Naming Fort Hartsuff

The earlier ‘summer’ camp south of the river was called Camp Ruggles. When the decision was made in late August of 1874 to erect a permanent installation two miles east, official correspondence initially referred to it as “Post on the North Forth of the Loup River”

The site on the north side of the river lay on a well-drained, smooth plain. It was within a mile of the river and near a major creek variously knows as Storm, Knife, Lone Tree and finally its present name Bean. Two sections (2 & 10) were declared as the military reserve. A substantial grade immediately east of the building site rose to a hill about 40 feet high. This provision of site selection would serve as an elevation upon which to dig a well, erect a windmill and build a water storage tank. The water tank eventually provided a water pressure system adequate for fire protection for even the tallest buildings. Water was piped through galvanized steel pipes to the various buildings. Besides fire protection, this system provided great convenience to all the residents. Probably the laundresses were the most appreciative of all the various fort residents.

Construction proceeded rapidly. By December, higher headquarters had opted for a permanent name for the new post on the Loup. Military installations were very often named for a recently deceased officer of some note. The new installation was officially named FORT HARTSUFF in December of 1874.

It was name for George Lucas Hartsuff. He was a wounded hero of the Seminole Indian War in Florida in 1855. There was even a Fort Hartsuff named for him in Florida. He also served gallantly during the Civil War. His brigade played an important role in the capture of General Robert E. Lee near the end of that war. After the war, he served in staff positions until retiring with the rank of Major General of Volunteers. He retired in June of 1871. He died in May of 1874 at age 48. Thus, the untimely yet fortuitous timing of the death of this West Point graduate, has given him a degree of immortality. He will always be honored as the namesake for Fort Hartsuff.