Near Fairfax in Nicollet County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Garrison Life Was Like Clockwork
The army believed that routine promoted discipline. Soldiers were on duty six days a week from daybreak to dusk. Garrison life consisted of roll calls, inspections, parades, guard duty, weapons training, drills, and daily chores called fatigues. Every call, inspection, drill, or fatigue was preceded by a distinct piece of music. The tune "Molly Put the Kettle On," for example, meant breakfast.
Soldiers were kept so busy as carpenters, blacksmiths, construction workers, farmers, and woodcutters that officers bemoaned their limited opportunities to drill and train the men in military duties.
Private Samuel Bloomer, who lived in the barracks here in 1861, described a day filled with chores:
After breakfast we were ordered to clean out our quarters. We carried our bedding out onto the parade ground to sun. We brushed down the walls, and washed the woodwork, windows, and floors thoroughly, so that we made it a general cleaning day. In consequence we had no drills except dress parade at sundown.
Erected by the Minnesota Historical Society.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Forts and Castles. In addition, it is included in the Minnesota Historical Society series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1861.
Location. 44° 27.2′ N, 94° 44.036′ W. Marker is near Fairfax, Minnesota, in Nicollet County. Marker can be reached from County Highway 30 1.1 miles west of State Highway 4, on the right when traveling west. Marker is in Fort Ridgely State Park; fee area – a Minnesota state park vehicle permit is required. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 72404 County State Aid Highway 30, Fairfax MN 55332, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Stone Barracks (a few steps from this marker); Bakehouse (within shouting distance of this marker); Who Lived in the Barracks? (within shouting distance of this marker); Attack from the Northeast (within shouting distance of this marker); Officers' Quarters—A (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Ridgely State Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Ridgely Closes (within shouting distance of this marker); Camp Women (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fairfax.
More about this marker. caption:
David Geister, Getting the Gardens Ready, Spring 1856, 2005
Also see . . .
1. Bloomer, Samuel (1835–1917)(Submitted on February 26, 2014.)
2. Polly Put the Kettle On. Wikipedia entry. "It was also printed, with "Polly" instead of "Molly" in Dublin about 1790–1810 and in New York around 1803–07." (Submitted on February 26, 2014.)
3. Polly Put the Kettle On. The Minnesota Heritage Songbook. (Submitted on February 26, 2014.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on February 26, 2014, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 446 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on February 26, 2014, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.