Lloyd Beall

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There is no photograph available of Lt. Beall.

In the fall of 1860, Maj. Wessells received orders to return to Fort Riley. Before leaving, he turned command of Fort Larned over to 1stLieutenant Lloyd Beall, head of Company H, U.S. Infantry. Lt. Beall was born in Missouri. There is no record of when he entered the Army, but he is listed as a 2nd Lt. in the 2nd U.S. Artillery on March 29, 1848. On June 30, 1851 he was promoted to 1st Lt. He was transferred to the 2nd Infantry on Oct. 21, 1859. Companies G and H of the 2nd Infantry were sent to Fort Larned with Maj. Wessells in 1860, where Lt. Beall is listed as sitting in on a General Court-Martial on Sept. 26, 1860. Along with his duties as post commander, Lt. Beall was also the Assistant Quartermaster Officer and the Assistant Commissary Officer.

Lt. Beall commanded a greatly reduced garrison that winter. Of the 101 men who had been stationed there during the summer, half were ordered to return to Fort Riley. Remaining at Fort Larned were 23 dragoons and 25 infantrymen, along with a dozen men who were too sick to make the journey to Ft. Riley. In December the garrison was further reduced when 12 infantrymen left on detached service to Paradise, located 30 miles northeast of Fort Hays, leaving only 38 men (25 dragoons and 13 infantrymen) at Fort Larned.

With barely enough men to maintain watches and get daily chores done, Lt. Beall did away with some of the normal routine Army functions that were not essential to maintaining the post and its security. He cancelled drills and full dress parades, keeping only the guard mount at full strength. He even ordered some of the non-commissioned officers to stand lookout duty in order to keep those stations properly manned. Work duty that winter was mostly concerned with cutting ice out of the Pawnee River for the summer. Despite the reduced garrison, escort duty for the mail coaches continued under the direction of 2nd Lt. Solomon Williams. There was apparently no danger from Indians that winter, although snow drifts across the Santa Fe Trail occasionally interrupted the mail service.

Other than maintain the security of the post and ensuring the mail coaches were provided with escorts, the major dilemma facing Lt. Bell during the winter of 1860 –61 was the fact that he no funds with which to operate. Lt. Lee, the fort's Quartermaster had taken all the money with him to Fort Riley. This meant that several civilian workers who had helped build the fort's adobe structures had to spend the winter with the soldiers because Lt. Beall could not pay them the wages they were owed. He was not able to pay the enlisted soldiers their extra duty wages either. On the bright side, though, everyone at least had a roof over their heads and food to eat that winter.

On April 19, 1861, a military caravan with 67 officers and men of the 2nd U.S. Infantry arrived at Fort Larned along with a herd of cattle to provide fresh meat for the garrison. At this time, Captain Julius Hayden, of the 2nd Infantry took command of the post, allowing Lt. Beall to step down and assume command of the infantry company. He also continued his duties as Quartermaster and Commissary Officer without the added burden of Post Commander.

Lt. Beall was promoted to Captain on April 30, 1861, however as Civil War erupted in the East, he apparently followed his Southern sympathies into the Confederate Army, where he served as an artillery private throughout the war.

Lt. Beall's stint as the fort's Commanding Officer was relatively uneventful. He served mainly as a caretaker throughout the winter of 1860 –1861 until the new commander arrived in the spring. Fulfilling that role, though, however unexciting, is every bit as important as commanding the post through periods of high activity. It helped maintain the continuity of the garrison at Fort Larned, allowing the Army to continue its vital mission of providing protection along the Santa Fe Trail.

Last updated: June 27, 2018

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Larned, KS 67550

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