“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Santa Fe in Santa Fe County, New Mexico — The American Mountains (Southwest)

First Army Fort in the Southwest

Prince Park

First Army Fort in the Southwest Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, October 12, 2021
1. First Army Fort in the Southwest Marker
Graffiti is on the marker.
Inscription.  Named for then-Secretary of War William L. Marcy, Fort Marcy was the first U.S. Army fort in the American Southwest. Commanding officer Brigadier General Stephen Watts Kearny directed Lieutenant William Emory to find the most "commanding" site in town for construction of a fort to protect the troops in the event of a local uprising. The fort also reminded New Mexicans of the power of their new American rulers.

The completed Fort Marcy was never garrisoned by soldiers nor saw the firing of a single shot. By the end of 1847, the guns had been removed and the adobe walls and other features began the slow process of erosion that continues today.

Building Fort Marcy

Lieutenant J.F. Gilmer, designer of Fort Marcy, first determined the shape of the fort, and then excavated a dry moat around it to shelter troops from enemy fire. Dirt from the moat was used to built nine-foot-high ramparts - earthen embankments topped with adobe walls to shield troops from attack. You can see deep depressions in the ground beyond this exhibit where the moat was located. The long, raised mounds that you can see on this end
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of the hill are all that remain of the ramparts.

The fort was built using rammed-earth construction. Troops hauled water up the hill, dampening soil whenever 10 inches were added to the walls. They then walked on top of it to compact each layer. The adobe walls on top contained pieces of broken pottery, bits of worked stone, and corn cobs from the hill's prehistoric occupation. Because there was no milled timber for gun emplacements, Gilmer reported that he intended to place cannons on "earthen platforms made firm by pounding."

(photo captions:)

·Even though thousands of people passed through Santa Fe in the mid-1800s, there are few photographs, illustration, or other clues about the early years at Fort Marcy. What little we know about its construction comes from U.S. Army reports from officers such as Kearny, soldiers' letters home, and travelers' journal entries.

·This model shows Fort Marcy as it may have appeared in 1846-47. The main fort and its dry moat was built first, then the platform for gun emplacements, storage magazine for ammunition, and blockhouse. Today you can see the eroded remnants of the fort and blockhouse.
Erected by National Park Service, City of Santa Fe and State Historic Preservation Division.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Forts and Castles
First Army Fort in the Southwest Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, October 12, 2021
2. First Army Fort in the Southwest Marker
. A significant historical year for this entry is 1847.
Location. 35° 41.369′ N, 105° 55.898′ W. Marker is in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in Santa Fe County. Marker can be reached from Kearney Avenue south of Prince Avenue. It is on a trail that leads to Cross of the Martyrs. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 320 Kearney Ave, Santa Fe NM 87501, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Invasion of Santa Fe (here, next to this marker); The Blockhouse Ruins (here, next to this marker); Witnessed from Fort Marcy Hill (here, next to this marker); Welcome to Historic Fort Marcy (within shouting distance of this marker); L. Bradford Prince (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); To the Future (about 400 feet away); 1985 (about 400 feet away); 1982 (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Santa Fe.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 28, 2021. It was originally submitted on October 28, 2021, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 160 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 28, 2021, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.

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Feb. 25, 2024