Buffalo Soldier, 9th Cavalry, 1890

Buffalo Soldier, 9th Cavalry, 1890

Fort Selden was a U.S. Army post, occupying the area in what is now Radium Springs, New Mexico. Established in 1865 for the purpose of protecting westward settlers from Native American raids, the post fell into disrepair after the American Civil War. It was ultimately abandoned in 1891, due in large part to the decision to expand Fort Bliss and the lack of any expenditures for repair of the facility.

Fort Selden was established in 1865 in an effort to bring peace among the varied inhabitants in the south central region of present day New Mexico. Their primary intent was to protect settlers and travelers in the Mesilla Valley from desperados and Mescalero Apache Indians. Built near the banks of the Rio Grande, the adobe fort housed units of U.S. Army Infantry and Cavalry.

The first troops to occupy the fort were companies of the 125th US Colored Infantry Regiment, a group of African-American enlisted soldiers from Kentucky who had been mustered into the Union Army near the close of the American Civil War. Several of the units assigned later, including the 9th US Cavalry and 10th US Cavalry, and stationed at the fort were also composed of black troopers, sometimes referred to as Buffalo Soldiers. As a testament to their bravery, nine Buffalo Soldiers received the Medal of Honor while serving in New Mexico Territory.

Fort Selden Troops by Surname:

Source: Southern New Mexico Genealogical Society, Marcena Thompson, and Charles Barnum.