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By early 1851 Indian raids in New Mexico and along the Santa Fe Trail demanded that something more be done by the troops stationed in the region. [1] A change of administration in the military department, commanded by Colonel John Munroe, [2] was deemed necessary, according to Secretary of War C. M. Conrad, because "the Indians had become so bold as to commit their depredations within a few miles of the military posts." In addition, he lamented, "I regret to say that in no instance was their audacity chastised." This information was clearly based on Inspector George A. McCall's assessment of the previous year. The war department turned to an officer with lengthy experience on the frontier and previous service in New Mexico, Edwin Vose Sumner. [3]

On March 12, 1851, Lieutenant Colonel Sumner was relieved of command of the First Dragoons at St. Louis. [4] On March 29, 1851, orders were sent to Colonel Munroe to inform him that he would be replaced as commander of the Ninth Military Department. [5] On the same day Adjutant General Roger Jones notified Sumner that he was to "proceed to New Mexico without unnecessary delay" and assume command of the department. He outlined some of the goals expected of Sumner. [6]

Jones made it clear that "there is reason to believe that the stations at present occupied by the troops in the 9th Department, are not the best for the protection of the frontiers against the inroads of the Indians." He directed Sumner to reorganize the distribution of troops and to "use sound discretion in making such changes, as upon becoming acquainted with the country, you may deem necessary and proper." In an attempt to fill the companies of artillery, infantry, and dragoons in New Mexico, providing additional manpower to face the marauding Indians, Sumner was to be accompanied on his march from Fort Leavenworth by 642 recruits. In addition Sumner was "specially directed to carry into immediate and it is hoped successful operation" a recent order requiring military posts in the West to establish farms in an attempt to reduce expenditures. [7] On April 1, 1851, Secretary of War C. M. Conrad confirmed what Jones had written and ordered Sumner to travel to New Mexico "as early as practicable." [8]

Before he left St. Louis, Sumner requested that all the officers who belonged in the Ninth Military Department, many of whom were absent on leave, be ordered to return to lead their troops. He did not understand how he could accomplish everything expected of him in New Mexico without the officers being there. When he was offered a portion of the Regiment of Mounted Riflemen to bolster the number of troops in New Mexico, Sumner (perhaps showing his prejudices as an old dragoon) remarked that he did "not want any part of the rifle regiment." In fact, he declared to Adjutant General Jones, "if I needed more mounted troops, I should not wish to have them, for although they can be made good riflemen, it will take a long time to make them good horsemen, and I would rather take that regiment on foot, for any service whatever, than to have it mounted." [9] Sumner did not arrive in Santa Fe until July 1851, when the change in command of the department actually occurred.

Meanwhile Colonel Munroe had started the search for a site east of Santa Fe for the location of the department's quartermaster depot, where supplies could be received from Fort Leavenworth and distributed to posts throughout the department. That recommendation had been made the year before by Inspector George A. McCall. [10] Whether it was McCall's recommendation, Munroe's realization that both economy and efficiency would be served by the location of a quartermaster depot along the Santa Fe Trail in eastern New Mexico, or both, in March 1851 Munroe sent Captain Langdon C. Easton, quartermaster department, and Lieutenant John G. Parke, topographical engineers, to "examine the country in the vicinity of Las Vegas and on the Moro Creek with a view of selecting a site for the establishment of a depot for supplies coming from the U.S." [11] In addition, they were directed by Colonel Munroe to "make a reconnaissance of the country from the Rayado to Point of Rocks and report as to the probability of making a Wagon Road between those places." [12]

That reconnaissance was completed by April 14. Captain Easton and Lieutenant Parke considered Rayado a poor location for troops because the site provided a limited view of the surrounding area and Indians could approach close to it without being seen. Also, in their opinion, Rayado Creek did not provide sufficient water for a large garrison. They recommended that a permanent post be established about ten miles north of Rayado along the Cimarron River where everything needed for a garrison was available. Troops stationed there would be able to protect both major routes of the Santa Fe Trail and settlements in the region. [13] Their suggestion was not followed, but it should be noted that Lucien Maxwell moved his headquarters from Rayado to the Cimarron River, establishing what became the present town of Cimarron, New Mexico, and troops were later stationed there (usually as an outpost of Fort Union). The owners of Barclay's Fort, located near the Mora River, had offered to sell their post to the government, but the facility, according to Inspector McCall, writing in 1850, was insufficient for the army's needs and the owners were asking more money than he thought it was worth. [14]

The location of Barclay's trading post, near the point where the Cimarron and Mountain routes of the Santa Fe Trail joined, recommended it for a military post and depot, according to McCall, but he thought Las Vegas was a better location. Las Vegas already had adequate storehouses but more would have to be built at Barclay's Fort. The adobe trading post was not large enough to accommodate more than one company of dragoons and their horses. There was no timber close to the fort. Therefore McCall recommended against the site. [15]

This information about possible sites should have been available to Colonel Sumner when he assumed command of the department in July 1851, and his immediate actions upon taking command appeared to follow many of McCall's recommendations. Sumner was not unfamiliar with New Mexico, for he had commanded a portion of Kearny's Army of the West in 1846 and marched with the troops to New Mexico over the nascent Mountain Route of the Santa Fe Trail. On that expedition, he had camped on August 12, 1846, with the Army of the West at a place known as Los Pozos, natural pools of water located several miles northwest of the confluence of the Sapello and Mora rivers along Wolf Creek (also known as Coyote Creek and, occasionally, as Dog Creek). One of the finest descriptions of these important pools or ponds, which were fed by springs, was provided by Governor William Carr Lane in the summer of 1852, when he described Los Pozos as "a chain of pools of clear water in basins which have been scooped out of the volcanic rock—probably by the torrents of ages upon ages—from the surrounding mountains." [16]

Sumner may have passed Los Pozos again when he marched back to Fort Leavenworth from Santa Fe. The area of Los Pozos took on new significance when Sumner selected it as the location for the headquarters and supply depot of the Ninth Military Department and established Fort Union there. It was important because of the supply of water in an arid land, but it was also a strategic location near the junction of the Cimarron and Bent's Fort (later Mountain) routes of the Santa Fe Trail, near the trail across the mountains from the Mora River valley to the Rio Grande valley, and near settlements threatened by the Jicarilla Apaches, including Rayado, Mora, and Las Vegas.

Because serious Indian problems persisted in much of New Mexico and the cost of maintaining troops in the Ninth Military Department was considered excessive, Secretary Conrad advised Sumner "that material changes ought to be made in that department, both with a view of a more efficient protection of the country, and to a diminution of expense." To achieve goals of increased protection and improved economy, Sumner was authorized to "immediately, on assuming command, revise the whole system of defence" in New Mexico and, regarding the location of posts in the department, "to examine particularly whether the posts now occupied by the troops are the most suitable, and if not, will make such changes as you may deem advisable." [17]

Sumner was given three guidelines to govern his selection of sites for posts. First, troops should be distributed to protect the settlements of New Mexico. Second, they should be located to provide defense of Mexican territory across the border from Indians in the United States, as required by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. Third, he was to consider "economy and facility in supporting the troops, particularly in regard to forage, fuel and adaptation of the surrounding country to cultivation." [18] Economy was to be gained, in part, by having soldiers grow some of their own food supply.

Secretary Conrad declared, as Colonel McCall had emphasized in his report of inspection of the troops in New Mexico, that the "economy and efficiency" of the army in New Mexico might be improved by relocating the troops from the towns where most were stationed to positions "nearer the Indians" they were expected to control. Peace could not be achieved, Conrad believed, until the Navajos, Utes, and Apaches had felt "the power of our arms" and received "severe chastisement." Treaties would have to be negotiated from positions of power, and Sumner was authorized to hold hostages from the tribes until terms had been worked out by the superintendent of Indian affairs in the territory and agreed upon by the leaders of the respective tribes. [19]

Economy measures expected from the new department commander included a close look at the quartermaster and subsistence departments to see where savings could be made, the discharge of as many civilian employees as possible, reduction of the costs of daily rations, and the cultivation of post gardens and farms. In a major effort to reduce the cost of feeding troops in the Far West, the army had already determined to turn frontier soldiers into farmers. [20] To facilitate the execution of that order in New Mexico, Sumner was promised "such seed, agricultural implements, &c., as you may require." [21]

Lieutenant Colonel Sumner made preparations at Fort Leavenworth for his march to New Mexico over the Santa Fe Trail, a trip which he and his escort of more than 600 recruits (going to fill the "skeleton" companies of artillery, dragoons, and infantry in the territory) began on May 26, 1851. Officers, some of whom would become Sumner's staff in New Mexico, included Surgeon Alfred W. Kennedy, Assistant Surgeon William Hammon Tingley, Majors George A. H. Blake and Francis A. Cunningham, Captains Don C. Buell, Ebenezer S. Sibley, Israel B. Richardson, Philip R. Thompson, and James H. Carleton, and Lieutenants John Pope, John C. Moore, and Robert Ransom. Major Daniel H. Rucker, quartermaster department, and Captain Isaac Bowen, commissary department, followed a few days behind the column with wagon trains of provisions and livestock. Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Swords, quartermaster department, accompanied Sumner's command to New Mexico where he was to inspect all the military posts. [22] Several of these officers later served at Fort Union.

Sumner's command was plagued with the dreaded cholera before it departed from Fort Leavenworth until it reached the Arkansas River, during which time about 35 men, including Surgeon Alfred W. Kennedy, died. [23] Charlotte Sibley, wife of Captain Sibley, later wrote about the "tedious" journey on the Santa Fe Trail: "Thanks to a merciful providence our health was spared though for the first three weeks the cholera raged among the troops and one of the officers, Dr. Kennedy, died after a few hours sickness. As soon as we reached the Arkansas it disappeared for then the water was pure and wholesome." [24] Dr. Kennedy died June 3, and the only other army physician on the trip, Dr. Tingley, was attacked by the same illness. Sumner declared on his arrival at Council Grove that the fear of cholera led to "many desertions" in his command, especially after the surgeons contracted the disease. [25]

The cholera was slowly left behind as the troops marched westward. Lieutenant Pope never stated that his illness was cholera, but H. H. Green later recalled that Pope "was the last to be taken down with the fell disease . . . and Dr. Barney Barry plastered him with mustard from his neck to his heels until he resembled a bronze statue" while Pope "complained that the remedy was worse than the disease." Green confirmed that the remainder of the trip was free from cholera. [26] Lieutenant Pope declared the command suffered from "so disproportionate & insufficient a medical force," that "the numerous desertions which occurred are, in my opinion, entirely attributable to this fact." He reported that desertions increased in proportion to the cases of cholera, stating that the recruits left in groups of three or four at a time. The large number of deaths, according to Pope, "cast a gloom over the command, which for a long time rendered the march one of the most melancholy it has ever been my lot to witness." [27]

Edwin Vose Sumner John Pope
Edwin Vose Sumner, photo taken during Civil War when he was a general, more than a decade after he established Fort Union in 1851. Sumner died in 1863. U. S. Signal Corps Photo (Brady Collection), courtesy of National Archives. John Pope, photo taken during or after Civil War when he was a general. After the Civil War Pope commanded the Department of the Missouri which included New Mexico and Fort Union, courtesy of Kansas State Historical Society

Pope noted in his journal that Richard H. Weightman and his family and New Mexico's Chief Justice Grafton Baker had joined Sumner's column at Council Grove. [28] Dr. Tingley, suffering from the effects of cholera, was left at Fort Atkinson (established by Lieutenant Colonel Sumner west of present Dodge City, Kansas, near the Arkansas River on August 8, 1850). Tingley was expected to proceed to New Mexico with Major Rucker and the quartermaster supply train when he had recovered sufficiently to continue, but the physician apparently had enough of the West and headed eastward as soon as he was able to travel. He resigned from the army December 2, 1851. A private physician, Edmund I. Barry from Ireland, had somehow joined Sumner's party (perhaps at Council Grove). When the column left Council Grove he was employed as surgeon for the remainder of the trip to Santa Fe via Bent's Old Fort and Raton Pass. [29]

Sumner's column arrived at Fort Atkinson on June 20, 1851. Indian Agent Thomas Fitzpatrick was there to meet with leaders of several plains tribes, and many Indians were gathered nearby. Pope stated that there were "large encampments of Camanches, Cheyennes, Arapahoes, Kiowas &c amounting I was told, in all to about 5000 fighting men." Sumner established his camp about two miles above the post, near the Cheyenne village. Some Cheyennes were permitted to enter Sumner's encampment, and a Cheyenne man who took the hand of an officer's wife to look at her ring was accused of making indecent advances toward a white woman. The enraged husband proceeded to flog the Cheyenne with a carriage whip, nearly precipitating a larger fight when the Cheyennes demanded that their agent seek reparations while Sumner dismissed the incident and proceeded on his journey. The commander at Fort Atkinson, Captain William Hoffman, Sixth Infantry, fearing a possible attack on the small garrison, sent an express to Sumner. Sumner led his force back to the Cheyenne camp, and the Cheyennes feared they were to be attacked. Sumner and Fitzpatrick met with the Cheyenne leaders, which resulted in the presentation of a blanket to the man who had been whipped. The peace was kept and Sumner headed on to New Mexico. [30] The Cheyennes were not completely pacified, however, as Kit Carson was to learn a few days later.

Meantime Sumner elected to avoid the Cimarron Route of the Santa Fe Trail because of a severe drought and fear that sufficient water would not be available for his command. [31] They followed the north bank of the Arkansas River to Bent's Old Fort. This former trading post, built in 1833 by Bent, St. Vrain & Co., had been destroyed by William Bent in 1849. Lieutenant Pope stated that on July 2 they "crossed the Arkansas at Bent's Fort which has been consumed by fire. It having been determined to abandon it, the owners burned it to the ground in order to prevent other traders from occupying it." [32] They traveled westward along the south bank of the Arkansas for eight miles before leaving the river for the Raton Mountains.

On the evening of July 6, when the column was camped near the north base of Raton Pass, a New Mexican traveling on foot arrived. He carried a message from Kit Carson, who was leading a train of 12 wagons several days behind the troops on the Arkansas River. The message was to the owner of the wagons and their cargo, Lucien Maxwell at Rayado, "informing Maxwell that the Cheyennes had surrounded him on the Arkansas & were endeavoring to plunder him of his Cattle. Maxwell was requested to come out immediately to his assistance." [33]

Carson later explained that the Cheyennes were in a bad mood when he encountered their village a few miles west of Fort Atkinson. The Cheyennes, Carson was able to determine, planned to retaliate against his wagon train because of the whipping incident when Sumner's command was at Fort Atkinson. Some Cheyennes followed his train for another 20 miles and threatened to attack. That was when Carson sent the messenger to Maxwell. [34] Apparently Sumner made no effort to send troops to investigate or give aid to Carson at the time the messenger passed his camp near Raton Pass.

Travel on the Bent's Fort or Mountain Route was still difficult for wagons and fairly uncommon because of the rugged terrain of Raton Pass where, according to one member of Sumner's party, "it took us two days to let by ropes our train of 100 wagons down the rugged hill of Raton." [35] The troops ahead of the wagon train, according to Pope, experienced little difficulty in negotiating the pass although he described the road as "bad." [36] Charlotte Sibley enjoyed that part of the journey:

We took the Bent Fort route tho one hundred miles farther for the benefit of the animals as good water and grass was to be found all the way, and I am not sorry for the view of the Rocky Mountains well repaid me the tediousness of the whole trip. It was sublimely beautiful, and as we entered the gap that crosses the Raton Mountain, the place that we crossed, the mountains in the distant lay piled in masses one above another, their summits covered with snow and in the sunlight of early summer morning glistening like so many jewels; beautiful flowers, wild plum and cherry trees, the clematis vine with its white flowers looking so like home. . . . As I insisted upon riding horseback nearly the whole day, my eyes drank in all the grandeur of the view. It's something not soon to be forgotten but a picture upon which memory will love to dwell. [37]

On July 8 Sumner's command was camped at the crossing of the Canadian River. Pope reported that Lieutenant Robert Johnston with 40 dragoons from the Post at Rayado, "going back to the relief of Carson, encamped with us." The next day, when Johnston left for the Arkansas, Sumner sent Captain Carleton and 30 men from the column to go "back to the assistance of Carson." [38] Carleton reported on July 11 that his detachment was 32 miles from old Bent's Fort, having marched 90 miles in 38 hours, and had received word that Carson's train was coming on. He expected to meet Carson that evening. Fortunately Carson had managed to outwit the Cheyennes and continue on his way. Carleton wrote, "please consider everything quiet in this direction unless you hear from me to the contrary." The troops were welcome protection, however, when they reached the train and accompanied the Carson party to Rayado without incident. They arrived there several days after Sumner had been there and gone. [39]

As Sumner approached Rayado on July 10, the commanding officer at that post, Captain Richard S. Ewell, First Dragoons, rode out to meet him. Sumner's entourage camped near the post and settlement. Because many of the horses were broken down from the trip from Fort Leavenworth, most of the troops and recruits were left at Rayado to recuperate. [40] From there they would later be distributed to the companies in the department as Sumner determined. Lieutenant Colonel Swords remained at Rayado where he began his inspection tour of all posts in the department. He thought the rent paid to Lucien Maxwell, $3,400 per year, was "somewhat expensive." [41]

Sumner hoped to find a new location for the troops stationed at Rayado and sent Captain Ewell to investigate the area where the Bent's Fort Route crossed the Canadian River (where Sumner had camped July 7 and 8). Following a quick reconnaissance, Ewell reported to Sumner from Rayado on July 17, 1851, that he had found the supply of water, grass, and timber inadequate to support a military post. [42] Rayado was closed as a post three weeks later and the troops were moved to Fort Union, but a detachment of troops was left at Rayado for a time at the request of Lucien Maxwell.

On July 12 Sumner's command camped at Los Pozos, and this familiar site where he had camped in 1846 impressed itself on his mind as the best possible location for a new military post and department headquarters. It was one site that appeared to have adequate supplies of water, grass, and timber for a large facility. The only disadvantage according to Sumner was that "there is not land enough for tillage." That would be solved by locating the farm on Ocate Creek some 25 miles to the north. Of Los Pozos, Sumner concluded "it is the only place that will answer, at all, on this side of Santa Fe." [43]

Lieutenant Pope described Los Pozos in the valley of Wolf Creek as "large holes of spring water 15 or 20 feet deep. A chain of these holes & small lakes extend several miles down the valley." He reported that "grass is very abundant & of excellent quality & wood plenty in the neighborhood." Like Sumner, Pope was impressed with this location. "There are," he recorded, "many springs of clear, cold, water in the vicinity and this valley is in short by far the most desirable portion of country I have seen since leaving Missouri." [44]

Fort Union Area, 1866. This map, not to scale, was submitted in 1866 when the site of the first Fort Union was the district arsenal. It shows Los Pozos, the "chain of ponds or water holes" along the course of Wolf Creek, which flows from top to bottom through center of map. It also marks the sites of the first fort, earthwork, third post, depot, stone quarry, graveyard, two springs, and roads to Taos, the "States", Santa Fe, and Barclay's Fort (six miles away). The marker at the top, just left of center, points to the north. The spring closest to the site of the first post is described as "Spring from which water is hauled to both Posts." Source: Letters Received, 1930-WD-1866, Ordnance Dept., RG 156, National Archives. (click on image for an enlargement in a new window)

Sumner had already decided to remove the headquarters and supply depot of the Ninth Military Department from Santa Fe and to place troops in a position where they could better protect settlements exposed to Indian raids and "the line of communication with Missouri." [45] With the specific orders Sumner had, directing a reorganization of the department, "it became necessary," as Pope observed, "to select positions with a view not only to Military purposes but to the agricultural resources for their support." The area at Los Pozos was "the first point we had seen which fulfilled any of the required conditions." Sumner therefore selected the site for the new headquarters and depot on July 12, "and it was accordingly marked out for a post." [46] The order establishing the post and the name by which it would be known came later. When Colonel Joseph K. F. Mansfield, inspector general's department, conducted the first inspection of Fort Union in 1853, he declared that the location "seems to have been selected on account of a good spring of water." [47]

Although Sumner had "marked out" the site that became Fort Union, he continued to evaluate other locations on the way to Santa Fe. He concluded that Las Vegas lacked sufficient water and grass to support the military post located there and "determined," on July 13, "to abandon it." The supply train and some of the troops with Sumner were left encamped at Las Vegas, while Sumner, Buell, and Pope, with an escort of 25 dragoons under Lieutenant John Adams, scouted to the confluence of the Gallinas and Pecos rivers, looking for possible sites for military posts. They found no location that had the desired combination of water, grass, wood, and arable land. Because of the drought, they found "very little water" in either of the streams. [48]

On the return, at Anton Chico, Lieutenant Adams and the escort were sent back to Las Vegas to forward the supply train. Sumner and the other officers followed the Pecos River to San Miguel and waited there for the train. Sumner arrived in Santa Fe on July 19, 1851, and immediately replaced Munroe as departmental commander. [49] One of his first considerations was to secure a lease to the land selected for the new military post on Wolf Creek. Most land in the region was included in one or another land grant dating from the Mexican period, 1821-1846, and exactly on which grant the post was situated was not settled until many years later. In July 1851 Sumner arranged a lease agreement with a party of claimants to the John Scolly Grant (also known as the La Junta Grant), on whose property it was then believed the site of Fort Union was located: Robert Brent, Donaciano Vigil for Gregorio Trujillo, James M. Giddings, George H. Estes, William [Alexander?] Barclay, Herman Grolman, Henry O'Neil, and James [Samuel] B. Watrous. Within their grant made by Governor Manuel Armijo in 1843 and "renewed" in 1846, which they believed comprised 25 square leagues (approximately 108,000 acres) centered near the junction of the Sapello and Mora rivers, they leased to Colonel Sumner and his successors in command of the department, for the sum of five dollars paid in advance, an area one mile square (640 acres) for 20 years to be used for a military post. When the military post was vacated, the leasors were to receive all improvements and fixtures made on the property. [50] It appeared to be a good deal for all parties, but the question of whose grant was actually involved remained to be settled. It was not until 1893, two years after Fort Union was abandoned, that the boundaries of the Scolly Grant were finally determined. [51]

Sumner named his departmental staff on July 19: Captain Don C. Buell, adjutant; Captain Ebenezer S. Sibley, quartermaster; Captain Isaac Bowen, subsistence department; Surgeon Charles McDougall, medical department; Major Francis A. Cunningham, paymaster; and Lieutenant John Pope, topographical engineer. Military Storekeeper William R. Shoemaker, who had arrived in New Mexico and assumed control of the departmental ordnance depot in 1848, was retained in that capacity. At the same time, Sumner ordered the headquarters and principal quartermaster, commissary, and ordnance depots of the department "transferred to the Moro River, and all military stores now at this place [Santa Fe], will at once be removed to the point selected." The medical depot was left at Santa Fe for the time being. [52] Historian Robert Utley declared that the "establishment of the quartermaster depot . . . at Fort Union made the post a freight destination rivaling if not surpassing Santa Fe in importance." [53]

While the troops and supplies were moving from old departmental headquarters at Santa Fe to the new post on the Mora, Major Edmund B. Alexander, Third Infantry, was ordered to abandon the post at Las Vegas and move his command, one company of infantry and two of dragoons, to the new place. At Santa Fe, where 134 citizens were employed by the quartermaster department, all civilian employees, except for those needed to assist with the movement of stores to the new headquarters and depot, were discharged. Within three weeks after Sumner took command, the citizens employed by the quartermaster department in New Mexico was reduced to three clerks and one carpenter. [54] Thereafter a few citizens were hired as teamsters and occasional "other capacities," but most were discharged as soon as their duties were performed. [55]

All expenditures for the department were to be approved by the commander before disbursements were made. Sumner later observed, "if I do nothing else in this Territory, I will certainly effect a great reduction in expenses but I hope to do more." [56] The troops rather than civilian employees performed most of the construction work at the new posts in the department. Almost all transportation of supplies within the department was done by army wagons and animals at a cost less than private contractors could offer. Because "it is impossible to procure soldiers sufficient for our wants who have any experience whatever in ox driving" (which meant that civilian teamsters had to be hired for ox trains), Captain Sibley believed that mules were more efficient than oxen for the public wagons and shifted to those draft animals in the name of savings. [57] The cost of keeping one army mule in New Mexico was calculated by Captain Easton, quartermaster department, as being $320.00 per year. Before winter Sumner sent 71 wagons and 473 mules to Fort Leavenworth so his department would not have the expense of wintering those animals. [58]

Sumner fulfilled most of his orders regarding economy, and he did not neglect the Indian question. He sent a patrol to begin protecting the Cimarron Route of the Santa Fe Trail between Fort Union and Fort Atkinson on the Arkansas River on August 3 and ordered that an expedition against the Navajos, which Colonel Munroe had been planning, be prepared to march on August 15. [59] While troops and supplies were being consolidated at the new department headquarters on Wolf Creek, Indian raids continued in New Mexico. The Navajos were the major perpetrators, stealing livestock and killing citizens. Sumner began to concentrate troops and supplies at Santo Domingo, south of Santa Fe, for the upcoming Navajo expedition. Following the show of American military force in the Navajo homelands, Sumner intended to establish a new military post in the area to keep watch over them.

Sumner later reported that his "first step was to break up the post at Santa Fe, that sink of vice and extravagance, and remove the troops and public property." Next, he moved troops from other New Mexican towns, "a matter of vital importance, both as regards discipline and economy." He declared that, from his observations, "most of the troops in this territory have become in a high degree demoralized, and it can only be accounted for by the vicious associations in those towns." The "evils were so great," he feared that he could not "eradicate them entirely" until the troops could be concentrated in sufficient numbers to instill discipline. [60]

On July 21, 1851, Sumner ordered Second Lieutenant Louis H. Marshall, Third Infantry, to lead Company D, Third Infantry, from Fort Marcy at Santa Fe to the new post on Wolf Creek. Lieutenant John C. McFerran, Third Infantry, remained in Santa Fe to oversee the packing and shipping of subsistence stores to the new depot, after which he was to follow. Because sufficient transportation for the transfer of stores was unavailable, the army hired 32 wagons belonging to Francis X. Aubry, well-known Santa Fe Trail freighter who had just opened a significant new branch of the trail that became known as the Aubry Route or Aubry Cutoff. Aubry later claimed $4,000 in damages done to his equipment. [61] Captain Easton turned over the quartermaster stores to Captain Sibley, who was responsible for moving, storing, and protecting the large inventory at the new site. Sibley later reported that most of those stores, except for clothing and some subsistence items, were moved within 20 days. [62] Captain Shoemaker, military storekeeper, transferred the ordnance and ordnance stores from Santa Fe to the new depot, although much of this was left in safe storage in Santa Fe until buildings could be erected at Fort Union. [63]

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Swords, quartermaster department, inspected all quartermaster facilities in New Mexico in 1851, and the report he filed from the new Fort Union, one month to the day after it was established, was critical of the removal of stores to this new post before storehouses were available to protect the commodities. He could not understand why such "a large amount of public property had been removed to it from Santa Fe and Las Vegas" when "no storehouses had yet been provided for its protection." The supplies were piled outside with only a canvas cover, and Swords "feared much of it has become more or less damaged by exposure to the weather, the rainy season having set in." He had serious "doubts as to the propriety of removing the stores from Santa Fe before provision was made for their security at the new-post." There were adequate storehouses in Santa Fe, and a battalion of artillery was still there to guard them. It would have been less expensive to distribute the commodities from Santa Fe to many posts in the department than to haul them to Fort Union from which they would have to be hauled a farther distance to reach the same posts. [64] It was another example of Colonel Sumner's intense desire to save money regardless of the consequences, practices which Surgeon Jonathan Letterman later called "extravagant economy." [65]

Sumner left Santa Fe on July 23 with troops heading for the new headquarters, arriving at Las Vegas on July 25. There Sumner directed that the military post at Rayado be abandoned, with the garrison and supplies transferred to the new headquarters. [66] Two days later Captain Ewell reported from Rayado that everything there would be moved as soon as transportation was provided; he estimated 20 wagons were needed for the supplies which included a sawmill and about 10,000 feet of sawed lumber. The saw and the lumber would be important for the construction of quarters and storehouses at the new post. Ewell also reported that no laborers were available at Rayado to make and lay adobes because Lucien Maxwell had employed everyone available to build a fence around his fields. [67]

Maxwell, proprietor of the enormous Beaubien-Miranda Grant (later known as the Maxwell Grant), protested the removal of troops from Rayado where his headquarters were located. He requested that some military protection remain in that vicinity in order to protect his holdings from Indian raids, especially while he was serving as a guide to Lieutenant Pope to open a new wagon road from Fort Union to the crossing of the Canadian River on the Cimarron Route and from that crossing to the Big Timbers on the Arkansas River. A compromise was reached whereby 15 dragoons (a non-commissioned officer and 14 privates of Company I, First Dragoons) were left at Rayado with supplies for three months, and Maxwell provided quarters and stables for these soldiers and their horses. Captain Ewell reported that "Mr. Maxwell furnishes excellent Quarters & stabling gratis, for the Det. authorized to be left here." [68]

Sumner later reported that he had removed the troops from and abandoned several other posts located in towns, establishing new garrisons closer to the Indians of the territory. In addition to Las Vegas and Rayado, he withdrew the troops from Albuquerque, Cebolleta, Socorro, Dona Ana, San Elizario, and El Paso. [69] The posts at Taos and Abiquiu were abandoned in November 1851. [70] Four new posts were founded in 1851: Fort Union near the Mora River on Wolf Creek (July 26, 1851), Fort Conrad on the west bank of the Rio Grande near Valverde (September 8, 1851), Fort Defiance at the mouth of Bonita Canyon in Navajo country just west of the present New Mexico-Arizona boundary (September 18, 1851), and Fort Fillmore on the east bank of the Rio Grande about 40 miles above El Paso near Mesilla (September 23, 1851). Because of demands from the citizens of Taos and promises to provide "comfortable" quarters for soldiers, a company of Third Infantry was ordered to return there. Troops were again withdrawn from Taos, June 14, 1852, and a new post, Cantonment Burgwin, was established a few miles from Taos on August 14, 1852. Sumner also established two other new posts: Fort Webster at the Santa Rita copper mines on January 23, 1852, and Fort Massachusetts in the land of the Utes on Ute Creek near the San Luis Valley of present Colorado, June 22, 1852. [71]

Quartermaster General Thomas S. Jesup was pleased with what Sumner had done upon his arrival in New Mexico. He especially approved the removal of the troops from the towns and locating them closer to the scenes of Indian raids at points where grass and fuel were readily available as positive steps toward the reduction of expenses in the department. [72] He apparently endorsed the establishment of Fort Union.

Major Alexander abandoned the post at Las Vegas on July 26, 1851, and led Company G, Third Infantry, and Companies F and K, First Dragoons, to the site of the new post at Los Pozos, which was established later the same day at the site selected by Colonel Sumner on July 12. The post was on the west side of Wolf Creek at the base of a high mesa to the west of the site. The geographical position was 35° 54' 21" north latitude, 105° 01' 00" west longitude, at an altitude of 6,670 feet above sea level. Sumner, with Company D of the Third Infantry, and a detachment of recruits arrived the following day. Sumner and Alexander immediately referred to the new post as Fort Union, but Sumner did not issue an order officially giving it that name until August 2, 1851. [73]

Prior to that, on July 31, Sumner expressed belief that the location "would certainly effect a great reduction in expenses." He expressed some reservations about the location, stating "it does not exactly suit me" because of a shortage of arable land for a large farm and a shortage of water for irrigation purposes. He requested that equipment be sent to bore wells. Still, Sumner defended it as the best place available east of Santa Fe. [74]

Not everyone was satisfied with the location. Captain Shoemaker, military storekeeper in charge of the ordnance depot, declared soon after arriving at the new post, "every days experience goes to show the many disadvantages & objections to this place as a permanent location for an Ordnance Depot." He asserted that the "want of common natural advantages seems to indicate the absolute necessity of its abandonment as an Ordnance post, so soon as there is an appropriation to build an Arsenal." [75]

The suitability of the location of Fort Union was almost a constant issue until the Civil War, and there were several proposals over the years to move it to a "better" site. A second post was built approximately one mile east of the first post and the nearby mesa early in the Civil War, and a third post was erected next to that second fort a short time later. Other than those short moves, the several proposals to relocate Fort Union were not fulfilled because of changes in command of the department or the interruption of circumstances such as the Civil War. After the Civil War Shoemaker's arsenal was rebuilt beside the site of the original fort, and he remained at Fort Union beyond his retirement in 1882 until his death in 1886. Despite his early opposition, he became closely attached to the place. There were always some problems, however, which resulted from the location of the post.

Fort Union was established on private land, as noted, for there was little public land in the region because of the earlier Spanish and Mexican grants to individuals and groups. Alexander Barclay, co-owner of Barclay's Fort on the Mora River, protested to Colonel Sumner in October 1851 that military plans to use land along the Mora for agricultural purposes would take water for irrigation that he was already dependent upon for his own farming operations. [76] Barclay later claimed the land on which Fort Union was located and, after his claim was confirmed by the courts, negotiated a rental agreement with the army.

Because Fort Union was located off the route of the stagecoach line, which passed by Barclay's Fort, Sumner discovered that mails from the East were delivered to Santa Fe and distributed throughout the territory from that city. This meant that mail for department headquarters at Fort Union passed within a few miles of the post on the way to Santa Fe and was not delivered to the new post until several days (usually five days) later. Thus he requested of the postmaster general that a post office be established at Fort Union, with the post sutler, Jared W. Folger, as postmaster, and that the mails be delivered directly to the post. [77]

Sumner directed Lieutenant Pope, topographical engineers, to find "a new road by the shortest practicable route between this point and Fort Leavenworth." Pope, accompanied by a dragoon escort and guided by Lucien B. Maxwell and a Delaware Indian, began his reconnaissance on August 9. [78] The route Pope established, with the help of Captain Carleton and his company of dragoons, was commonly known in New Mexico as the Fort Leavenworth Road. It ran northward from Fort Union, passed north of the Turkey Mountains and Wagon Mound, and connected with the main Cimarron Route of the Santa Fe Trail near the Rock Crossing of the Canadian River. As a more direct connection to the Cimarron Route, this road saved travelers to and from the Missouri Valley approximately 13 miles over the older circuitous course. The new road became the principal route for military freight, most of which came from Fort Leavenworth on the Missouri River to the depot at Fort Union for distribution to the military posts throughout the Ninth Military Department. [79]

Pope also, as directed by Sumner, located a route from the Rock Crossing of the Canadian to the Bent's Fort or Mountain Route of the Santa Fe Trail (also called the Fort Leavenworth Road, which creates confusion for historians), connecting at the Big Timbers in present eastern Colorado, a road that was used by military freight contractors during the early 1870s when the railroads built into Colorado Territory. [80] Pope also attempted to find a better and shorter route for freight wagons between Fort Leavenworth and Fort Union by following the Smoky Hill River into present western Kansas before heading south to the Arkansas River at Chouteau's Island (in present Kearny County, Kansas), but such a road was not developed. [81]

While a shorter route between Fort Union and the Missouri River was being explored, Sumner had Captain Sibley, department quartermaster, open a more direct route southward to Las Vegas. It is not clear how this route differed from the major Santa Fe Trail between the Mora Valley and the town of Las Vegas, but Colonel Mansfield observed that it saved "several miles in distance." Upon completion of these improvements, Mansfield reported that "this post is now directly on the shortest road to Santa Fe." [82] With the establishment of Fort Union as a supply depot, Sumner had affected the routing of a good portion of the traffic on the Santa Fe Trail.

Sumner's primary consideration, after arranging for the reorganization of the department and establishing Fort Union, was to deal with the Indians in New Mexico. In addition to planning the upcoming campaign against the Navajos, Sumner had arranged for better protection of the Santa Fe Trail. On August 2, 1851, in the same order naming Fort Union, Sumner directed that "in order to afford protection to travel and commerce between the Missouri frontier and this territory, Major Carleton's Company K 1st Dragoons, will be kept in motion this summer and fall along the Cimarron route, between this place and the post below the crossing of the Arkansas river [Fort Atkinson], returning finally to this post." [83] The primary mission of these patrols was protection of the stagecoaches and mail they carried, giving some protection directly or indirectly to other travelers and freight caravans on the trail.

Later, when the possibility of Indian attacks on the mail coaches threatened, the patrols were replaced with escorts which accompanied the eastbound mails from Fort Union to the Arkansas River in Kansas Territory and the westbound coaches (if connections were made) from the Arkansas River to Fort Union. Sometimes the escort of approximately 20 soldiers was mounted and rode near the mail wagons or coaches; other times the escort rode in wagons which accompanied the mails. Only rarely were these armed patrols or escorts attacked by Indians. Beginning with Carleton's first patrol in 1851, military commanders considered these efforts successful in protecting the Santa Fe Trail.

Carleton and his command left Fort Union on August 3, 1851, and followed the Cimarron Route to Fort Atkinson on the Arkansas River, where a mail station had been established. He was instructed to move slowly along the Santa Fe Trail, remain at Fort Atkinson for one week, and return at a leisurely pace over the same route. He was to watch for Indians along the way, show "great kindness" to those who were peaceable, and promptly punish any who were considered hostile. After recuperating at Fort Union for approximately 10 days after making the first trip, the same troops were to make a second patrol under the same directions. [84]

Sumner reported several weeks later, "that no depredations, whatever, have been committed on the road to Missouri, since Major Carleton has been upon it." [85] This system of patrols operated until November 4, 1851, when Carleton's command returned to Fort Union for the winter months, and was repeated during part of the following summer. Later, when escorts replaced patrols, the troops from Fort Union operated in conjunction with Fort Atkinson until that post was abandoned, October 2, 1854. After Fort Larned was established in Kansas Territory in 1859, a system of escorts was coordinated between that post and Fort Union. In this way, one of the missions of the Fort Union garrison, protection for the Santa Fe Trail, was achieved.

The Santa Fe Trail may have been clear of Indian raids in the summer of 1851, but much of the Territory of New Mexico was without adequate protection. Sumner led a large force against the Navajos on August 17 and established Fort Defiance near their homeland on September 18, but members of that tribe slipped around those troops in the field and raided unprotected settlements near the Rio Grande Valley. [86] Before Sumner returned from the Navajo campaign, which failed to engage the enemy, additional attacks were made on New Mexican settlements. [87] Governor Calhoun, fearing the regular army could not protect the far-flung settlements of the territory, called up a mounted militia on October 24, 1851, to serve for six months. Some of these militiamen, led by Brigadier General Manuel Herrera of Ojitos Frios (a village ten miles southwest of Las Vegas), carried out several expeditions against Apache and Ute Indians. They apparently operated independently of the regular army. [88]

After Sumner returned to Fort Union, New Mexico Governor Calhoun, in response to citizen requests, asked Sumner to authorize the issue of federal military arms for a volunteer militia unit in the territory so the people could better protect themselves from destruction at the hands of Indians. After some delay, Sumner authorized Captain Shoemaker to issue 75 flintlock muskets, with ammunition and necessary accouterments, to the governor for the use of a militia unit to be led by Captain Preston Beck, a rancher in the Pecos Valley below Anton Chico. [89] Sumner placed two restrictions on the "loan" of arms; one, that they would "be immediately returned whenever demanded by the Commanding Officer of the 9th Dept., and secondly that they are never to be used in making hostile incursions into the Indian Country unless this volunteer company is acting in conjunction with the regular troops." [90]

These restrictions were unacceptable to Captain Beck, and the arms were refused. [91] A period of strained relations between Sumner and Calhoun followed. [92] Sumner was busy traveling around the department and spent little time at the new post at Los Pozos.

On January 1, 1852, Sumner, just back at Fort Union from an inspection tour that took him to El Paso, declared that "I find it indispensably necessary to remove my headquarters from this post to Albuquerque, on the Rio Grande, in order to be nearer the new posts in the Indian Country. Circumstances might arise which would make it important that I should be within striking distance of these posts." [93] Fort Union did not seem to be in Indian country, although the presence of the troops as well as the season may have accounted for the lack of activity in the vicinity. Katie Bowen noted that "the Apaches seem friendly enough in this part of the country and hunt over these mountains without giving any trouble." [94] The headquarters were transferred on February 1, 1852. [95]

Sumner, ever mindful of his orders to reduce expenses in the department, also began 1852 with another order to economize: "No Officer will be continued in command of a post in this Department, who does not manifest great zeal and ability in carrying out the orders of the government, relating to agriculture, and the reduction of army expenses." [96] In the long run Sumner's drive to economize probably did more harm than good in the department, but he was convinced it was the right thing to do.

As he prepared to leave Fort Union for his new headquarters, Sumner painted a rosy picture of conditions in New Mexico six months after he took command of the department. The new posts he had established were "exercising a favorable influence in our Indian relations." He believed the placing of troops near the Indians homelands prevented them from making "distant hostile expeditions" for fear that their families and property might be attacked by the troops located nearby. Sumner recommended that a small military post be established on the Cimarron River, about midway between Fort Union and the Arkansas River, to protect traffic on the Santa Fe Trail. He expected an era of unprecedented peace to follow. [97] This report was naive; conditions were soon to change in the territory; and Indian problems were far from being resolved. In the meantime, since the troops arrived to establish Fort Union in July, the construction of the post was partially completed.

Colonel Alexander had wasted no time in getting soldiers to work on the erection of quarters and storehouses under the immediate direction of the post quartermaster, Captain Sibley (who arrived at the new post on August 6), so troops and supplies could be secured and protected before winter arrived. Traditionally, frontier military establishments were constructed by civilian laborers and skilled craftsmen employed by the quartermaster department. In New Mexico, because of the great attention to economize everywhere possible, Sumner turned to the soldiers for construction labor. Unfortunately, few soldiers possessed the skills of carpentry and masonry which, accompanied by the rush to complete structures as quickly as possible, resulted in shoddy buildings that were deteriorating almost as soon as completed for occupation. Because of the available timber, Fort Union was constructed of pine logs. In the haste to get the structures up before winter, the bark was not even removed from the green logs which were "laid on the ground without any durable foundation." [98] Stone was quarried near the post for the construction of fireplaces and chimneys. [99]

Sibley admitted that "the buildings are, however, confessedly of a temporary character." He recommended that if the new posts established in the department, including Fort Union, were to be considered "permanent, sound economy would prescribe that the necessary buildings should be permanent also." [100] Fort Union, then, became a permanent establishment with temporary buildings because of the need to reduce expenditures. Katie Bowen, who was among the first to live in the quarters at Fort Union, was critical of what she called Sumner's "excessive economy," [101] and a few years later the post surgeon, Jonathan Letterman, referred to the failure to provide adequate structures at Fort Union as "short-sighted and extravagant economy." [102] The "temporary" buildings were repaired over the years, but they were not replaced for at least a decade.

The officers and troops at Fort Union lived in tents while they constructed the buildings, and they apparently spent most of their time erecting quarters in an attempt to have adequate housing before winter. By August 20, less than four weeks after the first troops arrived at the site of Fort Union, the walls for two company quarters and the hospital were completed, and the roof was being placed on one set of company quarters. The commanding officer's quarters were under construction, the log walls expected to be completed within three more days. Sibley then planned to build other officers' quarters until all officers of the staff and command were housed. Work on storehouses would wait until the quarters were finished. [103]

The major obstacle in the way of having quarters completed before winter was "the want of lumber." The boards from Rayado were being brought in, but the sawmill apparently had not been moved. A supply train from Fort Leavenworth, under command of Captain Isaac Bowen, was also bringing a horse-powered sawmill. According to Sibley, on August 20, "Bowen's train is in sight, & if he has the machine with him, we will have mules in readiness to saw lumber in a very short time." The nearby Turkey Mountains had sufficient timber "to cut enough for our purposes before winter sets in." [104]

A few days later Katie Bowen informed her mother that "we are putting up quarters as fast as possible." The company quarters, commanding officer's quarters, and the hospital were "well advanced" and work had begun on Sibley's quarters. "Next comes ours," she wrote, "as all are built according to rank, and Col Sumner ordered that all the married officers houses should be built first." [105]

By September 2 Sibley stated that "we are progressing rapidly in the erection of buildings," and reported the log walls were up for two company quarters, one for infantry and one for dragoons, for the hospital, and four officers' quarters. He expected the new sawmill to be ready the following day, and it would be used to saw lumber for roofs and floors. He concluded that, if no accidents occurred, "the quarters will be in readiness to receive the troops by the 1st day of November." [106] As it turned out, however, the sawmills broke down so often that an adequate supply of lumber could not be sawed at the post. [107]

Despite the problems of equipment failures and unskilled soldier-builders, the quarters, hospital, offices, storehouses, and related buildings at Fort Union were going up on an area of approximately 80 acres. According to Post Surgeon Letterman, writing in 1856, "the buildings being, of necessity, widely separated, cause the post to present more the appearance of a village, whose houses have been built with little regard to order, than a military post." Letterman pointed out that the terrain on which the post was built presented a drainage problem, "the water during a heavy rain not unfrequently running into and through some of the buildings." [108]

Fort Union, like many western posts, had no protective perimeter wall nor any fortification (until the second post was built during the Civil War). It was a base for supplies and men, but not a defensive work. There was apparently no concern that Indians would attack or besiege the post. "We never think of Indians," wrote Katie Bowen, "and I have not heard that any were near." [109] A defensive earthwork was constructed early in the Civil War when Confederate troops invaded New Mexico. Except for that field work, Fort Union served no defensive purpose except as a base for troops and supplies.

Because of trouble with the sawmills, which Sibley complained "are incessantly requiring repairs," the workers had to construct roofs on most of the buildings "with earth, the custom of the country." This was "only considered temporary," and later, when lumber was available, board roofs would be placed over the top of the earthen ones. By October 3 the walls were erected for all the buildings planned to be completed in 1851, and the roofs were being constructed. [110] On November 3 Captain Shoemaker, in charge of the ordnance depot, noted in his monthly report to the chief of ordnance in Washington, D.C., that "the work of building Quarters & Storerooms is all that has been done since our arrival here, except the usual receipts & issues." He predicted that the quarters at the post, although "very temporary ones" which were only "partially completed," would be ready for occupancy within 10 or 12 more days. [111]

On December 3 Sibley announced that all the officers and men were in the new buildings, "although the quarters are not fully completed." Because the structure designed to serve as the post hospital did "not exactly answer the purposes for which it was intended," a new hospital was under construction and the old one was to be converted into a storehouse. This would make it possible to move the public stores from under canvas into a secure facility. [112] Work on these and additional buildings continued into the spring of 1852.

By April 1, 1852, only a few shops and a storehouse of the original plan remained to be erected, and soldiers were working on those as well as finishing the other buildings. "I hope," wrote Sibley, "by the close of the ensuing summer to be able to announce to you that everything has been done that was originally contemplated." In order to reduce "to some extent the expenses of the Q'master Department in this Territory," enlisted men continued to provide all the labor on the buildings and they were sawing all the lumber and operating a lime kiln to produce plaster and mortar. [113] He failed to mention that they were mostly unskilled and the quality of their work was inadequate for the needs of garrison. The belief that these were only temporary structures probably influenced the level of workmanship as well as the grade of materials used. The caliber of the buildings also apparently suffered from Sibley's inability to design reliable structures for the New Mexico climate. The combination of circumstances resulted in inferior quarters and storehouses.

Although the quality of construction was much criticized in the future and major repairs were required almost as quickly as the buildings were occupied, an entire complement of log structures was reported by Captain Sibley as nearly completed by the end of June 1852. [114] In some of the buildings the logs were placed upright, and in others they were laid horizontally in the typical log-cabin style. Because they were, as Surgeon Letterman explained, "unseasoned, unhewn, and unbarked pine logs," placed on the ground without foundations, he found them a few years later "rapidly decaying." Of the house he occupied, Letterman said that "in many of the logs . . . an ordinary sized nail will not hold, to such an extent has the timber decayed, although several feet above the ground." [115] Given the abundance of stone near the site, it is difficult to understand why some was not used for foundations. The only plausible explanations seem to be that there was not time to do that before winter arrived and these were considered to be temporary buildings at the time of construction.

There were in June 1852, when Sibley made his annual report for the department, nine sets of officers' quarters at Fort Union, all identical except a larger building for the commanding officer, each apparently having four rooms. The yard around each of the officers' quarters was enclosed, giving some privacy and a place for an outhouse, chicken coop, pig pen, stable for cows and horses, and family garden plot if desired. In the haste to complete these quarters before winter began in 1851, as noted, they all had flat, earthen roofs placed on a framework of logs. As lumber was sawed at the post, gabled board roofs were placed over the earthen roofs to provide better protection from precipitation. [116]

Katie Bowen described her quarters as having two rooms in front and a kitchen and servant's quarters in the rear. "Our rooms," she wrote to her parents, "are very tidy and comfortable having large stone fireplaces that give us genial warmth and cheerfulness." [117] She later noted that the roofs leaked: "No one in garrison, except Maj. Sibley, has anything but a mud roof and a heavy shower would give our carpets and fixins a beautiful color." She saw little hope for improvement soon, declaring that "the old worn out mills break down two or three times a day and there is no telling when the rest of us will get boards for our houses." [118] The Bowen quarters received a board roof a few weeks later, and Katie found a thorough housecleaning was a necessary result. "I was in hopes that the house was clean for the summer, but in putting up the board roofs, so much dirt scattered through the logs that I will be obliged to take up carpets." She had mixed emotions about the new roof. "Now we are secure against wet, though I feel rather timid respecting fire." [119] She later found that the quarters were little protection from rodents. "The mice bother us to death," she grumbled in the summer of 1852, and "last night they ate both laces out of my boots and cut my curtains all to pieces." [120]

There were two company barracks completed by June 1852, each 140 feet long and 18 feet wide, with two wings 50 feet long by 16 feet wide. These had board roofs, and included kitchens and mess rooms as well as squad rooms and quarters for sergeants. A third set of barracks was added later in 1852 or in 1853. None of these barracks, it turned out, was well constructed.

plan of Fort Union
Plan of Fort Union, 1853. Source: Robert M. Utley, Fort Union National Monument (Washington: National Park Service, 1962), 12. (click on image for an enlargement in a new window)

Although Inspector General Mansfield reported in August 1853 that "the quarters occupied by the respective companies were in a good state of police and the comfort of the troops studied in all the details," [121] Surgeon Letterman described them in 1856 as not fit for habitation. "One set of the so-called barracks," he reported, "have lately been torn down to prevent any untoward accidents that were liable at any moment to happen from the falling of the building; and yet this building was erected in 1852." Not only were they dangerous, according to Surgeon Letterman, they were uncomfortable. "The unbarked logs afford excellent hiding places for that annoying and disgusting insect the cimex lectularius [bed bug], so common in this country, which it is by no means backward in taking advantage of, to the evident discomfort of those who occupy the buildings—the men almost universally sleeping in the open air when the weather will permit." [122]

Earlier in 1856 Captain J. C. McFerran, post quartermaster, had inspected the buildings and found that the walls of one of the company quarters, probably the one torn down, had to be "propped up, outside & in, to prevent them falling and all of the quarters & public buildings, at the post, are very much decayed, out of repair, unsafe & filled with insects & vermin." He concluded "that it is absolutely necessary that immediate steps should be taken to rebuild the entire post, before the rainy season begins." [123] McFerran's recommendations were not followed, partly because of lack of funds and partly because of periodic consideration of proposals to close the post in favor of another position, and the original buildings were used until the Civil War.

The state of those structures was described by Lieutenant Herbert M. Enos, post quartermaster, in 1861. "They are with scarcely a single exception," he reported, "rotting down; the majority of them almost unfit for occupation and in fact, all of them in such a dilapidated state as to require continual and extensive repairs to keep them in an habitable condition. The Hospital, Commissary and Quarter Master's Buildings are entirely unfit for the purposes for which they are required." He stated that "several companies of troops now here are occupying tents because of the lack of quarters." Enos reported that almost no repairs had been made at Fort Union during the previous year. [124] The reason, which he did not state, was that plans were well underway to close the post and establish Fort Butler. Those plans were changed with the coming of the Civil War, and Fort Union was given a new importance and the second post was built.

The post hospital, second building erected for that purpose in late 1851 or early 1852, was 48 feet by 18 feet with a wing 46 feet by 16 feet. It had an earthen roof covered with a board roof. Mansfield reported that the hospital was "comfortable" in 1853. [125] Like the rest of the buildings at the post, however, it was poorly constructed and often in need of repairs. Almost every surgeon commented on problems of the roof leaking. Dr. Letterman declared in 1856 that the hospital "has not a room which remained dry during the rain in the latter part of September last, and I was obliged to use tents and canvass to protect the property from damage." [126]

the officers' quarters
One of the officers' quarters at the first Fort Union, photo probably taken after the Civil War. The bluffs in the background indicate that this may have been the commanding officer's home prior to the Civil War. Courtesy Museum of New Mexico, negative no. 38174.

Only one storehouse (originally used as the hospital) was completed by June 1852, 100 feet long and 22 feet wide with a wing 45 feet by 22 feet, supporting a board roof. It apparently was shared by the quartermaster and commissary departments, although some of their stores may still have been outside under canvas. By the summer of 1853 a separate storehouse for the commissary department, approximately 100 feet x 22 feet and no wing, was located east of the first storehouse. The ordnance depot, built around four sides of a 100-foot square, was also completed by 1853, although the earthen roofs were not replaced with lumber until 1855. Because of the danger of fire in the log depot, Captain Shoemaker expressed a desire to build a "fire proof adobe arsenal." Meanwhile, he ordered lightning rods to help protect the powder magazine and everything else kept in the ordnance depot. He kept requesting funds and authorization to build a new depot, but nothing beyond repairs was done until 1859 when an adobe magazine was finally built. [127]

Other buildings reported by Captain Sibley as completed or nearly finished by the end of June 1852 included the commanding officer's office and court-martial room (48 x 18), office building for quartermaster and commissary departments (38 x 18), smokehouse (100 x 22), guardhouse and prison (42 x 18), blacksmith and wheelwright shop (50 x 18), bake house (31 x 17), ice house (20 x 30), [128] and laundresses' quarters (114 x 14 with six rooms). In addition yards at five sets of officers' quarters were enclosed and two corrals had been completed, one for the quartermaster department and the other for the dragoons. Not only had the soldiers done all the work in constructing these buildings, they had also sawed most of the lumber. Sibley declared that all but approximately 15,000 feet of the lumber used at the post had been sawed there. [129] It was a remarkable achievement for a garrison required to perform many other duties. [130]

building at Fort Union
This is believed to be a photograph of one of the buildings at the first Fort Union, possibly an enlisted men's barracks. it was probably taken during the period that the site served as the district arsenal or later when troops were temporarily housed there. From Arrott Collection, New Mexico Highlands University.

Not all the soldiers were engaged in construction in 1851, for some had been sent to patrol along the Santa Fe Trail, and Sibley reported others were transporting to Fort Union the public property from the old posts at Rayado, Las Vegas, and Santa Fe. A few soldiers had been sent to cut hay on Ocate Creek, approximately 23 miles to the north where the post farm was located, and haul it in wagons to Fort Union. It is not clear why grass closer to the new post could not be cut for hay, unless it was being preserved for grazing, and Sibley feared there would not be sufficient grass at Ocate to supply the needs of the livestock during the coming winter. [131]

In addition to the horses, mules, and beef cattle at the post, Major Rucker brought hogs and sheep from Fort Leavenworth. Most of the sheep died of disease along the way (only three survived the trip), but the hogs came through in good shape despite the loss of "only eight or ten." In addition to the forage brought from Ocate and purchased locally ("twenty to fifty miles" away), there was need to buy corn in the local market to help feed the livestock. Most of the officers kept some livestock, including milk cows, hogs, and chickens, and they could purchase corn and forage from the army for their private stock. Sibley requested Sumner's directions regarding the procurement of corn and forage. [132] Because of the economy measures in force and Sumner's strict orders that he approve all expenditures, Sibley would not contract for any item without the department commander's instructions. The purchase of supplies in the area was one way the army and Fort Union affected the economy of New Mexico, providing a cash market for commodities that otherwise could not have been sold. The departmental depots were in a position to spend more money locally than was any single military post. As depot quartermaster, Sibley had numerous responsibilities, not the least of which was providing adequate protection for commodities.

sketch of first Fort Union
Sketch of the first Fort Union by Captain Joseph Horace Eaton, Third Infantry, 1856, for publication in W. H. Davis, El Gringo: New Mexico and Her People (New York: Harper, 1857), 50. View is looking southeast from the bluffs. The cluster in left foreground apparently depicts a company of infantry formation.

Lieutenant Colonel Swords's concern about the protection of stores moved to Fort Union before storehouses were built was noted above. Sibley made every effort to secure all commodities stored outside under canvas and to move everything possible into buildings as soon as storage rooms were available. He understood that Swords was unhappy with the way quartermaster supplies were handled at the new post. [133]

Swords was much more complimentary and, as events were to prove, far too optimistic regarding the other steps Sumner had taken to save money and deal with the Indians. He believed the removal of the troops from the towns would result in effective control of the Indians in New Mexico, something that would not be accomplished until many years later.

Swords believed that the new locations for troops would open additional areas to settlement, thereby increasing the prosperity of the territory and making provisions less expensive for the army. He predicted that the army's new plan to have the soldiers become farmers and grow some of their own needs would be successful where the new forts were situated. [134] The Fort Union farm was one of those experiments, and it was far from successful.

Secretary of War Conrad had issued orders designed to turn soldiers into farmers before Sumner was appointed commander of the Ninth Military Department. In order to save money, the primary objective, and promote the health of troops, all garrisons were required to plant post gardens to supply vegetables for the rations. Frontier posts were also required to establish post farms, cultivated by troops, to raise grains and forage. The expenses of the farm were to be paid by the sale of the produce to the quartermaster and commissary departments. To get the farms started, the order authorized "all necessary expenditures." To provide incentive, any profit was to be distributed among the enlisted men at the post. [135] Major Munroe may have misunderstood the order or did not believe it applied to New Mexico. He did nothing to implement farming in the department before he was replaced by Colonel Sumner in July. By then it was too late in the season to plant crops in New Mexico.

sketch of first Fort Union
Sketch of the first Fort Union by Joseph Heger, 1859, looking east from the bluffs over the fort and Wolf Creek valley, with the Turkey Mountains in the background. Courtesy of Arizona Pioneers Historical Society.

A large farming operation had been quite successful at Fort Leavenworth in the Missouri Valley, [136] but it was not feasible in arid New Mexico by people who knew little or nothing about agriculture in that land. Post gardens were sometimes successful where irrigated, but post farms were not cost-effective even with irrigation. If New Mexicans had been placed in charge of these experiments, the results might have been better. Colonel Sumner, however, directed that, except for irrigation practices, New Mexican farming methods were to be ignored. [137] Sumner was totally committed to the experiment and declared that no post commander would remain in that position who did not "manifest zeal and ability" in carrying out the orders. [138]

Sumner expected Fort Union to provide leadership in the farming operation. The post farm was located on Ocate Creek, approximately 23 miles north of the fort, on land leased from Manuel Alvarez. [139] According to Colonel Mansfield, it was 20 miles from Fort Union to Ocate Creek, "and three miles further still in a 'Cañon' of the mountain is the farm attached to this post." [140] Sergeant Thomas Pollack was placed in charge of the farm. It was too late in the season to plant crops in 1851, but hay was cut from the native grass at the farm. The following year Colonel Sumner appointed his brother, M. Robbins Sumner, to oversee the farm on the Ocate for a salary of $65.00 per month and one daily ration. A party of ten soldiers were assigned from the post to work on the farm, presumably receiving extra-duty pay (15 cents per day), and these men were seemingly rotated occasionally. [141]

This map, not to scale, accompanied Colonel J. K. F. Mansfield's inspection report on Fort Union, August 1853, to show the location of Fort Union to the farm on Ocate Creek. This copy courtesy New Mexico Records Center and Archives, Santa Fe.

H. H. Green, who looked after the Ocate property for Alvarez, later recalled that everything possible was done to make the farm successful. He stated that "large quantities of assorted seed, grains, and vegetables, farming tools, plows, mowers, and thresher, stallions and brood mares, hogs and thorough-bred cows and bulls" were sent from Fort Leavenworth to the farm. [142] A total of $12,699.13 was spent on the farm in 1851. The value of the hay harvested was $465.98, leaving the farm with a debt of $12,233.15 for the first year. The debt was owed to the subsistence department which was responsible for farm expenses until or if the agricultural experiment became profitable (the Fort Union shortfall in 1851 constituted more than 80% of the total loss to the subsistence department, $15,080.585, for the operation of 14 farms begun under the new program that year). Expenditures for the Fort Union farm in 1851 had been for farm implements, seed, livestock, labor, and the cost of freighting supplies and herding livestock from Fort Leavenworth. Livestock included twenty-four oxen, fifty cows, fifty heifers, five bulls, twelve ewes and rams, and eighty hogs. Approximately one-fourth of the expenses were for labor. A total of $2,380.32 was paid for teamsters and herders on the trail from Fort Leavenworth to the Ocate farm, and $812.87 was spent for farm laborers and herders at the farm. Colonel Sumner had purchased equipment and supplies from the firm of Emory & Co. of Albany, New York, on April 11, 1851, amounting to $3,551.95. That bill was not itemized, nor was the cost of transporting those items to New Mexico specified. Apparently the other military farms established in New Mexico in 1851 (including the post at Albuquerque and Forts Fillmore, Conrad, and Defiance) obtained equipment and seed from Fort Union (thus some of the items charged to Fort Union were actually utilized at other farms). [143]

Following a establishment of department headquarters at Albuquerque early in 1852, Colonel Sumner requested that some of the hogs be sent from Fort Union to Albuquerque. He probably wanted them for the post farm he had planned there. Major Alexander, commanding at Fort Union, directed the chief commissary officer, Isaac Bowen, to select "upwards of 30 of the best hogs" and have them driven to Albuquerque. Lieutenant Joseph Edward Maxwell and his company of Third Artillery, being transferred from Fort Union to Albuquerque, were given charge of the hog brigade. Corn was carried in the company baggage wagon for the hogs. Maxwell left the porkers at Anton Chico, for what reason is not clear (perhaps they were too difficult to drive). Bowen later asked Sumner what he should do with the hogs because the expense of keeping them at Anton Chico was costly, corn to feed them being sold at $5.00 per fanega. [144] The fate of the hogs remains unknown.

In the spring of 1852 Major Alexander informed Sumner: "Your brother is here & tells me he is getting along quite well. I shall visit the farm now . . . & will give you a full account of all that is doing there. I have told your brother that great exertions are expected of him." [145]

"Great exertions" were apparently made at the Fort Union farm. Besides the livestock, several crops were planted, including corn, barley, oats, wheat, and beans. Cornstalks and straw could be used as fodder for the animals. The soldiers assigned to the farm, by Sumner's orders, were to receive extra-duty pay during the spring and summer months. Because none of the men sent to the farm could handle the stallion, Captain Carleton was directed to find a soldier at the post who could do that job and exchange him for one of the other men at the farm. [146] Carleton sent Private Morris of his own company of dragoons "to take charge of the stallion. If he cannot do it there is no man here who can." [147]

The Ocate farm was used to maintain the public horses of the department which were not in use, horses that were recuperating from weak conditions or extra horses for the quartermaster department and dragoon regiments. In addition there was a breeding program, the size of which cannot be determined from available records, to raise "American" horses in New Mexico. Many New Mexican horses were considered too small for military service, and horses were brought from the states, particularly Missouri, for the army. It was not feasible, however, for the army to attempt to breed and raise its own stock as was tried at the post farm.

In November 1852 Captain Carleton informed Colonel Sumner that a recent severe snow storm had probably taken a heavy toll on the dragoon horses, "my best horses," sent on escort duty to Fort Atkinson with Paymaster Cunningham. Carleton requested that Sumner consider replacing the unsound horses with some of the good horses at the farm. Within two weeks Carleton informed Sumner that "the weather has been severe and the snow deep" and he doubted "if half of the horses which went to Fort Atkinson in October ever return." He asked for enough horses from the farm "to mount my whole." [148]

It is not clear if Carleton got the horses he wanted, but in mid-December he directed the farm superintendent, Robbins Sumner, to "have the public horses driven up and well fed . . . and send everyone you have at the farm except the stallion to this post by the Mexican herders tomorrow." The superintendent was to accompany the horses to Fort Union "to count them over to the Quarter Master here." Carleton firmly informed Robbins Sumner to be prompt, "let there be no mistake or delay about this on any account whatever." Some of the horses were to be sent to the quartermaster department at Albuquerque, and some were to be distributed to the dragoon companies. Fort Union Quartermaster Sibley was awaiting a clarification of orders regarding that distribution. Carleton reminded department headquarters that his company was greatly in need of some of the horses. [149] How long public horses were kept at the farm cannot be determined.

In addition to the horses and mules grazed at the farm, other livestock were part of the operation. In December 1852 there were forty-seven oxen, five milk cows, the breeding stallion, and approximately forty hogs. Carleton recommended that the hogs be sold or even given away "to improve the breed of hogs in this country." In his opinion the hogs were too expensive to keep in a land where grain prices were so high, and they were not yet ready for slaughter. He also recommended that the number of oxen be reduced at the farm. The keeping of more livestock than was needed at the farm was adding to the expenses of the operation. [150]

The main purpose of the farm was grain and forage production. Colonel Sumner and his brother, Robbins, learned that hard work and high hopes did not make a farm productive in New Mexico. In 1852 approximately 1,000 bushels of corn was grown at Ocate, of which about 600 bushels had been used by December. Part of that corn may have gone into the hogs which Carleton wished to sell or give away. Forage production in 1852 included an estimated 40 tons of cornstalk fodder and 40 tons of hay. E. V. Sumner expressed his disappointment in the results in the autumn harvest of 1852. Crop production was insufficient to feed the public animals at the post and depot during the coming winter, and the farm had lost money. He was still confident that "the scheme is unquestionably practicable and advantageous to the troops as well as the government." It just needed more time to become profitable. [151] He had apparently caught the "next-year" optimism that kept farmers going throughout the West, the belief that conditions and production would be better next year.

E. V. Sumner was gone from the department, replaced by Brigadier General John Garland, before the 1853 crops were harvested. The results, again, were disappointing. Robbins Sumner requested two additional soldiers to work on the farm in the spring of 1853, but Carleton sent word they were not necessary: "When the Farm was first Established ten men were deemed all that were necessary to cultivate and now that the land is broken the buildings completed and most of the manual labor of a trifling character the Major does not think that an additional force of two men will add to the Efficiency of the cultivation in your charge." [152] Colonel Sumner, before he was replaced, authorized his brother to hire two New Mexicans as laborers at the farm for $9.00 per month and one ration per day. [153]

In the summer of 1853 Inspector General Mansfield reported that 50 acres of corn had been planted and "looked well." Approximately 75 tons of hay had been "cut off the natural meadow." Although he found the post farms in the department to be almost $14,000 in debt, Mansfield recommended that the Ocate farm be kept but that the civilian superintendent, Robbins Sumner, be dismissed. The farm was "well irrigated" and could be operated by a detachment of extra-duty soldiers under direction of the quartermaster. Mansfield had no illusions about the cultivated crops paying their own way but saw the farm "more as a convenient locality" to maintain public horses, keep the beef herd, and harvest hay. He was basically opposed to soldier farming because it interfered with military duties and discipline. [154]

The farmers at the Ocate had to deal with the weather, weeds, and insects, and they were not immune from Indian raids. In September 1853 a party of Ute Indians stole 22 of the best mules at the farm, leaving 34 mules that were of no value. Troops from Fort Union were sent to recover the lost mules but failed to find them. [155]

Robbins Sumner apparently proved to be a poor manager of the farm, and the corn harvest was delayed in the fall of 1853. Lieutenant Colonel Philip St. George Cooke, new commanding officer at Fort Union, sent two additional soldiers to the farm to assist with the harvest and informed Sumner that his services would be terminated at the end of the month. When Sumner claimed he had been promised employment longer than that by Captain Macrae, Cooke checked with Macrae who declared, "I have no recollection of making any verbal or written agreement with M. R. Sumner at any time." Cooke so informed Robbins Sumner and ordered him to have the corn harvested and his accounts settled with the commissary department by the end of November. With his brother no longer in command of the department, Robbins Sumner found himself unemployed. Although all the corn was not harvested by November 29, Sumner requested permission to be relieved so he could take passage on the stage to the states. Cooke told him to go and sent a sergeant to oversee the completion of harvest. [156]

The corn produced at the farm inn 1853 was of poor quality, testing only 43.5 pounds per bushel (the standard test weight of corn is 56 pounds per bushel). Cooke was not pleased when he discovered that the production of corn on the post farm had cost more than four times as much as corn purchased in the territory (a cost in labor alone of $12.85 per fanega, compared to the market price of $3.00 in the open market). [157] The Fort Union farm showed a loss of almost $14,000. Garland, new department commander, declared that the farming experiment in New Mexico "has failed entirely." He recommended that "all further farming operations in this department be discontinued and that the implements and other property purchased for these operations be sold and applied to the debts already incurred. There will even then remain a balance of several thousand dollars to be provided for, in some way or other." [158] Adjutant General Samuel Cooper agreed, as did the new Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, and the farming experiment was ended. [159] General in Chief Winfield Scott had never supported the farming experiment because it kept troops from performing their other (more important) duties, interfered with army discipline, and competed with civilians who might settle near posts and produce the needed commodities. [160] Green recalled that the attempt to turn soldiers into farmers at Ocate Creek "was a failure, and all its livestock and machinery were sold at public auction at a ruinous discount." [161] As Mansfield had recommended, the lease on the Ocate farm was continued to graze livestock and cut hay for a few years. In 1856, however, the army discontinued the lease and Alvarez rented the land to Captain Shoemaker, military storekeeper at the department ordnance depot at Fort Union. [162]

The post garden was more successful at Fort Union and was continued. No garden was planted in 1851 because of the lateness of the season when the post was founded. By the following spring an irrigation system had been devised to raise water from one of the natural ponds to use for the post garden, located near Wolf Creek. A pump had been tried but delivered an insufficient amount of water. A device was constructed by which water was lifted from the pond with a series of buckets on an endless chain revolving upon a drum, powered by six mules and capable of raising up to ten barrels a minute. It provided, wrote Carleton, "an abundance of water for a large garden." He noted that "the pond falls some four inches a day when the wheel is in operation; but it soon fills up again." [163] Katie Bowen observed that the "pumps work well and we will have a fine garden at least. The farming operations are rather cumbersome, but time will tell." [164]

Before the end of April the ground had been plowed, a seedbed prepared, and some vegetables planted. It was still too cold, however, for the seeds to germinate. By mid-May it was still freezing hard at nights and the garden was "very backward." A week later a couple of rains came and the prospects for the garden improved. [165] Katie Bowen reported at the end of May that "the public garden is doing very well. Located by the side of a pond with a six horse power pump to irrigate. Peas are ready to pick and cabbages are looking very well." She noted that she was going to plant an herb garden in her yard. [166] By mid-summer Mrs. Bowen declared that "we have plenty of vegetables from the public garden." [167]

When Governor William Carr Lane was at Fort Union, August 26 to September 6, 1852, recuperating from illness on his way to assume his office at Santa Fe, he found the garden had "produced an abundant supply of well-grown and delicious vegetables." Lane recorded what he found growing in the post garden, the only such list available, including asparagus, beets, cabbage, carrots, corn, cucumbers, okra, onions, parsnips, peas, peppers, pumpkins, radishes, turnips, and a variety of unidentified berries. A few crops had failed, including tomatoes, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, and melons. Lane also visited Captain Shoemaker's garden located a little over one mile north of the post at a large spring which was used for irrigation. There Lane saw the "indigenous potato" which did well but produced small tubers "the size of musket balls." [168] When Colonel Garland directed that the farm at Ocate be closed, he also urged that the post garden be continued. [169] In most years there was a post garden but in 1856, according to Surgeon Letterman, "no gardens could be cultivated . . . in consequence of the want of water for irrigation . . . and on account of the great abundance of grasshoppers." [170]

The post garden at Fort Union and other posts in the department provided a variety of vegetables that had previously been unavailable or of limited supply. The garden provided fresh vegetables during the summer months, and some crops could be stored for use during the winter. Vegetables were important as part of the diet, providing some variety to a generally monotonous ration. More important, they supplied vitamin C which was essential to combat scurvy, a disease that was often a problem for the frontier army. The significance of garden crops in New Mexico was shown by a considerable reduction in scurvy among the soldiers in the department. There were 113 cases of scurvy reported during 1851, but only 19 in 1853. [171]

During the years that the farm was founded and failed and post gardens provided needed vegetables, many other activities involved the first Fort Union. With the coming of spring in 1852, troops at Fort Union and throughout the department turned their attention to the Indians. The depot quartermaster at Fort Union was responsible for outfitting and providing transportation for field operations. Captain Carleton replaced Major Alexander as post commander at Fort Union on April 22, 1852. During April 1852 two companies of First Dragoons and one company of Third Infantry, under command of Major George Alexander Hamilton Blake, First Dragoons, were sent to establish Fort Massachusetts in the land of the Ute Indians." [172] The new post was located on Ute Creek, a tributary of the Rio Grande, near the San Luis Valley on June 22, 1852. Later that year the horses belonging to the company of First Dragoons at Fort Massachusetts were sent, except for ten head kept there, to Fort Union for the winter months because of a shortage of feed at the new post. [173] Fort Massachusetts was occupied until June 24, 1858, when the garrison was moved to a nearby site and Fort Garland was established. [174]

In March 1852, following reports of Indian raids near San Antonio, New Mexico, Governor Calhoun requested 100 muskets and ammunition from Sumner to issue to a militia unit at San Antonio. Sumner directed Captain Horace Brooks, Second Artillery, commanding Fort Marcy at Santa Fe, to turn over the requested weapons, 5,000 cap and ball cartridges, and 300 flints to the governor to be used by citizens at San Antonio led by Estanislas Montoya. Calhoun asked Brooks to deliver the items to San Antonio. Brooks was unable to fulfill the order because he did not have the muskets at Santa Fe, and he informed Calhoun that he did not have available transportation to deliver the weapons if he had them. Calhoun, so ill that he was unable to fulfill his duties, appealed to Sumner, who ordered Brooks to obtain the necessary arms and ammunition from Captain Shoemaker at the ordnance depot at Fort Union. [175]

The health of Governor Calhoun soon became more important than the securing of arms. Calhoun suffered from scurvy and, perhaps, other complications. [176] He informed Commissioner of Indian Affairs Luke Lea at the end of March 1852 that he was "just recovering from a severe attack of the scurvy which came near laying me in my grave." A week later Calhoun sent notice to Lea that "I have been lying at the point of death and forbidden by my physicians to attend to my public duties and even now have to be propped up in my bed in order to sign my name," and announced that he had appointed Indian Agent John Greiner to serve as superintendent of Indian affairs in the territory during his illness. New Mexico, Calhoun declared, was in need of more government protection because "the lives of the citizens . . . are in eminent danger" from Indians and possible revolution by New Mexicans. [177]

Greiner was an alarmist who had little affection for the people of New Mexico and whose own fears, perhaps communicated to Calhoun, increased the governor's anxiety about the security of the territory. Greiner's nervous perceptions of the situation were expressed in a letter to a friend in the East, October 1, 1851:

Here I am in the Palace of Santa Fe sitting along side of Governor Calhoun, writing letters to my old friends in the "States," far, far away. If I succeed in getting safely back again among my friends under Providence I shall consider myself a highly favored man. Between the savage Indians, the treacherous Mexicans and the outlawed Americans a man has to run the gauntlet in this country. Three governors within twelve years have lost their heads and there are men here at present who talk so flippantly of taking Governor Calhoun's head as though it were of no consequence at all. Everybody and everything in this. . . country appears at cross purposes. In the first place the civil and military authorities are at war. . . . The American residents are at war with the Governor, while the Mexican population side with him. Even the missionaries are at logger-heads. . . . The American troops are at war with the Indians. . . . I have been residing at Taos lately, among the Eutahs and Apaches, who get drunk whenever they get a chance and boast of how many whites they have killed, and talk very glibly of the scalps they intend to take. There is a great and deep gulf between the American and Mexican yet. . . . There is hardly an American here that stirs abroad without being armed to the teeth, and under his pillow pistols and bowie knives may always be found. [178]

In another letter, written from Santa Fe on March 31, 1852, Greiner expressed his opinion of the army in New Mexico:

Our troops are of no earthly account. They cannot catch a single Indian. A dragoon mounted will weigh 255 pounds. Their horses are all as poor as carrion. The Indians have nothing but their bows and arrows and their ponies are as fleet as deer. Heavy dragoons on poor horses, who know nothing of the country, sent after Indians who are at home anywhere, and who always have some hours of start, how long will it take to catch them? So far, although several expeditions have started after them, not a single Indian has been caught! [179]

At the same time, Greiner noted that the civil government of the territory was disintegrating into ineptitude, increasing the insecurity of everyone.

The Governor goes into the States in a few weeks, if able to travel. The Secretary goes to see his family by the mail tomorrow. . . . The Attorney-general resigns to-day. The Prefect has just come here stating that he would have to let the prisoners out of jail because there is nothing to feed them on. The Chief Justice of the Territory, [Grafton] Baker, has been absent all winter at Washington. . . . He is by far the best of the Judges on the bench. Although the Associates are steady, sober, moral men, but nothing else, no one has any confidence in their decisions. . . . If traveling on the road, you meet an American, you put your hand on your pistol for fear of accidents. [180]

Governor Calhoun, like Greiner, was fearful for the safety of the citizens of New Mexico. "Our Territory is in a more critical condition than it has ever been before, a combination of wild Indians who surround us is threatened and . . . after the first of May or June the road to the States will become so infested with Indians that it will be unsafe to travel except with large and well provided escorts." [181] His predictions did not come true, in part, because of the troops at Fort Union who helped protect the Santa Fe Trail. [182] Colonel Sumner reported in September that "all things continue quiet in this department. . . . The new posts in the Indian country have had the happiest effect; indeed, it is plain that this is the only certain way of controlling Indians." [183]

On April 7, 1852, Calhoun informed Colonel Sumner of his "weak, feeble, and almost hopeless condition—and I feel that I am speaking almost as a dying man." He had been bedfast for four weeks. Even so, he was more concerned about military protection of the settlements than his own well-being. "I feel," he wrote, "desirous of doing all in my power to promote the public weal." Sumner tended to discount many of the rumors of Indian uprisings and revolutionary plots and assured the governor that the army was prepared for any emergency, declaring "that whoever expects to find me unprepared, will find himself mistaken." [184]

Governor Calhoun expressed fear of "the dreadful horrors of a civil war," [185] and on April 18 appealed to Colonel Sumner "to assist the civil authorities in maintaining peace & good order" in Santa Fe. [186] Sumner had just come from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, after hearing from Calhoun that the civil authority appeared to be threatened. [187] "On my arrival in this town," Sumner later wrote, "I was surprised to find it in a state of anarchy. All prisoners had been released for want of means to subsist them, and all law seemed to be set at naught. At the same time, there was a constant dread of revolution." [188] Katie Bowen offered her sarcastic interpretation of the threat of revolution: "There is some talk of revolution among the Mexicans in Santa Fe but I recken that it is all humbug, for we are quiet enough here." She held no affection for the department commander, declaring that "Col Sumner must keep his troops moving continually if for no other purpose than to render them uncomfortable, so if you hear of troops changing post, rest assured that my version of the story is correct." [189]

Nevertheless, Sumner promised Calhoun that he would give military aid if asked and responded favorably to the governor's April 18 request, established a military police in the capital, placed a guard at the Palace of the Governors, and increased the garrison at Fort Marcy. On April 21 Calhoun and Sumner issued a joint proclamation "to the public," declaring that, if the governor should "leave for the States before the arrival of the Hon. Secretary of the Territory [William S. Allen], the Military authority of this Department will so far take charge of the Executive Office as to make the preservation of law and order, absolutely certain." [190]

With this assurance that civil order would be preserved and reportedly on the road to recovery from his illness, Governor Calhoun, encouraged by his physicians to return to the States, determined to travel to his home in Georgia. Calhoun's "rapid state of recovery" proved to be temporary, however, and John Greiner reported at the end of April that the governor "is yet lying seriously ill." [191] Sumner recommended that the governor travel to Fort Union and rest a few days in Sumner's home there before departing for the long trip over the Santa Fe Trail. [192] A dragoon escort, led by Second Lieutenant Robert Johnston, was directed to accompany the governor as far as Fort Atkinson on the Arkansas River (Johnston was authorized to send a detachment of the escort as far as Pawnee Fork if Governor Calhoun so desired). [193] Governor Calhoun requested military supplies and equipment for his trip over the Santa Fe Trail, but Sumner stated no commissary stores could be spared. He did authorize Carleton at Fort Union to supply two wall tents, two water tanks, and harness for eight mules, all to be turned in at Fort Leavenworth at the end of the trip. [194]

Meanwhile there was fear among the Anglo-Americans at Mora that some of the Mexicans were planning an uprising. William Bransford, resident at Mora in charge of Ceran St. Vrain's mill, and Alexander Barclay, also residing at Mora at the time, had notified Captain Carleton at Fort Union of the possible threat and requested arms for protection. The extent of the rumored uprising could not be determined, but Carleton secretly sent arms to Bransford for the Americans who gathered each night for safety at Bransford's house. [195] There were also rumors in Las Vegas of a possible uprising against Anglos, and Sumner directed Carleton to take 15 or 20 men and go there to see what he could find out. If there appeared to be just reason for the apprehension, Carleton was to leave 15 men there under his best sergeant for a short time. [196] A few days later Carleton reported that he would go to Las Vegas to learn of the disturbances but assured Sumner it was "not necessary" to leave any soldiers at the town. [197]

At Las Vegas Carleton was told that it was the absence of the territorial secretary and the planned departure of Governor Calhoun, the two principal civil authorities, that alarmed the Hispanic population, who feared the results of administration of territorial affairs by Sumner. Sumner was, by most accounts (newspaper and private correspondence), extremely unpopular with the New Mexicans. Kate Bowen had written a few months earlier that Sumner "is very unpopular in his command and throughout the country. . . . If I could get hold of a few numbers of Santa fe papers you might read in full the contempt the inhabitants have for him." Carleton still belittled the potential for trouble. The news that William Carr Lane was appointed to be the new governor and would arrive late in the summer months quieted whatever fear actually existed. By the time Lane arrived in New Mexico, Sumner reported that any signs of "insurrectionary spirit had entirely subsided." [198]

When Sumner learned in May that Carleton had loaned arms from Fort Union to the Americans at Mora, he immediately notified Carleton of his "regret that you issued those arms." Sumner believed the furnishing of weapons would tend to "keep up excitement." Also, he was concerned that, if people knew they could borrow arms from the army, there would "be no end to the applications." He directed that no more arms be furnished except to volunteer troops serving under the authority of the regular army. Sumner also expressed his opinion that the rumored uprising was not serious and, if any "Mexicans" openly rebelled against U.S. authority, they could be quickly crushed by the army. [199]

Governor Calhoun, with Sumner's assurances of maintaining civil order, left Santa Fe on May 6, accompanied by his personal secretary David V. Whiting, William Love (his son-in-law who was postmaster at Santa Fe), Deputy United States Marshall R. M. Stephens, and Army Surgeon John Byrne, and the party arrived at Fort Union May 11. There Captain Carleton described Calhoun as "in a feeble state of health" and expressed doubt that he would be "able to proceed further." [200] Carleton stated a few days later that the governor's "health has been gradually declining ever since he has been here." Dr. Byrne said "the probabilities are that he will die before he will be able to reach the States." In anticipation that Calhoun would not survive the trip, a coffin was made at Fort Union to be carried on the trail. [201]

Calhoun was determined to begin the long journey and left Fort Union with an escort of 25 dragoons under Second Lieutenant Johnston, one mountain howitzer, and Post Surgeon Thomas A. McParlin on May 26. [202] Army Surgeon Byrne, who had been one of the physicians treating Governor Calhoun at Santa Fe and accompanied the governor to Fort Union, became the new post surgeon at Fort Union. [203] For the trip across the plains, the governor was confined to his bed in an ambulance. [204] On June 30, 1852, Calhoun died on the Santa Fe Trail between Council Grove and Missouri. His remains were buried at present Kansas City, Missouri. [205]

Colonel Sumner, who had hurried the troops out of Santa Fe to Fort Union the previous year and had moved the department headquarters first to Fort Union and then to Albuquerque, temporarily reestablished his headquarters in Santa Fe on May 5, 1852. There he oversaw both military and civil authority in New Mexico until Calhoun's replacement, William Carr Lane, arrived on September 9, 1852. Sumner then returned to Albuquerque. [206] Samuel Ellison described Governor Lane as "a man of superior intellect, & was highly esteemed by the people of the territory, both natives & Americans." [207] He was not, however, always esteemed by Sumner. The two men seldom agreed on public policy, and they clashed over several issues.

Although Sumner maintained that the removal of troops from Santa Fe to Fort Union also removed them from the detractions of saloons, gambling, and prostitutes, the enterprising purveyors of what Sumner had called demoralizing "evils" and "vice" simply followed the troops to their new station. In April 1852, just nine months after Fort Union was established, Captain Carleton, who replaced Captain Alexander as post commander on April 22, reported that the post was surrounded by whiskey establishments and "these places without a doubt are the receptacles of the property and many of the stores stolen from this depot and are the places where the thieves congregate to lay schemes for carrying on further depredations." [208]

Captain Bowen later compiled an extensive list of losses suffered by the commissary department at Fort Union in 1852 (shown in Table 2 on the following page) and stated his belief "that the greater proportion of the above articles were stolen by the enlisted men of the command stationed at Fort Union, and sold at the grog shops and bawdy houses in the neighborhood." Post Surgeon John Byrne compiled a list of property stolen from the medical department, including a large quantity of medications, surgical instruments, hospital stores (comprising, among other items, 28 bottles of brandy and 132 bottles of wine), bedding (58 blankets, 16 pillow cases, and 6 sheets), furniture, and other supplies (such as paper, ink, scissors, tape, silverware, a frying pan, and a chamber pot). [209]

Table 2
Subsistence Stores Dropped from Inventory at Fort Union, New Mexico, 1852, for Wastage and Theft

ItemAmount Lost
Bacon9,379 pounds
Ham1,191 pounds
Flour3,400 pounds
Beans70.6 bushels
Coffee4,003 pounds
Sugar7,124 pounds
Candles1,313 pounds
Dried Peaches20 bushels
Pickles70 gallons
Salt37 bushels

Carleton wanted to see "these dens of drunkennes and thieving to be broken up at once." The solution, he suggested, was "to burn every one of these houses to the ground and destroy all the property found in them." [211] Carleton, in cooperation with civil authorities in New Mexico, was authorized to close the dram shops and Sumner enlarged the military reservation at Fort Union to help force the undesirable businesses to operate farther from the post. Both actions resulted in legal entanglements for the army.

Deputy United States Marshal R. M. Stephens accompanied Governor Calhoun to Fort Union on May 11, carrying a warrant issued by the governor for the arrest of ten men charged with "selling liquor in the Indian Country, and for having purchased and concealed stolen property." With the assistance of troops from the post, Stephens arrested Morris Miller, Hugh G. Hutchinson, John Woland, Calvin D. Scofield, Arthur Morrison, Samuel Sease, William Reynolds, Samuel Morey, Jacob Meador, and William Haisted. As provided in the warrant, Stephens and the soldiers, under direction of Captain Carleton, confiscated the property of those men (which was turned over to the quartermaster at the fort) and burned five or six "shanties" where they operated. Those arrested were taken to Santa Fe for trial. United States Marshall John Jones later submitted a bill to Territorial Governor Lane for $338.00 for the cost of his department in making the arrests and moving the prisoners to Santa Fe. [212]

Katie Bowen gave an account of these events:

All the shanties and grogeries around this post kept by miserable Americans have by order of the chief of Santa Fe been burned down and the keepers put in irons and sent to that town for trial. Now we are enclosed in a line eight miles square. A great deal of quartemaster and commissary property was found in the search and some gentlemen who were out on horseback when the places were set fire to said that mexican women scattered like sheep from all the places and hid in the rocks on the mountain. The Mexicans are very bitter toward Maj. Carleton for informing the Sheriff and requesting him to destroy those places. [213]

On May 11, by Sumner's order, "the military reservation at Fort Union is hereby extended to eight miles square. The Fort to be the central point. Posts will be erected at the corners, and all citizens now living within those limits will be removed from the reserve without destroying their property." [214]

Captain Bowen, chief commissary officer for the department, was ordered to survey the reservation, but he reported no instruments on hand to perform that assignment and requested that Lieutenant Pope, chief engineer for the department, be sent to conduct the survey. [215] Before Pope had laid out the boundaries of the new reservation, Alexander Barclay protested that the enlarged reserve encroached upon his lands and he would defend his title. [216] On May 28, 1852, Barclay delivered a formal protest against the enlarged reservation to Captain Carleton at Fort Union and declared he was going to start plowing his own property within one mile of the post. Carleton threatened to remove him by force if he did, and Barclay stated that is what he wanted the army to do so he could file a suit to protect his land grant from military encroachment. [217]

Barclay and his partner J. B. Doyle were also involved in the whiskey trade which was shut down and lost some liquor that was destroyed. According to Carleton they became so bold as to operate a portable liquor store in a wagon which they could bring onto the military reservation to make sales but escape with the illegal goods when threatened with discovery and confiscation. This wagon was apparently captured while on the reservation at night, "peddling to the men on the reserve," and 25 gallons of their whiskey was destroyed by Carleton's orders. Barclay and Doyle filed suit against Carleton, claiming they were on their own property. [218]

In October 1852 a deputy sheriff from Taos County served a summons on Captain Carleton to appear before the district court at Don Fernandez de Taos on the fourth Monday in November to answer a petition for trial made by Barclay and Doyle for an alleged trespass. As Carleton related it to his superiors, "for trespass for destroying a quantity of whiskey which they persisted in bringing upon the Military reserve after I had sent to them a copy of Department orders 'No 30' establishing the Military reserve and after I had sent them word that if they brought any more liquor to sell to troops on the reserve, it would be destroyed." [219] Carleton asked Governor Lane if he should appear in court or claim that Taos County had no jurisdiction over the military reservation. "Would not obedience to this summons," queried Carleton, "imply that I consider this as being within the jurisdiction of Taos County[?]" In a cover letter, Carleton begged the governor to "please ask the judge about this." [220]

Lane, however, refused to become involved in this case, informing Colonel Sumner (with whom he had already clashed regarding the lines of authority in the territory between civil and military officials) that "any interference in this case, on my part, under present circumstances, might be construed into an unwarranted interference with your appropriate duties." [221] Carleton engaged Hugh N. Smith, former territorial delegate to Congress, to represent him at Taos. Carleton feared that any jury in Taos County would find in favor of the owners of the land grant on which the fort was located. Thus the title to the land on which the fort stood was as much a part of the case as the authority to prohibit the sale of liquor. [222]

Carleton had been told by someone he did not identify that the grant which Barclay & Doyle occupied may not be valid because the Mexican government had never ratified it. If they had title, however, the question became one of military authority on lands surrounding Fort Union. He also suggested that a change of venue from Taos to Santa Fe would bring the case before a more favorable judge, Grafton Baker. [223] There was also the consideration that Carleton was acting under government orders when he led the troops which confiscated the liquor, meaning the government rather than he personally was responsible for what had been done.

The case of Barclay and Doyle against Carleton was not transferred from Taos County, but it was delayed until March of 1853. At that time the suit was decided in favor of Barclay and Doyle, and Carleton was required to pay $144 "for trespass and breaking & destroying a barrel of whiskey." A similar suit against Sumner was postponed. Also, because of conflicting evidence over the rightful owner of the land grant on which Fort Union and the military reservation were located, a decision on the part of Barclay's suit to require the ejectment of the military from the land grant was postponed so more evidence could be gathered. Captain Gouverneur Morris, new commanding officer at Fort Union, hoped to compile sufficient testimony to prove that the post was located on the Mora Grant. [224]

The suit charging trespass against Sumner came to trial in Taos in September 1853, and a jury of 12 men found in favor of Barclay and Doyle, requiring the defendant to pay damages of $100.00 and costs of the trial. [225] The suit for ejectment of the U.S. government from possession of lands belonging to Barclay and Doyle was heard later, and the army's representatives failed to appear. The court found in favor of Barclay and Doyle and issued a writ of possession to them. A jury was asked to assess damages in the case and awarded Barclay and Doyle another $100.00. The attorneys representing the plaintiffs then returned $99.99, keeping only one cent as token payment. [226]

The court having decided that Barclay and Doyle were rightful owners of the site of Fort Union, they signed a lease with the government, represented by Major Rucker, on March 22, 1854, for an area of 16 square miles (10,240 acres) centering on the flagstaff of the post, at an annual fee of $1,200.00 to be paid quarterly from September 7, 1853. Witnesses were W. H. Moore and W J. Martin. The army received the privilege of "cutting and using on said premises, such wood, timber, grass and water, et cetera, as may be necessary for the use of the post of Fort Union." [227]

Another civil suit was brought against Carleton in Santa Fe County by some of the men who had lost whiskey in the raids. Because the territorial attorney was absent, Governor Lane did represent Carleton before the court in this instance. According to Lane, the case was eventually dismissed but Carleton was assessed the court costs, which Governor Lane paid for him. [228] This was not the last problem with whiskey vendors, [229] but the army had succeeded in stopping some of the traders. More important it appeared that a solution had been found for the lease of land on which the post stood. Meanwhile, the troops at Fort Union continued with their various assignments and a new territorial governor arrived in New Mexico.

On August 3 Carleton and his Company K, First Dragoons, departed for Fort Atkinson, where they met on August 15 newly-appointed Territorial Governor William Carr Lane, a surgeon from St. Louis, and accompanied his party to New Mexico. Because Lane was seriously ill, suffering from intense pain and unable to eat anything for five days, Carleton and a small party made a forced march from the New Mexico Point of Rocks on August 25 and arrived at Fort Union on August 26, where Lane and Carleton were both ill for several days. The remainder of the company, under command of Second Lieutenant Johnston, returned to Fort Union August 29 after marching a total distance of 682 miles. [230]

Governor Lane related an incident on the return trip that was not mentioned in the military records. In a letter to Waldo, Hall & Co., mail contractors and operators of the stage line on which Lane had traveled from the Missouri River to Fort Atkinson, Lane told of his pleasant trip on their coach under Conductor William Allison and explained he left the stage at Fort Atkinson to ride in Captain Carleton's "carriage" (probably an army ambulance). Allison, taking advantage of the protection provided by the dragoons, traveled near them for several days and encamped in the same vicinity at nights. [231]

This arrangement proceeded "in the most perfect harmony" until the afternoon of August 19 at a camp on the Cimarron River. Somehow Captain Carleton drove the mules pulling his ambulance across the picket ropes of some of the stagecoach mules, and one his mules became entangled in the rope holding one of the stage mules, causing only a minor mishap. Conductor Allison, however, to the "utter amazement" of Lane, flew into a terrible rage and in the presence of the entire troop of dragoons "indulged in many loud and indecent oaths & exclamations" and continued the "grossly indecent language" for some time. Carleton remained calm during the entire ordeal. [232]

Governor Lane informed the owners of the stage line that Allison's behavior was "indefensible" and declared Allison owed Carleton an apology. Until then, Lane concluded, "I could not think of travelling in a Stage, under his control." [233]

That was not the end of the story. William and John McCoy, managers of the stage headquarters at Independence, Missouri, responded that Allison had a bad temper and they were sorry about what had happened. They also informed Lane that they had forwarded some of his freight from the steamboat at Wayne City Landing (near Independence) via one of Francis X. Aubry's wagon trains, for which there was a $6.94 transfer charge because they had to overtake the train near Westport. The letter and the bill were delivered to Lane at Santa Fe by none other than William Allison, who gave the governor a receipt for the payment. [234]

Governor Lane became good friends with the Carletons and other officers at Fort Union, and they must have enjoyed the memory of the incident with Allison. In October 1852 Carleton wrote to Lane, "Mrs. Carleton proposed sending you a cake by mail(!) I thru cold water on this for perhaps Mr Allison would not care to be troubled in this way." He also invited the governor to come to Fort Union for Christmas, stating "we will do our best to make it a merry one." [235]

In November 1852, in order to provide for considerable indebtedness Carleton had accumulated (over $1,000 plus interest), he sold to Governor Lane two black slaves the family had brought from Missouri to Fort Union. Benjamin, age 21, and Hannah, age 28, were deeded in trust to Gov. Lane who agreed either to hire them out or sell them to advantage to pay off the Carleton family debts. [236] Lane took close interest in the lawsuits filed against Carleton for the destruction of whiskey on the military reservation, as noted above, and represented him before the court in Santa Fe.

During the 12 days Lane spent recuperating at the Carletons' quarters at Fort Union, he observed much that was entered into his diary. [237] He commented on the thunderstorms and one hail storm of the "so-called rainy season." He visited the post garden and gave the most descriptive list available of what was grown there and how the irrigation system operated. He provided a good description of Los Pozos. [238]

Lane visited in the home of Captain and Mrs. Shoemaker and described their vegetable garden approximately one and one-quarter miles up the valley from the post where there was a "large spring . . . used for irrigation." He "dined and suped" with Captain and Mrs. Bowen, another couple with whom a fine friendship developed and personal correspondence passed during the time Lane was in New Mexico. [239] He was able to leave Fort Union on September 5 and arrived in Santa Fe on September 9, where he took over the executive office from Lieutenant Colonel Sumner. [240] The officers at Fort Union held Lane in high esteem, and he enjoyed their friendship. In November 1852 Lane wrote to a friend in St. Louis: "I am in luck. The officers at Fort Union - 100 miles east of this place, have just sent me some venison (Black-tailed Deer), some Antelope venison, and a Wild Turkey." [241]

Mrs. Bowen corresponded with Gov. Lane and shared with him her disgust with Col. Sumner, stating a fear her pen might be "court-martialed." She said "Our little Willie C (he's a namesake of yours [hardly true since William Cary Bowen was named after Kate's father and before they knew William Carr Lane]) is well." She invited him to "pay us a visit" and closed with "Excuse me for spinning this yarn so long, but a love for old gentlemen is my weakness." Kate C. Bowen to Lane, Jan. 5, 1853, William Carr Lane Collection, MHS.

When Major Gouveneur Morris and his wife, Anna Maria, visited Gov. Lane at Santa Fe in December 1852. Mrs. Morris was also impressed with "the elegant old gentleman." The day after their arrival in Santa Fe, she wrote in her diary, "we called to see the Governor. . . . I like him very much & gave him a kiss at parting." Before the Morrises left town the next day to go to Fort Union, "the Governor called to say good bye. He kissed my hand in a very courtly manner & gave me his Blessing." Anna Maria Morris Diary, Morris Collection, University of Virginia, microfilm, Dec. 12-13, 1852 (hereafter Morris Diary).

Sophia W (Mrs. James H.) Carleton hosted the governor in her home when he was ill upon his arrival in New Mexico Territory, and she kept in touch with Lane. In May 1853, in response to a gift he had sent to her, Mrs. Carleton wrote and thanked him for the present and invited him to visit the Carletons at Fort Union. "You know," she wrote, "I have the heart to treat you well, and if I don't succeed, it must be attributed to the hard life we have here." She shared her personal life and views with him and obviously considered him a special friend. "Both my little children are well and growing finely. Hal is as sweet as he can be. What is the reason that you men do not grow up so sweet?" Sophia W. Carleton to Lane, May 6, 1853, William Carr Lane Collection, MHS. Other officers Lane visited at the post included Captains Sibley, Brooks, and Sykes, Lt. Johnston, and Dr. Byrne.

Lane was a good friend to have, but he resigned in the summer of 1853, a few months after a change of administrations in Washington, D.C. He and Sumner were unable to work together in New Mexico. [242] Lane negotiated treaties with some of the Indians and promised to feed them, an economical alternative to warfare. The federal administration did not approve the treaties and Congress did not appropriate funds to feed the Indians. When the Indians discovered the promises were not to be fulfilled they retaliated against the New Mexicans, creating new problems for civil and military officials in New Mexico, problems to be dealt with by Lane's and Sumner's successors and the troops stationed at Fort Union. Lane, one of the few Anglo-Americans who admired and respected the people and culture of New Mexico, ran for the office of territorial delegate to Congress and was defeated by Jose Manuel Gallegos. Lane returned to his home and family in St. Louis, where he died in 1863. [243]

On June 1, 1853, Colonel Sumner announced that he was taking a leave of absence and placed Lieutenant Colonel Dixon S. Miles, Third Infantry, in command of the department. Two days later, Sumner resumed command because of problems with the Navajos. Because of the murder of a "Mexican citizen" by a party of Navajos, Sumner ordered a large force, including most of the available men at Fort Union, to be ready to march against that tribe if the guilty party or parties were not surrendered by July 1. Then, before any action was taken, Sumner left the department and placed Miles in charge until his successor arrived. [244]

Although Sumner was apparently pleased with what he had accomplished in New Mexico, including the reorganization of the department, construction of new posts, and especially the reduction of expenditures, it soon became clear that he had left the department in an impoverished condition. Kate Bowen provided a perceptive evaluation when she wrote of Sumner: "He is very unpopular throughout the country and his excessive economy with regard to troops and animals has just the effect as meanness in a household, viz; a failure in all arrangements." "Economy," she declared, "wont work in such a poor country as this." [245] Sumner's successor probably would have agreed but was unable to state it so concisely.

Sumner traveled eastward over the Santa Fe Trail, made a brief visit at Fort Atkinson which he had established in 1850, and met his replacement, Brigadier General John Garland, [246] along the Arkansas River. They almost did not meet on the trail because they followed different routes. Sumner traveled the Cimarron Route to the Arkansas River and took the Dry Route east from near where Fort Dodge, Kansas, was later established. Garland took the Wet Route west of Pawnee Fork and later followed the Aubry Route from the Arkansas River into the present Oklahoma panhandle. When Sumner's party camped on the Dry Route on July 11, several miles west of Pawnee Fork, they learned from "Delgado's train" that Garland and his troops were camped approximately three miles away on the Wet Route near the river. Sumner, Lt. Joseph N. G. Whistler, and "Mr. Papin" rode to Garland's camp and visited with Garland for a time before returning to their own camp late that night. [247]

Garland assumed command of the Ninth Military Department on July 20, 1853, as soon as he crossed the Arkansas River. He was accompanied by the new territorial governor, David Meriwether (who had joined the caravan along the trail), [248] Meriwether's son Raymond, James J. Davenport the new chief justice for New Mexico, new Indian agents Edmund A. Graves and James M. Smith, a civilian surgeon named Dr. Jacobs, Colonel Mansfield of the inspector general's department, Captain William A. Nichols who served as Garland's adjutant, Assistant Surgeon David C. DeLeon, Major Cary H. Fry of the paymaster department (with $300,000 in specie), 212 troops (many new recruits) under command of Major Electus Backus, Third Infantry, a large number of dragoon horses under the charge of Lieutenant William D. Smith, Second Dragoons, and a train of 51 wagons under command of Captain L. C. Easton, quartermaster department. Other officers making the trip included Captain Macrae, who was accompanied by his family and became commander of Fort Union, Captain Oliver L. Shepherd, Lieutenants William B. Johns and Henry B. Schroeder, Second Lieutenant Horace F. DeLano, and Brevet Second Lieutenants Matthew L. Davis, Alexander M. McCook, and Charles H. Rundell. They arrived at Fort Union on July 31 and the first two days of August. [249]

Meanwhile Lieutenant Colonel Miles had been left to deal with the Navajos. Garland later provided his views and an explanation of what happened: "I say, with as much regret as sorrow, that Col. Sumner, my predecessor, embarrassed me not a little, by placing an order on the books of the Department for a campaign against the Navajoes which he had not the means of carrying out, and in this state of things left the Department." Miles had avoided the campaign by sending Captain Henry Lane Kendrick with a smaller command to meet with some Navajo leaders who restored the stolen property and promised to deliver the guilty party, who had taken refuge among the Ute Indians, when he returned to their nation. [250] Troops from Fort Union were not required to join in that effort. Garland was to learn many other things about Sumner's administration in the department as he and Colonel Mansfield evaluated conditions there.

Mansfield was satisfied that Fort Union was "well located for a depot for the supply of the northern posts" in New Mexico Territory. The site was "well adapted for keeping beef cattle and supernumerary dragoon horses and mules &c &c." Regarding the availability of local supplies, the inspector reported that "flour, corn and hay and fuel are obtained from the neighbouring valleys as conveniently as at other posts in New Mexico and on reasonable terms." Finally, he believed that "the buildings of all kinds are as good as at any post and there seems to be enough of them to satisfy the demands of the service." Expressing no objection to Fort Union as a supply depot, Mansfield was concerned about the defensive position of the post. "It is too close under the Mesa for a tenable position gainst an enterprising enemy," he warned, "unless the immediate heights can be occupied by a block house which could readily be done." [251] That was never done, however, and the post was moved approximately a mile away from the mesa during the Civil War in an attempt to secure a tenable position. Mansfield completed his work at Fort Union on August 6 and proceeded to other posts in the department while Garland established department headquarters at Albuquerque.

After Garland was settled at Albuquerque, he was concerned about the delay in the delivery of mail from the states to his office. Because the mail coaches stopped at Fort Union on the way in, he directed that the mail for headquarters be removed there and sent directly by an "expressman" to him. A few days later, in order to expedite communications among all the posts in the department, Garland set up a monthly system of expresses designed to distribute and collect mail as efficiently as possible. After the express from Fort Union reached Albuquerque, he carried dispatches to Santa Fe and then back to Union. Other riders communicated with the remainder of the posts from Albuquerque and Santa Fe. [252] Garland obviously wanted to be kept informed. He was not especially pleased with what he learned.

Garland, as noted above, was not satisfied with the military farms and terminated those operations the following year, except for grazing and haying on the Ocate. As Garland became more aware of conditions in New Mexico, and especially after Mansfield completed his inspection tour, he realized that Sumner had left the department nearly impoverished and poorly arranged for defense against Indians. The posts, including Fort Union, were poorly constructed and in constant need of repairs. Garland was especially concerned about the location of Fort Union depot and the suit of Barclay and Doyle regarding the property on which the post stood. He thought several forts in the department should be relocated, including Union. [253] In 1856 Garland reported to army headquarters that the troops in New Mexico were "in good condition for service, notwithstanding the constant labor required of them in repairing decayed Military Posts and in constructing new ones." [254]

When Captain Easton reported the deteriorated condition of the quartermaster store house at Fort Union and requested authorization to build a new, solid structure, Garland responded: "No additional buildings will be put up at Fort Union. The building erected for a smoke house can be fitted up for temporary use." His views on the future of the depot at Union were indicated by instructions to Easton to move all the supplies intended for Fort Defiance, Albuquerque, and all posts south of Albuquerque to the depot at Albuquerque for storage. In addition, if "fair contracts" could be made with freight contractors delivering to Fort Union to carry the goods on to Albuquerque "without re-handling at Fort Union," Easton was to make such arrangements. [255]

A few weeks later Garland informed army headquarters that "Fort Union is entirely out of position for a depot, and it has been decided, by a Court of Law, that the title to the land is in an individual. He may at any time claim damages or eject us. I have, under these circumstances, determined to withdraw the supplies and have ordered the principal Quarter Master and commissary of subsistence to a more convenient point, Albuquerque, leaving the present garrison there for the winter." The medical depot was transferred from Fort Union to Albuquerque the following summer. Only the ordnance depot remained at Union. Although the future of Fort Union appeared to be tenuous at that time, the post remained active, albeit less important, and it served the department as a subdepot for several years and later became the main depot again. Garland questioned the judgment that had made Fort Union so important, and he questioned the economizing decisions of his predecessor. [256]

Within three months after assuming command, Garland was appalled with conditions of the department. He felt obligated to inform his superiors and, as noted above, could not be as concise as Katie Bowen.

It is never considered in good taste to attack one's predecessor, but I am forced to do it, else, the odium of bad management, extravagant expenditures, &c &c will fall upon me, however much my course may be blameless. I am restrained too, in some degree, from the fact that my predecessor is an old friend and acknowledged throughout the Army to be one of the most efficient and gallant officers in the field, he is also a man of untiring industry, but his energies have been misapplied, and he has left the Department in an impoverished and crippled condition, wanting in many of the essentials for undertaking a successful enterprise. His great and sole aim appears to have been to win reputation from an economical administration of his Department, in this, he will be found to have signally failed, if all his acts are closely looked into, his economy run into parsimony, the result of which, was the loss of a vast number of horses and mules. He found here an abundance, a plethora of every essential for a military enterprise, and makes capital out of it. In order to make a fair exhibit of the expenditures in the department under his administration of it, it is but fair that he should be charged with everything that has been ordered here to supply his exhausted coffers, Qr. Mrs. Stores, subsistence, ordnance, granaries &c, especially wagons and mules. I found a number of Dragoons mounted on the ponies of the country, to the exclusion of Dragoons horses, which should have been sent here, in place of those which perished for want of forage.

The subsistence stores arrived so late and our means of transportation so limited, that some of the articles of supply were exhausted before others could be got to the remote posts. [257]

The next day Garland informed Lorenzo Thomas that "the empty store houses left by my predecessor are not yet filled." [258]

The Ninth Military Department was in need of major changes within, and on October 31, 1853, it received a change from without. With the reorganization of military departments throughout the nation, the Ninth Department became the Department of New Mexico, comprised of New Mexico Territory east of 110 degrees west longitude. A few weeks later the boundaries were revised to include the Post at El Paso, Texas, and New Mexico Territory east of 120 degrees west longitude. Little had been changed except the name. Department headquarters remained at Albuquerque until September 6, 1854, when Garland moved to Santa Fe. [259]

Garland, like Sumner before him, was concerned about the absence of many officers from the companies. He informed army headquarters in January 1854 "that there are not a sufficient number of company officers in this Department for ordinary camp and garrison duty." [260] Noting the effect this had on "the condition of this Department," he requested that officers, especially dragoon officers, be directed to New Mexico. Garland observed that "there is undoubtedly a strong disinclination to serve in New Mex. both on account of its discomforts and the high rates which the officers have to pay for the most common necessaries." [261] Lieutenant Colonel Cooke, Second Dragoons, commanding Fort Union, reported in February 1854 the shortage within his regiment. Only three officers, "two young second Lieutenants and one 1st Lieut, who is sick & unfit for duty, it is supposed permanently," were present with the four companies of Second Dragoons stationed in the department. This meant that ten of the officers were absent. None had arrived in the department by June 1. By October Second Lieutenant Alexander McD. McCook, Third Infantry, was assigned to lead Company H, First Dragoons. [262]

Cooke was also concerned about the treatment of dragoons from Fort Union who served as express riders in the department, making "journies of four or five days in all seasons & weather." They were unable to carry all the provisions needed, but no arrangements had been made for their food, lodging, or fuel. Most were unable to spend their own money for such essentials. The result, said Cooke, was that "they are at the charity of New Mexicans & hang about kitchens and outhouses, or stables, on sufferance or as trespassers, all of which I respectfully represent, is unjust, impolitic and very degrading to the soldier." [263] It is not clear what if anything was done for the express riders. The outbreak of Indian hostilities a short time later demanded most of the attention of troops at Fort Union. The system of expresses was modified in November 1856, with provisions that two mounted men would comprise an express and the men and horses would be changed at every post. [264]

With most of the troops, including the post surgeon, in the field in the spring of 1854, Fort Union commander, Captain Macrae, was concerned about the health of the garrison. He informed department headquarters on April 4 that 16 men were on the sick list "and no medical officer at this post." In case of an emergency the closest medical officer was at Santa Fe. An inadequate supply of medical officers was just one more deficiency in the department. Macrae was authorized to employ a citizen physician if he could find one who would take the job. None was available and the post remained without the services of a medical officer until Dr. Byrne returned in May. At the end of July Garland directed that the medical depot at Fort Union be moved to Albuquerque, where the quartermaster and commissary depots were located and from where the medical supplies could be distributed throughout the department. [265]

While Garland considered Albuquerque the best location in the department for the distribution of equipment and provisions, he disliked it as a place to live. He requested permission to change department headquarters from Albuquerque to Santa Fe. "Albuquerque," he declared, "is the dirtiest hole in New Mexico,and is only occupied from necessity." [266] The move was authorized and made in September. In just a little over three years department headquarters had moved from Santa Fe to Fort Union, to Albuquerque, and back to Santa Fe. There it remained until the Civil War, and Santa Fe was the command center for both military and civil officials in the territory. [267]

While department headquarters were being moved, Colonel Thomas Turner Fauntleroy, First Dragoons, assumed command of Fort Union on September 18, 1854, at a time when the garrison was the smallest in its pre-Civil War history. He named Second Lieutenant W. T. Magruder of his regiment to serve as post adjutant and placed Magruder in charge of the commissary department at the post. So few soldiers were available to cut hay required for the public animals at the post, Fauntleroy authorized the post quartermaster, Major Rucker, to contract for what was needed. [268]

Soon after Brigadier General Garland arrived in the department he reported that Fort Union was improperly located, directed that no additional new buildings were to be constructed there, and removed the supply depot from that place. In 1856 he began to search for a location where a new fort could be built. He directed Captain Easton and Captain W. A. Thornton, ordnance department, to investigate the area around the junction of the Mora and Sapello rivers and around Wagon Mound for a possible site to build a new military post. The site was to include adequate wood, water, and grass, and have sufficient land for an arsenal. If they located a suitable place they were to determine who owned the property, discern if the land could be secured for a post, and find out a price to purchase or lease the land for 20 years. [269] Easton was no stranger to this assignment; he had been sent by Colonel Munroe in 1851 for the same purposes. As in 1851 no suitable location was found. Fort Union was going to stay put for the time being.

Garland continued to study the situation, and he was not satisfied that Fort Union should remain an active post. In October 1856 Garland left the department on a leave of absence, placing Colonel Benjamin L. E. Bonneville, Third Infantry, in command in New Mexico. Garland returned and resumed command in May 1857. [270] The site of Fort Union remained active, but the political administration of the territory soon changed again.

Governor Meriwether left New Mexico in May 1857 although his term did not end until October. He may have been furnished an escort for his trip. Acting Governor W. W. H. Davis departed from Fort Union for the states in October with the eastbound mail. Lieutenant J. H. Edson and 25 mounted riflemen escorted the mail coach and governor from the Canadian at least as far as the Arkansas River. The new governor, Abraham Rencher from North Carolina, arrived in Santa Fe with his family on November 12, having traveled over the Santa Fe Trail with a military escort comprised largely of dragoon recruits for the department, commanded by Lieutenant Charles Griffin, Second Artillery. Other recruits for New Mexico, under command of Major Daniel T. Chandler, Third Infantry, arrived at Fort Union where Brigadier General Garland met them on November 4 and distributed them among the companies stationed in the department. [271]

General Garland, because of ill health, relinquished command of the department to Colonel Bonneville in September 1858. [272] Garland had planned, when he left New Mexico, to return as soon as his health improved. He was not sent back although he lived until 1861. Bonneville served as "temporary" department commander from September 15, 1858, to October 25, 1859, when Colonel Fauntleroy returned to the department as the commanding officer. Garland, as noted, had never been satisfied with the location of Fort Union and had done little to improve conditions there. During Bonneville's tenure Quartermaster General Jesup informed him that funds had been appropriated to repair or rebuild Fort Union, and Captain Fred Myers, post and subdepot quartermaster, prepared plans to rebuild the post. Bonneville appointed a board of three officers (Colonel Loring, Major James L. Donaldson of the quartermaster department, and Captain John G. Walker, Regiment of Mounted Riflemen) to examine the plans and estimates, determine if the funds available ($13,400) were sufficient for the work planned, and to make recommendations regarding the site for the new post. [273]

This board reported within a week that the funds appropriated were, in their opinion, "sufficient for the completion of the necessary quarters, barracks and store houses, . . . provided the plans . . . are strictly adhered to." They had modified the plans to fit the funds available. They recommended that the new post be built approximately four miles from the original site which they believed had an inadequate supply of water from the spring on which the garrison was dependent, especially for the purpose of fighting fires at a post comprised of buildings which were virtual tinderboxes. The cost of hauling water in wagons from the spring to the post "at a considerable expense" could be saved. They also argued that the present post was too far removed from good timber, which was hauled from the Turkey Mountains, and that the situation of the post in a depression in Wolf Creek valley was poorly drained during the rainy season. They saw nothing but advantages to be gained by relocation to their recommended site. [274]

The location we recommend is immediately upon the bank of the Moro creek, a beautiful Mountain Stream which will afford in addition to an accessible abundance of water for all the ordinary purposes of a large post, would furnish an abundance of water power for propelling mills and other machinery. The hills overhanging the stream are clothed with an abundance of pine timber suitable for fuel and lumber for building. Stone for building can be procured within a few hundred yards of the post, and lime can be burned near at hand. The grass is excellent, and during the past summer a large part of the stock of the post was driven to the vicinity of the proposed post and kept there during the summer, in preference to herding near the post.

As an additional reason for the proposed removal we would mention that buildings of the Ordnance Depot are falling into decay, and altho' there has been for some time past money on hand for repairing the buildings here, Fort Union has been considered so unsuitable a place that it has not been thought advisable to expend the funds in this manner. In the event of the post being removed as we recommend, a site for the Depot or Arsenal will be secured, which for convenience of water power and abundance of all necessary material, cannot be excelled we believe in the Department. In addition, it would have the advantage of being a Depot where it would be possible to keep the stores of the Ordnance Department, without endangering the lives of an entire garrison.

In regard to the practicality of procuring a sufficiency of land for the purposes of the post, we have from good authority that the owners of the land upon which we propose to have the post erected, are willing to donate perpetually to the United States a quantity sufficient for all the purposes of the Post and Ordnance Depot.

In conclusion we beg leave to call the attention of the Colonel Comd to the dilapidated condition of the Quarters here and to express the hope that such prompt, action may be taken in the matter as to insure the speedy completion of the post on the site we have recommended, and as any delay in this matter will necessarily postpone the completion of buildings so much needed for the health and comfort of the troops, until the return of the building season next year, we earnestly recommend the building be commenced at once. [275]

Of all the places recommended over the years for the relocation of Fort Union, this was probably the best one offered. Even so, the post was neither moved nor rebuilt in 1859. Bonneville, who agreed that Fort Union was in such a state of disrepair as to be almost uninhabitable, hoped to find a site where the garrison and the ordnance, quartermaster, and commissary depots could all be located, convenient for the receiving and transshipment of stores, suitable for repair shops to maintain government supply trains, and, if possible, on public rather than private land. Colonel Joseph E. Johnston was sent in the summer of 1859 to inspect the posts in the Department of New Mexico and to determine if Fort Union should be rebuilt or relocated. [276]

Johnston spent July 7 and 8, 1859, at Fort Union where the buildings, except for the ordnance magazine and the quartermaster storehouse, were in such bad condition that they were not "worth repairing." The magazine was the only building not in need of repair. The quartermaster storehouse, still "worth repairing," was in its present condition "an unfit depository for valuable property." He recommended against rebuilding the post and for relocation. He considered the proposed site on the Mora River a better position than the one occupied by the post, but neither placed troops where they could provide better protection for frontier settlements such as the ranches developing along the Pecos and Canadian river valleys. He suggested it would be best to find a site near the Pecos so the garrison could protect the settlers from the Comanches. [277]

General in Chief Winfield Scott made his views known through an endorsement by his adjutant, Lorenzo Thomas, on a letter from Bonneville to Thomas: "Fort Union presents no very important bearing upon any of the Indian relations of New Mexico, and the troops could be better employed at a more suitable position within the Department, perhaps on the Pecos, as suggested by Col. Johnston." [278] Colonel Fauntleroy, who arrived to command the department in October of that year, was at Fort Union from October 29 to 31. [279] He did not want to rebuild Fort Union at the original site or the site recommended by the board of officers. He planned to reorganize the department and build a new post to replace Fort Union and a build a new depot someplace else at a site to be determined, perhaps on the Canadian or Pecos. The result was further delay and further deterioration at Fort Union.

Post Commander Robert M. Morris requested authority from department headquarters in August to employ "citizen mechanics" to make necessary repairs to quarters and "make this post habitable." He was informed that reports regarding the rebuilding of the post had been sent to army headquarters and all improvements to present structures were suspended until instructions were received from Washington. Morris apparently thought the condition of the buildings was not understood at Santa Fe, and responded that the quarters for Company G, Regiment of Mounted Riflemen, was in such a dangerous condition that the building had been vacated. The troops from that company were temporarily housed in the quarters of Company H which was then in the field. When this company returned, the men of Company G would be forced to live in tents or be sent to another post for the winter unless repairs were made. Post Quartermaster William K. Van Bokkelen wrote a similar letter. Departmental Chief Quartermaster Donaldson was sent to Fort Union to see what could be done. What repairs were made, if any, has not been determined. In December 1859 one company of the garrison was transferred from the post. [280]

While Fort Union awaited improvements, the topographical engineers, under Captain J. N. Macomb, improved the road from Fort Union to Santa Fe. This included widening, grading, and the construction of bridges. Travel for army freight wagons as well as for civilian freighters and travelers was made easier by these improvements. During the spring of 1859 destitute emigrants who were part of the Colorado Gold Rush began to arrive at Fort Union, many in need of food and medical care. Major John Smith Simonson requested authority to provide relief. Authorization in this instance was not located, but it was common practice for the army to give aid under such circumstances. Civilians were treated at the post hospital in 1859. [281]

In June and July 1860 Captain McFerran, Lieutenant John Pegram of the Second Dragoons, Lieutenant Joseph G. Tilford of the Regiment of of Mounted Riflemen, and Second Lieutenant William Kearny of the Tenth Infantry brought 48 recruits (29 dragoons and 19 infantry) and 158 horses for the mounted service in New Mexico. They had left two dragoon recruits "in the town jail at Leavenworth City" and had lost two horses along the way. They arrived at Fort Union on July 5. The department was still in need of 289 horses for the mounted troops (dragoons and riflemen). [282]

It soon appeared almost certain that, at last, Fort Union would be relocated or abandoned and replaced. Colonel Fauntleroy intended, as noted, to make major changes in the organization of the Department of New Mexico, and he would have done so had not a combination of Indian campaigns, insufficient funds, and the outbreak of the Civil War forestalled his efforts. Following recommendations made by Garland, Bonneville, and Johnston, Fauntleroy intended to retain only four of the twelve posts in the department. He planned to abandon four others and relocate the remaining four, including Fort Union. Almost no one since Sumner had defended the position of Fort Union, and Fauntleroy, who had commanded the post, was determined to replace it with two new posts, the exact location of each to be determined by thorough exploration. One would be a garrison post at some point along the Canadian River (where Sumner had sent Ewell to investigate in 1851 and no suitable place had been found) to provide protection to both major routes of the Santa Fe Trail, protect the settlements in northeastern New Mexico Territory (including part of present Colorado), and help bring the hostile Indians of the plains under control. The other, located farther down the Canadian near the mouth of Ute Creek, would serve as the department depot for quartermaster, commissary, medical, and ordnance stores, provide protection to the Fort Smith road, protect settlements in the Canadian and Pecos river valleys, and deal with the Kiowas and Comanches. [283]

Fauntleroy's recommendations found favor at army headquarters, and in March 1860 orders were issued by General Winfield Scott, among other things, to abandon Fort Union and replace it with a new post (although the location of the new post seemed somewhat undecided): "A post will be established on the Gallinas, at or near where the Fort Smith road crosses that stream, or, preferably, if a suitable location can be found, east of that point, on or near the Canadian. It will be the depot for the Department, have a garrison of four mounted and two Infantry companies, and be called Fort Butler." [284] Colonel Fauntleroy wasted no time in implementing the order. On April 10 he designated two companies (E and K) of the Eighth Infantry "to form the infantry garrison of Fort Butler" and directed them to "proceed to Hatch's Ranch and await further instructions." [285]

During April 1860 Fauntleroy, along with several officers on his staff, examined the Gallinas, Pecos, and Canadian river valleys to "select a site for the contemplated post of Fort Butler." Before leaving he declared a ten-mile square military reserve at the junction of Ute Creek with the Canadian River. In his search he, like others before him, did not find a suitable position, but he found many places that would not fulfill the requirements. The Gallinas River where the Fort Smith road crossed "is wholly unsuited on account of the total deficiency of wood for any purpose whatever, and a frequent deficit of water." The Pecos River where Tecolote Creek joins "would not answer for a post as it is desirable to have it located as much to the east as possible & this would be about fifteen miles within the Gallinas." The Canadian River "has not sufficient timber either for buildings or fire wood and the position will not suit, so far from the posts of the Dept, either on the score of convenience or economy." [286] The reserve on the Canadian was reduced from 100 square miles to 18 square miles. [287]

Although only one post had been authorized to replace Fort Union, Fauntleroy returned to his idea of two posts. The depot could be placed at the community of Tecolote, where the road to Santa Fe crossed Tecolote Creek southwest of Las Vegas, or at the abandoned Pecos Pueblo west of the Pecos River, also on the road to Santa Fe. What advantage either of these locations held over the Mora River valley was not stated. Storehouses would have to be erected at either location. The military post could be located at Hatch's Ranch which might be rented or purchased. Alexander Hatch had a ranch a few miles above the junction of the Gallinas and Pecos rivers, approximately eight miles above the point where the Fort Smith road crossed the Gallinas, on the Antonio Ortiz Grant. It frequently served as an outpost for troops from Fort Union, sometimes for months at a time. Fauntleroy believed that the "extensive buildings" there could "be made to accomodate six companies." The buildings could provide storerooms to safeguard supplies until additional structures were erected. Fauntleroy asked permission to rent Hatch's Ranch "for even a year" during which time the search could continue for a more desirable location. [288]

When a proposal to locate the ordnance depot on the Mora River and expand it into an arsenal reached Fauntleroy, he was adamant in his opposition. "The Moro is not the place under any circumstances, either from the special locality or its general position with regard to the Department intended to be supplied, which should be selected for one moment as the site of the arsenal." He claimed that the river ceased to flow during the season "when water is most required." The location was "the greatest distance from the greatest number of posts in a most exposed situation & wholly unsafe without troops." A garrison located there would be a considerable and unnecessary expense. [289] Despite such opposition Fort Union remained and a few years later the department arsenal was reconstructed along side the first Fort Union.

Fauntleroy's recommendations were not implemented. On closer investigation it was determined that Hatch's Ranch did not have sufficient water or space for a post and depot, and a clear title to the property appeared impossible to obtain. The point where Tecolote Creek entered the Pecos River, Tecolotita, about three miles north of Anton Chico and fifteen miles west of where the Fort Smith road crossed the Gallinas, was considered too far removed from the settlements needing protection, and there were too many settler claims in the area to permit the selection of a suitable site for a post. Fauntleroy lamented the fact that it appeared to be "impossible to determine the site for Fort Butler in time to commence [building it] this season." A combination of circumstances, including a severe drought which caused prices to rise, two expensive Indian campaigns (one against the Kiowas and Comanches and the other against the Navajos), and the increase in costs to maintain more troops in the department, forced further delay of reorganization plans. Because of the drought Fauntleroy reported a "scarcity of grain" and stated that "the poor people of the Territory are said to be in a starving condition." [290]

Despite the shortages and high prices, contracts were let to furnish provisions for the proposed Fort Butler, and a sutler was appointed. Fort Union Sutler William H. Moore, who was apparently to be the sutler for the new post, raised a pregnant question when he inquired of Major Donaldson, "Where is Fort Butler?" [291] The post had a garrison, reservation, supplies, and a sutler, but a location had not been selected. [292] When Fauntleroy was informed in November that funds for the construction of a new post were not available, he declared he was at a loss of what to do. "I was this very day," he wrote Adjutant General Cooper, "on the even of departure for the Red [Canadian] River and that region of the country with the view of at once, locating Fort Butler and putting it in the most active state of erection. . . . I had fully determined to proceed forthwith with the establishment of the Post mentioned, somewhere, so as to meet the requirements of your Orders, at once, all effort having failed to procure the site which I preferred. . . . The cost, however, of the post must now compel me to pause, and to ask instructions." [293]

Fauntleroy did not give up on Fort Butler; he apparently did not wait for instructions. On November 11, 1860, he directed Captain Benjamin S. Roberts, Regiment of Mounted Riflemen, to take his company from Hatch's Ranch to locate a site for Fort Butler along the Canadian River, near the Fort Smith road, and "within about sixty miles of Hatch's Ranch." If he succeeded in finding a suitable site for a six-company post and the department supply depot, he was to mark off a ten-mile square reserve and report to the department commander. Fauntleroy later sent word to Roberts not to take time to lay out a reservation but return to Hatch's Ranch and report. [294]

Roberts selected a place on the Canadian River near Mesa Rica, approximately 60 miles east of Hatch's Ranch, about 10 miles downstream from where the Fort Smith road crossed the river, and about seven miles from that road. This was a suitable location for a military post, but Roberts stated it was not a good place for a depot. He suggested that Hatch's Ranch was a much better location for storing and distributing military provisions. As soon as he reported to Fauntleroy, Roberts was directed to "take measures at once for establishing the Troops under your Command" at Fort Butler. He was instructed to "make out your estimates for all that you will now require" and draw supplies from Fort Union. In addition 40 soldiers from Fort Union were sent to reenforce Roberts's command. [295]

Fauntleroy, on the basis of Roberts's investigation and ignoring the captain's recommendation that the depot should be someplace else, declared that an abundance of water, grass, and fuel were present at Fort Butler, all of "excellent quality." Everything needed to build and maintain a large post, including a depot, was there "except perhaps, building timber." This was the same area which Fauntleroy had described in April as deficient in timber for any purpose and too far from the other forts in New Mexico to serve efficiently as a depot. As he had said of the Mora Valley, the colonel might also have described the site chosen for Fort Butler as "the greatest distance from the greatest number of posts" in the department. Fauntleroy seemed almost relieved to have settled on a long-sought location for Fort Butler "which seems to me to meet the views of the Department better than any others thereabouts." A "large military reserve" (120 square miles) was set aside, and he expected to have adequate storehouses built by the time supplies were shipped to the department the following spring and summer. [296]

Roberts was apparently delayed in moving his command to Fort Butler because of Indian troubles in the area. Then the companies of the Eighth Infantry which were to comprise part of the garrison of the new post were transferred to Texas. On January 20, 1861, Fautnleroy ordered Roberts to "suspend for the present all measures whatever with reference to the establishing and building of Fort Butler." Two weeks later Lieutenant Colonel George B. Crittenden, commanding at Fort Union, requested that the 40 men sent from his garrison the previous December to help establish Fort Butler be returned. Only 30 were sent back, and the other 10 were kept at Hatch's Ranch. In February a company of the Fifth Infantry was moved to Hatch's Ranch, "intended to form part of the Garrison of Fort Butler." [297] There was still the unresolved problem of inadequate funds to establish the new post. Before the plans could be carried into effect, Fauntleroy was relieved of command of the department and the secession of some states, followed by the outbreak of the Civil War, disrupted most of his grand design. Colonel William W. Loring, Regiment of Mounted Riflemen, who had previously commanded Fort Union, replaced Fauntleroy as commander of the department on March 22, 1861. Fauntleroy resigned from the army a few weeks later and fought for the South. Loring also resigned to join the Confederates, and Colonel Edward R. S. Canby, Nineteenth Infantry, became commander of the Department of New Mexico on June 23, 1861. [298]

Colonel Loring directed the removal of the troops and supplies at Hatch's Ranch to Fort Union. He considered the site of the proposed Fort Butler to be an "excellent" location for a military post "on account of the influence it will give us over the Comanches," but he requested authority to find a better place for the depot. Meanwhile he sent Lieutenant Alexander McRae, Regiment of Mounted Riflemen, and 25 men of his regiment from Fort Union to establish a temporary camp east of Hatch's Ranch to protect the settlers of the area. [299] The Civil War changed everything. Colonel Canby considered Fort Union of more importance to the department than anyone had since Sumner established the post, and in July 1861 Canby directed that the general supply depot for the department (except for the medical depot which was placed at Santa Fe) be established at Fort Union. Albuquerque would remain a subdepot. Fort Butler was forgotten in the shuffle. [300]

Fort Butler was a phantom fort to which troops were sent and supplies were shipped, it even appeared on maps, but it never really existed except on paper. Fort Union, condemned to oblivion by the same order which created Fort Butler, survived for 31 more years. It gained renewed importance with the coming of the Civil War, when a new defensive earthwork was built. Fort Union had been established in 1851 to serve as more than the departmental supply depot and headquarters. Its garrison was to help protect the Santa Fe Trail and settlements of the region from Indians. The military operations of the troops at the first Fort Union, when they were not engaged in the construction and maintenance of the post, were of prime importance in the history of Fort Union and the army in the Southwest.

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Last Updated: 09-Jul-2005