I didn’t want to leave the Marfa area without visiting Fort Davis, the best-preserved frontier cavalry post in America. It was closed on Christmas Day so Jae and I drove up to it the next day on our way out of Marfa.
The post is really something. It was established in the 1850s, abandoned during the Civil War, reestablished afterwards. It was shut down finally in the 1890s but has survived since then virtually intact. It has been lovingly restored and many of its buildings are furnished with fascinating period artifacts.
At most surviving frontier posts, only a few original buildings have been left standing, but Fort Davis presents an image of the whole complex, with post hospital, a complete line of houses on officer’s row, and two barracks buildings for enlisted men, among other structures.
Buffalo Soldiers, black cavalry troopers, comprised the ranks of enlisted men for most of the post’s history, which makes it a special place indeed. The ghosts of those soldiers still ride in formation over the parade ground at the center of Fort Davis, still move out on patrols into the forbidding landscape of southwest Texas, still testify to the rough glory won by men doing hard work in hard places.
Click on the image to enlarge.