FORT LINCOLN. Fort Lincoln, on the west bank of Seco Creek a mile north of D'Hanis in west central Medina County, was named for Capt. George Lincoln, an officer of Company E, Eighth Infantry, who lost his life in the Mexican War battle of Buena Vista. The fort was one of eight that formed the first line of permanent federal frontier defense in Texas from Eagle Pass on the Rio Grande to Coffee's Bend on the Red River.
In 1848, at the conclusion of the Mexican War, a Texas Ranger company commanded by Charles S. DeMontel established a camp on Seco Creek a mile north of D'Hanis. On July 7, 1849, Fort Lincoln was established at the site used the year before by DeMontel. The 1,476-acre plot had been patented to the heirs of Milton Anderson on August 27, 1846.
The fort was built on the west bank of Seco Creek on high, open ground that provided a commanding view of the surroundings. Companies E and G of the Eighth United States Infantry, commanded by Maj. James Longstreet, were stationed at Fort Lincoln to repel and track down Indian raiders in protection of newly arrived European and American settlers and the commercial and military property transported on the Woll Road, an important trade route from San Antonio to Fort Duncan on the Rio Grande and points west. Longstreet's second in command, Lt. Richard Irving Dodge, was the man for whom Dodge City, Kansas, was named.
Water for the post was hauled from Seco Creek, at that time no more than a succession of standing pools. The builders of the fort made use of the locally abundant gray limestone in construction. In 1851 the installation had buildings for two companies, a commissary store, a storehouse for company property, a storehouse for the quartermaster's depot, and a hospital. The temporary buildings were of logs or poles, with roofs of shingles, thatch, or tarpaulins. Though the number of officers and men stationed at the fort was usually between 90 and 120, it reached 141 at one time. Longstreet was succeeded by Maj. Pitcairn Morrison, who was succeeded by Bvt. Capt. William Steel and Capt. Washington G. Newton.
Fort Lincoln was abandoned on July 20, 1852, after the frontier line had advanced westward. The buildings remained intact for some time, and the Texas Rangers made headquarters at the site. The barracks were torn down and transformed into residences east of Seco Creek at D'Hanis after being purchased by Irishman Richard Reily, who used the hospital building to raise his family. None of the buildings remains. On May 26, 1936, a dedication ceremony was held for the unveiling of a marker placed by the Texas Centennial Commission at the site.
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