Three months into the Mexican-American War (August of 1846), General Stephen W. Kearny was sent, with 1700 troops, to occupy and claim the New Mexico territory for the United States. Once he arrived, Kearny ordered his engineers to search the area for a suitable defensive fort location. They soon found an 80 foot tall bluff, a mere 650 yards Northeast of the Plaza, which they described as "...the only point which commands the whole town and which, itself, is commanded by no other." Constructed of five foot thick, and nine foot tall walls, the subsequent thirteen-sided fort had an eight foot deep moat surrounding it. Kearny named it "Fort Marcy" after Secretary of War William L. Marcy. While the fort could hold 1000+ soldiers, none were ever garrisoned there. It was built purely as a defensive location should the locals uprise over the occupation. Fort Marcy was the first U.S. military installation in the Southwest. By the end of 1846, the fort's artillery were moved down to a 17 acre military reservation that had been built near the Plaza. This new location included officers' quarters, a hospital, soldiers barracks, storehouse, corrals, and more. With the end of the Mexican-American War, in 1850, New Mexico became a U.S. Territory. The original fort atop the hill was officially abandoned in August of 1868. Eleven years later, visitors to the site discovered a horde of Spanish coins, dating back to 1726, hidden beneath the walls of the fort. These were donated to the Historical Society of New Mexico. However, this discovery spurred large numbers of local citizens to search the site for more treasures. This chaotic hunt destroyed most of the remainder of the fort. The government sold the location at auction in 1891. The city of Santa Fe eventually acquired the site and turned it into a beautiful scenic overlook.
Entrance to the bluff the eventually became the site for Fort Marcy.
Along the winding walkway, leading to the summit, are remnants of numerous artillery in placements that covered the whole town.
Near the summit is the "Cross of Martyrs" dedicated to the 21 Franciscan Friars killed during the 1680 Pueblo Revolt.
Attached to the side of the cross facing the city is a plaque listing the names of the Friars that were martyrd, along with a plaque indicating the dedication information.
Diagram of the layout of Fort Marcy.
General Stephen Kearny commanded 1700 troops the occupied Santa Fe in 1846, during the Mexican-American War.
Painting depicting Kearny's occupation of Santa Fe.
Looking across the summit towards the surrounding mountains. If you look closely in the foreground, you can just make out the remnant mounds of the old fort.
By the end of 1846, a 17 acre military reservation was constructed near the plaza. This building, known as the Hewett House, was of six constructed as housing for officers and their families....
...and this is how it looked in 1885.
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.