“The Essentials at Fort Adobe”

This drawing is one of three images of horse acrobatics featured in an 1898 Harper’s New Monthly Magazine article, The Essentials at Fort Adobe, written and illustrated by Remington. The Fort Adobe he refers to in the article is actually Fort Robinson, Nebraska, a military post established in 1874, and his title was likely drawn from the adobe barracks that were built in 1887 to house the officers stationed there. In 1885, the Buffalo Soldiers that had served in the Civil War and American Indian Wars were assigned to Fort Robinson, and Remington featured them in the paintings and drawings made to accompany the article. Remington’s account of his time at the Fort mostly records the routine daily drills and boredom of garrison life. The monotony is broken when Remington notices a soldier jump over a horse. He then sees, “a little soldier, who ran with the mincing steps of an athlete toward his horse, and landed standing up on his hind quarters, whereupon he settled down quietly into his saddle.” Other illustrations accompanying this text feature scenes the artist witnessed of “Horse Gymnastics.”

The Essentials at Fort Adobe, Frederic Remington, Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, April 1898, pp. 730-731, halftone, image courtesy of Harper’s Magazine