Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hay At The Station

The Skirmish at Stanwix Station on March 29th 1862 was the westernmost fight to occur during the Civil War.

On March 29th 1862 Union Captain William P Calloway and his detachment of 272 soldiers of the California Column moved toward Stanwix Station.  The Station had been a stop on the Butterfield Overland Mail Stagecoach line and was built in 1850.  It is located about 80 miles east of Yuma, Arizona.  There had been fodder placed at the Station for the Column’s animals.   Upon approaching they discovered a detachment of Confederates being led by Second Lieutenant John W Swilling, burning the supplies at the Station.

There was a small skirmish with the larger Union force, forcing Swilling’s small band to retreat to Tucson in the Confederate held Territory of Arizona.  There was only one Union casualty reported, German born Private William Frank Semmelrogge, who would recover.  The burning of the hay at the Stanwix Station and five other former stagecoach stops along the Gila River had its desired effect of slowing the movement of the California Column’s advance, giving the Confederates time to evacuate Tucson.

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