Fort Rucker, Arizona

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the military installation in Alabama, see Fort Rucker.
Fort Rucker
Rucker Canyon, Arizona
Coordinates Coordinates: 31°45′05″N 109°23′02″W / 31.75139°N 109.38389°W / 31.75139; -109.38389
Type Army fortification
Site information
Controlled by  Arizona
Condition tourist attraction
Site history
Built 1878 (1878)
In use 1878–1890
Built by  United States
Battles/wars Apache Wars
Garrison information
Occupants United States United States Army

Fort Rucker, or Camp Rucker, is a former United States Army post in Cochise County, Arizona. First known as Camp Supply and Camp Powers, its name was changed on October 1, 1878 in honor of Lieutenant John Anthony "Tony" Rucker.[1] On July 11, 1878, Lieutenant Rucker died in an unsuccessful attempt to save the life of a fellow soldier, Lieutenant Austin Henley,[2] when the two tried to cross a nearby river which had swelled following a rainstorm.[3]

History[edit]

The camp was initially built to protect settlers in the area,[citation needed] and also housed mounted cavalry units.

On July 21, 1880, six mules were stolen from the Camp Rucker stables, allegedly by William "Curly Bill" Brocius and two others. The mules were later discovered on the ranch of Tom and Frank McLaury after a search by Lieutenant J. H. Hurst, Virgil Earp, and Earp's deputies.[4]

During the 1880s, Camp Rucker became Fort Rucker. It was one of the more important military stations in the campaign against the Apache tribes led by Geronimo and Cochise. A small community grew up around the fort, as the military method of obtaining necessary supplies was through civilian contractors. It was abandoned by 1890.[5]

The remnants of Camp Rucker are located on United States Forest Service land today. Officers' quarters, a bunkhouse, a sheltered latrine, a commissary warehouse, and a bakery are still standing. The site is adjacent to the south side of the Chiricahua Wilderness in the Douglas Ranger District of the Coronado National Forest; walk-in public access is permitted. Rucker Canyon and Rucker Lake are sites of popular Forest Service campgrounds, and in the summer a firefighting crew is stationed at a nearby administrative site.

References[edit]