1869 --- A Troubling Start, Then Action Winds Down
Arson. racial tension, public health issues, downsizing the military---headlines from the present? Perhaps. But these topics were also the "lead stories" making news at Fort Larned during 1869.
The year opened with simmering racial problems that reached a kindling point---literally---in the early morning hours of January 2. The tension was perhaps fueled by post-Civil War attitudes about racial differences, the long-standing rivalry between infantry and cavalry units, and the fact few black and white troops had had experience in living as close together as the quarters at Fort Larned required.
The incident began in late December when several men from Company A, 10th U.S. Cavalry, rented a pool table at the sutler's store. During the game, two troopers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry's Company C entered the room. With a boast from one of the infantry-men, "We struck one nigger today and we can do it again," a fight broke out.
When told of the disturbance, Major John E. Yard, the post commander, reportedly concluded. "I guess the only thing to do is get those blacks out of here." Blaming the fight on the pair of cavalrymen who had reacted to the infantryman's slur, Yard ordered all of Compariv A to spend the night of January 1 guarding a woodpile a half mile from the post.
Although the major later claimed he ordered the guard duty to prevent further difficulties between the black and white troops, other officers at Fort Larned saw it as punishment. They felt Yard's actions were harsh. considering the temperature that night was barely twenty degrees and the weather was stormy. They also questioned why no one in the infantry company involved was disciplined.
Then, early on the morning of January 2, the cavalrymen's stables mysteriously caught fire. With all the men of the company away from the post, the blaze was not discovered until 6:30 a.m. By that time, the fort's bucket brigade was no match for the flames. The frame building was a total loss.
Destroyed in the blaze were 39 horses, 40 saddles, 30 tons of hay, 500 bushels of grain, as well as 6,000 rounds of ammunition and other camp and garrison equipage. At the board of investigation held several days later, blame was fixed on Captain Nicholas Nolan, one of the white officers of the cavalry company. The board held him responsible for the losses and ordered him to pay S5,000 to cover the damages. (After many years, Nolan eventually exonerated himself and received compensation for his lost wages.)
The board's actions did little to diffuse the tense racial situation and, fearing further trouble, Major Yard ordered the black troops to duty at Fort Zarah. Soon after the unit marched out of Fort Larned on the morning of January 7, an infantry private discovered another fire---this one in the barracks just vacated by the Buffalo Soldiers. The blaze was confined to some straw and old clothing piled in a corner of the squad room, and as the major reported to his superiors, This was evidentIy the work of an incendiary." The identity of the fort's arsonist, or arsonists, remains unknown.
The transfer of Company A, 10th Cavalry, from Fort Larned ended the racial incident, as well as the unit's twenty-one months of service at the post. Like other Buffalo Soldiers, as they were known, the men from the 10th Cavalry served with distinction. Despite discrimination and often open hostility, African American troops had the lowest desertion rates in the Army. In November 1868, a detachment from Company A pursued and fought Indian raiders for twenty miles, finally killing two of them. The men of the 10th were the last cavalry troops to be stationed at Larned.
The remainder of 1869 proved to be fairly routine. It was also a harbinger of quieter years ahead for Fort Larned and the Santa Fe Trail. With the closure of the fort's Indian agency in September 1868 and General Philip Sheridan's determined (and devastating) winter campaign in Indian Territory and Texas, most Plains tribes were subsequently forced onto reservations. Although there were later conflicts between Indians and troops in Kansas, none involved men from Larned.
At the same time, there seemed to be a reluctance to fight the soldiers' other enemy---disease. After he relieved post surgeon William H. Forwood in June, Assistant Surgeon Alfred A. Woodhull complained again and again to his superiors about poor sanitary conditions at the post, as well as the rundown state of the fort's adobe hospital.
As 1869 wound down, the cost-conscious Army reduced the size of Larned's garrison. By November, just seven officers and 56 enlisted men were stationed at the fom Troop strength increased in December when Company A of the 37th U.S. Infantry arrived and was consolidated with Companies C, D and K of the 3rd Infantry. After the early 1870s, the numbers of men in the garrison gradually decreased until the post was deactivated in 1878.
Military activity in Kansas, 1869
By Marvin Garfield
Adapted from. "Defense of the Kansas Frontier, 1868-1869," in Kansas Historical Quarterly, November 1932
. . . Throughout the winter months of the new year  Sheridan's campaign continued. By the end of March the Indians had all been forced upon their reservations and the war was practically over so far as the southern tribes were concemed. There still remained in Kansas the danger of depredations from the Sioux, Northern Chevenne and Dog Soldier bands, who ususlly spent part of each year hunting buffalo along the Smoky Hill and Republican.
As a consequence, renewed outbreaks occurred and Governor [James M.] Harvey was compelled to follow the example of [Samuel J.] Crawford in calling out a militia battalion for frontier duty. Pawnees and Osages also gave some trouble. In general, though, the Indian raids were much less serious than those of 1864 to 1868. . . .
[But] Indian affairs in Kansas were not entirely quiet. In January General Sully warned Governor Harvey that hostile Indians had recentIv been seen near Hays. Sully believed that the exposed settlers should be warned. He added that all of his spare cavalry was engaged in patrol duty on the Sahne and Solomon, but that more had been applied for. Indians were reported in February on the Smoky Hill west of Junction City. Governor Harvey accordingly warned the settlements and ordered various frontiersmen to raise squads of scouts for defense. Colonel McAfee hastened towards the frontier to make arrangements for supplying these scouts with rations. Adjutant General McKeever, of Fort Leavenworth, on February 27 issued 3,000 rounds of ammunition to Governor Harvey for distribution among frontier settlers.
The Kansas state legislature took action in February and . . . authorized the governor to call into immediate active service not more than 200 state militia to be starioned at the most exposed points. When General J.M. Schofield succeeded Sheridan as commander of the Department of the Missouri on March 20, 1869, the winter campaign had practically ended and the troops were enroute to their usual stations. The 19th Kansas [after bringing Little Robe's band of Cheyennes into Camp Supply] was ordered to Fort Hays on March 31. and was mustered out April 18. Only one man of the regiment was killed in service.
Indian affairs by this time were fairly well settled. The Arapahoes were located at Camp Supply in complete submission. The Comanches, Kiowas and Apaches were on their reservation. The Cheyennes had promised to make their submission in a short rime, but dissension was rife in their ranks. The Dog Soldier bands under Tall Bull refused to make peace, whereas the majority of the tribe had tasted enough of war and favored accepting the reservation.
As a consequence the tribe divided. Tall Bull and 250 warriors with their families joining the Sioux and Northern Cheyennes on the Republican, while Little Robe and the greater part of the tribe remained in Indian Territory and were ultimately provided with a reservation in the vicinity of Camp Supply.
Tall Bull and his cohorts on the Republican were not content to let matters rest. On May 21, 1869, Sioux and Cheyennes made a raid in Republic County, killing thirteen persons and taking two women and a child captive. On May 29 Indians attacked the Kansas Pacific railroad near Fossil Creek. Two miles of track were torn up. a train was ditched and traffic held up for nearly a day. The next day the Saline Vallev was victim of a raid nearly identical to that of May 21. Thirteen people were killed and wounded and two more women were captured. General Custer immediately left Fort Hays in pursuit, but failed to catch the Indians. It remained for Major General Carr to administer the final blow to Tall Bull's band. Carr with his 5th Cavalry had been operating under General C.C. Augur in the Platte division of the Department of the Missouri. On July 11, Carr with seven companies of cavalry and 150 Pawnee scouts under Major North, complete destroved Tall Bull's village at Summit Springs, Colorado. Tall Bull was killed and his band nearly annihilated.
After the Indian raids in May and June, the militia was again called into service. Four companies and a detachment were mustered in during July and stationed on the northwestern frontier. The 2nd Frontier Battalion, as it was called, served until November 20, 1869, when the final muster out occurred. Although originally organized with a roll of eleven officers and 300 enlisted men. the number was gradually reduced as the Indian danger diminished. . . . The troops patrolled the border line effectively, but never came into contact with any large numbers of Indians. This was the last militia battalion ever called out to defend the Kansas frontier.
In addition to its troubles with the Plains tribes, Kansas suffered at the hands of its own reservation Indians. Numerous complaints reached Governor Harvey concerning petty depredations of Pawnees, Otoes and Osages. . . .
In order to repay in a measure the Kansas settlers who had suffered at the hands of the Indians, the state legislature in 1869 passed an act providing for a commission to investigate and allow claims of citizens for damages done by Indians in 1867 and 1868. The commission visited Ellsworth, Saline, Ottawa, Cloud and Mitchell counties and allowed a total of 120 claims for an aggregate of $58,944.34. . . .
Kansas in addition carried on some relief work in cooperation with the U.S. Army. In February General Sully rationed the destitute settlers of the Saline and Solomon regions and then informed Govemor Harvey of his investigations. General Sherman also sent an inspector to the locality, who in turn reported to the Kansas governor. In this report General N.H. Davis, assistant inspector general of the Department of the Missouri, announced that the government had provided for the immediate wants of the settlers by issuing food and clothing. The settlers, however, were in great need of seed wheat, which the military authorities were unable to furnish: consequently he appealed to Governor Harvey to furnish it. As a result the Kansas state legislature on March 1 passed an act authorizing the governor to purchase and distribute $15,000 worth of seed wheat to the destitute frontier citizens. . . .
War Department statistics for the years 1868 and 1869 indicate that these two years were the worst in the history of Plains warfare in the Department of the Missouri. Indian depredations for the period ran as follows: 158 people murdered; 16 wounded, 41 scalped: 14 women outraged; one man, four women and seven children captured; 21 houses attacked and burned; 12 stage coaches attacked and impeded; four wagon trains destroyed; and 18 Indians killed in these attacks.
Statistics on conflicts between the Indians and the military are as follows: number of engagements, 11; total number of soldiers killed, 35; total number of soldiers wounded, 49; Indians killed, 291; Indians wounded, 250. With the close of this period the worst Indian troubles in Kansas had ended, although the years that followed brought their toll of death and destruction to the venture-some pioneers of the Jayhawk State.
1869: A Chronology
This chronology includes selected letters and orders relating to life at Fort Larned in 1869. Because the complete microfilm record of that year was not available when this issue was prepared, the text of the post surgeon's twelve monthly reports is also included. In order to preserve chronological order as much as possible, the surgeon's accounts have been divided and placed among each month's entries. In some cases, this alters the sequence of paragraphs in the original report.
The first letter is reproduced in its complete form: others are shown without headings and closings in order to save space. The only changes made in the original text are the punctuation and other corrections noted. The unfortunate combination of a clerk's poor penmanship, cryptic abbreviations, and his apparent aversion to keeping ink in his pen, leaves an annoying number of [-?-]s in parts of the 1869 correspondence. Sources are listed at the end of the article.
January 1 --- Hd. Qrs. Fort Larned Kansas
January 1st 1869
The Adjt. General U.S.A.
I have the honor to transmit herewith Post Returns of Fort Larned Kansas for the month of December 1868.
Your Obd. Servt,
(signed] J.E. YARD
Major 10th U.S. Cavalry
Those post returns showed an enlisted force totalling 150 men, from Companies C, D and K of the 3rd U.S. Infantry and Company D of the 10th U.S. Cavalry.
The Fort Larned officer corps numbered six: Major John Edmond Yard, 10th U.S. Cavalry, commanding post, Captain (Brevet Major) William Henry Forwood, Assistant Surgeon, post surgeon; Captain (Brevet Major) Daingerfield Parker, Company K, 3rd U.S. Infantry, commanding company; 1st Lieutenant Charles Louis Umbstaetter, Company C, 3rd U.S. Infantry, commanding company, post quartermaster, post adjutant and assistant commissary of subsistence; Captain Nicholas Nolan. Company A, 10th U.S. Cavalry, commanding company; and 2nd Lieutenant Benjamin F. Bell, 10th U.S. Cavalry, on company duty.
Letter from Major Yard to Brevet Major Edward Albert Belger, Acting Assistant Adjutant General, District of the Upper Arkansas, Fort Harker:
I have the honor to transmit herewith Train Report of Fort Larned Kans for the month of December 1868.
January 2 --- One of the most telling accounts of the cavalry stable fire was included in the Medical history of Fort Larned by Major Forwood, post surgeon:
On the morning of Janr. 2nd just after reveille the stables of Troop K 10th Cavalry took fire & were burned to the ground, destroying at the same time thirty nine public & several private horses together with ordnance stores, camp & garrison equipage &c. &c. The origin of the fire is unexplained. The night of the 1st & 2nd was stormy & bitter cold & A Troop 10th Cav. had been sent out of the post to do pennance [sic] by guarding the wood pile!!! One sentinel had been sufficient before but this night a larger force was deemed necessary. The darkey [apparently referring to the stable guard who would have ordinarily been on duty] spent a cold night on the woodpile & was absent at "stables" in the morning where he otherwise would have been to put out the fire.
The fire order of September 23rd did not seem of any avail. The building was of light frame material & burned with great rapidity.
Special Orders No. 1, by order of Major Yard:
I. With a view of joining their proper companies, 1st Lieutenant [Burke ?] Co "B" 3d Infantry and the detachment of the 19th Kansas Cavalry now at this Post will proceed to Fort Dodge Ks, with the Train which leaves for that Post tomorrow morning, and upon arrival there will report to the Comdg Officer.
January 3 --- Letter from Major Yard to Major Belger, District of the Upper Arkansas:
I have the honor to report that "A" Companys stables were burned yesterday morning about half past six oclock Iosing Thirty-nine  horses and all the horse equipments, a large amount of ordnance, and Ten  days rations of forage for 60 horses, the cause of the fire is yet unknown.
Special Orders No. 2, by order of Major Yard:
I. Bvt Lt Col Nolan Capt Co "A" 10th Cavalry, will immediately mount as many men of his Troop as he has horses, for the purpose of making a scout under 2nd Lieut B.F. Bell between Forts Larned and Harker.
Upon arrival at Fort Harker Lieut Bell will report to the Comdg Officer of the District of the Upper Arkansas.
The Ordnance Officer at Fort Larned will turn over to Capt Nolan such ordnance and ordnance stores as may be required for this purpose---The Quartermaster Department will furnish the necessary transportation for forage.
Letter from Major Yard to the adjutant general, U.S. Army:
I have the honor to transmit herewith Descriptive List of Deserters apprehended and accused[,] and descriptive list of deserters undergoing sentence for the month of December 1868.
January 4 --- Special Orders No. 3, by order of Major Yard:
I. Until further orders the saloons at this Post will be closed to all persons excepting Commissioned Officers.
January 6 --- Medical history by Major Forwood:
A board of investigation was had in the premises before which the whole matter [of the January 2 stable fire] was ventilated, the result of which was to charge the contents of the stables excepting the horses [amounting to some $5,000.00] to Col. Nolan, Commanding the troop.
A few days after this "A" Troop was relieved from the post & ordered to proceed to Fort Zarah, Kansas, relieving Co "D" 3rd Inf. which reported at this post.
Special Orders No. 5. by order of Major Yard:
I. Pursuant to Special Orders No 182 Hdqrs Dist of the Upper Arkansas January 4th 1869 Troop "A" 10th US Cavalry will without delay proceed to Fort Zarah Kansas, and relieve Co "D" 3d US Infantry now stationed there.
II. Upon the application of Bvt Lieut Col N Nolan Capt Co "A" 10th Cavalry, a Board of Survey will convene at this Post, at 11 A.M. today for the purpose of fixing the responsibility of the loss of forty-one  horses, ordnance, ordnance stores, Quartermaster property, clothing, camp and garrison Equipage pertaining to Co "A" 10th US Cavalry and for which Capt & Bvt Lieut Col Nolan is responsible.
|Bvt Major D Parker Capt||3d US Infantry|
|Bvt Major W H Forwood||Asst Surg USA|
|1st Lieut C L Umbstaetter||3d Infantry|
General Orders No. 1, by order of Major Yard:
The Post Council convened by General Order No 36 Ex 3 from these Hd Qrs. dated Dec 30 1869, will re-convene today for the purpose appropriating to Co "A" 10th Cavalry, about to leave this Post, its share of the Post Fund.
January 7 --- Letter from Major Yard to Major Belger, District of the Upper Arkansas:
I have the honor to inform you that shortly after Co "A" 10th Cavalry left this Post for Fort Zarah, this morning, it was found that an attempt to burn the barracks in which they were quartered had been made. Pvt Mulberry of Co "K" 3rd Infantry, the first one who entered the building after the fire was discovered, found the room filled with a dense smoke and in one part of it a pile of straw, from the bed-sacks, covered with old clothes[,] was found in a blaze. This was evidently the work of an incendiary.
The fire was extinguished without any further damage to the building than the breaking of several of the windows [and] a slight charing of the floor.
January 9 --- Special Orders No. 6, by order of Major Yard:
Corpl Ryan Co "D" 3d Infantry will proceed to Fort Zarah in charge of the wagons now leaving for that Post. He will have command of the [-?-], train &c and will be obeyed accordingly.
January 10 --- Letter from Major Yard to the commanding officer, Fort Zarah:
I have the honor to transmit herewith charges against Pvts Robert Diggs and Zack Caldwell Co A 10th US Cavalry
The Major Geni Comdg directs that they be released from confinement and returned to duty without trial.
January 12 --- Although Company A, 10th Cavalry, had been transferred to Fort Zarah, controversy remained over their treatment by Major Yard on January 1. Letter from Major Yard to Major Belger, District of the Upper Arkansas:
Enc[losed] one com[munication] of Lieut. Bell, Fort Larned, Ks, dated Jany 2d 1869 states that in the night of Jan 1st 1869 he recd orders from Comdg Officer of this Post to march Co "A" 10th Cavalry to guard a woodpile about half a mile form this post. I respectfully protest against the company being sent out and punished and degraded in this manner for the Offence of a few of the men. I[t] looks to me that the Company of Infantry to which the men belonged who were engaged in the disturbance on that day ought to receive the same treatment as my company.
I did not accept an appointment in the regular Army to guard Wood Piles in disgrace before the troops.
A communication similar to the within was received from Bvt Lieut Col Nolan Comdg Co "A" on January 1st 1869, and returned with the endorsement that his Company was not sent to the wood pile to degrade or punish it, but to avoid a conflict between white and colored troops.
I do not know for what reason Lieut Bell accepted an appointment in the Army, and I did not learn from him that it was not to guard wood piles, until it was to[o] late to relieve him of the duty, had I been disposed to do so, as this protest was written on the 2nd and endorsed by his Co commander on the 3rd inst [but] was not received by me until the 9th inst.
Special Orders No. 7, by order of Major Yard:
In order to carry out the instructions of January 6th from Hdqrs Dist Upper Arkansas, a Board of Officers to consist of Major J.E. Yard 10th Cavalry, 1st Lieut A Kaiser 3rd Infantry and 2nd Lieut C M Shepherd 3d Infty will assemble at this Post tomorrow morning at 10 oclock A.M. or as soon thereafter as practicable, to investigate and find out the cause of the recent riot and difficulty between the white and colored troops at this Post. A full statement of the facts will be forwarded to Dist hdqrs.
The junior member will record the procedings.
January 14 --- Special Orders No. 8, by order of Major Yard:
Sergt James [Mohr ?I Co "K"[,] Five  Pvts Co D[,] Three  pvts Co "C" and two  Co "K" 3d Infantry, will proceed tomorrow morning to Fort Dodge, Kans, as escort to Major Smith [-?-] USA.
After completing this duty the detachment will return by way of Buckners Ranche and procure the mail for this Post. Each man will be furnished with five  days rations and forty  rounds of Ammunition.
The Quartermaster Department will furnish the necessary transportation.
January 19 --- Special Orders No. 9, by order of Major Yard:
Capt James A Snyder 3rd US Infantry having reported at this Hd Qrs in compliance with Special Orders No. 163 Ex I VI from Hdqrs Genl Recruiting Service US Army, New York City Nov 16th 1868, will assume command of Company "C" 3rd Infantry relieving 1st Lt C L Umbstaetter 3rd Infantry from command of the same.
January 24 --- Medical history by Major Fonvood:
Januar. 24th the following order was issued, with regard to police of the garrison, commencing tomorrow & continuing until further orders. The Companies will be turned out at fatigue call & will police until recall from fatigue. The vicinity of the houses of citizens & QMr Employees will be policed by their occupants & all rubbish placed in piles to be hauled away by the police wagon. The officer who has been off guard one day will be the "Police officer" & will have charge of the policing parties. The "Police officer" will report to the Commanding officer at fatigue call every morning.
January 26 --- Letter from 1st Lieutenant C.L. Umbstaetter, post adjutant, to Major Forwood:
The Commanding [officer] directs that you explain in writing the cause of your absence from sick-call this morning. He further directs that the sick-report of the Hospital be sent to this office each morning as soon after sick-call as practicable, signed by the Post Surgeon, and having in the column of remarks a statement of the precise time at which he visited the Hospital in the morning.
January 28 --- Medical history by Major Forwood:
Januar. 28th a pet buffalo eight months old & on Janr. 31st a pet wolf belonging to the medical Department of the post were declared a public nuisance & ordered out of the post.
Letter from Lieutenant Umbstaetter to Major Forwood:
The Commanding Officer directs that the Buffalo calf belonging to you and which is kept in the stables in rear of the officers quarters, be removed therefrom as the mules in trains passing by are frequently frightened by it.
January 31 --- Letter from Lieutenant Umbstaetter to Major Forwood:
The Commanding Officer directs me to call your attention to the manner in which the stone work to the entrance to the cellar of your quarters has been worn by the chain with which your wolf is fastened. Complaints have also been made of the howling of the wolf at night. It is therefore directed that you have the animal removed to someplace where it will not be an annoyance to the garri[son].
February 4 --- Letter from Lieutenant Umbstaetter to 1st Lieutenant August Kaiser, commanding Company D, 3rd U.S. Infantry:
The Commanding officer directs that charges be made out against Corpl Ryan Co "D" 3d Infantry as a Garrison Court Martial convenes today. The charges will be sent to this office with the least possible delay.
Letter from Lieutenant Umbstaetter to Lieutenant Lorenzo Wesley Cooke, 3rd U.S. Infantry, Post Quartermaster:
The Commanding officer directs that you forward to the Chief Commissary of the District through this office, an estimate for such a quantity of each of the garden seeds enumerated in the enclosed list, as you may deem necessary to supply the Post garden next summer. Also an estimate for the garden implements that will probably be required. I enclose herewith Circular No. 2. from Dist HdQrs. dated Jan 31st 1869 which you will please return to this office with the estimates.
February 6 --- Letter from Lieutenant Umbstaetter to Major Forwood:
I have the honor to return to you your morning report of the sick and to invite your attention to letters from this HdQrs dated Jan 26th 1869.
February 7 --- Letter from Lieutenant Umbstaetter to Lieutenant Cooke:
The Commanding Officer directs that a lock be placed on the case of the clock at the Guard-House, the key of which will be sent to this office.
February 9 --- General Orders No. 4, by order of Major Yard:
Before a Garrison Court Martial which convened at this Post pursuant to Special Orders No [-?-] from these Hd Qrs dated Feby 4/69 and of which Capt. J.A. Snyder 3d Infty is President were arraigned and tried
1. George S. Bullis Priv Co "C" 3d Infantry
Charge---Conduct to the prejudice of good order and military description.
Specification---in this that he Pvt George S Bullis Co "C" 3d Infty. when ordered by Crpl Henry Ross Co "C" 3d Infty to turn out for fatigue did refuse to obey said orders saying I'll go to the Guardhouse first or words to that effect.
Trial Fort Larned Ks on the morning of Feby 3rd 1869.
To which charge and Specification the prisoner pleaded as follows.
|To the Specification||"Guilty"|
|To the Change||"Guilty"|
|Of the Specification||Guilty|
|Of the Charge||Guilty|
To forfeit to the United States Five Dollars [$5] of his monthly pay for one month.
2. . . .
3. Corpl & Lance Sergt John Ryan Co "D" 3d Infty
Charge---Conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline
Specification---In this that he, Corpl & Lance Sergt John Ryan
Co "D" 3rd Infantry, did say to Michael Mahaney Co "K" 3rd Infantry---"You are the son of a . . . bitch and a damned coward["]
This at Fort Larned Kas on or about the 2nd of February 1869 in the orderly review of Co K 3rd Infantry.
To which charge and Specification the prisoner pleaded as follows
|To the Specification||Guilty|
|To the Change||Guilty|
|Of the Specification||Guilty|
|Of the Charge||Guilty|
To ask pardon of Sergt Mahaney for using the language set forth in the Specification and in the presence of his Commanding Officer in conformity with article of war No 21:
II. The Proceeding's findings and sentences in the forgoing cases are approved and the prisoners will be returned to duty
Ill. The Garrison Court Martial of which Capt JA Snyder is President is hereby dissolved.
February 11 --- Special Orders No. 20, by order of Major Yard:
I. The following named enlisted men are hereby detailed on extra duty in the Quartermaster Department as Laborers and will report to the AAQM for duty:
|Corpl Chas Kennedy||Co "K" 3d Infty|
|Priv Owen [Garasty ?]||Co "D" 3d Infty|
|Priv [-?-] Sutton||Co "C" 3d Infty|
|Priv Michael Keyan||Co "K" 3d Infty|
|Priv John Morris||Co "D" 3d Infty|
|Priv Daniel Ross||Co "C" 3d Infty|
February 13 --- Letter from Lieutenant Umbstaetter to Major Daingerfield Parker. commanding Company K, 3rd U.S. Infantry:
The Comdg Officer directs me to inquire of your reasons for failing to send your company to report at the Guard House after Guard mount this morning for police purposes.
February 15 --- Special Orders No. 22, by order of Major Yard:
Until further order the Line Officers of this command will recite to the Commanding Officer in Uptons Infantry Tactics, and army Regulations, on Monday and Thursday evenings. For this purpose the officers will meet at the Adjutants Office at 7.30 oclock upon the evenings specified.
February 16 --- Letter from Major Yard to Captain Nicholas Nolan, 10th U.S. Cavalrv, Fort Zarah:
I enclose herewith a copy of the endorsements from the Chief QM Department of the Missouri, as well as those from Dept & Dist Hd Qrs upon the Proceedings of a Board of Survey [Those referring only to the loss of Quartermaster stores and C&AE. Equipage]. Please have new affidavits made out & sworn & subscribed before the adjutant at your Post. It would be well to have the statements in the affidavits made fuller for in [-?-] if you can furnish any evidence of the method which you had of storing the Q.M. property or the property of storing it at the stables[,] whether it was in a room or not[,] it had better be embodied. Also a statement of the inflammable material of which the building was composed, of the breeze that was blowing at the time of the fire, and of the rapidity with which the flames spread & whether or not it was practicable to save the stores after the fire was discovered.
Please see that in taking the affidavits the requirements of Par. 1031 of Army Rgl 1863 and the rest of the requirements in the Chief Quartermasters endorsements are complied with, & that the new affidavits are furnished to Board with as little delay as practicable.
Second Letter from Major Yard to Captain Nolan:
I would respectfully [state ?] that William [Cleman ?],who reports that he has been employed at [your ?] Post[,] was recently sent away from this place for dishonest and disobedience of [-?-].
I respectfully request that he may not be sent here again for any Purpose, for I have forbidden his return.
February 17 --- Special Orders No. 23, by order of Major Yard:
Hereafter the Officer of the Day will visit each relief, once during the day and once during the night.
February 22 --- Special Orders No. 25, by order of Major Yard:
In compliance with letter of instructions from Hd Qrs Dept of the Mo, dated Fort Hays Kans, Feb 18th 1869 all civilians employed in the Quartermaster Department except one  clerk[,] one  Interpreter and one  Teamster for each of the public trains at this Post, will be discharged by the [-?-] on the 28th inst
Extra and daily duty men will be detailed when their services are required [-?-].
February 24 --- Letter from Major Yard to Major Belger, District of the Upper Arkansas:
I have the honor to apply for an official copy of the statement made by me on the report of Major Sheridan in relation to the Indian fight at Coon Creek on Nov 19th 1868[,] none having been kept in this office.
February 25 --- Special Orders No. 27, by order of Major Yard:
Corpi James and one Priv Co "C" Two Priv Co D and one Priv Co K 3d Infy are hereby detailed to proceed to Fort Dodge Kansas, as escort to a wagon leaving for that Post, remaining there until the Ambulance from this Post arrives, when they will return by way of Buckners Ranche procuring at that place the mail for this Post. The escort will be furnished with one days rations and forty rounds of ammunition per man.
The Quartermaster Department will furnish the necessary transportation.
February 26 --- Letter from Lieutenant Umbstaetter to Major Forwood:
The Commanding officer directs that you visit Pvt [-?-] [Undell ?] Co "C" 3d Infantry, who has sprained his ankle, immediately[.] he is now at the quarters of Co "C" 3rd Infantry.
February 28 --- Medical history by Major Forwood:
Nothing of any interest occurred at the post during this month.
March 2 --- Letter from Lieutenant Umbstaetter to Lieutenant Cooke:
I have the honor to inform you that a Board of Survey convened this day upon the beef issued to day to Co "K" 3d Infty has decided that the beef is unfit for use, and recommended that it be buried and charged to the contractor and a new issue be made.
You will therefore see that a new issue of good beef be made to the above company. Copies of the Proceedings of the Board will be furnished you as soon as practicable.
March 4 --- Letter from Major Yard to the assistant adjutant generaL Department of the Missouri:
I have the honor to report that I have directed the A. QM at this Post not to discharge the scouts until further order.
Letter from Major Yard to Lieutenant Colonel Anderson D. Nelson, commanding Fort Hays:
I have the honor to report that you direct your A QM to send the mail for this post only on Thursday of each week as I will send for it other days.
March 7 --- Medical history by Major Forwood:
During the past winter vast herds of buffalo have been grazing in the vicinity of this post. They are very numerous at present & the troops have killed large numbers of them. The buffalo are in better condition than the beef cattle at the post. An idea of the conditions of the latter may be gained from the report of a board of survey which met on the 7th inst. a copy of which is here added.
"The board proceeded to examine into the condition of the beef cattle at this post, the terms of the contract under which beef is furnished and the fact as to how far the contract had or had not complied therewith. The cattle were driven into the corral & carefully inspected by the Board. The largest & best looking animal was selected, slaughtered & weighed. The manner in which these cattle have been and are being fed and cared for was looked into, and all these facts cornpared with the terms of the contract. The board found about thirty [Texan] Steers & Cows on hand, which the contractor proposed to kill & issue to the troops at this post. The cattle are poor in the extreme and with the present care & mode of feeding are growing poorer every day. They have had no shelter during the winter and have none now, in this respect they are worse off than the buffalo for they can not even get into a ravine or behind a bluff to protect themselves from the storm. The contract directs that five hundred  bushels of grain shall be provided by the contractor on or before the 1st day of December 1868, for the use of his cattle, and the Board finds that no grain has been provided and not a pound [of] hay is on hand for their sustenance. The cattle are now & have been subsisting on the grass of the prairie in the vicinity of the post. This part of the prairie has been grazed over during last summer & fall by the herds of the Post and by the great number of Indian Ponies that were near by and it is now nearly bare. The contract specifies that the minimum live weight of the beef cattle shall not be less than eight hundred  and the minimum net weight shall not be less than four hundred  pounds. The animal slaughtered by direction of the board being the best in the herd weighs but three hundred & thirty  pounds net, and six hundred of sixty  live weight and the whole herd will not average at the most liberal estimate over six hundred  pounds per head whereas the contract directs that they shall average one thousand . These cattle were of an inferior quality originally not being good marketable beef between the age of four & six years as provided in the contract but with proper care they might have been kept in fair condition. But the board can find no excuse for the gross neglect & failure on the part of the contractor to fullfill the most essential provisions of his contract in furnishing grain, hay or even shelter for his cattle & thus offering to the government beef inferior in weight, condition unwholesome & even diseased & still growing worse, while they look forward with [-?-]y to scurvy and other blood diseases, which the experience of last spring has [taught ?] them, may be [-?-]tailed upon the troops by its use. The excuse that Texas cattle will not eat grain is a mere ruse being abundantly disproved by experience with Indian Ponies & young Buffalo which in a few days learn to eat it with avidity & thrive upon it. Something should be done at once to remedy these [ills ?] and to provide wholesome beef for the use of the troops."
The same condition of things existed a year ago with this disadvantage that there were no buffalo near the post. A board of Survey was called & similar proceedings sent in but no change for the better was made.
March 8 --- Letter from Major Yard to the assistant adjutant general, Department of the Missouri:
I have the honor to transmit herewith Proceeding of a Board of Survey convened at Fort Larned, Kans. per G[eneral] O[orders] #31 dated March 5th 1869 from these HdQrs.
I would respectfully request that a new contract be let immediately.
Special Orders No. 32, by order of Major Yard:
Priv Amos Burkhardt Co "C" 3rd Infantry is hereby detailed on extra duty as mechanic in the Quartermaster Department and will report to the AAQM for duty.
March 9 --- Special Orders No. 33, by order of Major Yard:
Hereafter the old guard will not be marched off until the sentinels on post have been drawn in, so that the entire guard can be marched off.
March 11 --- Letter from Lieutenant Umbstaetter to Major Forwood:
The Proceedings of the Board of Survey referred to you on 7th inst, and of which you are President[,] have not yet been returned to this office. As the Commanding officer desires to return the copy to Dept. HdQrs, by tomorrows mail. You will please see that as little delay as possible is occasioned.
March 15 --- Medical history by Major Forwood:
On the 15th inst. Major I.E. Yard was relieved & Bvt. Major D. Parker 3rd Inf. assumed command.
General Orders No. 7, by order of Major Yard:
In compliance with Special Orders No 27 dated Hd Qrs Dept of the Mo[,] Mch 10th 1869, Major LE. Yard 10th Cav. hereby relinquishes command of this Post.
Major D Parker 3d Infantry being the new officer in rank at the Post will assume command, and will receipt for all or[dnance] & Gov stores pertaining to the Post.
March 17 --- Special Orders No. 36, by order of Major Parker. commanding post:
Sergt Rogers and 3 Privs Co "D"[,] one Priv Co "B" and one Priv Co "K" 3rd Infantry, are hereby detailed to proceed to Fort Harker, Kas as escort to a train enroute to that place, for the purpose of procuring coal for this Post.
The escort will be furnished with 3 days rations and forty  rounds of ammunition per man. The Quartermaster Department will furnish the necessary transportation.
March 19 --- Special Orders No. 37, by order of Major Parker:
Sergt [Trusdell ?] and one Priv Co "C" [-?-] Privs Co D and one Priv Co K 3d Infty, are hereby detailed to proceed to Fort Dodge Kas for the purpose of escorting a train from that place to this Post. The detachment will be furnished with 3 days rations and 40 rounds of ammunition per man. The Quartermaster Department will furnish the necessary transportation.
March 23 --- Letter from Major Parker, to the assistant adjutant generaL Department of the Missouri:
I would respectfully state in reply to your endorsement of Mch 10th that I was not in command of this Post at the time informed; but I am aware of the fact that the building in question could not be converted into a Guard-House without positive injury to the service; that the amount of storage at the Post is scarcely sufficient to store the property for which the Commanding officer, AA QM & [-?-] is responsible. Circular No. 1 & 2, dated office Dept and supervising commissary of Sustenance Fort Leavenworth Comms Feb 1st 1868 and Feb 14th 1868 instruct officer performing subsistence duties &c., that when they have more than one store house under their charge, they will place complete material in not less than two of them. Under the circumstances I suppose that the then Commanding officer considered it but for the public interest to allow the store house to be occupied as at present.
The Round House which is now used as a Guard House is deemed by me well enough fitted for a Guard House.
March 26 --- Special Orders No. 41, by order of Major Parker:
I. Sergt Edward [-?-] and three Privs Co "C"[,] four Privs Co "D" and one  Priv Co "K" 3d Infantry are hereby detailed to proceed tomorrow morning to Fort Harker Kansas, as escort to a train loaded with Quartermaster Stores enroute to that Post. Upon completion of the above duty the escort will return to this Post without delay.
They will be furnished with Three  days rations and Forty  rounds of ammunition per man.
The Quartermaster Department will furnish the necessary transportation.
March 30 --- General Orders No. 9, by order of Major Parker:
The troops at this Post will be paraded for Inspection tomorrow the 31st inst at 9 oclock A.M.
All entitled men of this command except the Guard, sick, one hospital attendant, one cook to each company, and the bakers will appear under arms in light marching order.
April 1 --- Letter from Major Parker to Major Belger, District of the Upper Arkansas:
I have the honor to state that the US. Marshall has informed me that he requires the presence of Bvt Maj. W.H. Forwood, Surgeon at this Post, and 2d Liet C.M. Shepherd 3d Infty as witnesses in the case to be tried shortly at Topeka, Ks, in which Maj. Douglas 3d Infty and others are concerned.
I do not deem it proper to permit these officers to accompany the marshall as he desires or to leave this Post for the purpose above specified without first [-?-] meeting with Dist Head Quarters, and obtaining instructions as to the propriety of his being permitted to leave.
They are required to be at Topeka sometime between the 5th & 12th inst. Charges have been prepared & forwarded against 2d Lt Shephard and he is consequently under arrest at the present time.
April 2 --- Letter from the post adjutant to the post quartermaster:
The Commanding officer directs that in view of the fact that Pvt John Fitzgerald was [instructed ?] per E.C.QM [?] order No. 11 Hd Qrs Dept Mo Mch 16th 1869 to forfeit all pay & allowances that gives [-?-] to him the following articles of clothing two 2 Forage caps, one Blouse, one Pair Pants, two  Pairs Drawers, two Pairs Socks, one Pair Boots[,] two shirts, one Dress Coat[,] one overcoat. Also to Pvt Jacobs Co "C" 3d Infanty whose term of service expired Mch 23d 1869 and now in confinement at this Post the following articles of Clothing viz one Blouse, one Pants.
April 3 --- Special Orders No. 45, by order of Major Parker:
Sergt Mahany and one Priv Co "D"[,] one Priv Co "C"[,] one Priv Co K 3d Infty are hereby detailed to proceed to Fort Dodge, Kas as escort to a herd of Cattle being sent to that Post. Upon completion of the above duty they will return to this Post without delay. They will be furnished with  days rations &  round of ammunition per man. The Quartermaster Dept will furnish the necessary transportation.
April 4 --- Letter from Major Parker to Brevet Major Henry Inman, Department Quarter-master, Fort Harker:
I would respectfully request to be informed if there is a citizen in your employ by the name of Wm Cody formerly a scout at this Post[,] If there is not please refer this to Capt Kimball A.Q.M. Fort Hays, Kas. as there were arms issued to him and have not been returned.
April 6 --- General Orders No. 10, by order of Captain Parker:
On and after this date calls will be beaten as follows:
|Breakfast call at||6 A.M.|
|Fatigue [to Police]||6 30 A.M.|
|Surgeons call||8. A.M.|
|Orderly call||12 M.|
|Recall from Fatigue||12 45 P.M.|
|Recall from fatigue||4 30|
April 7 --- Letter from Lieutenant Umbstaetter to the post quartermaster:
The Commanding officer directs that you issue to James McCafferty late a Pvt of Co "C" 3d Infanty, whose term of service expired Mch 13th 1869 and is now in---.confinement awaiting trial, the following articles of clothing viz. One Blouse, one Pair Pants, two shirts, two Drawers, two pr socks[,] one pair boots.
April 8 --- Letter from Major Parker to the chief of ordnance, U.S. Army, Washington, D. C.:
I have the honor to transmit herewith the original and duplicate copies of the Return of the Ordnance and Ordc stores, pertaining to Fort Larned, Kansas for which I am accountable for the 1st quarter 1869.
General Orders No. 11, by order of Major Parker:
Before a Garrison Court Martial convened at this Post pursuant to this Special Order No 47. C[urrentl S[eries] from the Hd Qrs & of which Bvt Maj W.H. Forwood Post Surgeon is President[,] was arraigned and tried.
|I. George [Hart ?] Pvt||Co "K" 3d Infantry|
|Charge||Absence with leave|
To be confined in charge of the Guard at the Post or place where his company may be serving for 3 days carrying a knapsack filled with sand, weighing 20 pounds[,] from Guard mount until 11. A.M. and from 1. to 4. P.M. each day for the same period and then returned to duty. . . .
April 9 --- Letter from Major Parker to Brevet Brigadier General Chauncey McKeever, assistant adjutant general, Department of the Missouri:
I have the honor to report to the Major Geni Comdg the Dept that I have this Day allowed Bvt Maj W.H. Forwood, Post Surgeon, and Lieut C.M. Shepherd 3d Infantry to obey a subpoena from the civil authorities of the U.S. District Court, District of Kas dated Apr 8th 1869 to appear before the Grand Jury at Topeka, Kas. Copies of Subpoena included. The above mentioned officers were subpoenaed once before, but I did not deem it advisable to let them obey the subpoena for reasons stated in a letter to the then AAA General of the District [Copy enclosed] and as I have not as yet received a reply to said communication, I do not deem it [-?-] to [-?-] the decline to [comply ?] with the provisions of the subpoena. Hoping that my actions in the p[-?-] will meet with the approbation of the Dept Command.
April 10 --- Letter from Major Parker to General McKeever:
I have the honor to state, for the information of the Major Geni Comdg the Dept, that a Ranche, kept by one [Henry] Beal[e] [partner of Albert H. Boyd] and situated just beyond the limits of the Reservation upon which this Post is located, has been for some time past a source of annoyance, on account of liquor being sold there to enlisted men of this command. The Proprietor has [-?-] 0[-?-] R[-?-] license only and I presume if the matter were brought to the notice of the proper civil authorities, that the nuisance might be abated, as the fact of unauthorized parties bringing liquor into an Indian Country would make them amenable to [-?-] Sec 3, Act of Congress 3d March 1847.
I have taken the responsibility pursuant to the provisions of Par 2, of the above act, of seizing all the liquor found on the premises of Mr Beal[e], but this, undoubtedly, will prove but a temporary embarrassment to him, for being on his guard he can take measures to [-?-] any [-?-] supplies of liquor he may secure, as that it would be impossible to find them. I have made the above statement and complaint through what I deem the proper channel.
April 14 --- Special Orders No. 51, by order of Major Parker:
A Board of officers is hereby appointed to meet at this Post at 10 oclock A.M. or as soon thereafter as practicable for the purpose of reporting upon the Hay being delivered by L G [Burge ?] contractor. The Board will state whether or not in its opinion the Hay is of the quality required for in the contract.
|Capt J. A. Snyder||3rd Infantry|
|1st Lieut A. Kaiser||3rd Infantry|
|1st Lieut C. L. Umbstaetter||3rd Infantry|
April 19 --- Letter from Major Parker to the assistant adjutant general, Department of the Missouri. Fort Leavenworth:
I would respectfully call the attention of the com'dg Genl of the Dept, to the fact, that this garrison has become so depleted in numbers that it is now impossible for me to furnish the almost constant demand for escort to trains. As the trains passing this Post usually consist of but few wagons and rnen[,] the conditions of Par 2, G.O. 27, Hd Qrs Dept Mo Feb 28/69 [which order has not been rescinded to my knowledge], cannot be complied with, without severely interfering with and [-?-]tanding Public business.
Trains frequently pass along what is termed the wet route at a point so distant from this Post that they cannot be seen by the non commissioned officer whose duty it is to report them.
I therefore respectfully request that I may receive instructions as to the course to be pursued in this matter.
Whenever necessary[,] and the men can be spared[,] escorts are promptly offered from this Post
Second Letter from Major Parker to the assistant adjutant general:
I have the honor to report for the information of the Dept Commander, that there is no person at Buckner Ranche to receive the mail going East & West.
I would respectfully request that I be allowed to run a mail line from this Post to Harker via Zarah.
Prior to November 20th 1868, the lafter [-?-] route was the one used for the mail. The mail was carried by soldiers mounted on mules. the mail sacks are furnished by the Q.M. Dept, and only one mail per week arrives and departs from this Post.
In my opinion the interest of the service demands that there should be two mails arrive & depart during the week.
April 23 --- Letter from Major Parker to the commanding officer, Fort Dodge:
I have been unofficially informed that the Fort Larned mail for reasons unknown to me was delivered at your Post. I therefore send a Sergt and one Private to get the sarne[,] please deliver to the [-?-] all mail that may be at your Post belonging to Fort Larned.
April 24 --- Letter from Major Parker to Captain Nolan, Fort Zarah:
Your communication of the 23d inst was received last night. In reply, I would state that I have ordered the parties named therein [Kidder and Parker] to leave this Reservation today.
In accordance with a verbal message received from you, I herewith send for a list, with the prices attached, of Sundry articles of Ord & Ord stores loaned to Parker on [-?-} receipt, and which he has failed to return. If you have money of his in you possession, it would be desirable to send me the amount of the stores, passing duplicate invoices & receipts therefor. I will then deposit the amt. with a Paymaster and include his receipt with my next Ord. Returns.
April 27 --- Letter from Lieutenant Umbstaetter to Major Forwood:
The Commanding Officer directs, that you report in person at this Hd Qrs at once, you having complied with the Subpoena dated April 8th 1869.
April 28 --- Letter from Major Parker to General McKeever, Department of the Missouri:
In reply to your communication of the 22nd inst, I have the honor to state that there is no document on file in this office authorizing Mr. J. E. Tapan to trade at this Post.
In view of this fact, and also that I think it would be to the interests of the service and of this Post, I respectfully and strongly recommend that Mr Tappan be directed by the Major Genl Com'dg the Dept to remove his goods from this Reservation without delay.
There is not business enough at this Post for two Traders to operate economically so that under the circumstances, competition is not advisable.
Mr Tappan is, at present, at Fort Dodge, but I have deemed it unnecessary to await a reply from him to the letter a copy of which is enclosed. [It, his reply[,] will be forwarded as soon as received]
April 30 --- Medical history by Major Forwood:
An Estimate has been forwarded from this post by direction of the Department Commander for garden utensils & such for a post garden. The experiment of gardening has proved a total failure in every instance. Garden vegetables can not successfully be raised here any more than they can in the Desert of Sahara. Early in April even in March the grass begins to spring up in the low places along the streams[,] & peas, beans, corn & raddishes &c planted in May come up rapidly & by the first of June present a most promising appearance. The June rains now come over in three or four days, short & violent[,] just in which the young plants are each time nearly drowned. A little later these storms are proceeded by a shower of large hail which often covers the ground. But now in the early part of July the rains cease & the few plants that are left receive their final death blow from the hot Southwest winds & parching sun which extract the moisture & green color from every leaf even of the hardy natural grasses & burn the prairie brown & dry in every direction & by the end of July the light of prairie fires skirt the horizon every evening. To guard the young plants against the flood of June[,] high ground might be selected & irrigation resorted to when the rains cease, but no system of irrigation beyond that of hauling or carrying water from the creek could be practised here & with the present garrison it would not be practicable to cultivate more than a very small piece of ground, not sufficient to supply the companies with more than a taste of vegetables. The bed of the creek is thirty feet below the average level of the prairie & excepting as the spring flood the water is alway[s] very clear & low. The fall in the bed of the creek is probably not more than 1/2 inch to the foot. The work therefore of irrigating by means of a dam, & ditch would under the circumstances with their other duties be beyond the capacity of the men that usually garrison the post. That it is by no means certain that the better class of garden vegetables & especially the suculent vegetables could be successfully raised here by irrigation however thoroughly carried out. The severe hail storms, the long continued stream of hot dry air which comes often with great violence from the S.W. & the innumerable swarms of grasshoppers that sweep through this country early every summer are obstacles not to be overcome. The soil here is very infavorable, it bakes so hard that the roots cannot penetrate to a sufficient depth to sustain healthy growth. Fence [posts ?] can hardly be driven into the ground & yet where loosened up it is like dust & gives up its moisture to the dry air with great facility.
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