A History of Fort Ruby
In May 1860, Co. B of the 4th Artillery assigned to Camp Floyd, Utah, was sent to Ruby Valley to find and establish a camp base to use to protect the Overland Mail Route and its passengers and others from Indian attacks. On Sept. 4, 1861, Col. E. P. Connor organized the 3rd Regiment of California Volunteers. A year later he received orders to patrol the Central Route of the Overland Mail Company. The site chosen for Fort Ruby is on the eastern side of the southern end of the Ruby Mountains in Ruby Valley, Nevada. The Fort was situated about 2 1/2 miles southeast of the Overland Mail Station on a six square mile plot of ground. The Fort's northern boundary was on the dividing line between what are now Elko and White Pine Counties in Nevada. The site was approximately midway if the 600 miles separating Carson City, Nevada and Salt Lake City, Utah.
Col. Edward P. Connor and seven companies of soldiers (about 600 men), 55 wagons, 2 howitzers, carriages for some of the officer's families, 3 ambulances and the regimental band departed Camp Halleck, Stockton, California, on July 12, 1862, and began marching east. They arrived at Fort Ruby on the evening of September 1, 1862. Fort Ruby was officially established pursuant to orders # 8 dated September 4, 1862 by Col. Connor.
Soldiers immediately began to gather stone and timber from the nearby mountains to build store houses and winter quarters. Living quarters were log cabins of hand hewn logs either laid horizontally or vertically and heated by fireplaces. Stables and store houses were built of vertical logs in a stockade fashion with the posts set vertically in trenches. Corrals were constructed of adobe. A good sized pond, fed by a spring, supplied the Fort with fresh water.
After 1865, Indian raids became infrequent and in 1869, the Army determined that Fort Ruby was no longer necessary. On instructions of Headquarters, Department of California, San Francisco, dated July 15, 1869, Fort Ruby was ordered to be abandoned. On September 20, 1869, the men of Co. I 9th Infantry and all of their supplies were transferred from Fort Ruby to Camp Halleck some seventy miles to the north.
Most of the abandoned building at Fort Ruby was sold to nearby ranchers. Thomas Short of Cave Creek is said to have bought several of the structures and moved them off the Fort. Some of the buildings or parts of them may still be being used on ranches today.
Fort Ruby was never declared a military reservation by Executive order. In 1961, the U. S. Dept. of the Interior gave landmark status to Fort Ruby. Only two original buildings, an enlisted men's barracks and the officer's quarters were remaining in 1992 when they were both lost to history when they were destroyed by a fire.
Fort Ruby is located in the south end of Ruby Valley in White Pine County.