Arizona's Role in the Civil War
Photo by Ken Abbiss (1999)
Civil War in the Southwest: Held Annually in March
at Picacho Peak State Park, in Picacho, Arizona.

When people think of the Civil War, their concept of the area included stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River. That is where the majority of the fighting took place. However, a complete picture of the war cannot be grasped without looking at the nation as a whole, including the territories, and examining the effect that the Civil War had on these areas. Arizona is one of these areas, largely forgotten when it comes to the Civil War. This web page will tell the story of Arizona's involvement in the conflict.

In the late 1850s and early 1860s Arizona was desperately lobbying to become a territory, separate from New Mexico. It did everything in its power, but was hindered by national politics it could not control. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Arizona allied itself with the South and allowed the Confederacy to take control of the territory. On February 14, 1862, Arizona officially became a Confederate Territory. Union forces from California engaged the Confederate Army, under orders to reacquire the area for the United States. Battles occurred at Stanwix Station, Picacho Pass and Apache Pass before the Confederates were expelled.

Arizona's role in the Civil war was brief but significant. The details of what transpired during the time can help create a better picture of the Civil War as a whole.



Paul Bisceglia
University of San Diego
History 173 - U.S. Civil War
E-mail Paul Bisceglia