History in Review
Fort Bowie, Arizona. Combat Post of the Southwest, 1858 - 1894
By Douglas C. McChristian. (Norman, University of Oklahoma Press: 2005. Pg. x. 357. 54 B & W Photos, 3 Line Drawings, 5 Maps.) Hardcover ISBN: 0-8061-3648-0. Paperback Edition (2006) ISBN: 0-8061-3781-9.
Reviewed by Sheldon Ztvordokov - May 23, 2005
Established in 1862, Fort Bowie played a significant role in the history of the American south-west. Situated in what is now present day Arizona; the Fort was intended to act as a guard post protecting Apache Spring and as a means of controlling the Indian population in the area. Apache Spring was a vital resource, being the area's main source of drinking water. Conflict between the Chiricahua Apache and white soldiers over this valuable resource led in large measure to the Battle of Apache Pass. Within days of the battle, a military post, which was to be known as Fort Bowie, was established near Apache Spring.
In Fort Bowie, Arizona. Combat Post of the Southwest, 1858 - 1894, Douglas C. McChristian provides a compelling account of the events that led to the development of Fort Bowie, and the uses to which the post was put once it was manned. Perhaps of most consequence, Fort Bowie was used as a staging area from which actions were launched in an effort to control the Apache Indians, and their leader, Cochise and later, against Geronimo. Eventually, the U.S. troops succeeded in defeating the Apache, and forcing them to move onto reservations - but it was a hard won victory.
Throughout the pages of Fort Bowie, Arizona. Combat Post of the Southwest, 1858 - 1894, McChristian puts the events surrounding Fort Bowie in context to the history, development, and exploration of the American Southwest. He also considers the impact that the American Civil War and the California Gold Rush had on the causes and prosecution of the ongoing Indian Wars in the American Southwest. In addition, he also explores the motivations, tactics, and goals of the major players on both sides of the Military vs. Natives conflict (i.e., Indian Wars), including the Chiricahua Apache Chiefs Cochise and Geronimo, and Generals O. O. Howard, George Crook, and Nelson A. Miles. Interwoven amongst the historical data is a vibrant picture of the area's geography and what life was like in a hard scrub military post.
Fort Bowie, Arizona. Combat Post of the Southwest, 1858 - 1894 is a well-researched text that provides a riveting account of the history surrounding Fort Bowie. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of the American Southwest and it includes detailed endnotes, current bibliography and other supplemental resources that will aid those seeking to delve deeper into this fascinating and pivotal period in American history.
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