A Fort from the Apache Wars

Porch at Fort Stanton, New Mexico

Not far from Lincoln, New Mexico, which saw the Lincoln County War in which Billy the Kid was involved, lies a U.S. Cavalry fort from the days of the Apache Wars. In fact, it also played a role in the Lincoln County War—on the side of the Dolan/Murphy cabal. Most U.S. Cavalry forts in the Old West were constructed of adobe and so were eroded to nothingness by the rains. Fort Stanton, on the other hand, was built of stone and faced with whitewashed stucco, and so has come down to us more or less intact.

In fact, after the Indian Wars, the fort was used for various other purposes, such as a tuberculosis hospital and a prison camp for Nazi POWs. It is now in the New Mexico State Park system and has a museum and a number of outbuildings which are open to visitors.

Cavalry Tunics in the Fort Stanton Museum

Martine and I saw Fort Stanton the same day we visited the town of Lincoln, which is only about a quarter of an hour away. The museum and outbuildings can be visited in about two hours is one is thorough, and an hour if one just wants a quick look at the museum. It’s an unusually pleasant place, with the Rio Bonito running through the grounds, and a helpful docent managing the welcome desk.