Old Fort Garland (Illustrations) by James T. Forrest

Old Fort Garland (Illustrations)

byJames T. Forrest, Rosamund Slack, Paul Rossi

Kobo ebook | January 29, 2015

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Fort Garland, July 29th, 1860. Arrived here yesterday with my company, Company F of the U. S. 10th Infantry. Our outfit just limped in from a 640 mile march from Camp Floyd, Utah Territory. Took us most a month. Our commander’s name is Major (E.R.S.) Canby. It’s good to bunk down some place indoors for a change and to wash some of the dust out of my throat and off my trail-weary feet. Too tired to look around new post today.

Fort Garland, August 10th, 1860. Getting settled. Guess my company will be here awhile. Major Canby and Company A left a few days ago to quiet some outlaw Indians (Navajos) somewhere southwest of here. Companies F and H of the 10th remained.

Looked into the past of this fort. Named for Brevet Brigadier General John Garland, commanding the Department of New Mexico. It was built in 1858 by Captain Tom Duncan and his Mounted Riflemen, with a company (Company A) of the 3rd Infantry. Seems Fort Massachusetts, north of here some six miles, was built in 1852 to protect this area from the Indians. After a few years on this frontier with bands of Ute Indians all around they decided the old fort was too close under the mountains to be safe against surprise attack, so the command was moved down here on the open plain. Guess if the wind doesn’t blow us all away, the post will stick it out here until the last Indian is dead or put off somewhere on the desert to eat sand and yucca.

September 12, 1860. Got a promotion today. We all fell out for first call at 5 a.m. and lined up to be read off. “Here,” we called out, hardly more’n awake. “All present or accounted for,” said the sergeant to the Lieutenant, “All except those on wood pile or water detail in Company F will fall out for company drill immediately after morning mess.” The sergeant paused and looked down the line until he spotted me. “Special order,” he continued. “Private O’Connor, Timothy, will report to the orderly room to serve as chief clerk. O’Connor!” “Yo,” I answered. “O’Connor, you’re now a corporal. Get those stripes sewed on.”

September 14, 1860. Discovered why I was made clerk. Seems I’m one of the few in my company who can write so’s anybody can read what’s been writ. That schooling back in Indiana might have been some good after all. Thing about being clerk is that I get to know most of what’s going to happen afore it happens. Company H clerk told me yesterday that he put himself in for a promotion last week.

The post is getting to seem like home to most of us by now. Pretty fair place. The buildings are made of mud, or what people around here call adobe. The adobes are made of brown clay and baked in the sun, then stuck together with the same mud after they’re baked hard. The two barracks face the parade ground from the east and from the west. They are both about 119 feet long and 33 feet wide; the roofs are nearly flat, with a slight slope toward the parade. The inside of each barrack is divided into several rooms, including: company office, store room, two squad-rooms and a kitchen. The latter is used also for mess. The walls are the same adobe, white-washed. Each barrack was built to house one company. The squad rooms are heated by open fireplaces—looks like we’ll freeze come winter, except when we’re backed up to the fire burning our pants.

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Title:Old Fort Garland (Illustrations)Format:Kobo ebookPublished:January 29, 2015Publisher:State Historical Society of Colorado DenverLanguage:English

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