Sandbag Castle on the Plains

Cimarron Redoubt, Kansas, January 1873.

Cimarron Redoubt N.R. surveyAs soon as I heard of the order I announced that I was coming, but it was necessary to obtain the commanding officer’s permission first. This seemed rather hopeless for a time, the general declaring I would “die in such a hole,” where I could have no comforts, but he did not say I should not come….Faye was afraid the life here would be too rough for me, so I decided the matter for myself and began to make preparations to come away, and that settled all discussion.

Whether or not it was Roe’s foresight to publish a 17 year snapshot of her life on the Western frontier; she certainly produced a historical compendium. The wide-range of details about the military forts, posts and temporary dugouts and living conditions, onto prominent and notorious characters- has proven to be an invaluable source about who we were and how we got here.

I’ve stumbled across bibliographic references meriting Roe’s book as an original source for its factual accuracy as seen below in the land registry of Cimarron Redoubt, Kansas**:

Cimarron Redoubt N.R. site description

The redoubt is made of gunny sacks filled with sand, and is built on the principle of  a permanent fortification in miniature, with bastions, flanks, curtains, and ditch, and has two pieces of artillery. The parapet is about ten feet high, upon the top of which a sentry walks all the time. This is technically correct,[…] so I could tell you about our castle on the plains.

With regard to “Army Letters…” originally published as a christmas-time gift with gilded pages, and advertised for “those who delight in the romance and stirring events on the ‘frontier’ of those pioneer days,” it has surely survived beyond its purpose. I wonder if Frances knew the importance of her personal letters? Like a homing pigeon returning to its nest, the letters are once again, in her care.  Whether through the loss of a loved one, or maybe rummaging through a friend or mother’s treasured memorabilia, Frances knew the letters were much more than a nostalgic remembrance of the ‘far West.’ They are the chronicling of who we were as a country, a nation, and as a people.

 

 

**Materials available in links, sources and publications tab.

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