This study explores the accounting and business practices of a fort sutler on the western frontier in the mid-19th century and how these practices were regulated by the U.S. Army. The fort sutler operated a store on the Army post with the permission of the fort commander. The sutler had sole authority to sell certain items to soldiers on the post. He sold items that soldiers desired but were not provided by the Army. Although the sutler's store was a civilian operation, he played an important role in supporting soldiers stationed on the frontier and enhanced the effectiveness of frontier military operations. This research reviews and summarizes relevant military regulations of the period in addition to documentary evidence emanating from Fort Abercrombie (North Dakota) to learn more about the accounting and business operations of this important figure of the American frontier.

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