Monday, February 6, 2017

Fort Bowie

By Kristy McCaffrey

Fort Bowie in 1886.
Fort Bowie—located in southeastern Arizona—would become one of the most important military posts in the Arizona Territory. It not only guarded Apache Pass and its important water supply, it was situated directly in Chiricahua Apache country.

Apache Pass is a shallow saddle that separates the southeastern Arizona’s Chiricahua Mountains from the Dos Cabezas. When the United States acquired the area from Mexico, they inherited a corridor that became nationally prominent as the Southern Overland Mail Road, connecting the eastern U.S. to California. Unfortunately, Apache Pass lay in the heart of Apacheria. Because there was a fairly reliable water source at Apache Springs (at the pass), this location was frequented by the Chiricahua Apache Indians.

Fort Bowie in 1893.

The first Fort Bowie—named for Colonel George Washington Bowie, commander of the regiment that established the fort—was built at Apache Pass in 1862, consisting of a 4-foot high stone wall that was 412 feet long. The wall surrounded tents and a stone guard house. During the next six years, patrols attempted to subdue the Apache, who raided and killed travelers not escorted by the military. Living conditions at the fort were undesirable: isolation, bad food, sickness, crude quarters, and the constant threat of Apaches led to low morale and frequent troop rotation.


In 1868, construction began on a second Fort Bowie and encompassed barracks, houses, corrals, a trading post and a hospital. In 1876, most of the Chiricahua Indians were taken to the San Carlos Reservation, but Geronimo escaped, launching the start of a 10-year battle known as the Geronimo War. During this time, Fort Bowie was the center of military operations against the Chiricahua. Geronimo’s final surrender came in 1886. After that, Fort Bowie settled into a more peaceful existence. It was finally closed in 1894.

Geronimo departing for Florida.
* * * * *
Fort Bowie is featured in my book THE BLACKBIRD.



Bounty hunter Cale Walker arrives in Tucson to search for J. Howard “Hank” Carlisle at the request of his daughter, Tess. Hank mentored Cale before a falling out divided them and a mountain lion attack left Cale nearly dead. Rescued by a band of Nednai Apache, his wounds were considered a powerful omen and he was taught the ways of a di-yin, or a medicine man. To locate Hank, Cale must enter the Dragoon Mountains, straddling two worlds that no longer fit. But he has an even bigger problem—finding a way into the heart of a young woman determined to live life as a bystander. 

For two years, Tess Carlisle has tried to heal the mental and physical wounds of a deadly assault by one of her papá’s men. Continuing the traditions of her Mexican heritage, she has honed her skills as a cuentista, a storyteller and a Keeper of the Old Ways. But with no contact from her father since the attack, she fears the worst. Tess knows that to reenter Hank Carlisle’s world is a dangerous endeavor, and her only hope is Cale Walker, a man unlike any she has ever known. Determined to make a journey that could lead straight into the path of her attacker, she hardens her resolve along with her heart. But Cale makes her yearn for something she vowed she never would—love.


A steamy historical western romance set in 1877 Arizona Territory.

2015 Laramie Award ~ BEST in Western Romantic Fiction

“With dastardly villains, plenty of action, a strong heroine, surprising twists and turns, and a sexy cowboy, all underlined by a sensual love story, this historical western romance has something for everyone.” ~ InD’tale Magazine

* * * * *

Connect with Kristy

3 comments:

Patti Sherry-Crews said...

Hi, Kristy! Such an interesting post on an interesting place! Looking at the images, I'm struck by how hard the living conditions must have been for the soldiers. Arizona is one of my favorite places, Tucson in particular. So much going on there with so many different cultures coming together and overlapping--as shown in your book! Good luck!

Zina Abbott said...

Great post, Kristy. I always love learning more about the old frontier Army posts. Thanks for sharing.

Kristy McCaffrey said...

Patti and Zina,
Definitely not the most hospitable place to live! What a life it must have been in the military. Thanks for stopping by. :-)