This research guide is intended to provide introductory information on the historical significance of Fort Brown located in Brownsville, Texas. The guide provides links to useful primary and secondary sources from the UTRGV University Library Special Collections as well as information about external resources.
Before it was known as Fort Brown, Fort Texas was established as a U.S. Army post in 1846. It was an earthwork fortress shaped like a six-sided star with 9' high and 15' wide walls and encircled by a moat. The fort was renamed for Major Jacob Brown (1789-1846), the commander of the U.S. 7th Infantry who was mortally wounded in the Siege of Fort Texas during the Mexican-American War.
The post played an important role during the U.S. Civil War when it was occupied first by Confederate Col. Rip Ford (1861-1863) and later by Union Gen. Nathaniel Banks (1863-1864) before the Confederacy once again seized control until the end of the war. Following the Civil War, Fort Brown was established as a permanent military base for the U.S. Army along the nation's southern border.
Fort Brown played a prominent role in military and border history due to its strategic location. It was decommissioned by the Army in 1946 and acquired by the City of Brownsville and Texas Southmost College in 1948.
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