Near Bowie in Cochise County, Arizona — The American Mountains (Southwest)
First Fort Bowie
On July 28, 1862, a 100-man detachment of the 5th California Volunteer Infantry began construction of the primitive fort, completing it two weeks later. A four-foot-high stone wall surrounded a collection of tents and a stone guard house. The camp was named after Col. George Washington Bowie, the 5th Infantry commander.
General James Carleton, commander of the Department of New Mexico, ordered the fort commander
to attack the Comanches whenever he finds them near his post, to escort all trains and couriers through the pass and well out into the mesa, and to take the liberty of sending out detachments strong enough to give protection to soldiers and killing when he deems it wise to do so.
The Apaches no longer controlled Apache Spring, but they continued raiding and killing travelers not escorted by the military. During the first fort's six-year history, sporadic patrols pursued the elusive Apaches with little success.
It was an undesirable duty post. Isolation, bad food, sickness, crude quarters, and the seldom-seen but ever-present Indians led to low morale and frequent troop rotation.
In 1866, regular soldiers relieved the Volunteers and, in 1868, finished construction of
Erected by National Park Service.
Location. 32° 8.673′ N, 109° 26.353′ W. Marker is near Bowie, Arizona, in Cochise County. Marker is on Apache Pass Road. Click for map. Markers are located along the trail at the Fort Bowie National Historic Site. From Bowie, Az. drive south from the intersection of I-10B and Apache Pass Rd to the trail head (approximately 8 miles) or from Willcox, AZ drive southeast for 20 miles on State Road #186 to the Fort Bowie turn off, then drive another eight miles on the unpaved road to the Fort Bowie Trailhead. Be prepared to walk the three miles round trip to the ruins and back. Marker is in this post office area: Bowie AZ 85605, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Apache Spring (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Second Fort Bowie (approx. 0.2 miles away); Quartermaster Storehouse (approx. 0.2 miles away); Cavalry Mess Hall and Kitchen (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Battle of Apache Pass; July 15-16, 1862 (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Chiricahua Apache Indian Agency Post Cemetery (approx. 0.6 miles away); The Butterfield Overland Mail (approx. 0.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Bowie.
Regarding First Fort Bowie. See "Nearby Markers" Fort Bowie and Old Fort Bowie for additional information.
Also see . . . Old Fort Bowie. The online Arizona Handbook offers a short history of the fort as well as information on visiting the area. (Submitted on April 27, 2011.)
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by James Nuti of Bisbee, Arizona. This page has been viewed 829 times since then and 53 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on , by James Nuti of Bisbee, Arizona. 2. submitted on , by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. 3. submitted on , by James Nuti of Bisbee, Arizona. 4. submitted on , by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. 5. submitted on , by James Nuti of Bisbee, Arizona. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on January 14, 2017.