PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION
Washita River is just one of the engagements recorded by Alvord on his encyclopedic map, which details military routes, including the route of the 211 columns of U.S. troops operating against native peoples during the Indian Wars, as well as the topography, watersheds, trails, forts, depots, and agencies in the region.
In addition to his own surveys and sketches, Alvord relied on several other contemporary sources in making this omnibus military map, including maps and sketches by Lieutenant Jackson of the Seventh Cavalry; itineraries of General Sheridan's marches in 1868; a report of an 1868 march of the Third Cavalry by Colonel Evans; itineraries of the Seventh Cavalry provided by Lieutenant Robbins; and a report of a march of column under Brevet Brigadier General William Henry Penrose, 1868.
While still in the army, Alvord was assigned, in 1869, as a military instructor at the Massachusetts Agricultural College at Amherst. In 1872, while pursuing a private agricultural career, Alvord served as a special commissioner to Indian Territory to escort a Kiowa delegation to Washington, D.C. He was instrumental in having Satanta and Big Tree released from prison so that the delegation would proceed to the national capital.
After two decades in the east, where he was the founder of, and principal lobbyist for, the American Association of Land Grant Colleges, Alvord returned to Oklahoma in 1894 to assume the presidency of the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Oklahoma State University). Alvord quarreled with the board of regents, however, and resigned after only four months. From 1895 until his death in 1904 he served as the head of the Dairy Division of the Bureau of Animal Industry of the USDA, seeming a long way removed from his time as a military engineer on the Great Plains. He retained the present map throughout his lifetime and it remained in his family, with other artifacts from his time as an Indian fighter, until about a decade ago.
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