Fort Sumner (4)
Fort Sumner (4) (1862-1869) - A U.S. Army post established in 1862 in De Baca County, New Mexico. Named for Major General Edwin V. Sumner. Abandoned in 1869.
Fort Sumner History
Fort Sumner was established 30 Nov 1862 at the direction of Brigadier General James H. Carleton to administer the Bosque Redondo reservation for Navajo and Mescalero Apache Indians.
Colonel Kit Carson, 1st New Mexico Infantry, was charged with bringing the Navajo in from their lands. Carson destroyed the Navajo food crops and they were forced onto the reservation in what became know as the "long Walk". Carson marched some 7,000 Navajo several hundred miles to the new reservation. In 1868 General William T. Sherman was convinced to allow them to return to their own lands.
With the Navajo gone, the fort was put up for auction. It was purchased by Lucien B. Maxwell who converted the officer's quarters into a mansion. Billy the Kid was killed in one of the rooms on 14 Jul 1881 and he is reportedly buried in the post cemetery.
New Mexico State Monument. Bosque Redondo Memorial and Fort Sumner State Monument, De Baca County, New Mexico. The fort site itself is closed to the public even though there is a functional interpreted walking path through the site. The old fort visitor center is undergoing some sort of construction but it is separate from the actual fort site and should not affect the access to the fort site. The rangers estimated the site may reopen in 2017.
Visited: 21 Apr 2015