Fort Davis was established in 1854 to defend the land, emigrants, mail delivery service, and travelers, including those traveling to San Francisco during the Gold Rush, from Native Americans. This post was strategic in the success of the settlement and development into the western frontiers due to the abundance of wood, water, and grass. During most of the time that the post was active, the troops looked out for Comanches, Kiowas, and Apaches who attacked those traveling west on the San Antonio-El Paso road. The Native Americans were greatly outnumbered by the troops, so the post was never attacked in spite of the fact that there were no protective walls. Soldiers constantly patrolled the way and escorted travelers for safe passage.
Four black infantry units were added in 1869, known as "Buffalo Soldiers" by the Native Americans, because of their hair. Buffalo Soldiers are best remembered for fighting on the western frontier, they were only allowed to serve west of the Mississippi River because whites in the South weren't comfortable seeing armed black men near their community. Henry O. Flipper, the first black man to attend and graduate from West Point, was stationed at Fort Davis as an officer. Although the Buffalo Soldiers worked harder and were tasked with a range of duties from menial to extremely dangerous, they were treated badly and without respect. Flipper was court-marshalled for embezzlement and posthumously pardoned by President Clinton because of dubious proof of the crime.
A few of the original buildings are still standing and are well preserved, while some have decayed completely and are now ruins. The park has done an excellent job furnishing some of the buildings and presenting them as they would have looked while they were occupied by the troops. Allow one to two hours to go through the entire park and see the original artifacts that are on display througout the buildings.