fort Union depot. [10] Even so, the posts throughout the department were inadequately supplied so long as Sumner commanded the department.

     Soon after Brigadier General John Garland took command of the department, the general depot (for quartermaster and commissary departments) was moved from Fort Union to Albuquerque. Fort Union retained the ordnance depot and remained a quartermaster and commissary subdepot until the Civil War. The costs of distribution within the department were reduced, although not significantly, and the cost of transportation from Fort Leavenworth increased because of the added distance from Fort Union to Albuquerque. Garland, unlike Sumner, ordered adequate supplies for the posts of New Mexico and paid the costs incurred. He also directed that supplies coming over the Santa Fe Trail from Fort Leavenworth be distributed from the subdepot at Fort Union.

     In 1857 Lieutenant William B. Lane, subsistence officer at the subdepot, wrote that, "in view of the anticipated arrival of the annual supplies for this Department," he needed a detail of troops from the post "to overhaul and ship these supplies." Post Commander Llewellyn Jones was shorthanded and recommended that civilians be employed for the duty. A clerk and six laborers were authorized for the subdepot. [11] After the provisions were sorted and repacked they were shipped to other military installations throughout the department. This required many wagons, draft animals, and teamsters. Transportation costs remained a major part of the military budget in New Mexico. Some funds were utilized to open new roads and improve old ones, benefiting both military and civilian traffic. Sometimes civilians were employed to work on the roads.

     Wages paid to civilian employees, however, formed only a small portion of total military expenditures in the department. Colonel Sumner had reduced the number of civilian employees in the department (1851-1853) as part of his economy measures, much to the detriment of the troops stationed in New Mexico. When Sumner left the New Mexico, the entire department had only 29 civilian employees. Sumner's successor, Garland, increased the number during his administration (1853-1858) to approximately 250. The wages paid also increased during Garland's tenure as the following tables show. In both time periods most of the employees were teamsters. [12]

Table 4
Wages Paid Civilian Employees in the Department of New Mexico, 1853

PositionMonthly Salary
Clerks$65.00 to 75.00
Wagon Master58.25
Assistant Wagon Master30.00

Table 5
Wages Paid Civilian Employees in the Department of New Mexico, 1858

PositionMonthly Salary
Wagon Masters50 to 60
Wheelwrights50 to 55
Millwrights50 to 85
Blacksmiths50 to 55
Ambulance Driver25
Labor Superintendent40
Laborers20 to 30
Herders10 to 25
Ferrymen10 to 45

     Most civilian employees also received one ration of food per day, although the ration was occasionally exchanged for cash at the rate of twenty cents. Other positions were also filled by civilians. In December 1854, for example, the quarters at Fort Union "being in need of repairs and there being no lumber at the Post," the post quartermaster was directed to "employ a man capable of running the sawmill & have lumber sawed out as soon as practicable." [15] New Mexicans were hired to serve as packers when pack mules were used to carry supplies in the field. In June 1855 Fort Union Commander Whittlesey directed Post Quartermaster George Sykes: "In consequence of the necessity of having the benefit of the peculiar knowledge of the use of the lasso and the art of packing possessed only by Mexican packers, you will please employ two temporarily to accompany the train of 12 pack mules required for the scout of ten or twelve days directed to be made by Co. 'H' 1st Drags." [16]

     It should be noted that New Mexicans were not actively recruited for enlistment in the regular army during the early 1850s, although they were encouraged to enlist in short-term militia units and volunteers. There was no known policy against their recruitment, but there was a concern about their ability to speak and understand English. A captain in the Third Cavalry felt it necessary to request permission from department headquarters to enlist "Mexicans" in his company before doing so. Brigadier General Garland replied that he could "see no objection to their enlistment, to the extent of four or five to a company, and for special duties." [17] Few Hispanos served in the regular army in New Mexico before the Civil War. It was easier for them to secure employment as civilians than as soldiers.

     The army employed civilian guides, spies, and interpreters as needed. The pay for these services was usually $1.50 to $2.00 per day ($3.00 for a principal guide) plus rations, with the employee providing his own horse and arms. These temporary positions were often filled by New Mexicans and Pueblo Indians. Indian auxiliaries, as noted in chapters three, five, six, and seven, were often employed to assist troops in the field. Sometimes they were paid and other times they were permitted to retain captured booty in lieu of payment. [18] As a result of the increasing numbers of civilians and the rise in wages, by 1860 the monthly army payroll to non-military employees in the department was almost $8,000. [19]

     Altogether, however, wages paid to civilians were small when compared to funds expended by the army in New Mexico for payment of troops (more than $750,000 during fiscal 1860-1861), [20] transportation, and the purchase of food, forage, livestock, and fuel. Of all the materials required by the army in the department, only a few could be supplied by the people of New Mexico. That was the major reason the costs of transportation, as previously noted, consumed such a large portion of army appropriations. The items that could be procured in New Mexico during the 1850s were usually higher in price than at Fort Leavenworth, but they were considerably less expensive than the cost of shipment from Fort Leavenworth to New Mexico. Thus, until the coming of the railroad reduced overland transportation to only a fraction of what it was by wagon train, the army purchased whatever was available within the department.

     During the 1850s only a few items of the soldiers' rations were sufficient in quantity among New Mexicans to provide even a portion of the army's demands. Beans, flour, and beef on the hoof could be bought, although not always in quantities required. Military purchases stimulated the growth of wheat production, flour milling, and ranching in the territory. By 1853 most of the flour utilized by troops was produced in New Mexico. Beef, on the other hand, was still principally driven to the territory from Missouri. Salt, abundant in New Mexico, was usually bought from citizens and occasionally gathered by soldiers. Corn, mostly utilized to feed draft animals rather than human consumption, was also bought in large amounts, thereby encouraging increased production. Hay and other forage (mostly corn stalks and wheat straw and occasionally oats) for livestock were usually obtained by contract with civilians after Colonel Sumner's farming operations failed. Apparently the first contract issued for hay at Fort Union was authorized by Garland in October 1854. Other livestock besides beef cattle were purchased, including sheep, oxen, mules, and horses when they could be obtained in the area. Sheep were always in ample supply, but the army only substituted mutton for beef in its rations on a limited basis. Mules were also abundant in New Mexico, and the army bought many of them to use for draft animals and, in some cases, to ride in place of horses. [21] Firewood was provided by troop labor and, increasingly as time passed, by contract. Other items purchased from New Mexicans included vinegar, candles, charcoal, lime, lumber, [22] and buckskins.

     Corn and flour comprised the major New Mexican agricultural products purchased under contracts. Most of the contractors were Anglos, but they purchased corn and wheat from uncounted New Mexican farmers. The quantities and prices of these items are summarized in the following tables.

Table 6
Corn Contracts at Fort Union, 1851-1859

Year of Delivery Fanegas [24] Price Per Fenega
1852-18534,500 (shelled)3.85
18555,000 (shelled)1.80-2.40
1855-185610,000 (shelled)3.00
1856-18575,300 (shelled)3.10-3.28

1,500 (cob com)3.00-3.15
1857-18589,600 (shelled)2.31-2.82

Table 7
Flour Contracts in Department of New Mexico, 1853-1859

Price Per 100 Lbs. [26]

     Because of the investment required in flour milling, the number of contractors in New Mexico was limited to a few enterprises. During the 1850s four millers filled almost all contracts for flour produced in the department: Ceran St. Vrain, with mills at Talpa and Mora; Simeon Hart's mill at present El Paso, Texas; Antonio José at Peralta; and Joseph Hersch at Santa Fe. Corn and hay contracts included a wider variety of firms. Frazer found that, between 1851 and 1860, thirty-two distinct individuals or partnerships received contracts for corn and twenty-eight had hay contracts. Most hay was harvested from native grasses. [27] Corn and hay were used to feed cavalry mounts, quartermaster draft animals, and commissary cattle herds.

     The number of cattle in New Mexico at the time Fort Union was established was inadequate to supply the needs of the army. The commissary department paid a good price for what beef was available, thereby stimulating an expansion of cattle ranching. The presence of the troops also provided protection for the extension of the industry into the rich grasslands of eastern New Mexico. Even so, for some time cattle were imported. In 1852, for example, a herd of 1,340 cattle were driven from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Union for issue to the troops in the department. Civilians were hired to herd the cattle nearby at a cost of forty cents per head per month. The cattle were distributed to other posts by contract as needed. [28]

     Throughout the 1850s the army kept most of its cattle herds near Fort Union, where grazing was good, and drove them to other posts as they were needed. From 1854 to 1858 the contract to herd the beef cattle was held by Moore and Rees of Tecolote. During 1854 and 1855 they received thirty-two cents per head per month. In 1854 Michael Gleason contracted to drive the cattle from Fort Union to other posts in the department for $3.00 per head. The following year, Moore and Rees agreed to deliver cattle to any post as needed for $1.50 per head. In 1857 their contract reduced the rate of herding to ten cents per head per month while the delivery price remained $1.50. In 1858 the herding contract, at a slightly higher rate, was awarded to Dr. John M. Whitlock of Las Vegas. The following year Whitlock and John L. Taylor, who had a ranch near Anton Chico, held the contract. [29]

     By the late 1850s the army was able to purchase more cattle in New Mexico, mostly from expanding ranches east of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains along several streams, including the Cimarron, Mora, Canadian, and Pecos rivers. Generally the cattle purchased in New Mexico were in better condition than those driven from Fort Leavenworth or Texas. Because the army did not have facilities to weigh cattle, they were bought at so much per head (ranging from $25 to $40). By 1861 cattle were priced per pound on the hoof or per pound on the block (butchered carcass, also called fresh beef). [30]

     In addition to livestock, New Mexican farmers also sold vegetables, fruits, milk, butter, eggs, and other products to officers and enlisted men. It was not possible to document the economic effects of purchases made by military personnel in the territory because most transactions were not recorded, but the army and its soldiers slowly changed the system of exchange in rural New Mexico from barter to cash transactions.

     Colonel Sumner, a myopic Anglophile and mercantilist to the core, condemned the dependence of New Mexicans on the army, which he failed to understand had been caused by the military establishment, and saw no hope for economic development in New Mexico. He had no concept of the traditional, somewhat feudalistic Hispanic way of life that originated during the colonial era. "The truth is," Sumner declared, "the only resource in this country is the government money. All classes depend upon it." He believed there could "never be any profitable agriculture" in New Mexico because there was no market except for the local economy and the army. "No agricultural product," he concluded, "would ever pay transportation from this remote country." [31] Without a railroad, Sumner was correct on that point. Ironically, when the railroad reached New Mexico, it became cheaper to import agricultural products into the territory and the army's demand for New Mexican production declined.

     Sumner's views were supported by the opinions of other officers and confirmed by events during the 1850s. Captain L. C. Easton, department quartermaster in 1854, informed Quartermaster General T. S. Jesup: "With the exception of forage, building materials, and a few minor articles, your Department here will have to look to the United States for all its supplies, and judging from the character of the country this will forever be the case." [32] The army was, as Frazer demonstrated, an important "economic impetus." It was "an essentially nonproductive element for which goods, services, and facilities of many kinds were required." Moreover, "it injected comparatively large sums of money into what had been primarily a barter economy." The effects were far reaching. "The money was widely, if unevenly, distributed, reaching all segments of the population, including the Pueblo Indians." [33] At the same time, because army requirements frequently exceeded New Mexican supplies, inflation resulted and reduced the purchasing power of New Mexicans who were being forced into a market economy. Sometimes there was an inadequate supply of specie in the territory, creating further hardships for citizens. [34] All factors combined to make prices high in New Mexico, in comparison to the eastern states, and most Anglos who came to the territory (military and civilian) complained about the exorbitant cost of everything. [35] Frazer found that the expenditures incurred in sustaining troops in New Mexico "was proportionately higher than in any other department of the United States, and surprisingly high considering the small number of troops in New Mexico and their relative lack of success in controlling the Indians." [36] Protecting settlers and the routes of transportation from Indians was the primary reason the army was there.

     When the troops at Fort Union furnished escorts for the mail coaches, the quartermaster department was responsible for the transportation. In 1858 the escort troops were provided mules and wagons to accompany the mail parties to the Arkansas River. The mails usually traveled at a fast pace, making it difficult for the escorts to keep up and resulting in damage and destruction to the soldiers' transportation. Captain McFerran, in charge of the subdepot at Fort Union and responsible for escort transportation, reported to Department Commander Loring the problems encountered.

     The first escort left Fort Union on January 4 with five wagons and thirty mules, two of which died, two were lost, and many of the remainder were unfit for duty. The second escort left on January 17 with five wagons and thirty mules, none of which were lost but returned in poor shape. The third escort left February 4 with the same number of wagons and mules, and two mules died and most of the others were broken down. The fourth escort, February 17 with the same number of wagons and mules, had one mule die and had to leave two teams behind with two wagons and part of the escort to recover before they were able to return by slow marches. The fifth escort, March 3, lost one mule the first day and sent back for another. At that point, McFerran reported, the quartermaster department had lost eight mules, at $150 each, and had thirty-five to forty mules unfit for service. He had sent from 5,500 to 6,000 pounds of corn with each escort. The army mules could not keep up with the mails. McFerran recommended that the escorts be stopped because he was about out of mules. [37] The request was sent to the department commander and the escorts were discontinued in May. [38]

     Because of a severe drought on the plains and in the Southwest during 1859 and 1860, the cost of many supplies increased because of scarcity. The army paid twice as much for corn in 1860 as the previous year, and the costs of hay and flour went up but not as much. [39] Military purchases from the reduced supplies affected the citizens of New Mexico, many of whom could not obtain adequate provisions because they were not available or were priced beyond their means. Just as the army stimulated the standard of living when crops were abundant, it contributed to scarcity when conditions were adverse. Because the army had more purchasing power than most civilians, it sometimes deprived them of subsistence items. Fortunately, the army could also import provisions from Fort Leavenworth and provide relief to destitute citizens during such times. On the eve of the Civil War, as Frazer succinctly stated, "the great bulk of the stores required by the army were still freighted to New Mexico." [40] That remained true as long as Fort Union was occupied.

     The ultimate consequence of military occupation and growing Anglo dominance in New Mexico was a transformation of Hispanic society from primarily subsistence farming to a combination of the production of some products for a cash market and the increase of wage labor. The few wealthy Hispanic landowners adapted and endured, often profiting from the new structure. [41] Some even contracted to supply the army. [42] Many small farmers, on the other hand, could not generate sufficient cash income and were unable to survive in the expanding capitalistic system. Many New Mexicans lost their traditional way of life as well as their land. Some retained their land by supplementing their farming with employment for wages. The army and army contractors offered a considerable portion of such job opportunities.

     The trend, however, was for land ownership to become more consolidated, frequently in the hands of recent immigrants into New Mexico (mostly Anglos), [43] and the dispossessed Hispanos who could not find employment formed the nucleus of a new class of unemployed who lived in poverty. Some of those, as noted, found jobs, frequently only temporary positions, with the quartermaster and commissary departments or contractors who supplied those departments. Others provided a reservoir of cheap labor for the economic development of the territory which came with the building of railroads, growth of towns, expansion of ranching and mining activities, increase of logging and lumber mills, and other changes. The Anglo leadership in New Mexico and in the eastern states considered the alteration, which some called the "Americanization" of the region, including the frequent exploitation of available workers, to be a sign of progress. The army was not the only factor in that transformation, but it was the catalyst and major contributor.

     Robert Frazer found that the army annually expended more than $1,750,000 in the Department of New Mexico by 1860-1861. In contrast, the treasury department of New Mexico Territory spent only $10,000 per year. Frazer's superb study of the army and the economy in the Southwest, 1846-1861, demonstrated clearly that, as he wrote, "the army was the single most significant factor in the economic development of the Southwest." From the Anglo viewpoint, Frazer concluded that "the money spent by the army per se and by military personnel stimulated the growth of the economy and directly or indirectly benefited all segments of the settled population." Also, military protection provided "a climate more conducive to economic expansion." [44] Fort Union was a factor in the changes that occurred prior to the Civil War. Its influence increased dramatically following the outbreak of the Civil War, when in July 1861 it again became the supply depot and procurement center for the army in New Mexico. [45]

     The outbreak of the Civil War was accompanied by many changes in New Mexico, including a switch in contractors carrying military supplies from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Union and the rest of New Mexico. The firm of Russell, Majors and Waddell was bankrupt and unable to meet the terms of its contract. The firm of Irwin, Jackman and Co., headquartered at Leavenworth City, Kansas, had been retained in anticipation of the failure of Russell, Majors and Waddell. Irwin, Jackman and Co. delivered the goods to New Mexico during and after 1861. [46] From May to December 1861 the new contractor successfully shipped fifteen trains of military supplies, each with an average of twenty-five wagons and cargo in excess of 140,000 pounds, to Fort Union. They began arriving at Fort Union on August 17. The rates ranged from $1.30 to $1.50 per hundred pounds per hundred miles, depending on the time of year. [47] With most of those supplies at the Fort Union depot, the Confederate design to capture Fort Union promised tremendous rewards.

     Also during 1861 quartermaster and commissary supplies at the old depot in Albuquerque were moved to Fort Union and other posts in the department. When the depot quartermaster, Captain John C. McFerran, arrived at Fort Union from Albuquerque, he found the new depot in disarray. The storehouses were inadequate and supplies were piled at various points around the old post and the new earthwork. Some items were damaged from exposure and others were stolen because it was impossible to guard everything all the time. Shipments from Fort Leavenworth had been mixed up with those from Albuquerque. An accurate inventory was impossible. Efforts to complete more storehouses were frustrated by other demands on soldiers' time. In addition, orders had to be packed for shipment to other posts in the department. [48] Understandably, McFerran was perplexed by his responsibilities. He was, also, one of the most competent officers in New Mexico and soon brought order out of chaos.

     In 1861 the quartermaster department obtained few commodities in New Mexico. The commissary department, on the other hand, contracted for more provisions within the territory than any time previous, summarized in the following table. In all cases, except beans, prices were lower than during the previous year of drought.

Table 8
Commissary Contracts in New Mexico, 1861

Product Quantity No. of
Price Range During Year
Flour1,499,000 pounds7$8.00-14.00 per hundredweight
Vinegar5,000 gallons50.6875-1.50 per gallon
Beans1,400 bushels83.50 to 6.00 per bushel
Beef Cattle1,098 head66.74-11.00 per hundredweight
Sauerkrautunspecified41.12-3.00 per gallon
Picklesunspecified22.00-3.00 per gallon
Corn Mealunspecified65.50-9.50 per hundredweight
Onionsunspecified45.50-1 0.50 per hundredweight
Saltunspecified32.00-4.00 per bushel

     In addition to the above, the commissary department and the quartermaster department each contracted for delivery of 100 tons of hay at Fort Union in 1861. The commissary paid $35.00 per ton while the quartermaster paid $45.00. The depot quartermaster also contracted for firewood (hardwood at $7.50 per cord and pinon at $3.75) and horses (1,400 head at $90 to $150 per head). [50]

     The army was expending more money than ever before in the department. During fiscal 1860-1861 the commissary department dispersed over $265,000 and the quartermaster department over $580,000. Supplies continued to flow from Fort Leavenworth and proved to be adequate in New Mexico to provide the needs of a much enlarged military force in the department during the Civil War. The economic relationships established between the military and civilian sectors before 1861 contributed to the effectiveness of the Department of New Mexico during the crisis of the Confederate invasion.

     A major problem for the army in New Mexico during the early days of the Civil War was a shortage of specie. Many people who sold items to the commissary and quartermaster departments, as well as civilian employees, would not accept government certificates of indebtedness and insisted on being paid with silver or gold. Captain McFerran, depot quartermaster, used some of his own money to pay employees and requested the loan of gold and silver from sutlers, merchants, and wealthy New Mexicans. William H. Moore, Fort Union sutler and contractor for military supplies, accepted certificates of indebtedness for all the specie he could raise, including what he received in his own business and what he could borrow on his personal note. McFerran later praised Moore for making possible the victory over the Confederate invaders of the territory, declaring that Moore "furnished us with every dollar we used at the time." McFerran also borrowed thousands of dollars in specie from affluent Hispanos. [51]

     By the time McFerran replaced Colonel James L. Donaldson as chief quartermaster in New Mexico in the fall of 1862, the quartermaster department in the territory was in debt over $800,000. McFerran sent Captain William H. Rossell, Tenth Infantry, to Washington to plead with Quartermaster General Meigs for funds and pointed out that if something was not done quickly the army might have to abandon New Mexico. Captain Rossell returned with funds, amount unknown, which McFerran reported were exhausted by April 1863. McFerran explained that government certificates of indebtedness were practically worthless in New Mexico because people refused to accept them. He requested that no more certificates be sent to him and implored Meigs to send money. [52]

     After the Texans were turned back in the spring of 1862, the department was strapped by a shortage of numerous supplies. McFerran virtually begged for additional funds as well as shipments of commodities from Fort Leavenworth. The limited amounts of grain and forage in New Mexico had mostly been consumed. Privately-owned wagons and draft animals were impressed into government service to assist with transportation of supplies throughout the department. Clothing, horses, and other needs were obtained wherever they could be found. [53] It is interesting to note that somehow a camel came into the possession of the depot quartermaster at Fort Union in 1862. This was one of a number of camels brought to the Southwest several years before to test as a possibility for transporting military supplies. The camels were not deemed satisfactory and were mostly turned loose. Someone apparently found one and turned it into the quartermaster department. Captain McFerran did not attempt to use it to alleviate the transportation problems in the department. The animal was sold to William Krönig who did try to utilize it for transportation, with what success was unknown. [54]

     The critical supply situation in New Mexico was relieved with the arrival at Fort Union of four wagon trains (three quartermaster trains and one owned by Irwin, Jackman and Co.) from Fort Leavenworth in June 1862. There were twenty-five wagons in each train. Altogether they delivered over a half-million pounds of equipment, clothing, and subsistence. Soon more trains arrived at Fort Union. Before the end of summer 1862 the quartermaster department sent two additional trains of twenty-five wagons and Irwin, Jackman and Co. sent another eighteen. The troops in the department then had an abundance of most items. [55] Large numbers of civilian employees were required to unpack, store, and repack materials for distribution to other posts.

     Because of the shortage of flour and beef within New Mexico, Captain Amos F. Garrison, department commissary of subsistence, requested that more than a million pounds of flour and 4,000 cattle be imported to keep the troops fed. [56] Fort Union was one of three posts designated to receive flour and beef. In July 1862 Garrison awarded contracts to supply Fort Union with 200,000 pounds of flour, 500 head of cattle, and an unspecified quantity of fresh beef. Other contracts were let for beans, corn meal, pickles, and sauerkraut. [57]

     Captain McFerran imported 1,668,000 pounds of corn for the quartermaster department in the summer of 1862 and purchased as much within New Mexico as possible. In December 1862 McFerran contracted for the delivery of an additional 530,000 pounds of corn from the East. He found hay within the department, much of which was purchased in small quantities from individual farmers. He did contract with four suppliers to deliver 135 tons of hay to Fort Union at $45 per ton. [58] Many necessities had to be imported into New Mexico for the duration of the Civil War because demands exceeded local supplies.

     Everything was in short supply in New Mexico in 1862, including laborers. In December Brigadier General Carleton requested that citizens work for twenty days without pay to strengthen the defense of Forts Union and Craig. Ceran St. Vrain brought 100 residents of Taos to Fort Union to help with the fieldwork, apparently the only favorable response to Carleton's plea. [59] The increased number of troops and subsequent growth in demand for supplies led to additional employment opportunities. Many New Mexicans obtained jobs with military contractors, especially with those who supplied forage, fire wood, and salt.

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