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Fort Cummings existed from 1863 to 1873, then 1880 to
1884 and lastly in 1886. It was a former U. S. Army post located near
Cooke's Springs, in Luna County, New Mexico. It is located 20 miles northeast of
Deming, New Mexico. Cooke's Spring 32.46277°N 107.64863°W was named for Philip
St. George Cooke 2nd U.S. Dragoons the former commander of the Mormon Battalion,
that was exploring this area of New Mexico in 1853. It was the only large supply
of fresh water between Mesilla and the Mimbres River for wagons heading to
California on the Southern Emigrant Trail as well as the later Butterfield
Overland Mail stagecoach route. The Cooke's Spring Station of the Butterfield
Overland Mail was located near Cooke's Spring from 1858 to 1861.
Cooke's Spring was located at the eastern mouth of the upper part of Cooke's Canyon which led to Cooke's Pass a narrow gap in the Cooke's Range32.79218°N 107.72129°W. Between 1848 and 1861 the pass was a dangerous place for travelers who were often ambushed and killed by the Apache as they passed through it. Following the Bascom Affair things were even worse as the Apache, formerly friendly to the stage company destroyed most of the stations and destroyed many coaches and killed their passengers and for over a decade later hundreds of other travelers. Cooke's Pass was a favored location for ambushes and it acquired the name Massacre Canyon after incidents like the Battle of Cooke's Canyon.
The Fort was first established nearby the stage station on October 2, 1863, by Captain Valentine Dresher, Company B, 1st California Infantry, of the California Column. Fort Cummings was established to control the Apache Indians, and to protect the Butterfield - Overland stage route and the southern overland road to California where it passed through Cooke's Pass. The fort was built up over the next ten years as an adobe walled fort, surrounded by a 10-foot high wall that enclosed a parade ground, corral and several single-story adobe buildings around the wall.
The fort was evacuated and entered a caretaker status in 1870 and abandoned in 1873. However it was reoccupied later when Apache under Victorio, launched a campaign against the white American settlers in 1880. It was known as "Camp at Fort Cummings" from 1880 to 1884 and in 1886 during later Apache troubles. Again abandoned it only remains as some eroding adobe walls, and along with the nearby site of the stage station and post graveyard to the south. Source: Wikipedia.