A major period of westward expansion took place in the United States during the first half of the 19th century. Fur trading, the coast-to-coast railroad, the California gold rush and the removal of Native American tribes both facilitated and encouraged America's "manifest destiny" to become a transcontinental nation. The task of protecting the settlers from the tribes that inhabited the Great Plains fell to the US Army, and to do this an extensive network of permanent forts was created via construction and acquisition. This title examines why the forts were built, as well as their design, defensive features and the role they played in the settlement of the American West. The daily lives of the garrison soldiers and fort inhabitants are also covered, together with the fighting witnessed at key sites.
About the Author
Ron Field was born in 1943. A history teacher for over 30 years, he was awarded the Fulbright Scholarship in 1982 and taught at Piedmont High School in California from 1982–83. He has traveled extensively in the United States conducting research at numerous libraries, archives and museums and has written numerous books on 19th-century American history.