Verde Heritage: 1866: NEW CAMP LINCOLN, January

The weather was wet and cold during January of 1866, when the soldiers moved to New Camp Lincoln.

First Lieutenant Antonio Abeytia, commanding officer of Company K, 1st Cavalry, New Mexico Volunteers, with 18 enlisted men and Dr. Edward Palmer, arrived at the Verde River on August 27, 1865.

They established a temporary military camp near "The Settlement" at the confluence of Clear Creek and the Rio Verde.

The military camp was officially named "Camp Lincoln" on December 20, 1865.

"NEW CAMP LINCOLN --- WE MOVE TO IT & MANY CHANGES OCCUR IN THE MEN."

The new year "came as did orders to change our camp to the entrance of Beaver Creek into the Rio Verde, 7 miles above. The command accordingly moved." Dr. Edward Palmer's unpublished manuscript described the miserable trek to the new location.

The entire first week of January was very wet, the nights filled with wind and heavy thunder storms. It rained all day on January 10, and there was frost on January 15, 1866.

According to Dr. Palmer, "it was a very wet day so our condition could readily be imagined, wet and hungry to arrive at a lonely spot. (We) performed the journey during a cool storm, many without proper clothing or bedding, or shoes. Some had their feet tied up in rags. To add to their misery, they had very poor rations. Their officers did all they could for them. Both the commissary and quartermaster departments were almost destitute of the necessaries of life. The condition of these men was wretched beyond description. And mine was not much better. For in the open air, wet to the skin I had to attend the wants of the sick. No tents could be got for a dispensary."

On January 16, "from Southern Arizona came another company of the 1st Arizona Volunteers. They had Captain H. S. Washburn, ranking officer. These troops were raised during the last year of the war especially to serve against the Apache for one year. It was a mixed command with a few white men, several Mexicans and many Indians belonging to tribes in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. There were 3 Apaches among them. They had been taken prisoners by Mexicans when children and were brought up away from their tribe, and were as fierce to hunt Apaches as any."

"White volunteers looked upon these troops as scum, and at the posts where they had previously been stationed, instead of sending them into the field, kept them doing all the drudgery of the posts, while they, the white volunteers, made miserable failures generally of the scouts against the Apaches."

"In a few days [January 31, 1866] California troops left to return to California. The 1st Arizona Infantry Volunteers, 2 companies, took command of New Camp Lincoln."

"And now that they had command of the post, Captain Washburn determined to prepare his men to take the field against the Apaches and see if they could not conquer the Apaches."

(The Verde Independent; "Those Were The Days;" by Margaret Goddard, Camp Verde Historical Society; June 21, 1973; page 15. The Palmer Papers, "Notes and Descriptions of Life and Events at Old Camp Lincoln and New Camp Lincoln on the Rio Verde in 1865 and 1866," is an unpublished manuscript in the Special Collection at the University of Arizona Library in Tucson.)

Camp Lincoln became Camp Verde on November 23, 1868.

(The Verde Independent; "Verde Heritage: 1865: First Lieutenant Antonio Abeytia;" August 21 and 25, 2015, and "1865: Camp Lincoln Named; December 20;" December 21, 2012.)

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