Thomas Barracks (1867-1877) - A Union U.S. Civil War reconstruction era Barracks established in 1867 near Huntsville, Madison County, Alabama. Part of the U.S. Government's post-war reconstruction efforts. Abandoned in 1877.
The Reconstruction Act of 1867 began the formal U.S. Civil War reconstruction period which lasted until 1877. During this period the south was divided into military districts and military posts were established to combat any radicalism that might appear. Huntsville fell into the Third Military District overseen by John Pope and George Meade. In Huntsville, Union troops were removed from the town into quarters just outside the then city limits. This post was first known as the Post at Huntsville and in January 1873 became the Thomas Barracks.
The post was situated on farmland leased from the former Alabama Governor Reuben Chapman whose property had been confiscated, his mansion burned to the ground during the war and he had been imprisoned in Massachusetts. The rent for the leased property was $200 per month. The mean strength at the barracks during 1870-1871 was 8 officers and 157 enlisted men (HQ + 3 companies). Thereafter the mean strength was 4 officers and 50 to 60 enlisted men (1 company) through 1873-1874, clearly a token force.
The consolidation of the 2nd U.S. Infantry with the 16th U.S. Infantry took place in Atlanta, Georgia, in April and May of 1869. Colonel S. W. Crawford became the Commander of the new 2nd U.S. Infantry and 2 days after the consolidation the regiment left Atlanta and took station as follows:
Headquarters were moved from Huntsville to Mobile in January 1872 but the Barracks remained garrisoned with a single company of soldiers.
The planned departure of the Thomas Barracks garrison was announced in the local newspaper on 12 Sep 1877 and it was noted that they had not been called upon to interfere with local self-government and that the officers were gentlemanly and that their presence while resented was "not for several years, been disagreeable."
In December 1877 the sixteen frame buildings of Thomas Barracks were sold at auction to ex-governor Reuben Chapman for $1,861 and would remain on his property. It was reported that the buildings originally cost the U.S. Government some $30,000 and that with the other improvements some $90,000 was spent by the U.S. Government.
The site of the barracks has been overbuilt with modern development with no trace remaining. The original house remains at 2409 Northeast Dairy Lane.
Visited: 5 Aug 2021