During the country's westward expansion, Fort Leavenworth was a forward destination for thousands of soldiers, surveyors, emigrants, American Indians, preachers and settlers who passed through. The garrison currently supports the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) by managing and maintaining the home of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center (CAC). CAC's mission involves leader development, collective training, Army doctrine, and battle command (current and future).
Fort Leavenworth also accommodates the Department of Defense's only maximum security prison, the United States Disciplinary Barracks. In addition, the Fort Leavenworth Garrison supports numerous tenant organizations that directly and indirectly relate to the functions of the CAC, including the Command and General Staff College and the Foreign Military Studies Office.The fort occupies 5,600 acres (23 km²) and 7,000,000 ft² (650,000 m²) of space in 1,000 buildings and 1,500 quarters.
Colonel Henry Leavenworth, with the officers and men of the 3rd Infantry Regiment from Jefferson Barracks at St. Louis, Missouri, established Fort Leavenworth in 1827. For 30 years, Fort Leavenworth was the chief base of operations on the Indian frontier. In 1836 William Clark at the fort presided over the transfer of Indian land directly across the Missouri River from the fort to the U.S. government in the Platte Purchase which involved the entire northwest corner of Missouri.
In 1839, Col. Stephen W. Kearny marched against the Cherokees with 10 companies of dragoons, the largest U.S. mounted force ever assembled. Throughout the Mexican-American War, Fort Leavenworth was the outfitting post for the Army of the West.
During these early years, soldiers from Fort Leavenworth protected wagon trains hauling supplies over the Santa Fe Trail, Oregon Trail, and other trails to most forts, posts and military camps of the West, some as far as the Pacific Ocean. There are still evidences of the Oregon Trail ruts on the Post. When the Kansas Territory was organized in 1854, Governor Andrew Reeder set up executive offices on post and lived for a short time in the quarters now known as "The Rookery". During the 1850's, troops from Ft. Leavenworth were mobilized to control the "Mormon Problem" in Utah.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Camp Lincoln was established on post as a reception and training station for Kansas volunteers. News of the approach of Confederate General Sterling Price prompted construction of Fort Sully, a series of earthworks for artillery emplacements on Hancock Hill, overlooking what is now the Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery. However, Price's forces never reached Fort Leavenworth, having met defeat at Westport, which is now part of Kansas City. During its long history, the post was never subject to enemy attack.
For three decades following the war, the Army's chief mission was control of the American Indian tribes on the Western plains. Between 1865 and 1891, the Army had more than 1,000 combat engagements with Apache, Modoc, Cheyenne, Ute, Nez Perce, Comanche, Kiowa, Kickapoo and other tribes.
In 1866, the U.S. Congress authorized the formation of four black regiments, the 24th and 25th Infantry Regiments and the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments. The 10th Cavalry Regiment was formed at Fort Leavenworth under the command of Col. Benjamin H. Grierson. Today, a monument stands at Fort Leavenworth in tribute to the "Buffalo Soldier" of the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments.
The United States Disciplinary Barracks, now a maximum-security military prison, was established in 1875.
The fort's first Catholic Church was built in 1871, and was later replaced by St. Ignatius Chapel in 1889. St. Ignatius Chapel was destroyed by fire in December 2001. The first Protestant chapel, Memorial Chapel, was built by prison labor in 1878 of stone quarried on post. The round window behind the chapel's front altar was intentionally installed slightly askew by an inmate who was angry at his work boss. This chapel has brass cannon imbedded in the walls at the sides of the church, and photos of many of the officers involved in the early history of the fort, including some of the Custer family.
In 1881, Gen. William T. Sherman established the School of Application for Cavalry and Infantry. That school evolved into the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.
World War I was the first opportunity to evaluate the impact of Sherman's school. Graduates excelled in planning complex American Expeditionary Forces operations. By the end of the war, they dominated staffs throughout the AEF.
In the years between the World Wars, graduates included such officers as Dwight D. Eisenhower, Omar N. Bradley and George S. Patton. During World War II, some 19,000 officers completed various courses at Fort Leavenworth. By the end of 1943, commanders and staffs of 26 infantry, airborne and cavalry divisions had trained as teams at the school.
In 1946, the school was given its current name. In 1959, the college moved to the newly built J. Franklin Bell Hall on Arsenal Hill. In 1985, the Harold K. Johnson wing was added to house the Combined Arms and Services Staff School. Eisenhower Hall was dedicated in 1994. Classes for the School of Advanced Military Studies and the School for Command Preparation, as well as the Combined Arms Research Library, are located in Eisenhower Hall.
Until the early 1970s a battery of four Nike-Hercules Missiles were deployed at Bell Point on a hill on the north side of the fort.
The Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery is one of the first 12 national cemeteries established by Abraham Lincoln on July 17, 1862. Veterans since the War of 1812 have been laid to rest in the cemetery. One veteran of the War of 1812 is the cemetery's most famous occupant, Col. Henry Leavenworth, who gave his name to the fort, the cemetery, and the town and county they are located in. Others buried in the cemetery include 10 Medal of Honor recipients, seven Confederate prisoners of war and two soldiers killed in Operation Desert Storm and one from Operation Iraqi Freedom. Although there is no longer space for new burial sites, burials frequently take place for those who already have family members interred in the cemetery.
The base is served by the Sherman Army Airfield which has a 5,905 foot runway and operates under a joint agreement with the city of Leavenworth, Kansas that permits civilian aircraft to use it all hours. The airfield was inundated by the Missouri River in levee breaches during the Great Flood of 1951 and Great Flood of 1993
Freedom's Frontier Heritage Area
Fort Leavenworth is considered as one of the most significant historic military installations in the Department of the Army, as well as to the Nation. The fort's 5,634 acres (23 km²) contain a 213-acre National Historic Landmark District (NHLD), which was established in 1974.
A number of historic preservation investigations have been conducted over the past few decades at Fort Leavenworth. In 1970, for example, two historic sites were listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP): the Main Parade Ground and the Santa Fe Trail Ruts.
During 2006, this historic military site became part of a new Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area.
Fort Leavenworth is located on the Frontier Military Scenic Byway (Hwy 69 & K-7 corridor), which was originally a military road connecting to Fort Scott and Fort Gibson, Oklahoma.
A Contemporary Early History of Fort Leavenworth
by William G. Cutler (1883)
Fort Leavenworth, from which the county and city derive their name, was established September 19, 1827. As early as March 7, 1827, Col. Henry H. Leavenworth, Third United States Infantry, was directed, with four companies of his regiment, to ascend the Missouri River, and at some point on its left bank within twenty miles of the mouth of the Little Platte River, either above or below its confluence, to select such position as, in his judgment, would be best calculated for a permanent cantonment.
He carefully explored the region as instructed, and failing to find a desirable site on the west bank of the Missouri, wrote to the Department that there was no good site for a military post on the left bank of the Missouri within the distance of the place mentioned in the general orders from the Adjutant General's office, and that he had accordingly proceeded up the river some twenty miles and found a very good site for a cantonment on the right bank of the Missouri, about twenty miles from the mouth of the Little Platte, and had concluded that there was no other place within the prescribed distance of that river that would answer the desired purpose.
Early in July, before the official approval of his selection reached him, he began the erection of barracks for his soldiers, and named the post Cantonment Leavenworth. September 19, 1827, the official approval was received by Major General Gaines, commanding the Western department, and the site selected by Col. Leavenworth thus became the permanent site of the most important military post ever established by the Government in the West.
The original site was located and the post established at the date above mentioned, since which time it has been in continuous use by the military department as soldiers' quarters, and a depot of army supplies. Once since its establishment, May 16, 1829, the garrison was withdrawn for three months, leaving only a small guard detachment at the fort. August 12, it was re-occupied, and had been garrisoned by troops uninterruptedly since that time. It was known, till February 8, 1832, as Cantonment Leavenworth, at which time, the Secretary of War, in general orders, No. 11, directed that all cantonments be called forts - thereafter, in all army orders, it was designated as Fort Leavenworth. The postoffice at the fort continued to be designated as Cantonment Leavenworth until October 19, 1841, at which time, it also was changed to Fort Leavenworth.
The first record in the office of the Adjutant General, defining the boundaries of the Fort Leavenworth Military Reserve, bears date June 21, 1838. At that time by declaration of the President its limits were defined as follows:
"The land held as reserved, extends from six to seven miles along the Missouri River, and varies from one to two miles wide, containing about 6.840 acres."
"The reservation is on the right bank of the Missouri River, and about 150 feet above its surface. Latitude, 39° 21 north; Longitude, 94° 44 west."
Subsequently to the treaty with the Delawares of May 6, 1854 - October 10, 1854 - the limits of the reservation were again declared by the President, to conform with that treaty. Small sales of the reservation have been made by the Government since it has been surrounded by a civilized community as follows:
By act of Congress, approved July 27, 1868, right of way to certain railroads therein named was granted; also, a certain defined portion of land was donated for the exclusive use of a public road.
By act of July 20, 1868, the sale of twenty acres of the reservation was authorized - to the Leavenworth Coal Company.
By joint resolution of Congress, approved February 9, 1871, the sale of a portion of the lands was authorized - to the Kansas Agricultural and Mechanical Associations of Leavenworth County, State of Kansas, for fair grounds.
It at present comprises an area of about nine square miles, being bounded: North and east by the Missouri River; south by the city of Leavenworth, and west by the town of Kickapoo. The general proportions of the tract have not been materially changed since first defined. They extend north and south along the Missouri a little more than five miles, and westward inland from one and one-fourth to two miles; the western boundary conforming to the eastern line of the town of Kickapoo.
Whatever military advantages decided Col. Leavenworth in selecting the site, they were certainly in accord with the tastes of the most ardent and exacting demands of the lover of the beautiful. From the high bluffs that front the Missouri River the land slopes westward in gentle undulation, broken by occasional abrupt elevations, just sufficient to give variety to the landscape. Heave wood covered the land adjacent to the river, thinning out somewhat and opening into a natural shaded park a short distance from the river bluff where the barracks were built. A letter written by a tourist who visited it in the spring of 1854, thus describes its appearance and surroundings at that time:
About noon we began to approach the vicinity of Fort Leavenworth. This is, without exception, the most beautiful place on the river. When within two or three miles, whoever has been in the country once will know that his is approaching it by the scenery, which much resembles that of some old English Manor that has been given up for a few years to the keeping of nature, or rather like some gigantic park. It is difficult to believe that the hand of art has not been busy there; the banks of the river are quite high and steep, presenting a mural face of limestone, and the bluffs above are covered with a small growth of elms, their branches covered with a dense foliage, and bending gracefully toward the ground like those of the weeping willow. As soon as the boat touched the landing, all the passengers stepped on shore and ascended the hill to the barracks, about a quarter of a mile. Much had been said of the beauty of the location and the fine prospect we should enjoy at the top of the bluffs, and consequently the interest was considerable. Nor were we in the least disappointed. As far as the eye could reach on either hand, hill rose above hill in an almost endless series of undulations, beautiful streams were winding their sinuous course through fertile valleys, and the whole, diversified with find groves, gave to the view an air of enchantment. Add to this an inexhaustible fertility of soil, and we have a truly fine country. At the foot of the landing is a large store-house, at which considerable business is done. On the summit of the bluff is a large plateau, on which the fort, or village, stands, for it has far more the appearance of a beautiful village than a fort. In the center are three or four large buildings, much like "city blocks," in which the soldiers have their mess and lodge. At a little distance from these, and at the several corners, are a number of fine houses, the residences of the officers. In the rear is a splendid grove of elms, with their branches bending to the ground, and through the dense foliage a fine prairie breeze is ever playing, rendering the atmosphere cool and healthy. This is the promenade ground.
A description in Hale's History of Kansas (1855) reads as follows:
It is the great frontier depot for the other military posts on the Santa Fe and Oregon routes, and the general rendezvous for troops proceeding to Western forts. The Government reservation of nine square miles is on a handsome location, which rises gradually from the river to a height of 150 feet. There is a good landing for steamboats. All the buildings are well constructed of stone, and present quite an imposing appearance. They consist of the barracks for the troops, a large structure three stories high; a hospital, which cost from $12,000 to $15,000; the quartermaster's building, a capacious warehouse, etc.; connected with the fort is a large farm.
At this time (1854) the fort was garrisoned by one company of the Fourth Artillery and one of the First Dragoons, under Col. Fauntleroy.
The fort was first established for the protection of the Santa Fe traders from the incursions of the Indians, who had begun a system of raiding and plunder on the caravans of traders passing yearly, in increasing numbers over the route. It was at first garrisoned by four companies of the Third Infantry, under command of Maj. Baker. This was a part of the regiment of Col. Leavenworth, the founder of the post. The troops for several years were seriously afflicted with climatic diseases, which resulted, in the summer of 1829, in the removal of almost the entire garrison to the plains, as has been before stated.
In 1830, the Sixth Regiment of Infantry superseded the Third in occupation. In 1835, the Third Division of United States Dragoons, under Col. Dodge, was stationed there. Their stay was prolonged to ten years or more, as the American State Papers relate that in 1845, Col. Dodge, with his command, marched from Fort Leavenworth to Pike's Peak and back, cultivating the friendship of the Prairie Indians on the way.
Up to 1845, the history of the fort has no especial interest to the general reader, beyond that of any remote military post of the government. The war with Mexico, the subsequent acquisition of California, New Mexico, and a part of Colorado, the consequent tide of emigration to the far Western Territories and the Pacific coast, have combined to render it a point of historic as well as picturesque interest. Through all the changes of the intervening years, it has been the great source of supply and main point of departure for the Government expeditions, whether peaceful or hostile, as well as for the immense tide of Western emigration which set in, in 1848, and went on unceasing and increasing, till the trans-continental railway diverted it to a safer and more rapid path of transit.
It was the rendezvous of Gen. Kearney's troops in June, 1846, and their starting point in his Santa Fe expedition. The expeditions of Gen. Joseph Lane to Oregon, in 1848; and Capt. Stansbury to Utah, in 1849, were both fitted out at this point. Col. Fremont also started thence on his explorations of 1849. The new military road (new in 1850) from Fort Leavenworth to Forts Kearney and Laramie, on the Upper Platte, became the great thoroughfare of the western emigrants to Oregon, California, and Utah. Upwards of 70,000 men, women and children, with wagons, horses, flocks and herds innumerable, passed over this road in 1849-50. During the border troubles and intestine wars of Territorial Kansas, the troops stationed at Fort Leavenworth played no unimportant part, as is related in the general history. They were alternately the hope and fear of the contending parties. The fort was also designated, in the Territorial act, as the temporary seat of government, and was, at that time (May, 1845), the only place in the Territory having any buildings or conveniences for the Government officials.
All through the war of the Rebellion, it was the base of supplies for the semi-barbarous and semi-savage warfare of the border.
The First Post-Office in Kansas Territory was established at Fort Leavenworth, under the name of Cantonment Leavenworth, or the 'La Platte,' Clay County,* Mo., May 29, 1828. The first Postmaster was Philip G. Rand. His successors, with date of their appointments, were as follows: Thomas S. Bryant, appointed October 16, 1828; R. P. Beauchamp, ________; Alex. G. Morgan, July 8, 1831; Joseph V. Hamilton, April 3, 1838; Albert G. Wilson, December 5, 1839; ______ _____ served to October 19, 1841, at which time the name was changed to Fort Leavenworth, and Hiram Rich appointed Postmaster.
The subsequent appointees were: Andrew G. Ege, March 12, 1862; Edward Fenlon, May 19, 1862; Elizabeth Graham, March 20, 1865; Edward Fenlon, August 8, 1865; Myers B. Haas, May 14, 1866; Michael L. Dunn, August 10, 1866; David L. Payne, March 19, 1867; Michael L. Dunn, July 20, 1867 - served to July 31, 1868, when the office was discontinued. It was re-established April 16, 1869, and Mrs. Clara E. Nichols appointed Postmistress.
A reminiscence. - As an interesting conclusion to the early history of Fort Leavenworth, there is presented below a reminiscence from the pen of A. F. Callahan:
The original fort composed a square, on each of the four corners of which was erected a log block house, punctured with port holes for muskets. Within this square were log edifices for quarters, warehouses and stables. The post grew gradually by degrees and increased in importance, until enlarged barracks for the troops, officers' quarters, warehouses for the quartermaster, commissary and ordnance departments and offices, suitable for the transaction of business, together with stables, forage cribs, etc., etc., have spread it over a large tract of the reservation. The old fortifications have long since disappeared, and only a few of the veterans who were familiar with them now lag superfluous or otherwise. Like the hostlerie of Benny Havens at West Point - immortalized by Surgeon Lucius O'Brien - the landmarks of Fort Leavenworth, where old Hiram Rich held high carnival as sutler, and the structure known as "Bedlam," where bachelors and truant Benedicts "raised old Nick," and other places formerly notorious, now only exist in the legends of memory or the garrulous chronicles of toothless and retired seniors. Many of the flower of the army - indeed most of them - who gave their blood free as water to their country, spent portions of their service at Fort Leavenworth. Such now fill heroes' graves or are enjoying well earned "brevets.
General Persifer F. Smith died here in 1858, while en route to take command of the Utah expedition. His remains were conveyed to a steamboat by General Harney with a troop of cavalry, a battalion of infantry and a section of artillery. Several generals and colonels, including Charley May, of Mexican fame, acted as pall bearers on the occasion. The gruff old Harney started out for Utah, but was met by the news that Albert Sidney Johnston had fixed up with Brigham, and so he returned to St. Louis. Gallant, chivalrous Reno was ordnance officer here when the war cloud came, but was soon called to Washington to accept a major general's commission - and a glorious grave. The aesthetical and precise Bankhead Magruder commanded the fort once, prior to the unpleasantness, and was a good showman or ringmaster. He instituted pageants for our edification, sham battles and such like. The artillery boomed o'er the prairies, and reverberated through the fastnesses, much to our amusement. Magruder was expensive - a sort of military dandy - but popular, doubtless, with the powder contractors. Sturgis sowed his wild oats hereabouts, and, twenty-five years ago, was probably the most powerful man in the army. He could readily pitch any ordinary man across a fence, but was withal, a most courtly officer and thorough gentlemen. Poor Custer was here frequently after the war, with the glorious Seventh Cavalry, and his lovely wife reigned as one of the queens of society. General Hancock was once quartermaster at the fort, and afterward department commander. Colonel May, the Steeles, Bragg, Canby, Meiggs, Kearney, Marcy, Swift, Sully, Mills, Sacket, Sedgwick, and indeed all the old army officers have sojourned for a time at this garrison.
General Phillip H. Sheridan once since the war came here and established his headquarters at Fort Leavenworth. He probably would have remained here until to-day, as he liked the fort and enjoyed the society hereabouts, had it not been for a little faux pas. One of the justices of the peace fined the dashing cavalryman $100 for contempt of court. The fine was promptly paid by the citizens of Leavenworth, but Sheridan removed his headquarters to Chicago, and thus immense sums of money and unlimited increase of prosperity were diverted into other channels, for it is well know that the headquarters of the lieutenant-general of the army are of incalculable advantage to any place.
Fort Leavenworth As It Is
by William G. Cutler (1883)
The history of Fort Leavenworth has been traced up to the time that it has acquired its present status as a magnificent natural park. If the visitor expects to find many of the grim and unpleasant features of war at the fort, he will be happily disappointed. No grim battlements frown upon him, but rather he is ushered into a beautiful village by way of a broad macadamized roadway, which connects the city with the fort. To the right are the buildings of the Commissary department and the offices of the heads of departments.
The two main structures were erected in 1859, for arsenal purposes. These and other buildings once occupied as officers' headquarters, compose the old portion of the fort. Gen. Pope's residence, a spacious home-like house, surrounded by beautiful flower gardens and breathing an air of comfort and luxuriance, can be seen just west of these buildings. Continuing the drive into the fort grounds, one comes upon as charming a view as can well be imagined. Passing a number of cannon, mortars and other ordinance - the ordinance depot - the two main drives meet in one broad way, which circles around as fine a parade ground and as magnificent a grass-plat as the sun ever shone upon.
Here and there cool patches of dark shade are cast upon the sward by graceful trees, while upon the other side of the broad, smooth roadway, elegant residences front upon two sides of this smooth sea of green velvet. These are the officer's residences. Many of the buildings are over twenty years old, but the clinging vines and bright flowers which adorn them, give an appearance of rest and social beauty to the structures which would not attach to them if they were new and modern in architectural structure. The wide verandas which stretch across most of them, when graced by bright men, women and children, seem, for all the world, to be a portion of some generous English home in some lovely English village.
Before passing further, reference should be made to the gem of a chapel building, situated on the east side of the garrison, on Arsenal avenue. The building is a charming spot, overlooking the river; is built of limestone, constructed in the English style of architecture, and would be an ornament to a large city. Rev. David White is chaplain. The National Cemetery - Noble Warwick, Superintendent - is beautifully located half a mile west of the garrison. To the west of the parade ground are the soldiers' barracks and the School of Application for Cavalry and Infantry. But one wing of the building, which is the headquarters of the school, has been completed. When finished, the structure will be one of the most attractive and imposing at the fort.
Across the way from the school building is the guard-house and near by is the Fort Leavenworth Hotel, a large, spacious building which sets back a distance from the avenue, and is the home of fifty or sixty officers. (This was formerly used as a hospital.) The Catholic Chapel, a plain, substantial brick building, is still further to the west. Father Downey is pastor. A number of comfortable officers' residences are situated upon the north side of this thoroughfare, called the "West End."
The view of the reservation from this point is imposing and picturesque. To the south is the extensive Government farm, teeming with grain - its pasture lands covered with plump and hardy live-stock. Further to the west are billows of thick foliage, while beyond all is the beautiful city of Leavenworth, connected with the charms of the fort by that broad highway, over which military wagons are slowly moving, or gay equipages dashing back and forth. Passing the old barracks again, and verging towards the northeast, the fine structure, known as the military prison, is reached.
Guards are pacing its wide, high walls, and sentinels are on duty at its gates. Here, almost for the first time, the visitor is impressed with the idea that the hand of military discipline is iron-bound, but he is relieved in spirit if he is fortunate enough to meet the genial governor of the prison, Capt. Blunt. His residence adjoins the prison, overlooking a grand expanse of the Missouri River, charming ravines, and in fact as romantic and beautiful a scene as can be witnessed in the State. From this point the great iron bridge can be sen spanning the river. Over it the Rock Island & Pacific enters the Reservation from the east. The Leavenworth, Atchison & Northwestern (controlled by the Missouri Pacific) also passes through the Reservation from the north to south, and the Kansas Central (narrow gauge) enters its northeast corner, and runs in a northwesterly direction through the lower farm.
The principal features which go to make up Fort Leavenworth have been given, but when it is stated that a news-stand, telegraph office, reading-room, post-office, and all the other accompaniments of a city are found, it is unnecessary to say that the fort is a busy locality as well as "a thing of beauty and a joy forever," for weary denizens from the city. It is as stated, a complete and fascinating little village, where can be found the best of society. A peculiar source of enjoyment are the concerts rendered by the fine military band, in the summer season. Upon these occasions the beauty and the fashion of the city and the fort crowd the beautiful avenues which wind through the grounds in all directions. In the winter, parties, social hops and literary and musical entertainments serve to break the monotony of village life. Fort Leavenworth is certainly the paradise of military life.
In concluding this brief description of Fort Leavenworth, lovers of its natural beauty and of the charm of the surrounding country would consider it an "unpardonable sin" if now reference were made to "Sheridan's Drive." The old Rialto road, north of the Fort, Salt Creek valley and the broad Missouri - the grand sweep of county which one almost feels more than sees as he passes along this beautiful drive, cannot but impress the fact upon his mind that it would be unpardonable to slight such beauty which has been so long attached to Fort Leavenworth as one of its famous charms.
Fort Leavenworth is the headquarters of he Department of the Missouri, which includes the States of Missouri, Kansas, Illinois and Colorado; the Territory of New Mexico and the Indian Territory; Forts Elliott and Bliss, Texas, including the town of San Elizario, on the Rio Grande, and that portion of El Paso County lying north of an east and west line passing immediately south of San Elizario, Camp on Snake River, and Supply Depot at Rawlin's Station, Wyoming Territory. The Department is commanded by Major-General John Pope.
The Department staff is as follows: Major E. R. Platt, adjutant general; Judson D. Bingham, chief quartermaster; Major George Bell, chief commissary of subsistence; Major D. L. Magruder, surgeon U. S. A., attending surgeon; Major W. R. Gibson, paymaster U. S. A., chief paymaster, First Lieut. Thos. N. Bailey, corps of engineers, chief engineer officer; Capt. D. M. Taylor, ordinance department, aide-de-camp; First Lieut. S W. Groesbeck, Sixth Infantry, on duty in office of the judge-advocate of the department; Capt George Shorkley, Fifteenth Infantry, general instructor of musketry; First Lieut. W. C. Manning, Twenty-third Infantry, acting general instructor of musketry, chief ordinance officer and commanding ordinance depot; Second Lieut. Wm. A. Glassford, signal corps, signal officer, and in charge of military telegraph lines of the department.
Fort Leavenworth Post and Military School. - The post of Fort Leavenworth is in command of Col. Elwell S. Otis of the Twentieth Infantry, who also has charge of the School of Application for Cavalry and Infantry. There are stationed at the post 526 enlisted men - five companies of infantry, four troops of cavalry and one light battery of artillery. In addition to the permanently attached officers, one officer from each of the ten cavalry and twenty-five infantry regiments of the United States army are at the school of application. All lieutenants form a part of the school, and are sent to Fort Leavenworth every two years. The first class to take the course in military and international law, Mahan's outposts, field fortifications, signaling and telegraphy, operations of war, etc., etc.; everything as taught by the great military masters. The second class are drilled in the common branches, and receive practical instruction in field fortifications, surveying, field and garrison duty.
The school is not established by law, but by order of the War Department and under the general Congressional act authorizing such establishments. In 1881 Capt. Hall, of the Nineteenth Infantry, erected the wing of the building now occupied. The new brick barracks were also built. When the central building of the school structure is completed, it will be occupied as the administration headquarters of the school and post.
In March, 1881, Congress appropriated $30,000 for the erection of the new barracks, but as the lowest bid exceeded the appropriation, the erection of only one wing has thus far been authorized.
To return again to the school. Although it is as yet something of an experiment, successes has so far attended the well directed labors of Col. Otis that it will probably become a permanent, as it is already a valuable institution of the military service.
The Military Prison
This is considered a post independent of Fort Leavenworth, it being under the management of a governor who is responsible to the U. S. Prison Commissioners. Capt. Asa P. Blunt, A. Q. M., U. S. A., is governor, his accounts and work generally being inspected every three months by Gen. Nelson H. Davis, on Gen. Phil Sheridan's staff. Capt. Blunt has held his present position about six years, and by his energy and foresight has made Fort Leavenworth military prison a model institution of its kind.
The first buildings were erected in the winter of 1874-75, Major J. M. Robertson being what was then known as commandant. After serving a year and a half he was succeeded by the present incumbent. Capt. Blunt at once set about reforming the affairs of the institution, and inaugurated by congressional enactment, several regulations which evinced the humane views which he took of what prison discipline should accomplish - not humiliation, but reformation. Any prisoner now, by good behavior while in prison, can re-enlist in the service of the United States, and is either transported free of charge to the post at which he was last stationed, or to an equal distance in any direction from Fort Leavenworth.
In addition, he is given a good suit of clothes and five dollars in money. If he has any valuables when he enters the prison they are held for safe keeping and returned to him at the expiration of his term; or if he has money, and so desires, one dollar per month is allowed him for tobacco. In a word, it is the aim to make prisoners feel that though they are under strict discipline, they are men still, and entitled to manly and considerate treatment. The result is that, as a rule, they do their work cheerfully, and well. The amount of money expended at Fort Leavenworth for labor is virtually nothing. With the exception of the employment of a foreman to oversee work, the labor spent in the erection of the prison buildings, up to the present time, has been accomplished by the prisoners.
The wall of the prison, which encloses seven acres of ground, is from fifteen to twenty-five feet high, five and a half feet thick at the base, and two and a half at the top. At present (July, 1882), 465 men are in confinement, some employed in the improvement of the fort grounds, others in the manufacture of boots and shoes, harness, brooms and barracks chairs. The needs of the entire United States army are met, in these lines, by the labors of the Fort Leavenworth military prison. For the year ending July 1, the prison turned out 30,000 pairs of boots, 35,000 pairs of shoes, and 30,000 brooms. For the coming year it is estimated that $250,000 worth of material will be manufactured in these several products. The Government appropriation for the maintenance of the prison is $80,000.
Although the buildings of the prison have been improved and enlarged almost continuously since 1875, the inmates are so crowded for working and dwelling room that a three-story brick building, 40 x 114 feet, is being constructed. It will be divided into dormitories and shop rooms.
If the trite expression, 'beehive of industry,' could apply anywhere it is at the military prison. Although industry and good behavior mean a chance for future advancement in the army, the most strict precautions are taken to guard the prisoners. Sentinels with loaded muskets, are pacing the walls and guarding the gates day and night. Of the 465 inmates of the prison fully four-fifths are there for desertion and theft.
The present officers of the Military Prison are as follows: Brev. Col. A. P. Blunt, U. S. A. governor; J. P. Wright, U. S. A., surgeon; Capt. W. Badger, Sixth Infantry, executive officer; Rev. J. B. McCleery, U. S. A., chaplain; Lieut. D. M. Scott, First Infantry, provost marshal; Lieut. J. W. Pope, Fifth Infantry, adjutant; Lieut. W. P. Evans, Nineteenth Infantry, W. M. and A. A. C. S.; Acting Assistant Surgeon, O. C. McNary.
Lieut.-Col. Judson D. Bingham is deputy quartermaster general, and chief quartermaster of the Department of the Missouri. Maj. E. B. Grimes is depot quartermaster Fort Leavenworth. An idea of the magnitude of the transactions of the department, whose headquarters are here, may be obtained from the last report made to Q. M. Gen. M. C. Meigs. There then remained on hand nearly 2,500 army wagons, 13,000 wagon harnesses and 4,000 ambulance harnesses. Of the 1,438 cavalry and artillery horses purchased in the several military departments and depots at a total cost of $179,926.71, 494 were purchased in the department of Missouri. During the year 100 mules were purchased at a total cost of $13,500 and 273 horses and 157 mules sold for $13,068.66.
There were manufactured at the prison during the year on account of clothing and equipage, 34,163 pairs boots, 25,944 pairs shoes, 1,656 barrack chairs, and 4,356 corn brooms. The materials purchased by the Quartermaster's Department cost $137,676.04; the civilian labor, paid by the Quartermaster's Department, cost $3,800; royalty on machines, paid by the Quartermaster's Department, $302.49; Value of prison labor, $7,975.20. The average cost of prison labor in making a pair of shoes is 8 cents per pair, of boots 16 cents per pair, of chairs 19 cents each, and of brooms 4 cents each.
The average cost of boots to the department is $2.90 per pair; of shoes, $1.85 per pair; of chairs, $1.22 each, and of brooms, 16 cents each. The last prices of boots and shoes purchased by contract after advertisement were, boots $2.37 cents per pair, and shoes $186 per pair. The materials from which the boots and shoes were made were purchased at the Philadelphia depot of the Quartermaster's Department, under contract, after advertisement, inspected at that depot by experienced officers and inspectors, and shipped, as fast as received, to the Leavenworth prison. The leather purchased under these contracts has been of unexceptional quality.
The Subsistence Department, one of the most important branches of the service, occupies the large stone building on the east side, and is in charge of Gen. George Bell, Chief Commissary. This office makes all purchases for the department, except the stores sent from the East by officers under the direction of the Commissary General. These have to be weighed and carefully examined by the department here. Requisitions from all the different posts in the Department of Missouri for necessary stores also pass through the hands of the officers here, and orders for making shipments are then issued. The supply is generally limited to two or three months. The annual shipments of rations to the "boys in blue" in the Department of the Missouri amount to about 8,000,000 pounds per year. It is no wonder that the Subsistence Department is a busy one.