This fort was responsible for touching off and
escalating the Indian Wars in Arizona, but also for the succession of Arizona
Territory during the Civil
War. Established November 17, 1856 near Sonoita River between Patagonia
and Sonoita. Originally named Camp Moore, but name was changed to Buchanan
on May 29, 1857 in honor of President Buchanan. There was a high rate of
skirmishes with the Apaches at this fort. Captain Ewell launched many campaigns
against the Pinal Apache here. This fort reported the kidnapping of Mickey
Free by Tonto Apaches in January of 1861. 2nd Lt. George Bascom was sent
to recover the boy on January 29, 1861, the result it what is known as
the Bascom Affair.
Under a flag of truce, Lt. Bascom invited Cochise and his men into camp.
Once Cochise was inside Bascom's tent, his delegation was seized
and taken prisoner, Cochise narrowly escaped. However, Bascom's men had
six of the tribe captured, including Cochise's brother and two of his nephews,
and were later hung.
To make matters worse, the Civil War was raging and the Union forces
at Fort Buchanan were needed in New Mexico. It was then decided to give
up the fort July 21, 1861 leaving the local settlers alone to deal with
newly hostile Apaches. This is one of the reasons that Arizona
suceded from the Union later that year.
Fort on the Apache plunder trail; a history of Fort Buchanan, 1856-1861.
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