Verde Heritage -- 1866: Company E, First Infantry, Arizona Volunteers, Ordered to go to Camp Lincoln.


"By Florence Dickinson, Camp Verde Editor."

"In the annals of the Verde Valley perhaps no one man had as difficult and heartbreaking a sojourn as Captain Hiram S. Washburn."

"The Civil War had ended at Appomattox on April 9, 1865, with the surrender of General Lee." Soldiers had been sent to the Verde Valley during August of 1865. "The situation on the Rio Verde, one of the far-flung outposts in the western drive of the military, became precarious. Re-adjustments in the whole army situation were no doubt occurring rapidly, and, with communication between west and east taking as long as a month, individual posts suffered through the endless red tape. We should stop and marvel at the sense of duty which kept Captain Washburn hanging on almost by his teeth at Camp Lincoln."

"Hiram S. Washburn was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant by Governor John N. Goodwin on June 15, 1865, and authorized to raise a company of volunteer infantry within 90 days. Washburn enlisted 96 men by August 21. Those early records are not replete with personal details on the soldiers, but the muster roll for Company E, 1st Infantry, Arizona Volunteers, dated November 3, 1865, gives Washburn's age as 45 and his birthplace as Randolph, Vermont."

"Company E, with Washburn commanding, was headquartered at Tubac, and had to construct their own quarters or 'lay out in the heavy drenching rains.' The weather was so wet and conditions were so poor for Company E, that by the 20th of August there were between 20 and 30 cases of fever. Three days later the Company was moved to Fort Mason, 15 miles up the Santa Cruz River. Washburn mentions that sufficient transportation was furnished and the move was made in 1 day. But the men had to start all over building new shelters for themselves and, in addition, some of them were detailed to work on the construction of Post Quarters. Washburn says, 'I had from the first asked, begged and pleaded to be kept in the field hunting Indians and not making "adobes," that not being the service for which my company was intended.'"

"Clothing had been promised for the men of Company E at Tubac but there was none forthcoming, and Washburn wrote that 'soon the sickly and ragged condition of Company E made them the laughing stock of their countrymen far and near.'"

"Clothing finally did arrive on the 29th of October and on November 2. The 97 men were mustered into the service of the United States, as Company E, but were kept in the southern part of the state, presumably 'making adobes,' until orders were received on December 4 for Washburn and the company to report to Fort Whipple."

"The march to Whipple commenced on December 5, with a sick list of 29 men, with transportation being furnished only for baggage. They arrived at Tucson on the 9th with most of the sick improving; 2 of those sick men were worse, 1 died at Tucson, and the other died at 'Point of Mountain.'"

"They arrived at Fort Whipple on December 29, without mishap except for a couple of cases of frostbite incurred in the snows in the Skull Valley area. It was bitterly cold at Fort Whipple and no quarters were available for Company E. Washburn, in his report, says the condition of the men was pitiable but that, 'They bore all patiently and manfully, and on the 4th of January, 1866, were glad to hear the order for march to Camp Lincoln.' He went on the state that this order occasioned no desertions!"

"According to Washburn the march to Camp Lincoln was a tedious one because the wagons were loaded 'to twice the capacity of the mules,' the roads were bad, the weather was bad, and they were detained for 3 days at Grief Hill by rain."

"Camp Lincoln's site had been moved from Clear Creek to the site between Beaver Creek and the Verde River on January 5, 1866. With all that rain we can wonder how they crossed the Verde with those heavily laden wagons."

"Here again Company E had to set to and build temporary shelters with whatever material was available. To add to their discomfort the Indians harassed them as well as the settlers out at Clear Creek. At this time there were 35 men of Company A under the command of 2nd Lieutenant Primitive Cervantes, and 88 men and 1 Lieutenant of Company E under Washburn's command at the little post. The terrain these men had to operate in was so rough that by January 31, Washburn was reporting that there were no shoes on hand. The men had to make moccasins of buckskin and rawhide. In fact, 1 scout was held up until the men could make footwear for themselves."

(The Verde Independent; Thursday, February 22, 1973; page 20.)


Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comment submissions may not exceed a 200 word limit, and in order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit excessive comment entries.

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.