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Camp Verde in Yavapai County, Arizona — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

Fort Verde State Historic Park

The West As It Really Was!

 
 
The West As It Really Was Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 7, 2010
1. The West As It Really Was Marker
Inscription.
The Mythology of a Western Fort
Fort Verde is typical of western forts built in the 1870's and 1880's but our vision of forts comes from movies. Log stockades with towers and John Wayne fearlessly firing his rifle at attacking Indians. The reality is different. In truth, the Indians were sophisticated fighters who knew they would be outnumbered and outgunned and rarely attacked forts.

Building materials were a concern. Many forts were located in barren, treeless areas and building materials were in scarce supply. Whatever wood was available was needed in the construction of buildings.

The Army was also concerned about troop morale. Huddling behind a wall was not considered inspiring for the troops. One general in the Dakota Territory wrote, "It is better for troop morale to depend on vigilance and breechloaders for protection than to hide behind palisades."

The soldier's life meant constant moving as troops were frequently ordered to new posts depending on the Army's need. The number of soldiers at Fort Verde varied frequently. At its peak, there were 302 men stationed here, but on the average the population was closer to 115.

The daily routine was regulated by bugle calls. Bugles announced everything - meals, changing of duties, retreat, advance, getting up and going to bed. It was
The West As It Really Was Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 7, 2010
2. The West As It Really Was Marker
Fort Verde State Historic Park Visitor Center in background
the responsibility of the soldiers to learn all bugle calls needed to get through the day.

Army Weapons
After the Civil War, the U.S. Government was strapped for cash. In an effort to save money, enlisted men's pay was reduced from $16.00 per month to $13.00. Leftover clothing was used to outfit the Army. Fit wasn't really a consideration and the same weapons, although better models were available, were still being issued.

The weapon most commonly used by the Army was the Springfield 50/70 or 45/70. Originally the .50/70 breechloader was converted from muzzle loaders manufactured during the Civil War. The copper cartridges were known to jam in rapid fire situations. In 1870 the Army changed to the Sharps carbine for the cavalry, but continued to use the Springfield rifle for the infantry. The last of these single shot weapons was used until the early 1900's.

The pistol changed over time with the Army using the Colt .44 percussion and the Remington .44, Model 1858 and later still the Smith and Wesson Model 1870 .44 caliber. The picture above is on [sic - one] of the most recognizable guns of the time - the 1873 Colt single-action Army pistol which was used from 1873 to 1911.

The Army used the Model 1860 Light Cavalry Sabre throughout the Fort Verde History. Sabres were not used in battle, they were for cermonial occasions only.
 
Erected by
Photo on The West As It Really Was Marker image. Click for full size.
By Unknown, 1880s
3. Photo on The West As It Really Was Marker
Fort Verde State Historic Park.
 
Location. 34° 33.854′ N, 111° 51.118′ W. Marker is in Camp Verde, Arizona, in Yavapai County. Marker is on Hollamon Street, on the right when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is at the Fort Verde Historic Park visitor center. Marker is at or near this postal address: 125 East Hollamon Street, Camp Verde AZ 86322, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. "0" Mile Post General Crook Trail (here, next to this marker); The Congressional Medal of Honor - Apache Campaign 1872 - 1873 (here, next to this marker); Wales Arnold (approx. mile away); Pecan Lane Rural Historic Landscape (approx. 0.8 miles away); Camp Verde (approx. 2.7 miles away); Lifeline / Prehistoric Produce (approx. 3.3 miles away); The Neighborhood / Mysterious Departures (approx. 3.3 miles away); The People Next Door (approx. 3.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Camp Verde.
 
Categories. Forts, CastlesNative AmericansSettlements & SettlersWars, US Indian
 
Image on The West As It Really Was Marker image. Click for full size.
By Unknown, 1880
4. Image on The West As It Really Was Marker
Fort Phil Kearny, 1880, Montana
Image on The West As It Really Was Marker image. Click for full size.
By Unknown, undated
5. Image on The West As It Really Was Marker
[Caption reads] Enlisted Mens Uniforms of the time and the chevrons indicating both rank and specialty.
Photo on The West As It Really Was Marker image. Click for full size.
By Unknown, 1885
6. Photo on The West As It Really Was Marker
Company E, 1st Infantry at Fort Verde.
Photo on The West As It Really Was Marker image. Click for full size.
By Unknown, 1880s
7. Photo on The West As It Really Was Marker
Dinnertime, Calvary [sic - Cavalry] Style
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 787 times since then and 29 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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