Historic Resource Study
Fort Union, N.M., June 16, 1868
Acting Assistant Adjutant General
Headquarters District of New Mexico
I have the honor to present the following Report of the Inspection made by me on the 31st ult. & 1st inst. of the Quartermaster Depot at Fort Union, under charge of Capt. George W. Bradley, A.Q.M. U.S.A. [Assistant Quartermaster United States Army].
This extensive Depot comprises in its immediate buildings three sets of Officers quarters, three sets of offices, five warehouses (three occupied by the Com[missa]ry & Clothing Depts.) and a large mechanics corral & shops; all of adobes, on stone foundations, with tin roofs & board floors; forming the finest buildings of the kind in the District, separated by a rear street, continuous with that of the Post, on the East side are the corrals, seven in number of logs or jackal; apparently temporary in character, but likely to remain permanent. Outside are two large picket corrals used for Hay, one still further Eastward by the Mule-herd; on the North two long frame Stables, formerly used as Commissary Storehouses, an engine house, machine shop, & yard, Adobe & brick yards, and numerous outbuilding[s] used by employees &c. The number of employees is about 265, from clerks through mechanics, train masters &c. to teamsters, laborers & herders; the number being considerably reduced from the former establishment, and running now at the lowest rate. The work done at present is chiefly repairs and some little construction for Union & other Posts; but the Depot is in a condition to be at any moment enlarged and worked upon a very extensive scale, all the tools, appliances, shops, materials &c. are on hand and in condition to be so employed.
In the general management of the business is observed a subdivision into several departments, under different heads, each held responsible for the property under his immediate control; as for instance the Store-Keeper for his Stores, the foreman of the shops and laborers for their tools &c. This subdivision is carried into the details of the office, where each clerk has a particular class of books & papers to attend to; the cashier has sole charge of the money & makes the account current, another the property return, another the correspondence &c. Mr Wylley the Chief Clerk is only so in name, he does not touch the papers, his duties being apparently those of a general superintendent of everything. There is no superintendent proper, rated as such, although one is allowed at $125 per month, and there is an office for him. The books & papers in the office were examined in series. The Qr. Mr. Gen'l acknowledged the receipt of the money papers for March. The Cash-Book seemed correct and upon a good system. The account current for April was seen, and the account of Internal Revenue Tax. Weekly statements of funds are sent to Dist. Hd. Qrs. The May accounts were also shown. Funds were $6119.09 on deposit in New York, $8138.07 in Santa Fe, and $278.25 cash in safe, which was counted. The amount was 18 cents over the balance in the Cash Book. Check books are used upon the depositories, and were shown. $600 sent to New York had not been heard from. The Cashier has his desk & safe in the North Office occupied by Capt. Bradley and by the corresponding clerk. The Letter received Book, alphabetically arranged with blank leaves, tags &c. is a very large & excellent one gotten up by Capt. Bradley himself, having beside the usual columns, a large one for disposition & action; is very complete and is very neatly kept. There is also a large Index book, with all office marks, well kept. The Letter book of Press copies, contained the best impressions yet seen, was very legible, which is by no means always the case, and showed that all papers for April had been forwarded. . . . In the opposite office, across the entry are kept the property Returns & papers. The report of persons and articles for April was a retained copy not signed by the Dist. Commander, who approves this paper. It showed 318 employees, & articles. The April Returns of Qr. Mrs. Stores & of Cl.C. & G.E. [Clothing, Camp & Garrison Equipage] kept by Capt. Bradley as Post Qr. Mr. were shown and appeared correct. Also Capt. Bradley's Return of ordnance for 1st Qr. 68, showing a number of Mississippi & other rifles, Sharps Carbines Pistols &c. on hand; and an expenditure of 100 musket & 190 pistol cartridges. Estimates of property for next year have been made. . . . In the rear office were excellent chests of old papers, letters & accounts very neatly arranged & filed. Stationery & blanks are on hand. Five clerks are employed. The offices are in very good order, and completely & handsomely furnished & fitted up; the walls adorned with plans & views of the Depot, &c.
On each side of the entry or hall of the office were arranged the Rifles in racks; counted here 148 Miss. Rifles, 33 Sharps Carbines, 6000 cartridges Cal. 58 (much more than are borne on the Return); 800 Cal. 57; 700 Remington & 500 Colt's Army pistol cartridges. In a Storeroom were 8 Miss. Rifles, 11 Sharps Carbines, 1 Spencer Rifle, 7 Enfields, 5 Muskets, & 6 Remington pistols. These arms were in indifferent order, some rusty, and those in the hall necessarily covered with dust. Capt. Bradley has beside, on his Qr. Mr. property Return, 5 travelling or Battery forges, properly Artillery; four of which were seen in the forage corral in an indifferent condition, under shelter but not cared for; one of them unserviceable. As the Rifles are of but little if any service to herders & teamsters, and the greater part on hand, are never used; it is recommended that all the ordnance, except perhaps the pistols, and such forges as are never employed, be turned into the Ordnance Dept.; and that an order be given Capt. Bradley to this effect.
On the day of inspection, May 31, being the last of the month the employees were mustered; 132 answering to their names, and 130 being absent. All the transportation present was drawn up for inspection, and certainly presented a very fine appearance, the wagons in good order; the mules in excellent condition, the harness all cleaned & blackened. There was seen one four-mule ambulance, 5 two-mule wagons, 2 one-mule carts, 1 eight-mule water wagon (very large, Splendid Mules), 6 six-mule water wagons (very good mules), 10 six-mule wood wagons, and 12 six-mule road teams making one train of newly repaired and covered wagons, of the Post teams, driven by enlisted men, there were one eight-mule water wagon, 9 six-mule wood wagons, with racks, 3 six-mule wood wagons with beds without covers, 2 four-mule ambulances, 1 two-mule wagon and 2 one-mule carts. Nothing could be better than the appearance of all these animals, harness &c. On the next day a train hauling sand [salt?], which had been out for forty days, was inspected upon its arrival. It consisted of 25 six-mule teams, the wagons good & new, the mules in very fair order, but many needing shoeing. Leaving the transportation standing, on the 31st an inspection was made of the shops, quarters & corrals before the return of the animals to the stables; giving an opportunity of viewing such as had not been brought out, or were disabled or sick. All mechanics & others were required to be at their Posts until passed by the Inspector.
The mechanics corral is formed by the shops & quarters enclosing it on three sides. In the centre is a well & pump worked by mules, drawing water, among other purposes, for a stream which running under the west shops irrigates the grass plot in front of the officers quarters. There is the Superintendents Office at the entrance; then the Harness Shop with two Saddlers, all necessary tools, buckets & axes for fires (which are in every room), but very little Leather; next Harness room for washing & cleaning harness, & making repairs, having a large quantity of harness hung up, lists of which are made daily by no's of articles; Tin-Shop with one tinner, at present engaged in repairing roofs, having much material; Paint-Shops, with two painters & paints, varnish pots &c. in abundance; Coopers Shop, with one cooper, making & mending Kegs &c. Blacksmiths Shop for repairing wagons, one Blacksmith & one Striker, two forges; tools & material in plenty; a long Wheelwrights Shop, with four men, & much material & tools. These are all on the west side.
On the South side are, first, two good rooms each occupied as quarters by four men; next a Kitchen with Stove, range & bake oven, two small Storerooms, one dining room with two tables laid with cloths & china furniture, being the mess establishment of 32 mechanics who board here turning in their rations, and having one cook authorized them. Next is another set of mechanics quarters, and a room for storing laborers' tools, which was not open; completing the S. side.
On the East side are, first, the Carpenter Shops, two large & long rooms, where three carpenters were then employed in making doors & sash for Fort Bascom, having a considerable quantity of tools material &c. The next room, having a dirt floor, was stored with wagon materials, wood, iron &c.; and succeeding it were the Blacksmiths Shops for shoeing, three rooms having also dirt floors; with quantities of shoes; the first room with two forges, the second with one, and the third with three. A charcoal room ended the side. All the shops were in fine working order, and capable of doing an enlarged amount of work. There was much old material standing in the corral, in the shape of wheels, wagon beds &c. Police was fair.
Crossing the rear Street on the East side, the corrals proper are entered. They are all of jackal buildings & stables, poor affairs, with log & dirt roofs, many reported leaky. Entering the main or wagon corral, the largest, it is found composed on the W. and S. sides of quarters of Employees, teamsters &c., rooms numerous, frequently small, many vacant, and of indifferent character, and Stores of Yard Master; and on the W and N sides mess houses of employees; the larger having one long mess room of the Yard men with a large, good stove, tables & benches, & a Storeroom; 62 men boarding here, turning in their rations, & having cooks provided for them. This is known as the Alligator Mess. The other mess, having separate cooking, is smaller, better, and more exclusive. On the North side is a corral formed of the same jackal buildings & stockade having, in an octagonal house, a yeso machine & jaspe or plaster, and houses where live some Mexican employees with their women. In the main corral is a well under cover, and tanks of water. State of police clean & good. Opening at the N.E. corner is a corral & stables for the Depot teams. The stables have troughs board & slab roofs, and were in only a tolerable state of police. Stables occupy the S.E. &N. sides. In the N.W. corner is an ice house, full; and four wagons stood in the Yard. At the entrance to this corral were some quarters, and the office of the Forage-master, who is a warrant officer, who has charge of all Forage, keeps account of it in book, and renders a daily return. Next is a second small corral for Depot trains, S. of the first, having stables &c. in the same condition. Two carts stood in the Yard: 17 mules stood in the stable, the police of which was tolerable; with a mare & colt. The express mules are also kept here, and there is an expressmens room. On East side of the main corral, and S of the last, is the corral of Forage-houses, or granaries. These are open frame-work buildings, three in numbers, raised from the ground on logs, having sloping roofs, and are dry and well ventilated. Carriage houses were here also, with private carriages in them and that of the sutler; and under shelter were found 2 caissons of the Post guns, 4 yellow ambulances, 2 old spring wagons, a room of single & double trees, & four old battery forges not much cared for. Then a room with bran, unserviceable sacks (over 10000 in number) &c. There was also a shed engine house, enclosed & covered, having an old double-deck Philadelphia fire engine, with hose & buckets; the machine covered by a paulin. The first grannary stood in the centre, and had two rooms, the first containing a lot of sacks; the second containing oats in sacks, covering a corn sheller. The second granary, on the North side, contained oats, and a little flour. The third granary, on the east side, contained corn at each end. The quality of grain here was roughly measured as follows: Oats 5490 cubic feet in sacks (liable to an error from the irregularity of one pile near the door, for which 1/8 was deducted, and from the presence in the same pile of a corn sheller, for which 125 cubic feet were deducted); reducing the quantity 1/3 for sacks and computing the bushel of oats at 32 lbs and 2150 cubic inches to the bushel, gives 94131 lbs or by deducting 1/4 for sacks, 105408 lbs, averaging 100,000 lbs; the quantity on the Return & by the Forage-master report being about 200000 lbs! By a similar measure of corn, deducting 1/3 for sacks, at 56 lbs to the bushel, it was found to be 214182 lbs; the quantity on the Return, being 118,803 lbs & by the Forage master report about 203,000 lbs! The calculation is probably in error, but it was impracticable to make the measure more exact.
Passing by a narrow way between the granaries a long wagon Yard is entered, made by stockade, and extending the entire length of all the corrals. It contained a large unoccupied frame building or shed, and was otherwise filled with old wagons in every stage of repair, or dilapidation, number 266, many of them were condemned.
Returning to the main corral, at the S.E. corner of it is the entrance to a corral & jackal stables used by transient trains; the stables in indifferent order, the police of the yard tolerable only.
The corral at the South end contains as follows: a neatly kept stable for officers horses; where also the sutler's permitted to keep his horses, and it was reported that he furnished his own forage & a man to take care of them. A fence is run across the yard and another at right angles to it, making two enclosures at the East end, in one of which were three yoke of excellent oxen. These animals, it was reported, are an expense to the Gov't to feed, do no work, and required the attention of one man. It is therefore suggested that they may be made very useful elsewhere, as for instance if a new post should be built in the Navajoe country, in hauling logs &c. On the South side of this Corral is a sort of mule Hospital; a stable in which were nine mules & one horse, many of them ill; two entire mules represented as unmanageable &c. In the pen next the oxen were 13 poor mules. Police of stables was good; of pens indifferent. By this corral was also a bakery for employees mess, with two bakers, a stove & oven, and some mens quarters. No account seems to be kept or return made of the savings of these bakeries.
East of the Depot, at some distance, is an old corral of stockade, with sheds inside, water tank & troughs, the ground covered with manure, where was kept the mule herd, and where were counted 448 mules, usually divided into two herds for grazing. These mules were many small or poor & broken down, and several condemned. By an order of Gen'l Sherman (so reported) horses are not allowed to be used in the Q.M. Dept. for herding or other purposes; which renders nugatory the recommendations of the Inspector as to the disposition of certain cavalry horses, unsuitable for that service but quite fit for herding purposes. As there is no Light Artillery in New Mexico unserviceable Cav'ly horses can, therefore, only be sold. The mule herd is reported to suffer frequently from theft. The grazing around Fort Union is now improving fast. Here was seen another battery forge; & still East of this corral is a row of rough, plank houses occupied by herders. At the time of the Inspection a Hay train arrived from Sweetwater, where fair Hay is procured, in open market at $22 per ton. It consisted of 26 six-mule teams, having on about 2000 lbs of Hay each, & one mess wagon; in good order; and was in addition to the transportation already seen. Five large corrals, nearer the Depot, of stockade with gates, having some lumber & slabs contained the hay ricks; the Hay in the first old, good & well stacked. That in the other corral further north, was loosely thrown off the wagons, some of which were still unloaded. All hay was placed on slabs. The hay in the first rick was measured at 67.5 tons, or 135000 lbs; the other pile, more roughly, at 44-3/4 tons, or 89500 lbs; total 224500 lbs.
By the Return the hay on hand was only 27169 lbs & by the Forage-master's report 52054 lbs.
North of the Depot is the lumber yard a sort of corral enclosure made by a low stockade, with some wood & lumber inside & out (a good deal from tearing down of old buildings); having a house in the corner containing a good, fine steam engine running a large machine shop (a frame building also in corner); which has a mortise machine; two planing machines (one in use), a circular saw, a sash-sticking machine, a jig-saw, and a tenon machine; and in cellar, where the belting communicates with the flywheel, a turning lathe, grind-stones &c.; all machinery being in good order; and apparently capable of doing much excellent work. At present there are employed one engineer, one fireman, & one machinist.
Still further north of the Depot is a long, old adobe shed full of adobes; and a brick yard with about (as reported) 200000 burnt bricks. The yard has six empty, plank-covered brick sheds, and three brick machines. A watchman stays here at night, having a small shed for his protection. The Return calls for 73000 adobes, after expending 15000 in the month of May, and for 43800 bricks, after expending 25000 in May, it is not known in what way.
N.W. of the Depot are some six sets of old jackal & plank quarters occupied by employees, which are conspicuous and not very ornamental. There is also, lower down & nearer the cienega, an old square brick or lime burning tower.
Capt. Bradley has constructed, in front of the Commissary Storehouses, an excellent underground cistern, of the capacity of 22,000 gals, communicating by pipe with the roofs of the warehouses, and having a waste-run; and another is contemplated further South.
The two long frame sheds just North of the commissary Storehouses & formerly used by that Dept. have been allowed to stand & to be put to use as stables for trains & teams just from the road. They are good sheds, in tolerable order, serving a useful purpose; and would be considered at many Posts as very fair stables. It is suggested that the drainage from their sloping roofs might, with little trouble, be economized & rendered available in tanks or cisterns. The North or third set of offices of the Depot is occupied as quarters by clerks.
The first warehouse of Q.M. Stores is divided into a number of small neat rooms: No. 1. was empty; No 2. was the Store-keepers room or office; No 3. contained Hardware neatly arranged on shelves, such as carpenters tools, screws, bolts, augers, &c., much material of all sorts; No 4. was the issue room of the M.S.K.; No 5 contained Stores for shipment, in boxes & condemned property; No 6. contained bits, straps, saddles, surcingles, girths, citizen saddles, blankets &c. for transportation; No 7. contained on shelves, horse medicines & stationery, blanks, Spirits Nitre, lamp chimneys, inks, &c in good & neat order; No's 8 & 9. contained unserviceable Stores to be presented for condemnation.
The next warehouses, of two long rooms with an entry, contained the principal Qr. M. Stores in bulk, piled generally in fair order, somewhat dusty; boxes unopened, some put up here; windows all glazed & iron barred &c. Buckets of water & axes for fires were distributed throughout. The annexed Statement shows the principal of these Stores, but cannot be considered a very accurate count of them, or as exhibiting all the Stores on hand. It will not agree exactly with the Return; in some cases showing more than is borne there, in others less; but it serves as an indication of what is on hand in this Dept.
Statement of Some of the Principal Quartermaster Stores found on hand at Fort Union Depot.
|Chains||81 boxes & 4 barrels||Iron hoops||6 bundles|
|shutter, bolts||500||Shoeing Tools||17 sets|
|Rope||large pile||Farmer Irons (bellows)||15|
|Hoes||485 & 2 barrels||Fire, benders||4|
|Water Kegs, hoops & heads||15 cases||Corn & Cob Crushers||6|
|water Kegs, handles||lot||Vices||16|
|Water Kegs, in parts||420, not made up||Pitch Forks & Rakes||many|
|Linch pins||3 boxes||King bolts||508|
|Files||1 box||Wagon hammer||286|
|Fire & Chain bolts||3 boxes||Tongue bolt||348|
|Coopers planes||86||Claw hammer||lot|
|Axe & Hatchet handles||lot||Auger||lot|
|Adzes & handles||72||Framing chisels||18 sets|
|Carpenter's Adzes||36||Razing planes||12|
|Jack Screws||45||Drawing Knives||200|
|Cross-cut saws||lot||Fanning mills||6|
|Corn shellers||14||Bench Screw||12|
|Lead pipe||lot||Glass||560 boxes|
|Hay & straw Cutters||2||Bridle leather||24 sides|
|White lead||11,000 lbs. in cans||Stationery||41 boxes|
|Shoeing nails||11 barrels & 363 boxes||Ink||10 doz. boxes|
|Iron turning lathe||1||Horse medicines||37 boxes|
|Grind Stones||30||Linament & Spirits Nitre||4 boxes|
|Buckets||142||Farmer knives||3 boxes|
|Picket pins||4,278||Rosin||9 barrels|
|Open Rings||3 boxes & 1 cask||Hames||lot|
|Cooper's Stuff||lot||Black lead||700 lbs.|
|Horse rasps||630||Yellow ochre||5,100 lbs.|
|Force pumps||5||Fireplace grates||116|
|Boreing Machine||1 box||Tin & Zinc||146 boxes|
|Coal Oil||50 gals.||Nails||300-400 kegs|
|Turpentine||220 gals.||Linseed oil||1560 gals.|
|Tar Buckets||several hundred||Shovels||18 doz.|
|Pickaxes||30 boxes||Spades||23 doz.|
|Felling Axes||60 boxes||Sperm oil||10 gals.|
|Safes, large||2||Alcohol||2 cans|
|Blankets||900||Counter Scales||9 boxes|
|Saddle Blankets||918||Platform Scales||1|
|Mule Shoes||3,330 lbs.||Blind bridles||900|
|Horse Shoes||4,500 lbs.||Hoe & Rake handles||lot|
|Bellows, large||18||Harness||2,646 sets|
|Iron Cook Range||1 Cart||Harness||5 sets|
|Hay Scales||3||Lead lines||1 box|
|Pack Saddles||855||Artillery Harness||24 sets|
|Canvas panniers||650||Ambulance Harness||58 sets|
|Hame straps||3,100||Double lines||380|
|Neck straps||6,300||Check line||800|
|Riding Saddles||92||Gunny sacks||18,750|
|Halter chains||6,300||Horse & Mule collars||many|
|Ox yokes & bows||lot||Skillets & bake ovens||49|
|Cement||25 barrels||Shovel & Fork handles||many|
|Shovels, long handled||lot||Curry combs||260|
|Pack covers||1,380||Wagon covers||1,373|
|Halters & Straps||2,800|
In bins in the entry were many and new Horse brushes & Whitewash brushes. In the yard were mowing machines, old, & worn, 3 saw mills in parts, 2 horse-powers, 12 ploughs, all piled loosely, and a lot of wagon box on top the shed. There was also piled in the yard a lot of old cans, scythe handles, parts (boxes) of corn crushers, jockey sticks, wagon hubs, chain pump fixtures & chains, cogwheels, saw mill castings, wagon boxes, iron castings, iron pipe, large lot of wooden wagon stuff & one barrel of tar, &c.
The herd of horses is kept under contract on the Sapillo, about seven miles distant, from the Post, and was visited and inspected on June 5th. There is good grazing & water & good corrals; and Capt. Bradley keeps one of his own men on the spot to see that the horses get their full allowance of grain. The herd has been pretty well picked over, and has many Cavalry horses recuperating, 223 were present & were counted; and 15 were condemned & branded. Perhaps more should have been selected for the purpose, but the uncertainty as to the number or kind of horses that might be brought from the States this season made the Inspector doubtful about proceeding further. The horses are picking up rapidly & look well. Many of them might be used for herding, if it were permitted; and others, perhaps, would be better for Artillery draught.
The Quartermaster Depot of Fort Union is an extensive establishment; the care of it is a great responsibility, its trains and property are frequently scattered all over the District. The general impression produced by the inspection is certainly that it is well and ably managed; and Capt. Bradley, its chief, appears thoroughly acquainted with his duties. Complaints have been made as to the partiality evinced by the luxurious surroundings of the quarters of the Depot Officers, particularly of those of the Qr-master himself, as compared with other Posts. That they made, at public expense, improvements around them, which were denied elsewhere, Officers at Fort Union stated that they could not procure stoves for their Companies, while the messes of Qr. M's employees were all fitted out with them. Such as the Depot quarters are now it is believed they were made by the predecessors of the present Officers; or if improvements have been since done it has been at private expense. Fort Union is, beyond doubt, out of proportion to all other Posts in the District, in point of the comforts which have been heaped upon it. They are so far the more fortunate who chance to be stationed there. It has been represented to the Inspector that the fault as to the stoves lies solely with some previous Post Q.M. who neglected to mention them in his annual estimate.
The duties of Depot Qr Master seem sufficient to engross the attention of one officer without requiring of him, the additional care of the Post; and it is difficult to see how a man can serve under two distinct chiefs, without making one position give way to the other. It is, therefore, recommended that the Post & Depot Qr.M. Dept. & Commissariat be made separate & distinct from each other.
1. Evans to AAAG DNM, June 16, 1868, LR, OIG, RG 159, NA. The table included in this report has been edited.
Santa Fe Trail Research Site
"E-Mail & Home Page"
Larry & Carolyn
St. John, Ks.