Fort Mohave

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Fort Mohave
Colorado River, Arizona
Fort Mohave sketch.gif
A sketch of Fort Mohave in the late 1800s
Coordinates 35°02′35″N 114°37′21″W / 35.04306°N 114.62250°W / 35.04306; -114.62250Coordinates: 35°02′35″N 114°37′21″W / 35.04306°N 114.62250°W / 35.04306; -114.62250
Type Army fortification
Site information
Controlled by  Arizona
Condition tourist attraction
Site history
Built 1859
Built by  United States
In use 1859 - 1890
Battles/wars Mohave War
Garrison information
Occupants United States United States Army
Airfield information
Elevation 540 ft (160 m) AMSL
For the town, see Fort Mohave, Arizona.

Fort Mohave was originally named Camp Colorado when it was established on April 19, 1859 by Lieutenant Colonel William Hoffman during the Mohave War. It was located on the east bank of the Colorado River, at Beale's Crossing, near the head of the Mohave Valley in Mohave County by the recommendation of Lieutenant Edward Fitzgerald Beale.


The first known European to visit the area was Spanish explorer Melchor Díaz. He documented his travels in Northwestern Mohave County in 1540.[1] He accounts of meeting a large population of natives who referred to themselves as the Pipa Aha Macav, meaning "People by the River".[2] From "Aha Macav" came the shortened name "Mojave" (also spelled "Mohave"). When most people refer to Fort Mohave, they use the modern English spelling "Mohave", while the tribe retains the traditional Spanish spelling "Mojave". Both are correct, and both are pronounced "Moh-hah-vee".[3][4]

The fort was established to provide a protection for emigrants to California through Northern Arizona on the Beale's Wagon Road and across the Mojave Desert on the Mojave Road. It was also used as a base of operations against the Mohave people.

The post was renamed Fort Mohave on April 28, 1859 by its first garrison commander Captain Lewis A. Armistead. With 50 soldiers he defeated 200 Mohave in a battle in the summer of 1859, and ended hostilities with them. The post was abandoned and the buildings were burned down on May 28, 1861 by order of Brigadier General Edwin V. Sumner in order to withdraw the regular troops to garrison Los Angeles against an anticipated secessionist uprising. Later that year the regulars were sent east to participate in the American Civil War.

On May 19, 1863, the post was re-garrisoned by companies B and I of the 4th California Infantry and was assigned to protect the travelers along the Mohave and Prescott road and successfully cultivated friendly relations with the Mojave Indians. These volunteer Soldiers took up prospecting when given a pass and established mining claims in the area and did not want to leave, returning after being mustered out after the end of the Civil War.

Fort Mohave was again garrisoned by regular United States Army troops until September 29, 1890 when the War Department transferred the land to the Office of Indian Affairs by order of President Benjamin Harrison. It was given up by the Office of Indian Affairs in 1935 and is now part of the Fort Mojave Indian Reservation.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "New Mexico Office of the State Historian : Diaz, Melchior". Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  2. ^ "About Us | Fort Mojave Indian Tribe". 2010-12-05. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  3. ^ "Mojave | Define Mojave at". Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  4. ^ "Mojave Indian". Mojave Indian. 2003-05-02. Retrieved 2012-01-06.