The Western Americana Collection recently acquired a set of four 5 x 7 albumen cabinet cards of Fort Stanton, New Mexico. The photographs are undated and the photographer is unattributed. Three of the photographs, however, include print numbers and titles:
No. 230, Fort Stanton N.M. from the N.W.
No. 231, Fort Stanton N.M. from S.W.
No. 233, Fort Stanton from N.E.
An identical print of no. 233 housed in the University of South Carolina Bonneville Collection is annotated in a contemporary hand with the following inscription:
Photograph taken at Fort Stanton, New Mexico Territory, March 1887. 1) launderers’ quarters, 2) garrison, 3) Fort Hospital, and on the north side of the Rio Bonita where tents can be seen, are situated the company gardens.
The fourth photograph in the collection lacks a print number but is titled “Grooming Horses at Fort Stanton,” and several of the soldiers appear to be African Americans. Buffalo Soldiers, African American cavalry and infantry troops that served in the Civil War and were later sent to the Western frontier to fight in the Indian wars, began serving in the New Mexico Territory in mid-1860s. The 9th Cavalry participated in the Colfax County War in 1876 and the Lincoln County War in 1878, where they were stationed at Fort Stanton. While the 9th Cavalry left New Mexico in 1881, the 10th Cavalry returned to New Mexico in 1887, and one of the final duties of the Buffalo Soldiers stationed in New Mexico was the dismantling of Fort Stanton in 1896. For more about African American troops in New Mexico and additional works on the history of Buffalo Solders, see William H. Wroth’s “Buffalo Soldiers in New Mexico.”
Wroth, William H. “Buffalo Soldiers in New Mexico.” New Mexico Office of the State Historian. http://newmexicohistory.org/people/buffalo-soldiers-in-new-mexico.