Fort Inge and Texas Frontier
Military Operations, 1849-z869
THOMAS T. SMITH*
LOCATED ONE MILE SOUTH OF UVALDE, TEXAS, ON THE EAST BANK OF
the Leona River, Fort Inge was established on March 13, 1849, by
Capt. Seth Eastman and the fifty-six soldiers of Companies D and I,
First Infantry Regiment. The post was named Fort Inge in honor of
Lt. Zebulon M. P. Inge, U.S. Second Dragoons, a West Point officer
killed at the Mexican War battle of Resaca de la Palma.'
The U.S. Army established Fort Inge as a part of the post-Mexican
War First Federal Line of frontier forts in Texas. For most of its twenty-
year history it was a typical one-company, fifty-man post, common to
the Texas frontier. Briefly in 1854 Fort Inge had a garrison of two hun-
dred men when it became the regimental headquarters for the U.S.
Mounted Rifle Regiment. A military inspector reported Fort Inge "is
justly regarded as one of the most important and desirable positions in
Texas. No station of the line possesses so many advantages as this ... in
point of wood, water, and soil. . . . It is pre-eminent as a military site.
In a state of constant warfare and constant service .. ." 2
Fort Inge had only a dozen buildings arranged around a parade
ground with a stables at the south end of the post. The most substantial
building was built of cut limestone and used as a hospital and later as a
storehouse. The remaining structures, including the two officers' quar-
ters and laundress' quarters, were temporary jacal construction of up-
*Thomas T. Smith is a regular army captain of infantry on assignment as an instructor of
military history at the United States Milhtary Academy, West Point, New York. He is currently
working on a survey history of the activities of the United States Army in nineteenth-century
'Post Returns, Fort Inge, Mar.-Apr. 1849, National Archives Microfilm Pubhcation 617,
Roll 517, "Post Returns, Fort Inge 1849-69"; General Orders No. 13, Feb. 14, 1849, Eighth
Department, Maj Gen. William J. Worth, and General Orders No 84, Dec 28, 1849, Eighth
Department, Maj. Gen George M. Brooke, Adjutant General's Office, Record Group (RG) 94
(National Archives; cited hereafter as NA); Marion Koogler McNay Art Institute, A Seth East-
man Sketchbook, 1848-49 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1961), xx-xxi; George S Nelson,
Preliminary Archaeological Survey and Testing of Fort Inge, Texas (Uvalde: Uvalde County Histori-
cal Commission, 1981), 21-47.
2Post Returns, Jan.-Dec. 1854; Report of Lt. W H. C. Whiting, Mar. 11, 1850, S. Exec. Doc.
64, 31st Cong., 1st Sess (Serial 562), 245 (quotation), 246-250
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 96, July 1992 - April, 1993. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101215/. Accessed January 25, 2015.