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Texas Forts of the Old West - Page 4

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Colorado River in TexasFort Colorado (1836-1838) - Also known as Fort Coleman and Fort Houston, the post was established in the fall of 1836 by Colonel Robert M. Coleman and first garrisoned by two or three companies of the ranger battalion. Standing on high ground on the north bank of the Colorado River just west of Walnut Creek, the fort was a key post in the chain of defensive positions established by the Republic of Texas. Other links in the barrier against the raiding Plains Indians included Little River Fort, Fort Milam, and Fort Houston. It consisted of two 1-story blockhouses and a number of cabins enclosed within a high stockade wall.Fort Colorado and its ranger garrison contributed greatly to the lull in border warfare between white settlers and Comanche and Kiowa Indians during its brief use. The fort was active until April, 1838, when it was abandoned.

 

Area settlers quickly stripped the fort of its lumber and hardware. All that is left today is a historical marker. The site is located 2 miles northeast of the Montopolis Bridge in Austin, Texas.

 

Fort Crockett (1897-1955) - Named for David Crockett, who was killed at the Alamo in 1836, the military reservation on Galveston Island was established in 1897 for coast artillery training and harbor defense. It was first occupied by Battery G, First Artillery. Fronting the Gulf of Mexico, its batteries held ten-inch guns, mortars, and rapid-fire guns. The buildings were still being constructed when they were destroyed by a hurricane and subsequent flood in 1900. After the hurricane, the fort's batteries were transferred to the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The fort was not garrisoned again until 1911. The installation eventually became headquarters for the Sixty-ninth Coast Artillery.  

 

In the mid-1920s, an airfield was built nearby. During World War II, German prisoners of war were interned at the fort from 1941 to 1946. When the war was over, the post served as a recreational facility for active and reserve military personnel and their families. In 1955; however, the land was declared as surplus and the property and buildings were sold. Today, portions of the fort are home to the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries Laboratory. The area still contains several historical buildings and military fortifications.

 

Fort Crockett, Texas, 1918

 

 

Fort Croghan (1849-1855) - Located on Hamilton Creek three miles south of present-day Burnet, the location was chosen when Henry E. McCulloch and his rangers were stationed there in March, 1849. It was first called Culloch's Station. Just a few months later, in October, the site a permanent fort was planned to built across the Hamilton creek, three miles above the first site. It was then named Camp Croghan in honor of Colonel George Croghan. Later the name was changed to Camp Hamilton and when complete, officially named Fort Croghan. The buildings were all built of logs and included four officers' quarters and a large four-room hospital.  

 

The post became headquarters of the Second Dragoons in 1852, but the very next year, troops began to be moved, leaving behind just a skeleton crew to guard the buildings. It was abandoned in 1855 and the buildings were used as residences.

 

 

 

By 1940 only the foundations remained as evidence of the military occupation. A decade later; however, the Burnet County Historical Society began the reconstruction of the old post. Similar old buildings in the area, including two log dwellings and a stone structure, were moved from their original locations to the fort site and restored to appear as they might have during the days of the fort's occupation.

 

Fort Davis - Fort Davis is one of the best surviving examples of an Indian Wars' frontier military post in the Southwest. From 1854 to 1891, Fort Davis was strategically located to protect emigrants, mail coaches, and freight wagons on the Trans-Pecos portion of the San Antonio-El Paso Road and on the Chihuahua Trail. See Full Article HERE.

 

Fort Duncan - See Full Article HERE.

 

Fort Elliott Site TodayFort Elliott (1875-1890) - After the Second Battle of Adobe Walls, it was determined that the Texas Panhandle should be cleared of Indians. A military camp was established by late January, 1875 under the command of Major James Biddle. Within a month, Biddle was ordered to select a site for a permanent post from which soldiers could patrol the borders of Indian Territory, protect cattle drives headed north to Kansas, and encourage settlement of the region. Biddle chose a low plateau overlooking Sweetwater Creek, near present-day Mobeetie, Texas. The new post was first called Camp Cantonment on the Sweetwater and construction began in July. Stables, storehouses, and the guardhouse were built with cottonwood posts or adobe, but for more substantial buildings lumber had to be hauled in from Dodge City, Kansas, almost 200 miles to the north. In its early years, the fort was called home to about 200 soldiers.

 

In February, 1876, the post was renamed Fort Elliott, in honor of Major Joel H. Elliott, who was killed in the Battle of the Washita. By 1878, several other buildings had been added to the post, including the post commander's residence, six sets of officers' quarters, five barracks, post headquarters, combined school and chapel and a 12-bed hospital. In the 1880s, regiments of Buffalo Soldiers, as well as numerous Indian Scouts were stationed at the fort.

 

Their primary tasks were to patrol the Indian Territory border, stop hunting parties from entering the Texas Panhandle, and pursue Indians who had escaped their reservations. Also, protecting the cattle herds along the trails, a number of large ranches were established in the area and by 1880 nearly 300,000 cattle grazed the Panhandle.

 

In 1887, the first railroad was established in the Texas Panhandle, bypassing Fort Elliott eighteen miles to the north. Three years later, in October, 1890, the fort was closed. Over the next several years, the buildings were sold. Today, nothing of the fort is left, but the site is designated with a historical marker.

 

 

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