The remains of old Fort Bascom is located roughly about ten miles north northeast of Tucumcari. It was situated near a horseshoe bend of the Canadian River and is located near the eastern border of San Miguel County, just north of Quay County. The fort was established early in the Civil War and was abandoned in 1870.
The headline in the Oakland [California] Tribune on December 18, 1940 read “U. S. to Move Nazi Sailors” and related the tale of three hundred German detainees that were to be transferred to old Fort Stanton in Lincoln County, New Mexico. The prisoners had been held at an immigration station on Angel Island in California since January, 1940.
Fort Fillmore was first set up by Col. Edwin V. Sumner in the fall of 1851 to provide a military presence in the area and to protect settlers and travelers passing through the area on the way west. Sumner was born in 1797 and was a career Army officer. He was a native of Massachusetts and had joined the army as a young adult in 1819. During his career, Sumner had served in the Black Hawk War. He went on to command military forts in the Anglo expansion across what is now the northern United States. Sumner’s nickname was “Bull” or “Bull Head” which he acquired during the Mexican-American War. During the Battle of Cerro Gordo on April 18, 1847 in Veracruz, Mexico, a legend began when a musket ball reportedly bounced off his head during the battle. He was awarded battlefield promotions during the Mexican-American War and was appointed military governor of the New Mexico Territory in 1851. Sumner died in 1863 while still serving in the Union Army during the Civil War. The military installation known as Fort Sumner in eastern New Mexico was named for him and the current town of Fort Sumner took its name from the fort.
Fort Union is located in Mora County, much of which was part of an early Mexican land grant (the Mora Land Grant). The fort itself is located roughly south of a line between the current locations of Mora and Wagon Mound. There were settlers in the area prior to the land grant but in 1835 the Mexican Governor of New Mexico Albino Pérez awarded title to two to six dozen families (estimates vary) to roughly 1,250 square miles of land in the Mora Valley east of the Sangre de Christo mountains from Santa Fe.
Fort Stanton was established in 1855 by the United States Army to protect settlements and add stability to the area. It was named for Captain Henry Whiting Stanton, a U. S. Army officer who was killed on January 18, 1855 in a battle with Apache. From published reports of the battle, he was part of a detachment that was pursuing Mescalero Apache near the Bonita River, fairly close to the current site of the fort. Captain Stanton was fatally wounded in the battle near some camps that had recently been abandoned by the Apache. In the troops’ pursuit of the Apache, Stanton was killed in an ambush.