• Blunt went from quartermaster to lead USMP

  • Blunt, like many of his contemporaries, was just old enough and just prominent enough to be elected to command state volunteer units in the Civil War.

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  • Quentin Schillare | Special to the Fort Leavenworth Lamp
    Since the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks moved from the north end of Main Post not far from Main Parade in October 2002, evidence of Fort Leavenworth’s correctional mission has been indirect. The “Old DB” compound now provides office space for several organizations, but no military police operations.
    The 15th MP Brigade, new USDB and the Joint Regional Confinement Facility are now tucked away in the northwestern corner of the reservation. Although uniformed MPs are seen on mobile patrol, manning the gates, and in the dining facility, people see many more majors than lieutenants and enlisted military police soldiers. Yet, the important correctional mission continues as it has since the 19th century.
    In the 1870s, Army leaders became aware of the generally deplorable conditions in Army confinement facilities and, with the approval of Congress, established a military prison system. When the Leavenworth Arsenal moved to Rock Island, Ill., in 1874, the post quartermaster depot took its place on Arsenal Hill where Grant Hall now stands, and the newly authorized U.S. Military Prison occupied the location vacated by the arsenal north of Main Parade.
    As the former arsenal was converted to a prison over the next few years, military prison officials authorized construction of a series of single and double family wood frame dwellings of local design on what is now Riverside Avenue. They were built under contract to a local construction firm to accommodate an influx of officers, noncommissioned officers and civilian employees of the rapidly expanding military prison.
    In 1876, the prison housing footprint expanded to the ridgeline east of the prison compound. The area was called Bluntville. Bluntville was a collection of 28 wood frame family quarters built under contract to the Army to house military prison noncommissioned officers and civilians. The area later served as quarters for African-American NCOs. Additional houses were constructed later until Bluntville was a group of 40 buildings, quite a few structures for an area about twice the size of Main Parade. All military prison construction was of wood to save money and funded from the prison budget. The Military Prison’s senior leader during much of this time was Asa P. Blunt.
    Born in Danville, Vt., Blunt, like many of his contemporaries, was just old enough and just prominent enough to be elected to command state volunteer units in the Civil War. Initially the adjutant of the 3rd Vermont Volunteer Infantry, he joined the 6th Vermont as its lieutenant colonel in 1861. He assumed command of the 12th Vermont Volunteer Infantry in 1862 and led it at the Battle of Fredericksburg and the Battle of Gettysburg the next year. At Gettysburg, the mission of the 12th Vermont was to guard the federal baggage. Not a path to glory, but necessary none-the-less.
    Mustered out of volunteer service after Gettysburg, Blunt remained with the Army as an assistant quartermaster of volunteers and was brevetted to the rank of brigadier general of volunteers before the end of the war. He remained in the Army serving in the east with the Quartermasters Department after the war until 1875 when he was assigned to the U.S. Military Prison at Fort Leavenworth. The Military Prison was renamed the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks in 1915.
    Page 2 of 3 - As assistant quartermaster, Blunt was in charge of the construction activities required to change an arsenal to a prison and “welcome” the first inmates in 1875. He served as governor of the U.S. Military Prison from 1877-88. According to Military Corrections Complex Chief of Staff Peter J. Grande, Blunt’s 10 years and 10 months is the longest tenure of the soldiers or civilians who have served as the commandant.
    Capt. (Brevet Brig. Gen.) Blunt retired in 1888 with 27 years of volunteer and regular Army service. He died the next year and was posthumously promoted to major soon after his death. Blunt is buried in Pine Grove Cemetery, Manchester, N.H.
    Blunt is the namesake for several locations on post. There is a plaque in his memory in Memorial Chapel, which was constructed with Military Prison labor while Blunt was governor. Bluntville Avenue runs from the old USDB grounds north downhill to intersect with McClellan Avenue near the former USDB stable. No buildings remain in Bluntville, but Bluntville Lane is an asphalt road that runs from McClellan up the hill past the stable to the ridgeline where Bluntville once stood.
    For information on his book: Fort Leavenworth: The People Behind the Names, visit here.
    For the 1st installment of the People Behind Post Places series, visit here.
    For the 2nd installment of the People Behind Post Places series, visit here.
    For the 3rd installment of the People Behind Post Places series, visit here.
    For the 4th installment of the People Behind Post Places series, visit here.
    For the 5th installment of the People Behind Post Places series, visit here.
    For the 6th installment of the People Behind Post Places series, visit here.
    For the 7th installment of the People Behind Post Places series, visit here.
    For the 8th installment of the People Behind Post Places series, visit here.
    For the 9th installment of the People Behind Post Places series, visit here.
    For the 10th installment of the People Behind Post Places series, visit here.
    Page 3 of 3 - For the 11th installment of the People Behind Post Places series, visit here.
    For the 12th installment of the People Behind Post Places series, visit here.
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