Farther along US-190, 17 miles west of Menard then another 6 miles south on Hwy-864, Fort McKavett (325/396-2358, daily, $4 adults) was called the “prettiest post in Texas” by Civil War General William Sherman. Established in 1852 as the “Camp on the San Saba,” Fort McKavett served as a first line of defense against Comanche raids along the Texas frontier and provided protection for travelers along the Upper San Antonio-El Paso Trail. Temporarily abandoned in 1859, the post was reestablished in 1868 after local residents lobbied for Army protection. All four of the Army’s African-American units, whose ranks came to be known as “Buffalo Soldiers” by the indigenous people, eventually served at McKavett, including the famous 9th and 10th Cavalries. Twenty-one of the original 40 buildings have been restored, including the officers’ quarters, barracks, hospital, school, bakery, and post headquarters. The hospital ward serves as a visitors center and contains interpretive exhibits explaining the natural and military history of the area. A nature trail, passing through pastures of spring wildflowers, leads to a shady dell around the clear waters of Government Springs.