About Fort Ringgold 2017-05-23T23:12:03+00:00

All things Fort Ringgold

– Preserving our Heritage, Promoting our History –

Fort Ringgold Historical Brief

Fort Ringgold is situated on the north bank of the Rio Grande approximately 100 miles southwest from Brownsville, Texas. It is Located in Rio Grande City and was originally established as part of an outpost defense along the Mexican border. Captain J.H. LaMatte of the 1st Infantry established Camp Ringgold at Davis Ranch one half mile below Canestolendas (now Rio Grande City) in 1848. The land where Fort Ringgold was established was leased by the federal government from Hilaria Garza Davis and Henry Clay Davis. It became one of the most elaborate posts on the border and one of the most historical posts the entire union. The Fort house soldiers during these periods: first, the U.S. troops under General Zachary Taylor; second U.S. troops who guarded against Mexican revolutionary troops under Cortina; and later troops from the Confederate States of America (CSA). It was continuously maintained as a cavalry post until the 12th Cavalry was transferred to Fort Riley, Kansas on May 10th, 1944. On May 15, 1944, Fort Ringgold was declared surplus and became available for disposal. Today, the Rio Grande City Consolidated Independent School District provides the preservation of Fort Ringgold.

1848-1860 Establishment of Fort Ringgold

Fort Ringgold was established in 1848 as one of the five forts along the lower Rio Grande Valley to defend border settlements against Indians and Mexican raiding parties. Friction between the United States and Mexico mounted especially after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo established the Rio Grande as the new boundary between the two countries in 1848. Landowners and settlers who have lived along the lower Rio Grande in territory which had originally belonged to Mexico were now faced with the option of deciding to keep properties and become U.S. citizens or abandoned their properties and retain their Mexican citizenships by moving to Mexico. While many decided to remain Mexican citizens, there were many who opted to keep their properties and become U.S. Citizens. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo also put an end to the war between the United States and Mexico in 1846, however, the unrest between the two countries continued. On March 27, 1850, the residents of the territory including those of the Rio Grande Valley filed a petition with th e U.S. Congress requesting that the Rio Grande be separate and that I be declared an independent territory. The United States Congress accepted the petition. The location for Fort Ringgold was selected based on its advantages as a post of observation, since the City of Camargo in Mexico, directly opposite and only five miles distant, was garrisoned by a strong force. It was also a convenient point at the head of steam navigation for the distribution of supplies to posts further up the Rio Grande. In March 1859, Fort Ringgold was abandoned ; but was reoccupied in December 1859 because of raiding activities led by Juan N. Cortina, a Mexican citizen. It was during this time that Robert E. Lee was sent to investigate the Cortina matter.

1861-1865 Fort Ringgold during the Civil War

At the start of the Civil War (1861), troops at Fort Ringgold were given the option of signing up with the Confederacy or returning to the Northern States. Most of the troops signed up. Others declared themselves neutral and moved into Mexico. The Confederate troops evacuated Fort Ringgold in 1863 when 6,000 Union troops anchored off the Texas coast. The post was left unguarded for the remainder of the Civil War, and in 1865, occupancy was for the purpose of surveillance and distribution of supplies; however, because of the general condition of Fort Ringgold was so deteriorated, occupancy was temporary.

1865-1918 Fort Ringgold during the MexicanPolitical and Revolutionary Upheavals

Considering the general conditions of Fort Ringgold, the federal government appropriated funds, and the Fort was rebuilt in 1869 at a location just north of tis original site. The Fort troops remained active in the period that followed. By the 1870’s, the troops were concerned with a series of cattle raids that were occurring in the Lower Rio Grande Valley with Juan N. Cortina at the center of controversy. It was not until July 1875, following Cortina’s arrest by the presidential order, that the raids subsided. In 1887, Fort Ringgold was finally designated as a Fort and the land occupied by the Fort was purchased by the federal government in 1880. The Fort was abandoned and placed in charge of a caretaker between 1906 an 1912. During this time , Fort Ringgold was dismantled and the property was transferred to the Department of the Interior. The are was surveyed and marked off as a town site preparation for public sale; however, the Mexican Revolution that followed had its repercussion on the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Attacks from the Carranzista Army happening in the area forced the return of Fort Ringgold to the War Department in 1913. The violence of the Mexican Revolution spilled across the border in the form of raids and kept and kept the Rio Grande Valley in a constant state of anxiety. In retaliation for the border raids, the Texas Rangers were sent to the Rio Grande Valley. “The violence also brought a large number of national guardsmen to the area. By 1916, Fort Ringgold as well as Fort brown, Point Isabel and Fort McIntosh (Laredo,TX) had become seas of white-topped tents. Thousands of guardsmen from as far away as New England took up a river watch that lasted until 1917, when they were sent to participate in World World War I. By that time, their presence had effectively brought an end to the revolutionary-inspired violence in the region”. (Source: Texas Historical Commission and Los Caminos del Rio Heritage Project – A Shared experience, 1944.)

1918-1944 Fort Ringgold After the War

After the Mexican revolution, as the border area became increasingly secure, it was obvious that a permanent presence by the American Army was no longer necessary. Occupation of Fort Ringgold continued until 1944 when the Fort was deactivated and in 1947 the property was transferred to the Rio Grande City Consolidated School District (RGCCISD). During 1918-1944, Fort Ringgold provided employment for approximately one hundred civilians living in Rio Grande City. Retailed purchases by the post and personnel stationed on the post made up a large percentage of the retails trade in Rio Grande City.

1944 – present Fort Ringgold as an Educational Institution

The Rio Grande City CISD rehabilitate the 1869 and the 1920 barracks buildings to make them into classrooms conducive to learning . Several other renovations projects have been implemented and new buildings have been added to meet the demands of the school enrollment and the needs of the students. At the present time, Fort Ringgold houses Ringgold Elementary in a new facility. Today we still have school district organizations housed at Fort Ringgold like: the Alternative Center, the Central Kitchen for the School’s Nutrition Program, the Joe R. Sanchez Football field, a refurbished school gymnasium, the Transportation Department, the Health Services Department, the district warehouse, the district police station, school bus maintenance department, the city’s Boys and Girls Youth Club, a swimming pool and numerous offices for the school program directors and coordinators, an auditorium and a community Multipurpose Center (MPC) which houses the districts central office staff. The Rio Grande City high school was housed in Fort Ringgold since the Fort became and educational institution until the summer of 1997, when the school was move out of Fort Ringgold.

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This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.

This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.