The infantrymen had walked dozens of miles across the hot Arizona desert, heading for the spring at Apache Pass, which was now blocked to them by the well-armed Chiricahua warriors. The 2500 men of the California Column traveled across the arid Southwest in staggered groups to allow water sources to replenish. They arrived in Tucson on May 20, forcing the heavily outnumbered Confederate garrison to withdraw to Texas without a fight. It is approximately 20 miles (32 km) east-southeast of Willcox, Arizona, in Cochise County. Your email address will not be published. At the same time the last remnants of the Confederate army withdrew to Texas. A natural freshwater spring, Apache Spring, emerges from a geological fault line running through the pass. Captain Roberts reports that the Indians lost ten killed. Visitors who hike along the trails and drive along Apache Pass Road can see the remains of the Butterfield stage station (consisting of the stone foundation), the ruins of the Chiricahua Reservation's agency building, a cemetery, and the remnants of the two forts that were constructed there.

John C. Cremony and 21 wagons plus 242 mules and horses. As we carried the hill a cheer came up from down below, as our comrades dashed to the spring with camp kettles and canteens. Miles in the campaigns deep into Mexico that brought about the surrender of Geronimo and his band. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

The Apaches had thrown up defenses, which consisted of several breastworks made of stone. Apache Pass continued to play a major role in frontier history until after the final surrender of Geronimo and his band of renegades in September 1886. Roberts moved his guns ahead to a better position, all the time under heavy fire. On August 4 the first units of the California Column reached Mesilla, New Mexico, along the Rio Grande. Our line dashed forward, and advanced under a continuous and galling fire from both sides of the canyon until we reached a point within 50 yards of the spring. Thomas L. Roberts of Company E, 1st California Infantry, accompanied by two 12-pounder mountain howitzers under the command of Sgt. Apache – The Fiercest Warriors in the Southwest, Your email address will not be published. The Californians countermarched from the station, driving the Apache into the hills, only to find they had taken up new positions around the Apache Spring. Bowie, Arizona 85605 They built a way station out of stone on the eastern side of Apache Pass, where they could rest their horses and utilize the water from the spring.

The few remaining building walls in the area have been "stabilized" for preservation purposes, but will not be restored. Carleton decided that it was necessary to establish a post at the pass to prevent settlers from being ambushed as they passed through it. The affront sparked a war between Cochise and the Americans that included the Battle of Apache Pass in 1862, and which only ended eleven years later with a treaty facilitated by General Oliver O. Howard and a white teamster and friend of Cochise's named Tom Jeffords. After Spanish and Mexican settlers began visiting the area, the spring at Apache Pass quickly became a flash point for conflict with the resident Apache tribes, leading to its original Spanish name Puerto del Dado, the "Door (or Pass) of the Die", meaning "pass of chance", which compared the risky nature of crossing the pass to a game of chance, like one played by soldiers with dice. I hiked up the trail, accompanied by whirring clouds of grasshoppers. Thereafter, until the final surrender of Geronimo, the post operated as a base for scouts, patrols, and major offensives against the Apache. The howitzers, being on wheels, were called wagons by the Apaches, who were unfamiliar with artillery tactics. ©Kathy Weiser-Alexander, updated September 2019. Apache Spring, a rare cool and dark place in the deserts of southern Arizona. [5], According to Capt. The only thing left behind at Apache Pass after the local ranchers scavenged the ruins for building materials were a few adobe walls, bleaching white in the sun and slowly washing away in the infrequent rains, and the memories of those who had lived through their experiences there.

As they approached the abandoned stage station, Cochise and his ally, Mangas Coloradas, with a combined force of about 150 warriors, ambushed the rear of the column.

[8], After the Battle of Apache Pass in July 1862, a United States military post, Fort Bowie, was built to protect the pass and the spring.