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Texas Forts of the Old West

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Texas Forts

 

Texas Forts Trail

 

The Alamo

Camp Cooper

Camp Cureton

Camp Holland

Camp Hudson

Camp Verde

Cantonment Pena Colorada
El Fortin de la Cienega

El Fortin del Cibolo

Fort Anahuac

Fort Belknap

Fort Bend
Fort Bliss
Fort Brown (Fort Texas)

Fort Buffalo Springs
Fort Chadbourne

Fort Cibolo

Fort Clark

Fort Colorado
Fort Concho

Fort Crockett
Fort Croghan
Fort Davis
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Fort Elliott

Fort Esperanza

Fort Ewell

 

 

Fort Fisher

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Fort Graham

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Fort Henderson

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Fort Houston (Anderson County)

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Fort Quitman

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Fort Ringgold

Fort D. A. Russell

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Fort Saint Louis

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Fort Stubblefield

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Fort Terán
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Fort Worth
Jowell Family Fort
Lacy's Fort

Little River Fort
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Presidio de la Bahía del Espíritu Santo

Presidio de la Virgen de los Dolores de los Tejas

Presidio de San Agustín de Ahumada

Presidio de San Antonio de Béjar

Presidion de San Elizario

Presidio Nuestra Señora de Loreto de la Bahia (Fort Defiance, Fort Goliad)

Presidio de San Saba

Princess Sophia's Fort

 

 

Texas Forts Slideshow

Vintage and Modern Photographs of California

 

 

 

Did You Know?...

Fort Davis never had a fort wall or palisade. In fact, most western military forts built after the Civil War did not have walls around them. Forts with wooden palisade walls (as depicted in many classic movies) were actually very rare in the West.

 

Texas Forts

 

There are dozens of forts, military installations, and old camps across the Lone Star State.

 

With the arrival of the first Spanish conquistadors in the region now known as Texas in 1519, it was already populated by numerous Native American tribes, whose ancestors had been there for thousands of years. Soon regions of Texas would be claimed by both royal France and imperial Spain, both of which would mount military expeditions to explore various areas. A small number of simple fortifications were established in this era to protect both French and Spanish claims from each other, and to protect expeditionary operations from unwelcoming local inhabitants.

 

For over two centuries, various groups fought over access and/or control over the region that would become Texas. During the period from 1519 to 1848, all or parts of Texas were claimed by six countries: France, Spain, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the United States of America, and the  Confederate States of America in 1861–65.

 

Ownership of specific lands were also claimed and disputed by different ethnic groups, including numerous Native American tribes, Mexican residents, Anglo- and African-American settlers, and European immigrants. Access to and control of resources were also claimed and disputed by various economic groups, such as farmers, ranchers, settlers, buffalo hunters, traders, bandits, and revolutionaries. Over the centuries, claims and disputes were enforced by Native American warriors, Spanish conquistadors, French cavaliers, Texas Rangers, local militias, and uniformed regular army regiments of Spain, Mexico, Texas, the United States, and the Confederacy.

During these years of dispute, there were numerous military camps, barracks, fortified trading posts, palisades, stockades, blockhouses, strongholds, and fortifications built to establish, defend, or dispute the many claims to the area. Many of these are long gone, but the Lone Star State continues to preserve a number of historical buildings, some are still operational military installations, and sites are designated by historical markers.

 

The Alamo todayThe Alamo - See Full Article HERE.

 

Camp Cooper (1856-61) - A collection of tents and makeshift buildings of mud, stone, and wood, this short-lived camp protected settlers and controlled the 400 or so Comanche Indians living on the nearby Comanche Reservation. Robert E. Lee served at the camp as a junior officer in 1856-57. It was the base of numerous expeditions and patrols against the Indians until the Civil War began and the commander surrendered to Texas troops. During the post-Civil War period, State militia and Texas Rangers occasionally used the camp.

 

A building dating from the early 1850's, probably constructed with fragments of post structures, stands in the vicinity of the southern edge of the parade ground. The present privately owned ranch house, a mile to the east, contains stones and glass from the camp. Permission to visit the site, which involves wading across the hip-deep Clear Fork of the Brazos River, should be obtained from the ranch owners. The site of the old camp is on a privately owned ranch, in the vicinity of Fort Griffin State Park, which is on U.S. 283. the site is accessible by foot only.

 

Camp Cureton (1862-1864) - This short-lived post was established in March, 1862 on the Gainesville-Fort Belknap Road, where it crossed the West Fork of the Trinity River southeast of present-day Archer City. Built by Captain Jack J. Creton and his regiment, the fort was named for him. A Confederate post, it along with several others were established to restrict Indians from coming into the region. Several wooden buildings and rock-fence corrals made up the fort. It was closed by March, 1864, when the troops were moved to Fort Belknap. Nothing remains of the fort today.

 

Camp Holland (1918-1921) - Also known as Jackass Camp, the post was built in 1918 after the Brite Ranch and Neville Ranch raids by Mexican bandits, the fort was named for the J. R. Holland Ranch on which it was built. The post included two barracks, that could house up to 400 men, four officers' houses, a mess hall, a guardhouse, bakery, blacksmith shop, and a quartermaster store. The post was responsible for supplying pack trains for the United States Cavalry as it patrolled the Mexican border against Pancho Villa and his bandits. By 1921 the army began phasing out border patrols in Presidio County and Camp Holland was closed. The buildings were initially leased to civilians, the Texas Rangers, and to customs and immigration border patrols. Later, they were sold. Situated in Viejo Pass about 12 miles west of Valentine, Texas the site is also known as the site of the last battle in Presidio County between the U.S. Cavalry and Apache Indians, which occurred June 12, 1880. A historic marker designates the battle. Some of the old fort buildings still stand on the privately owned Miller Ranch.

 

Camp Hudson (1857-61, 1867-1877) - Also referred to as Fort Hudson, this post was located on San Pedro Creek, a tributary of the Devils River, 21 miles north of Comstock, Texas. One of several posts built on the San Antonio-El Paso Road to protect travelers, it was established by Lieutenant Theodore Fink in June, 1857 and named for Lieutenant Walter W. Hudson, who died in action on April, 1850 as the result of action against hostile Indians. Built along an isolated section of the creek, the post was constructed of a mixture of gravel and lime, which provided very good insulation. A post office at the site opened the same year it was built. Because of its isolated location, there were very few travelers across this section of road. Most of those who did pass by the fort were military troops, including an experimental camel caravan from Camp Verde, Texas in 1859. When the Civil War began, troops were pulled from the post in March, 1861. Though the camp was abandoned by the U.S. Army, the post office continued to operate, serving area settlers until 1866.

 

When a stagecoach was ambushed by Indians between Camp Hudson and Fort Stockton, and two military escorts were killed in late October, 1867, soldiers were once again sent to occupy the post. Over the next several years, various companies occupied the post, which was re-organized in 1871. The soldiers were tasked with protecting travelers, new arrived settlers, and fought with Indians on several occasions. By January, 1877, the threat of Indian attacks was over and the post was abandoned. The site is located in a desolate rock-strewn field. A state marker and a small gravestone are all that’s left of the old post. The site is located in Val Verde County, on Texas Highway 163, about 20 miles north of Comstock.

 

 

 

Camp Verde, TexasCamp Verde (1856-69) - One of a chain of forts protecting Texas settlers, the troops of Camp Verde did their share of Comanche fighting, but it won its major distinction as headquarters of the Army's camel experiment. This project was the brainchild of Edward F. Beale, Superintendent of Indian Affairs for California and Nevada, who persuaded the Secretary of War, Jefferson Davis, to test camels in transporting personnel and freight in arid country.

 

At his urging, Congress appropriated $30,000 in 1855 to conduct the experiment. More than 70 camels, acquired by the War Department in the Mediterranean area, and a few herders arrived on Navy ships at Indianola, Texas in 1856-57 and were then herded to Camp Verde.

 

A specially erected caravansary, or khan, modeled after one in North Africa, accommodated them. In 1857 Beale took about 25 of them to Fort Tejon, California, while surveying a proposed road across the Southwest.

 

Those based at Camp Verde were tested under field conditions in various parts of western Texas. Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. Lee was in charge of the experiment. The Confederates acquired the camels when they took over Camp Verde in 1861 and they were still on hand when Federal troops reoccupied it in 1866.

 

Three years later, the Army relinquished Camp Verde and sold the herd to a private entrepreneur in San Antonio. Although the camels had demonstrated their superiority over mules, after the war, any project associated with Confederate President Jefferson Davis was discredited. This and other factors brought about the end of the program.

 

Today, there are only two remaining stucco buildings, much altered and probably dating from the 1850's, used today by the ranch owners as guesthouses. One of these is a linear barracks building, a composite of three original structures. The other building, the officers' quarters, has a rear wing. Mounds of earth reveal the site of the caravansary. The parade ground is distinguishable. Camp Verde is located in Kerr County, on County Road 689, about two miles north of the town of Camp Verde.

 

 

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