Forts and Forays is a rare account of frontier soldiering in the pre-Civil War Southwest by an enlisted man. James A. Bennett joined the regular army in 1849 and was stationed in New Mexico for six years before he deserted to Mexico. Assigned to the First Dragoons, he visited most major New Mexico posts such as Forts Union, Craig, and Fillmore. His company was stationed at or passed through Taos, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Socorro, and other New Mexico settlements. In six years, his rank climbed from private to sergeant before an unknown infraction reduced him to the ranks. Bennett served under future Civil War generals Edwin V. Sumner, Richard S. Ewell, and John W. Davidson. Frontier luminaries Kit Carson and Uncle Dick Wootton scouted for his dragoon company. During his service, Bennett waged war on the Jicarilla, Mogollon, Mescalero, and Mimbres Apaches, the Navajos, and the Utes, suffering serious wounds at the Battle of Clenguilla.