Military scouts first camped near Comanche Springs as early as 1851. Continued military presence was placed in Camp Stockton by a detachment of twenty men of the 1st and 8th Infantry Regiments, U.S. Army in December, 1858. Camp Stockton was formally established in March 1859. It was named in honor of Captain Robert Field Stockton, a prominent navy officer in the Mexican War. He was the grandson of Richard Stockton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
The post protected travelers and settlers on the numerous roads and trails that crossed the rugged west and made use of the abundant water supply of Comanche Springs in West Texas. The first transcontinental trip initiated by the San Antonio-San Diego stage line passed by Comanche Springs on September 17, 1858. The next year the Butterfield-Overland Mail contracted to furnish through stages twice a week. The garrison formed detachments to protect the lines.
The U.S. Army withdrew from Texas during the Civil War and abandoned Fort Stockton in 1861. Confederate troops briefly occupied the site until they too withdrew, in 1862.
In July 1867, Fort Stockton was re-established by four Companies of the 9th U.S. Cavalry Regiment on 960 acres leased from civilian landowners, one-half mile northeast of the first post. Companies A, B, E, and K of the 9th Cavalry begin construction under the command of Colonel Edward Hatch. The 9th was one of the new regiments organized after the Civil War staffed with Black enlisted men. When the 9th Cavalry was moved to New Mexico in 1875, Colonel Benjamin Grierson's 10th Cavalry took over the duties of protecting the westward migration and trade routes.
About 87 percent of all soldiers garrisoned at Fort Stockton from 1867 until 1886 were Black troops of the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments and the 41st, 24th and 25th Infantry Regiments. Surmounting obstacles of harsh living conditions, difficult pay and racial prejudice, they gained a reputation of tenacity and bravery. Stationed continuously on the frontier during the years of Indian hostility Black regiments played a major role in the settlement and development of America's western frontier.
NOTE: On October 15, 1994, Barracks #2 (Quarters of Troop L 10th Cavalry) was dedicated at Fort Stockton.
The Fort Stockton State Historic Site is located in the City of Fort Stockton, Texas along Interstate 10, (Westbound Exit - 261, Eastbound Exits 256, 257 and 259), 321 miles west of San Antonio; 243 miles east of El Paso. From Odessa, Texas - 87 miles south-southwest via Interstate 20 and Route 18. From Pecos, Texas - 53 miles southeast via US 285. From Carlsbad, New Mexico - 138 miles southeast via US 285.
For further information contact:
Historic Fort Stockton
300 East Third Street
Fort Stockton, Texas 79735
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THE FORT STOCKTON AREA, VIEW THE FORTSTOCKTON TOURISM DIVISION WEB SITE
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