PROTECTING THE BORDER FOR 150 YEARS
On March 27 1849, Capt. Sidney Burbank and companies A, B, and F of the First United States Infantry set up camp along the east side of the Rio Grande River just north of the settlement of Eagle Pass, known at the time as El Paso del Águila likely due to the number of Crested Caracara, an eagle-like falcon native to the region, flying overhead. The military presence, a result of the Mexican War that had begun three years earlier, was designed to reinforce the temporary post Camp Eagle Pass, already established at the start of the war, lending permanence to the garrison. Here, the Camino Real, located just down river and the primary north-south route between Mexico and Texas, could be monitored and regulated. At the camp, officially designated Fort Duncan, mail could be received from San Antonio and the connecting roads to Fort Inge and Fort McIntosh could be secured. Construction crews, composed of troops and hired locals, built a storehouse, two magazines, four officers quarters, a hospital, and quarters for the enlisted men. The post was abandoned in 1859 only to be regarrisoned a year later, then once again officially abandoned in 1861 at the start of the Civil War, although it served the Frontier Regiment and customs point for Confederate cotton and munitions trade with Mexico. Federal troops reoccupied the fort at the end of the war and until the 1930s. The city of Eagle Pass acquired the property in 1935, making the officer’s club and swimming pool facilities available for members of the military stationed at nearby Eagle Pass Army Air Field during World War ll.
Today, the site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and seven of the original buildings have been restored including the headquarters, now serving as a museum. The museum features exhibits on the history of the fort and the over one hundred and fifty year relationship between the fort’s military presence and the community of surrounding Eagle Pass.
Fort Duncan Museum
Age 12 and older: $2
Tuesday - Saturday 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.