POST RETURN of Fort Yuma, California for July 1854
George H. Thomas, Capt. & Bvt. Major, 3rd Arty, Co. A, commanding post since July 15, 1854; relieved Major Heintzelman, 2nd Inf.
Robert O. Abbott, asst surgeon
Francis E. Patterson, 1st Lieut., 3rd Arty., "I"
Beekam DuBarry, 1st Lieut., 3rd Arty., "I"
Alexander Piper, 2nd Lieut., 3rd Arty., Post Adj.
Specials Orders, Headquarters Department of the Pacific directs that Major Thomas to proceed to Fort Yuma, California with Companies of the 1st and 3rd Artillery.
Major Heintzelman to Recruiting Depot, New York per S.O. 2,53, Hq Troop, Army and S.O. No.56, Department of the Pacific. June 14, 1854. Left Post July 15, 1854. (1st Lieut. Nathaniel H. McLean, and 2nd Lieut. D. O'Connell of Company D were included in the order for duty at New York.)
Bvt. Major Thomas' march with two companies of light artillery from Warner's Ranch across the desert was made in mid-summer. In an attempt to relieve the men the march was made at night. During the terrific heat of the day a halt was made and shade sought under the wagons or whatever obtainable. Finally the heavier accoutrement was cached, the men loaded in the wagons, and the last leg of the journey made under forced march conditions.
It is not reported if artillery pieces were brought along. However the soldiers were equipped with the infantry arms for the tour at the river crossing, making it likely that the only heavy pieces of the new companies were the two 12-pounders of the 2nd Infantry, which were transferred.
During March 1855 Thomas secured some new models of long-range rifles for his men. A rifle practice season of two months was scheduled, the results of which were reported to the Department of the Pacific.
Construction of permanent buildings had been started by Heintzelman. However the making of adobe bricks and putting up structures were slow procedures. It was not until several years later that most of the quarters were completed.
During the infantry occupancy of the fort a force pump, powered by a mule treadmill, raised water some seventy feet to a reservoir on the parade ground. The water settled over night and was distributed by carts in the mornings. A good post garden in the bottom lands was operated and irrigated from the river.
Ref: "Fort Yuma on the Colorado River" by Col. H. B. Wharfield