In December, 1856, the regiment began to move North, headquarters going to Fort Hamilton, then in May, 1857, to Fort Monroe, and in November back to Fort Hamilton. C and L went to Fort Independence, E to Fort Ontario, F and I to Fort Monroe, G to Fort Lafayette, H and K to Fort Hamilton. B, D and M, on their arrival from the West went, B and M to Fort Monroe, and D to Fort Hamilton. Hardly were they settled in their new stations when several of the companies were ordered West, where most of them remained until 1861. A, E, F, H and M were occupied principally in Kansas, during the troublous ante bellum times in that State, with Leavenworth as a base. Headquarters were established at that post for a few months in 1859, going to Fort Monroe in November. It is worthy of note that one company (F) was sent to Lecompton in 1857 in search of a fugitive slave. The two light batteries started in May, 1858, to march from Leavenworth to Utah. They got some distance beyond Fort Kearney when, the Mormon troubles being over, they were recalled and returned to Leavenworth. During a part or all of the period from 1857 to the breaking out of the war, G, I and L were at one or the other of the northwestern posts, Brady, Snelling, Mackinac, Ridgely, and Ripley. E and H went out there before going to Kansas. During the John Brown excitement in 1859 B and a part of L, under Captain Carlisle, were sent from Fort Monroe to Harper’s Ferry for temporary duty.
In pursuance of the seeming policy of the War Department, not to protect the national property in the South, but to guard it sufficiently to prevent its seizure by hot-headed secessionists before the plans of the leaders were ripe, D, E and F were, in 1860, sent respectively to the arsenals at Fayetteville, N.C., Augusta, Ga., and Little Rock, Ark. In due course of time the Southern States passed their ordinances of secession and each of the arsenals mentioned was given up to the State authorities, whose demands were supported by such a show of force that armed resistance was out of the question. Receipts for the public property were given and the officers and men were allowed to make their way, by certain specified routes, out of the South. Light Battery M (Hunt) was, in April, 1860, sent from Kansas to Fort Brown, Texas, and was part of the force that Twiggs tried some months later to turn over to the South. They had to leave their horses, but succeeded in getting out of the State by way of the Gulf with their guns, in spite of extraordinary efforts on the part of the Texans to get possession of them.
I vaguely recall reading somewhere that, prior to the arrival of Co. F, 2nd U.S. Artillery, the Little Rock Arsenal was manned by a caretaker staff of Ordnance Department personnel, under the command of an ordnance sergeant.