Fort Vancouver Tapestry

23. Early Military Life

OO Howard

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Sponsored by: 1st United Methodist Church
The portrait is of General Oliver Otis Howard, Barracks Commander from 1874 to 1881. Originally from Maine, Gen. Howard was a mathematics professor at West Point and was seriously considering joining the ministry when the Civil War broke out. Howard began the war as a colonel in command of the Third Regiment of Maine Volunteers. One year later he was major general of the volunteers. He lost an arm fighting the Battle of Fair Oaks, and received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his role in the Battle of Gettysburg.
In 1865 Gen. Howard was appointed head of the federally funded Freedman’s Bureau. The bureau was designed to protect the interests of former slaves. This included helping them to find new employment and to improve educational and health facilities. In the year that followed, the bureau spent $17,000,000 establishing 4,000 schools, 100 hospitals and providing homes and food for former slaves.  The Freedman's Bureau also helped to establish Howard University in Washington in 1867.

The top border pictures a pressed metal powder flask, some well-worn boots, a flat iron and a fiddle used for entertainment in the Officers Club in the Grant House.