Fort McRae

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Fort McRae (1863-1876) - A U.S. Army fort first established by California Volunteers during the U.S. Civil War in 1863 near Elephant Butte, Sierra County, New Mexico. Named Fort McRae after Captain Alexander McRae (Cullum 1516), 3rd U.S. Cavalry, who was killed in the Battle of Valverde on 21 Feb 1862. Abandoned in 1876.

Fort McRae Roadside Marker
Fort McRae Roadside Marker
Looking Across Elephant Butte Reservoir Toward the Site of Fort McRae (center)


Officers Quarters Remains at Fort McRae Site

Established 3 Apr 1863 by Captain Henry A. Greene, 1st California Volunteer Infantry. The post protected settlers and travelers from the Apache along the Jornada del Muerto (journey of the dead) road from Dona Ana.

At the close of the U.S. Civil War, Fort McRae was still garrisoned by companies of the 1st California Volunteer Infantry. They continued to garrison the post until August 1866 when they were replaced by Companies C and K of the 125th U.S. Colored Infantry (Buffalo Soldiers) under the command of Captain E. P. Horne. The garrison was subsequently reduced to a single company. While at the post the black soldiers built several new buildings and put a new roof on the hospital. They also made 25,000 adobe bricks and constructed officers' quarters with them.

Abandoned on 30 Oct 1876 and turned over to the Interior Department 22 Jul 1884.

Current Status

Some rock outlines of fort buildings near, Elephant Butte, Sierra County, New Mexico. Access is difficult through private property permission required. The outline of the buildings can be seen if you zoom in on the fort site with Google Maps.

Location: Near Elephant Butte, Sierra County, New Mexico. Two roadside markers are located off exit 83, I-25 on Hwy 195.

Maps & Images

Lat: 33.19111 Long: -107.14389

  • Multi Maps from ACME
  • Maps from Bing
  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: 4,423'



Visited: Area 6 Mar 2010

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