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    Kit Carson supplies Fort Garland

    Christopher "Kit" Carson Supply Requisition Signed "C. Carson". One page, 8" x 10", Fort Garland, Colorado Territory, [1866]. This "Special Requisition" for "rations of Flour" is boldly signed by the legendary frontiersman as "Col. 1st N.M. Cav./ and Bvt: Brig: Genl. U.S.V./ Comdy Post".

    In March 1865, shortly before the Civil War ended, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton brevetted Colonel Carson as brigadier general of New Mexico's volunteers. A year later in the spring of 1866, Carson was given command of Fort Garland in the Colorado Territory. The fort, located just thirty miles north of the New Mexico border, was established in 1858 and, when Carson arrived, consisted of only a few adobe and log buildings surrounding a central plaza. Respected by Indians and knowledgeable of their customs, Carson was sent to the small outpost because of the threat to the increasing numbers of white settlers in the area by the neighboring Utes and Apaches. While in command of the fort's sixty-three soldiers and ten officers, the rugged soldier maintained peace, despite numerous threatening instances.

    In an effort to supply Fort Garland with much needed flour, Carson signs this supply requisition "For Subsistence Stores for the use of Officers at Fort Garland C. T. for 365 days, commencing the 1st day of August 1866 and ending the 1st day of September 1867." The document is organized into a grid listing the "No. [of officers] to be supplied"; "No. of days"; and "No. of Rations". Already, four thousand "Rations of Flour" were "Present at the Post", while 6000 rations were "Expected at the Post before September 1866 (including off.[icers] families)." (Possibly, Carson wanted the flour at the fort before the anticipated visit of General William T. Sherman, military commander of all territory west of the Mississippi River since the end of the Civil War. General Sherman's visit came and lasted throughout September 1866. During that visit, Sherman and Carson were known to stay up late into the night, talking and smoking homemade cigarettes.) Next to Carson's bold signature, which is located in the lower left corner under "Examined and Approved", is that of "W. H. Barlow/ Captain A.Q.M. and A.C.S". Docketing on the verso reads, "Special Estruiate [estreat?]/ For Flour for the use of Officers/ At Fort Garland C.[olorado] T[erritory]/ By Capt. W. H. Barlow AQM and ACS".

    Kit Carson, celebrated in story and song as a larger-than-life hero of the American frontier, was born Christopher Houston Carson in 1809 near Richmond, Kentucky, the eleventh of fifteen children. He moved with his family to the Missouri frontier before his fourth birthday. At age seven, his father died and the young Carson was forced to leave school and work on the farm. He was soon apprenticed to a saddle maker, but in 1826, he ran away with a caravan and ended up in Taos, New Mexico. Taos became his headquarters for the next fourteen years while he made his living as a trapper, miner, teamster, cook, guide, and hunter. In 1842, he chanced to meet John C. Frémont on a Missouri River steamboat and was soon employed as a guide for Frémont's Western expeditions. Carson's exploits with Frémont gained much attention, especially through reports that spoke glowingly of his bravery and prowess. An 1858 biography and a popular series of Wild West "blood and thunder" pulp novels exaggerated his feats, giving him an almost mythical status among heroes of the American West which remains to this day. Later, Carson served with New Mexico's Union volunteers throughout the Civil War. In 1867 while still in command of Fort Garland, he resigned from the military and returned to New Mexico. Kit Carson died one year later.


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    Auction Dates
    April, 2011
    8th-9th Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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