Sunday, September 20, 2015 : Fort Davis, Big Bend National Park


This morning in Van Horn, TX, it seems that Heaven's gates have a personal grudge against us. The rain is pouring like mad !

 

Anyway, after refilling the car, we take the road to Fort Davis. It rains for a while, and it finally stops.

 

Pioneer wagon at Fort Davis, TX

Pioneer wagon at Fort Davis, TX

 

When the pioneers, attracted by the Gold Rush in California, began to cross the West, the Army quickly understood the necessity to protect the roads from Indian attacks. A that time, the Apache were not pacified at all. A series of forts was therefore built along the San Antonio - El Paso road, including Fort Davis, that we are now visiting.

 

The irony is that the Davis who gave his name to the fort is none other than President Pierce's former War Secretary, who later will become the sole President of the Confederacy. The fort was not renamed at the end of the Civil War.

 

Having most likely seen way too many western movies, I was expecting a relatively small fort, with a high wooden fence. Not at all, Fort Davis is a large settlement, absolutely unfenced. Let us say that, locally at least, there were very few direct fights. The fighting was much fiercer at some distance, which mandated a strong, numerous and efficient cavalry.

 

After the construction of the railway between San Antonio and El Paso, the fort lost its strategic importance. It was decommissioned in 1891.

 

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park

 

Under a stubbornly grey sky, we take the road again to Big Bend National Park, where we arrive at the end of the afternoon. It did not really rain again, but we are not overly optimistic for tomorrow. The otherworldly thumderstom during the night does nothing to reassure us.