For the next few days, predicted highs in the afternoon will be in the upper 90s to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. While visiting the site, drink plenty of water and stay indoors as much as possible.
Beginning Monday August 25, the infantry barracks museum will be closed for remodeling and to prepare for a new theater and exhibits. Work is expected to be completed by spring of 2015. The site's movie will be played in the visitor center upon request.
Post Sutler-Brass, Felt and Feathers
The sutler's main customers were the men and women at the fort. This included the officers and their wives, laundresses (who traded soap and lard for various items), the surgeon, and even the Army itself made purchases at the sutler store. However, the majority of the sutler's customers were the enlisted men.
The sutler carried several items that appealed to the rank and file. Jawharps - a popular musical instrument, playing cards, sewing kits, combs, razors, and toothbrushes. The sutler also sold edibles such as apples and pickles as well as things like chewing tobacco (which came in twists) and cigars. The sutler could sell beer and wine to the enlisted men, but the army prohibited him from offering them anything stronger.
Often the enlisted men did not actually have the money to pay for their purchases. Therefore, the sutler could and did extend credit. However, there was a credit limit - the soldier could not exceed half of his monthly income. For the infantry private, that limit would be three dollars and fifty cents a month, and for the dragoon private it would be four dollars. This protected both the soldier and the sutler. For the sutler, it meant that if a soldier deserted prior to paying his bill, he would not be out a great deal of money. For the soldier, it assured that he had some money left over each month after all of his debts were collected from him.
Officers and their wives also frequented the sutler store. They would often make purchases for dinner parties and would buy things such as furs to adorn their homes. Because they were not as likely to desert and made significantly more money (starting salary for a lieutenant was twenty-one dollars a month), there was no credit limit for the officers. Also an officer could buy stronger spirits than the enlisted man. The reason for this preferential treatment was tied in part to the officers' social status. Another possible factor was the fact that the officers on the Council of Administration set the prices for items charged. Thus favorable treatment toward officers could lead to higher prices and more profit for the sutler.
Besides doing business with the military, the sutler did a substantial trade with the civilians and local Indian tribes. Local farmers from Missouri (four miles away) often traded eggs, dairy products, meat, and produce at the sutler store in exchange for clothing material, toys for their kids, pipe tobacco and any other items that would have interested them.
Because he traded with all of these people, the sutler would have an interest in cooperation between these various parties, thus becoming an agent in maintaining peaceful relations on the frontier.
This article was written by staff at Fort Scott NHS
Did You Know?
Soldiers at Fort Scott formed the first "rainbow coalition" during the Civil War. African American, American Indian, and Euro American soldiers fought in this area. Many, including the First Kansas Colored, Sixth Kansas Cavalry, and elements of the Indian Home Guard trained at Fort Scott.