The post was named in honor of General George D. Bayard, who died from wounds received in the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia in 1862. He had previously served as a lieutenant in the New Mexico and Arizona territories where he had sustained arrow wounds in Indian confrontations.

Fort Bayard was one of many installations throughout the Southwest that was garrisoned by the so called Buffalo Soldiers. Company B of the 125th United States Colored Infantry Regiment established the post, and they were joined by other black units, including troops from the 9th Cavalry Regiment. Corporal Clinton Greaves, stationed at Fort Bayard with C Company, 9th Cavalry Regiment, received the Medal of Honor for his actions against Apache raiders on January 24, 1877. A monument to the Buffalo Soldiers was erected on the old parade field of Fort Bayard in 1992.

At this time, roving Apache bands headed by Mangas Coloradas, Victorio, and later on, Geronimo, were desperately resisting settlers and miners who were encroaching on their hunting grounds. The army answered this threat with the men of the 125th who were first organized at Louisville, Kentucky between February and June of 1865. Individual companies were stationed at Forts Cummings, Bayard, and Pinos Altos. By the end of August, there were approximately fifty enlisted men at Fort Bayard, but by October of the same year, the number had increased to over two hundred men.

Following the capture of Geronimo in 1886, the Apache were no longer considered a major threat. Fort Bayard’s continued usefulness, like that many posts in the southwest, thus came under scrutiny. Due to its distance from the border with Mexico, the fort was selected for deactivation. However, U.S. Army Surgeon General George Miller Sternberg, noting the excellent health record of the post, chose Fort Bayard as an Army tuberculosis hospital and research center. The fort was transferred to the Surgeon General’s Department in 1900. In 1922 the hospital became the part of the Veteran’s Administration, and the cemetery officially became Fort Bayard Cemetery.

Buffalo Soldiers who served at Ft. Bayard, New Mexico.

Buffalo Soldiers buried at Fort Bayard National Cemetery, Grant County.

Last name         First name          Rank      Company   Regiment            Date of Death
Alexander           James               Serg't    H        10th US Cav         Oct. 1,1906
Bailey              Charles D                     I        10th US Cav         Dec 19,1914
Baldwin             Buster B                      L        25th US Inf         February 8,1908
Ballentine          Cyrus                         D        25th US Inf         February 5,1919
Bardison            George                        D        10th US Cav         May 15,1902
Bartlett            Squire                        H        9th US Cav          Sept 27,1877
Bettis              James               Corpl     C        9th US Cav          Oct 3, 1877
Boyd                Hampton                       A        24th US Inf         June 2,1906
Boyd                Thomas W                      F        24th US Inf         March 31,1895
Boyer               George W                      D        24th US Inf         June 22,1894
Brown               Creed                         E        24th US Inf         March 20,1893
Carter              Frank                         F        25th US Inf         May 16,1913
Chase               Levi                Corpl     L        9th US Cav          May 16,1905
Clark               Cornelius           Corpl     E        9th US Cav          May 6,1907
Clay                Matthew G                     M        9th US Cav          December 19,1916
Clements            Charles F                     H        24th US Inf         July 11,1915
Cunningham          George                        H        10th US Cav         Jan 29,1905
Dawson              John W                        I        24th US Inf         Jan 19,1911
Derchild            Joseph                        C        9th US Cav          June 13, 1879
Derrick             Samuel              Serg't    C        24th US Inf         Jan 15,1892
Edwards             John                          H        24th US Inf         January 23,1902
Ellis               Robert                        E        24th US Inf         Mar 23,1893
Evans               Elijah                        F        10th US Cav         June 20,1903
Finney              Will                          M        10th US Cav         Dec. 24, 1907
Forman              And'w               Corpl     D        24th US Inf         January 7, 1893
Foster              Leon D                        A        9th US Cav          January 24, 1910
Fowler              Arthur                                 25th US Inf         Sept 14,1917
Frazier             Lewis               Serg't    D        10th US Cav         May 3,1914
Frisby              J T                           G        24th US Inf         Mar 12,1906
Gant                John                          H        24th US Inf         May 9,1904
Gaskins             William E                     D        9th US Cav          Jul 12,1906
Grant               George                        L        10th US Cav         Feb 27,1901
Gray                Gilbert                       Cas Det  9th US Cav          Feb 28,1909
Gray                Robert              Corpl     Band     25th US Inf         July 6,1905
Green               George                        H        25th US Inf         Nov 18,1902
Hampton             George W                      Band     25th US Inf         Mar 6,1903
Harrison            Julius                        H        24th US Inf         June 23,1891
Hawkins             William H                     L        24th US Inf         May 18,1905
Henry               Oscar D                       L        24th US Inf         May 4,1901
Hood                John                Serg't    E        9th US Cav          Feb 14,1907
Huddleston          William                       Band     24th US Inf         Nov 10,1901
Johnson             E                             C        9th US Cav          Dec 25,1878
Johnson             John                          L        9th US Cav          Sept 30,1879
Johnson             Thomas                        D        24th US Inf         Apr 4,1911
Jones               Edmund                        E        25th US Inf         Apr 1,1905
Jones               William                       F        25th US Inf         Nov 27,1898
Kelley              Joseph Jr                     K        24th US Inf         Apr 14,1902
Lankford            Henry                         E        25th US Inf         Oct 20,1904
Lawrence            James O                       E        24th US Inf         Aug 24,1892
Leonard             Thomas                        F        24th US Inf         Apr 15,1893
Long                Gideon                        L        10th US Cav         Sept 15,1901
Mack                William                       L        24th US Inf         Nov 5,1901
Martin              John                          G        9th US Cav          Apr 17,1907
Marts               Harry                         F        10th US Cav         Nov 9,1914
Mason               Charles                       F        25th US Inf         June 10,1912
Mason               Henry                         A        24th US Inf         Sept 29,1905
Mathigley           Henry               Serg't    C        9th US Cav          June 13,1879
McCalley            Wiley                         D        25th US Inf         Nov 23,1902
Miles               James                         F        25th US Inf         Nov 17,1896
Miller              Sylvester                     I        25th US Inf         Sept 7,1900
Moore               Arthur L                      M        10th US Cav         May 9,1907
Nicherson           Floyd                         F        25th US Inf         Mar 9,1899
Norris              Jefferson                     M        24th US Inf         June 18,1909
Raines              Henry R                       Cas Det  10th US Cav         July 17,1908
Reed                Charles             Serg't    L        24th US Inf         Nov 29,1915
Reed                Charles                       D        24th US Inf         Jan 22,1903
Rhodes              Roy                           Band     24th US Inf         June 4,1904
Robinson            James                         Cas Det  9th US Cav          Jan 30,1909
Robinson            Soloman             Corpl     F        9th US Cav          Aug 11,1880
Ross                Leon                          B        9th US Cav          Mar 1,1907
Ross                William H                     H        10th US Cav         Feb 2,1914
Russel              Solomon                       B        25th US Inf         Apr 11,1901
Schwab              Charles             Chf Mus            24th US Inf         Apr 7,1893
Shaw                Perry                         D        10th US Cav         Nov 21,1891
Smith               G W                 Lieut              9th US Cav          Aug 19,1881
Swan                Edward                        C        9th US Cav          Apr 4,1901
Taylor              John                          A        25th US Inf         June 21,1867
Thompson            Robert                        A        24th US Inf         Nov 4,1906
Underwood           Clifford                      I        24th US Inf         Mar 17,1913
Underwood           Elisha M                      B        24th US Inf         Mar 27.1913
Vanleer             Percy L                       E        24th US Inf         Mar 12,1915
Washington          Ernest                        A        10th US Cav         not found
Washington          John                          G        25th US Inf         Aug 22,1903
Westley             L                             Cas Det  10th US Cav         Feb 8,1908
White               Isaac               Serg't    F        25th US Inf         Nov 21,1909
Williams            Jonas               Trumpter  E        9th US Cav          Aug 15,1903
Woodward            Major                         L        9th US Cav          Aug 13,1879
Worrell             William             Saddler   F        9th US Cav          Jan 4,1903
Wright              James               Serg't    M        9th US Cav          Dec 12,1900
Wright              Thomas                        B        9th US Cav          Feb 8,1906

This is not intended to be a complete list. Source: Janet Wasson and Charles Barnum