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Historic Era

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Military History New Mexico — US Forts and Garrisons

Presidios   Forts    Battles    Treaties    Routes and Locations   Background


November 16, 1821 — Sante Fe Trail from Independence Mo. to Sante Fe begins.

 

William Becknell arrived  in Sante Fe under forced escort by Mexican troops. New Mexicans, (newly independent from Spain) quickly purchase all of his goods, which he had brought to trade with the Indians.

 

At first an international trade route between the United States and Mexico, the Sante Fe Trail served as the 1846 U.S. invasion route of New Mexico during the Mexican-American War.

 

Even before New Mexico became United States territory after the U.S.- Mexican War, the army established garrisons in towns scattered along the Rio Grande to protect the area's inhabitants and travel routes.

map of historic NM forts

Edwin V. Sumner

 

This method of deployment did not work, and in April 1851, Lieutenant Colonel Edwin V. Sumner, commanding Military Department No. 9 (which included New Mexico Territory), was ordered "to revise the whole system of defense" for the entire territory.

 

Among his first acts was to break up the scattered garrisons and relocate them in posts closer to the Indians. He also moved his headquarters and supply depot from Santa Fe, to a site near the Mountain and Cimarron branches of the Santa Fe Trail, where he established Fort Union.

 

He said he wanted to, "break up the post at Santa Fe, that sink of vice and extravagance, and to remove the troops and public property to this place (Fort Union). I left one company of Artillery there... These evils are so great that I do not expect to eradicate them entirely until I can bring the troops together in considerable bodies..."(Frazer 1963:xvi-xvii)


 

 

Established Closed Location

Post of Albuquerque  

1846 1867  

A Federal garrison post and quartermaster depot in rented adobe buildings. Became department headquarters in 1852. Captured by the Confederates in 1862, with a gun battery set up in the town square (plaza).

 

Las Vegas Post

1846 1851 Las Vegas
Garrisoned by MO and IL Volunteers until 1848, then became U.S. Military Headquarters in the territory until Fort Union was established. The post quarters were rented .

Ojo del Oso

1846 Ojo del Oso
Site of Bear Springs Treaty with the Navajo

 

Camp La Hoya

1846 - intermittent 1864  
A Dragoon post located in the "Jornada del Muerto" to protect a river crossing. Later occupied by CA Volunteers.

 

Fort Wingate I

November 1846 San Rafael
Fort Wingate originally was established as a military outpost in 1849 at Seboyeta. The military then moved it near Ojo del Gallo to a Hispanic community now known as San Rafael.

 

San Isidoro Post  

1849 1850 San Isidoro

 A temporary Federal post located two miles north of Las Cruces.

 

Post of Socorro

1849 - 1851, 1863, 1877 - 1881 Socorro
 Initially a Dragoon post in rented quarters. The town was later occupied several times.

 

Doña Ana Post

1849, 1855 - 1856, 1861  Doña Ana

A Federal garrison post to protect the river crossing and railroad surveyors in 1855. Confederates established a hospital here at the beginning of their New Mexico campaign.

 

Fort Marcy

August 23, 1846 1894 Santa Fe

August 23, 1846 — Work is started on Fort Marcy, located on a promontory 700 yards north of the Santa Fe Plaza. From the fort the entire city is within cannon range. Fort Marcy, in Santa Fe, New Mexico was the first American fort in the state. It was also referred to as Post at Santa Fe. It was used during the Mexican–American War and the American Civil War. Gen. Stephen W. Kearny built Fort Marcy in 1846 northeast of the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe. Fort Marcy was an earthwork with an adobe blockhouse, a dry-moat, and mounted 13 guns. The reservation then covered about 17 acres and had quarters for one company as well as buildings for the district headquarters. Most buildings were adobe. The post was briefly abandoned when the Confederates invaded New Mexico in 1862. It was reoccupied by NM volunteers soon after. The post was ordered abandoned in 1867 but somehow the military forgot this and when a relief garrison was sent in 1875, the commander reported that there was no post at Fort Marcy. The government then re-established the fort. It was finally abandoned in 1894.. (Headquarters Military Division of the Missouri 1969 [1876]:167, 169; Fugate and Fugate 1989:122–123; Julyan 1996:134).

Gen. Stephen W. Kearny

An artist's rendering of Gen. Stephen W. Kearny. (Museum of New Mexico Negative No. 9938)

 

Camp at Fernando de Taos

1847 Taos

Originally called Camp at Fernando de Taos in 1847 when Missouri Volunteers occupied rented adobe buildings.

 

Post of Taos  

1848 1861 Taos

A Federal garrison was established here in 1848 after the Mexican-American War. Originally called Camp at Fernando de Taos

 

Camp Tome

1848 Tome

A temporary Army tent camp.

 

Alexander Barclay's Fort

1849 1854 Watrous

A civilian two-story adobe trading post with two circular bastions, enclosed by a 64-foot square palisade, located along the Mora River. Also known as Fort Barclay. Sold in 1853. A flood around 1900 carried away the remains.

 

Post at Abiquiu  

1849 1851 Abiquiu

A temporary station using rented adobe buildings in the town.

 

Jemez Post

1849 Jemez Pueblo

A temporary Army post.

 

Post at Ceboletta

1850 - 1851 Cebolleta

A Dragoon post. Spelling variations include Cebolleta, Cibolleta, Sebolleta, Seboyeta, Seyboyeta. This area was the site of Spanish and Mexican military posts. It is at the foot of Mt. Taylor.

 

Rayado Post

1850 - 1851, 1854 Rayado

A Dragoon post south of Cimarron on the Santa Fe Trail. The post initially consisted of rented quarters at the mansion of Lucien Maxwell. The town was re-garrisoned in 1854. The Kit Carson Museum is here.

Camp Tecolate

1850 - 1860 south of Romeroville

A foraging camp for Fort Union

Fort Union

July 26, 1851 24 miles northeast of Las Vegas

Fort Union was established in 1851 by Lieutenant Colonel Edwin V. Sumner to protect the Santa Fe Trail. Served as headquarters for the Northern Military District of New Mexico During it's forty-year history, three different forts were constructed close together. The third and final Fort Union was the largest in the American Southwest, and functioned as a military garrison, territorial arsenal, and military supply depot for the southwest. . The reservation covered 53 square miles and about 500 acres. In the 1870s the post could accommodate 4 companies and 350 animals.

 

Fort Defiance

1851 - 1861, 1863 1864 near Window Rock, Arizona

The Army first used the site at the mouth of Canyon Bonito on the west-side of Black Creek in the New Mexico Territory (near the border of what would become Arizona) as a base of operations in 1851. By 1852 the fort had a number of log, sod and adobe structures built around a parade ground. For ten years the post housed elements of several regiments while they engaged in campaigns against the Navajo and Apache. Captain Electrus Backus built the fort on good grazing land highly prized by the Navajo. The area had been used as a site for horse racing. In a horse race between the soldiers and the Navajo in 1856, the Navajos claimed the soldiers had cheated. A disturbance followed and the soldiers opened fire, killing about 30 Navajos. This initiated a new wave of military conflict from 1856 to 1863. In April 1860, Fort Defiance was attacked by approximately 2,000 Navajos. They were driven off by a garrison of 150 soldiers of the First U.S. Infantry under Captain O.L. Shepherd. One soldier was killed and 3 other soldiers wounded. Ar least 20 Navajo were killed.   In 1860 Companies B, C, and E of the 3d Infantry successfully defended the fort against a Navajo attack. The army abandoned the fort at the beginning of the Civil War in 1861.

Kit Carson

 

 

The fort was briefly reoccupied by New Mexico Volunteers during Kit Carson's genocidal campaign against the Navajo. The fort was renamed Fort Canby after the successful Union commander of the battle of Valverde.

 

A military portrait of Kit Carson taken in St. Louis, Mo., in December 1864. (Photographer unknown, Museum of New Mexico Negative No. 58388)

 

Laguna Post

1851 - 1852  Laguna

A temporary Dragoon post that replaced Ceboletta Post. Transferred to Fort Defiance, Arizona.

Fort Conrad

1851 1854

Colonel Sumner established Fort Conrad in 1851, 35 miles south of Socorro, on the west bank of the Rio Grande. Although designed to protect the lower Rio Grande Valley, it later became primarily a hay camp for Fort Fort Craig. This badly situated, poorly constructed fort existed only three years. In 1854 Fort Conrad was abandoned and the troops were moved 9 miles south to Fort Craig (Julyan 1996:133–134).

Fort Fillmore

September1851 near Mesilla

Fort Fillmore was a fortification established in September 23, 1851 by LtCol Dixon S. Miles, 3rd United States Infantry near Mesilla Named after President Millard Fillmore. Located on the left bank of the Rio Grande, six miles south of Mesilla, the fort was intended to protect travelers. The Upper and Lower Emigrant Trails converged in El Paso and the Butterfield, Pacific and Overland Trails, passed through the area. Fort Fillmore fell in 1861 to Confederate soldiers under the command of Lt. Colonel John Baylor which helped solidified the Arizona Territory of the Confederate States of America which had been formed earlier that year in nearby Mesilla. Fort Fillmore was abandoned by the Confederates soon after and no attempt appears to have been made by the Union to reoccupy it. The fort was officially closed by the Union in October of 1862.

Cantonment Dawson

April 1851

The U.S.–Mexican Boundary Commission occupied an old private fort built by Francisco Elguea in 1804 to protect the Santa Rita copper mines. The Commission called the post Cantonment Dawson.

Fort Webster

October 1851-1853 1859

Fort Webster was established in 1851 to control the Apaches and to protect the U.S.–Mexican Boundary Commission. When the U.S. Army occupied Cantonment Dawson in October, they renamed it Fort Webster. In 1852 the military moved the post to the Mimbres River (Julyan 1996:137). An early 1852 observer described the men at the post “frightened out of their wits” after encounters with the "Chihennes". The men had barricaded the fort with “old wagons, logs, barrels, rocks, and other articles…making it almost impossible to get to it” (Sweeney 1998:249). In December 1852 Indian Agent Edward H. Wingfield found half the soldiers living in tents and the rest cramped in log and mud buildings (Sweeney 1998:268). The troops transferred to Fort Thorn after Fort Webster was abandoned in 1853 (Julyan 1996:137).

 

Garrison Los Lunas

1851 1860

In 1851 Colonel Sumner ordered Capt. Richard S. Ewell, 1st Dragoons, to establish a post on the Rio Grande at either Sabinal or Los Lunas. Ewell was to select the site with the better winter quarters and with reasonably priced forage. Ewell chose Los Lunas, where he rented quarters and land. The post, never officially a fort, was garrisoned until 1860 (Julyan 1996:134).

 

Post at Galisteo  

1851 1858 Galisteo

An Army horse and mule grazing camp until 1852, then used by Dragoons.

 

Cantonment Burgwin

1852 1860 10 miles south of Taos

Never officially designated a fort, this post was built to protect the Taos Valley from Utes and Jicarilla Apaches. It was named for Captain John H. K. Burgwin, who was killed in the Taos uprising of 1847. It was abandoned in 1860 and is now the site of the Fort Burgwin Research Center.

 

Camp Los Lunas

1852, 1859 - 1860 1862 Los Lunas

A Dragoon post prior to the Civil War. Also known as Post of Los Lunas . Abandoned and reoccupied several times.

 

Camp Vigilance

1852 - 1853 near Albuquerque

A temporary Federal encampment.

 

Fort Thorn

1853 1859 near Hatch

Originally called Cantonment Garland, Fort Thorn was established Christmas Eve 1853 by Captain Israel Richardson, 3rd U.S. Infantry on the right bank of the Rio Grande at Santa Barbara. The nearby town of Hatch was named after Fort Thorn’s commander, Gen. Edward Hatch. Served to protect settlers and travelers against Apaches and outlaws, the post’s location proved unhealthy. Michael Steck continued to maintain the Apache agency there, however, after the military abandoned the post in March 1859, Named for 1st Lt Herman Thorn of the 2nd U.S. Infantry drowned in the Colorado River. Briefly occupied by Confederate troops during their invasion (Sweeney 1992:12–13).

 

Fort Bliss

January 1854

A military post was established at Magoffinsville in January 1854, with four companies of the 8th Infantry. In March this post, housed in buildings owned by James Magoffin, was named Fort Bliss (Timmons 1990:131).

 

Fort Craig

April 1, 1854 1885 4 miles south of San Marcial.

Fort Craig. Fort Craig was built on the west bank of the Rio Grande del Norte, at the north end of the Jornada del Muerto, about four miles south of the present site of San Marcial. Construction began in late 1853, and troops from Fort Conrad moved there early the next year. Named for Lt Col Louis S. Craig of the 3rd United States Infantry, 1st U.S. Dragoons, who was shot and killed by two deserters he was trying to apprehend in California on June 6, 1852. Two companies were stationed at the fort mainly to protect travelers through the Jornada del Muerto, and they also patrolled an area west of the Rio Grande. The reservation was about 38 square miles. The post also had a government ferry, about six miles below the post (Headquarters Military Division of the Missouri 1969 [1876]:150; Billington 1991:203; Noble 1994:239; Fugate and Fugate 1989:60–61; Julyan 1996:134). Fort Craig was one of the largest forts constructed in the West and it played a crucial role in Indian campaigns and the Civil War. It was from here that New Mexican Volunteers and U.S. Regulars marched to face the Confederates at Valverde. Completed in 1854, the primary function of the fort was to control Apache and Navajo raiding and to protect the central portion of the Camino Real. The Camino Real was the passageway from northern Mexico to Taos, 70 miles north of Santa Fe, NM. Disestablished March 3, 1885.

 

Post at Santa Tomas de Iturbide

1854 - 1855 north of San Miguel

A temporary Federal post

 

Camp Magoffin

1854, 1863 - 1865 near Alto

A Federal post located west of town in what is now the White Mountain Wilderness Reserve.

 

Camp near Guadalupe Mountains

1855 near Carlsbad

A Federal encampment southwest of Carlsbad

 

Fort Stanton

1855 1896 Southeast of Capitan

Fort established in 1855 built originally on the Rio Bonito in the Sacramento Mountains to control the Mescalero and White Mountain Apaches. The fort was named for Capt. Henry W. Stanton, killed by Indians in January 1855 (Headquarters Military Division of the Missouri 1969 [1876]:150; Julyan 1996:135). The fort was abandoned in 1861 and reestablished in 1868. The reservation was 144 square miles in 1859 but was reduced in 1872 to 16 square miles, in an area 8 miles long and 1 mile from each bank of the Río Bonito. The quarters in the 1870s could accommodate 200 men. Most structures were stone with shingle roofs, while the bakery, laundress’s quarters, and other ancillary structures were adobe. In the 1870s wagon roads led to Santa Fe, Las Vegas, Fort Union, Fort Selden, San Augustín Pass, Fort Bliss, and Las Cruces. Fort Stanton was finally deactivated in 1896. In 1899 it became a military hospital, and the post was turned over the to state for a public hospital and school in 1953. (Headquarters Military Division of the Missouri 1969 [1876]:150, 155; Fugate and Fugate 1989:312–313; Wilson et al. 1989:80; Julyan 1996:135).

 

Camp Casa Colorado

1855 near Belen

A Federal encampment. Located about five miles southeast of town.

 

Pecos River Post

1856 - 1860, 1868 near Malaga

A Federal post on the Pecos River just north of the Texas border. Also known as Camp at Capt. Pope's Well . Known as Camp Pope in 1868.

 

Camp Blake

1856  Salem

A Dragoon grazing camp located three miles north of Fort Thorn.

 

Gila Depot

1857, 1863 near Cliff

A supply base during the Bonneville Expedition, located about three miles south of town. Also called Depot on the Rio Gila , Rio Gila Depot , and Camp on the Rio Gila . In 1863 the site was occupied by CA Volunteers prior to the establishment of Fort West five miles northwest.

 

Camp Robbero

1857 near Hatch

A Federal encampment near Fort Thorn.

 

Camp Bear Spring

1858 near Gila

A Federal encampment Located about 25 miles northwest of Silver City.

 

Camp Comfort

1858 - 1859 White Sands

A temporary Federal post to watch over the Apache.

 

Camp Sierra

1858, 1861 Gallinas

A temporary Federal encampment originally called Camp Gallina . The site was briefly occupied by the CSA.

 

Camp in Chusco Valley

1858 near Mexican Springs

A temporary Army field camp. Also spelled Chuska .

 

Camp Tuni-Cha

1858 near Newcomb

A temporary Army outpost in the Tuni-Cha Valley.

 

Camp Loring

1858 - 1861 near Questa ?

An encampment located on the Red River.

 

Post at Beck's Ranch  

1859 - 1860 near Santa Rosa

A temporary military outpost located two miles northeast of town.

 

Camp at Hatch's Ranch

1859 1864  near Dilia

Leased by the Army as a supply stop from Fort Union. Located 12 miles northeast of town on the west-bank of the Gallinas River. The main house (115 x 288 feet) was adobe surrounded by a 10-foot high adobe wall. Remains located on private property.

 

Camp Ojo Caliente

1859

Camp Ojo Caliente, established in 1859 on the Alamosa River near the San Mateo Mountains, was never officially a fort. It was an advance picket post for Fort Craig established to control the Navajos (Billington 1991:204)

 

Fort Fontleroy

August 31, 1860 1862  

Bear Springs (Ojo del Oso)

 

Fort Butler

1860 near Conchas

A Federal post located 12 miles from Fort Bascom on the Canadian River. Possibly never built. (info provided by Marshall Sitrin)

 

Fort McLane

September 16, 1860 1861 15 miles south of the Santa Rita Copper mines at Apache Tejo, south of the town of Hurley

Established September 16,1860 by Major Isaac Lynde, 7th U.S. Infantry. Named after Captain George McLane of the Mounted Riflemen killed in action against the Navajo on October 13, 1860. This fort was abandoned on July 3, 1861 because of the Confederate invasion and the garrison moved to Fort Fillmore. Fort McLane, located four miles south of present-day Hurley, was only a few log buildings. When it was abandoned in 1861, the troops moved to Fort Fillmore. Mangas Coloradas was killed here in 1863. Nothing marks the site (Fugate and Fugate 1989:427– 428; Julyan 1996:134–135).

 

Fort Lyon

1862 1868 Bear Springs (Ojo del Oso)

Established August 31, 1860 by Captain William Chapman, 5th U.S. Infantry. Named for Col. Thomas Fauntleroy, 1st U.S. Dragoons who joined the Confederacy. The fort was then named Fort Lyon on September 25, 1861 for BrigGen. Nathaniel Lyon killed at Wilson's Creek, Missouri on August 10, 1861. Evacuated by Union forces upon the Confederate invasion of New Mexico. The fort was still referred to as Fauntleroy in all official dispatches.

 

Fort Sumner

1862 De Baca County

On October 31, 1862, Congress authorized the creation of Fort Sumner. General James Henry Carleton initially justified the fort as offering protection to settlers in the Pecos River valley from the Mescalero, Kiowa and Comanche. He also created the Bosque Redondo reservation, a 40 square mile area where over 8,500 Navajo were interred.

 

Fort Cummings

October 2, 1863 (Deming) Luna County, New Mexico

Established on October 2, 1863 by Captain Valentine Dresher,Company B, 1st Infantry, California Volunteers, (under orders from Gen. James H. Carleton) at Cooke's Spring, along the stage route in Cook’s Canyon. The location was about 20 miles northeast of present-day Deming, New Mexico. Ruins of the fort are off State Highway 26 about 7 miles from the Florida, New Mexico, Siding of the railroad.    The fort is 53 miles west of the Rio Grande and 20 east of the Río Mimbres, the nearest water after leaving the fort. The reservation was only two miles square, and its adobe buildings accommodated one company. Fort Cummings was abandoned in 1873 but reopened in 1880. Its final abandonment was in November 1891 (Headquarters Military Division of the Missouri 1969 [1876]:161, 164; Fugate and Fugate 1989:406–408; Julyan 1996:134; Hartley 2000:6–7).

 

Los Pinos Depot

1862 1866 Peralta

A Federal quartermaster depot and remount station occupying rented quarters. Originally known as Camp at Peralta , or Camp Peralta.

 

Paraje Post

1862 Paraje

A Union 45-man garrison post. Attacked by the CSA in 1862.

 

Post at Cubero

1862  Cubero

A small temporary garrison of NM Volunteers guarding stores of ordnance, later captured by the CSA.

 

Camp in Cañon Largo

1863 Ancon

A temporary NM Volunteer post located 20 miles southeast of Fort Union where the Mora and Canadian Rivers meet in San Miguel County.

 

Camp Anton Chico

1863 - 1864 Anton Chico

A temporary post garrisoned by CA Volunteers.

 

Fort Bascom

1863 1870 12 miles north/west of Tucumcari

Fort Bascom is located in New Mexico on the Canadian River slightly west of the Texas border. It was one of a series of forts established by General James Henry Carleton to control the Comanches and Kiowas who ranged over the Staked Plains of Texas and parts of the Rio Grande River. It also was to stop trade of stolen goods by the "Comancheros". Kit Carson engaged the Comanches and Kiowas in the First Battle of Adobe Walls in the heart of the Texas Panhandle. The post was closed in 1870 and the troops transferred to Fort Union. Col. Ranald S. Mackenzie used Fort Bascom as a supply base during his campaign against the Comanches. (Fugate and Fugate 1989:354–356; Julyan 1996:133).

 

Fort McRae

1863 1876 Ojo del Muerto

Fort McRae was built in 1863 to protect travelers on the Jornada del Muerto and to oversee the ford over the Rio Grande to the Palomas hot springs. It is at the Ojo del Muerto, which provided the only water (except in rainy seasons) between Fort Selden and Paraje, a "90-mile stretch". The fort is 3 miles west of the Rio Grande, 7 miles from Alamosa, 18 miles from Alemán, and 43 miles from Ojo Caliente. The reservation was 4 miles square, as was that of Fort Selden, but the fort had quarters for only one company. All buildings were of adobe. Wagon roads ran from Fort McRae to Forts Craig and Selden. Decommissioned in 1876, the post remained open until 1884 for travelers to use. Its ruins are at the edge of Elephant Butte Reservoir. Sometimes apparently erroneously spelled “McRea,” the official 1876 report spells the fort’s name “McRae” (Headquarters Military Division of the Missouri 1969 [1876]:155, 158; Fugate and Fugate 1989:53; Julyan 1996:135).

 

Fort West

1863 1864 northwest of Silver City

Gen. Joseph West established Fort West in 1863 to protect the miners at Pinos Altos. Julyan (1996) claims the Indians burned the post when the troops left a year later, but the Fugates (1989) say many of the post’s buildings were salvaged to build a nearby ranch headquarters (Fugate and Fugate 1989:451–452; Julyan 1996:137).

 

Fort Selden

1865 1891 Radium Springs, New Mexico

Fort Selden was established in 1865 in an effort to bring peace to the south central region of present day New Mexico. Built on the banks of the Rio Grande, this adobe fort housed units of the U.S. Infantry and Cavalry. Their intent was to protect settlers and travelers in the Mesilla Valley from desperados and Apache Indians. Several of the units stationed at the fort were black troopers, referred to as Buffalo Soldiers. A young Douglas Mac Arthur called the fort home while his father was post commander in the late 1880s.

 

 

Fort Bayard

1866 1900

One of the several posts created on the Apache frontier, Fort Bayard protected the Pinos Altos mining district. Fort Bayard was established in 1866 in a small valley near the Santa Rita Mountains to protect miners and prospectors in the Pinos Altos area. The reservation covered 15 square miles and 520 acres. The post had quarters for 4 companies, with structures of adobe and logs built by the troops, except the officers’ quarters were built by contract. The magazine and bakery were built of stone. The fort was an important base during campaigns against Mangas Coloradas, Victorio, and Geronimo. The post, located 10 miles east of present-day Silver City, was active until 1900. Company B of the black 125th Infantry served here, as did Lt. John J. Pershing. In 1900 the fort became a military hospital, and today serves as Fort Bayard Medical Center.It s used by the New Mexico Department of Public Welfare. (Headquarters Military Division of the Missouri 1969 [1876]:158, 161; Fugate and Fugate 1989:428–429; Julyan 1996:133).

 

Fort Lowell

1866 1869 near Tierra Amarilla

Located on the Rio Chama southwest of town. Originally named Camp Plummer until 1868. Became an Indian agency in 1872 for the Ute and Apache and consolidated with the Pueblo Agency in 1878. The Indian Agency was discontinued in 1881.

 

Fort Wingate II

1868 Bear Springs (Ojo del Oso)

Fort Lyon was renamed Fort Wingate after the abandonment of an army post of that name located 60 miles away in San Rafael, New Mexico. It was named for Maj. Benjamin Wingate, 5th U.S. Infantry, who received wounds to his legs during the Battle of Valverde. The site is on the south side of a small valley at the headwaters of the Río Puerco of the West, near Ojo del Oso (Bear Spring). The reservation was 100 square miles, and the post accommodated four companies. Structures were of pine lumber and adobe. Unusual to the New Mexico forts, timber and good quality building stone were abundant and the valleys provided well-watered soil for farming. Active much longer than most frontier forts, the post was used for munitions storage from 1918 until it closed in 1992 (Headquarters Military Division of the Missouri 1969 [1876]:146, 150; Fugate and Fugate 1989:371– 300). In 1914 about 4000 Mexican troops and civilians that fled Mexico during the Pancho Villa War were temporarily housed here. In 1925 a portion of the post was used as a school for Navajo Indians. The Wingate Ordnance Depot was established here in 1918. Renamed Fort Wingate Ordnance Depot in 1960, and Fort Wingate Army Depot in 1962

 

Fort Defiance Indian Agency

1868

With the signing of the Navajo Treaty of 1868 at Fort Sumner, which allowed the Navajos to return to their own country, Fort Defiance was selected as the site of the Agency. The old buildings were repaired and Major Theodore Dodd, called by the Navajos, Na’azisí Yázhí (Little Gopher), became the civil agent. Upon his death shortly after, Captain Frank T. Bennett, whom the Navajos called Chaatsohí (Big Belly), succeeded him. In the fall of 1869, Bennett issued the sheep and goats stipulated in the Navajo Treaty of 1868 to the Navajo bands. Over 13,000 ewes and 300 rams, purchased from Vicente Romero, a large operator in the vicinity of` Fort Union, New Mexico, as well as 900 female and 100 male goats, were distributed and formed the basis of the present Navajo herds (Lapahie 2006).

 

Fort Tularosa

1870 1874 Catron County

Fort Tularosa which was built in 1870 to protect the Apache Indian Agency from the Ojo Caliente Band of Apaches. But the Apaches fled and the agency was moved to Horse Springs. The fort was abandoned in 1874. The fort was rebuilt in 1880 by Buffalo Soldiers led by Sergeant George Jordan. Jordan eventually received the Medal of Honor for leading 25 men to repulse a force of more than 100 Indians in the Battle of Tularosa.

 

Camp Luna

1904 near Las Vegas

  A NM National Guard summer training area, known under several different names until 1929. Federalized in 1942 for WWII training. Post-war status undetermined.

200th Coast Artillery
These soldiers in the 200th Coast Artillery line up for chow while in training at Camp Luna near Las Vegas, N.M., in 1940. The following year, this unit was sent to the Philippines, where it took part in the unsuccessful defense of Bataan and Corregidor. Some of the men were killed in action, while many more died in the horrific Bataan Death March and ensuing captivity. Only a handful of the original dispatch survived the inhumane wartime atrocities committed by the Japanese military. (Photographer unknown, New Mexico Magazine Archival Collection).


 

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