Texas Mountain Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

A Day at the Fort

Through our partnership with Fort Davis National Historic Site, we welcome you to experience "A Day at the Fort" through bugle calls and photos, starting with "Morning at the Fort."

The below videos will take you through a typical morning at Fort Davis. 

5:50 a.m. Assembly of Trumpeters
The first signal for the soldiers to awake from their blissful slumber, this call historically sounded between 4:45 a.m. and 6:00 a.m., depending on the season. It bears a similarity to the French Cavalry call "La Garde a Vous."

Oh dang 5:30 already! Just seems like I went to bed – but I got to get up before the ol’ Serg starts yelling and gives us extra fatigue duty!!! Ahh…another day.


6:00 a.m. Reveille
Upon the last note of this call, the flag was raised, the morning gun fired and the men all had to assemble for morning roll call. It is the same as a French call which dates from the time of the Crusades.

Better get dressed and get outside for assembly – where’s my brogans? Sully check my uniform. Hat? Check…. Blouse? Check….Shoes? Check….I’m good to go.


6:15 a.m. Stable Call
Soldiers in the cavalry put on their white canvas stable clothing and reported to the stables to feed and groom their mounts. This was historically done right after morning roll call, about 6:15 a.m.

Alright Thunder how’d you sleep, any skunks come through the stable last night? Let’s get you fed so I can feed myself.


6:30 a.m. Breakfast Call (Mess Call)
Breakfast usually consisted of bread and bacon, mush and molasses, or pancakes, and plenty of hot, black coffee. This signal ordinarily sounded between 6:30 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.

Mmmm…Mm.. My favorite part of the day. Sure hope ol’ Snodgrass is on cook detail today – he sure makes a mean pot of coffee that’ll wake you up.

7:00 a.m. Sick Call
Soldiers who were ill reported to the hospital dispensary for examination by the surgeon. Those who were truly sick were given a dose of “quinine and pills” and excused from work for the day. Army surgeons were always watchful for malingerers—those who faked sickness to escape work.

Thank God I’m not one of those guys, I feel good today! Look at Hills over there – he got a terrible case of the “flux” I told him not to drink that water downstream of our camp last week while we were on patrol. But whose going to listen to me just a lowly private.

7:30 a.m. Fatigue Call
Those soldiers assigned to a morning work party reported to their assignments for fresh air and physical exercise. Typical work details included building repair and construction, cleanup of the post grounds, gardening, cutting firewood, and hauling water.

Aw man fatigue duty. The captain wants us to chop some more firewood for the commander’s wife – seems like we just did that yesterday. Better keep my mouth shut before they throw me in Barracks 13 – that’s the guardhouse – taking advice from them latrine lawyers. Then we’re probably goin’ to have to go tend the garden – hope the javelina’s didn’t get in it again.

8:50 a.m. Assembly of Trumpeters and Dress Guard Mounting
This was the first call for “Guard Mount,” or the changing of the 24-hour guard detail.

It’s my time for guard duty already? Got to find my fancy government suit – that’s my dress uniform. Got to wear it for the next 24 hours straight – we work two hours on and two hours off. We only get to sleep sitting up. Maybe there’ll be some action on the post tonight – it was just payday, some of them boys will probably get ahold of that tonsil polish and we have to throw them in the guardhouse.

8:55 a.m. Assembly of Guard Details
Men assigned to guard duty assembled in front of their respective barracks.

Fall in so we can march over to the guardhouse for the Guard Mount ceremony. Your uniform nice and clean – I want you boys looking like the “Sons of Mars”.

9:00 a.m. Adjutant’s Call
The guard details marched to the guard house where the Guard Mount ceremony took place. This historically took place around 8:00 a.m.

OK men welcome to guard duty. It’s extremely dry out there, so we have to especially be on the lookout for fires. Both on the mountain sides and around the quarters. Remember the time the ice machine blew up and caught on fire and burned down part of the old band barracks.


9:15 a.m. Water Call
Cavalry troopers watered their horses.

Go ahead drink it up boy – we got mounted drill practice just as soon as I eat my breakfast too.​

9:55 a.m. Drill Call
Soldiers who were assigned to morning drill assembled.

OK you gravel-pushing, beetle-crushin’, infantry soldiers fall in so we can practice battle tactics. I hope you know your right foot from your left – hand me that “Long Tom” Dupree, your rifle! – you call that clean!

10:00 a.m. Assembly
Soldiers practiced battle formations and marching. New recruits learned more basic skills.

All right men looking better – you were all in step - you might just make soldiers yet.

11:00 a.m. Recall from Drill
Morning work parties ceased at the sound of this call.

Finally, a break from all that wood choppin’ – where’s that water barrel – I’m going to find me some shade somewhere.

11:30 a.m. Recall from Fatigue
Morning drill ceased.

Man, I’m glad that’s over. The sergeant worked us twice as hard today – says he’s preparing us for a 60 mile march. I’ve got to get some new brogans – these are two sizes too small and wearing big ol’ blisters on my feet. Better get my dog tent ready.

Many thanks to our friends at Fort Davis National Historic Site for their enthusiasm and assistance on this project!

Return to Our Stories