Infantry Soldier-Units at Fort Scott
Four different infantry companies were stationed at Fort Scott between 1842 and 1853. They were:
4th Infantry Company C and D
Prior to coming to Fort Scott, these companies had both been involved in the Seminole War in Florida. When they arrived at Fort Scott, they found to their chagrin that instead of fighting Indians they would be protecting them from white settlers. Company D arrived at Fort Scott in October of 1842, with Company C arriving in May of 1843.
The arrival of Company C changed the post from primarily a dragoon post to an infantry post. Previously there had been two companies of dragoons and one of infantry. One of the dragoon companies left on May 2, 1843, the day before Company C arrived. What this meant was that one of the buildings that was intended to be a dragoon barracks became an infantry barracks instead and that since the fort was down to just one company of dragoons, that a 2nd dragoon stables which had been planned was no longer necessary and was never constructed.
The infantry stayed and "held down the fort" , while the dragoons went out on expeditions. The years 1842-45 were largely uneventful for 4th Infantry, Companies C and D. All that changed in July of 1845 when the 4th Infantry were called to become a part of General Zachary Taylor's Army of Observation in Texas. Elements of the 4th Infantry fought southward with him as far as Monterrey in September of 1846. The regiment was then transferred to the command of Winfield Scott and became part of the army that fought it's way from Vera Cruz to Mexico City.
During the Mexican War, several officers who had served with the 4th Infantry at Fort Scott lost their lives.
Lt. Richard Cochrane, who had served with Company D, was killed in the Battle of Resaca
Lt. Charles Hoskins of Company died in the Battle of Monterrey in September of 1846.
Captain William Graham, who served as the fort's second commander, was promoted first
1st Infantry, Company B
1st Infantry Company B arrived in Fort Scott in July of 1845, just one week prior to the departure of 4th Infantry, Companies C and D. This unit stayed at Fort Scott throughout the Mexican War, secure in its location, but missing it's chance for glory. During its three year stay, Company B's roster generally numbered less than 50 men. It still had the responsibility for military matters in the region, providing escorts for convoys along the Santa Fe Trail, and for maintaining the military road.
With so few men, the commanding officer, Captain Sidney Burbank, felt ineffectual in his military control of the region, especially after the dragoons left for Mexico in 1846. A private under Burbank's command was robbed by Osage Indians on his way back to Fort Scott from Little Rock, Arkansas, where he had served as a witness in the trial. Instead of taking a military force to punish the Osage, Captain Burbank simply demanded retribution from the Indian subagent in the area.
Construction of the fort continued under Burbank's command but was sluggish due to the shortage of labor and the limited financial resources available. The construction of posts was not a priority during this time because of the war and the vast new territories that were captured from Mexico.
6th Infantry, Company H
Most of the 6th Infantry, including Company H, were part of Worth's 1st Division in Mexico. Military engagements in Mexico of the 6th Infantry, Company H included the Siege of Vera Cruz (Mar. 9-29, 1847), Battle of Cerro Gordo, Capture of San Antonio and Battle of Churubusco, Battle of Molino del Rey (where Captain Albemarle Cady was wounded and received a Brevet rank of Major for Gallant and Meritorious Conduct. Alexander Morrow, 1st Lt. of the 6th Inf. Co H, assumed command because Cady was injured) and the Battle of Chapultepec (where Morrow received a Brevet Rank of Captain).
Company H arrived here in late September of 1848. They replaced 1st Infantry, Company B which had garrisoned the fort during the war. Two months later, 1st Dragoons, Company F also arrived, and for a while, the fort returned to its prewar activities with the dragoons patrolling the frontier and the infantry maintaining the fort and continuing construction of the fort. The construction of the fort ceased however in April of 1850 with the fort essentially complete. The dragoons left Fort Scott in 1850, and for the next two years, company H was left to itself at this lonely, uneventful post as the frontier pushed westward, making the post obsolete. Company H stayed here until the fort was closed in April of 1853.
This information was taken from Fort Scott Site Identification and Evaluation by Erwin M. Thompson and The Post on the Marmaton: A Historic Resource Study of Fort Scott National Historic Site by Daniel J. Holder and Hal K. Rothman.
Did You Know?
During their free time, the officers enjoyed hunting. Captain Swords wrote "everybody here is hunting mad, hunting and dogs constitute their thoughts by day and dreams by night" Of another officer, Swords said that "wolf chasing and duck hunting" were the only things that reconciled him to the place