preserved of the chain of forts across Texas.|
Twenty-three buildings on 40 acres make up this National Historic Landmark.
Photo courtesy Lou Ann Herda|
of a line of forts extending from the northeastern border of Texas to El
Paso. Was also northern point of southern chain of forts extending to Rio
Grande, thence along that river to its mouth.
Established 1867 (at then
junction of Butterfield Trail, Goodnight Trail and road to San
Antonio) by 4th Cavalry under Capt. George G. Huntt to protect frontier. By
March 1, 1870, fort buildings were (in order of their construction) a commissary
and quartermaster storehouse, hospital, five officers quarters, a magazine and
two barracks-- all built of sandstone.
Among those who commanded post
were: Gen. Wm. R. Shafter (later major general of volunteers, Spanish-American
War; commanded troops at capture of Santiago de Cuba, July 1898); Maj. John
P. Hatch (at one time fort was named in his honor); Gen. Wesley Merritt (first
commander of Fort Davis
after Civil War; was later superintendent of U. S. Military Academy at West Point);
Gen. Ranald Slidell Mackenzie (who led attacks, from this and other forts, credited
with defeat of Indian resistance in southwest); and Gen.
Benjamin H. Grierson, commander of Negro
troops of 10th Cavalry. On June 20, 1889, fort was abandoned as a military
post and property passed into private ownership.
Chilled Catfish of Concho County
by Mike Cox (From "Texas Tales" Column)
In the days before
instantly-available color weather radar, Isaac Cline’s story sounded like a Texas-size
whopper. Cline had been assigned to Fort Concho in the spring of 1885 as the officer
in charge of the Army’s Signal Service station. He oversaw the West Texas cavalry
post’s telegraph service, which constituted the only real-time link to the outside
world from that part of the state. He also took daily weather observations. Full
Mike Cox (From "Texas Tales" Column)
"... The military
abandoned Fort Concho in 1889, the last company of soldiers marching off to San
Antonio. The military reservation became private property and the hospital was
converted into a rooming house. Later, it became a hay barn.
1911, lightning sparked a fire that heavily damaged the building, leaving it a
stone shell. Eighteen years later, the rest of the structure was razed.
But like “Dead” Ellis, the building came back to life. Following an extensive
archaeological investigation, the building was rebuilt to its original specifications
in 1986-1987. Now it and most of the other structures at the fort are a National
And docents guiding tours of the reconstructed hospital
still tell the story of “Dead” Ellis." Full
by Mike Cox (From "Texas Tales" Column)
established along the Concho River in 1867, guarded that part of the frontier
for more than 20 years. Comanche and Kiowa Indians posed a definite threat to
the soldiers stationed there, especially during the post’s earlier years. But
the soldiers faced a deadlier foe – bad water.
In October 1870, the post
surgeon reported 35 cases of typhoid fever, 69 cases of acute diarrhea and dysentery
and 21 cases identified as “continued and remittent fever.” Six soldiers died
that month from one or another of those ailments.
The doctor may or may
not have had a microscope at his disposal, but he knew the culprit: Tainted water.
A year before, he had reported that the North Concho River at that time consisted
of only shallow, stagnant pools. The main arm of the river, he said, had been
contaminated with putrefying animal matter, including buffalo carcasses. River
water smelled bad and tasted worse.
Indeed, when the river was low it
teemed with harmful microbes, the invisible life forms that could kill a man as
surely as a red-painted Comanche arrow or a spiraling .50 caliber slug from a
Spencer carbine." Full
Elizabeth - Fort Concho's outpost
the Civil War, the United States Congress authorized the creation of six regiments
of black U.S. Army troops. The Tenth Cavalry was organized in 1867 under the leadership
of Col. Benjamin
Grierson (1826-1911). The order creating black troops also specified that
they would be commanded by white officers. Facing problems of racial discrimination
at the regiment's headquarters in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Grierson
wanted the Tenth Cavalry reassigned to the West, and they arrived at Fort Concho
in the Spring of 1875.
The contributions of the men of the Tenth Cavalry
to the settlement of the American West are of major importance. They took part
in grueling scouting and mapping expeditions and campaigns against hostile Indians,
often facing days without proper supplies or water on the high plains. They were
instrumental in the defeat of the Mescalero Apache Indians led by Chief Victorio
The men of the Tenth Cavalry were stationed at Fort Concho until
1882, when they were moved to Fort
Davis. Transferred frequently after 1885, members of the unit eventually served
throughout the world, including Cuba, North Africa, Germany, Korea, and Vietnam.
Concho National Historic Lankmark Plaque|
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