Federal Fort Architecture in Texas during the
RoY EUGENE GRAHAM*
W HEN TEXAS WAS ANNEXED TO THE UNITED STATES IN 1845, THE
federal government assumed the grave responsibility of pro-
tecting the people of the vast, newly formed state against both foreign
and domestic enemies. The circumstances which made this guarantee
of protection such a serious problem were shaped by conditions which
had developed during the period.
Of the many factors influencing the erection of federal garrisons
in Texas, there can be little doubt that the Indian problem was the
most important. A great deal of conflict between the pioneer and the
Indian was caused by the growth in population. The number of white
settlers in Texas increased from lo3,ooo in 1847 to 154,000 in 1850.
Immigrants spread rapidly over a large part of Texas, thus rapidly
crowding the Indians farther and farther into the rugged western
territory in search of food and protection. Since it was apparent that
the Indians would never give up their lands without a bloody struggle,
a line of defense was thrown out in advance of the white settlements
to protect the frontier.'
A second circumstance which led to the establishment of frontier
forts was the boundary dispute between Mexico and the United States.
The annexation of Texas may not have been a direct cause of the
Mexican War, but the boundary controversy over the territory be-
tween the Nueces and the Rio Grande was certainly a major reason.
Some forts were established in Texas before the Mexican War to keep
the Mexicans from getting a foothold in the disputed area, while
other garrisons were created to control the raiding across the river."
Another cause for the creation of Texas forts, particularly along the
*Roy Eugene Graham, assistant professor of architecture and planning at the Univer-
sity of Texas, Austin, was the project director for a study of five 'Texas forts, which
resulted in the publication of the five-volume study, Texas Historic Forts.
'Rupert N. Richardson, Texas: The Lone Star State (New York, 1943), 188; Arrie
Barrett, "Federal Military Outposts in Texas, 1846-1861" (M.A. thesis, University of
Texas, Austin, 1927), 3.
2Robert W. Frazer, Forts of the West: Military Forts and Presidios and Posts Commonly
Called Forts West of the Mississippi to 1898 (Norman, 1965), xiv.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 74, July 1970 - April, 1971. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101200/. Accessed February 28, 2015.