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Fort Wingate
McKinley County, near Gallup, New Mexico
(144)Fort Wingate, New Mexico (shows the fort and houses), 1871 - 1878 - NARA - 517785.tif
Fort Wingate in the 1870s
Coordinates 35°06′45″N 107°52′58″W / 35.112466°N 107.882652°W / 35.112466; -107.882652
Site information
Controlled by  New Mexico
Condition ammunition depot, storage facility
Site history
Built 1862
Built by  United States
In use 1862 - 1993
Battles/wars Apache Wars
Navajo Wars
Garrison information
Kit Carson
William Redwood Price
Garrison Navajo Scouts
Apache Scouts
4th Cavalry
8th Cavalry
9th Cavalry and 13th Infantry
15th Infantry
Occupants United States Army
Fort Wingate Historic District
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Location NM 400, Fort Wingate, New Mexico
Area 27 acres (11 ha)
Built 1868 (1868)
NRHP reference No. 78003076
Significant dates
Added to NRHP May 26, 1978
Apache Scouts
Apache Scouts visiting Fort Wingate during the 1880s.

Fort Wingate was a military installation near Gallup, New Mexico. There were two other locations in New Mexico called Fort Wingate: Seboyeta, New Mexico (1849–1862) and San Rafael, New Mexico (1862–1868). The most recent Fort Wingate (1868–1993) was established at the former site of Fort Lyon, on Navajo territory, initially to control and "protect" the large Navajo tribe to its north. The Fort at San Rafael was the staging point for the Navajo deportation known as the Long Walk of the Navajo. From 1870 onward the garrison near Gallup was concerned with Apaches to the south, and through 1890 hundreds of Navajo Scouts were enlisted at the fort.

Fort Wingate supplied 100 tons of Composition B high explosives to the Manhattan Project for use in the first Trinity test and became an ammunition depot "Fort Wingate Depot Activity" from World War II until it was closed by the 1993 Base Realignment and Closure Commission. Environmental cleanup of UXO, perchlorate, and lead as well as land transfer continue to the present day.


Apache Scouts
Apache Scouts visiting Fort Wingate during the 1880s.
  • 1860 A temporary post, Fort Fauntleroy, was established at Bear Springs (Ojo del Oso), a place visited by Navajos. Later it was renamed Fort Lyon, when General Thomas T. Fauntleroy, for whom the fort was originally named, joined the Confederates.
  • 1862 The post was renamed Fort Wingate after the abandonment of an army post of that name located sixty miles away in San Rafael, New Mexico, also known as "Bikyaya" or "El Gallo," and which was originally located at Seboyeta. It was named for Major Benjamin Wingate, 5th U.S. Infantry, who received wounds to his legs during the Battle of Valverde.
    • September General Edward Canby ordered a new fort to be placed at the headwaters of the Gallo River. It was designed to house four companies of troops.
  • 1864 Colonel Kit Carson was ordered by Canby to bring four companies of the First New Mexico Volunteers to the fort to control the Navajo.
  • 1865 there were 3,089 troops in the New Mexico Military District, 135 at Fort Wingate.
  • It was the staging point for Navajos being sent on the Long Walk
  • 1873 - 1886 Participated in Apache Wars with troops and recruited Navajo Scouts.
  • 1878 there were 137 troops at Fort Wingate.
  • Was asked to settle disagreements between Navajo and citizens in New Mexico 1868-1895.
  • 1891 Assisted Arizona units with angry Hopis
  • 1907 Two troops of the 5th Cavalry went from Fort Wingate to the Four Corners area after some armed Navajo. This was the last armed expedition the US Government ever made against the Navajo. One Navajo was killed and the rest escaped
  • 1911 A company of cavalry went from Ft. Wingate to Chaco Canyon and camped there several days to quell a possible uprising by Navajo
  • 1914 Over 2,000 Mexican soldiers and their families were given refuge at the fort from the Mexican Civil War
  • 1918 Fort Wingate focus turned from Navajo to World War I .
  • 1940 Used to store munitions from World War II onward.
  • 1950 Bureau of Indian Affairs given part of the land for Indian boarding school
  • Redstone and the Pershing 1 missiles were tested among other things at Wingate
  • 1993 the Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC) closes the post. Environmental cleanup and land transfer to the surrounding community continues to the present day.

Notable people

  • Lt. Charles B. Gatewood (1853–1896) led many patrols out of Wingate and later convinced Geronimo to surrender
  • 1881–85 General Douglas MacArthur lived at the fort as an infant, with his father, a Captain in command of Company K, 13th US Infantry.
  • 1889–90 General John J. (Black Jack) Pershing served as Lieutenant at the fort.


There are two Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) boarding schools in the area: Wingate Elementary School, and Wingate High School.

As of 1956 the Wingate Elementary dormitory is a former military barracks that also houses students at Wingate High. In 1968 the girls' dormitory had 125 girls; the Associated Press stated that the dormitory lacked decoration and personal effects and was reflective of a campaign to de-personalize Native American students. At the time the school strongly discouraged students from speaking Navajo and wanted them to only speak English. Circa 1977 it opened a 125-student $90,000 building which used a solar heating system.

The non-BIE school district is Gallup-McKinley County Public Schools. It is zoned to Indian Hills Elementary School, Kennedy Middle School, and Hiroshi Miyamura High School.

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