Two early 1872 items relating to expansion building at Ft. Buford, D. T. - 1. Gen. William B. Hazen ALS concerning the bill for lumber to build the "dramatic hall" & 2. "Explanation of ground plan of post" document.
Wear as shown, noted in pencil on back by Hazen on the ALS to give this to a member of the dramatic company.
$185.00 plus shipping
"With the arrival of Companies B, F, G, and E, Fort Buford was expanded in 1867–1868 from the original 1866 one-company 360-foot square frontier stockade to a 540 x 1,080 feet 5 company fort with only three walls towards the West, North, and East. The South side, while not being walled off, was enclosed by the long portion of a reverse "L" of adobe barracks buildings and the Missouri River towards the South served as a natural moat. The reconstructed barracks on the site today is on the location of where the original that formed the short leg of the "L" was. In 1867, old Fort Union, A fur trading post dating back to 1829 and located 2 miles away by land, 7 by river, was bought by the Army and parts of it were demolished and used at Fort Buford during this construction phase. The reason being that the wood there had 30 years worth of age and was of superior quality to the green cottonwood available along the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers where the only native wood grew.
The post was expanded again in 1871–1872 with the arrival of Colonel William B. Hazen's 6th Infantry Regiment to a six-company infantry post covering approximately a square mile, including laundress' quarters and other civilian areas, using lumber shipped from the Eastern United States by steamboat but with no stockade. At that time the fighting had moved further westward into Montana Territory and the garrison was large enough to no-longer need the perimeter stockade. The original Commanding Officer's Quarters at the site today was part of this expansion and originally built in 1871–1872 and served as Hazen's residence from 1872–1880. This structure sits at the southern end of what once was a double row of Officer's Quarters that ran towards the North. Beyond this double row the stone Powder Magazine was built in 1875 out of sandstone quarried from an area located to the North of the fort. When in use the magazine held over a million rounds of ammunition for the fort's garrison, much of it being black powder cartridges one of which was the .45-70. At this time Fort Buford became a key element in the supply route for the military campaigns of 1876–1877 in Montana Territory. At the peak of occupation, which followed the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876 until 1881, there were just under 100 buildings and approximately 1,000 people occupying the post at any given moment including infantry and cavalry companies bivouacking in tents on the parade ground while being resupplied. Following the 1871–1872 expansion there were several improvements to the fort. In 1873–1874 the 6 adobe barracks from the 1867–1868 expansion were rehabilitated in order to stabilize their crumbling adobe, this was done by adding wood sheathing to the outside of the building protecting it from the weather as well as plastering the interior and replacing the sod roof with a new lighter roof covered with tar and gravel. At the same time, the kitchen and mess hall for each barracks was relocated from the main building to a new addition connected by a short hallway. This new addition was built using the same quality lumber from the Eastern States as used in the other buildings of the 1871–1872 expansion, the existing reconstruction represents what the original building would have looked like in 1876. By 1880 however, all of the remaining adobe barracks buildings were collapsing, with a few having already collapsed and forcing the men to bivouac in tents on the parade ground. By 1881, the adobe structures were torn down and replaced with wooden structures relocated to the eastern side of the parade ground. In 1883, the Commanding Officer's Quarters' bay window was pushed out to the South adding on two rooms to the structure.
In 1889, the last of the expansions took place. A much larger Commanding officer's Quarters was built on the northern end of Officer's Row replacing the 1872 Hazen Quarters which then became the Field Officer's Quarters. A water tower was built towards the river and attempts were made at installing water mains to the structures. The attempt failed however, because they could not bury the pipes deep enough to keep them from freezing every Winter with the last attempt at 8 feet.
The remoteness of the post, poor quality of its original construction, and age resulted in the fort's deterioration with many of the original adobe and cottonwood structures constantly in a state of collapse due to unskilled labor, the elements, and poor construction methods when built.