SouthwesternHistoricalQuarterly January Wooster explains that relationships within the garrison were not as peaceful. The discovery of precious minerals and subsequent feuds over mineral rights, coupled with tension between West Pointtrained officers and those who were promoted from the ranks during the Civil War shattered notions of the army as "one happy family" (p. 115). Regardless of these problems, Fort Davis served its purpose, fueling settlement and economic growth that was part of a "frontier empire," though the author is more effective in explaining how area residents used "frontier" than he is with explaining his use of "empire." Even with the growth of a nearby community, the post's future was in jeopardy. By 1890 illness, flooding, and the decision to locate railroads elsewhere doomed the long-term viability of the post, and within a year, Fort Davis was closed, to be reopened only as a national historic site in 1961. Many have tried to write effective histories of military posts, and most confine their analysis to what takes place within the rhetorical walls of their chosen cantonment. Wooster's analysis, just like Fort Davis, lacks these restrictive features. Placing the post, its garrison, and the surrounding population into a larger historical
Southwestern Historical Quarterly – Texas State Historical Association
Published: Mar 28, 2007
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