NAME: Fort quitman
COUNTY: Hudspeth
CLIMATE: Not a problem
COMMENTS: Fort quitman. 20 mi se of mcnary in southern hudspeth county.
REMAINS: Cemetery and almost nothing
Fort quitman. 80 mi below el paso and 20 mi se of present day mcnary in far southern hudspeth county. On september 28, 1858, capt. Arthur t. Lee and companies c and h, eight infantry, established the post on a barren and sandy plane 400 yards east of the rio grande to protect travelers and the mail route from san antonio to el paso. It was named for mexican war general john a quitman who had died on july 17. Federal troops evacuated fort quitman on april 5, 1861. During the civil war the post was intermittently garrisoned by confederate and union detachments and quickly fell into disrepair. Capt. Henry carroll and company f, ninth united states cavalry, reoccupied the crumbling adobe buildings on january 1, 1868, and on february 25 orders from headquarters of the district of texas reestablished the fort. Over the next decade companies and detachments of black soldiers of the ninth cavalry and the twenty fifth united states infantry guarded the mails and scouted for hostile indians. Fort quitman had a reputation as one of the most uncomfortable military installations in texas. Lydia spencer lane described it in 1869 as 'forlorn and tumble down' and was surprised to observe a sergeant, in full dress uniform, jumping rope outside the guard house. "surgeon john j culber, in 1870, called it 'entirely unworthy of the name of fort, post, or station for united states troops.' the adobe buildings had been stripped of all wood, roofs, doors, and window frames. "the dormitories of the barracks, having neither doors or windows, have abundant ventilation." the soil was to sandy and dry hot climate to cultivate a post garden. Milk and fresh vegetables had to be hauled from san elizario, el paso, or san ignacio, chihuahua. Much time was spent repairing the buildings, which by 1876 consisted of barracks for two companies, five sets of double officers's quarters, an adjutants's office, a hospital, a guardhouse, two store houses, a bakery, workshops, and wooden cavalry and quatermasters stables. Fort quitman wasvacated on january 5, 1877, but was regarrisoned in 1880-1882, during the campaign against the apache cief victorio as a subpost of fort davis. Despite the efforts of capt. Nicholas nolan and troopers of the tenth united states cavalry, during the summer of 1880 victorio's warriors crossed and recrossed the rio grande in the vicinity of the post. On august 9, mescaleros attempting to return to their reservation in new mexico attacked a stagecoach near the fort, mortally wounding maj. Gen. James. J. Byrne, an employee of the texas and pacific rr. Although victorio was killed in mexico in the fall of 1880, fort quitman was continued to be garrisoned through april 1882. The post was abandoned later that year, partly because it was not on a railroad. Fort hancock (originally fort rice) was established in 1882 at a better site nearby. Today only a cemetery reamins near the site of fort quitman. Submitted by: Samuel W McWhorte