A Chain of Spires on the Gila

West of Mineral Creek Kearny entered the last of five canyons they had encountered on the march from New Mexico. Their next camp was near the end of this canyon and had a wonderful view of a dramatic landscape.

Chain of Spires

At left is the lithograph in Lt. Emory’s report from a field sketch by John Mix Stanley. Stanley later used this sketch as the basis for a romanticized oil painting of the scene, now in the collection of the Phoenix Art Museum.

November 8. [1846] …About two miles from camp, our course was traversed by a seam of yellowish colored igneous rock, shooting up into irregular spires and turrets, one or two thousand feet in height. It ran at right angles to the river, and extended to the north, and to the south, in a chain of mountains as far as the eye could reach. One of these towers was capped with a substance, many hundred feet thick, disposed in horizontal strata of different colors, from deep red to light yellow.”

Photo of the Spires

Here is what the spires really look like. The Army of the West camped in the foreground of this photo on the north bank of the Gila River. Tom Jonas photo.