This week, Krista asks us to feature something that signifies security. You can read Krista’s entire challenge post here. In the 19th Century, settlers traveled across the great plains territories and eventually settled in small communities throughout the upper midwest. Government troops provided security in forts built near these communities. Stockades, large fences, typically surrounded the forts and guard houses with high vantage points were constructed to provide an observation platform for the cavalry and foot soldiers to keep watch for Native Americans who weren’t always happy with their new neighbors. The guardhouse above is part of the 6th and 17th Infantries stationed around 1874 at Fort Abraham Lincoln. Of greater historical interest, probably, Fort Abraham Lincoln was also the home of the 7th Cavalry, commanded by General George Armstrong Custer. It was from Fort Abraham Lincoln that Custer and his army headed for destruction at the Battle of the Little Big Horn in Montana, a distance of over 400 miles (640 km).
As I mentioned above, in addition to guard houses, security fortifications often included stockade fences. These large fences were very tall and typically ringed the forts in the area, though not always. In areas where relations with the Native Americans were more peaceful, the fences were not constructed. Forts were equipped like small cities with the capacity to accept and protect the nearby settlers within their secure walls. Views from the guard houses were commanding and their placement on higher terrain allowed for plenty of warning of any enemy approaching. The view above was captured from one of the second-floor gun ports that were provided on every wall of the enclosure. The view includes the Missouri River on the left and the stables and barracks of the 7th Cavalry in the clearing on the right just above the trees.