Fort Laramie National Historic SiteThe job of building, maintaining, and supplying military posts belonged to the Quartermaster's Department. The QMD was responsible for quarters, barracks, construction, infrastructure, transportation of personnel and supplies, and the procurement of most equipment and commodities.The empty field in front of you once bustled with activity at the workshops of the blacksmith, wheelwright, farrier, carpenter, painter, and saddler. The quartermaster's area extended from where you are standing for almost a quarter of a mile to the northeast. Warehouses for the storage of grain, clothing, lumber, tools, and general supplies were also located here.On the far side of the quartermaster's area were large corrals for the post's draft animals, including horses, mules, and oxen. Firewood and hay filled storage yards adjoining the corrals.The quartermaster rolls listed 52 civilian employees in 1875, most of them teamsters. The department also employed a telegraph operator, an engineer, clerks, interpreters, blacksmiths, saddlers, and other skilled craftsmen. Salaries ranged from $35 to $125 per month.Teamsters: Truck Drivers of the 19th CenturyFort Laramie served as the army's main command and logistics center during the height of the Northern Plains Indian Wars. Supplying the post was an enormous task which fell to the teamsters who, like the commercial truck drivers of today, moved mountains of supplies across the west.A train of freight wagons was an amazing sight. Their wheels alone were almost as tall as a man, and each wagon required five or six teams of oxen to move the four tons of cargo it held.Teamsters were a tough lot, and had a reputation for coarse behavior. Dr. Elliot West summed them up best, writing that their "fantastic oral literature of vile joke and curses were so gloriously profane that awed bystanders gazed upward, expecting the heavens to crack open." In charge of the freight wagons was the wagon master, paid up to $150 a month, an impressive wage for the period.The freighting firm of Russell, Majors, and Wadell required 3,500 wagons, 40,000 oxen, 1,000 mules, and over 4,000 drivers to fulfill their government contract in 1858. The Nebraska News described the scene of freight wagons on the trail, " . . . a thousand whips are cracking; sixteen thousand tails are gaily snapping the flies of June away, two thousand drivers shrieking, eight thousand wagon wheel squeaking . . . "
|Placed By||National Park Service|
|Marker Condition||No reports yet|
|Date Added||Wednesday, August 12th, 2015 at 9:01pm PDT -07:00|
|UTM (WGS84 Datum)||13T E 536729 N 4672422|
|Decimal Degrees||42.20310000, -104.55508333|
|Degrees and Decimal Minutes||N 42° 12.186', W 104° 33.305'|
|Degrees, Minutes and Seconds||42° 12' 11.16" N, 104° 33' 18.3" W|
|Driving Directions||Google Maps|
|Which side of the road?||Marker is on the right when traveling East|
|Closest Postal Address||At or near Unnamed Road, Fort Laramie WY 82212, US|
|Alternative Maps||Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap|
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