Forgotten Forts Series: Camp Colorado, Texas

Nathanb1

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Camp Colorado, Texas, is located in Central Texas, inside the boundaries of Coleman County and near Jim Ned Creek. Originally established in 1855 by the U.S. Army in a vain attempt to control Indian Depredations, its pre-war history is a “who’s who” of the Civil War, as numerous officers who would eventually be known for their exploits in that war served with the U.S. Cavalry in Texas.

In 1856, Maj. Earl Van Dorn and Cos. A & F of the 2nd Cavalry moved the camp from its original location in Mills County to Mukewater Creek in Coleman County. There it was on the main route from Ft. Mason to Ft. Belknap. Illness due to poor water and other conditions caused them to move it to more free-flowing Jim Ned Creek, also in Coleman County, about 20 miles north.

During its time as a U.S. Cavalry outpost, Camp Colorado had commanders such as Sul Ross, Kirby Smith, Fitzhugh Lee, and John Bell Hood. Robert E. Lee visited at least twice on inspection tours. “From 1857 to 1861 Camp Colorado was the center of Coleman County's settlements. The camp's buildings were of adobe with shingled roofs and pine-plank floors; the lumber, doors, and windows were hauled by ox team from East Texas. Outside communication was through a post office and a telegraph line along the Wire Road between the camp and army headquarters at San Antonio. People settled at all of the nearby waterholes. In 1857, J. C. Mullins, a graduate of Yale University, settled east of the camp and taught school under an elm tree on the post.” (Handbook of Texas Online, TSHA)
When General Twiggs surrendered Texas to the Confederacy in 1861, only one man chose to remain with the Union, Lt. George B. Cosby.

“After the departure of United States troops, Capt. W. Pitts and later Capt. James Monroe Holmsley commanded companies of state troops at the camp until early in 1862.

From 1862 to 1864 Capt. J. J. Callan and a company of Texas Rangersqv occupied the post. Texas state troops occupied the post until the end of the Civil War. Camp Colorado was not regarrisoned by United States troops after its evacuation by the Confederates.

Fourteen years after the Civil War an Englishman, H. H. Sackett, purchased the land in the vicinity of the old post. The headquarters building was dismantled, and the stone was used to build a combination store and residence. Leaving the guardhouse intact, Sackett attached one wall of the residence to it. A stretch of stone corral fence remains, and a quarter of a mile to the east is the post cemetery.” (Handbook of Texas, THSA)

According to the Historical Marker Database, “From here he (Sackett), with Maltby's Rangers, in 1874, pursued the bands of Big Foot and Jape, Comanche chiefs, and defeated them.”

(On private property, from Coleman take SH 206 about 5.3 miles; head east on FM 2303 about 6 miles; turn south onto dirt road and continue about 1.6 miles to Camp Colorado site.)

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