March 2007

For RV History Buffs

Civil War’s Westernmost Battle
To Be Re-enacted At Picacho Peak

Civil War battles across America were well documented, and history teachers carefully covered each battle across the East Coast, but few ever thought what was happening in the West during this time. 

The western-most battle of the American Civil War was just a skirmish fought near a rocky spire called Picacho Peak located between Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz. The new highway follows the old wagon route that passed Picacho in 1862.

Each year hundreds of spectators descend on Picacho Peak State Park to watch re-enactments of this Arizona Civil War skirmish and the New Mexico battles of Glorieta and Val Verde.  This year, the re-enactments take place on March 10 and 11 at Picacho Peak State Park, and if you’re RVing in the area, this is an excellent event for you.

In 1860, the New Mexico Territory, which consisted of the lands that would become the states of Arizona and New Mexico, was sparsely populated.  It ranked 34th in population out of 43 states and territories with only 83,009 inhabitants. 

 It was 37th in black populations, with just eight whom were all free.  When the Civil War broke out in 1861, the U.S. Government recalled the majority of its troops from the West to build the Union army for the fighting in the East. 

Henry Hopkins Sibley joined the Confederacy and convinced Jefferson Davis that he would raise an army in Texas and invade New Mexico territories.  He proposed that mineral resources would fill the coffers of the Confederacy and fund their massive war effort.

Visitors travel from around the country to experience the three fascinating historic re-enactments — complete with lifestyles of the soldiers in the Southwest during the 1860s. More than 200 re-enactors coming in from many states will camp at Picacho Peak State Park with their authentic Civil War camping gear.

Food and beverage concessions will be available. Please be sure to bring along plenty of water, hat, lawn chair, and sunscreen.

This is a two-day event with the second day's activities being a repeat of the first day. A schedule of events and additional information is posted at

The park is located off I-10, on exit 219; 60 miles south of Phoenix, and 40 miles north of Tucson. For more information call (520) 466-3183.

Special Event Vehicle Entrance Fee is $8 per vehicle for up to four persons; each additional person is charged $2 each. A $2 per person entrance fee applies to pedestrians and bicyclists.

The Arizona State Park Annual Pass is available for $45 (some restrictions apply) and the Premium Annual Pass is sold for  $100.

For information about Arizona State Parks call (602) 542-4174 (outside of the Phoenix metro area call toll-free (800) 285-3703) or visit the Web site at