Fort Union (3)

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Fort Union (3) (1851-1894) - A U.S. Army post established in 1851 by Lt. Colonel Edwin V. Sumner, 1st U.S. Dragoons, in present day Mora County, New Mexico. Abandoned in 1894. Also known as Star Fort (2).

Fort Union (3) History

Established on 26 Jul 1851 near two branches of the Santa Fe Trail on the site of a previous camp. Lt. Colonel Sumner, 9th Military Department Commander, established the post as a supply station on the Santa Fe Trail and principle quartermaster depot for military posts in the southwest. He also sought to remove his command from towns that he viewed as bad influences on the troops.

On the 1st of August 1853 Colonel Joseph K.F. Mansfield inspected the new post and found it garrisoned with three companies of troops; one company of infantry, one company of artillery and one company of Dragoons with a total of 3 officers and 164 men present. He found the post in "a high state of discipline and every department of it in good order" but he was concerned that each company had only one officer present for duty and that there was a severe shortage of shoes, especially size 7, 8 and 9. Colonel Mansfield included both a plan of the fort and a sketch of the strategic location on the Santa Fe Trail.

U.S. Civil War (1861-1865)

At the beginning of the U.S. Civil War Colonel Edward R.S. Canby ordered the construction of an an additional earthworks fort across the creek from Fort Union. The new fort was built in a star shape and became known as the Star Fort (2). In 1863, a third brick and adobe fort was built north of the Star Fort (2). The original fort became an ordnance depot and arsenal.

Post U.S. Civil War

The Santa Fe Railroad came to New Mexico in 1879 and the need for the supply depot at Fort Union was eliminate. The supply depot and arsenal were deactivated in 1882 and the fort was abandoned on 21 Feb 1891 leaving the post with a small caretaker detachment. The reservation reverted to the original owners on 1 Apr 1894.

Current Status

Fort Union National Monument, Mora County, New Mexico. Adobe ruins.


USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) Database Entry:

  • Name: Fort Union (3) Type: Historical Class: Military ID: 915784
  • Location: Mora County, New Mexico, US, FIPS Code: 35033
  • Latitude: 35.9072222, Longitude: -105.0116667, Elevation: 6785 Map: Fort Union
  • As Of: 01 Mar 1993
Source: U.S. Board on Geographic Names

Location: Fort Union National Monument, Mora County, New Mexico.

Maps & Images

Lat: 35.9072222 Long: -105.0116667

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