Fort Vancouver, located at the border of Washington and Oregon, was a Hudson Bay Company trading post from 1829 to 1846. Established by the U.S. Army as Columbia Barracks in 1849, it was renamed Fort Vancouver in 1853, and officially designated Vancouver Barracks in 1879. In the 1860s, it served as headquarters for the District of Oregon, re-designated the Department of the Columbia in 1865.
The collection includes portfolio containing printed and holographic items related primarily to the 4th Infantry based at Fort Vancouver. The earliest material consists of nine monthly post returns from 1854, signed by the commanding officer, Lt. Col. Benjamin Louis Eulalie de Bonneville. These post returns list officers by name; enlisted men by count; civil employees, their duties, and rate of pay; official communications received; also the names of anyone sick or in confinement for desertion.
A food survey report from 1856 is concerned with rotten pork, hard bread, and moldy coffee. Later correspondence, special orders, and general orders date from 1860 to 1866. Most are directed from Vancouver Barracks to Fort Yamhill, OR; some of these concern the Blockhouse on the Siletz Reservation. Unrelated Civil War material from 1862 consists of official correspondence, telegrams, and orders pertaining to the 14th U.S. Infantry, Army of the Potomac, stationed at Fort Trumbull, CT, and in the field in Virginia. The majority are signed by Lorenzo Thomas, Adjutant General, Washington, D.C.