Fort Bascom: Soldiers, Comancheros and Indians in the Canadian River Valley, by James Bailey Blackshear, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 2016, $29.95
For a military post active only 11 years, Fort Bascom, which sat near present-day Tucumcari, N.M., saw a lot of history. Yet the outpost is mostly forgotten, the site of its long-eroded adobe walls indicated only by a historical marker on state Highway 104. Author James Bailey Blackshear, a history professor at Collin College in Plano, Texas, gives Fort Bascom its due in this well-researched book.
Established in 1863 along the Canadian River on the Eroded Plains of northeast New Mexico, Fort Bascom served Kit Carson during the Indian wars campaign that climaxed with the Nov. 25, 1864, First Battle of Adobe Walls. The 3rd U.S. Cavalry arrived in 1866, followed by various black infantry companies and the 8th Cavalry. The soldiers pursued Comancheros, Comanches, Navajos fleeing from the Bosque Redondo camp near Fort Sumner. Due to Bascom’s remote location, the Army found it hard to supply, and by 1871 the service housed troops there only seasonally. The last soldiers left in November 1874.
—Johnny D. Boggs