Historic Resource Study
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The third Fort Union, constructed near the site of the earthwork during and after the Civil War, was designed as a permanent installation, including the post proper and facilities for the department (later district) quartermaster and commissary depots. In addition, the site of the first fort was assigned to the ordnance depot which became an arsenal. All three institutions, the military post, supply depot, and arsenal, functioned independently. Because of their close proximity, they shared some services, including surgeon and hospital, bakery, fire-fighting equipment, sutler's store, post office, telegraph office, chapel, cemetery, fraternal organizations, and, sometimes, labor force. There were occasional disputes among the commanding officers of those installations, although they usually cooperated for the good of the service.

For purposes of summary and evaluation, the story of the three institutions may be considered separately. The construction of the third post and the supply depot was done virtually as one complex, over a considerable period of time, and is so considered here. The building of the arsenal is included in chapter nine. The post-Civil War military operations of the garrison at Fort Union were part of the continuing role of the army in the Southwest to pacify the region. As that mission was accomplished, the military significance of the post decreased and garrison life became more routine until the troops were no longer needed in the area and the fort was abandoned. During the era following the Civil War, Fort Union was more important to the District of New Mexico as a giant stockpile of provisions and other supplies and a transportation hub than it was as a military stronghold for defense or even a base of operations for a powerful striking force. The troops continued to protect the routes of travel, especially the Santa Fe Trail, and they were frequently dispatched to other theaters to join in campaigns against belligerent Indians and sometimes help settle civilian disputes, but there was virtually no fighting near the post. Throughout most of the postwar era the garrison enjoyed the comforts of a new Fort Union.

The first building of the third post, erected before the earthwork was completed, was a quartermaster storehouse built of adobe bricks in 1862. [1] Although the adobe brick (mud mixed with straw, shaped in a rectangular mold, and dried in the sun) had been used successfully for more than 200 years in the Southwest and was the predominant building material of the Hispanic population of New Mexico, Anglo-American officers who grew up and were trained in the East were slow to adapt its use to military architecture. The officers who designed the first and second posts at Fort Union were certainly aware of adobe construction, but they chose to use other materials, out of ignorance or disdain for foreign customs, with fateful results.

When Captain John C. McFerran, quartermaster department, designed plans for the third Fort Union, as directed by Brigadier General Canby, he specified adobe construction on stone foundations. McFerran's blueprint also called for gable roofs with wooden shingles, a specification later changed to the flat-style roofs typical of the region with the addition of sheet metal covering. That alteration proved to be a fateful decision because the flat roofs failed to protect the fragile adobe walls from precipitation that eventually destroyed them. [2] The territorial style of New Mexican architecture, including cornices of fired bricks atop adobe walls, was also adopted for the structures of the third post. This was a fairly recent practice, begun in Santa Fe and other New Mexico towns during the 1850s, and the new Fort Union was a premier example, but not the originator, of the style. [3] The source of the fired bricks at Fort Union remains unknown. The quartermaster depot established a brick kiln in August 1868. [4] Captain Shoemaker at the ordnance depot had built a kiln in 1860 and produced high quality bricks. [5]

In addition to the new storehouse, a set of quartermaster corrals located northeast of the earthwork were also completed in 1862. The timetable for the new post apparently called for the completion of the supply depot first, during which time the troops could occupy the earthwork, and then the construction of new quarters for officers and troops. Thus, during 1862, work continued on the defenses and the quarters at the earthwork. A new magazine inside the earthwork, to replace the one near the original post, was begun late in 1862. It was partially underground, with plank flooring, and covered with heavy timbers and a mound of earth to make it "bombproof." All labor on the earthwork was provided by troops of the garrison. At the close of 1862, Fort Union was home to 440 troops, 323 of whom were present for duty and extra duty. [6]

third Fort Union and depot
Construction scene at the third Fort Union and depot, date and particular building unknown. U.S. Signal Corps Photo No. 87995, courtesy National Archives.

When Canby approved McFerran's designs for the third Fort Union in August 1862, he also approved McFerran's estimate of funds required to build the post and depot. McFerran calculated that the post would require $25,380 and the supply depot, including storehouses, officers' quarters, offices, shops, and corrals, would take $43,820, making a total for the entire complex of $69,200. [7] McFerran's projections proved far off the mark. Additions to the original plan, including the post hospital, increased the sum needed to complete the project. It was later estimated that the cost of the hospital, completed in the spring of 1865, was $57,000. [8]

In 1867 Captain Henry Inman, depot quartermaster, submitted an estimate for the buildings still under construction or not yet begun to complete the plans for the third fort, including four more sets of officers' quarters ($14,122 each), commanding officer's quarters ($16,900), post quartermaster's office and adjutants office ($14,122 each), a double set of company quarters ($12,113), guard house and cells ($21,912), and corrals, stables, and laundresses' quarters ($163,323), for a total of $298,980. [9] In all, even though an accurate accounting was not given, the third fort and supply depot must have cost at least a half-million dollars.

Despite the disruption of the Civil War, orders were issued to proceed with the new post in the spring of 1863. Captain Nicholas S. Davis, First California Volunteers, who had been appointed to the quartermaster department, was assigned to duty under Captain William Craig, in charge of the quartermaster depot at Fort Union, to oversee "the completion of the New Depot and Post of Fort Union, in accordance with the Approved Plans now in the office of Captain Craig." Captain McFerran, department quartermaster, made it clear to Davis "that this work should be finished as soon as possible." Davis was instructed that "the strictest economy, consistent with a rapid completion of the work, must be observed." [10]

Davis was instructed to use the windows, doors, and "all other material . . . that can be used" from the quarters and storehouses in the fieldwork and the demilunes of the second fort in the construction of the new fort. The buildings at the earthwork were "to be torn down, as the material in them is required in the construction of the new Post." Captain Craig was directed to furnish to Davis "all the necessary mechanics, laborers, tools, transportation, and material, to carry on the work." The fieldwork was not demolished immediately because the depot was erected first, but as the construction of the third fort proceeded portions of the second post were dismantled. Captain Davis was also directed to keep careful accounts of all expenditures, make regular reports through Captain Craig to McFerran, and prepare estimates for funds required for each stage of construction. Finally, Davis was to forward "as soon as possible, an estimate of the zinc or tin, that will be necessary to roof the officers and soldiers quarters and the store-houses." [11]

The plan required several years to complete, but it was steadily pursued throughout that time. In less than three weeks after being assigned to the task, Captain Davis had compiled estimates for the roofs. Brigadier General Carleton immediately forward the projections (amounts not located) to Quartermaster General Meigs, urging approval of tin roofs. Carleton preferred "zinc, but the difference in cost of transportation, as compared with that of tin, is greatly against it." McFerran and Carleton had convinced themselves that "earth roofs want frequent and expensive repairs, and are not secure against the heavy rains." Tin, on the other hand, "will last for a great many years, is secure against water and against fire." [12] The request was approved. The officers were to learn, however, that the joints of tin roofs were difficult to seal, leaked when it rained, caused numerous problems, and required almost constant maintenance by a skilled tinsmith in the long run. The tin may not have been any worse than other types of roofing, but neither was it significantly better. Pitched roofs with wood shingles would have been superior.

The initial design of the new post and depot did not include specifications for a hospital. On June 18, 1863, Carleton appointed a board of officers to select the best site and draft a plan for the new post hospital that would be "the most favorable for the comfort of the patients, and the sanitary condition of the troops." The board, comprised of Surgeons John C. C. Downing, Orlando M. Bryan, and James M. McNulty, and Captains John C. McFerran, P. W. L. Plympton, and Nicholas S. Davis, picked the location and designed the structure that, when completed, was the finest medical facility between Kansas and California. [13]

By the spring of 1864 Captain Davis was serving as depot quartermaster as well as overseeing construction. In May Captain Enos was appointed depot quartermaster, and Davis remained "in charge of the buildings now in course of construction at Depot Fort Union." [14] A short time later, Captain Davis, a member of the California Volunteers, requested release from his construction duties at Fort Union so he could return to his regiment. Carleton praised Davis for his services and granted his desire. [15]

Davis had superintended the erection of three large storehouses for the supply depot. Brigadier General Carleton had planned that the middle building would be assigned to the subsistence department and the other two would house quartermaster stores. When he discovered in June 1864 that quartermaster and commissary supplies were being stored together, he recommended that Department Quartermaster McFerran allot space. "It will be well," Carleton wrote, "so that no cause for collisions, or conflict of opinions arise, to set apart for the exclusive use of the Subsistence Department (which must always have a large supply of stores in depot) a certain share of the rooms which have been made for the public stores." [16] Later, one of the storehouses was assigned to the commissary department. In 1867, according to the depot commissary, two more storehouses were completed. One, farthest north, was designed for the commissary department and included a large cellar under a portion of the building for storing bacon. [17]

It was difficult to hire enough laborers to make adobe bricks for the construction project. At Carleton's suggestion, all civilian prisoners held at Fort Union were detailed, under a guard sufficient to prevent their escape, "to work making adobies for the Public works." [18] Civilian employees were hired to work on construction and to perform many other duties at the supply depot, including herders, teamsters, clerks, and laborers who unloaded, stored, repacked, and loaded out commodities for the department. The total number of civilians employed at the depot at the end of July 1864 was 425 and a month later it was 420. [19] The number of these engaged in construction work cannot be deduced from available sources. At the same time, the post garrison exceeded 700, with approximately 500 available for duty. Some of those troops, exact number unknown, were assigned to work on the new buildings when they were not engaged in other duties.

The Indians of the plains were expected to continue their raids on wagon trains in 1865. During much of that year the garrison at Fort Union provided regular escorts for the mail coaches and, twice each month, for all parties crossing the plains. On the first and fifteenth of each month, beginning March 1, 1865, a company of troops left Fort Union to escort all travelers who desired protection as far as Fort Larned, following the Mountain Route of the Santa Fe Trail on the first and the Cimarron Route on the fifteenth. They were to escort westbound wagon trains on their return march. Brigadier General Carleton provided detailed instructions for these escorts. Every soldier was to have 120 rounds of ammunition, two blankets, and a limited amount of extra clothing. Each escort was admonished to maintain a secure guard for the animals and property under their care. The men "will not only be ready to fight, but will fight any number of hostile Indians they may meet, or who may attack or menace the company or the train by night or by day, in storm or in fair weather." They were warned not to "be off their guard, idle away their time, but will attend to the business for which the Government pays them." Every soldier was required to carry his weapon "all the time." [20]

The Southwestern Defense System After the Civil War. Source: Robert M. Utley, Fort Union National Monument, 35. (click on image for an enlargement in a new window)

Carleton's instructions were repeated, almost verbatim, in the directions issued to each escort at Fort Union. [21] Most of the detachments assigned to escort duty went through without difficulty. On April 17, Captain Henry W. Lauer, First New Mexico Volunteer Infantry, reported that his command, which left Fort Union on March 15 and followed the Cimarron Route, had arrived safely at Fort Larned after being on the trail for 32 days. His company had accompanied 93 wagons, pulled by both mule and ox teams, and had no trouble along the way, had not even seen an Indian. Except for a snowstorm while they were on the Cimarron River, the weather was "pretty fair." The men were reported to be "in good spirits." [22]

By May 1865 so many troops from Fort Union were absent on escort duty that it would be necessary to suspend escorts, after the departure of the one on May 15, until enough troops returned. [23] Along the Mountain Route, Forts Lyon, Aubry, and Dodge could provide assistance to travelers between Forts Union and Larned. On the Cimarron Route, however, there were no installations between Fort Union and Fort Dodge. To provide some assistance, Carleton assigned Colonel Carson and three companies (Companies C [24] and L of his regiment of First New Mexico Volunteer Cavalry and Company F of the First California Volunteer Cavalry) to take supplies from Fort Union and establish the temporary Camp Nichols near Cedar Spring or Cedar Bluffs in the present Oklahoma panhandle. [25] Later, Company H, First New Mexico Volunteer Infantry, was relieved from escort duty to join the troops at Camp Nichols. [26] These troops could "give assistance to trains en route to and from the States." In addition, Carson would be in a position to "talk with some of the chiefs of the Cheyennes, Kioways and Comanches, and impress them with the folly of continuing this bad course." Carleton also suggested to Carson that he have the regimental sutler, Solomon Beuthner, send some supplies to the camp, including "canned fruit which would keep them healthy," to "sell to your soldiers." [27]

Carleton wanted these troops to be well supplied. He directed the commander at Fort Union to see that the horses and equipment, as well as the men, were "put in perfect order." The troops were to be provided with scythes and rakes so they could cut hay for their horses. Each company was to have a large picket line to secure their horses at the camp. A traveling forge was to be provided so a small blacksmith shop could be set up at Camp Nichols. Each company was to have plenty of horse shoes, saddler's tools, extra leather, thread, wax, spades, axes, pickaxes, hatchets, and other equipment they might need to care for their horses and provide shelter for themselves. If possible, Carleton wanted the garrison of Camp Nichols to erect a temporary storehouse, hospital, and ovens. In case they were needed, four mountain howitzers were to be prepared to send to Camp Nichols. [28]

Carleton assured Carson, "I have full faith and confidence in your judgment and in your energy." He then provided a long list of instructions, quoted here to show both the meticulous thoroughness with which Carleton oversaw his department and to provide a better understanding of the story of Camp Nichols, which was basically an outpost of Fort Union.

To have a fine camp, with ovens, a comfortable place for sick; good store rooms; some defences thrown up to prevent surprise; pickets established at good points for observations; hay cut and hauled to feed nights; or in case the Indians crowd you; large and well armed guards under an officer with the public animals when herding; promptness in getting into the saddle and in moving to help the trains; a disposition to move quick—each man with his little bag of flour, a little salt and sugar and coffee, and not hampered by packs; arms and equipments always in order; Tattoo and Reveille roll calls invariably under arms, so that men shall have their arms on the last thing at night and in their hands the first thing in the morning; to have an inspection by the officers at Tattoo and at Reveille of the arms, and to see that the men are ready to fight; never to let this be omitted; to have, if possible, all detachments commanded by an officer, to report progress and events from time to time. These seem to be some of the essential points which of course you will keep in view. [29]

Carleton also reminded Carson of his views on dealing with the Indians. "If the Indians behave themselves, that is all the peace we want; and we shall not molest them." On the other hand, "if they do not we will fight them on sight and to the bitter end." With the end of the Civil War, Carleton believed enough troops could be transferred to the plains to defeat all the Indians in short order if necessary. He wanted Carson to give that message to the Indians. "You know," he declared, "I don't believe much in smoking with Indians. When they fear us, they behave. They must be made to fear us or we can have no lasting peace." Carleton wanted the Indians to understand that they would not be permitted "to stop the commerce of the plains." Carleton, of course, had much confidence in Carson, who had carried out the department commander's plans against other tribes so effectively. [30]

In June Colonel Carson was called to Santa Fe to testify before a congressional committee investigating Indian affairs. Camp Nichols was left in charge of Major Albert H. Pfeiffer, First New Mexico Volunteer Cavalry, when Carson departed. [31] Second Lieutenant Richard D. Russell, who had come to New Mexico as a member of the California Volunteers and later joined the First New Mexico Volunteer Infantry, and his bride, Marion Sloan Russell, were stationed at Camp Nichols. Mrs. Russell, in her memoirs, had fond memories of Carson and of Camp Nichols. She left one of the few descriptions of the camp.

It was surrounded by rock walls and a deep ditch or moat. [32] Inside the rock walls the houses were half-dugouts four feet under ground and four foot rock walls above ground. The only two-roomed house was used as a hospital. Mounted howitzers were placed along the walls. There were stone rooms outside the rock walls along the south side for the officers. A flag pole was placed near the entrance. [33]

Marion Russell recalled that the soldiers lived in tents at Camp Nichols until the quarters were finished. During a thunderstorm, Colonel Carson's tent blew down upon him. She remembered Carson's "roar of rage" and how her husband "had to call out the Corporal of the guards to get the Colonel extricated." She noted that Carson's health seemed impaired at the time and believed he was then suffering from the disease that claimed his life three years later. She also remembered Carson's devotion to duty and his vigilance at the camp. He sent ten scouts out each morning to watch for Indians, and they returned each evening. Some days Carson rode with them. Pickets were placed away from the post each day, to warn the camp if Indians approached, and "sentinels were placed at strategic places along the trail." If necessary, escorts were provided for wagon trains. Guards protected the post day and night. Marion Russell apparently felt quite safe. [34]

Her affection for Kit Carson, whom she had known since she was a child (he had ever since called her his "Little Maid Marian"), was expressed in her recollection of his departure from Camp Nichols.

One morning the Colonel came leading his big black horse by the bridle. "Little Maid Marian," he said, "I have come to say Good-bye." His last words to me as he rode away were, "Now remember the Injuns will git ye if you don't watch out." I watched him as he rode away. The picket on the western lookout arose as he passed and saluted. The black horse mingled with mirage on the horizon and thus it was that Kit Carson rode out of my life forever. I was destined never to see his face again. [35]

When Carson died two years later, Marion felt a great loss and her bond to the famous frontiersman persisted to the end of her days. "I have never been able to think of Colonel Carson as dead," she recounted. "Kit Carson, the Happy Warrior, gone to his rest? Along the old Santa Fe Trail there are stone walls his hands had built. In the forest are chips left by his axe. I never think of Colonel Carson as a bundle of dust in Taos cemetery." In her ethereal conception, "he is hawk wings against a western sky; a living soul launched out upon a sea of light." [36]

Mrs. Russell also enjoyed Major Pfeiffer, who succeeded Carson as commanding officer at Camp Nichols. He had been injured and his wife had been killed by Indians a few years before. He gave Marion riding lessons while husband Richard was away on escort duty. Richard Russell was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant while he served at Camp Nichols. [37] By late summer 1865, when plans were formulated to seek peace agreements with the plains tribes, orders were issued to abandon Camp Nichols on November 1 and return the troops and supplies to Fort Union. Major Pfeiffer was directed, "Do not let your camp be destroyed. It may be reoccupied next spring." [38] A few days later, Carleton concluded there was no need to keep troops at Camp Nichols until November 1 and ordered them to return to Fort Union "at once." [39] When the garrison rode away, Marion Russell reminisced, "inside the stockade we left a great stack of hay and another one outside. The flag of the Union we left flying from the tall flag pole. On its base we posted a notice warning all persons against destroying Federal property. This was the official end of Camp Nickols." [40] There was apparently only one death (cause unknown) among the troops at Camp Nichols, Private A. Baranca, First New Mexico Volunteer Cavalry. [41]

In July 1865, when Brigadier General James H. Ford, Second Colorado Volunteers and commander of the District of Upper Arkansas, headquarters at Fort Larned, Kansas, requested cooperation from troops in New Mexico in a campaign against plains Indians who were harassing travelers on the Santa Fe Trail, Carleton refused. Carleton believed the best use of troops through the summer would be direct protection of the wagon trains. The campaign against the tribes, in his opinion, should wait until winter, when "the Indians being then in known haunts with their families can be more readily attacked; and without the danger, as now, of their dodging the troops, and, while the latter are off the road, of their pouncing upon the trains left unguarded." [42]

In addition to providing protection for the routes across the plains, Fort Union troops were occasionally called out to investigate reports of Indian raids on livestock herds. On June 2, 1865, two herders were killed and livestock belonging to Alexander Valle and Donaciano Vigil was stolen somewhere between Tecolote and the Pecos River by a party believed to be Jicarilla Apaches led by Jose Largo. Troops were dispatched from Fort Union the following day to pursue the Indians and, if possible, recover the stock. The initial instructions specified that cavalry troops were to comprise part of the detachment, but all the cavalrymen were engaged in escort duty on the Santa Fe Trail and infantrymen were sent after the Jicarillas. [43] Troops from Fort Union were also alerted to keep watch for Navajos who escaped from their reservation near Fort Sumner in June. Most of the Navajos returned to Bosque Redondo on their own.

Lieutenant H. C. Harrison, First New Mexico Volunteer Infantry, led the detachment sent after Jose Largo and his Jicarillas. They captured the chief and 90 members of his band (who apparently surrendered without resistance), recovered some of the stolen livestock, and brought the Indians to Fort Union. These Jicarillas were given rations for three days and sent to report to their agent at Maxwell's Ranch on the Cimarron River. Jose Largo was instructed that he and the other chief of the band would be required to return to Fort Union "whenever the General Commanding desired to see them." [44]

Troops from Fort Union were also assigned to work on roads after the Civil War. On July 4, 1865, Company E, First New Mexico Volunteer Infantry, was "detailed to repair the road from Fort Union, N.M. to the Summit of the Raton Mountains, now in bad condition." They were to receive necessary tools and equipment from the quartermaster depot, carry rations for 30 days, and be well armed and supplied with plenty of ammunition. While they were working on the road, these soldiers were to "receive one gill of whiskey per diem." They were to return to Fort Union and report to department headquarters what they had done at the end of 30 days. [45]

In September a company of New Mexico volunteers was sent from Fort Union, with 40 days' rations, to repair the road between Fort Union and Santa Fe. The quartermaster depot was directed to furnish the necessary equipment. The soldiers assigned to this duty were informed by the department commander that "the work that is to be done will be well done." No one was to be permitted to be absent from duty on this project unless they were "sick or confined." [46]

Troops from Fort Union were occasionally called upon to assist civil authorities with keeping the peace. On September 11, 1865, a detachment of 40 officers and men of the First New Mexico Volunteer Infantry were sent under command of Captain P. Healy from Fort Union "for the protection of the Moro jail from a threatened mob." The troops were sent immediately, and their rations followed by wagon. They were to remain at Mora until their "services are no longer needed." Captain Healy was directed to "be careful and keep your men well together and enforce discipline." [47] The mission was apparently accomplished without incident.

When Captain Healy returned to Fort Union, he and his company of First New Mexico Volunteer Infantry, were sent to repair a portion of the road between Fort Union and Fort Bascom (the section between Hamilton's Ranch and Bascom), after which they were to join the garrison at Bascom. They were to be well armed and supplied with plenty of ammunition. They carried rations for 20 days, at the end of which time it was expected they would arrive at their new duty station. [48]

Carleton directed that two companies (one of First California Volunteer Cavalry and one of First New Mexico Volunteer Cavalry), as soon as they returned to Fort Union from escort duty on the Santa Fe Trail, be "completely fitted out with clothing, serviceable arms, a supply of ammunition, &c" and proceed to take post at Fort Bascom. The troops that had been at Fort Bascom, engaged in building the post there when they were not on other assignments, were sent to other posts (some to Fort Union and some to Fort Stanton). Carleton was preparing to send five companies (some to be drawn from Fort Union) for a campaign against the Mimbres Apaches in southwestern New Mexico Territory. [49] Lieutenant Colonel Edward B. Willis, commanding at Fort Union, was chosen to command the campaign. [50] Thus troops from Fort Union were sent far away from the post to join soldiers from other posts and contribute to the defeat of Indians considered hostile and force them onto reservations. Indirectly, those campaigns were part of the military actions of troops stationed at Fort Union. The details of such campaigns are beyond the scope of this study.

Indian Campaigns of Fort Union. Source: Robert M. Utley, Fort Union National Monument, 43. (click on image for an enlargement in a new window)

When Lieutenant Colonel Willis left Fort Union in December, he was succeeded by Colonel Carson, who had returned from his special service on the plains and the treaty negotiations in Kansas. Carson, promoted to the rank brigadier general of volunteers during his tenure, served as the commanding officer of Fort Union from December 24, 1865, to April 24, 1866. [51] Carson was, undoubtedly, the most famous personage, a legend in his own time, to serve during the 40 years of Fort Union's active existence. Carson remained in the military service until November 22, 1867, and died six months later from an aneurysm at Fort Lyon, Colorado Territory, on May 23, 1868. Although he is best known as a mountain man and guide for John C. Fremont, Carson's most important contributions to the history of the Southwest were performed as an Indian agent and a soldier.

While road-building and military activities were performed by troops from Fort Union, construction proceeded on the depot and post at Fort Union. The officers of the post and depot continued to occupy the temporary facilities at the earthwork. Following a complaint about the officers' quarters in July 1865, Colonel Abreu, commanding the post, investigated and reported "that the Quarters inhabited by the Officers at this Post are not in a very good condition, or sufficiently ventilated to make them healthy." [52] Apparently the enlisted men were still housed in the bleak quarters at the earthwork. Construction of new quarters would later alleviate conditions at the post. Unfortunately, it was taking much longer than originally planned to erect the new buildings.

The fieldwork was still occupied in April 1866 when Major Nelson H. Davis, acting inspector general, wrote what remains one of the best descriptions of that facility and of the conditions it presented after less than five years of occupation:

Fort Union is a square bastion "field work," with demilunes in front of the curtains, the parapets of which contain the quarters of officers and men, which are partially excavated in the ground, and are of very indifferent quality. The magazines are inside the main work and constructed for bomb proof quarters in time of an attack. No other quarters are embraced within this area. The slopes and scarps are somewhat washed by rains, and the ditches which were never entirely completed, are in places partially filled by loose earth. This work is of little value for defence, and as a protection of the Depot and Post buildings now being erected outside. [53]

There was a shortage of skilled labor to proceed on schedule with construction work on the third post. The new chief quartermaster in New Mexico, Colonel Enos, who was still in charge of the depot at Fort Union, reported that the public buildings at the depot were being damaged by rain because the tin roofs were not yet installed because of the want of skilled workers. In response, at least two skilled soldiers, one of whom was a tinsmith, were transferred to Fort Union, given furloughs from military duty, and employed as mechanics by the quartermaster department. [54]

The ovens of the post bakery at Fort Union were reported, by new commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Willis, First New Mexico Volunteer Infantry, as being "almost useless, and new ones will have to be built." Willis requested permission from Captain W. H. Bell, chief commissary officer in the department, to have the post commissary officer build or have built a new bakery for the garrison. [55] A new bakery was erected, but the date of its completion has not been found. This was only one of many changes that occurred at Fort Union and within the department.

An administrative reorganization occurred on September 12, 1865, when the Department of New Mexico was reclassified as the District of New Mexico. [56] This district was initially under the Department of California but was later (late October 1865) assigned to the Department of the Missouri. [57] The major change, for the officers in New Mexico, was the route which reports and orders followed up and down the chain of command. Troops at Fort Union saw no differences as a result of the new name.

Brigadier General Carleton, in his initial report on the state of the district to the adjutant of the Department of California, provided a summary description of Fort Union as it existed in September 1865, including the state of construction of the third fort and new depot and Carleton's views on the arsenal.

Fort Union is near the western limits of the great plains which extend uninterruptedly from Fort Leavenworth to the Rocky Mountains. Here there is a defensive earthwork with temporary quarters in the demi-lunes for some eight companies. There are but five companies of infantry at present at Fort Union.

The depot for quartermaster stores and the depot of subsistence stores are building by order of the War Department at Fort Union; and new and permanent quarters for four companies are also in process of erection at that post. When the latter are completed, the temporary quarters in the demi-lunes will be abandoned, and the materials of which they are constructed will be used for other purposes.

At Fort Union, also, is the ordnance depot for New Mexico. At present all the ordnance and ordnance stores are kept in a confused group of log and adobe buildings which have been erected from time to time since 1851, as temporary shelter, until a proper arsenal should be constructed. . . . In my opinion the site for such arsenal should be near the junction of the Mora and Sapello rivers seven miles south of Fort Union. There water power for driving machinery, &c, can be had and stone for building, or for foundations and walls is very convenient, and fuel is abundant and quite near. [58]

Carleton also mentioned a couple of other items relevant to Fort Union. "There is a temporary camp called Camp Nichols," he wrote, "on the Cimarron Route to Missouri, at present garrisoned by three companies." Also, "two other companies are escorting trains on the states roads." Soon, Carleton explained, Camp Nichols would be abandoned, and the companies stationed there and the two companies on escort duty would return to their base in the district. [59]

Because the department, now district, of New Mexico had been chronically short of serviceable cavalry horses, which had forced some of the cavalry units to become foot soldiers, Carleton took advantage of his assignment to the Department of California to request more horses. He noted that the horses in the district were "worn out in hard and continuous service." Although he had requisitioned 600 cavalry horses for the troops in New Mexico in 1865, "not one was sent." He hoped something better could be done. A few weeks later, Carleton requested additional troops and mentioned he still had received no horses. "This matter," he concluded, "is one of very grave importance and should meet with immediate attention." Later, when the district was part of the Department of the Missouri, Carleton tried to secure horses through those headquarters. [60]

The need for more horses was exemplified when Carleton needed to mount some troops at Fort Union for service along the route to Fort Sumner during November 1865. These soldiers were sent to Giddings's Ranch and other points to catch, and return if possible, any Navajos or Mescalero Apaches who were found off their reservation without a pass. Approximately 35 or 40 horses "doubtless fit as remounts" were rounded up from the quartermaster depot, shod, and assigned to the appropriate troops. When the troops left the jurisdiction of Fort Union, they served under the direction of the commanding officer at Fort Sumner. [61] Some of the troops in the district were ordered to walk and lead their horses while changing stations, in order that the animals "may be fresh on their arrival." [62]

The depot quartermaster was in need of more than horses. The construction of the new depot and post at Fort Union were behind schedule because of a shortage of labor and materials. During the winter months, with fewer troops in the field, the garrison could provide more workers. A request to tear down the old commanding officer's quarters at the first Fort Union was met by opposition from Captain Shoemaker at the arsenal. Because the structure was near the ordnance depot, Shoemaker requested that the building be assigned to him for the needs of the arsenal. Carleton was asked to decide who got the building. He ruled that Shoemaker could have it, provided he furnished an equivalent amount of materials for the depot (the amount to be determined by a board of officers). [63] The final resolution of this was not documented, but it appeared that Shoemaker acquired the old quarters.

Colonel Carson left Fort Union on April 24, 1866, when he was succeeded as post commander by Major John Thompson, First New Mexico Volunteer Cavalry. When District Commander Carleton mustered out of the volunteer service on April 30, 1866, it appeared that the command would devolve upon Colonel Carson. Carleton was then assigned to the same job at his brevet rank of brigadier general in the regular army and continued to command the district. [64] Carleton was highly respected for his attention to details. Major N. H. Davis, inspector general's department, completed a special inspection of district headquarters early in May 1866. He found the records in Carleton's headquarters to be what might be expected from such a precise commander, "in most excellent condition." Davis declared, "I doubt if there is at any Head Quarters a more complete and neatly kept set of public and official records, excepting none." [65]

Plan of third Fort Union and Depot in process of construction in 1866, under direction of Captain H. J. Farnsworth. The garrison plan includes quarters for four companies of soldiers and nine officers' quarters. Misc. Fortifications File, Cartographic Branch, RG 77, National Archives. (click on image for an enlargement in a new window)

Soon after Major Thompson assumed command of Fort Union in the spring of 1866, he was required to file a description of the post with the inspector general's office. His report was of interest as a general sketch and, especially, because it was a time of transition when the new post was not yet completed and the earthwork was still occupied. Thompson stated that the post was located "upon the 'Great Thoroughfare' between Santa Fe and Fort Leavenworth." He elaborated that there were "five roads, converging at, or near the Post: all of which are good." Thompson described the location of the post and noted that the garrison was "supplied with water from a large spring." He mentioned the abundance of timber in the nearby mountains. The soil in the nearby valleys was described as "very productive; the principal productions are Corn and Wheat. Vegetables are also cultivated to a considerable extent (except Potatoes: to the raising of which the soil is not adapted)." Grass was plentiful and "of a good quality." [66]

He described the quarters at the earthwork as "built of wood" and "in quantity, sufficient to quarter six companies." On the other hand, he reported, "their condition is very bad." Although there were adequate storehouses and stables at the nearby depots, there was neither at the post. Of the depots, Thompson declared he was "unable to give you any information" because he was "not in command of them." At the post, which he commanded, "unoccupied quarters" were used as storehouses, and "sheds" provided "shelter for the animals." He said nothing about the plans for the new post but made it clear that conditions at the old post were inadequate. [67] Thompson's term of service expired a few weeks later and he was not around to see the new post.

When Brigadier General John Pope, commander of the Department of the Missouri, visited the District of New Mexico in the summer of 1866, Carleton tried to persuade him to enlarge the plan for Fort Union and make it a six-company, instead of a four-company, post. Pope, who with Carleton had first marched to New Mexico in 1851 with Colonel Sumner, the same Pope who as a lieutenant had helped select and mark the site for the first Fort Union, agreed and authorized the change. Even so, Fort Union was built as a four-company post and was not expanded to accommodate six companies until 1875-1876. Carleton's request to set aside the Turkey Mountains as a timber reserve for Fort Union also elicited a favorable response from Pope. [68] The timber reserve, an area of 53 square miles, was set aside by presidential order in 1868. [69] Pope had already authorized more regular troops for the district, including the Fifty-Seventh Colored Troops, the One Hundred Twenty-Fifth Colored Troops, and the Third Cavalry. The return of the Third Cavalry (formerly the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen) brought several officers who had served in New Mexico before the Civil War back to the district, including John V. DuBois, Christopher H. McNally, and William B. Lane. The visit of General Pope at Fort Union may also have spurred increased activity on the construction of the post.

This plan to expand Fort Union to a six-company post was never completed. It shows the edge of the depot at left, the four-company post that was erected at center, and proposed additions at right, including two more sets of company quarters, four more officers' quarters, a new set of commanding officer's quarters, post quartermaster's office, and adjutant's office. This plan also shows the location of the new hospital, Good Templars' hall, and the edge of the earthwork. Misc. Fortifications File, Cartographic Branch, RG 77, National Archives. (click on the image for an enlargement in a new window)

At the request of Post Surgeon J. H. Shout, the old butcher corral near Fort Union, described as being "in a very filthy condition & in consequence liable to promote disease," permission was granted to remove the corral and clean the site. There was some question as to whether a new slaughtering corral was necessary because the beef contractors were responsible for butchering the animals. Apparently nothing was done until Captain Charles McClure, depot commissary officer, requested permission to remove the old corral and build a new, larger one, including "a good butcher house." He also requested that the work be done by fatigue parties from the post garrison. In September 1866 Captain C. M. Hubbell, First New Mexico Volunteer Cavalry, was placed in charge of a "working party" assigned to build the corral. [70] The date of its completion was not found.

The term of service of many volunteer regiments expired in 1866, and the arrival of new troops in the district, as noted above, led to changes in the garrison at Fort Union. Major Elisha G. Marshall, Fifth Infantry, became post commander in August. [71] An outpost of Fort Union was established at Maxwell's Ranch on the Cimarron River to help keep watch on the Jicarillas and Utes located in the area. Carleton found the Utes and Jicarillas to be so destitute, because the department of Indian affairs did not have funds to furnish them with food, that they had to steal or starve. Carleton continued to operate on his long-held belief that it was much cheaper to feed Indians than to fight them. He provided for the issuing of rations to those people by Maxwell, until other arrangements could be made, and the troops at Maxwell's Ranch were to oversee the distributions. The Indians were to receive rations so long as they committed no depredations. [72] The troops stationed at Maxwell's Ranch were supplied with all provisions, except fresh beef which was slaughtered at the ranch, from Fort Union. [73]

Because the Indians of the plains were comparatively quiet during 1866, following the signing of the Treaties of the Little Arkansas the previous autumn, there was not much demand on the garrison at Fort Union for duty along the Santa Fe Trail. The increase in the number of troops throughout the district placed less demand for soldiers at Fort Union to travel to other places to assist with military operations. The only trouble came in the fall when the Utes north of Fort Union began raiding and were defeated by troops already in the field in Colorado Territory. Troops from Fort Union and Maxwell's Ranch were directed to help protect the settlements and supply trains on the trail. [74] Although both sides were prepared for action, the Utes were quieted down without further conflicts. The new territorial governor, Robert B. Mitchell, went to Maxwell's Ranch to meet with the Indians. The Ute leaders surrendered to Colonel Carson at Fort Garland and asked for peace. [75] There were occasional escapes from the Navajo and Mescalero Apache reservations, including some raids around Las Vegas in October. By the time troops could be sent to the scene of attacks, the Indians had left the area. There was the usual increase in activity at Fort Union in the fall, when recruits for the district arrived and camped there until they were distributed to the various posts. [76] For the most part, however, the troops at Fort Union experienced a routine year, spending much of their time assisting with road repairs and the construction of the depot and post.

Because heavy rains had damaged the roads from Fort Union "to the interior of New Mexico," making them "nearly impassable," two working parties were sent from the post to repair them. A company of Fifth Infantry, commanded by Captain Simon Snyder, was supplied with provisions and equipment to work on the road to Santa Fe for 30 days. Captain McNally, Third Cavalry, was assigned three officers and 90 enlisted men of the Fifty-Seventh U.S. Colored Troops to labor on the road to Taos for 30 days. [77] Other troops at Fort Union assisted with erection of buildings.

In October 1866, according to Captain Henry Inman, depot quartermaster, two sets of officers' quarters at the new post were nearing completion. [78] Apparently one of the new company quarters was completed and others were underway. Post Commander Marshall informed Inman that a heavy rain on the night of October 16 flooded the quarters in the earthwork, making them uninhabitable. He requested that one company of the garrison be permitted to occupy the new quarters immediately, and that the other company quarters be turned over for occupation "as fast as the same are completed." Many of the men, according to Post Surgeon H. A. DuBois, were sick from the conditions of the quarters at the earthwork. DuBois was "convinced" the many cases of intermittent fever, rheumatism, and heart complications were the result of living in the damp barracks. Marshall urged that the men and officers "be properly housed as early as possible." Inman replied that the one set of company quarters that was completed could be occupied "any time you desire." [79]

The following month the post commander reported that no enlisted men remained in the barracks at the earthwork. The garrison had been reduced to three companies (a temporary measure to ease pressure on the quarters at Fort Union until the new facilities were completed), one of which was away on field duty. A company of Fifth Infantry occupied the completed set of quarters, and a company of Third Cavalry had moved into an unfinished set of quarters. Marshall calculated that the other two sets of company quarters would not be ready for use until May 1867. One of those, he observed, could be ready as soon as workers could install "windows, doors, floors, finish chimneys, copings, &c." [80]

During the peak of construction work on barracks and quarters the depot quartermaster was instructed to fabricate furnishings for the officers' quarters. The fixtures for the enlisted men's barracks were provided by custom, but officers were usually expected to supply their own furniture. Chief Quartermaster Enos instructed Captain Inman at the depot, however, that "owing to the difficulty of procuring house furniture in the District you will cause a set of plain and neat furniture for each set of Officers quarters to be made." Enos specified what was to be done. A complete "set of furniture" for each of the officers' quarters (which by the same instructions were to be numbered from one to nine from north to south) included two wardrobes, two bureaus, one dining table, two kitchen tables, one center and one side table "for each room, except the Kitchen, dining and servants room," three washstands, and three bedsteads. The furniture, each piece of which was to branded with "Q.M.D." and numbered to correspond with the number of the building in which it was placed, was to be listed on the inventory of the post quartermaster. To prevent removal or transfer, the post commander was charged with seeing "that none of this furniture is removed from the buildings for which they are made." [81] Most likely, similar sets of furniture were made for the quartermaster and commissary officers' quarters at the depot.

Meanwhile, as quarters and furniture were being constructed, officers at the post remained lodged at the earthwork during the final weeks of 1866. The new quarters for the post commander were considered completed and were officially turned over to Major Marshall on December 24, 1866, just in time for Christmas. [82] The day after Christmas, appropriately, Marshall returned his present, explaining, "I return you the possession of the building turned over to me . . . as not being habitable and positively refuse to occupy the same unless the obstacles are overcome." The main problem was "three fire places or Chimneys smoke so that a man's life would be endangered in occupying same." [83] He returned to his old quarters until the situation was corrected.

company quarters
Four views of company quarters under construction at the third Fort Union, from top to bottom, U. S. Signal Corps Photos Nos. 88014, 88015, 88018, 88017, courtesy National Archives.

Officer's quarters
Officer's quarters under construction at third Fort Union, U.S. Signal Corps Photo No. 88013, courtesy National Archives.

In his November report, Marshall noted that one set of the remaining officers' quarters was expected to be ready in January or February 1867. Additional officers' quarters were anticipated to be finished about the following May. He suggested that the soldiers be moved into the company quarters before they were plastered inside, and that the time gained thereby be utilized to plaster officers' quarters inside, so the officers "may be comfortably quartered as well as the men." Apparently, he thought the enlisted men could be comfortable without plastered walls. He also noted that, in the absence of cavalry stables at Fort Union, it was expected that the old barracks at the earthwork would be converted to that purpose. He concluded that "these quarters are fit only for this purpose, and even in a short time will be unsafe for that purpose." The company of Third Cavalry at the post was expected to have two of the old company quarters converted to stables "in a few days." [84]

Also in November 1866 a "dead house" was added to the hospital, which was apparently completed according to the plan noted above. The mortuary was a building 52 feet long by 13 feet wide, with walls 10 feet high. There were six windows, each with fifteen panes of glass eight inches by ten inches. During the same month laundresses' quarters were under construction, built of adobe with a tin roof. These were completed except for the plastering and the roof. Also in November a third set of officers' quarters was nearly erected and a fourth was well under way. Carleton described the new post, in November, as "on the eve of being completed" and opined that it would be ready for use by the following summer. [85] The district assistant inspector general echoed those views in his report in December 1866 and noted that "the commanding officer's quarters can now be occupied." [86] That statement, as noted above, was premature, but the new commanding officer's quarters were soon made habitable. The other new facilities were occupied as completed, and work continued on additional structures. There were no provisions in the plan for a post chapel.

Officers' quarters
Officers' quarters under construction at third Fort Union. The site of the first fort is barely visible in left background at base of bluffs. U.S. Signal Corps Photo No. 87997, courtesy National Archives.

A new post chaplain, John Woart of the Protestant Episcopal Church, his wife, and two daughters arrived at Fort Union on November 24, 1866. He was authorized to conduct services in the hospital until the building used by the Good Templars (a temperance fraternity) was prepared to be used also as a chapel and school room. [87] Woart later described the Good Templars' building, erected by "employees of the Government," as "constructed of logs driven in the ground. The spaces between are filled with mud. The building is covered with timbers and mud." Woart, of course, preferred to have a better building for the post chapel. [88] He was the first chaplain of record since Rev. Samuel B. McPheeters departed in June 1861. [89] Woart was appointed to serve as post treasurer in 1867. [90]

Design for Chapel and School Room at Fort Union, which was never constructed, Misc. Fortification Files, Cartographic Branch, RG 77, National Archives.

In January 1867 Major Elisha G. Marshall, Fifth Infantry, commanding Fort Union, submitted a plan and requested authority to build a chapel at the post. Marshall saw the chapel as a way to expand Protestantism in predominately Catholic New Mexico, clearly an attempt to change the native culture of the territory, an example of Anglo-American ethnocentrism. "I believe," wrote Marshall, "the benefits of the Protestant faith will be shown to the future generations of the New Mexican population by the building of the Chapel." His chapel, designed "by an eastern architect," would be "constructed of stone" over a basement (which would serve as a school room) because "adobe buildings constantly require repair" and "no wooden building could stand the high winds we have." Marshall, who had little understanding of the environment or culture of New Mexico, calculated the cost of the chapel at $17,987. [91] Despite his plea, which was supported by the quartermaster general, who submitted a different set of plans for a stone chapel (shown on page 337) and emphasized the importance of a post school, the proposed chapel was never built. The war department considered all posts in the western territories to be temporary and, therefore, outside congressional authorization of structures for religious and educational purposes at permanent military posts. In addition, General in Chief Ulysses S. Grant recommend "suspending the erecting of chapels and school houses . . . until after the troops are provided with comfortable quarters." [92]

Officers' row
Officers' row under construction, U.S. Signal Corps Photo No. 87996, courtesy National Archives.

This plan for one company quarters at Fort Union was accompanied by Captain H. J. Farnsworth's explanation, Feb. 1, 1866: "The Building is one story high, Adobe walls, 18 inches thick, stone foundation, tin roof, and battlement or cornice of Brick 18 inches high and 18 inches thick, and will cost when completed, including well, $12,527.00. The Building was commenced in July 1865, and will be completed by April 1st, 1866." Misc. Fortifications File, Cartographic Branch, RG 77, National Archives.

Officers' row
Officers' row under construction; note that two of the buildings have been plastered on exterior. U.S. Signal Corps Photo No. 88012, courtesy National Archives.

Officers' row
Officers' row at third Fort Union, with all structures completed. Note flag staff at left. The fence in the foreground separated the garrison from the depot. Photo collection, Fort Union National Monument.

Before the end of 1867 most of the structures at the third Fort Union were finished and occupied, making it the finest military post between Fort Riley and California. Major William B. Lane, Third Cavalry, who had served at the first post during the late 1850s, returned to command the new fort in February 1867. [93] Lane was post commander when the quarters at the new post were occupied and a new flag staff was erected on the parade ground of the new complex. A special ceremony for the raising of the first flag at the third Fort Union was conducted at 10:00 a.m., June 16, 1867. The honor of hoisting the first flag was accorded to the enlisted man of the garrison who had served the greatest number of years in the army, Corporal Joseph Schweigert, Company I, Fifth Infantry. [94] That flag staff was blown down in a windstorm on January 29, 1883, and another was put up in its place.

Lane was replaced later in October by Lieutenant Colonel John R. Brooke, Thirty-Seventh Infantry. The functions of the post and depot continued as in previous years. The garrison, which averaged about 250 men during the first six months, was increased to almost 500 by the end of the year when the new facilities were occupied. Fort Union was probably at the peak of its existence in 1867 for, although some new structures were added during later times, the processes of wear and deterioration slowly took their toll through the following 24 years until the post was abandoned. Those who were first to utilize the new post were more fortunate than most of them realized.

Some officers considered the new structures to be more luxurious than necessary and implied that the quartermaster's department had been extravagant because a portion of post comprised the department depot. Colonel Randolph B. Marcy, inspector general's department, examined the post in June 1867. He was astonished at "the elaborate and expensive character of the buildings" at the third fort. He was especially critical of the officers' quarters at the quartermaster depot, declaring them to be "far better than any officers' quarters that I have seen at any other frontier post." Marcy's adverse judgment was endorsed by Colonel William A. Nichols, assistant adjutant general for the Division of the Missouri and formerly the assistant adjutant for the Department of New Mexico, who appended to Marcy's report that "the post has been costly beyond its true value, and whilst severe economy has been necessary elsewhere, it was very wrong to be lavishing money there." [95] Similar objections were raised later, but department officials were more concerned in 1867 about military activities than exorbitant buildings.

Early in 1867 Brigadier General Carleton complained about the activities of the Comancheros and requested that something be done to halt their activities. He understood that the custom had been around for "at least two centuries" and would be difficult to change. He also believed that it encouraged the Comanches to steal horses and cattle in Texas to trade to the New Mexicans. The Comancheros used the "pretext" of hunting buffalo to go to the plains to engage in their trading activities. Carleton inquired what "legal right" the military had to prevent it and if legislation might not be necessary to help bring the plains tribes into submission. [96] It was an issue that was not resolved for several more years, along with other Indian problems in the territory.

In response to a request from General Winfield S. Hancock, new commander of the Department of the Missouri, for information about the number and condition of Indians in New Mexico Territory, Carleton noted that no reliable census had been taken of most tribes and provided the best estimates available. [97] The numbers for each group were divided among men, women, and children, but only the totals are given here. There were 7,880 Navajos, of whom 7,380 were at the Bosque Redondo reservation and 500 were "still at large." The Pueblos, 6,412, were living in 19 villages. There were four bands of Utes, totaling 2,820, situated at three agencies (the Capote band, 400, was at Abiquiu and the Moache band, 520, was at the Cimarron Agency at Maxwell's Ranch). The Jicarilla Apaches, 730, were also at the Cimarron Agency. The Mimbres and Mogollon Apaches, 900, were located in southwest New Mexico as well as Arizona and Mexico. The Kiowas and Comanches, 1,700, were on the eastern border of New Mexico Territory. The Mescalero Apaches, 450, had escaped from the Bosque Redondo reservation and were in the mountains of southeastern New Mexico. The estimated total number in the district was 20,892. [98]

The Apaches, Kiowas, and Comanches were considered the most serious threat to settlements and travelers, and sometimes a party of Utes or Navajos raided livestock herds. Carleton, a man of strong convictions on most subjects, believed all the Indians, except for the Pueblos who already lived in villages, should be placed on reservations under the control of the army, where they were protected from encroachment, and where they could be carefully monitored, fed as necessary, and taught to become self-sufficient on a limited land base. He realized that, in time, the Indians were going to be overwhelmed by Anglo-Americans and their culture. He was basically a fair-minded man, opposed to extermination of Indians, and held to a view commonly known as assimilation (in which the Indians were the ones who had to do the assimilating). He always argued that it was wiser and cheaper to feed Indians than to fight them, but the army should fight to win when the Indians chose that solution. He was opposed to making bargains with Indians and urged that negotiations be carried on from a position of military superiority. He also believed that the government should keep any agreement made. He had little use for the department of Indian affairs, most Indian agents (unless they knew something about the Indians with whom they were to work), and military officers who disagreed about how to handle Indians. [99]

Carleton alienated many people with his strong views, but popularity was not nearly as important to him as being right. Carleton's military doctrine was always to be careful and to be prepared. He possessed a remarkable sense of duty and responsibility as well as fastidious attention to detail. There was little tolerance in his way of doing things for shoddy performers, be they officers or enlisted men. He praised and promoted anyone whom he considered competent and reliable. He was the most efficient and most productive commander the department/district ever had. He was largely responsible, too, for the state and importance of the third Fort Union.

When Chaplain Woart arrived at Fort Union in 1866, he and his family were quartered in the building at the depot designed for occupation by clerks of that facility. [100] As the quarters for the post of Fort Union were completed, the post commander, Major Marshall, was uncertain about who was responsible for assigning quarters for the chaplain. Was the chaplain to be considered an officer of a particular rank and seniority and compete with other officers for living space, or was he to be allocated housing that was exempt from the contest? Marshall recommended that Woart write to General Hancock, commander of the Department of the Missouri, about it. Before Woart wrote to Hancock, he went to Santa Fe "to perform religious services." There he met Carleton and asked about quarters at Fort Union. Carleton assured Woart that he would assign the chaplain to quarters in the new post. He asked Woart which house he preferred, and the chaplain later recalled stating that he "did not like to choose, yet, if there was no objection to my having the South end house in the new row, I should like for it was near my Chapel and the Hospital, and my family would be more retired there." [101]

Following that conversation, Carleton directed that one set of officers' quarters at the new post be completed as quickly as possible and assigned to the Woart family. He stated "that the quarters most suitable for the Chaplain is the building on the extreme right [south end] of the row." He then directed the post commander to inform Woart of this fact. [102] The depot quartermaster, Captain Inman, later told Rev. Woart that he had "not received orders to prepare the quarters for the Chaplain." As Woart reported it, "Capt. Inman thinks that if a house were now to be set apart for the Chaplain by the highest authority that no future residents at the Post would attempt to claim it." Woart then appealed to General Hancock for a decision. "I shall be satisfied and grateful," he wrote, "to use any quarters that you may be pleased to designate." Carleton endorsed the request, noting that all the buildings on officers' row were "precisely the same" and recommended the quarters at the south end were more convenient on account of locality for the Chaplain." [103] Hancock approved the request.

Major Marshall did not have to make the decision about the chaplain. When the quarters selected for the chaplain neared completion in May 1867, the new post commander, Major Lane, issued orders, declaring "the set of Quarters on the right of the line of Officers Quarters and nearest to the chapel are hereby set apart as the Chaplain's quarters." [104] The quarters at the south end of officers' row apparently served as the chaplain's residence for a number of years. That set of quarters was later occupied by the post surgeon, however, and the chaplain was assigned to officer's quarters number three from the north end, or the second set of quarters north of the commanding officer. [105]

Soon after Major Lane assumed command of Fort Union, [106] he requested that, as soon as possible, the new guardhouse be completed (if it could be done "without interfering with the completion of buildings now in progress of erection"). The old guardhouse was in such bad condition that "prisoners are constantly escaping." There were a "large number of men in confinement" and the post needed "a place of greater security." [107] Eventually the new post had two guardhouses, one was primarily for minor offenders at the post and the other, with stone cells and iron-bar doors, was a prison for more serious offenders from throughout the district. Sometimes civilian criminals were held at Fort Union.

Sometimes the army had to assist civil authorities in dealing with lawless elements. In March 1867 a gang of horse thieves was reported to be operating in the vicinity of Fort Union, stealing private and public animals, and probably headquartered along the lower Mora River or the Canadian River. Troops were sent from Fort Union to locate and arrest the thieves, if possible, and hold them at the post until they could be tried by the civil court at Mora. Carleton declared, "We cannot sit down and have such a set of thieves run off our stock with impunity. The Civil authorities seem to be powerless to cope with them." [108]

Major Lane led the detachment himself, taking Lieutenant William P. Bainbridge and twenty men (all Third Cavalry) and a guide (Nelson A. Fairchild) on the evening of February 12, heading to an area known as Cherry Valley, downstream on the Mora River. As they rode along in the dark, with snow falling, Major Lane and Fairchild rode ahead of the troops, heading for Pancrost's Ranch on the Mora, where they hoped to gather information about the horse thieves. After riding only a few miles from the post at a gallop, Lane and Fairchild met a mounted party of nine men coming toward them. Lane talked briefly with one of the men, trying to "mislead as to my object." Both parties then went on. Fairchild said he recognized one of the nine men as "Joseph Picard, a noted horse thief and rascal." Lane decided to go back and attempt to get around the nine men and reach his detachment "without being seen." [109]

Soon after Lane and Fairchild turned around, they met the nine men coming back "at full speed." When they were within range, the suspected horse thieves began firing their pistols and pursuing Lane and his guide. Lieutenant Bainbridge heard the firing and rode quickly to the rescue. Without Bainbridge's quick action, Lane stated, "we doubtless would have been murdered." With the reinforcements, Lane attempted to follow the fleeing horsemen, but they scattered and the darkness and falling snow prevented pursuit. Lane took his detachment to Kronig's Ranch (formerly Barclay's Fort) and spent the night, "getting shelter for my men, and forage for the horses." The next morning the detachment continued on its mission, realizing that they would not be able to surprise the thieves. Lane sent back to Fort Union for 10 more men to join his force. [110]

Later that day, near a cabin by the Mora believed to be the base for the horse thieves, the soldiers captured Picard, H. J. McCarty, Seth Luce, Joseph Knapp, and H. Thompson, all of whom were "handcuffed and securely guarded." The next morning the prisoners were sent to Fort Union under "sufficient guard." Lane took the rest of the detachment to another "suspicious ranch sixteen miles below." They found no one there except a "Mexican boy." The soldiers recovered no stolen livestock in Cherry Valley, but Lane suspected "they had been run off before I got there, or hidden away until I left." The five prisoners were kept [at] the post guardhouse, awaiting trial. Lane concluded his report, stating "the good people of Cherry Valley and in this vicinity, are much pleased at this raid on the horse thieves and rascals, which they think will be of great assistance to them in driving them out of that portion of the country." Lane hoped to send a party back later, when there would a chance for surprise, to attempt to recover stolen property. [111]

Lane was also concerned about the presence of unauthorized persons on the military reservation at Fort Union. The earthwork had become a hangout for disreputable characters. He directed the post quartermaster, Lieutenant Granville Lewis, Fifth Infantry, to "make a thorough inspection of the buildings comprising what is known as 'Old Post' [earthwork], and report as to the propriety of tearing them down, to preserve the lumber from destruction, and to promote discipline of the Garrison." The discipline would be improved by removing civilians, such as prostitutes and gamblers, who preyed upon the troops. "You will also report," he informed Lewis, "the number and names of persons occupying the old buildings, reporting those who have authority to occupy them, and those who have not." [112]

Lieutenant Lewis provided a detailed report of his inspection of the earthwork. There were "three rows of partially underground frame structures in a very dilapidated state, fast falling to decay and ruin." These buildings were occupied "by citizens employed in the Depot Quartermaster's Department who have Mexican women whom they represent to be their wives." Lewis confirmed Major Lane's suspicions about the illegal residents. "There are," he continued, "always a lot of Mexicans and unknown Americans harbored around these buildings, Gambling, Drinking and Prostitution seems to be the principal use to which many of the rooms are appropriated, and soldiers of the Garrison are enticed and harbored there to carouse all night." [113]

Lewis declared, "to such an extent have these orgies been carried on, drinking and fighting at all hours of the night, that the Guard have been compelled to make a descent upon, and arrest the inmates and conduct them beyond the limits of the military reservation and forbid them to return." He also had "no doubt that deserters are harbored in these places, and schemes concocted to rob the Government." The best solution to the problem, which Lewis recommended, was "demolishing these buildings." The elimination of what old Colonel Sumner would have called a "sink of vice and extravagance" [114] would, according to Lewis, "promote" the "discipline and moral condition of the enlisted men of this command." [115]

There were four laundresses and their soldier husbands legally occupying 10 rooms at the earthwork. A total of 30 additional rooms were inhabited by at least 35 "unauthorized persons." Among the residents were civilian employees of the quartermaster department (including carpenters, painters, tinners, and teamsters), a clerk in the sutler's store, men who were not employed at all (except, perhaps, as gamblers), and an undetermined number of women (most of whom were classified as "Mexican," but included "a Colored woman [Cecilia]"). Several of the rooms were found to have pictures of Confederate generals and "indecent subjects." It was clear that some of the women were prostitutes, and there was mention of gambling in some of the places. Liquor was available for soldiers to purchase. [116]

Major Lane hoped that "these dens of rascality and crime, might be destroyed" and requested that orders be given from district headquarters "to tear down these old buildings" except for those required for laundresses and for cavalry stables. As soon as the new laundresses quarters were completed at the new post, "the old ones should be torn down, also." Everyone found in those buildings "without authority" was to "be driven out." [117] It was difficult, if not impossible, to prevent such men and women from moving back into the buildings so long as they were standing. As workers could be assigned, the old buildings no longer needed were razed.

District Commander Carleton was replaced by Lieutenant Colonel George Sykes, Fifth Infantry, on March 27, 1867. Sykes had served at Fort Union in the 1850s and had dealt with problems of prostitutes and other unauthorized people on the reservation then. One of his first acts as district commander was to order that "the buildings known as 'Old Post of Fort Union,' except those at present indispensable for the shelter of the authorized laundresses of the garrison, and stabling" for cavalry horses, "will be destroyed." All lumber that could be salvaged was to be turned over to the quartermaster depot. Any citizen found at the earthwork, "male and female having no employment under government, or any others not having the authority of the post commander to remain on the Reservation will at once be removed from it." [118] The military reservation, established in 1852, comprised 64 square miles surrounding the post. Captain Inman, depot quartermaster, was instructed to see that all unauthorized residents at the earthwork were removed from the reservation "at once." [119] The reservation, it should be noted, was reduced in 1868 to 51.5 square miles around the post. At the same time, as stated above, a timber reserve in the Turkey Mountains of 53 square miles was established. [120]

Map of the Military Reservation at Fort Union, 1866. The community of Loma Parda at lower left is just beyond the limits of the reservation. Original in National Archives; this copy courtesy Museum of New Mexico (Neg. No. 148191). (click on image for an enlargement in a new window)

The removal of citizens in 1867 was not, of course, the end of such problems at Fort Union, but the demolition of the structures at the earthwork made it less convenient for those who provided illicit services to the garrison at the new post. Major Lane directed that, "previous to demolishing the buildings" at the earthwork, the doors, windows, frames, and "other serviceable materials" were to be removed and turned over to the depot quartermaster. [121] Not all the structures at the earthwork, besides laundresses' quarters and stables, were destroyed. In October 1867 the post commissary officer was storing fresh vegetables in the old bombproof magazine inside the fortification. [122]

The troops at Fort Union saw little field duty in 1867. It was fairly quiet in the region, but the plains Indians were increasing their attacks along the routes of transportation, including the Santa Fe and Smoky Hill trails and the Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division (later Kansas Pacific) which was building along the Smoky Hill route to Denver. In the spring of 1867 a portion of the regiment of Fifth Infantry was ordered to be transferred from the district of New Mexico to the line of the Smoky Hill Trail to guard travelers and railroad construction crews. [123]

As that railroad built westward, the eastern terminus of the Santa Fe Trail and the route of supply for the vast quantities of commodities shipped to the depots at Fort Union moved closer and closer to New Mexico. In 1866 the freight wagons started from Junction City, and during 1867 the rail head moved westward to Ellsworth and then Hays City. Later, in 1869, it reached Kit Carson, Colorado Territory. As railroads stretched farther west and wagon roads became shorter, it was easier to ship provisions to the troops in New Mexico.

Post and Timber Reserves, Fort Union, 1868, Cartographic Branch, RG 77, National Archives.

In addition to helping protect the railroads and wagon roads on the plains, troops in New Mexico were assigned to help protect the stage lines in the southern part of the district. [124] Lieutenant Colonel Sykes was assigned command of Fort Sumner, and Colonel George W. Getty, Thirty-Seventh Infantry, became commander of the District of New Mexico in April 1867. [125] Getty had traveled by stage from Junction City, Kansas, to Santa Fe in ten days. He reported that "all is quiet within the limits of the command." [126] A few soldiers from Fort Union were required to escort Major Davis, inspector general's department, to Forts Bascom and Sumner. Another small escort was provided for an engineering party of the Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division, while they were in New Mexico. [127] Otherwise, the troops were occupied with garrison duties and extra-duty assignments to construction work.

Although Indians were raiding on the plains, the troops from Fort Union apparently provided no protection for travelers on the Cimarron Route. Any parties traveling that road were required to have a minimum of 40 well-armed men in the caravan, and they were expected to protect themselves en route. Travelers on the Mountain Route, which had become the major branch of the Santa Fe Trail after the Civil War and the establishment of Richens Lacy "Uncle Dick" Wootton's toll road over Raton Pass, were required to have at least 10 well-armed men per group. There were more travelers on that route, there were mail stations, and troops were quartered at a few points along the way. The regions of most troubles with the plains Indians were beyond the jurisdiction of Fort Union. [128] A few troops from Fort Union, under Sergeant William McLaughlin, Third Cavalry, were sent to Kronig's Ranch, where most parties following the Cimarron Route started on that branch, to watch over wagon trains and enforced the rules. Another detachment of cavalrymen, under Sergeant Phillipp Mischwitz, apparently rotated this duty with McLaughlin's detachment. [129] The troops at Fort Bascom provided protection for part of eastern New Mexico and along the Fort Smith Road.

The outpost at Maxwell's Ranch (Cimarron) continued to oversee the Indians in that area. [130] The camp commander, Lieutenant George James Campbell, Third Cavalry, had the misfortune to have his arm blown off by the "premature discharge of an old six pounder gun." Surgeon DuBois rushed from Fort Union to amputate the arm. Major Lane requested another officer to take command of the company of Third Cavalry at Cimarron. [131] Post Adjutant Lewis served as temporary commander until Captain Richard Wall, Third Cavalry, arrived a few weeks later. [132] Before the end of summer Lieutenant Campbell had resumed command of the detachment.

During the spring and summer of 1867 Major Lane received reports that citizens near Rayado were selling liquor to the Indians at the Cimarron Agency. Because "drunkenness" among the Apaches and Utes was a "very frequent ocurrence, and when drunk the Indians are troublesome and impudent." Lane urged the troops stationed at Cimarron and Indian Agent E. B. Dennison (whom Lane considered to be "inefficient and entirely unfit for the place he fills") to identify and arrest the guilty citizens before "very serious troubles" occurred. Agent Dennison identified Guadalupe Marris of Rayado as the source of the illegal alcohol, and troops from Cimarron arrested him "for selling liquor to Indians." Lane believed that outlaws and thieves were as much or more of a threat to public safety as were the Indians of the area. [133]

During July 1867 a party of Navajos at Bosque Redondo reservation, believed to have stolen livestock in their possession, fought back when troops attempted to take the livestock from them, killing six soldiers. Troops from Fort Union were ordered to go, under command of Major Charles J. Whiting, Third Cavalry, "to quell the present outbreak and prevent the occurrence of any future troubles with those Indians." [134] The troops at Fort Sumner, however, brought the situation under control. Major Whiting and troops from Fort Union were recalled from the assignment. Whiting later headed a board of officers which investigated the incident at Bosque Redondo, and Whiting was appointed commander of Fort Sumner when it was decided that the former post commander, Captain Elisha W. Tarlton, Third Cavalry, had provoked the incident. [135]

By the summer of 1867 troops and officers were living in the new quarters at the third Fort Union, while construction work continued. The new facilities were undoubtedly a welcome relief from the conditions of the previous quarters, but sanitary conditions around the post were deplorable. Major Lane appointed a board of health to inspect the area and make recommendations. Surgeon DeWitt C. Peters and Second Lieutenant Francis Bacon Jones, Thirty-Seventh Infantry, comprised the board (Surgeon DuBois was absent from the post at the time). [136]

They found the corral used for slaughtering beef cattle for the post and depot "in a most horrible condition. Offal, filth, hides and hogs scattered about in a miscellaneous manner." This was "sufficient to produce and generate disease of any type." In addition, the location of the corral was such that any runoff from precipitation "must filter through the ground it occupies, and contaminates the drinking water." The board recommended that the corral be moved to a better location farther from the post, that the site of the old corral be cleaned up immediately, and all the waste buried where it could not contaminate the water supply. They found the springs, from which water for the post and depot was supplied, contaminated and recommended they be cleaned out and the drainage modified "to render them in a good state." [137]

The camping grounds around the post, where wagon trains were permitted to park, were reported to be "in a bad state of police, and require prompt attention." The refuse found at these places was to be burned. The sites were to be "sprinkled about" with lime to "disinfect" them. They recommended that wagon trains should not be permitted to encamp near the post, and they should be "required to keep their camps clean and orderly." The laundresses quarters at the earthwork needed to be cleaned and whitewashed. All latrines at the post were to be "thoroughly policed and supplied with lime." The "deposits of garbage and filth" around the post were to be burned. The hog pen used by the depot quartermaster should be removed to a location "some distance from the post." The need to clean up was urgent, and the board recommended that all personnel at the garrison be assigned to sanitary duty "without delay" until the improvements were completed. [138]

The sanitation at Fort Union may have been improved, too, with the construction of the first-known "Bath-House" at the post. The location was not determined (there was a bath house behind the hospital, according to plans, but whether it was available to the garrison or only patients was unclear), but apparently there was only one to be shared by all troops in the garrison. Post Commander Lane issued an order regarding the schedule for the facility: "Now that a Bath-house has been constructed Company Commanders will so arrange the time of bathing of their men that one company will not interfere with another." [139] Maintaining a healthy environment was a constant problem at the post. Early in 1868 two companies of Third Cavalry situated in the new quarters were ordered to clean up the "filthy condition" found behind their kitchens and mess rooms. In the future, empty barrels were to be obtained from the post commissary "to hold slops and garbage." [140]

Because the troops were engaged in cleaning up the post, Major Lane was unable to send a sufficient detachment to recover stolen army mules found in Cherry Valley. In fact, he declared, "it is with the greatest difficulty that a guard of six men can be mounted at this post, and carry on other necessary duties." Two men had been sent to track some stolen mules, and they recovered five of those mules in Cherry Valley. Within a few days, however, the same mules were stolen again from the government herd at the post. Lane requested another company of cavalry for the garrison to "rid this vicinity of the numerous horse thieves, and murderers that infest this post and reservation." Although he had "some notoriously bad men in the guard house, and they outnumber the guard," Lane believed there were many more criminals to be caught. [141] Company A, Third Cavalry, was ordered from Albuquerque to join the command at Fort Union. [142]

Post Commander Lane was an officer who believed that troops should be drilled constantly while in garrison so they would be ready to perform at their best in the field. Attention to drill became feasible with the increase of cavalry troops at the post. Lane directed that cavalrymen were to be "drilled each morning at the 'Skirmish drill for mounted troops' prepared by Lieut. [Dabney H.] Maury." Each afternoon the cavalry companies were "drilled . . . at 'the school of the platoon dismounted,' and at the 'manual of the carbine.'" He further directed that, "when the weather is unfavorable the men will be instructed in the stables, in the manner of saddling, bridling, & etc, and in the 'manner of rolling the cloak.'" The latter referred to the packing of each soldier's gear (extra clothing and camp equipment) to carry on the saddle. The overcoat issued to cavalrymen was known as a cloak, defined in army regulations as "a gutta-percha talma, or cloak extending to the knee, with long sleeves." [143] Each company commander was responsible for training the troops to prepare their packs uniformly. They soon had an opportunity to test their skills.

On September 3, 1867, a party of Indians (tribe unknown but first believed to be Comanches and, later, Navajos and Mescalero Apaches, estimated to number from twenty to fifty men) reportedly killed three men and wounded another and captured three boys near Mora and stole "a large amount of livestock" (later estimated at 150 head, including a herd of mules belonging to Ceran St. Vrain). This provided an opportunity for some of the garrison to get away from the post for a few days and engage in field duty. Lieutenant William P. Bainbridge, Third Cavalry, took 32 men with five days' rations and orders to attempt to "overtake, and kill the Indians, and recapture the stock." If they needed reinforcements, a messenger was to be sent to the post. Bainbridge was replaced in the field two days later by Captain Francis H. Wilson, Third Cavalry, because Bainbridge had to return to the post for court-martial duty. [144]

A detachment of 37 cavalrymen was also sent from the outpost at Cimarron to search for the perpetrators. The Indians killed another New Mexican near Wagon Mound, where they stole fifteen horses and mules, and were seen later at Cañon Largo, where the Mora River joined the Canadian. The commanding officer at Fort Sumner was notified to watch for the raiding party. Colonel Getty directed that more troops be sent from Fort Union, if necessary, and that no effort be spared in finding and punishing the guilty Indians. [145] Captain Wilson followed the Indian trail beyond Mesa Rica but was unable to catch up with them. His party returned to Fort Union on September 14. [146]

Colonel Getty directed that Captain Wilson take a company of Third Cavalry from Fort Union, with rations for 30 days, and resume his search for the Indians. On September 21 Wilson left Fort Union with 55 enlisted men. Getty also sent troops out from Fort Bascom to proceed to Mesa Rica and "thoroughly scour that section of country for hostile Indians." [147] The results of their efforts may be found below. Meanwhile, other thieves demanded the attention of the troops.

Indians, as stated before, were not the only ones stealing horses and other livestock. Thieves were stealing government as well as private stock throughout the region. On September 15, 1867, Major Lane sent fourteen enlisted men under Sergeant Theodore E. Young, Third Cavalry, to Cherry Valley and the valley of the Canadian River to attempt to recover stolen stock and arrest the thieves. They found nothing. At the same time Lane directed that a detachment from the outpost at Cimarron, under command of Second Lieutenant Scott H. Robinson, Third Cavalry, be sent along the Mountain Route of the Santa Fe Trail into Colorado Territory in search of stolen government horses and mules. Robinson learned that a gang of horse thieves was headquartered on the Purgatory River, but "the citizens are afraid to say anything about them" because the thieves had threatened to kill anyone who reported them. One man who had threatened to report them to military officials was found murdered the same day. Robinson learned the names of at least a half dozen thieves and found people who would testify against them "if they were arrested." [148]

Some of the thieves had reportedly admitted to stealing stock from herds at Fort Union, and Robinson believed they had an accomplice at the post. Also, he was convinced the thieves had been warned of his coming and had hidden all the stolen stock they had. Robinson reported that "I did not recover a single animal although I am well satisfied there are a large number on the Purgatory." He recommended that a detachment of troops be sent to encamp at or near Trinidad to catch or kill the robbers. Also, if a small party could be sent secretly to an area known as Nine-Mile Bottom on the Purgatory, approximately 70 miles downstream from Trinidad, Robinson believed they could recover many stolen animals. [149]

While Robinson was on the Mountain Route, Major Lane received a report that government stock had been stolen near Guadalupita and was being driven into the mountains west of Cimarron. He sent Sergeant Garrett (first name unknown) and ten men from Fort Union in pursuit. At the same time, because of reports that a group of outlaws had their headquarters along the Cimarron River north of old Camp Nichols, Lane sent Lieutenant Campbell and 30 cavalrymen from Maxwell's Ranch at Cimarron along the Cimarron Route of the Santa Fe Trail to search for stolen livestock and arrest the thieves if they could be found. With Frank DeLisle as a guide, Campbell led his detachment to the area near the site of Camp Nichols and began searching some of the canyons. They found a house in the Cimarron Valley and there arrested Samuel Coe (also known as Samuel Cole), took a horse and a mule believed to be stolen, but gathered no information about a gang of thieves. The house was described as being approximately 40 feet long by 20 feet wide, built of stone, with loopholes on all sides. Campbell believed that this might be a possible stopping place for the thieves but that their main headquarters were probably farther north on the Purgatory River. Campbell offered to "send a sufficient force from my company to arrest these parties." [150]

That was not done, however, because troops at Fort Lyon, Colorado Territory, commanded by Captain William Henry Penrose, took over the investigation. Coe was later found innocent, for lack of evidence, and released. He was provided with an army mule to compensate him for the mule taken at the time of his arrest. [151] Two months later it was discovered that Coe or Cole, using at least two aliases, was the leader of a gang of thieves operating in Colorado Territory. In February 1868 soldiers from that post joined with the sheriff from Trinidad and captured a dozen members of the gang of thieves, including Coe, at a place known as Stone Ranch. [152]

While some troops from Fort Union were searching for civilian thieves in the autumn of 1867, others continued to look for Indians who refused to settle down on reservations. On September 21, 1867, as noted above, Captain Wilson led 55 enlisted men of Company D, Third Cavalry, from the post to hunt for "hostile Indians," probably Mescalero Apaches, far to the south (beyond Fort Stanton). Troops from Fort Union were expected to march against Indians wherever they were needed in the district because they were seldom required to perform such service in the immediate vicinity of the post after the Civil War. Wilson's detachment was reinforced by an additional 52 men of Company K, Third Cavalry, at Dog Canon early in October. The latter troops brought a new stock of provisions for the unit. The combined force followed an Indian trail through the Guadalupe and Sacramento mountains and an advance patrol of 43 soldiers attacked a party of 30 to 40 Indians on October 18. [153]

The Indians fled and the soldiers killed six of their number and pursued them for about 15 miles. There the Indians reached the winter encampment of some 300 to 400 Indians, many of whom joined the fight against the troops. Wilson, seeing that his force was greatly outnumbered, retreated to safety. He believed that approximately 25 to 30 Indians had been killed and wounded in the fighting. One soldier was killed and five were wounded. Wilson led his command to Fort Bliss for medical aid and provisions, arriving there on October 24. He then brought the detachment to Fort Stanton, from which he reported to the commander at Fort Union and awaited further orders. His detachment was directed to return to Fort Union, where they arrived on November 12. They had marched 1,097 miles and the horses "were very much worn out." Captain Wilson commended all the men for their performance of duties and especially lauded Sergeants Theodore E. Young and William Jackson for their extraordinary efforts. [154]

After Captain Wilson's command left Fort Union in September, only 24 soldiers remained available for duty, and the only duty performed was guard duty. [155] Even guard duty was suspended a few days later. On September 24, 1867, W. B. Tipton of Tiptonville (located on the Mora River a few miles south of Fort Union) sent word to Major Lane that a boy had been killed by hostile Indians at Tipton's ranch on the Canadian River some 60 miles southeast of Fort Union. Major Lane, who expressed concern that Tipton may have been "misinformed" by his employee who related the report which might be "not true," dispatched Captain William Hawley, Third Cavalry, with all the enlisted men that could be spared from the post to investigate. Lane declared that this left the garrison "stripped pretty clean of troops." He was confident, however, that with the help of "citizens that could be got together, with the convalescent soldiers it is thought that the government and other herds in the vicinity can be taken care of." [156]

Captain Hawley's detachment returned to Fort Union three days later, having found "no trace of the Indians." Major Lane requested Tipton to send a guide, preferably the man who had brought the information to Tipton in the first place, to accompany Captain Hawley on another attempt to find the Indians. Hawley was directed to go to Tipton's ranch on the Canadian and gather as much information as possible about the area and the Indians. [157] The second scouting party was sent out on September 27. Lieutenant Bainbridge, substituting for Captain Hawley, led 25 cavalrymen down the Mora and Canadian, found an Indian trail that was several days' old, pursued it without result for several days, and returned to Fort Union without accomplishing anything. Lane was not happy with this and requested an explanation of the failure. Bainbridge stated that the Indians were on foot and had gone into the mountains where horses could not go. [158] His detachment had enjoyed a few days in the field away from the post.

There were few descriptions of the new post recorded during 1867, but an English scientist, William A. Bell, left an outsider's view after visiting Fort Union in August of that year while accompanying William J. Palmer's Union Pacific Railway survey. Bell's colorful depiction provided a sense of extensive activity that was not communicated in most insipid military reports. Bell may have exaggerated occasionally, but he disclosed an appreciation for the magnitude of enterprise which he viewed as the essence of the composite institution.

Fort Union is a bustling place; it is the largest military establishment to be found on the plains, and is the supply centre from which the forty or fifty lesser posts scattered all over the country within a radius of 500 miles or more, are supplied with men, horses, munitions of war, and often with everything needed for their support. It is not in the least fortified. . . . but it is a vast collection of workshops, storehouses, barracks, officers' quarters, and offices of all kinds belonging to the different departments. The dwellings, although built, as are all other buildings, of sun-dried bricks, are most comfortable. They are roofed with thin iron sheeting. . . . The rooms of the officers are lofty and well-furnished. The hospital, containing about 120 beds, is a very fine building, to which two resident surgeons are attached. A large settler's [sutler's] store must not be forgotten, at which the daily sales average 3,000 dollars. Over 1,000 workmen are here kept constantly employed, building and repairing wagons, gathering in and distributing supplies, making harness, putting up buildings, and attending to the long trains of goods and supplies constantly arriving or departing. . . . Even a traveller cannot help being amazed at the enormous expenditures of money necessary to maintain so large an establishment in such a locality. [159]

Bell never mentioned how nearly finished the third post was. Even though little information was found about the completion of construction work at the third fort in 1867, all civilian employees engaged by the quartermaster department at Fort Union were discharged in September of that year. It may be assumed from that action that the need for their labor on the structures had been concluded. There was, at least, one exception. In December 1867 the chief quartermaster of the district, Major Marshall Independence Ludington, received permission to retain the services of the masons employed on the prison cells (constructed of stone) "until this work is finished." [160] When the prison was finished could not be determined, but it was not "ready for occupancy" by June 10, 1868. It was in use by early July, when one of the first inmates escaped. [161] No description of the third post, after it was occupied, was located until almost two years later. The district commander directed that officers' quarters at the depot, which were not required by the depot staff, were to be temporarily assigned to officers at the post of Fort Union when needed. [162]

With the assignment of a company of Thirty-Seventh Infantry to the garrison at Fort Union, Lieutenant Colonel John R. Brooke of that regiment replaced Major Lane as post commander on October 12, 1867. [163] Shortly thereafter it was learned that treaties were signed with the tribes of the southern plains at Medicine Lodge Creek in Kansas. The October agreements provided that the tribes would move to reservations in present Oklahoma. Even though these treaties were later violated and further warfare was necessary on the plains before the tribes settled on their reservations, it was a sign of hope for the safety of travelers on the overland routes to New Mexico. Troops from New Mexico were called to assist in a campaign against those who refused to accept the assigned reserves late in 1868.

In November 1867 the term of service of the Battalion of New Mexico Volunteers came to an end, and the troops were mustered out of the service. The battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Carson, suffering from the illness which would soon claim his life, ended his distinguished military career on November 22, 1867. He had spent the last few months as post commander at Fort Garland, Colorado Territory, which was within the District of New Mexico. The New Mexico volunteer troops, including Anglos and Hispanos with whom Carson had been associated since the early days of the Civil War, had served their territory and their nation well since the 1850s. They had fought against Confederate troops and Indians, and they had worked on numerous projects, including the building of roads and military posts. They, like other soldiers, had packed and transported supplies, harvested hay, herded livestock, tended gardens, cooked food, hauled water, chopped wood, and guarded public and private property. Many of these New Mexicans had spent some time at Fort Union, and some of them had labored on the earthwork and the third post. Their record, which deserves further study, will always be a significant part of the military history of the Southwest. The remains of Fort Union stand, in part, as a monument to those noteworthy volunteers as well as the regular troops.

While many regular soldiers were prejudiced against volunteers and New Mexicans and portrayed them disparagingly, some regulars left favorable comments. Private Frank Olsmith, who was a member of the escort for the Doolittle Commission and was stationed briefly at Fort Union in the summer of 1865, gave his frank assessment of the volunteers he knew at the post. "At the time we were there," he recalled, "it was garrisoned by a regiment of New Mexico Volunteer Infantry." Actually, only five companies of the First New Mexico Volunteer Infantry were stationed there at the time, along with one company of First New Mexico Volunteer Cavalry, one company of First California Volunteer Cavalry, and one company of the Fifth Infantry. [164] The New Mexico Volunteers, Olsmith continued, were "composed, with a few exceptions, almost wholly of native New Mexicans, including the commissioned officers." He described them favorably. "They were a fine body of men, perfectly drilled and disciplined, and furnished with a brass band, the equal if not the superior of anything we had ever come in contact in the army." [165]

Whether volunteers or regulars, the soldiers required large quantities of firewood during winter months. The third Fort Union, like the first two posts, provided an almost insatiable demand for fuel. Firewood was cut in the Turkey Mountains and hauled to the post, depot, and arsenal. In order to protect that resource from exploitation by citizens, the area was declared a timber reserve in 1868. Before the reserve was created, in the autumn of 1867, a wood camp was established eight miles from the post in the mountains, commanded by Second Lieutenant Adolphus H. Von Luettwitz, Third Cavalry. The number of men assigned to duty there was not determined, but it must have been sizable for the quantity of firewood produced. Late in November Von Luettwitz notified post headquarters that "the very cold weather requires me to build loghouses for myself and command." He requested necessary supplies to do that, estimating that it could be done in about four days. During that time, he reported, "I will be able to send about 20 wagon loads of wood to the post daily." As soon as the quarters were done, he promised "about 30 wagon loads every day." [166]

A week later the post quartermaster, Lieutenant Bainbridge, reported that 40 wagons had gone to the wood camp "this morning, for wood." [167] Later in December, Second Lieutenant James Riley, Thirty-Seventh Infantry, was ordered to replace Von Luettwitz as commander of the wood camp and report daily to post headquarters of the number of wagon loads of wood provided. [168] Riley, who was suffering from "a severe case of bronchitis," refused for reasons of health to go to the wood camp. Post Surgeon Peters, however, saw no reason why Riley could not command the wood camp and "at the same time take every precaution to guard his health." Riley, who had seen volunteer service during the Civil War and had received his commission on March 7, 1867, still refused and was placed under house arrest, charged with disobedience, and later dismissed from the service. It is not known if Riley was a religious man or if he was looking for some way to get out of his quarters for awhile when he requested permission to attend church on Christmas Day 1867. In January Riley was reprimanded for not wearing the "prescribed uniform" of his office. [169] Riley may have been the only officer ever removed from the army for refusing to command a wood detail. In Riley's stead, Second Lieutenant Robinson was sent to command the wood camp. [170] Officers and men were rotated approximately once each month at the wood camp, which was utilized throughout the year. It would be interesting to know how many acres of trees were consumed by the fireplaces and stoves of Fort Union during 40 years. After the railroad reached the area in 1879, coal was also used as fuel at the post. The availability of timber was always a strong point in any argument for the location and retention of the post at Fort Union.

Chopping wood was apparently one of the major activities at Fort Union during the winter of 1867-1868, for there were few demands on the garrison for military operations until March 1868. The mission then was to provide aid to civil authorities in southern Colorado Territory where lawless elements had gained substantial power. Colorado Governor Frank Hall explained the inability of the sheriff and courts to control the situation at and around Trinidad, where a small body of troops from Fort Lyon had been temporarily encamped after arresting Coe and some of his gang of thieves. Hall called for additional military assistance to bring the criminals to justice and restore the security of citizens, in his words, "to bring order out of the present chaos." Governor Hall appealed for a full company of troops to be stationed at Trinidad, available as needed to assist the sheriff and the courts. [171] A petition of citizens from Trinidad for a military force sufficient to preserve order was also submitted. [172]

Because General Pope, commander of the Department of the Missouri in 1866, had extended the boundary of the District of New Mexico to include the area of southern Colorado Territory where the trouble was located, [173] troops from Fort Union were sent to deal with the problem. Company A, Third Cavalry, under command of Captain Hawley, was dispatched on March 22 "with instructions to assist the civil authorities as a posse when called upon." They were supplied from Fort Union. [174]

Captain Hawley reported on his arrival at Trinidad at the end of March 1868 that the neighborhood was quiet and "business goes on smoothly." Coe and the other prisoners had been sent from Fort Lyon to Pueblo for trial. Hawley noted that "the bitter feeling existing between the Americans and Mexicans" appeared to be an important cause of lawlessness and the potential for further violence. Second Lieutenant Leonard Wightman, Third Cavalry, serving as Hawley's adjutant at the camp, reported to the Fort Union adjutant, Second Lieutenant Albert Douglas King, that "the country still swarms with outlaws and murderers." The troops were essential, in his point of view, to prevent "an open war." [175]

The company remained in camp near Trinidad and kept a close eye on the area. Because the sheriff and his deputies were attending the trial of Coe and his cohorts at Pueblo, the troops were expected to maintain order. No surgeon had been sent with the troops because it was anticipated they could acquire the services of a civilian physician at Trinidad. There was no medical practitioner in that community. Wightman did not consider that a problem so long as the troops remained healthy. A contract surgeon, R. H. Longwill, was sent to Maxwell's Ranch for duty with the company of Third Cavalry stationed there, and he was to be called upon by the troops at Trinidad if needed. It was later found when medical treatment was required that Dr. Longwill was not readily available, and Captain Hawley requested that a surgeon be stationed with his company at Trinidad. [176]

The presence of the troops continued to suppress lawless acts at Trinidad. Some of the soldiers accompanied a deputy in the search for "notable characters." Captain Hawley reported that "the Mexicans in Trinidad have all been disarmed, and I hardly think they will attempt to make any further trouble." He believed "the tide of the emigration" would "within a year settle the whole question," implying that the influx of Anglo-Americans would ultimately bring law and order. Coe was charged with three murders and the evidence was such that "there seems hardly a doubt about his conviction." Hawley anticipated that the conviction of the criminals would help repress "these dishonest transactions as well as to weaken the inducement, and pecuniary benefit to horse thieving." [177]

As more arrests were made, the civil authorities became more confident and the citizens felt more secure. Hawley had information that horse thieves were moving their "field of operations" to New Mexico Territory. By May 1 he was confident that law and order had been restored. [178] Because it appeared the troops were no longer required to reinforce civil authorities, the company at Trinidad was sent to take post at Maxwell's Ranch at Cimarron, relieving Company F, Third Cavalry, that was stationed there. [179] The primary assignment at Cimarron continued to be overseeing the subsistence of the Jicarillas and Utes, but these troops were also available to assist civil authorities.

While Company A was at Trinidad, the troops at the Fort Union outpost at Maxwell's Ranch had been called upon to quell a near outbreak of violence at the new mining camp of Elizabethtown, located on the Maxwell Land Grant approximately 30 miles in the mountains northwest from Maxwell's headquarters on the Cimarron River. A prospector, W. W. Henderson, reportedly killed an unidentified man at Humbug Gulch near Elizabethtown on April 9, 1868. Henderson went to Elizabethtown to surrender to authorities, but a mob of some 80 "well armed men" threatened to execute him without benefit of a trial. A messenger was sent to Captain Wall at Maxwell's Ranch, requesting assistance. A sergeant and ten men were sent immediately and made an overnight march to Elizabethtown, arriving early on April 10. The mob was dispersed and Henderson was taken to Maxwell's Ranch by the detachment. One of the soldiers "drowned in one of the crossings of the Cimarron" on the return trip. [180]

Captain Wall's quick action was approved by Fort Union Commander Brooke. Wall was authorized to respond to any request for assistance from an authorized civil officer "to help enforce good order, civil law, and the preservation of the peace." Whenever troops were sent to assist civil officials, they were to "act solely under the orders of the authority requesting such help." [181] Following the transfer of the troops from Trinidad to Maxwell's Ranch, the soldiers were still authorized to provide assistance to the sheriff at Trinidad if requested. [182]

The outpost at the Cimarron Agency remained under the jurisdiction of Fort Union and continued to draw all supplies from the mother post. When the district inspector, Major Andrew Wallace Evans, visited the "cantonment" in June 1868, he found Captain William Hawley, Company A, Third Cavalry, in command of 60 officers and men, including Surgeon Longwill. The buildings were located at the foot of a hill on the left bank the Cimarron River, enclosed by a fence. The structures had been erected by Captain Wall and Company F, Third Cavalry, and included a number of "log huts," one of which was used as a hospital, with dirt roofs and floors, all of which were "very leaky and uncomfortable." Three of the huts were occupied by officers, seven by enlisted men, and "some" by laundresses. The surgeon lived in a hospital tent. Some laundresses and the company gardener were also housed in tents. Other huts were used for the company kitchen, bake house, storehouse, and guardhouse. There was a long stable ("in jacal style"), a chicken coop, and shops for saddler, farmer, blacksmith, and carpenter. Because the shops were so poorly equipped (the saddler's shop had tools but "no leather"), much of the repair work for the outpost was done at Maxwell's blacksmith shop. There were no sinks and an "open trench or ditch" was "used for the purpose." Water for the camp was hauled from the river in barrels. There was a flag staff but no flag was available. The company garden was "rather weedy" and had been damaged by a recent hail storm. [183]

In addition to commanding the outpost, Captain Hawley was responsible for the distribution of rations to the Utes and Apaches served by the Cimarron Agency. Indian supplies were kept in a log storehouse located on the right bank of the Cimarron and west of Maxwell's mill. That storehouse had several rooms, one of which was used for an office and another for the meetings of the Good Templars. A non-commissioned officer and three privates were employed at the storehouse and lived in the building. There was also a small herd of beef cattle kept nearby for issue to the Indians. The inspector concluded that "the position of the post is not considered a good one; nor its necessity here, at all, clearly seen." He thought the troops might better be accommodated at Fort Union, from where they might still oversee the issue of rations to the Indians, who were considered friendly at the time. [184] Despite Evans's recommendation, the outpost was occupied until October 1870. The troops there, as well as at Fort Union, were involved in suppressing civil conflicts in the area.

The decline of Indian resistance in northeastern New Mexico and southern Colorado made possible an increase of Anglo and Hispanic settlements. At the same time, the disarray of land titles in the region provided a potential for violence. The opening of mining camps and increasing opportunities for lawlessness contributed to the need for stronger institutions of law enforcement. From the late 1860s to the late 1880s, the troops at Fort Union were available to assist with such problems and their mission to keep the peace in the territory expanded to encompass more civil disturbances. Thus many military operations were not directed toward Indians but against unlawful elements. The troops at the post continued to provide escorts for supply trains, military officers, and civil officials traveling in the region.

When General William T. Sherman, head of the peace commission which signed a treaty with the Sioux on the northern plains in 1868, brought the same commission to New Mexico in the spring of that year to meet with the Navajos and arrange for their return to a reservation in their homeland from the reserve at Bosque Redondo, soldiers from Fort Union escorted the commissioners. Troops from Fort Union also helped escort the Navajos to their new reservation. [185] Major Whiting, Third Cavalry, who had become commander of Fort Union on May 12 when Lieutenant Colonel Brooke departed for court-martial duty at Santa Fe, was placed in charge of moving the Navajos. [186] A train of 50 six-mule wagons was dispatched from the depot at Fort Union to transport provisions for the traveling Indians and soldiers and to carry the "sick and feeble of the tribe." [187] The Navajos reached Albuquerque on July 8 and it took four days for them to cross the Rio Grande there. [188] Within a year after they arrived at their reservation, Fort Sumner at Bosque Redondo was abandoned as a military post. [189]

There were still occasional Indian attacks near Fort Union. Vicente Romero, probate judge of Mora County, reported that Indians (believed to be Mescalero Apaches) had killed a "Mexican" a few miles from the town of Mora on June 11, 1868. Romero asked that troops be sent in pursuit of the Indians, and he offered armed citizens from the community to join in the search. [190] The Indians were not found. When it was confirmed that the Mescaleros were raiding near Mora, the commander at Fort Bascom was instructed to send pickets out to attempt to intercept the Mescaleros when they returned to their homeland. It was not determined if any of the Mescaleros were seen, but the pickets were kept out for several weeks. [191]

The district inspector made an official visit to the post and depot at Fort Union in the spring of 1868. The report on the commissary depot was "most favourable in all its parts & satisfactory in every particular." [192] The evaluations of the quartermaster depot and the depot of clothing, camp, and garrison equipage were both "favourable and satisfactory." [193] The conditions at the post were not so favorable. The general appearance of the post was "disfigured by numerous structures of logs, &c in its vicinity, occupied by employees & others." There were "heaps of rubbish, and manure in vicinity." There were livestock corrals close to the hospital. The bake oven was "imperfect and weak." Private horses were being kept in public corrals. The condition of arms was only "fair," the condition of equipment was "tolerable only," and the police of quarters was "tolerably" good. There were no dress parades, no drills, and no target practice for the troops. Military instruction was termed "indifferent." Colonel Getty hoped that there would occur "a speedy and thorough correction" of the situation. [194] A later inspection of the troops at Maxwell's Ranch found similar conditions. [195]

Colonel William Babcock Hazen, Thirty-Eighth Infantry, replaced Colonel Getty temporarily as district commander in July, while Getty made a trip to Fort Wallace, Kansas. Getty returned and resumed command on August 16. When Colonel William N. Grier, Third Cavalry, arrived in the district in July, he was assigned the command of Fort Union, replacing Lieutenant Colonel Brooke on July 12. Brooke was sent to command Fort Stanton. [196] Grier had served in New Mexico in the 1840s and 1850s and was expected to improve conditions at Fort Union.

One of the first changes made by Colonel Grier was the installation of a new "privy on the south side of the post" because "two more companies will soon be here and it will be needed." [197] Company I, Third Cavalry arrived August 4, and Company K, Thirty-Seventh Infantry, came on November 3. [198] It could not be determined from available records how many privies were at the post, but the availability and cleanliness of latrines was extremely important to the overall sanitation and comfort of the garrison. Although these facilities were seldom mentioned in reports on buildings at military posts, they were essential.

A few months later, Colonel Grier directed that the manure from officers' private horses and cows kept in the yards behind their quarters was to be picked up by their servants and "carried beyond the pond running in rear of the Post" each morning and evening. From that point it would be "removed by the prisoners." [199] It may be assumed that similar measures were taken to dispose of the manure of public animals at the post, thereby improving the general sanitation of the garrison.

During the summer of 1868 a major Indian war erupted on the plains, threatening the railroad construction crews and wagon roads. Fort Union was too far from the scene of action to be involved until plans were formed by General Philip H. Sheridan to launch a winter campaign against the southern plains tribes in the autumn. Sheridan planned a three-pronged invasion of the Indians' winter camps in present Oklahoma, with one force marching south from Fort Dodge in Kansas, a second force marching southeast from Fort Lyon in Colorado Territory, and the third marching east from Fort Bascom in New Mexico Territory. Three companies of the Third Cavalry and one company of the Thirty-Seventh Infantry were sent from Fort Union to Bascom to participate in that campaign. [200]

The effectiveness of winter campaigns had been demonstrated in New Mexico by Carleton and Carson, and the tactic was also successful on the plains. Major Andrew Wallace Evans, Third Cavalry, commanded the column of 563 men with four mountain howitzers which left Fort Bascom on November 18. Major Eugene Asa Carr, Fifth Cavalry, led the column of approximately 650 men from Fort Lyon on December 2. Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, Seventh Cavalry, was given command of the column from Fort Dodge, which established Camp Supply in present Oklahoma and marched on to attack the Cheyennes at the Washita on November 27. The other two columns had no similar engagement, but their presence helped force many of the plains Indians to settle on their reservations. Because the Comancheros were believed to encourage the Comanches and others to raid in order to have livestock to trade to the New Mexicans, General Sheridan directed that any New Mexican traders found east of the eastern border of New Mexico Territory would have their goods destroyed and their stock killed. [201] Some of the plains Indians still refused to abandon their old way of life on the plains, where they returned from their assigned reservations in 1869 to face defeat at the hands of soldiers on several occasions. The end of Indian resistance was in sight, although there were occasional outbreaks from the reservations during the 1870s. [202] Notwithstanding the fact that they were situated on the periphery of plains warfare, troops from Fort Union participated in the campaigns which brought down the tribes of the southern plains as well as the belligerent Apaches in New Mexico.

Those who remained behind during those campaigns continued to face the realities of garrison life. Late in 1868 Lieutenant Joseph J. Ennis, Third Cavalry, found the quarters occupied by his family at Fort Union, which had been completed a little over a year previous, "in a deplorable condition, the greater portion of the ceilings being down, the roof in several places leaking to such an extent as to render it unhealthy to live in some of the rooms and the doors front and rear, without fastenings." He claimed to have "applied several times" to the quartermaster to have repairs made but nothing had been done. He therefore directed his complaint to the post adjutant, Lieutenant John Charles Thompson. Thompson sent the request to Captain George W. Bradley, depot and post quartermaster, and Bradley replied that the roof had been repaired and locks were ordered to be installed. The plaster could not be repaired because no one was available who could do the work. [203]

Captain Bradley reported early in December 1868 that the logs which had been used to construct the old post corral were "all rotten and liable to break down at any time." The corral was not worth repairing, and Bradley recommended that it be torn down and the wood used as fuel at the post. [204] That corral may have been one of those old log structures that, as the district inspector had noted a few months earlier, "disfigured" the appearance of the post. Colonel Grier approved the request, directing that the wood from the old corral be issued to the troops for fuel and "that such action be taken at once." [205] It was not clear if a new corral was constructed to replace it.

The troops sent from Fort Union to participate in the winter campaign returned to the post in February 1869. Some companies were assigned to different stations, and the Fort Union garrison at the end of February was comprised of Companies D, G, and I, Third Cavalry, and Companies B, H, and K, Thirty-Seventh Infantry. Company K, Thirty-Seventh Infantry, commanded by Lieutenant Oliver Phelps, was sent to occupy the outpost at the Cimarron Agency (Maxwell's Ranch) on February 20, relieving Company A, Third Cavalry, which was sent to Fort Sumner. The aggregate garrison at Fort Union at the end of February was 467, of whom 299 were available for duty. [206] The duties were routine at the post, with occasional opportunities for escort assignments and investigating reports of Indians.

In March 1869 a small party of five Comanche and two Kiowa chiefs (one of whom was reportedly the brother of Satanta) and two women came to Santa Fe to seek a peace agreement. They agreed to go to the reservation at Fort Cobb in present Oklahoma, but the superintendent of Indian affairs in New Mexico asked them to remain until he could telegraph the commissioner of Indian affairs for instructions. The Indians, however, departed, leaving their horses, and were believed to be going to Chaparita. A detachment of troops was sent from Fort Union to Chaparita to take them prisoners. While the soldiers were on that mission, the Indians came to Fort Union on their own accord. It was believed they may have been responsible for the murder of eight citizens some 60 miles east of Fort Bascom some 10 days earlier. Therefore, they were held at Fort Union as prisoners of war and, later, sent under guard to Fort Leavenworth. [207]

Plan of Fort Union In 1869, at the time Captain George W. Bradley and Lieutenant Colonel Neison H. Davis reported on the structures there. Some facilities were not shown on the plan, including a hay and wood yard located east (above) the quartermaster corrals, machine shop and lumberyard, and the post trader's store. Misc. Fortifications File, Cartographic Branch, RG 77, National Archives. (click on image for an enlargement in a new window)

Source: Misc. Fortifications File, Cartographic Branch, RG 77, National Archives.

Source: Misc. Fortifications File, Cartographic Branch, RG 77, National Archives.

Source: Misc. Fortifications File, Cartographic Branch, RG 77, National Archives

In May 1869 the buildings at Fort Union, some of which were already in need of repair, were described by Captain Bradley, depot quartermaster. He stated that "all buildings at the post are completed and no others are anticipated." All the quarters and barracks, shops, and storerooms were built of adobes on stone foundations, with brick copings and tin roofs. The stables were built of wood on stone foundations, with shingled roofs. The hospital was adobe on a stone foundation, with a shingled roof. The depot quartermaster believed "All are in a very good state of repair." [208] Some of the residents of the buildings would have disagreed about the condition. [209] Bradley provided the first summary of the facilities at the third post since the original plan of construction was completed.

This plan was the same as that of the commanding officer at the garrison, it was accompanied by the following statement of Captain H. J. Farnsworth, depot quartermaster in charge of construction, Feb. 1, 1866: "The Building represented by drawing . . . is one of three which are In course of construction at this Depot for use of Depot Officers. The Building is one story high, Adobe wails, 18 inches thick, stone foundation, tin roof, a battlement or cornice of brick (to protect adobes from action of water) 18 inches in height, 18 inches thick. Portal of wood in front. The building was commenced in July 1865 and completed February 1st 1866, the remaining two were commenced in August last, and will be completed March 1st 1886. The whole three are to be enclosed in rear by an Adobe wall 8 feet high, and 18 inches thick, built upon stone foundation. Each building will have cost when completed, including Adobe wall in rear, outbuildings, and cost of transportation upon building materials $9,324.00. After the adobe walls of the houses were laid, work upon them was discontinued for some months in order that the adobes might settle, which will account for the seeming long time which elapsed between their commencement, and completion." Misc. Fortifications File, Cartographic Branch, National Archives.

There were eight officers' quarters (each 56 x 54 x 15 feet with six rooms), a commanding officer's quarters (76 x 54 x 15 feet with eight rooms), two infantry barracks (64 x 76 x 15 feet), two cavalry barracks (same dimensions), and a post bakery (no dimensions given). There were two corrals, each of which had buildings attached which served a variety of occupants. The post corral (410 x 291.5 x 15 feet), contained stables for 100 mules, quarters for 40 teamsters and laborers, one blacksmith shop, one carpenter shop, one wheelwright shop, six laundresses quarters, one guardhouse, one library, one quartermaster storeroom (30 x 40 x 15 feet) being used as the post chapel, two commissary storerooms (30 x 50 feet), one commissary storeroom (15 x 25 x 14 feet), one quartermaster storeroom (30 x 75 x 14 feet), an office for post commissary (two rooms, each 12 x 15 feet), an office for post quartermaster (two rooms, each 12 x 15 feet). The cavalry corral (410 x 291.5 x 15 feet), contained stables for 200 horses, [210] offices for the post adjutant and regimental adjutant, a sergeant major's room, a quartermaster sergeant's room, a saddler sergeant's room, the band leader's room, three rooms for the band, a kitchen for non-commissioned officers and the band, the stone prison, two rooms occupied by cavalry company quartermaster sergeants & company saddlers, the cavalry companies' grain room (capacity of 5,000 bushels), company blacksmith shops, and a room for the corral guard. The hospital measured 58 x 80 x 15 feet and had accommodations for 100 patients. [211]

The supply depot buildings were described by Lieutenant Colonel Nelson H. Davis, inspector general's department, in September 1869. [212] There were three depot officers' quarters and three depot office buildings, adobe on stone foundations with brick coping and tin roofs, "in good condition and repair." These were approximately the same size as the officers' quarters at the post (the quarters for the depot quartermaster and depot commissary officers may have been similar to the commanding officer's quarters at the post). There were three quartermaster storehouses, one 20 x 200 feet and two 40 x 200 feet, each built of adobe on stone foundations with brick coping and tin roofs. The small storehouse was divided into several rooms, and the others were divided into two large rooms with a passageway across the center of the building 20 feet in width. One of the large storehouses was damaged because of "the large amount of stores necessarily placed therein." The west end had bulged out several inches, there was some settling in the walls, the floor had settled in places, and, because of the settling, the roof was not level and the tin had buckled in places, letting water leak into the storehouse when it rained.

There were two commissary storehouses, each 40 x 200 feet, one of which had a cellar 36 x 107 feet under the west half. The grain storehouses, number and size not given, were "ample, and in good condition." The several shops, number and size not given, were "capacious, convenient, and in good condition." The steam engine and machine shop was located about 500 yards east of the other depot buildings. The engine, 15.5 horsepower from the Fulton Works, St. Louis, had been installed in 1866. It pumped water and operated a number of woodworking machines. A lumber yard, enclosed by a board fence, adjoined this shop. The quartermaster corrals were "large and commodious." The stables were sheds built of lumber. There were "rows of quarters for employes constructed of slabs, pickets, etc., covered with dirt, which are in a dilapidated state, and without repairs can hardly be expected to be of service much longer." There was a "large wagon yard enclosed with pickets, recently constructed by Capt. Bradley for parking trains."

Captain H. J. Farnsworth submitted the following explanation with this plan on Feb. 1, 1866: "The Building and Lumberyard . . . was commenced January 25th and will be completed by the 28th of February 1866. The Building will be used for Planing, Morticing, and Framing Machine, & Saw Mill, it is 1-1/2 stories high, and constructed entirely of wood, with cellar for shafting as shown by plan. The Lumberyard for storing Lumber. The Building has been removed some 400 yards from the main Depot Buildings, as a measure of safety from fire. It will cost completed (building & fence) $2,870.00." Misc. Fortifications File, Cartographic Branch, RG 77, National Archives.

Davis was concerned that there was insufficient protection from fire at the post and depot and noted that a steam-powered fire engine was to be ordered from Philadelphia. He recommended, however, that the fire engine at Fort Harker, Kansas, where it was not needed, be shipped to Fort Union. Davis found only one cistern in good repair at the post, located between the depot quarters and storehouses with a capacity of 16,000 gallons of water. He strongly urged that several additional cisterns, authorized in the spring of 1869 but not begun because of a shortage of laborers and masons, be completed as soon as possible. The plans called for three at the depot and five at the post, each with a capacity of 10,000 gallons. These cisterns would provide a reservoir for fighting fires. In September, perhaps while Davis was at Fort Union, Colonel Getty authorized the employment of two masons and six laborers "for a sufficient time to complete the construction of the cisterns at Fort Union." [213]

The main water supply for the depot came from one well situated in the enclosure formed by the quartermaster workshops, 85 feet deep with 30 feet of water in it, which had a force pump operated by two mules. A similar well was located near the post company barracks. Neither well could be pumped dry with the available equipment. Davis recommended that wooden water towers be constructed at each of the wells, to provide a pressure system for the post and depot, and that water then be piped in iron pipes throughout the complex to hydrants which, with hoses, could be used to fight fires wherever they should occur. [214] Most of Davis's recommendations for improvements at Fort Union were approved by Inspector General Jas. A. Hardie, Assistant Quartermaster General Daniel H. Rucker, and Lieutenant General Philip H. Sheridan, commander of the Military Division of the Missouri. [215] General Sheridan was not of the opinion, however, that Fort Union was a necessary or desirable post.

My own opinion of Fort Union, [he wrote,] without having seen it, is that it has grown into proportions which never at any time were warranted by the wants of the public service. Quartemasters and Commanding Officers have gone on increasing and building up an unnecessary post, until it has become, by the unnecessary waste of public money, an eye-sore. I do not accord with the opinion of any one as to its military bearings for protection as field operations, nor do I see any necessity for it as a Depot. I only approve the recommendations of General Rucker, thinking it may save perishable Government property stored there. [216]

As a result of Sheridan's disparaging assessment, Adjutant General Edward D. Townsend ordered that further construction at Fort Union be suspended. [217] This proved to be only a lull in the history of the third Fort Union.

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Last Updated: 09-Jul-2005