big jeep tourstaxi how muchupdown
top of page


The Bisbee Riot refers to the Battle of Brewery Gulch that happened on July 3, 1919, between the US Army Buffalo Soldiers from Fort Huachuca AZ, and members of the local authorities in Bisbee AZ.

buffalo soldiers in line standing in snow and holding rifles while wearing military uniforms and hats

Eight people were seriously hurt and about 50 US Army Buffalo soldiers were arrested.

Early Bisbee history had a reputation for discrimination against minorities. The white residents actively discriminated against Arizona’s Mexican, Chinese, and African American laboring communities. It was a “sundown town" for Chinese Americans and Black laborers had limited employment options.

chinese workers in line photo with fifteen people and the chinese workers are wearing aprons with a large house behind them and a hill and white sky as a background

Furthermore, Bisbee struggled as WW1 ended and copper demand dropped causing some layoffs with local copper miners and residents were still reeling from the controversial Bisbee Deportation in 1917. The US government was still investigating the Bisbee Deportation and those involved. Bisbee's morale struggled.

men being loaded into boxcars during the bisbee deportation. One man is holding a gun, several men are in front of the boxcars, and several men standing on top of the boxcars.

The Buffalo Soldiers were in town to participate in the Independence Day Parade on July 4, 1919. The soldiers stayed in Warren AZ but went to Old Bisbee AZ the night before the parade to enjoy the nightlife at the Silver Leaf Club in Upper Brewery Gulch's red-light district.

square house in upper brewery gulch with black square windows and a series of steps leading to each door

After reports of drunken Buffalo Soldiers fighting and brandishing their pistols, the Bisbee Police Chief, James Kempton, decided it was time to form a posse and remove the firearms from the Buffalo Soldiers.

Kempton enlisted the controversial Cochise County Deputy Sheriff Joseph B. Hardwick as part of the posse. Hardwick had a rough reputation as a lawman who had frequent conflicts with alleged outlaws that resulted in shootings. In fact, Hardwick spent time in jail as a civilian.

round image of cochise county sheriff badge with a star in the middle and made of iron with a white backgound

Hardwick's instigation along with alcohol-influenced Buffalo Soldiers resulted in an hour-long shootout on Brewery Gulch road in the red light district. Multiple lawmen from both the Bisbee Police and the Sheriff's Department along with multiple Buffalo Soldiers were involved with more than 100 shots being fired.

At least eight people were shot or seriously wounded in total: Four of the Buffalo Soldiers were shot, two were beaten, a deputy sheriff was "severely injured," and a Mexican-American bystander named Teresa Leyvas was struck in the head by a stray bullet.

The Buffalo Soldiers were never punished for the incident and marched in the Independence Day Parade the very next day.

many buffalo soldiers lined up in uniform marching in a parade with trees and a light gray sky as a background

Cochise County Deputy Sheriff Joseph B. Hardwick was subtly run out of the area later and left to work as a Pinal County Deputy Sheriff.

bottom of page