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[454] reception and banquet given by the citizens of that hospitable city, was the necessity for a military post near that place. The location of Chicago makes it the most important strategical center of the entire northern frontier. It is also the most important center of interstate commerce and transportation anywhere in the country. Yet in 1883 there were no troops nearer than St. Paul, Omaha, and Leavenworth. At the time of the railroad strikes in 1877, troops had been brought there in time to render the necessary service, but no thought appears to have been given to the necessity of better provision for the future.

There had been in early times a military reservation at the mouth of the Chicago River, on which old Fort Dearborn was located. But that had become far too valuable to be retained for military use, and no longer suitable for a military post, being in the heart of a great city. Hence it had passed out of the hands of the government. Upon consultation with Senator Logan and a few others, it was not thought possible to obtain from Congress the large sum of money necessary to buy ground for a post near Chicago; but that if the United States owned the ground, the appropriations to build a post could readily be obtained. Hence the subject was mentioned to a few prominent citizens, with the suggestion that a site be purchased by subscription and presented to the United States. I was soon invited to meet the Commercial Club at one of their monthly dinners, where the matter was fully discussed. At another meeting, some time later, it was made the special subject for consideration, and this resulted in the organization of the plan to raise the money and purchase the ground. All the eligible sites were examined, the prices obtained, and the purchase-money pledged. Then the proposition was submitted to the War Department and approved. General Sheridan was sent out to select the best of the

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