Dusting Off the Old Ones was published in 1961 by W. B. Clarke, Miles City, Montana.
A Visit to Fort Keogh in 1885
While browsing around in the Historical Library at Helena recently, Shade Tree Bill ran onto a copy of the Northwest Magazine, dated August, 1885, which contained an article titled "A Visit to Fort Keogh", which we will quote to-day for your edification, as there are not many folks around now who ever made a visit to Fort Keogh when it was occupied by the troops. And here is the story:

"Tongue river is only a stone's throw in width, but the county of Custer has not yet manifested sufficient enterprise to bridge it. The military authorities put up a bridge some years ago, which a freshet speedily swept away. If you want to visit the fort, you must entrust yourself and team to a flatboat ferry and pay the ferryman $1.25 for the privilege of the excursion. The ferryman resembles the hero of Twickenhem ferry in the song, having 'just a soft twang in the turn of his tongue' but he is neither slim nor young; on the contrary, a battered and grizzly old fellow in a greasy hat and dirty canvas clothes. The word fort doubtless brings to the mind of our eastern readers a picture of earthworks and ditches, bastions, magazines and sally ports. A western fort has nothing of the sort to show. It resembles a small town built of wood and very orderly and neat in arrangement. There are no walls, not even a stockade. The barracks, store houses and officers' quarters face upon a big quadrangle of level ground covered with green turf, in the middle of which stands a flag staff. The buildings with their brown walls, red hoodlike roofs and broad piazzas fronting upon the wide expanse of greensward, make a pretty picture brightened up by the blue uniforms and shining gun barrels of the soldiers and the epaulettes and gold lace of the officers.

On the piazzas are groups of women and children and of the officers off duty, and the routine and red tape of the military does not interfere with an active and agreeably social life. The post is a society in itself, with the grades of preference carefully marked out in accordance with the rank of the officers. When a new officer is sent to a post, he looks over the quarters of all the officers beneath him in rank and has a right to select the one which suits him best. The deposed family turns out some one of lower rank and so it goes until the least desirable quarters are to be occupied by the second lieutenant of most recent commission. These frequent disturbances of the home life of the officers' families are one of the singular features of our regular army system. With thirty or forty officers at a post, all of them educated gentlemen and many of them of high family connections in the East, and with numerous ladies and children (for most officers are married and many have married young), it will be seen that a large military post presents exceptionally good opportunities for sociability. To keep from settling into monotonous grooves there are the visits from officers of other regiments changing stations and the occasional call of the officer commanding the military department and his staff, or perhaps the general in chief.