This research reviews and summarizes relevant military regulations of the period in addition to documentary evidence emanating from Fort Abercrombie (North Dakota) to learn more about the accounting and business operations of this important figure of the American frontier.
Fort Abercrombie was a frontier fort in the Dakota Territory (now North Dakota) from 1858-1878.
Then, background information on Fort Abercrombie, a discussion of the franchise-like relationship between the Army and sutler, and an analysis of several accounting and business matters concerning the sutler are presented.
Fort Abercrombie became the "gateway to the Dakotas" [Barnes, 2008], The fort was the starting point for navigation down the Red River to present-day Winnipeg, Manitoba and a supply post for expeditions from Minnesota to points west [Barnes, 2008].
In 1862, a Sioux Indian attack on Fort Ridgley in Minnesota encouraged Fort Abercrombie to make plans for its own defense with all soldiers ordered to remain near the post and settlers advised to come in for protection.
The fort became less relevant as the frontier moved west and the Army abandoned the post in 1878 [Terry, 1878], Fort Abercrombie became a state park in 1903 and is now known as Fort Abercrombie State Historic Site located in Abercrombie, North Dakota.
He came to Fort Abercrombie in July 1861 to assume the position of post sutler and postmaster and as an agent for the Northwest Express Company [DMFP].
Primary source materials including Army regulations, orders issued by the Fort Abercrombie commander, military correspondence, and various sutler documents from Fort Abercrombie were reviewed.
Sutler ledgers from Fort Abercrombie indicated that a simple, cash basis, single entry accounting system was used.
By the end of 1860, the 2nd Infantry Regiment had 10 companies spread out in the Kansas Territory; at Fort Kearney, Nebraska Territory; Fort Abercrombie, Dakota Territory; and forts Ripley and Ridgeley, both in Minnesota.
He reenlisted again in the company on 1 January 1859 at Fort Abercrombie.