Visiting Picacho Pass Historic Site

Picacho Pass today
Picacho Pass

On April 15, 1862, the western-most “battle” of the American Civil War was fought on the flanks of Picacho Peak, a rocky volcanic spire situated 50 miles northwest of a small Sonoran Desert town named Tucson. Today, the old wagon route which passed by Picacho in 1862 is roughly traced by U.S. Highway 10, which connects the modern metropolises of Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona. Only when the highway runs by Picacho is the open desert view blocked by a series of sheer ridges towering to the west. In 1862, this area was virtually deserted due to its natural desolation, and the fact that all U.S. Army troops had departed the previous year, leaving the local settlers and Indians to do as they wished. Before marching off to join the Union Army being assembled in the East, the local garrison troops had opened their supply depots to the nearby civilians, telling them “take what you need, and get out.” Not everyone heeded this advice. Many people who had staked their lives and fortunes on the Southwest decided to remain, strengthening the local militia units which already populated this secessionist area. For their part, local Indian tribes like the Apache thought they had finally chased away the “bluecoats” and they were naturally determined to make the most of it.

via Visiting Picacho Pass Historic Site.