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Determining the Facts

Reading 2: Captain Lafferty's Report

On November 12, 1919, Acting Morale Officer Captain F. R. Lafferty, stationed at Lajitas, Texas, reported that the troops of his command were split into three detachments: Lajitas, Terlingua, and Santa Helena. He went on to say:

There is little opportunity for amusement for these men--there is nothing but a small Mexican settlement at Terlingua, and La Jitas [Lajitas] and nothing at all at Santa Helena. This station is located at a point over one hundred miles from the nearest railroad and the men rarely leave here except under exceptional circumstances.

A football team has been organized between the Infantry and Cavalry detachments here. An effort has been made to enthuse the Infantry in riding but they do not take kindly to the idea of riding.

A camp is being established in the Chisos Mountains about fifty miles from here where it is proposed to send detachments from time to time and allow them to hunt.

An effort has been made to get a moving picture here but none have been shown here for months. One method I have adopted to keep up the spirits of the men is to feed them in the best possible manner, a difficult problem under the present ration system and method of supply; and to have them change stations frequently.

The old non-commissioned officers seem to be contented here but the younger--the recruits--seem to long for a change of environment occasionally.

Questions for Reading 2

1. What did Captain Lafferty seem to feel was the biggest threat his men faced?

2. What activities were organized to keep the men occupied?

3. Based on what you know about the area, can you think of other activities that might have occupied the soldiers?

4. Do you think you would enjoy this military post? Why or why not?

Reading 2 was excerpted from Clifford B. Casey, "Castolon," unpublished manuscript, 1967, Research Library, Big Bend National Park.

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