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Commandant complains: We need the ink

We continue to write about the difficulties faced by the U.S. Army while establishing Fort Lewis in Pagosa Springs during the fall of 1878 and winter of 1879.

We have learned that hay expected for the “public animals” i.e., horses and mules, was not available in Pagosa Springs. Consequently, except for horses and mules in immediate use, the rest of the animals were sent to Animas City, the northern portion of today’s Durango. Hay and grain were available in Animas City.

We’ve learned that freighting rations from Fort Garland in the San Luis Valley to Fort Lewis was extremely difficult because of heavy snowfall in the San Juan Mountains. Freight wagons had of go south down the east side of the mountains to Ojo Caliente, N. M., cross over at that point, then go north up the west side of the mountains past the Tierra Amarilla communities to Fort Lewis.

Third, we’ve learned that, “We might as well be in Alaska” as far as the timeliness and reliability of the mail service was concerned.

Today, we read a March 25, 1879, letter submitted by Fort Lewis Commander Capt. Dodge complaining about, you guessed it, supplies.

I quote:

“Sometimes since, the post qr. mr. was directed to make application for 5 hospital tents and 4 Panlins (? spelling). The application was returned to this post, so much of it as related to tents being disapproved by the Chief qr. mr. of this District.

“It was intended that two of those tents should be used for hospital purposes and I most respectfully recommend that they, at least, be furnished.

“It will be impossible to build a hospital with the material on hand and as warm weather is approaching I scarcely deem it necessary to do so.

“The present hospital is located in a squad room of Co.

“D” 9 Cav. which is much needed by the men of that company the remaining rooms being crowded and a number of men in tents.

“I have also the honor to recommend that the nails invoiced from Fort Union Feb. 15 last, be shipped to this point without delay.

“All the nails used in the construction of buildings for nearly two months have been borrowed and work is now almost suspended for want of them.

“Attention is also invited to a letter to the A.A.Q.M. dated 26th (?). Dist. N.M. Office of the Chief Q.M. Santa Fe, N.M. Jan. 28, 1879, informing the A.A.Q.M. that certain articles of stationery will be forwarded at the first opportunity from the station at Santa Fe. None of these articles have been received, and as they are greatly needed, especially the ink, I would ask that they be sent here as soon as practicable.”