Main Topic: Our Nation
Topic: National Expansion & Reform
Speaker: Suzanne Gucciardo
Tales from Fort Atkinson: Feeding a Frontier Fort
When the Missouri Expedition was sent into the little known reaches of the Louisiana Purchase to establish a U.S. military presence, the Army failed to appreciate the difficulty of feeding its men on the frontier. Following a disastrous winter of 1819-1820, Colonel Atkinson was determined to keep his garrison healthy through cultivation of grain crops and vegetables. The agriculture program at Fort Atkinson not only provided a surplus of food for the men and their families, it also provided important information about farming on the plains for the settlers who would come later.