During its first eleven years, Fort Scott had 50 officers assigned to it on paper at one time or another. Eight of them apparently did not actually appear at the post, their special details keeping them at regimental headquarters or other locations. An example was Lt. Henry Lee Scott, the nephew of the man after whom the fort was named. During the 12 months he appeared on the post returns, Lieutenant Scott was an aide-de-camp to his uncle. Over the years the officer strength at the post varied greatly, ranging from a low of one to a high of eleven. They came from all parts of the east.
In the pre-Civil War Army, a considerable number of officers came from the Southern states. Many students of the Army have concluded that these Southern gentlemen, with their aristocratic air and landed origins, both based on the institution of slavery, played an extra-large role within the Army in establishing aristocratic-like manners and setting the general tone of military institutions. This may well have been the case, but it is also possible that the extent of their influence upon the officer corps has assumed more emphasis than is due. In the case of Fort Scott, over 50 percent of the officers were Northerners and another 15 percent were from the border states. What effect this ratio had on the general environment of Fort Scott society cannot be determined--other than at any given time there were probably very few slaves to found at the post.
From the North or the South, there was no lack of courage or military ability among the Fort Scott officers. Five of them were killed and 18 others received brevet promotions in the Mexican War. When the Civil War rent the nation, five left the Army to serve the Confederate States, One of them reaching the dizzying heights of lieutenant general in the CSA. Of those who served with the Union Army, six became brigadier generals and one a Major general in the Volunteers, not including the brevet promotions to these grades. Only one received a Medal of Honor and only one was killed during the Civil War. It must be recorded too that one of the 42 was cashiered from the Army. Of the whole group, three were accidentally killed and one drowned while still on active duty. As for regular army grades, two of Fort Scott's officers eventually became the inspector general and one the surgeon general.
While it is true that the Army was small in the l840s and anyone who kept his musket clean had a world of opportunity for advancement when the Civil War consumed manpower on a hitherto unknown scale, the record of these few is still a good one. It would not be correct to say that Fort Scott's officers were a cut above the complement of other posts; what is more to the point is that the frontier army of the 1840s, as represented at Fort Scott, was a competent, fighting force, even though the American Army had not yet come into the full flower of professionalism. It is not surprising that Colonel Croghan reported in 1844, "the discipline of the post is good…in truth I have visited no garrison which in this respect has impressed me so favorably."
In contrast to enlisted men who faced daily monotony, officers could count on a variety of opportunities that would take them away from the post to renew contacts with the outside world. Among such departures were court-martial duty at other posts, recruiting duty in Eastern cities, purchasing trips for supplies and horses, and, most pleasant of all, leave. But it was a way of life that was soon to depart from Fort Scott.