Fort Howard, October 1833 (part 1)

Jonathan M. Clark arrived and reported for duty at Fort Howard, the headquarters of the U.S. Army’s Fifth Regiment of Infantry on Sunday, October 20, 1833. He served there until his  discharge at the end of service in 1836. What did he do for those three years?

After the national excitement over the brief Blackhawk War in 1832, the northwest frontier was generally calm. The federal government continued to negotiate treaties with the Native Americans, urging them ever westward. Most Indians and white settlers observed the treaty boundaries and there was only the occasional “scare” from the original inhabitants. So what were the soldiers to do?

Let’s take a further look at Ft. Howard’s “Return of the Fifth Regiment of Infantry” for the month of October, 1833 and see what we can find. Here’s the front side: Continue reading

Pvt. Clark, reporting for duty

One of the most useful facts we discovered in looking at Jonathan M. Clark’s entry in the U.S. Army’s Register of Enlistments was that Jonathan was assigned to the Fifth Infantry, Company K. In the 1830s, the Fifth Infantry’s mission was to protect the expanding northwestern frontier.

The regiment’s companies were stationed at Ft. Dearborn (present day Chicago), Ft. Howard (Green Bay) and Ft. Winnebago (at the portage between the Fox and Wisconsin rivers, near the city of Portage). It was the regiment’s job to protect the settlers from the Native Americans (and vice versa), keeping the peace along the boundaries between the two peoples, as established in a series of treaties that, for the most part, continuously pushed the Indians farther and farther westward, toward the Mississippi River and beyond. Continue reading