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MAY 1862

On May 20th 1862, Captain Emil Fritz with his Company B, 1st California Volunteer Cavalry entered Tucson, Arizona Territory, not approaching from the west as expected, but from the north and east via the Canada Del Oro Road. Captain Fritz with part of the company entered from the east side of the town, while Lieutenant Juan Guirado with the remainder of the company entered from the north and west close to the Calle Real Tucson’s main road to Yuma. (Present day Main Avenue.)

Lieutenant James Tevis, with a small detachment from Captain Sherod Hunter’s Company A, having been ordered to remain, so as to keep a watchful eye on the advancing Union troops. Lieutenant Tevis, who had been watching the western approach, the Main Road from Yuma, was completely surprised by Lieutenant Guiardo’s sudden appearance from the north on the Canada Del Oro Road, almost capturing his detachment. Tevis and his men narrowly evaded capture by the Union forces. Tevis beat a hasty retreat to the south and east along the Overland Mail Route to Mesilla. Fortunately for Tevis and unfortunately for Guiardo Tevis escaped. Without a single shot being fired the Union forces again occupied Tucson., after an absence of 10 months.

On May 21st, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph R. West, 1st California Volunteer Infantry, commanding the remainder of the Advance Guard entered Tucson with five companies of Infantry and Lieutenant Jeremiah Phelan’s “Jackass Battery” consisting of two mountain howitzers on pack mules. The garrison of Tucson now established their headquarters to await the advancement of the remainder of the Union troops who were now rapidly advancing towards Tucson. The next detachment of the column, Battery A, 3rd U.S. Artillery, under command of Lieutenant John B. Shinn arrived June 2d, 1862. Colonel Carleton with his escort entered Tucson, June 6th. with a salute by the guns of Battery A, 3rd U.S. Artillery in the Main Plaza of Tucson.

The Main Plaza or Plaza de las Armas was the center of Tucson during the Spanish and Mexican Period, but after the Gadsden Treaty, and opening of the Overland Mail line in 1858, Main Street, Calle Real became the focal point of early Tucson business and also the location of the Overland Mail Station.

Colonel Carleton now entered upon the business of establishing some order in Tucson, and ordered the confiscation of property of known or suspected Southern Sympathizers. One of the first pieces of property confiscated was that the Mr. Palatine Robinson an ardent Southern Sympathizer, who had been very active in confiscating property of Union Sympathizers when the US Army abandoned southern Arizona in July 1861. Also the property of Mr. Alfred Fryer, Granville Oury, Frederick Neville, Charles Lauer and Elias Brevoort.

The property and house of Palatine Robinson, located on the east side of the Main Plaza was to become Army Headquarters in Tucson, and to remain so until 1866. Mr. Alfred Friar’s property and home located on the Calle Real (Main Street) was confiscated and it became the first Army Quartermaster Store House in Tucson. The Property of Mr. Frederick Neville, located on the road to the cultivated fields Calle de las Mission, which had on it, a Blacksmith Shop and a Carpenter Shop, which were also used by the Federal Forces as repair shops. Also during this same period, Carleton ordered the arrest of the suspected Southern sympathizers and all who remained were taken into custody. Mr. James Douglass, who had been arrested by Colonel West, tried in vain to appeal his arrest to Carleton, but to no avail. Mr. James Douglas, a Union Sympathizer, who during the time of Captain Hunters’s occupation, was harassed and even threatened to be sent to the Rio Grande in irons. Mr. Douglas hosted Captain William McCleave during his time in Tucson. McCleave had been captured at White’s Mill earlier. Also Mr. Douglas helped the nine Union Soldiers who stayed in Tucson after being paroled, to aid and comfort them in every way possible. Still Carleton had Douglass sent to Fort Yuma as a prisoner and Southern Sympathizer. Douglas wrote a letter of appeal to General Wright, commanding the Department of the Pacific and Douglas was released from confinement at Fort Yuma in July 1862 and he returned to Tucson a free man.

During this time General Carleton, promoted June 22d , ordered Lieutenant Colonel Edward E. Eyre and two companies of Cavalry, Captain Fritz’s and Capt. Edward Willis to proceed to the Mowry Silver Mine and arrest Mr. Sylvester Mowry of that place. Mowry was captured without any problems, and also along with Mowry, Mr. Palatine Robinson, who happened to be visiting the Mine was also captures. After a inventory of the property and mine was completed, Capt. Fritz returned to Tucson on June 16th with 21 prisoners from the Mowry Silver Mine.

Written by Arnold Franks
Copyright © 2000 Arnold Franks

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