Western Military Forts and Outposts
As the frontier moved westward, the establishment of U.S.
military forts moved with it, representing and maintaining
federal sovereignty over new territories. The military garrisons
usually lacked defensible walls but were seldom attacked.
served as bases for troops at or near strategic areas,
particularly for counteracting the Indian presence. For example,
Fort Bowie protected Apache Pass in southern Arizona along the
mail route between Tucson and El Paso and was used to launch
attacks against Cochise and Geronimo.
Fort Bowie was established
after the Battle of Apache Pass, one of several Civil War era
engagements to occur in the Arizona frontier, it was a walled
fort. Fort Laramie and Fort Kearny helped protect immigrants
crossing the Great Plains and a series of posts in California
protected miners. Forts were constructed to launch attacks
against the Sioux. As Indian reservations sprang up, the
military set up forts to protect them. Forts also guarded the
Union Pacific and other rail lines.
Other important forts were
Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Fort Smith, Arkansas, Fort Snelling,
Minnesota, Fort Union Montana, Fort Worth, Texas, and Fort Walla
Walla in Washington. By the 1890s, with the threat from Indian
nations eliminated, and with migrant populations increasing
enough to provide their own law enforcement, most frontier forts
Fort Omaha, Nebraska was home to the Department
of the Platte, and was responsible for outfitting most Western
posts for more than 20 years after its founding in the late
1870s. Fort Huachuca in Arizona was also originally a frontier
post which is still in use by the United States Army. During the
Mexican Revolution, the United States was forced to build a new
series of twelve forts for protection along the Mexican-American
border. Fort Naco in Naco, Arizona was one of these. At this
time in the southwest United States, towns were still being
established and all wilderness was still considered frontier.
- New Mexico