Best Preserved Frontier Fort in the West - Fort Larned Old Guard Newsletter

September 8 --- General. Orders No. 30, by order of Major Parker:

     The A.G.S. at this Post having a surplus of Ham, Hering, Mackerel[,] Molasses and Pickles on hand, and the articles being liable to deteriorate at this season of the year, it is hereby ordered until further orders that the meat ration shall consist of the following:

1/10 Ham
1/10 Pickles
1/10 Mackerel
2/10 Pork
5/10 Fresh Beef

     On each and every alternate ten days Herring will be substituted for Mackerel. Company Commanders will conform their Rations to this order.

August 31 --- Medical history by Lieutenant Colonel Woodhull:

     Towards the close of the month some gusts of warm winds blew over the post, but not with the severity that the winter has experienced in this state, nor has any occurred this summer deserving the name of sirocco.

     The first prairie fire of the season was observed 22d inst. It arose from a hay camp near the Arkansas and burned the grass in that bottom. This fire was earlier than usual and is somewhat remarkable considering the verdu[-?-] of the prairie.

     The general health of the command has been excellent, and there have been no Indians or other disturbances in the surrounding country.

September 8 --- Letter from Major Parker to Colonel Mitchell, acting assistant adjutant general, Department of the Missouri:

     In reply to your communication of the 31st ult, relative to Chas. Andreas Co "K" 5th Infantry, I have the honor to state that the order for his discharge arrived while I was absent from this Post, having been summoned as witness on a General Court Martial in session at Fort Harker, Kas.

     I find that Artificer Andreas was discharged June 28th 1869 but his certificate of disability was forwarded direct to the Adjutant Genl of the Army.

September 10 --- Letter from 2nd Lieutenant Charles M. Shepherd, acting post adjutant, to Lieutenant Umbstaetter, post quartermaster:

     The commanding Officer directs that pursuant to a letter received from the Adjutant Genl USA [copy enclosed] you refund to Co "K" 3d Infantry the amount paid by that company for scrub Brushes viz 2.00.

Medical history by Lieutenant Colonel Woodhull:

     The calls were changed on 10th inst. to the following Schedule, and at the same time the guard was ordered to be mounted in dress coats[:]

     "Hd. Qrs. Fort Larned, Kansas, September 10th 1869, General Orders No. 31.

     "On and after this date calls will be beaten as follows:

     "First call for Reveille at dawn of day.

     "Reveille ten minutes thereafter.

Breakfast call 6.15 A.M.
Fatigue 6.45 A.M.
Surgeons 7 A.M.
Guard mount first call 8.50 A.M.
Guard mount 9 A.M.
Recall from fatigue 11.45 A.M.
Orderly call 12 M.
Dinner call 12 M.
Fatigue 1 P.M.
Recall from fatigue 4.30 P.M.
Retreat first call 5 min. before Sunset
Retreat at Sunset  
Tattoo first call 8.25 P.M.
Tattoo 8.30 P.M.
Taps 8.45 P.M.
First call for Sunday morning inspection 8.50 A.M.
Inspection 9.00 A.M.

By Order of Bvt. Major D. Parker
[Signed] C.M. Shepherd, 21nd Lieut. 3A
Infy, Act. Post Adjutant"

September 12 --- Medical history by Lieutenant Colonel Woodhull:

     The term of service of one hospital attendant having expired 12th inst., the detail of no other was asked for in consideration of the small force of the garrison and the absence of sick in hospital. A difference of opinion arising between the comdg Officer and Post Surgeon as to whether Hospl attendants should be detailed on daily or extra duty, the application of the Medical Officer was forwarded to Dept. Hd Qrs. and was decided in his favor; "they should be on extra duty."

September 15 --- Medical history by Lieutenant Colonel Woodhull:

     The order concerning the use of kerosene, referred to in the August record, was so far modified about the middle of the month by a decision from Dept. Hd. Qrs. as to permit its use in Officers quarters.

     The Sunday school spoken of in the record for July was abandoned early in this month, owing to the departure of the teacher from the post, and the removal of several of [the] children at the same time.

     The garrison was changed in the earlier part of the month by the loss of 1st Lieut. August Kaiser from Co "D" 3rd U.S. Inftry, placed on waiting orders, and the accession of Capt. F.H. Gageby to Co "D", 1st Lieut W. Mitchell and 2nd Lieut. W. Gerlach to Co "K" and 2nd Lieut. C.E. Campbell to Co "C".

September 16 --- Special Orders No. 98, by order of Major Parker:

     Pursuant to Genl. Court Martial Order No. 61 dated Hd Qrs Dept of the Missouri, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas Aug 30th 1869, Bvt Maj D Parker Capt 3rd Infantry, Corpl Henry Ross Co "C" and one Priv Co K 3rd Infantry, will proceed to Jefferson City, Missouri, in charge of Priv Wm F Stevens Co "K" 3rd Infantry, sentenced to three years confinement in the penitentiary at that place.

     Upon completion of this duty Maj. Parker, and the escort will return to their proper station.

     The escort will be furnished with two days rations to last to Fort Harker, Kansas. It being impracticable to carry rations in kind beyond that Post, the Commissary Department will furnish the necessary commutations for rations for the enlisted men.

     The Quartermaster Department will furnish the necessary transportation for the enlisted men. . . .

Medical history by Lieutenant Colonel Woodhull:

     A new sink for the men was opened for use on 16th inst somewhat more than one hundred yards N.W. of the N.W. angle of the barracks. The Comd'g Officer directed a second one to be dug by its side, refusing to acquiesce in the request to the Post Surgeon, that it might be at the other end of the barracks, where there is no accommodation of that kind for the men there quartered. The excavation was made, but no further work was done on it during the month. There is no sewerage properly so called at the post and the surface drainage about the barracks and Officers quarters is very poor. There is no artificial drainage at the Post.

September 24 --- Special Orders No. 103, by order of Captain James Harrison Gageby:

     I. A Board of Survey is hereby ordered to convene at this post at 10 oclock A.M. today, or as soon thereafter as practicable, to examine into and ascertain the. cause of the deficiency in a quantity of Bacon, invoiced by Lt. McDonald 5th Infantry, AGS to 1st Lieut CL Umbstaetter 3rd Infantry AGS at this Post.

September 29 --- Special Orders No. 105, by order of Major Parker:

     Immediately after inspection tomorrow the 30th inst, a Post Council of Administration will convene to fix the tariff of prices of the Post Trader at the Post. . . .

     The Council will examine the price list and invoice of all goods on hand so as to be able to ascertain the cost of each article and in fixing the price for which it is to be sold not more than 33 1/3 per centum will be allowed except for luxuries.

     A copy of the articles on hand with the prices affixed by the council will be enclosed in the proceedings.

     The Council will also make a list of such articles as in its opinion the Post Trader should keep but has not on hand. . . .

September 30 --- Medical history by Lieutenant Colonel Woodhull:

     As far as the health of the command is concerned, there is little to be noted during this month. No sick were admitted to Hospital, and but ten cases in all taken upon the sick report. About the middle of the month two cases of intermittent fever of the gustidian [?] tipe appeared. The paroxysms were severe, but the disease speedily yielded to treatment. The weather about that time had been changeable, cold storms succeeded by heat, to several days of which one of the affected men had been exposed on escort duty.

     The number and duties of the garrison remain the same as during the last month. No drills of any kind could be held, except target practice by the old guard twice a week. At two hundred [200] yards about one shot in three strikes a target four [4] feet square.

     Ice obtained from the creek last winter has been liberally supplied to all parties at the Post, prisoners included, until the close of the month, when it was nearly exhausted.

     The Hospital fund has remained about $40.00 without material increase or diminution during the past few months.

     The barracks are in good repair and are tight, but have more or less vermin in them, owing probably to the character of the bunks. These are of two tiers and designed for four men. In one of the squad rooms during a part of the season they were three tiers, but the upper one was unoccupied. The Bedsacks are refilled with hay every few weeks. The company kitchens are kept in good order, and the food is very creditably prepared by the company cooks, detailed for a few days at a time. The Officers, line and medical[J inspect the command formally once a week, and at frequent and irregular intervals besides.

     About the first of the month wild ducks appeared, their numbers increasing as the season advanced. Among them are the teal, mallard and it is said the veritable canvas back. It is believed, that beds of wild celery grow in this vicinity.

     The buffalo continue very numerous, and are frequently substituted for beef by the troops.

October 1 --- Medical history by Lieutenant Colonel Woodhull:

     About 11 inst a small sink and outhouse was constructed near the guardhouse for the use of the prisoners in lieu of the more temporary one previously noted. But the second sink for the garrison spoken of in the August and September records received no further attention.

October 4 --- Medical history by Lieutenant Colonel Woodhull:

     Early in the month the guard was ordered to be mounted and Sunday inspections to be made in full dress. About the same time a reduction was made in the number of men in the Quartermaster's Department and squad and company drills were instituted. Recitations in Regulations and Tactics for the line officers began to [be] held by the commanding officer about the same time.

October 5 --- Letter from 2nd Lieutenant William Gerlach, post adjutant, to Lieutenant Umbstaetter, acting assistant quartermaster:

     The Bvt Major Commanding directs, that you construct as soon as possible, a shed to protect the [medical ?] wagon in charge of the Post Surgeon from the [-?-] of the weather.

October 8 --- Medical history by Lieutenant Colonel Woodhull:

     On 8h inst. carefully prepared estimates and plans in detail for the repair and addition of the hospital as authorized by the commanding General were forwarded by the A.A.Q.M. of this post to the Chief Quartermaster of the Department.

     On 8h inst the Post Surgeon made an elaborate statement in writing to the commanding officer concerning the hygienic capacity and ventilation of the men's barracks. Of that report, the following is a summary: "That as built three of the four squad rooms, each of which is designed to accommodate a company of infantry---whose minimum is 69 and maximum 119 men---have only 16000 cubic feet each, or, allowing 600 ft. air space to a man, capacity for only 26.6 men; or by the regulation allowance [which is inadequate] of 252 superficial feet for every six men a capacity of 42 and a fraction. That the sole means of ventilation besides the doors and windows, is through three traps in the ceiling, ten feet from the floor, and that these are kept closed by the men persistently. The orifices of the traps were more than sufficient to change the air for the proper capacity of the rooms, provided they were properly arranged. It was recommended that the covers to these be permanently removed, and that shafts coming down to the ceiling be introduced through the [roofs ?], and that openings be made in the ceilings to communicate with others already existing at the cover for the introduction of air from without, with a broad shelf-like projection to throw the incoming current toward the centre of the room. In accordance with these suggestions the commanding officer directed the quartermaster to remove the trap covers and to carry out the plan suggested as nearly and as speedily as possible. Nothing but the removal of the covers was, however, effected during the month.

October 9 --- Letter from Major Parker to Colonel Mitchell, assistant adjutant general, Department of the Missouri, St. Louis:

     I have the honor to call the attention of the Major Genl Commanding, to the fact that this post is not provided with a regular magazine or safe place for storage for ammunition. I have now on hand in the Ordnance Department at this Post 64 [-?-] of fixed Ammunition, 329 blank Cartridges, the reserve ammunition of three companies and 8 kegs of blasting Powder belonging to the Quartermaster Department. All this ammunition is stored in one of the Commissary store houses of the Post, a stone building with shingled roof. As it is absolutely necessary at times to have fire in the building, and then only [sparing ?], it is at least a very unsafe store room for ammunition and in case of a fire breaking out this could only lead to the entire demolition of the commissary and Quartermaster store houses and contents.---I would therefor respectfully request that authority be given to erect a suitable building for the storage for all ammunition and powder at this Post.

     A small frame building, placed in an isolated position and properly fenced would in my opinion be as durable as masonry, and would certainly cost less than other structures that could be put up for the purpose indicated.

Second Letter from Major Parker to Colonel Mitchell:

     I have the honor to transmit charges preferred against Pvts Christian Cole and John [Frost ?] Co D 34 Infantry.

     In addition to these men there is in confinement and awaiting trial Privates Saml Wily Co D and James Stafford Co D 3d Infantry, since June 21st 1869.

     Considering the already long confinement suffered by these men, I would request that a Genl C.M. be convened at this Post as soon as practicable.

Third Letter from Major Parker to Colonel Mitchell:

     I have the honor to request that authority be granted before the cold weather sets in to put up cheap frame buildings in rear of the company quarters at this post to be used as wash houses for the enlisted men of the command.

     If the above request is formally considered I would ask that the AAQM at this post be permitted to retain for a short time any civilian carpenters that may be hired for work on the Hospital building already authorized, in order to assist the enlisted men of the command in the erection of these wash houses.

October 13 --- Medical history by Lieutenant Colonel Woodhull:

     During the night of 13th, a wolf, supposed to be rabid, attempted to dash through a window of the sustenance storehouse. It was afterward fired upon and wounded by a sentinel, but it escaped. This was followed by a Post order limiting the number of dogs and ordering their confinement. Its stringency was relaxed after a few weeks. Attention is invited to the account of a wolf at the Post as given in the [Medical] Record for August and September, 1868.

October 14 --- Letter from Lieutenant Gerlach. post adjutant, to Lieutenant Umbstaetter, officer of the day:

     The Bvt Maj Comdg directs that you will please report in writing to this Hd Qrs the reason why the Post Guard was not dismissed this morning in usual manner, after being relieved.

October 15 --- General Orders No. 35, by order of Major Parker:

     The troops of this command will be paraded for Inspection by the [A.A.S.G. ?] of the Department at 3.30 P.M. this day.

     The Battalion will be in full dress, Knapsacks packed. Canteens and Haversacks will be left in Company quarters exposed for inspection.

     First call will sound at 3 Oclock, the Battalion will be formed at 3.20.

     All extra and daily duty men except one cook to each Company will attend, unless specifically excused from these Hd Qrs.

October 16 --- Letter from Lieutenant Gerlach, to 2nd Lieutenant C.E. Campbell, 3rd Infantry, recruiting officer, Fort Larned:

     The Commanding Officer directs me to inform you that the Reenlistment of Pvt James A. Amstead Co "K" 34 Infantry, is irregular, and that the papers be destroyed and Enlistment Papers be made out in accordance with Par 942 Reg. Army Regs.

October 17 --- Letter from Major Parker to Colonel Mitchell, Department of the Missouri, St. Louis:

     I have the honor to state that in March [last ?] when Mr N [Newbanks ?] of Ellsworth City, Kansas had the Hay Contract for this Post, his Wagon master I.A. [Leggitt ?] secured three [3] [Spring]field Rifle Muskets for the use of his teamsters. Mr Newbanks has been written to several times about the arms, but has not yet returned them.

     I would respectfully request, that if he be employed by the Qr Ms Dept at this time, the amount of Forty seven Dollars and one cent [$47.0] the cost of the arms be stopped against him, and the money turned over to a [paymaster ?], the receipts therefor promptly [furnished ?] iin order to square my Ordnance Papers.

October 21 --- Special Orders No. 115, by order of Major Parker:

     The AAQM at this Post will send without delay two six mule teams to Fort Harker, Kansas, for the purpose of bringing vegetables for the Hospital, Companies and Officers at this Post.

     II. Sergt Jacob [Burlins ?] and two Privs Co D[,] one Priv Co "C" 3d Infantry, are hereby detailed as escort to the above teams.

     They will be furnished with six days rations and 40 round of ammunition per man.

     The non commissioned officer in charge will report to the Cmdg Officer for instructions.

October 22 --- Special Orders No. 116, by order of Major Parker:

     At the request of the Commanding Officer of Fort Dodge, Kas, Bvt Lt Col A.A. Woodhull, Asst Surg USA, will proceed with dispatch to Fort Dodge, Kas, for the purpose of giving his professional attendance to the Bvt Major C[harles] S[mith] DeGraw Asst Surg USA who is reported dangerously ill.

     The Commanding Officer Co "C" 3d Infantry, will detail a reliable N.C.O. acquainted with the dry route to Fort Dodge to accompany Bvt Lt. Col. Woodhull.

     The Quartermaster Department will furnish the necessary transportation.

October 23 --- Medical history by Lieutenant Colonel Woodhull:

     On Monday, 18h, in company with a soldier the Post surgeon made a long but unsuccessful search a number of miles up the Pawnee Fork for a fossil skeleton, supposed to be of a mastodon, known to lie in that region.

     On the night of 18h-19h the first snow of the season fell, sufficient to whiten the ground. On 22d snow again fell for several hours and covered the surface of the prairies.

     On that night the Post Surgeon was summoned to Fort Dodge by a message from the commanding officer of that post that the medical officer there was "dangerously ill" and that the utmost speed was necessary to enable him "to avert the dreaded end."

     On arriving at sunrise of 23d the patient was found seriously but not dangerously ill, and leaving him in the hands of a contract physician who had arrived in the interim[,] the writer returned 24h.

     The thermometer fell to 17deg the night of 23d.

Letter from Major Parker to Brevet Major General Edward Davis Townsend, adjutant general, U.S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

     I have the honor to request that I be informed in what manner Stationery forms in Office of Post Commander can be drawn from the Quartermaster Department, wherein the Regulation Allowance is inadequate for the transaction of public business, and how stationery obtained in excess of Allowance is accounted for.

     I make this request as the Regulation allowance has always been insufficient in spite of the greatest economy practiced in Hd Qrs.

Second Letter from Major Parker to General Townsend:

     I have the honor respectfully to request that I may be furnished with a supply of the following Blanks for use at this Hd Qrs.

     List of Deserters Undergoing Sentence

     Ration Returns

Letter from Major Parker to General Mitchell, Department of the Missouri:

     I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of copy of letters from your office to Comdg Officer Fort Dodge, Ks, dated Aug 9th 1869, relative to mails for Fort Dodge, Camp Supply, and Fort Larned.

     In connection therewith I by leave to submit the following remarks viz:

     As the mail is ordered to be carried I will be obliged to start oui a team with mail party from this Post on Friday Morning. This party must make Buckners Ranche distant about 40 miles by Saturday morning early to enable it to connect with the Fort Dodge Party going to Hays, in order to deliver to it the mail going East from here. Should the parties fail to connect, the mail from this Post will have to go back to Fort Hays & Return [with the] Dodge Party, and will from there be sent the following week to Fort Hays. A letter mailed from here on Thursday afternoon would therefore reach Fort Hays distant from here about 60 miles by the most direct route, in about 10 days, provided nothing interferes with the proper transmission of the Fort Dodge Mail. The Party leaving here to meet the Dodge mail going East would be obliged to lay over at Buckners Ranche from Saturday to Tuesday or Wednesday following, in order to make sure connections with the Dodge Party coming from the Rail Road. Buckners Ranche consists of a few old adobes, the remains of a temporary station of the Santa Fe Stage Company. The nearest wood is about eight [8] miles, the grass about there is short Buffalo grass. To reach the spot where the Ranche was located on the Dodge Road[,] Saw Log Creek has to be crossed about 3 miles this side. This crossing is very often totally impracticable in spring and Winter.

     By carrying the mail direct from this Post to the Rail Road at Fort Hays taking the most direct route easily travelled by wagon [see plan of proposed route on the enclosed sketch] only about 50 miles at most will be added to the distance now travelled by [the] Fort Larned team. This would insure more direct and quicker communication with dept Hd Qrs, and it would be much better for the party and animals on Mail duty to make the trip weekly to Fort Hays and back, than to be exposed to the inclemency of the weather at Buckners Ranche without shelter for either men or mules, without wood an[d] hay for a[t] least 4 days each week.

     To send for mail direct to Fort Hays would also [-?-] communication with express at Fort Hays, a matter of great convenience to troops stationed here, and now impracticable. For the reasons above stated I would recommend strongly that the mail from here to the Rail Road at Hays be carried direct by [a] party from this Post by the shortest route practicable. Parties who have travelled the road known about here as the Hancock Trail inform me that the route is actually shorter than would appear from the Data given on the maps on file in this office. Would this be found to be the case it might [promptly ?] be [-?-] adding to the U.S. to supply this Post via Fort Hays, than Harker, as is now done.

     The road via Hays would be much shorter and Walnut Creek and Smoky Hill Forks would be the only streams to cross then, avoiding Plum and Cow Creek.

     Should my suggestion to carry the mail direct meet the approval of the Major Genl. Commanding, I would further recommend that the Qr Mr Dept furnish a vehicle of lighter construction than the ordinary Army Wagon for mail service.

     If a spring wagon could be furnished it would be of much service for conveyance of officers necessarily travelling to the Rail Road thus obliviating the necessary of sending [as is now unavoidably the practice] a team to Fort Harker, Kas. in each case.

     Requesting an early consideration of the above.

Special Orders No. 117, by order of Major Parker:

     A Board of Survey is hereby ordered to convene at 10 am. this day, or as soon thereafter as practicable, for the purpose of determining whether [-?-] Ryan Beef Contractor should pay for six head of cattle purchased about July 1st 1869, by 1st Lieut C.L. Umbstaetter 3d Infantry A.G.S. by reason of non delivery of Beef for issue, at this Post by the Contractor at the time specified. . . .

October 25 --- General Orders No. 37, by order of Major Parker:

     I. Henceforth the weekly mail party will leave this Post at 7. A.M. on Thursdays.

     When leaving the post the party will proceed with dispatch to point known as Buckners Ranche, and will then turn over the mail it has in its charge to the party from Fort Dodge, Ks. enroute to Fort Hays.

     II. This duty completed[,] the party will await at Buckners Ranche the return of the Fort Dodge Party from Fort Hays and upon its arrival will, without delay[,] return to this Post with the mail.

     The Quartermaster Dept will furnish one six mule team for the transportation of the mail party also a F[-?-] and F[-?-] stove.

     Upon leaving here the party will be rationed for eight [8] days, and six [6] days full Forage of grain will be furnished the team.

     The non commissioned officer in charge of the party will be held strictly accountable for the proper use of the Forage and Rations.

Medical history by Lieutenant Colonel Woodhull:

     Bvt. Col. G.W. Schofield, A.A.A.G., visited the Post officially, [13-25h ?] inst., and inspected the hospital and also some property belonging to the Medical Department with a view to condemnation.

October 30 --- General Orders No. 38, by Captain Parker:

     I. The troops of this command will be paraded for Inspection and C[-?-] tomorrow the 31st inst at 9 oclock A.M.

     All extra and daily duty men will attend unless specially excused from these Hd Qrs.

     II. A Council of Administration is hereby ordered to assemble at this Post as soon after C[-?-] tomorrow the 31st inst as practicable to make the necessary appropriations for Post Bakery and Library and inquire into disposition made of $60 appropriated for subscription to papers for use at Post Library, per Council of Administration convened G.S.O. 29 Hd Qrs Fort Larned, Kas Mch 3, 1869. . . .

October 31 --- Special Orders No. 121, by order of Major Parker:

     I. In compliance with S.Q. #200, CS. Hd Qrs Dept of the Mo.[,] Company "D" 3d Infantry, is hereby relieved from duty at this Post, and will proceed without unnecessary delay to Fort Hays, Kas, and report to the Commanding Officer of that Post for temporary duty.

     The Quartermaster department will furnish this necessary transportation.

     II. All extra and daily duty men of Co D 3d Infantry are hereby relieved and will at once report to their Company Commander for duty.

     II. The Commanding Officer Co D 3d Infantry, will turn over to the AAQM at this Post any new or servicable Camp and Garrison Equipage in his possession and which is not required for use with his company.

     IV. The following named enlisted men are hereby detailed on extra duty in the Quartermaster Department at this Post and will report to the AAQM for duty

     V. The following named enlisted men are hereby detailed on Daily Duty in the Quartermaster Department for the purpose of driving the teams to be sent to Fort Hays Ks, with Co "D" 3d Infantry viz:

     Private James [Briens ?] Company "K" 5h Infy, Privates G.S. B[-?-]s, Richard Bullock and Sylvester Chamberlain Company "C" 3d Infy.

Medical history by Lieutenant Colonel Woodhull:

     During this month the command continued to enjoy the same good health that had previously characterized it[,] it not being necessary to admit anyone to [the] hospital.

     A new standard thermometer and rain guage were received at this post on 14th, and were placed in position toward the close of the month in order that observations might be commenced 1t prox. It was shown that the thermometer previously in use was utterly unreliable.

     During the month but one hospital nurse was employed at a time, the detail bring changed 16h inst.

     The last few days of the month witnessed the burning of the prairie on the northern side of the Fork.

     Wild ducks and geese continue to be very abundant and buffalo remained without easy hunting distance until driven off by the fire.

     The fresh beef furnished the troops is of very excellent quality with occasional exceptions of toughness.

November 1 --- Medical history by Lieutenant Colonel Woodhull:

     On 1t inst., Co. D, Captain Gageby commanding, was detached on temporary duty at Paradise, thirty miles N.E. of Fort Hays, to the commanding officer of which post it reported. The command present was reduced thereby to an average during the month of---[left blank]---- enlisted men, with from thirteen privates for duty. In consequence of this reduction everything connected with the post was placed at a minimum. Drills and full dress were laid aside, extra and daily duty men were still further diminished in number, only two posts and occasionally only one was kept up, and the labor was so arranged as to make it as light and easy as possible. With all these advantages some of each guard had but one night in bed the most of the time.

     The new thermometer having been set up in a box made as nearly as might be after the prescribed pattern, observations were commenced 1t inst.

     During the first few days of the month the prairie south of the Fork was burned without injury to the post or its belongings.

     Watch was made on the nights of [blank], [blank], and for meteoric showers. On the first night between 3 and 4 A.M. a few meteors were seen, but on the others none.

November 2 --- Letter from Major Parker to Colonel Mitchell, Department of the Missouri, St. Louis:

     I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of papers referred to me by your endorsement of the 20th ult. These papers are respectfully returned and attention invited to enclosed copy of Proceedings of Administration and account current of Post Fund for January, February, March and April 1869. These papers show first that,$36.60 [?] was appropriated for pay of two Bakers at this Post for March and April 1869, and secondly that of the amount so set aside $33.55 more [was] actually expended by the Post Treasurer for the purposes stated. Bvt Major W.H. Forwood Asst. Surgeon U.S.A. and Post Treasurer states in his endorsement that this amount was not paid to the men. As he credits himself with the amount as disbursed to the men, which he may have done by error, he is certainly responsible personally to the men for the amount due them for March and April 1869.

     I want to therefor request that the Major General Commanding be pleased to take such action in the premises as he considers necessary.

     The claim of the men for the extra pay for January and February 1869 was referred by me to the Council of Administration convened on the 31st ult. and it adversely responded upon for good and sufficient reasons. I want to therefor respectfully recommend that no further actions be had thereon.

Letter from Major Parker to Major Forwood, assistant surgeon, Fort Sill, Indian Territory, and former post treasurer, Fort Larned:

     In compliance with resolve of Post Council of Administration convened by S.O. No 38 C.S. from these Head Qrs. I have the honor to request that you will inform me in what manner sixty [$60] dollars appropriated for subscription to newspapers for use of Post Library by Post Council of Administration convened by S.O. No. [27 ?] Hd. Qrs. Fort Larned Ks. March 3d 1869, were expended by you, the amount being charged as expended on you account carried as Post Treasurer for April 30th 1869.

     This inquiry is made because no paper except Army and Navy Journal has been received by the Librarian since the above subscription was ordered. If you have any receipts from Newspaper publishers for any part of the above amount I would request that you forward th[em] to me.

November 3 --- Letter from Major Parker to Colonel Mitchell, Department of the Missouri, St. Louis:

     I have the honor to request that this Post be furnished as soon as practicable with balance of officers stores particularly. Lard and Butter, due on Requisitions of the A.C.S. of this Post dated August 6th, 1869.

     The non arrival of these stores causes much inconvenience here, as the Post Trader is prevented by existing regulations from keeping articles designated to be kept by the Subsistence Department.

November 5 --- Letter from Major Parker to Brevet Brigadier General Jonathan R. Brooke, commanding Fort Dodge:

     I have the honor to request that I be informed at what hour your mail party is expected to reach Buckners Ranche when going to Fort Hays, to enable me to take such measures as will insure the mail from here to connect with your party at that point.

Letter from Major Parker to General Townsend, Washington D.C.:

     I have the honor to submit enclosed [Rations ?] for candles for use of Post Bakery at this Post, and request that I be informed if such issue can be made as regular or extra issues under provisions of G.0 58 CS from your office.

     I declined to [-?-] such issues believing that to furnish means of Illumination for Post Bakery is a proper charge against the post Fund under G.O. 22 Sers. of 1866. from W.D. A.G.O. and that G.0 . #58 C.S. A.G.0 makes it the duty of the Subsistence Department to provide fixed oil or candles for sale to the bakery as is necessary for use therein.

     I would also respectfully request that I be informed of an issue of candles for use in office school [room ?] same or Post Adjuts Office when necessary for transaction is authorized by G.O. #58 C.S from A.G.O.

November 6 --- Letter from Major Parker to the second auditor, U.S. Treasury, Washington. D.C.:

     In reply to a communication from Ordnance office of the 21st Oct last, relative to the expenditure of 20 12 Pd. Mountain Howitzer Cartridge b[-?-] filled. I have the honor to state in explanation of the circumstances that [apparently] "that number [20] was expended more than the time the stores were in my hands authorized" that these particular stores were recieved on the 14th of July, but were not receipted for until all the ordnance stores I re[-?-] for had arrived at this Post, [the 25th July].

     This will explain the expenditure of Cartridges when apparently none was on hand.

November 7 --- Letter from Lieutenant Gerlach to Lieutenant Umbstaetter, acting assistant quartermaster:

     The Bvt Captn Comdg directs that you will please report if you have sufficient material on hand to make the repairs to Post Hospital authorized by Letter from Office A.Q.M. Dept Mo. dated Oct 26 inst.

     If you have not, you will please submit requisition as soon as practicable for the material required.

November 8 --- Medical history by Lieutenant Colonel Woodhull:

     On 3d inst the post quartermaster received from the chief quartermaster of the Department a letter of which this is an extract. "The Department commander will authorize only the repairs to the Hospital and only such as can be made by the troops. If you require any material for that purpose in addition to what you have on hand, let me know and I will have it sent to you." On 6h inst the post surgeon addressed a letter to the adjutant reciting these facts and saying "I have the honor to therefor to request that the artificers of the garrison of this garrison, when they have completed the work upon which they are now engaged, may be ordered to line the roof of the hospital with flooring and that the quartermaster may be directed to have in readiness enough material for that purpose."

     An estimate for the material the quartermaster failed to send in until so late in the month [27h] that it did not leave the post this month. On 6h inst the Post Surgeon addressed the following letter to the Medical Director. "I have the honor to present this resume of the instructions that have been received at this Post relative to the repair of the Hospital and of the means of carrying them into effect, in order that your office may possess complete data concerning the same, and that the Department of [articles ?] you are the chief may be relieved from responsibility should anything unforeseen occur. Early in October the Post Quartermaster received from the chief Quartermaster of the Dept. my letter to you of 27h August, with instructions to prepare a plan and estimates in detail in accordance therewith and to state what civil labor would be necessary [.] From the endorsements upon this paper it appeared that you had approved my recommendations of that date and that the CO'g Genl had directed them to be carried into effect. There is no record, either in the Post Adjutants or Quartermasters office to show the exact wording [of] the A.A.G's endorsement, nor were the papers referred to me, but I had an opportunity of reading them and know that that was their purpose.

     Under date of 8h ultl. the estimates carefully prepared were forwarded and with them the original documents were returned to Dept. HdQrs. By the last mail the Post QrMr. received from the Dept. Qr. Mr. a letter dated 26 ult acknowledging the estimates and containing this sentence "the Dept. Commandt will authorize only the repairs to the Hospital, and only such as can be made by the troops." If this represents a subsequent recommendation and adverse decision of the Cd'g Genl upon the matter in question I have of course no further appeal to make, and present this statement for the files of your office solely for the reasons set forth in the opening sentences.

November 9 --- Special Orders No. 126, by order of Major Parker:

     I. The A.A.Q.M. of this Post will furnish one six mule team tomorrow the 10th inst. for the purpose of conveying one laundress of Company "D" 3d Infantry to Fort Hays Ks.

     II. The Commanding officer company "C" 3d Infy. will detail one N.C. officer and one private and the commanding officer Company "K" 3d Infy, will detail one private for escort duty. The men will rationed to include the 15th inst. and the N.C. officer in charge will report to the Post Commander for orders.

     II. Private F[B. ?] Cox Company "K" 3d Infantry is hereby detailed on S[pecial] D[uty] as Post Librarian. He will relieve Private Horace W. Annis Company "C" 3rd Infantry from said duty and report to the Post Treasurer for orders.

November ? --- Letter from Lieutenant Campbell, acting post adjutant, to Lieutenant Umbstaetter:

     The commanding officer directs that you use any old canvass you may have on hand in repair of Laundresses Qrs. In the event of no canvass being on hand you will use [tar]paulins.

November 13 --- Medical history by Lieutenant Colonel Woodhull:

     The hospital cook having been relieved 13t ult. in order to march with his company no other was detailed, and the solitary nurse discharged the combined duty of all the attendants.

November 17 --- General Orders No. 39, by order of Major Parker:

     His excellency the President of the United States having set apart to-morrow the 18th inst. as a day for public thanksgiving, the troops of this garrison are relieved from the performance of all duties except the necessary guard and fatigue duty.

Special Orders No. 130, by order of Major Parker:

     Mrs. Roche, late a laundress of Compy "C" 3 Infy is hereby ordered beyond the limits of the garrison. She will leave by the first train leaving the Post.

November 19 --- Special Orders No. 131, by order of Major Parker:

     I. For the purpose of procuring a supply of ice [for] the ensuing summer for the use of the troops of this garrison, the A.A.Q.M. of this Post will cause to be built a suitable dam on the North fork of the Pawnee at a convenient point from the Post using in its construction such lumber and other necessary materials as in his judgement are deemed essential. All labor to be performed by the troops.

November 21 --- Special Orders No. 132, by order of Major Parker:

     . . . II. 2nd Lieut. C.E. Campbell 3rd Infantry will hereafter supervise the target practice at his Post directed by G.O. No. [-?-] C.S. Hd. Qrs, Army, relieving Bvt. Captain Wm Mitchell 1st Lieut. 3rd Infy, from said duty.

     Ill. Private G.S. Bullis Company "C" 3rd Infantry is hereby relieved from D[aily] D[uty] as teamster in Q.M.D. and will report to his Company Commander for duty.

November 22 --- Letter from Lieutenant Gerlach, post adjutant, to Lieutenant Umbstaetter, recorder, general court martial:

     The enclosed charges against Private Jesse Reynolds Company "C" 3d Infy. are respectfully transmitted herewith for the action of G.C.M. instituted by order of Major Parker.

November 26 --- General Orders No. 41, by order of Major Parker:

     Hereafter the mail party from this Post carrying the Eastern mail will leave this Post at 7 oclock A.M. on Saturday direct for Hays City, Kas, after delivering the mail to the Postmaster at that point the party will return to Fort Hays Kans and await there the arrival of the mail from the east due on Tuesdays, when it will return without delay to this Post.

     No person will be permitted to travel with the mail party without written permission from these Hdqrs. or the Commanding Officers at Fort Hays Kans.

General Orders No. 42, by order of Major Parker:

     I. Before a Garrison Court Martial convened at Fort Larned Kansas . . . was arrained and tried

     Private Michael strife Company "K" 3d US Infantry

     Drunkness on duty, in violation of the 45th Article of War

Plea Not Guilty
Finding Guilty

     Sentence. And the Court does therefore Sentence him Private Michael Strife Company "K" US Infantry, to be confined in charge of the Guard for the period of One [1] month and to carry a log weighing Twenty [20] pounds from 9 oclock A.M. to 12. M. and from 2 oclock P.M. to Retreat.

     The proceedings and findings in the foregoing case . . . are approved. So much of the Sentence as relates to confinement in charge of the Guard is Approved, and will be duely executed. The remainder of the Sentence being too Indefinite in its character is disapproved. . . .

November 30 --- Medical history by Lieutenant Colonel Woodhull:

     The health of the command continued as good as heretofore. One man was admitted for two days to [the] hospital with a severe catarrh. He was taken in chiefly because being a prisoner and pneumonia apparently being threatened it was not considered well to risk his health in the guardhouse.

     There other men were taken on the sick report for a day or two, two being the immediate result of drunkenness and one for a slight-sprain interfering with the with the proper manipulation of the rifle on inspection.

     Within the past week the strongest company, embracing nearly one half of the garrison, has been detached on duty that will require its absence several months, reducing the effective force by so much and leaving at this date but sixteen [16] privates for duty. The QrMr has as a rule no mechanics under his charge. The authorized artificers are usually fully occupied in their respective companies. at present time they are specifically engaged upon the construction of a dam to secure a supply of ice for the winter. I state these facts in order that it may be seen that the ability on this part of the troops to furnish labor is very small.

     I trust that it will be borne in mind that my estimates and recommendations have been based upon the supposition that these skeleton companies would be recruited to their authorized strength of 238 or 357 enlisted men, as the case may be. The soldiers now here are seasoned and in excellent general health. If the command is to remain as it now is formed the present adobe [hospital building] can probably be made to answer, provided the exposed walls will sustain the winter's storms. If any number of recruits are brought here, it must be very different. Finally, I will use the utmost effort to induce the [possible ?] repair of the local strength, but I cannot look forward with any confidence to success."

     From the above it is to be seen that the hospital is in the same condition that it was six months ago, and is without any immediate prospect of repair.

     Much complaint having been made by the men that the barracks were uncomfortably cold, especially when the wind blows at night and the attention of the medical officer having been invited by the Cd'g offr to it, he verbally recommended the experiment of replacing the traps [but ?] perforating them with twenty-four inch auger holes each. This was done in Co. C, but was not done in Co. ["D" written on of top of "K"]. In the latter company the traps unperforated were replaced almost immediately after their first removal.

     During the month the entire available force of the post---prisoners and artificers-was employed in the construction of a dam to secure a winter's supply of ice. Consequently no other public work, sinks,[,] ventilators or what, was engaged in.

December 5 --- Medical history by Lieutenant Colonel Woodhull:

     On 4th inst. the neighboring post of Zarah was abandoned, and Co. "A" 10th Cavalry, Capt. N. Nolan Commanding reached this post from there the same day, and on 5th marched toward Fort Dodge en route for Camp Supply.

December 6 --- Letter from Lieutenant Gerlach to Lieutenant Umbstaetter:

     You will please forward without delay through these Hd. Qrs. [-?-] Estimate for a two or four horse wagon to be used in carrying the mail from this Post to Fort Hays Ks. and for material required to make four bathtubs for use of Companies at this Post. By order of Bvt. Major D. Parker.

December 10 --- Letter from Major Parker to Colonel Mitchell, Department of the Missouri, St. Louis:

     I have the honor respectfully to call attention to case of Private Christian Cole Company "D" 3d Infy now in confinement at this Post charged with violation of 45th Article of war. The man has been in confinement since Oct. 4th 1869 and if a court is not likely to be convened soon before which he can be brought to trial I would respectfully suggest that the charges against him [recorded ?] October [3rd ?] 1869 be returned and the man arraigned before a G.C.M.

December 11 --- Letter from Major Parker to Colonel Mitchell:

     I have the honor to report arrival at this Post this day of detachment of 54 men, being 3 Sergeants & 4 corporals, 2 musicians[,] 1 [wagoner ?] 1 Artificer and 43 Privates, late of Company "A" 37th Infty ordered to this Post for consolidation with Companies "C" "D" and "K" 3d Infantry, by S.O. No 65, HdQrs 3d Infty, Fort Dodge Kans December 4th 1869.

Medical history by Lieutenant Colonel Woodhull:

     On 11th inst., Co "A" 37th Infantry, with 45 enlisted men arrived at his post for consolidation with 3rd Inftry and was distributed abetween Co.s. "C," "D," & "K," rendering the strength of each company about 50 men. A considerable amount of syphilis was found among this accession, a form of disease from which the balance of the command is remarkably exempt. The general health of the troops however remained good during December.

     The dam above the post built with much labor to secure a supply of ice was completed early in the month, but before the water rose to the full height desired, the earth at one end was washed through and the dam gave way. Another formed from the frame of the old one was immediately constructed a few yards lower down, but it in turn yielded to the pressure of the water. The stream, however was sufficiently raised to give a fair field for ice cutting.

December 12 --- Special Orders No. 138, by order of Major Parker:

     1. Private Eber G. Averill Company "C" 3rd Infantry is hereby detailed on E[xtra] D[uty] as Nurse in Post Hospital.

December 14 --- Special Orders No. 139, by order of Major Parker:

     1. The following enlisted men are hereby detailed on E.D. in Q.M.D. at this Post, and will report to the A.A.Q.M. for duty viz:

Pvt M. Backus Co "K" 3rd Inty as Blacksmith
A. Griff Co "K" 3rd Inty as Teamster
Wm Bond Co "K" 3rd Inty as Teamster
A. [Strigle ?] Co "C" 3rd Inty as Wheelwright
Jno. Carroll Co "C" 3rd Inty as Teamster
James Bennett Co "C" 3rd Inty as Teamster
August [Wirsing ?] Co "D" 3rd Inty as Saddler

December 15 --- Letter from Lieutenant Gerlach to Brevet Captain William Mitchell, acting assistant quartermaster:

     The Bvt. Major Commanding directs that you will please cause the building known as Commanding Officers Quarters at this Post to be put in thorough repair and that the rooms therein be repainted if necessary.

December 16 --- Letter from Major Parker to Colonel Mitchell, Department of the Missouri:

     In reply to you endorsement of the 8th returning post returns for November for correcting, I have the honor to state that examination shows the error to have occurred in Return for October 1869. One [1] man reported that by transfer in 3d Infantry should be reported present sick, making aggregate 125, and Return for November is herewith returned.

Special Orders No. 140, by order of Major Parker:

     I. As the operation of Par. 4 Special Order No 230 C.S. HdQrs Dept of the Mo, leaves Co 'K" 3d Infantry without a commissioned officer for duty with [the] Company[,] 2nd Lieut Wm Gerlach 3d Infantry is hereby relieved from duty as Post Adjutant and will report to his company commander for duty

     II. 2nd Lieut Charles E Campbell 3d Infty is hereby appointed Post Adjutant

     III. The commanding officer Co "C" 3d Infty will detail a suitable Noncommissioned officer for duty as Act Sergt Major of this Post. N.C. officer so detailed will report to the Post Adjutant for duty and will relieve 1st Sergt Michael Mahany Co "K" 3d Infantry from duty as Act Sergeant Major.

December 17 --- Special Orders 141, by order of Major Parker:

     I. Musician John Jones Company "D" 3d Infantry will proceed by the first transportation leaving Post to Fort Hays, Kansas, reporting upon his arrival to the Commanding Officer of that Post, with a view of joining his company, at Camp in Paradise Valley, Kans.

     II. An escort to consist of Sergt James Kelley[,] one private Co "K" and Two privates Co "C" 3d Infty will proceed to Fort Harker Kansas on the 18th inst in charge of certain public Animals, ordered to be turned into that Post by the Department Commander.

     The Quartermaster Department will furnish the necessary transportation.

December 18 --- Special Orders No. 142, by order of Major Parker:

     I. Brevet Major D. Parker Captain 3rd infty having been granted Leave of Absence by Special Orders No 230. HdQrs Dept. Mo. C.S. he will turn over the command of Co "K" 3rd Inty to Brevet Captain Wm. Mitchell 1st Lieut 3rd Infy[,] who will receipt to him for all public property pertaining to that Company.

General Orders No. 46. by order of Captain C.A. Snyder:

     Pursuant to the provisions of General Orders No 45 C.S. from these Hd.Qrs. the undersigned hereby assumes command of this Post.

Special Orders No. 143. by order of Captain Snyder:

     II. Leave of Absence for twenty days with permission to apply for an extension of two months having been granted 1st Lieut C.L. Umbstaetter, 3rd Infty, he is hereby relieved from duty with Co. "C" 3rd Infy to enable him to avail himself of its privileges.

December 25 --- Letter from Captain Snyder, commanding post, to Colonel Mitchell, Department of the Missouri:

     I have the honor to inform you that William F. Schmalsle a destitute white citizen, formerly a scout in the U.S. employ, has this day been admitted to the hospital at this Post, on account of his feet being badly frozen from exposure on the prairies, for treatment.

December 26 --- Medical history by Lieutenant Colonel Woodhull:

     From the 20th to the 26th inst. the temperature fell very low, reaching ten degrees below Zero [-10deg F.] by the Standard thermometer, which is the coldest that has been noted at this post. This, however, is probably owing to imperfections in instruments previously used. On the evening of 25th inst. a civilian, "William Schmalsle," formerly employed as a scout, was brought to the post with both of his feet badly frozen. He was admitted to [the] Hospital for treatment.

     About this time ice was cut for the post by large fatigue details and the Quartermasters ice house was nearly filled.

December 31 --- Medical history by Lieutenant Colonel Woodhull:

     During the latter part of the month a large party of Pawnees were in the neighborhood, but did not come in to the Post. It afterwards proved that they went south and stole a good deal of stock from the Kiowas & Cheyennes on the reserves.

     Toward the end of the month, Capt. J.A. Snyder being in command, a large frame carpenter's shop standing at the N.W. corner of the post was removed and used for lumber and large details of men were employed tearing down the ruins of old adobe quarters and in leveling the space north and northeast of the Adjutant's Office, all of which materially improved the appearance of the place.

     In the last week in December the medical wagon that had been so long exposed to the weather was removed [to ?I shelter by the A.A.Q.M. Bvt. Capt Wm. Mitchell.

     The condition of the Hospital building remained unchanged during this month.

Letter from Lieutenant Campbell, post adjutant. to Lieutenant Mitchell. acting assistant quartermaster, Fort Larned:

     The Commanding Officer directs that you cause to be constructed by the employees of you Dept. with the least practicable delay, a board walk from the rear of the Company Quarters to the mens' sinks with branches leading to each of the Co. Qr. occupied. You are authorized to use in its construction such lumber and other material as in your best judgement are deemed absolutely necessary.

Letter from Lieutenant Campbell to Lieutenant L.W. Cooke, commanding Company D, 3rd U.S. Infantry, in camp in Paradise Valley, Kansas:

     The Comdg officer of this Post requests that you will extend the furlough granted Priv. William Welch of your Company ten days. This request is made at the insistance of Bvt. Col. A.A. Woodhull, Asst. Surg. U.S.A. Post Surgeon, his wife and child being quite sick. If you deem it necessary a furlough can be furnished him or he can be carried on your reports as "absent with leave" without it.

Chronology sources

Fort Larned, Kansas, General Orders, 1869.
Fort Larned, Kansas. Medical records, 1869.
Fort Larned. Kansas. Letters sent, 1869.
Fort Larned, Kansas, Post returns, 1869.
Fort Larned, Kansas, Special Orders, 1869.

Other materials:
Albright. John, and Douglas D. Scott, Historic Furnishing Study, Fort Larned National Historic Site [National Park Service, 1974].
Brown, Everett M., Fort Larned Camp on Pawnee Fork [n.p., n.d.].
Oliva, Leo E., Fort Larned [Kansas State Historical Society, 1982].
Zwink. Timothy Ashley, Fort Larned: Garrison on the CentraL Great Plains [Doctoral thesis, Oklahoma State University, 1980].

     Thanks to George Elmore, Resource Management Specialist, FLNHS; and Leo Oliva, Fort Larned Old Guard board member.

Santa Fe Trail Research Site

Santa Fe Trail Research Site
"E-Mail & Home Page"
Larry & Carolyn
St. John, Ks.
© "Forever"