tv Fort Selden CSPAN August 5, 2018 11:43am-12:01pm EDT
c-span2. >> are comcast cable partners worked with c-span cities to her staff when we traveled to new mexico. las cruces is located south of --uquerque, 275 miles 55 miles north of el paso, texas. >> fort selden was established in may of 1865. the primary reason the fort was established was to protect the citizens of the missy of and travelers on the trade route, which was historically .he camino riau trade from santa fe to chihuahua and back. that was the primary purpose and againstection was
apache raters more than anything else. that was why the fort was established here. the location was established from time out of mind this is been a spot where there was easy access to water and firewood. it provides all the surrounding enemiesyou can see coming, trade caravans. the soldiers who were here provided escort service so they would travel with people down the camino so that was the main purpose. the other purpose is served were people who were crossing the shortcut through the desert. this was a spot where they could rest, find water. there was a hospital here. that's why it was located here and that is the purpose of
served. two period's of occupation. 18651878 is the first and they start the process of disassembling it. the wooden beams off. they take the windows and doors and remove them so they can use them at other locations. , just three years later, they decided to be occupied it. it's occupied for a decade. 1891 the indian wars are over. fore really is not any need this location to the command by a military force anymore. the communities in the area have grown. it's a whole different situation by the beginning of the 1890's.
the fort is abandoned again basically taken apart. had it not been taken apart, left the roofs on the building, left the door frames and windows , those protect the integrity of the building and it probably would not be in the shape that it's in. that was sort of a standard thing. you had doors and windows and beams that were cut and they were repurposed. that's what happened. it was really no longer needed anymore. let's go into the fort proper. as youthe big challenges ,ee as we go through the ruins the erosion of the adobe walls. it typically adobe is manufactured with mud, water, and some matter like
straw to bind it. here, the adobe's permit only of sand and clay. they are much more susceptible to being damaged by rain. these are administrative buildings. one interesting thing about this although you see it as ruins, it also has preserved the footprint of the fort itself and must -- most other 19th-century forts made of adobe in the southwest are gone except for the footprint on the ground. this is the only part of the fourth that was two story.
this building right here that is might wonder why would there be a stone building in an adobe fort, this was the jail. if you have an instrument like a spoon or some piece of metal you might be dig your way out of jail. if your fort had a jail constructed out of stone you were probably going to stay at -- probably stay put. there was a second story and a courtroom in the second story. one of the things we know about the soldiers who served here is they were frequently in trouble. they visited a nearby community. they like to visit the women in the community. they got trunk, they fought --
they got drunk, they fought. and an average month or medicine seven or eight soldiers who had .un afoul of some sort of rule here is called the family port. business with the fort where the soldiers when their coming and going would use this area. this is the only area that was two stories. see building that you don't andthe post commissary
storeroom. this was a significant place of commissary with take care of all the needs of the soldiers. unfortunately this building is completely gone. possibly, atns to least put some walls that would show the footprint so you can get an appreciation. this vantage point you can also see i was talking about how you can see so far from the spot as opposed to where we were which is lower. around.see all the way coming wouldre post some threat to you or if there was a trade caravan coming could see it easily.
the military have a system where they used helio graphs, a system of using mirrors reflecting light to signal. negative signal on top of that mountain. that person could observe everything coming and the information to be transmitted and there was a whole system. this was part of a system of forts author seven new mexico. this building here was where the noncommissioned officers stayed. this would have been sergeants" rules and they would be responsible for the men who would be crammed into this space over here so this is the barracks for the enlisted men. wise started in
its first life was 13 years. 1865 1878, there was a cavalry .ompany and infantry company ,here was room for 75 man tightly packed there slick bunkbeds. the army had a standard fort. of air that was supposed to circulate. now, i standing right would guess we are in the mid to upper 90's and we're only in june. these men were wearing heavy uniforms. i imagine it would of been brutal to be stationed here.
the heat would have been overwhelming. was not afford that engaged a lot of battles with native americans. whatever, i believe only three fatalities of people serving here that died in any sort of engagement. , int was probably also addition to being hot and uncomfortable all the time is probably pretty boring. they did a lot of maintenance work constantly and they did patrol work. one of the significant things this fort did was provide safe travel for people traveling on the camino real. it a chihuahua trail and goes overweight. commerce would've come from st.
louis to santa fe then down the .amino real avoid mexico -- all the way to mexico. standing on the piece of the camino real. the marker says from this spot to mexico citys and 283 miles to santa fe. as a stand here you can imagine literally thousands of people , everything that came from the spanish world into this country came along this .oad for example people who live in new mexico and have been here for many generations, as sort of fascinating they can stand on this ground where their
ancestors walked. this is for part of the story and in terms of the sweep of history, this location is probably more significant for as important in the history of trying to preserve this place i guess there was an attempt to say who was really .ruly famous that was here often times that is used as some sort of rationale. it turns out that in his memoirs , general douglas macarthur young hishen he was herer, arthur mcarthur was and this building is where the .acarthur's lived
they came in december 1883. macarthur had been born in january of 1880. he says in his memoirs that he learned to shoot and to ride while he was here, but it seems rather unlikely. he would've been three years old when he came and five or six years old when he left. seems rather unlikely that he militarye hefted weapon or that he would've been .llowed to ride a horse there's been an attempt to point out that macarthur was here.
he was probably the most famous man that was here is very young lad for a brief time. so the other big story that's associated with this with the 19th-century forts in new mexico in general, the story of the buffalo soldiers. , there hadivil war been black soldiers who fought for the north and the civil war. after the civil war a decision units whoo form black anded under white officers many of them are sent to the west. the first group that came here came in 1866.
125th infantry. they were called buffalo the indians one the planes who first encountered had curly hairey and because of their bravery and their dark complexion. their fierceness. they referred to them as buffalo soldiers. .he men liked it they referred to themselves that way as well. so there were a number of different units. 125th was replaced -- overlap .ith another group of infantry probably the most famous buffalo soldiers were in the night and 10th cavalry.
eightse there were encounters in the southwest were awarded the congressional medal of honor. those individuals not have certain here but they were part of the buffalo soldiers group. that's one of the important force. of these western one of the things new mexico historic sites program always says, the historic sites, it's where history happens. i think people who come here and , who can telltour them little about what this experience is like it is unique among western forks. this one is still here to some extent. whereas many of them are not.
>> our cities tour staff travel to las cruces, new mexico to write about its rich history. learn about other stops on her tour at c-span.org/cities tour. you're watching american history tv. all weekend every weekend on c-span. >> this year marks the 50th anniversary of the chicago democratic convention. a panel discussion on the artists role during the chaotic 1968 presidential nominating convention. andlars explore the impact norman mailer's account of the events. they also talk about visual artist activism and the .ewspapers of time northwestern university's medill school of journalism host of this event. it's one hour 45 minutes.