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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Dragoon in Cochise County, Arizona — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

Confederate Graves at Dragoon Springs

 
 
Confederate Graves at Dragoon Springs Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, July 22, 2012
1. Confederate Graves at Dragoon Springs Marker
Inscription. On May 5, 1862, a Confederate foraging party rounding up cattle near the abandoned Butterfield Overland Mail Station battled a group of Apaches. The soldiers were members of Company A, Governor John R. Baylor's Regiment of Arizona Rangers, under the command of Captain Sherod Hunter. Captain Hunter's command was based at Tucson and engaged in operations against Union forces from California. Four of Hunter's men were killed, and the Apaches took 25 horses and 30 mules. It is unknown whether any of the Apaches were slain.

From the Apache point of view, the Confederate party represented yet another unwelcome threat to the security of their homeland. The Chokonen band of the Chiricahua Apache, including the famous leader Cochise, was then living in the Dragoon Mountains and nearby Dos Cabezas, Chiricahua, and Peloncillo Mountains. Relationships with the United States, already uneasy, became markedly hostile in 1861 after a young U.S. Army officer, Lt. Bascom, falsely accused Cochise's group of kidnapping a child from a Sonoita Valley ranch. By 1862, the Apaches viewed any soldiers, whether Union or Confederate, as enemy invaders. Two months after the Confederates were killed near Dragoon Springs, the Apaches would do battle with Union forces at Apache Pass in the Chiricahua Mountains.

The fallen Confederates of the
Confederate Graves at Dragoon Springs Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, July 22, 2012
2. Confederate Graves at Dragoon Springs Marker
1862 skirmish were hastily buried a few yards from the stone walls of the recently abandoned Butterfield Overland Mail Station. Two of the graves are marked – Sergeant Samuel Ford and Richardo, a Hispanic cattle drover. There are no markers on the other two burial mounds, but one probably holds the remains of Captain John Donaldson. The fourth burial remains unknown. These soldiers are the only Confederates known to have been killed in battle within the boundaries of modern-day Arizona.

This historic site is maintained by the Arizona Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans.
 
Erected by Coronado National Forest.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Sons of Confederate Veterans/United Confederate Veterans marker series.
 
Location. 31° 59.877′ N, 110° 1.355′ W. Marker is near Dragoon, Arizona, in Cochise County. Touch for map. It is a short (200 yard) hike to reach the Dragoon Springs Stage Station and Confederate Grave site.
Directions to hike: Take exit 318 from Interstate 10 and travel southeast on Dragoon Road, to the town of Dragoon. As soon as you cross the railroad tracks turn right onto North Old Ranch Road (dirt road, ok for cars in dry weather). Follow N. Old Ranch Road 2.5 miles
Confederate Graves at Dragoon Springs image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, July 22, 2012
3. Confederate Graves at Dragoon Springs
Stage Station is in background.
south to Forest Road 4232. Turn left (or east) and follow FR 4232 1.1 miles to the trailhead. The trail heads northeast for 200 yards to the stage station and grave site. Marker is in this post office area: Dragoon AZ 85609, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within 14 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Dragoon Springs Stage Stop (within shouting distance of this marker); Council Rocks (approx. 5.3 miles away); Chief Cochise (approx. 6.2 miles away); Mormon Battalion (approx. 13 miles away); Old Pearce Post Office (approx. 13 miles away).
 
Regarding Confederate Graves at Dragoon Springs. My "Project Proposal" has been accepted by National Forest Service Archeologist Bill Gillespie to replace the two erroneous interpretive markers at the station with three new interpretive markers. He has assigned to me the task of designing the markers.
The wording on this marker states that all four graves are "probably" all Confederate graves. The two outside unmarked graves are those of Butterfield employees massacred on September 9, 1858. Only one grave is Confederate.

The Arizona Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will resist any and all efforts by any individual or agency to change the interpretive markers at this sacred site.
Confederate Grave at Dragoon Springs image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, July 22, 2012
4. Confederate Grave at Dragoon Springs
There is no definitive proof that the graves are those of anyone but the FOUR CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS killed in action here on 5 May 1862. Two of the graves are marked--one for Sgt. Sam Ford and one for Richardo. The other two contain the remains of John Donaldson and an unknown CS soldier. There is ample documentation to support this. The Arizona Division SCV will resist any effort to change the markers or to remove any funerary items from this site. Removal of funerary items is a felony under Arizona Revised Statutes. We insist that the USFS not make any changes without consulting the officers of the Arizona Division. These graves are those of Confederate soldiers and, as the heirs of the United Confederate Veterans, we will defend them as strongly as our ancestors defended their Cause.
 
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial SitesWar, US CivilWars, US Indian
 
Plaque at base of Confederate Graves at Dragoon Springs Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, July 22, 2012
5. Plaque at base of Confederate Graves at Dragoon Springs Marker
Sign at turn-off for Forest Road 4232 image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, July 22, 2012
6. Sign at turn-off for Forest Road 4232
It is 1.1 miles east on FR 4232 to the stage station and grave site.
Forest Road 4232. image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, July 22, 2012
7. Forest Road 4232.
It is 1.1 miles east on FR 4232 to the stage station and grave site.
Sign at trailhead image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, July 22, 2012
8. Sign at trailhead
Dragoon Springs Station

Established in 1858 in the heart of Apache Country. Westernmost stone fortified station on Butterfield Overland mail route. Stage Stop used until 1862. Next stop east was Ewells in Dragoon Mtns. Next stop west was San Pedro River.
Sign at trailhead image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, July 22, 2012
9. Sign at trailhead
Trail starts just to the right of the sign. The trail heads northeast for 200 yards to the stage station and grave site.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 24, 2012, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. This page has been viewed 1,024 times since then and 185 times this year. Last updated on May 11, 2015, by Curtis Tipton of Sierra Vista, Arizona. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on July 24, 2012, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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