Published on February 27, 2013 by Carol
Located in forbidding Apache Pass, a landmark on the Overland Stage road, Fort Bowie played a significant role in the wars with the Chiracahua Apache. Here in February 1861, even before the fort was established, Lieutenant George Bascom faced Cochise in a dramatic confrontation that touched off a quarter-century of bloody hostilities between the Chiricahua and white invaders, and a personal ten-year war between Cochise and the U.S. Army. General James H. Carleton, leading a Federal army eastward in 1862 to head off the Confederate invasion of New Mexico, founded Fort Bowie, and fought for two days, July 15th and 16th, a battle with the Apaches for control of the nearby Apache Springs.
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Thereafter, until the final surrender of Geronimo, the post operated as a base for scouts, patrols, and major offensives against the Apaches. Most notably, Fort Bowie served as headquarters of General George Crook and his successor Nelson A. Miles in the campaigns deep into Mexico that brought about the surrender of Geronimo and his band. From the Fort Bowie parade grounds, in September 1886, Geronimo and his people started on their journey to Florida and imprisonment.