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.
This study explores a sutler's accounting and business practices at frontier forts using evidence from Fort Abercrombie. 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.
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.
A sutler at Fort Abercrombie: David McCauley was born in 1825 in Merrimac, New Hampshire.
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. Powers would resign his position of sergeant on 22 January 1862 and returned to the ranks as a private.