Fort Bliss (1848-Present) - Established 7 Nov 1848 by G.O. #58 as Post at El Paso in present day El Paso, El Paso County, Texas. First garrisoned by Bvt. Major Jefferson Van Horne (Cullum 499), 3rd U.S. Infantry with six companies on 7 Sep 1849. Named after Bvt. Lt. Colonel William Wallace Smith Bliss (Cullum 715) in 1854. Also known as Camp at Franklin; Military Post of El Paso; Camp Concordia and Post at Smith Ranche.
Fort Bliss History
Fort bliss was built as the western end of two lines of forts that guarded the upper and lower San Antonio-El Paso Road. The post established in 1849 saw intermittent use until 1851, when it was abandoned. Changing requirements brought the Army back to El Paso in 1853 and the post was renamed for Lt. Colonel William Wallace Smith Bliss in 1854.
The U.S. Civil War
Like other western posts, the start of the U.S. Civil War forced officers and enlisted men to choose sides and go their separate ways. The remaining Union garrison at Fort Bliss was directed to surrender to Confederate forces 31 Mar 1861 after Texas withdrew from the Union. The post remained in Confederate hands until Colonel J. H. Carlton, 1st California Volunteers, drove out the Confederate troops on 20 Aug 1862. The retreating Confederates destroyed Fort Bliss, except for the hospital which housed their sick and wounded. The destroyed post was not re-garrisoned by Union forces until after the war ended. The hostile Indians took advantage of the lack of protection, stepped up their attacks and drove many settlers out of the area.
Post U.S. Civil War
The post was re-garrisoned 16 Oct 1865 and was rebuilt in a new location on 300 acres near present day Concordia Cemetery with permanent buildings. As the hostile Indian threat subsided the troops were needed elsewhere and the post was closed in 1877. The removal of the garrison caused a breakdown in law and order and the troops were returned 1 Jan 1978 but re-established the post in a new location. The post was again moved in 1893 to its present location after a railroad was routed through the old post.
Active military installation.
Location: El Paso, El Paso County, Texas
Maps & Images
Lat: 31.801847 Long: -106.424608
- Roberts, Robert B., Encyclopedia of Historic Forts: The Military, Pioneer, and Trading Posts of the United States, Macmillan, New York, 1988, 10th printing, ISBN 0-02-926880-X, page 752-754
- Frazer, Robert W., Forts of the West, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman OK, 1965, ISBN 0-8061-1250-6, page 143
- Hart, Herbert M., Tour Guide to Old Western Forts, Pruett Publishing Co., Boulder CO, 1980, ISBN 0-87108-568-2, page 155
Visited: 5 Nov 2009
Fort Bliss Picture Gallery
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