Camp Date Creek (Arizona)


Camp Date Creek (1867-1874)  was first established as Camp McPherson in January, 1867. The camp was a temporary post and its purpose was to guard the road between Prescott and La Paz, Arizona.

Unlike many Arizona forts, Camp McPherson was situated in a an area of beauty, with meadows and tall grasses along a creek called Date Creek, because of the abundance of yucca, or wild dates, in the area.

The post was named for Brigadier General James B. McPherson who was killed in the Battle of Atlanta on July 22, 1864.

Its initial service was short lived as just a few months later, it was moved north some 25 miles and renamed Camp Skull Valley in March. However, it was returned to its original located in May, and renamed Camp Date Creek.

By 1868, two companies of the 14th infantry were stationed at the post, but legend has it, they initially spent more time fixing buildings and prospecting in the area, than they did fighting Indians.

However, that changed, when the first recorded skirmish that took place in September, 1869, and afterwards was followed by a number of Indian attacks.

The post was moved two more times along Date Creek during its existence. In 1871, a temporary Indian Reservation was located near the post.

In 1874, the Secretary of War restored the lands to the public domain, saying that the post was of no use for military purposes. The buildings were then used by settlers for the next several years.

Today a few original building walls still stand and an old cemetery is located at the site. However, the cemetery graves are civilian as the soldiers’ remains were moved to the Presidio in San Francisco, California.

The site is located sixty miles southwest of Prescott, Arizona in Yavapai County, north of US Highway 89 in the Date Creek vicinity.