Soldiers, Sutlers, and Settlers: Garrison Life on the Texas Frontier
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Texas’ frontiers in the 1840s were buffeted by disputes with Mexico and attacks by Indian tribes who refused to give up their life-styles to make way for new settlers. To ensure some measure of peace in the far reaches of Texas, the U.S. Army established a series of military forts in the state. These outposts varied in size and amenities, but the typical installation was staffed with officers, enlisted men, medical personnel, and civilian laundresses. Many soldiers brought their families to the frontier stations. While faced with the hardships of post life, wives and children helped create a more congenial environment for all concerned.