Commander of Western Forts: The Life and Times of Major General Henry C. Merriam, 1862-1901 | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library http://coloradowest.staging.auraria.edu/book-review/commander-western-forts-life-and-times-major-general-henry-c-merriam-1862-1901[12/8/2015 9:48:11 AM] Home Commander of Western Forts: The Life and Times of Major General Henry C. Merriam, 1862-1901Commander of Western Forts: The Life and Times of Major General Henry C. Merriam, 1862-1901Submitted by nwharton on 7-17-2012 10:32 AMAuthor: Jack Stokes Ballard Publishing: College Station: Texas A&M Press, 2012. Reviewer: John H. Monnett Reviewer Affiliation: Metropolitan State University of Denver Military forts, camps, and cantonments proliferated across America, especially the western frontiers, during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As EuroAmericans spread across the continent, so too did the United States Army. Much of the military history of the West, appearing in scholarly books and articles for the past century, has focused on campaigns and well-known figures, but occasionally someone looks at the human history taking place at a particular fort. Rarely have there been book-length biographical studies of the Army officers who actually oversaw the building and expansion of these forts. Now we have a full biography of one of the most important officers responsible for the building of Army installations in the West--Major General Henry C. Merriam, who was most noted for establishing Colorados Fort Logan, long a familiar historic landmark in the southern part of the Denver metropolitan area. Jack Stokes Ballard, a retired career Air Force officer and former history instructor at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, has done an admirable job of bringing Merriams little-known accomplishments to life. General Merriam commanded African American troops during the Civil War and on the Rio Grande. For his heroism during the war, the United States awarded him the Medal of Honor. After the war, Merriam went on to commands at Fort Laramie, Wyoming Territory, the famed Presidio in San Francisco, and Vancouver Barracks. He also invented a new form of field backpack for infantrymen that the Army officially adopted for many years. But Merriam is best remembered as a fort builder who is responsible for establishing posts in Idaho and the state of Washington. His crowning achievement, however, is the development and expansion Denvers Fort Logan. With the closure of Fort Laramie in 1887, Merriam and elements of the U. S. 7th Infantry were transferred in 1889 to the military cantonment Denverites referred to as the Camp near the City of Denver, now the new Fort Logan. For eight years, as commander of the post until 1897, Merriam expanded the physical dimensions of the installation with permanent buildings which remain to the present day, having served in the twentieth century as medical facilities and now as a historic site complete with a fine museum that interprets the history of the post. Fort Logan immediately brought converging rail lines into Denver, which helped to build and advance the citys urban growth. Soldiers stationed at Fort Logan served in the Ghost Dance troubles of 1890 and helped keep domestic peace during labor strikes of the 1890s, including Denvers controversial City Hall war during the Populist era of 1894. EXPLORE BY MEDIABook Reviews Photographs Video Biographies New Publications Resource Guides County Newspaper HistoriesEXPLORE BY TOPICLand & Natural Resources Government & Law Agriculture Mining Commerce & Industry Transportation People & Places Communication Healthcare & Medicine Education & Libraries Cultural Communities Recreation & Entertainment Tourism ReligionEXPLORE BY CULTUREHispanic Native AmericanKatherine Lee Bates wrote the lyrics of America the Beautiful after an awe-inspiring trip to the top of Pikes Peak in 1893.
Commander of Western Forts: The Life and Times of Major General Henry C. Merriam, 1862-1901 | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library http://coloradowest.staging.auraria.edu/book-review/commander-western-forts-life-and-times-major-general-henry-c-merriam-1862-1901[12/8/2015 9:48:11 AM] Auraria Library 303-556-4587 1100 Lawrence Street Denver, Colorado 80204 In the News Partners & Donations About Us Contact Us Author Ballard, more than any other, has spent countless hours as the leading advocate and spearhead for the continuing historic preservation efforts at Fort Logan in order to preserve General Merriams legacy to Denver, to the citys urban development, and to the state of Colorado. Anyone interested in the history of Colorado during this critically important time in our states development will do well to have this interesting volume in their collection. Reviewer Info: John Monnett, Ph.D., is an award-winning author of several books on Native American, military, and western history as well as a history professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver. He is a recipient of the Wrangler Award from the American Western Heritage Center, the Carl Coke Rister Award, and the Rosenstock Lifetime Achievement Award from Denver Westerners. His latest book, Where a Hundred Soldiers Were Killed: The Struggle for the Powder River Country in 1866 and the Making of the Fetterman Myth (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2008) was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award.