Explore this exhibit: Military on the Frontier
How the military moved from peacekeeping to warfare.
The first U.S. military forts were established after the Mexican-American War to prevent the Comanche, now wards of the U.S., from raiding into Mexico. As more Anglos pushed westward, conflict between Indians and settlers grew. Additional forts were built along ever-westward lines to help control the Indians. In 1871, an Indian attack on the Warren Wagon Train near Graham, Texas, led to a government change in Indian policy––from peacekeeping to one of containment or eradication.