Special Presentation: "Helluva Way to Treat a Soldier"
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
This is the story of the looting (grave robbing) of the Fort Craig cemetery and how one of the most prolific looters in the Southwest was finally stopped.
This 45-minute film presents the events that led to the investigations of looting and the removal of interments from the cemetery, and efforts undertaken to prevent further unauthorized disturbance and removal of human burials within the cemetery. The story of Thomas Smith, Private of the 125th United States Colored Troops, will be shared, along with the process by which identification of David Ford (Company C 38th Infantry) and Levi Morris (Company B 9th Calvary) were made. Caleb Scott, also a member of the US Colored Troops, remains missing from the burial population.
Fort Craig is located along the Rio Grande, north of Truth or Consequences and south of Socorro; the ruins of the Fort are open to the public and can be toured during regular hours. It was a military fort established in 1854 to protect travelers along the Camino Real, being decommissioned in 1886.
Leading the discussion of the film will be Dr. Jeffery Hanson (JRI Vice President), who served as the Bureau of Reclamation Archaeologist during this time and was deeply involved in the criminal investigations and field efforts. Also, David Greenwald (JRI President), who directed the field efforts to collect information relating to the looting and directed the excavations and recovery all human remains, will introduce the film and address questions.
Following laboratory analysis, all human remains were reburied in the Santa Fe National Cemetery, with honors. The film provides historical background, discusses law enforcement actions, and interviews participants in the recovery efforts and those with specific information regarding the looting activities. These investigations were carried out between 2005 and 2008; much of the criminal investigation and information from the fieldwork could not be released to the public until the investigations regarding the criminal case had been concluded, causing this excavation project to be one of mystery and intrigue.
Admission to this special presentation is free.