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
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
For over two centuries, various groups fought over access and/or control over
the region that would become
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,
United States, and the
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 -
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
Indians living on
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
Texas troops. During the post-Civil War period, State
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.
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
Indians, which occurred June 12, 1880. A historic marker designates the
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,
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
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
in 1859. When the
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
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
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
Highway 163, about 20 miles north of Comstock.
Camp Verde (1856-69) - One of a chain of forts
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
Beale, Superintendent of
Indian Affairs for
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,
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
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
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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