Thursday, March 22, 2012

Washita Battlefield National Historic Site, Oklahoma

The Washita Battlefield National Historic Site is located in western Oklahoma approximately 25 miles north of I-40 and the town of Sayre. This is the site where in 1868 LTC Custer and his 7th Cavalry troops attacked the peaceful indian tribe of Chief Black Kettle. The attack on this tribe was unprovoked, and historical reports state that Custer thought this was one of the hostile tribes in the area. There were many indians killed, including Chief Black Kettle and his wife. Most of the remaining women and children were taken captive by Custer and his soldiers. The so called battle was very brief and afterwards LTC George Armstrong Custer ordered his troops to burn everything in the village. Chief Black Kettle was a man of peace. Even though he had endured and survived the Sand Creek Massacre, a similar attack by Custer on a tribe which occurred in Colorado, Chief Black Kettle still wanted peace with the whites. The visit to this site was educational, and sad as Josephine put it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fort Union National Monument, New Mexico

Our plan for today was to visit Capulin Volcano National Monument located in northeast New Mexico. The plan changed when we found the two highways to get there were CLOSED due to winter BLIZZARD conditions and snow drifts. So, we detoured further south to Fort Union National Monument and the Santa Fe National Historic Trail. At the visitor center and museum we watched a film on the history of Fort Union and then looked at the exhibits which were very interesting. Next we toured the fort ruins. The structures are mostly gone but we found that the foundations of the buildings and the sidewalks are still there. Fort Union was the largest military facility in the Southwest and after walking through the remains of the fort, I believe it. This was quite a place in the mid to late 1800's. Fort Union also served as a resupply depot for the smaller forts in the Southwest. As you look through the pictures you'll see a few then-and -now shots. The old photo of the hospital is followed by the photo of how it looks now (it has a white fence around it). The military jail was the most intact building and it was easy to spot while walking through the fort. Also, the wagon roads of the Santa Fe Trail are still visible through the area and here at the fort. Very cool. For a history buff, this is a place to visit. Weather conditions may have altered our trip plan, but the day was still a success with our trip to Fort Union.