Infantry have long been considered the "backbone" of the army. Trained to fight on foot, they formed the core of any fighting force. On dozens of far-flung battlefields, the fortunes of the young nation of the mid-nineteenth century were shaped by foot soldiers. While dragoon soldiers received much of the glory, it was the infantry who did most of the fighting. At Fort Scott, the mobility of the dragoons allowed them to leave the fort for periods of time, leaving the infantry to "hold down the fort". Infantry soldiers performed most of the fatigue duties and the construction of the fort's buildings.
These pages contain information about infantry recruitment and training, organization, work performed by the infantry, and daily life. Would you want to be a soldier in the 1840s?
You will be doing your program near one of the reconstructed infantry barracks (inside if raining). Each barracks was home to a company of soldiers and a company of soldiers consisted of about 60 men. Each barracks had sleeping quarters upstairs and a kitchen, mess hall and company office downstairs. However, since neither of the infantry barracks on site is restored on the interior as such, presenters at this station will be giving their program at a tent. (A tent would have been where the infantry slept while on campaign and served as temporary quarters while the barracks where being constructed.)
Did You Know?
Many officers at Fort Scott in the 1840s owned slaves. One particular slave, Anna, was rented to Hiero Wilson, post sutler. Born free and educated, she was kidnapped into slavery in 1820, In 1849, she regained her freedom, married, operated a hotel in Eastern Kansas, and later became a pioneer.