Historic Resource Study
Lane was replaced later in October by Lieutenant Colonel John R. Brooke, Thirty-Seventh Infantry. The functions of the post and depot continued as in previous years. The garrison, which averaged about 250 men during the first six months, was increased to almost 500 by the end of the year when the new facilities were occupied. Fort Union was probably at the peak of its existence in 1867 for, although some new structures were added during later times, the processes of wear and deterioration slowly took their toll through the following 24 years until the post was abandoned. Those who were first to utilize the new post were more fortunate than most of them realized.
Some officers considered the new structures to be more luxurious than necessary and implied that the quartermaster's department had been extravagant because a portion of post comprised the department depot. Colonel Randolph B. Marcy, inspector general's department, examined the post in June 1867. He was astonished at "the elaborate and expensive character of the buildings" at the third fort. He was especially critical of the officers' quarters at the quartermaster depot, declaring them to be "far better than any officers' quarters that I have seen at any other frontier post." Marcy's adverse judgment was endorsed by Colonel William A. Nichols, assistant adjutant general for the Division of the Missouri and formerly the assistant adjutant for the Department of New Mexico, who appended to Marcy's report that "the post has been costly beyond its true value, and whilst severe economy has been necessary elsewhere, it was very wrong to be lavishing money there."  Similar objections were raised later, but department officials were more concerned in 1867 about military activities than exorbitant buildings.
Early in 1867 Brigadier General Carleton complained about the activities of the Comancheros and requested that something be done to halt their activities. He understood that the custom had been around for "at least two centuries" and would be difficult to change. He also believed that it encouraged the Comanches to steal horses and cattle in Texas to trade to the New Mexicans. The Comancheros used the "pretext" of hunting buffalo to go to the plains to engage in their trading activities. Carleton inquired what "legal right" the military had to prevent it and if legislation might not be necessary to help bring the plains tribes into submission.  It was an issue that was not resolved for several more years, along with other Indian problems in the territory.
In response to a request from General Winfield S. Hancock, new commander of the Department of the Missouri, for information about the number and condition of Indians in New Mexico Territory, Carleton noted that no reliable census had been taken of most tribes and provided the best estimates available.  The numbers for each group were divided among men, women, and children, but only the totals are given here. There were 7,880 Navajos, of whom 7,380 were at the Bosque Redondo reservation and 500 were "still at large." The Pueblos, 6,412, were living in 19 villages. There were four bands of Utes, totaling 2,820, situated at three agencies (the Capote band, 400, was at Abiquiu and the Moache band, 520, was at the Cimarron Agency at Maxwell's Ranch). The Jicarilla Apaches, 730, were also at the Cimarron Agency. The Mimbres and Mogollon Apaches, 900, were located in southwest New Mexico as well as Arizona and Mexico. The Kiowas and Comanches, 1,700, were on the eastern border of New Mexico Territory. The Mescalero Apaches, 450, had escaped from the Bosque Redondo reservation and were in the mountains of southeastern New Mexico. The estimated total number in the district was 20,892. 
The Apaches, Kiowas, and Comanches were considered the most serious threat to settlements and travelers, and sometimes a party of Utes or Navajos raided livestock herds. Carleton, a man of strong convictions on most subjects, believed all the Indians, except for the Pueblos who already lived in villages, should be placed on reservations under the control of the army, where they were protected from encroachment, and where they could be carefully monitored, fed as necessary, and taught to become self-sufficient on a limited land base. He realized that, in time, the Indians were going to be overwhelmed by Anglo-Americans and their culture. He was basically a fair-minded man, opposed to extermination of Indians, and held to a view commonly known as assimilation (in which the Indians were the ones who had to do the assimilating). He always argued that it was wiser and cheaper to feed Indians than to fight them, but the army should fight to win when the Indians chose that solution. He was opposed to making bargains with Indians and urged that negotiations be carried on from a position of military superiority. He also believed that the government should keep any agreement made. He had little use for the department of Indian affairs, most Indian agents (unless they knew something about the Indians with whom they were to work), and military officers who disagreed about how to handle Indians. 
Carleton alienated many people with his strong views, but popularity was not nearly as important to him as being right. Carleton's military doctrine was always to be careful and to be prepared. He possessed a remarkable sense of duty and responsibility as well as fastidious attention to detail. There was little tolerance in his way of doing things for shoddy performers, be they officers or enlisted men. He praised and promoted anyone whom he considered competent and reliable. He was the most efficient and most productive commander the department/district ever had. He was largely responsible, too, for the state and importance of the third Fort Union.
When Chaplain Woart arrived at Fort Union in 1866, he and his family were quartered in the building at the depot designed for occupation by clerks of that facility.  As the quarters for the post of Fort Union were completed, the post commander, Major Marshall, was uncertain about who was responsible for assigning quarters for the chaplain. Was the chaplain to be considered an officer of a particular rank and seniority and compete with other officers for living space, or was he to be allocated housing that was exempt from the contest? Marshall recommended that Woart write to General Hancock, commander of the Department of the Missouri, about it. Before Woart wrote to Hancock, he went to Santa Fe "to perform religious services." There he met Carleton and asked about quarters at Fort Union. Carleton assured Woart that he would assign the chaplain to quarters in the new post. He asked Woart which house he preferred, and the chaplain later recalled stating that he "did not like to choose, yet, if there was no objection to my having the South end house in the new row, I should like for it was near my Chapel and the Hospital, and my family would be more retired there." 
Following that conversation, Carleton directed that one set of officers' quarters at the new post be completed as quickly as possible and assigned to the Woart family. He stated "that the quarters most suitable for the Chaplain is the building on the extreme right [south end] of the row." He then directed the post commander to inform Woart of this fact.  The depot quartermaster, Captain Inman, later told Rev. Woart that he had "not received orders to prepare the quarters for the Chaplain." As Woart reported it, "Capt. Inman thinks that if a house were now to be set apart for the Chaplain by the highest authority that no future residents at the Post would attempt to claim it." Woart then appealed to General Hancock for a decision. "I shall be satisfied and grateful," he wrote, "to use any quarters that you may be pleased to designate." Carleton endorsed the request, noting that all the buildings on officers' row were "precisely the same" and recommended the quarters at the south end were more convenient on account of locality for the Chaplain."  Hancock approved the request.
Major Marshall did not have to make the decision about the chaplain. When the quarters selected for the chaplain neared completion in May 1867, the new post commander, Major Lane, issued orders, declaring "the set of Quarters on the right of the line of Officers Quarters and nearest to the chapel are hereby set apart as the Chaplain's quarters."  The quarters at the south end of officers' row apparently served as the chaplain's residence for a number of years. That set of quarters was later occupied by the post surgeon, however, and the chaplain was assigned to officer's quarters number three from the north end, or the second set of quarters north of the commanding officer. 
Soon after Major Lane assumed command of Fort Union,  he requested that, as soon as possible, the new guardhouse be completed (if it could be done "without interfering with the completion of buildings now in progress of erection"). The old guardhouse was in such bad condition that "prisoners are constantly escaping." There were a "large number of men in confinement" and the post needed "a place of greater security."  Eventually the new post had two guardhouses, one was primarily for minor offenders at the post and the other, with stone cells and iron-bar doors, was a prison for more serious offenders from throughout the district. Sometimes civilian criminals were held at Fort Union.
Sometimes the army had to assist civil authorities in dealing with lawless elements. In March 1867 a gang of horse thieves was reported to be operating in the vicinity of Fort Union, stealing private and public animals, and probably headquartered along the lower Mora River or the Canadian River. Troops were sent from Fort Union to locate and arrest the thieves, if possible, and hold them at the post until they could be tried by the civil court at Mora. Carleton declared, "We cannot sit down and have such a set of thieves run off our stock with impunity. The Civil authorities seem to be powerless to cope with them." 
Major Lane led the detachment himself, taking Lieutenant William P. Bainbridge and twenty men (all Third Cavalry) and a guide (Nelson A. Fairchild) on the evening of February 12, heading to an area known as Cherry Valley, downstream on the Mora River. As they rode along in the dark, with snow falling, Major Lane and Fairchild rode ahead of the troops, heading for Pancrost's Ranch on the Mora, where they hoped to gather information about the horse thieves. After riding only a few miles from the post at a gallop, Lane and Fairchild met a mounted party of nine men coming toward them. Lane talked briefly with one of the men, trying to "mislead as to my object." Both parties then went on. Fairchild said he recognized one of the nine men as "Joseph Picard, a noted horse thief and rascal." Lane decided to go back and attempt to get around the nine men and reach his detachment "without being seen." 
Soon after Lane and Fairchild turned around, they met the nine men coming back "at full speed." When they were within range, the suspected horse thieves began firing their pistols and pursuing Lane and his guide. Lieutenant Bainbridge heard the firing and rode quickly to the rescue. Without Bainbridge's quick action, Lane stated, "we doubtless would have been murdered." With the reinforcements, Lane attempted to follow the fleeing horsemen, but they scattered and the darkness and falling snow prevented pursuit. Lane took his detachment to Kronig's Ranch (formerly Barclay's Fort) and spent the night, "getting shelter for my men, and forage for the horses." The next morning the detachment continued on its mission, realizing that they would not be able to surprise the thieves. Lane sent back to Fort Union for 10 more men to join his force. 
Later that day, near a cabin by the Mora believed to be the base for the horse thieves, the soldiers captured Picard, H. J. McCarty, Seth Luce, Joseph Knapp, and H. Thompson, all of whom were "handcuffed and securely guarded." The next morning the prisoners were sent to Fort Union under "sufficient guard." Lane took the rest of the detachment to another "suspicious ranch sixteen miles below." They found no one there except a "Mexican boy." The soldiers recovered no stolen livestock in Cherry Valley, but Lane suspected "they had been run off before I got there, or hidden away until I left." The five prisoners were kept [at] the post guardhouse, awaiting trial. Lane concluded his report, stating "the good people of Cherry Valley and in this vicinity, are much pleased at this raid on the horse thieves and rascals, which they think will be of great assistance to them in driving them out of that portion of the country." Lane hoped to send a party back later, when there would a chance for surprise, to attempt to recover stolen property. 
Lane was also concerned about the presence of unauthorized persons on the military reservation at Fort Union. The earthwork had become a hangout for disreputable characters. He directed the post quartermaster, Lieutenant Granville Lewis, Fifth Infantry, to "make a thorough inspection of the buildings comprising what is known as 'Old Post' [earthwork], and report as to the propriety of tearing them down, to preserve the lumber from destruction, and to promote discipline of the Garrison." The discipline would be improved by removing civilians, such as prostitutes and gamblers, who preyed upon the troops. "You will also report," he informed Lewis, "the number and names of persons occupying the old buildings, reporting those who have authority to occupy them, and those who have not." 
Lieutenant Lewis provided a detailed report of his inspection of the earthwork. There were "three rows of partially underground frame structures in a very dilapidated state, fast falling to decay and ruin." These buildings were occupied "by citizens employed in the Depot Quartermaster's Department who have Mexican women whom they represent to be their wives." Lewis confirmed Major Lane's suspicions about the illegal residents. "There are," he continued, "always a lot of Mexicans and unknown Americans harbored around these buildings, Gambling, Drinking and Prostitution seems to be the principal use to which many of the rooms are appropriated, and soldiers of the Garrison are enticed and harbored there to carouse all night." 
Lewis declared, "to such an extent have these orgies been carried on, drinking and fighting at all hours of the night, that the Guard have been compelled to make a descent upon, and arrest the inmates and conduct them beyond the limits of the military reservation and forbid them to return." He also had "no doubt that deserters are harbored in these places, and schemes concocted to rob the Government." The best solution to the problem, which Lewis recommended, was "demolishing these buildings." The elimination of what old Colonel Sumner would have called a "sink of vice and extravagance"  would, according to Lewis, "promote" the "discipline and moral condition of the enlisted men of this command." 
There were four laundresses and their soldier husbands legally occupying 10 rooms at the earthwork. A total of 30 additional rooms were inhabited by at least 35 "unauthorized persons." Among the residents were civilian employees of the quartermaster department (including carpenters, painters, tinners, and teamsters), a clerk in the sutler's store, men who were not employed at all (except, perhaps, as gamblers), and an undetermined number of women (most of whom were classified as "Mexican," but included "a Colored woman [Cecilia]"). Several of the rooms were found to have pictures of Confederate generals and "indecent subjects." It was clear that some of the women were prostitutes, and there was mention of gambling in some of the places. Liquor was available for soldiers to purchase. 
Major Lane hoped that "these dens of rascality and crime, might be destroyed" and requested that orders be given from district headquarters "to tear down these old buildings" except for those required for laundresses and for cavalry stables. As soon as the new laundresses quarters were completed at the new post, "the old ones should be torn down, also." Everyone found in those buildings "without authority" was to "be driven out."  It was difficult, if not impossible, to prevent such men and women from moving back into the buildings so long as they were standing. As workers could be assigned, the old buildings no longer needed were razed.
District Commander Carleton was replaced by Lieutenant Colonel George Sykes, Fifth Infantry, on March 27, 1867. Sykes had served at Fort Union in the 1850s and had dealt with problems of prostitutes and other unauthorized people on the reservation then. One of his first acts as district commander was to order that "the buildings known as 'Old Post of Fort Union,' except those at present indispensable for the shelter of the authorized laundresses of the garrison, and stabling" for cavalry horses, "will be destroyed." All lumber that could be salvaged was to be turned over to the quartermaster depot. Any citizen found at the earthwork, "male and female having no employment under government, or any others not having the authority of the post commander to remain on the Reservation will at once be removed from it."  The military reservation, established in 1852, comprised 64 square miles surrounding the post. Captain Inman, depot quartermaster, was instructed to see that all unauthorized residents at the earthwork were removed from the reservation "at once."  The reservation, it should be noted, was reduced in 1868 to 51.5 square miles around the post. At the same time, as stated above, a timber reserve in the Turkey Mountains of 53 square miles was established. 
Map of the Military Reservation at Fort Union, 1866. The community of Loma Parda at lower left is just beyond the limits of the reservation. Original in National Archives; this copy courtesy Museum of New Mexico (Neg. No. 148191).
(click on image for an enlargement)
The removal of citizens in 1867 was not, of course, the end of such problems at Fort Union, but the demolition of the structures at the earthwork made it less convenient for those who provided illicit services to the garrison at the new post. Major Lane directed that, "previous to demolishing the buildings" at the earthwork, the doors, windows, frames, and "other serviceable materials" were to be removed and turned over to the depot quartermaster.  Not all the structures at the earthwork, besides laundresses' quarters and stables, were destroyed. In October 1867 the post commissary officer was storing fresh vegetables in the old bombproof magazine inside the fortification. 
The troops at Fort Union saw little field duty in 1867. It was fairly quiet in the region, but the plains Indians were increasing their attacks along the routes of transportation, including the Santa Fe and Smoky Hill trails and the Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division (later Kansas Pacific) which was building along the Smoky Hill route to Denver. In the spring of 1867 a portion of the regiment of Fifth Infantry was ordered to be transferred from the district of New Mexico to the line of the Smoky Hill Trail to guard travelers and railroad construction crews. 
As that railroad built westward, the eastern terminus of the Santa Fe Trail and the route of supply for the vast quantities of commodities shipped to the depots at Fort Union moved closer and closer to New Mexico. In 1866 the freight wagons started from Junction City, and during 1867 the rail head moved westward to Ellsworth and then Hays City. Later, in 1869, it reached Kit Carson, Colorado Territory. As railroads stretched farther west and wagon roads became shorter, it was easier to ship provisions to the troops in New Mexico.
|Post and Timber Reserves, Fort Union, 1868, Cartographic Branch, RG 77, National Archives.|
In addition to helping protect the railroads and wagon roads on the plains, troops in New Mexico were assigned to help protect the stage lines in the southern part of the district.  Lieutenant Colonel Sykes was assigned command of Fort Sumner, and Colonel George W. Getty, Thirty-Seventh Infantry, became commander of the District of New Mexico in April 1867.  Getty had traveled by stage from Junction City, Kansas, to Santa Fe in ten days. He reported that "all is quiet within the limits of the command."  A few soldiers from Fort Union were required to escort Major Davis, inspector general's department, to Forts Bascom and Sumner. Another small escort was provided for an engineering party of the Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division, while they were in New Mexico.  Otherwise, the troops were occupied with garrison duties and extra-duty assignments to construction work.
Although Indians were raiding on the plains, the troops from Fort Union apparently provided no protection for travelers on the Cimarron Route. Any parties traveling that road were required to have a minimum of 40 well-armed men in the caravan, and they were expected to protect themselves en route. Travelers on the Mountain Route, which had become the major branch of the Santa Fe Trail after the Civil War and the establishment of Richens Lacy "Uncle Dick" Wootton's toll road over Raton Pass, were required to have at least 10 well-armed men per group. There were more travelers on that route, there were mail stations, and troops were quartered at a few points along the way. The regions of most troubles with the plains Indians were beyond the jurisdiction of Fort Union.  A few troops from Fort Union, under Sergeant William McLaughlin, Third Cavalry, were sent to Kronig's Ranch, where most parties following the Cimarron Route started on that branch, to watch over wagon trains and enforced the rules. Another detachment of cavalrymen, under Sergeant Phillipp Mischwitz, apparently rotated this duty with McLaughlin's detachment.  The troops at Fort Bascom provided protection for part of eastern New Mexico and along the Fort Smith Road.
The outpost at Maxwell's Ranch (Cimarron) continued to oversee the Indians in that area.  The camp commander, Lieutenant George James Campbell, Third Cavalry, had the misfortune to have his arm blown off by the "premature discharge of an old six pounder gun." Surgeon DuBois rushed from Fort Union to amputate the arm. Major Lane requested another officer to take command of the company of Third Cavalry at Cimarron.  Post Adjutant Lewis served as temporary commander until Captain Richard Wall, Third Cavalry, arrived a few weeks later.  Before the end of summer Lieutenant Campbell had resumed command of the detachment.
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