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    Fort Abraham Lincoln Archive. The orders, invoices, and receipts in this collection document, in fascinating detail, the outfitting of an infantry garrison in a new post. During the spring of 1873, Fort Abraham Lincoln was in a state of transition and expansion. It had been established just a few months before as Fort McKeen, built and garrisoned by two companies of the 6th Infantry. As the troops emerged from their hibernation in the Dakota winter, work began on expanding the post to accommodate another company of infantry and, by autumn, six companies of the 7th Cavalry.

    Most of the requisitions are for "clothing and equipage." They range from "drawers," hats, coats, shirts, 100 pairs "buffalo overshoes," to muster roll books, drum heads and drumsticks, and uniform insignia. Anyone who has ever spent a spring in North Dakota will appreciate the frequent requests for more "mosquito bars," tents of mosquito netting.

    There are numerous officers' signatures. Most of them are of Civil War combat veterans. Capt. Hamilton Lieber had been at Ft. Donelson with Grant. Lt. Col. William P. Carlin, USMA '50, had risen to Brigadier General of Volunteers. Capt. James W. Powell, Jr. was breveted several times for gallantry. 1st Lt. John Carland was a major by War's end. 1st Lt. James Madison Burns was awarded the Medal of Honor for action in 1864. These officers had distinguished careers in the Indian Wars Army as well. But most of the signatures on these numerous pages and post returns are those of young 2nd Lt. Thomas Moseley Willey, USMA '68. We can't know what dreams of glory might have inspired Cadet Willey during his four years at West Point. But he can't have anticipated being clinched to a desk at a half-completed post in the winter barrens of Dakota checking, rechecking, drafting, copying, inventorying, and tallying thousands of entries on hundreds of official numbered government forms. Though he seems to have stuck gamely to it for a while, he resigned his commission and left army life behind in November 1875.
    From the Glenwood Swanson Collection.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2018
    9th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 427

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