Following the Civil War, General Carleton (photo at left) requested that a new fort be established in what is now southwestern New Mexico which was in the heart of the Apache homeland. Its mission would be to protect the miners, ranchers, and emigrant and business trails. The new fort was to be named Fort Bayard in honor of General George D. Bayard.
General Bayard was born in Seneca Falls, NY in 1835. His pioneering family moved to the Iowa Territory. Following graduation from West Point in 1856 as 2nd Lt of Cavalry, he returned to the west and fought against the Native Americans in Colorado and Kansas. With the onset of the Civil War, he vreturned east and was commissioned coloneln of thge 1st Pennsylvania Cavalry and assigned to defend Washington. He served in many positions and because of his leadership skills was commissioned chief of the cavalry of the III Corps and became a Brigadier General in April of 1862. After the restructuring of the Army of the Potomac, he was promoted to cavalry commander. He was mortally wounded during the Battle of Fredericksburg two weeks before his birthday and wedding.
On August 21st, 1866, Fort Bayard Military Post was established by the 125th U.S Colored Troops Company F, under Lt .James Kerr. Other companines of the U.S. Colored Troops from Louisville, Kentucky continued to arrive. Company M of the 3rd Cavalry and Companies B & E of the 5th Infantry completed the first assignmemts. With the 3rd Cavalry Josephine Cifford, the wife of 2nd Lt. James Clifford, arrived. She was called "the mother of Fort Bayard' by the troops.