Nearly every historical era of the United States has impacted Carlisle. At its beginning in 1751, Carlisle was a place for traders and travelers to start their voyages west over the mountains. The seed of Carlisle Barracks was planted by the British in 1757 with Colonel, later Lieutenant General, John Stanwix establishing a post, which supported British operations in the French and Indian War. The next year, British Brigadier General John Forbes and his troops made a stop at Carlisle as their expedition worked west to the forks of the Ohio River.

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The post, called Washingtonburg for a time during and after the Revolutionary War, served as a supply depot for the Continental Army. The Artillery School, perhaps the first U.S. Army school, was established here in the late 1770s. In 1794, troops left Carlisle with President George Washington to put down the Whiskey Rebellion.

In 1803, Soldiers stationed at the post went on the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery expedition. Decades later, in 1863, Confederates came through Carlisle and burned much of the post. The School of Cavalry Practice at Carlisle Barracks continued on, with new structures.

Carlisle Barracks was closed in 1871 because the Cavalry School moved west. It reopened in 1879 as home to a school that brought students from the West - the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, managed by the Department of the Interior. Lieutenant, later Brigadier General, Richard H. Pratt founded the school and served as its first superintendent.

In 1918, at the end of World War I, the War Department took back control of the post. General Hospital No. 31 opened to care for wounded Soldiers. Following that, from 1920 to 1946, the Medical Field Service School trained Soldiers in treating wounded comrades in the field and in preventing the spread of disease.

Between 1946 and 1951, several U.S. Army schools came and left the post. In 1951, the U.S. Army's senior educational institution arrived, the U.S. Army War College. It continues to make Carlisle Barracks its home, serving as a place of learning for senior officers from all branches of the U.S. and foreign militaries, as well as civilians from U.S. and foreign government agencies.

With over 250 years of history behind it, Carlisle Barracks continues to impact the nation and the world. Leaders are primed who will shape the future, while history continues to be made and preserved. Through this exhibit, experience the past and present, the continuity and change, through vintage and contemporary photographs, of this historic post, Carlisle Barracks.


  Vintage Photograph, n.d.
The old entrance to the Post went by the way of the Hessian Powder Magazine.
You can see the plank fence that was constructed around the post and the city
of Carlisle in the right distance.

  Contemporary Photograph, 2010
With its thick walls and a construction date in the late 1770's, the Hessian Powder
Magazine has solidly weathered time. The foundation of the magazine's origin are less
sure: it is believed, but hard to prove, that Hessian prisoners, captured at the Battle
of Trenton built the structure, used to store ammunition.
Parade Ground
Vintage Photograph taken in 1909.
Panoramic Photo of the Carlisle Barracks Parade Ground showing the campus of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School.
Contemporary photograph taken in 2010.
Panoramic Photograph of the Carlisle Barracks Parade Ground showing the campus of the United States Army War College.

During the American Revolution, Carlisle Barracks, then known as Washingtonburg, served as the main source of ordnance and commissary supply for the Continental Army during the Mid-Atlantic Campaign. According to local lore, this set of bellows, found in a barn in nearby Boiling Springs, was used at the forge in Washingtonburg, which sat at the intersection of Ashburn Drive and Lovell Avenue on Carlisle Barracks.

The arsenal at Washingtonburg stored, repaired, and reportedly manufactured arms for the Continental Army. In the spring of 1777, large shipments of muskets and other war aid began to arrive from France to bolster the Continental cause. This musket has 1778 scratched into the stock along with the initials IKE. The barrel is marked 5 C. The family that donated this musket to the U.S. Army stated that it was obtained by a relative from Carlisle, and the family desired it return here.

  18th Century Forge Bellows, 1775
"The Committee at Philadelphia be desired to contract with proper persons for the erection at Carlisle of a magazine sufficient for 10,000 stands of arms and 200 tons of gun powder and also for erecting an laboratory adjacent to the magazine."
Model 1766 French Flintlock Musket, .69 Caliber, St. Etienne Arsenal
Model 1840 Medical Officer's Sword, Identified to Surgeon J. J. B. Wright, U.S. Army
This sword was carried by Brigadier General John Jefferson Burr Wright while he served as an Assistant Surgeon at Carlisle Barracks from 1838 to 1840.
Wright's duties would have included caring for the influx of recruits. Wright, a native of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, was a graduate of Jefferson Medical College in 1836.

He was promoted to Major and full Surgeon in 1844 and went on to serve with the U.S. Army in the Mexican War.
During the American Civil War he served on the staffs of General George McClellan and General Henry Halleck.
Wright retired from the U.S. Army in 1876 and died at his home in Carlisle in 1878. During his service,
Wright pioneered the use of sulphate of quinine for malarial fever.
Modeled after the cavalry hat Pattern 1855, the 1858 hat was intended for officers and enlisted men alike for all branches. Made of black felt, the enlisted version had a double row of stitching around the edge of the brim. The trimmings include a single black ostrich plume, yellow worsted wool cord, and "yellow-metalled" eagle ornament, company letter, and branch insignia. Upon the completion of their training, cavalry recruits here were issued this dress hat.  
Carlisle Barracks Firehouse
Vintage Photograph ca. 1940
The fire apparatus on hand during this early Carlisle Barracks photograph were pumpers manufactured at the Army Quartermaster Depot, Camp Holabird (Baltimore, MD) somewhere between WWI to when the Army ceased actual production of fire apparatus in 1939.The gentleman seen in the white uniform cap is Fire Chief William F. Myers, Jr.
  Contemporary Photograph, 2010
Carlisle Barracks Engine Company # 38 with Firefighters. Construction began on the Fire Station in1937 and was completed in 1939.
The Medical Field Service School was located here at Carlisle
from 1920 through 1946. The Carlisle bandage was designed
during this time.
  The Army War College came to Carlisle in 1951.
Two exhibit cases recognize three individuals that were
graduates of the college and who subsequently continued
their careers here. They are George "Wally" Aux, Donald Bussey,
and Randy Readshaw.
This is the original deed which transferred ownership of
the land encompassing Carlisle Barracks from the Penn
family to the United States of America. On January 13, 1801,
the United States bought the land for the sum of $664.20.
  The hallway walls are lined with photographs covering the
history of Carlisle Barracks. Not only do they offer
comparisons of how the Post has changed throughout its
history, the photographs also highlight the people that
have made Carlisle the place it is today.