Texas Forts Trail

James N.

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Infantry, Dragoons, Cavalry, Robert E. Lee, and Secession
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An 1860's-era cavalry officer and sergeant portrayed by western artist and historian Randy Steffen.

It should be remembered that when the Texas forts were being established, early on then-Captain William Chase Whiting recommended they be garrisoned by mounted troops capable of pursuing bands of marauding Indian warriors; it may also be recalled that in describing their creation, almost invariably it was done by infantry. The reason for this discrepancy between the recommended and the real was simply that there were very few mounted units in the U. S. establishment in the 1840's and 1850's: only two regiments of Dragoons and one of Mounted Rifles compared with eight infantry and four artillery regiments. Other than arms, there was little difference between the two; the Rifles carried M.1841 "Mississippi" rifles in addition to M.1840 sabers and M.1836 or M.1842 single-shot "horse" pistols, whereas the Dragoons had Hall Carbines, sabers, and pistols. Theoretically, both dismounted to fight.

Although there were usually twelve companies - they weren't designated as troops until after the Civil War - in mounted regiments instead of the usual ten in infantry regiments, that still only made a paltry thirty-six to patrol the entire continental United States! What with the migration on the Oregon Trail and trails to the California Gold Rush receiving most attention, it was there the bulk of the mounted units were sent to guard the emigrant wagon trains, leaving mainly infantry for Texas. The reason for this was simple economy, it being far cheaper for the government to raise and equip an infantry regiment that a mounted one, including as it must so many horses in addition to men, wagons, etc. In the West, army units almost never served together as complete regiments, instead being broken into their component companies or battalions made up of companies. As we have seen, it was usually individual companies or small battalions that made up the garrison of frontier forts.

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Right to left: Col. Albert Sidney Johnston of the 2nd Cavalry, later Brig. Gen.; Maj.George H. Thomas, who commanded at Camp Cooper after Lee; Lt. John Bell Hood, who was badly wounded in the hand by an Indian arrow in a Texas fight; and Maj. William J. Hardee, who around this time wrote Hardee's Tactics. (Thomas and Hood are both seen later as generals during the Civil War.)

In the 1850's however, following unsuccessful efforts at sending out patrols of mounted infantrymen from the forts, the government under the leadership of the Secretary for War, Mississippian Jefferson Davis, added two additional mounted regiments to the roster of U. S. troops, the 1st and 2nd Cavalry Regiments. At this time, cavalry differed little from either the earlier regiments of dragoons or mounted rifles other than in the yellow trim on their uniform jackets. (Dragoon trim was orange; the Mounted Rifles used green.) The new 2nd Cavalry was sent to Texas, marching from Kansas through Indian Territory and fording the Red River into Texas at Preston Crossing, then angling south-southwest to Fort Belknap. They were led by their Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston, a personal friend of Davis from the Mexican War. Among his officers were Majors George H. Thomas and William J. Hardee, as well as many company officers who would soon become commanders on both sides of the Civil War like John B. Hood and Fitz Lee pictured here. As they marched south, battalions and individual companies were left at the various posts to begin their duties as garrisons, replacing or supplementing the infantry already there.

The best-known officer of the 2nd Cavalry to serve in Texas missed its initial deployment, however; Lieutenant Colonel Robert Edward Lee had been left behind and instead arrived by ship at Galveston on the Texas coast, from where he made his way inland. Unfortunately, the posts most associated with Lee in Texas no longer exist: Fort Mason had been built in 1851 somewhat between Martin Scott at Fredericksburg and McKavett; as its name implies, Camp Cooper, lying approximately between Belknap and Phantom Hill was never intended as a permanent post. Following the Civil War when other forts were even temporarily reactivated, because the frontier had largely passed them neither Mason nor Cooper were. Lee had been known mainly as an officer of the Corps of Engineers, but even though he served for a time in that capacity as Superintendent of West Point, he felt that service with a combat arm was the only sure path to further promotion.

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Left to right: Col. Robert E. Lee, ca. 1859; his nephew Lieutenant Fitzhugh Lee, pictured with his dog; and Brigadier General David Twiggs.

Lee's various duties on the frontier brought him to many of the other forts, however. Like Sidney Johnston he also served for a time as a paymaster traveling between them; he led expeditions against hostile Indians, generally unsuccessfully; he was commandant of both Mason and Cooper; and for about a year he commanded the Department of Texas in place of Brig. Gen. David Twiggs, nicknamed The Horse. From here he returned to Virginia to settle the tangled affairs of his deceased father-in-law, George Washington Parke Custis, which took over a year, during which time he was detailed to suppress the "raid" of John Brown at Harpers Ferry.

Returning to Texas, Lee assumed command of the Department, attempting vainly to quell the across-the-border incursions of Mexican bandito Juan Cortina; most of his time, however, was spent on endless rounds of courts-martial cases at forts along the Rio Grande Valley. The return of Twiggs coincided with Secession ferment, resulting in the secession of the state and surrender of all its forts and storehouses by Georgian Twiggs, who went on to a career as a Confederate General. (It was lucky for him he died before the end of the war - his actions surely could easily have resulted in a trial for treason!) Along with other U. S. military personnel, Lee made his way via San Antonio - where he was treated with great discourtesy by Texas secessionists who possibly even threatened his life - to the coast and thence by ship to Washington, D. C., and his own particular date with destiny.

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Although this uniform plate by artist-historian Fritz Kredel is titled 7th Cavalry - 1876 - which other than briefly in the Panhandle did not serve in Texas - it depicts the campaign uniform on the trooper at left and full-dress on the corporal at right for any of the regiments of U. S. Cavalry following the uniform changes of 1872 during the heyday of the Texas forts. It should be noted that in warm weather campaign dress would probably see the five-button fatigue or sack coat rolled up on the pommel of the trooper's saddle, and more and more the M.1860 saber was strapped to the left side of the saddle or omitted altogether as a useless encumbrance. Contrary to Hollywood, neckerchiefs were worn in all colors while on campaign, but were never an "official" item of uniform. The full-dress 1872 uniforms reflect the "Germanic" influence in military fashion following their victory in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71.

This brings us to the watershed in the story of forts on the Texas frontier. During the war Texas State Troops used some of them for varying periods, mostly unsuccessfully due to shortages of men, horses, and equipment. Hostile tribes like the Comanche, Apache, and Kiowa were encouraged by the removal of the Regulars and resumed their raids, forcing back the line of settlement to where it had been a decade earlier. Following the war the Federal troops returned, reoccupying some forts and often establishing new ones in place of others. Now the story of the frontier forts of Texas entered its final phase, as a more modern and "professional" army guided by veteran commanders like William T. Sherman and Phillip Sheridan took the field under leaders like Ranald Mackenzie, Benjamin Grierson, and Wesley Merritt.

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Next: Fort Richardson
 
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James N.

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Fort Richardson, 1867-78
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Above, artillery drill on the Fort Richardson parade ground with the Hospital Building as a backdrop.

During the Civil War the mounted units of the United States Army had been reorganized and renumbered: the senior regiments of Dragoons now became the 1st and 2nd Cavalry Regiments; the Regiment of Mounted Rifles, the 3rd Cavalry; and the 1st and 2nd Cavalry "bumped" because of seniority to become the 4th and 5th Cavalry. (As we have already seen, the 4th under Col. Ranald Mackenzie figures in the story of Texas forts.) In addition, following the war the number was doubled with the addition of the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th Cavalry Regiments, not all of which saw service in Texas.

In 1867, the new 6th Cavalry journeyed to North Texas where it established Fort Richardson at Jacksboro, county seat of Jack County. By this time, the line of the frontier had already passed Fort Belknap at Newcastle, and difficulties with a reliable supply of water there caused the decision to replace it with the new post, named in honor of Maj. Gen. Israel B. Richardson, killed at the Battle of Antietam in 1862. The best source for information on the life of the common soldier on the Texas frontier comes from a soldier in the 6th who was stationed here, H. H. McConnell, whose Five Years a Cavalryman has already been mentioned.

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Although settlements inevitably grew up next to any post, Richardson was unusual in that in this case it was preceeded by the town of Jacksboro. The fort was laid out along Lost Creek, a tributary of the Trinity River, in the usual prescribed pattern as seen here in this period plat, which has been altered to show the few surviving structures. Although most structures were the common picket-post variety, some like the hospital and commissary buildings were of native sandstone quarried nearby. Below, the hospital, most impressive of the remaining buildings, as restored by the State of Texas after becoming a State Historic Site.

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Without doubt, the liveliest incidents concerning Fort Richardson had to do with events stemming from the notorious Salt Creek Massacre in 1871. At that time, no less a personage than commander of the entire U. S. Army, Lt. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, had been making a tour of the Western forts, traveling in an army ambulance wagon and guarded by only a small detachment. Soon after reaching Richardson, Sherman learned that a supply train passing in his wake had been attacked; of the fifteen teamsters, seven had been killed, one poor unfortunate tied to the wheel of a wagon which was then set on fire. Sherman ordered Mackenzie to send out a patrol of 150 men but by then the raiders were gone.

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Left to right: Chiefs Satank, Big Tree, Satanta; and their nemesis William T. Sherman, seen here in a post-Civil War photo.

Sherman's next official stop was at Fort Sill in Indian Territory where on the nearby Kiowa Reservation , Chief Satanta, dubbed The Orator of the Plains, had been boasting he had led the recent raid on the supply train. Sherman ordered post commander Col. Benjamin Grierson to arrest Satanta and his associates Satank and Big Tree, who were then returned to Jacksboro to stand trial for murder! For their own protection they were held on post, reputedly in the small limestone morgue behind the hospital. Subsequently tried in town and found guilty, they were sentenced to be hanged at the Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville. While they were being transported from the fort by wagon, Satank managed to free himself from his shackles and grab a trooper's carbine, upon which action he was riddled by bullets. Two years later Satanta and Big Tree were pardoned by Texas Governor Clark, but upon breaking parole and reverting to his old ways Satanta was returned to Huntsville where he committed suicide by jumping from a second-story window onto stone pavement below. Big Tree converted to Christianity, became a missionary to his people, and died of natural causes in his old age.

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Photos above and below were taken prior to the site becoming a unit of the Texas Parks System. Above, the ruin of the Guard House is misleading; in fact this stone structure contained only the cells; it was surrounded by a picket-post building that contained rooms for the officer-of-the-day and soldiers waiting for the next changing of the guard.

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This humble house is the only surviving wooden officer's quarters building left in the state. Three had stood here on Officers' Row into the 1950's, but were in such bad shape only the best of them was saved, the other two providing materials to repair it before themselves being bulldozed. This black-and-white photo shows the house before it was fully restored by the state.

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Above, the now-fully-restored officer's quarters provide welcome shelter for family members during a living history event. Below, details of the design of this picket-post-type building; note how the siding is placed vertically in the manner of true picket-post structures like the junior officer's quarters below.

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Fort Richardson was one of the posts that provided troops for the Red River War of 1874-75, in which Mackenzie's 4th Cavalry tracked Comanche raiders to their lair in Palo Duro Canyon in the Texas Panhandle, attacking and burning their village and destroying the pony herd. Though most of the Comanches escaped, famous as the Cossacks of the Plains, they were virtually helpless without their horses and soon agreed to go onto a reservation in Indian Territory. Following this notable but now almost-forgotten victory, Indian affairs became so quiet that the need for Fort Richardson was seen to have passed, causing its abandonment by the army in 1878.

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This reconstruction provides the best example of what the majority of buildings erected by the army on the Texas frontier really looked - it now serves as the museum for Fort Richardson State Historic Park. Below, the entrance to the historic area.

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Next, Life on a Frontier Army Post
 
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Bee

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WOW! I don't know how I missed this thread: its like a Seminar!

I love the quote about renting out Texas and living in he11

This is of particular interest to me, as I am part Comanche, thus, the scattering of the peoples is partly chronicled here, with the "relocation" to Indian Territory. Great maps, pictures, commentary....(did I make any of my usual missing word faux pas??)
 

James N.

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Great thread. You always do an excellent job. Really like the photos and have learned so much.
Thank you for the virtual tour! In a word...magnificent!!!!
WOW! I don't know how I missed this thread: its like a Seminar!

I love the quote about renting out Texas and living in he11

This is of particular interest to me, as I am part Comanche, thus, the scattering of the peoples is partly chronicled here, with the "relocation" to Indian Territory. Great maps, pictures, commentary....(did I make any of my usual missing word faux pas??)

Thanks for all the compliments; you might want to go back and look again at the last post however, since due to the way I produce these, I generally post the photos first, then go back and edit in a great deal of the text. And NO, Bee - I didn't see anything wrong this time!
 

James N.

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...This is of particular interest to me, as I am part Comanche, thus, the scattering of the peoples is partly chronicled here, with the "relocation" to Indian Territory.

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Bee, if you've never been to this part of the world you should consider a trip to Palo Duro Canyon State Park at Canyon near Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle; and the not-too-far away Fort Sill at Altus. Oklahoma. The Fort Sill post cemetery is the burial place of noted chiefs in Chief's Circle, above, like Comanche Quanah Parker, the Kiowa Satanta, and nearby in a separate Apache cemetery below lies Geronimo. Quanah's house nearby is a historic site and the Old Fort itself is interesting and although still an active duty post, much of it is available to visitors.

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Bee

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Bee, if you've never been to this part of the world you should consider a trip to Palo Duro Canyon State Park at Canyon near Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle

There is a lot of my blood in that area (mix of both Apache & Comanche) It is only recently that I have actually started to show some interest in my roots. (it was always easier to identify as other) I need to take a long road trip through the Southwest and re-connect the dots of history.
 

James N.

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Living History at Fort Richardson, Part I, Life on Officers' Row
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Above, a troop of cavalry passes Officer's Row.

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The staff captain serving as post commander outside the Infantry Barracks after checking with the company first sergeant on his men. Like most posts, the garrison consists of detachments from both infantry and cavalry regiments and also a single post gun (cannon) maned by infantrymen to fire morning and evening salutes. The barracks at Richardson were also typical picket-post structures consisting of a large open communal room for the enlisted privates and corporals and having one or two small rooms on the end for sergeants' quarters and here the first sergeant's tiny office.

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Although officers theoretically occupied the officers quarters, these in fact might be cramped or spartan affairs depending on many factors like seniority, availability, over- or under-staffing, etc. Since in the army Rank has its privileges, new senior officers often "ranked out" those beneath them, forcing a junior officer to vacate in their stead. Also, since personnel rotations were fairly common, officers - especially bachelor officers - regardless of rank might have very few furnishings to impede them in their frequent moves. Above, the post commander listens to a report from Lieutenant Richard B. Winders commanding the infantry company in his sparsely furnished "office".

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Even bedrooms might not contain an actual bed - above a cot and makeshift "furniture" made from boxes and crates might suffice until the post carpenter came up with something better. It was likewise common for large items of furniture to be "passed down" to new owners rather than having to be moved. On frontier posts still under construction or temporarily crowded, junior officers might be forced to share quarters; even married junior officers might find themselves and their wives and children crammed into a single room!

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The infantry gun crew for the post cannon relaxes outside the officers' quarters between drills (something not likely to be allowed!) while their old artillery instructor, Gunner John Hooper puffs on his pipe at right. Below, the same scene as viewed from the dining room inside.

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On far-flung posts isolation could breed strong bonds among the officers and their families and even small occasions might be cause for celebrations, parties, and get-togethers. Above, visitor Lt. Edwin Owens of the artillery and Assistant Surgeon Capt. Michael Hubbard seem to be congratulating infantry First Sergeant Glen Hargis, perhaps on his promotion. Below, the officers and their ladies relax on the expansive porch of the hospital, reminiscing about the late war.

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Bee

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The staff captain serving as post commander outside the Infantry Barracks after checking with the company first sergeant on his men.

James, is this you??? It would have been love at first sight if I'd seen this guy at the fort...but....mother would have had someone more in line with that Parker dude lined up for me:smile:
 

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Living History, Part II - The Enlisted Men
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After more than a century, the parade ground at Fort Richardson again resounds to the hooves of cavalry horses going through company and battalion drill. As usual for enlisted men, when not on active campaign their lives were a seemingly endless round of drill, fatigue duties, and even construction of their own quarters and other buildings. This monotonous routine changed little if at all following the Civil War.

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Officers' Row can be seen in the background; to the left and out-of-frame are the row of enlisted barracks and behind them were located the kitchens and past them the sinks or latrines. Stables for the horses stood even farther back. At the far end two stone commissary buildings stood side-by-side connected by an archway that was later walled off. On the end behind the viewer stands the hospital, and stretching from it a line that includes the bakery, guardhouse, and powder magazine.

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Here the post bakery serves in lieu of a kitchen for the enlisted personnel. Normally, cooks and bakers were detailed from the enlisted ranks, but here Mrs. First Sergeant Carol Hargis ably takes charge as infantry Corporal John Gattis waits his turn to be served. Like in European armies of the time, it was perfectly normal for wives of enlisted men, particularly sergeants, to be employed by the post, usually in the positions of laundresses and seamstresses. Occasionally, they might also find themselves in situations like this as cooks or even nurses. The senior enlisted personnel who happened to be married were usually allowed to live in tents, huts, or cabins slightly removed from the barracks and dubbed "suds row" from the occupation of their wives.

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Hospitals were generally thought of as places to be avoided; here Assistant Surgeon Michael Hubbard stands in one of the two wings of the building that served as a ward. The cast iron headboards support wire frames for mosquito netting, necessary during the hot summer months in the window-screenless hospital due to the proximity of the fort to Lost Creek which runs behind it. The beds themselves are nothing but wooden slats that serve as platforms for straw-stuffed mattress sacks. In a short wing behind the central hospital building is located a small dining room for ambulatory patients.

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The end of each hospital wing contains two small rooms on either side of a very short hallway: the one above serves as the pharmacy or office of the assistant surgeon; the one below is the tiny quarters for his hospital steward, Private David Dunnett. Stewards served in lieu of nurses and were the medical corpsmen of their day, and as such were quartered within the hospital to provide constant care for their patients if necessary. Note the arrow, no doubt souvenir of some exploit or other!

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Post Quartermaster Sergeant Michael Boyd oversees his store of various issue items. If enlisted men lost, damaged, or destroyed various items of uniform or equipment that had been issued to them, they received new ones, but usually at their own expense, docked from their meager pay! Displayed in the background at right are examples of the M. 1872 dress and fatigue uniforms for cavalry and infantry.

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Next, Fort Griffin
 
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James N.

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Fort Griffin, 1867-81
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This ruin of the officers' quarters is perhaps the most picturesque structure remaining at Fort Griffin today.

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Left to right: Bvt. Maj. Gen. Charles Griffin, commanding the Department of Texas at the time of his death at Galveston in 1868 during a yellow fever epidemic and for whom the fort was renamed; Maj. Gen. Israel B. Richardson, killed in 1862 at the Battle of Antietam and in whose honor Fort Richardson had been named; and a ca. 1876 photograph of Col. Ranald Slidell Mackenzie with whom so many of the Texas forts were identified following the Civil War. Mackenzie, known as Bad Hand to the Indians due to a wartime injury resulting in the loss of several fingers, came to an unfortunate end himself following a distinguished army career. His physical and mental health both steadily deteriorated forcing him into an early retirement; he was only 49 when he died in a mental institution at Staten Island, N. Y. in 1889 from what was believed to be the effects of syphilis. Although he never commanded Fort Griffin, troopers from here participated in his several campaigns out of nearby Fort Richardson.

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Fort Griffin was established by members of the 6th Cavalry under the direction of Lt. Col. Samuel Sturgis who would soon go on to become colonel of the 7th Cavalry. It was placed on the plateau of a bluff overlooking the Clear Fork of the Brazos River, largely as a replacement for Fort Phantom Hill because of the latter's uncertain water supply. Although it was intended as a permanent post, there was never enough money, materials, or manpower to erect more than a half-dozen permanent stone structures, leaving little evidence of it today although it's also a unit of the Texas Park System as seen by the map above.

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Above, the windswept plateau on which the mostly usual picket-post structures were erected; below, the fort's well remains a prominent feature, along with the restored flagpole on what was once the center of the parade grounds.

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The barracks erected at Fort Griffin were unique to this post. Although they were of the by-now-to-be-expected picket-post construction, they were very small structures intended to hold only six men each. Two of them have been reconstructed to give an idea of what they were like.

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After a fairly short life, following the successes of Mackenzie's campaigns the need for Fort Griffin passed and in May, 1881, the army abandoned the post, transferring Co. A of the 22nd Infantry to Fort Clark. As usual, the site was scavenged for any usable building materials leaving little today to mark its existence.

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Two of the better-preserved and more substantial ruins are that of the Powder Magazine, above, and the Sutler's Store. Sutlers were civilian merchants who were licensed by the government to provide luxuries to members of the garrison that were not provided at government expense like cigars, fresh fruit, stationery, and other sundries. It was usually a lucrative business due to often-exorbitant pricing and the under-the-table awarding of contracts involving kickbacks eventually proved scandalous and helped bring down Secretary of War Belknap and tarnish President U. S. Grant's administration. Still, there were certain items and services even the sutlers failed to provide, as seen next.

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A prominent if usually unwelcome feature of every frontier fort or outpost was the neighboring Hog Ranch, a settlement that grew up to "service" the off-duty desires of the soldiers, and even some of the officers. Occasionally, as at nearby Richardson, the town pre-dated the fort, but usually the reverse was true, sometimes even forming the basis of cities like the eponymous Fort Worth. Here at Griffin The Flat as it was known was even more famous - make that notorious - than the fort. It was said the Flat had "a man for breakfast every morning," and according to Herbert Hart in his Old Forts of the Southwest, "records show 35 public killings in 12 years, eight to 10 killings that were considered less public only because the bodies were found after the murders, and 12 hangings... By the late 1870's its main street was a a mile long and it boasted more than 1,000 people." One establishment hung out its shingle, in the form of a beehive surrounded by a swarm of bees and the verse,

In this hive we are all alive,
Good whiskey makes us funny:
If you are dry, step in and try
The flavor of our honey.


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Among some of the Flat's better-known "citizens" were young John Henry "Doc" Holliday, at left above at age 20. According to legend, embellished by Hollywood, it was here Doc was saved from a howling mob by his paramour, "Big Nose Kate" Elder, who lit a fire that instantly distracted the mob allowing them to escape with the help of Wyatt Earp, seen second from left, ca. 1871. Other practitioners of Kate's chosen vocation included "ladies" called Long Kate, Big Billy - who despite the name was female! - Minnie Gray, Sally Watson, and Mollie McCabe, proprietress of the Place of Beautiful Sin. Because the Fort and the Flat were positioned near the cattle trail to Dodge City as well as the open range filled with buffalo both cowboys and buffalo hunters also came here; one of the latter was a young Bat Masterson, third above, who as a hunter participated in a famous fight at Adobe Walls in the Texas panhandle against Quanah Parker's Comanches. At right above is Col. Samuel Sturgis who was responsible for placing the fort here in the first place.

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Next, Fort Concho
 
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James N.

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Fort Concho, 1867-89, Part I
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Above, Officer's Row as seen from in front of the Administration Building. Fort Concho was the last of the forts established in 1867 to replace those built earlier in the 1850's; in this case, it began as an outpost of Fort Chadbourne, but it soon became known as Permanent Camp, its location near the junction of several important trails, including the Goodnight-Loving cattle trail, as well as the confluence of the North and South Concho Rivers providing a reliable water supply soon rendered Chadbourne obsolete. The fort was established by another of the companies of Ranald Mackenzie's 4th Cavalry and named for the river which gave it life. It stood in the center of the line of Texas forts that now included the new forts Richardson and Griffin to the north and older forts McKavett and Clark south.

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Today Fort Concho is the best preserved of all the forts included in this survey, largely because of its proximity to the town that grew up around it. Like so many others it began as the hog ranch of the fort but unlike The Flat at Griffin its location and inclusion of a more stable element among the citizenry assured it would outlast the fort itself. The community was first named Santa Angela for the wife of one of its founders, but for some reason was masculinized by the U. S. Postal Service into San Angelo. When the army moved out in 1889, civilians moved into the buildings, unlike those on so many other posts built of substantial limestone from a local quarry instead of mere pickets. In the 1950's and 1960's a determined effort by the town to acquire, restore, and maintain the historic fort buildings has resulted in one of the few places where imagination is largely unnecessary to picture exactly how the fort appeared in its heyday in the 1870's.

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As can be seen from the map above, most of the buildings remain, many open to the public. The photos here will follow the park tour, beginning at the left of the inverted U with the cavalry barracks above, reconstructed from the original stones. These were originally intended to house two companies, each in a dorm-like wing having as usual the small rooms on either end for the sergeant's quarters and a small office for them and the detailed company clerk.

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The porches were substantial and wide to provide as much shade as possible in the unrelenting Texas summer heat. The first barracks building on the left now houses park offices and a small museum, stocked with largely reproduction weaponry, uniforms, and equipment of the common soldier.

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One wing of the second barracks building has been restored and furnished to reflect occupancy by a company of cavalry; note the large twin stoves in the center aisle that provided warmth in the often frigid Texas winters. The thick stone walls provided a good deal of insulation despite the weather outside.

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Behind each wing of the barracks stood a small mess hall with attached kitchen; below, one has also been furnished with period items.

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The space below is all that remains of two of the barracks; beyond stands another barracks and storehouses.

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Twin commissary storehouses stand in the northeast corner of the quadrangle delineating the parade ground. Unfortunately the places on the map indicating where stables and corrals once were are now parking lots. The fort's powder magazine has been relocated and rebuilt nearby.

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Next, Part II, Officers' Row, Hospital, Chapel, and Administration Buildings
 
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Fort Concho, Part II
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The first building to be restored at Fort Concho was the Administration Building, which had been originally built in 1875 while Col. Benjamin H. Grierson commanding the 10th Cavalry was serving as post commander. It contained a Court Martial Room, Clerk's and Orderly's Office, Post Adjutant's Office, Regimental Headquarters, Commanding Officer's Office, and post Library, all on the ground floor; and four large general-purpose rooms on the second. After the fort was decommissioned and reverted to civilian use this large building became for a time a boarding house.

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Concho was only one of many of the Texas forts that saw occupation by all-black units following the Civil War and Emancipation. When new regiments were authorized in the years immediately following the war in the late 1860's, four were designated as Negro or Colored Regiments: the 24th and 25th Infantry; and 9th and 10th Cavalry. Since Negroes were considered immune to heat-related conditions and illnesses like sunstroke , these regiments were posted to climates considered less-favorable to white soldiers like those found in south Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Famous commanders like Ranald Mackenzie, Wesley Merritt, and Benjamin Grierson, all of whom had been generals leading brigades, divisions, and army corps during the war, felt themselves fortunate to be colonels of black regiments after the downsizing of the army around 1870. Mackenzie transferred to the all-white 4th Cavalry in 1871, and many officers like George Custer refused appointments in black regiments; but others including Merritt and Grierson served as post commanders like here at Concho.

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Above, left to right: Col. Wesley Merritt of the 9th Cavalry; Lieutenant Henry O. Flipper, wearing the M.1872 uniform for cavalry officers; and Col. Benjamin H. Grierson of the 10th Cavalry, seen here ca. 1866.

These so-called black regiments were intended to have all-white officer personnel, but once the U. S. Military Academy at West Point began accepting black appointees it was thought natural that any graduates would be placed there as well. The first black graduate was Lt. Henry O. Flipper who first joined Grierson's 10th Cavalry here at Fort Concho. Following an ordeal of discrimination, ostracization, and virtual isolation while at West Point, conditions were only slightly better for Flipper here, since as usual in the army, fraternization with the black enlisted men was forbidden and most white officers simply ignored him. Fortunately, his company commander sympathized with his plight and befriended him, even going so far as having him as a guest in his house and allowing his unmarried sister to accompany Henry on rides in the countryside. Situations like this were forbidden by society at the time, resulting eventually in Flipper's dismissal from the army on trumped-up charges; but that was later at a different post. In his subsequent post-army career, Flipper put his West Point training as a civil engineer to good use, remaining a useful member of society until his death.

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The Administration Building stands at the head of the fort's parade ground; to its south side and in line with it and the commissary warehouses is the hospital, which bears a striking resemblance to the one at Fort Richardson. (This is normal, since all fort buildings throughout the nation were theoretically supposed to conform to plans drawn up in Washington, D. C.) Below, one of the ward wings has been furnished as it might have been to receive patients. again, notice the cast-iron stove at center for warmth.

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The very last building erected at Fort Concho before the army's withdrawal was the 1879 Chapel which also served as a schoolhouse, and in which capacity it is furnished for display, as seen below.

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The south side of the parade ground is lined by Officers' Row, consisting of substantial limestone houses like the two-story example above whose construction no doubt insured their survival for now well-over a century. The one below, however, has succumbed to the ravages of time and fallen into ruin and is now preserved only as a relic.

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This brings me to the end of my survey of the Texas forts along the line of the frontier from the 1840's through the 1880's; however, one final military instillation of the period remains for discussion.

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Next, Fort Sam Houston
 
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James N.

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As a sidebar before leaving Fort Concho, I'd like to take the opportunity to observe that naturally each of the posts described here originally included a Post Cemetery, usually placed at a slight remove from the buildings in a suitable spot. Following the Civil War and the establishment of National Cemeteries in the East on or near the great battlefield(s) of that war, to use Lincoln's phrase, similar cemeteries were created in the West. Most if not all the remains of soldiers who died of wounds or disease on these posts were removed to the National Cemetery at San Antonio.

As has been mentioned perviously, a cemetery remains at Fort Clark because the Black Seminole Scouts buried there were members of the community that remained after the post was deactivated following WWII. Similarly, the chiefs like Geronimo who are buried at Fort Sill in Oklahoma remain there because their families still live in the area. As strange as it may seem, by the end of his life, Geronimo and other members of his band were carried on the rolls as Indian Scouts, a clerical move to provide them with an allowance at government expense! This also made them eligible for burial in a National Cemetery.

Next to the restored Administration Building have been placed these tombstones or grave markers, which as the monument explains do not mark graves. Instead they pay tribute to five members of Ranald Mackenzie's 4th Cavalry who had received the Medal of Honor in line of duty during three separate actions during his campaigns in 1872 and 1874.

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