Fort Duncan

Fort Duncan, on the east side of the Rio Grande above Eagle Pass in Maverick County, was established by order of Maj. Gen. William J. Worth on March 27, 1849, when Capt. Sidney Burbank occupied the site with companies A, B, and F of the First United States Infantry. John Twohig owned the 5,000-acre site. At the start of the Mexican War in 1846 a temporary post called Camp Eagle Pass had been established at the site. Roads ran from there to Fort Inge and Fort McIntosh, and mail was received from San Antonio. On November 14, 1849, the post was named Fort Duncan, after James Duncan, a hero of the Mexican War. The post consisted of a storehouse, two magazines, four officers' quarters, and a stone hospital, in addition to quarters for enlisted men. Construction was done half by the troops and half by hired workers. There was ample stone but no timber for building, and the men suffered from exposure. Company C, First Artillery, asked permission to construct quarters at its own expense. The fort was significant because of the trade crossing into Mexico at Eagle Pass, its location on the California Road, and its position for scouting against Indians in the 1850s.

Fort Duncan became involved in the Callahan expedition of 1855, when James H. Callahan led an effort to repel attacks of Lipan Apaches and to capture runaway slaves. Callahan seized and burned the Mexican town of Piedras Negras, and the commanders at the fort ultimately refused to help him recross the Rio Grande into the United States. Secretary of War John B. Floyd ordered the post abandoned in May 1859, and troops were transferred to Camp Verde on June 18. Because of Juan N. Cortina's disturbances on the Rio Grande, Robert E. Lee ordered the fort regarrisoned in March 1860, and in August 1860 Maj. D. H. Vinton leased the site from Twohig. With the outbreak of the Civil War the post was again abandoned when the federal troops evacuated on March 20, 1861, and John C. Crawford received the property as agent for the state of Texas. During the war the post was known as Rio Grande Station and served the Frontier Regiment. It was also an important customs point for Confederate cotton and munitions trade with Mexico. On June 19, 1864, the fort was attacked by a force of about 100 Mexicans from the surrounding area and Piedras Negras, but they managed to capture only a few horses.

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Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Belongs to

Fort Duncan is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists


Place type

Fort Duncan is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • (Eagle Pass)


Latitude: 28.70719880
Longitude: -100.49924360

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated