Fort Breckinridge (Old Camp Grant) (1860-1872) –
The second military post to be established in the area of the Gadsden
Purchase, troops from the first Fort Buchanan built it in May, 1860 at the
confluence of the San Pedro River and Aravaipa Creek. Its purpose was to
protect area settlers and emigrants against hostile
Indians and was first
called Fort Arivaypa, but soon changed to Fort Breckinridge, in honor of
Vice President John C. Breckenridge. In February, 1861, the Fort
Breckinridge troops reinforced Fort Buchanan troops during the hostilities
associated with the Bascom Affair. In July, 1861, after the outbreak of
Civil War, the area faced a Confederate invasion from
Texas and the
Army abandoned and burned Fort Breckinridge, as well as other posts in
Arizona, to keep them out of Confederate hands.
In May, 1862, the fort was
rebuilt by the
California Volunteers and renamed Camp Stanford
for Governor Leland Stanford of California. However, a few
months later, in October, it was renamed back to Fort
Breckenridge. The post was again destroyed by federal forces
in July, 1865 to keep supplies out of Confederate hands.
But, with the
Indian attacks increasing, the fort was again rebuilt
in November, 1865 by the 2nd California Infantry. This time,
it was named Fort Grant in honor of Union hero, General
Ulysses S. Grant. The California Volunteers were replaced by
regular troops in March, 1866.
Later that year, the post
was destroyed again, this time by flooding. The troops then
moved to an upper terrace on the east bank of the San Pedro
River and the fort was re-designated as a camp, rather than a
fort. The troops were kept busy fighting hostile Apaches, who
were prone to making raids on area settlers.
In early 1871, when Pinal
and Arivaipa Apaches requested sanctuary near the fort, they
were allowed to hunt and farm the area and start a camp
nearby. Unfortunately, during this time, other Apache bands
continue to raid the territory and though unfounded, many
settlers blamed those bands living near Camp Grant. On April
30, 1871, a mob of angry citizens from Tucson and their Papago
Indian mercenaries clubbed, shot, and mutilated 144 Aravaipa
Apache people, mostly women and children near Camp Grant.
Known as the
Grant Massacre, their actions were
taken in "retaliation" for a Gila Apache raid in which six people had been killed and some
A temporary Indian
Reservation was then established near Camp Grant, but in 1872,
it was moved to San Carlos. Afterwards, a new
Fort Grant was
established at the base of Mount Graham which was more
strategically located to fight the still hostile Apaches. Old
Camp Grant was abandoned in March, 1873.
The site today is situated near the campus of Aravaipa
Campus of Central Arizona Community College near between the town of
Mammoth and the town of Winkelman on
Arizona State Route 77. There are no
of America, updated March, 2016.