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Nelson Appleton Miles.

Personal recollections and observations of General Nelson A. Miles embracing a brief view of the Civil War, or, From New England to the Golden Gate : and the story of his Indian campaigns, with comments on the exploration, development and progress of our great western empire online

. (page 38 of 51)
Online LibraryNelson Appleton MilesPersonal recollections and observations of General Nelson A. Miles embracing a brief view of the Civil War, or, From New England to the Golden Gate : and the story of his Indian campaigns, with comments on the exploration, development and progress of our great western empire → online text (page 38 of 51)
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boundary of Arizona, ranks
among the great rivers of the
continent. The Grand Canon
of the Colorado is one of the
wonders of nature, the dupli-
cate of which can nowhere be
found. This tremendous gorge,
from one thousand to seven
thousand feet in depth, cuts
its way through the solid rock
for more than four hundred
miles, and though its beauty
is of a dark and gloomy char-
acter, it is superbly grand.

Standing beside its rushing waters it gives one a strange sensation to real-
ize that he is over a mile below the crust of the earth. The Colorado is
one of the principal tributaries of the Pacific Ocean on the American conti-
nent, and down its course there flows a volume of water rivaling that of the
Nile, and capable of irrigating a territory several times the extent of Egypt.
The first miners in Arizona were the old Jesuit fathers. Their success
encouraged others, and many rich discoveries were made. The largest




SHINI-MO ALTAR PROM BRINK OF MARBLE CASON.



GENERAL NELSON A. MILES. 443

piece of silver ever found, and which weighed twenty-seven hundred
pounds, was taken from an Arizona mine. Philip V. of Spain confiscated
this nugget on the ground that it was a curiosity and, therefore, belonged
to the crown. The first mining by Americans was undertaken in the
Santa Rita Mountains by a company organized in 1855. Naturally, mining
was carried on with considerable difficulty, as all supplies had to be
brought overland from St. Louis or from the Gulf of California, and the
terrible Apaches were ever alert to destroy any white man that came
within their power.

At the time of the Civil War, mining, like everything else in Arizona,
came to a standstill, but in spite of all drawbacks the Territory soon took
rank with the foremost mining localities in its output of silver. The
placing of the hostile Apaches on reservations, and the entrance of two of
the great railroads into the country, largely contributed to this result.
The closing of some of the silver mines caused by the low price of silver
in these recent times has resulted in a marked increase of the gold pro-
duction, and the prospects are that Arizona will soon be prominent among
the States and Territories in the production of that metal. The gold out-
put of 1894 was valued at $2,080,250, and the silver at $1,700,800, and,
besides this, 48,270,500 pounds of copper were mined. One of the most
valuable products of the Territory is copper, and in this, Arizona rivals the
great deposits of Lake Superior and western Montana.

In 1890 the census returns gave the population of Arizona as 59,620.
Phoenix, the present capital of the Territory, is pleasantly situated in the
Salt Eiver Valley. In this region much has been done by irrigation, and
large orange groves and fine vineyards are the result. Tucson is the
largest city.

While in command of the Department of the Columbia, in the spring
of 1882, I visited San Francisco, and there met General W. T. Sherman,
commanding the army. He had just passed through the Territories of New
Mexico and Arizona. The condition of affairs at that time, especially in
Arizona, was not satisfactory, and in fact was very serious. The Apache
Indians were on the warpath, and were committing depredations in various
sections of the Territory. It had been decided to make a change in
the command of that department, and General Sherman suggested that I
should be assigned to the command, but said the change would not be
made unless it was agreeable to me. I replied that I did not desire to go
there; that other officers had had experience in that part of the country
and I thought it better to give them an opportunity of restoring peace,

M. 26



444 PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS OF

subjugating the Indians and eventually bringing them under control;
that I had been but recently assigned to the command of the Department of
the Columbia and was much interested in the cares and responsibilities of
that command and in the development and progress of that great north west
country. This ended the conversation, and the subject of my going to
that part of the United States was at that time dismissed.

Still I watched with great interest the reports from that section of
country; all that was published regarding the depredations of the Indians,
the movements of troops, and the various phases incident to hostilities of
that nature were carefully noted. I traced on the best maps that I could
obtain of that country the movements of the Indians according to the
dates as they were reported, observed where and when hostilities were
committed, where and when certain bands of warriors appeared, from
whence they came and in what direction they were reported to have gone,
comparing one report with another, and thereby tracing as far as practica-
ble the habits and actions of the hostile Indians. I thus became somewhat
familiar with the raids of the Indians and the routes of travel they most
frequently pursued along certain ranges of mountains the topographical
features of which were given on the official maps. I kept trace of these
to a certain extent while in command of the Department of the Columbia,
and when afterwards transferred to the Department of the Missouri, with
headquarters at Leavenworth, Kansas, continued to follow the course of
events with more or less interest.




GENERAL NELSON A. MILES. 445




CHAPTER XXXV.
THE APACHE AND THE SOLDIER.

GENERAL CROOK AND His EXPERIENCES CHARACTER or THESE INDIANS ILLUSTRATIVE IN-
STANCES A WILDERNESS CEMETERY MOUNTAIN FASTNESSES OF ARIZONA
RESOURCES OF THE APACHE IN WAR A FORMER CAMPAIGN.

ENERAL CROOK had been trying for years to bring the
Apaches to terms, and on several occasions within thirty years
they had pretended to surrender and had accepted the terms
given them by the government. They would then go back to
i. their agencies with their plunder, stolen stock, and for a fresh
supply of the munitions of war, and after remaining quiet for
some time would suddenly break out again with renewed ferocity.
There were various bands of Apaches Yuma, Mohave, White Moun-
tain, Chiricahua and other branches. The Chiricahuas were the worst,
wildest and strongest of all. The Apache regarded himself as the first
man; the "superior man," as the word Apache indicates. In some re-
spects they really were superior. They excelled in strength, activity,
endurance, and also in cruelty. They were cruel to everything that came
within their power. If the young Apache could capture a bird or a
mouse or any living thing, he took the keenest delight in torturing it,
and this species of cruelty did not disappear even when they grew to be
stalwart men. They took pleasure in tormenting any living creature from
a bird to a horse. Their atrocities are simply too horrible and shocking to
write out in words.

There is an Indian by the name of Schimizene still living in that Ter-
ritory who, for a number of years was in the habit of traveling past a
certain white man's dwelling, and on these occasions was always treated
kindly, given food, and made comfortable whenever he cared to tarry.
One morning after having stayed there long enough to secure a good
breakfast, he picked up his rifle and killed his benefactor, and then went
away boasting of what a strong heart he had. "Why," he remarked, "a
weak man or a coward could kill his enemy or any one who had done him
an injury; but it takes a man of a strong heart to kill a friend or one who
has always treated him kindly." This is a specimen of Apache reasoning.



446



PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS OF



At another time during Indian hostilities he captured an unfortunate white
man and buried him, all but his head, in close proximity to a large black
ant hill such as are found in that country, sometimes two feet high and

from one to three feet
in diameter. The un-
happy victim lived for
two days, suffering the
most excruciating tor-
ture while the ants
slowly ate away the flesh
from his head.

Another incident
showing the heartless-
ness of this people was
related to me by one
personally cognizant of
the facts, and of un-
do u b t e d trustworthi-
ness. A renegade, or
outlaw Indian, had com-
mitted several murders
and was wanted to an-
swer for his numerous
crimes, but the official at the agency had found it impossible to arrest him,
as he rarely appeared there, and kept himself concealed in some safe moun-
tain retreat. Seeing no other way of securing the criminal the officer in
charge called up a dissolute Indian, a cousin of the outlaw, and told him that
if he would go out into the mountains and bring in the culprit alive, or if
that was impossible, a proof of his death, he would give him a certain horse,
which was pointed out to him. One morning not long afterward, the officer
was in his quarters seated at the breakfast table, when this Indian appeared
before him carrying a sack over his shoulder. He advanced to where the
officer was sitting and remarked with much apparent satisfaction that he
had come for the horse, at the same time shaking the head of his relative
from the sack to the floor at the officer's feet; and the Indian received his
fat gray horse.

A short time after this, as the officer was going about the agency, the
same Indian motioned to him to come round the corner of the agency
building that he might speak to him in private. The officer naturally not




APAOHE CRUELTY.



GENERAL NELSON A. MILES.



447



having much confidence in the sense of honor of this particular savage,
called an interpreter to go with him. He need not have feared, for the
Indian merely wished to say that if the officer had another good gray
horse, he had another cousin whose head he could bring in at any time.

The instance given conveys but a faint idea of the unique character of
the Indian I found myself called upon
to subdue. He was, besides, pos-
sessed of resources not under the
control of the white man.

He required noth-
ing of the white man
to support life, and
wanted only his weap-
ons for warfare. The
deserts and the moun-
tain fastnesses were
his allies, and with his
knowledge of the en-
tire country, he could
find in the rocks tanks
of water where a white
man would die of
thirst. Even in the
desert the cactus was
used for both food and
drink, nature aiding
him where she was fatal to the white man. From the United States these
Indians fled to the most inaccessible mountains of Mexico, and not till the
treaty made in 1882, did it become possible for our troops to pursue them
into that country.

As previously stated, General Crook had been trying for years to bring
the Apaches to terms and keep them under control. In 1883 he made
an expedition into Mexico which resulted in the return of the Chiricahuas
and Warm Springs Indians under Geronimo and Natchez to the Apache
reservation.

For nearly two years they remained quiet, when tiring of peaceful pur-
suits, Geronimo, Natchez, Mangus and many others, in May, 1885, again
went on the warpath and fled into Mexico. They were vigorously pur-
sued but succeeded in eluding the troops and commenced again their work




CLAIMING His REWARD.



448



PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS OF



of death and destruction from their base in the Sierra Madre Mountains.
Captain Wirt Davis, Fourth Cavalry with his troop and one hundred In-
dian scouts, pursued them and surprised their camp near Nacori, Mexico.
Lieutenant Hay, Fourth Cavalry (of the command), with seventy-eight

scouts, attacked their camp, surprising them,
but only succeeded in capturing their camp
outfit and killing two boys and a woman.
Captain Crawford, Third Cavalry, with a bat-




talion of scouts also
proceeded to Mexico
in pursuit, and his scouts
under Chatto encountered
Chihuahua in the Bavispe
Mountains and captured
fifteen women. An ac-
count of this campaign is given by Captain Maus. Captain Dorst also
commanded a similar expedition.

Despite constant pursuit these Indians succeeded in crossing back into
the United States, murdering people, and destroying property. One band,
Josanie with ten men, crossed into the United States, raided the Apache



His ACTIONS WERE CURIOUS.



GENERAL NELSON A. MILES. 449

reservation, killed some of the friendly Indians as well as thirty-eight white
people, captured about two hundred head of stock, and returned to Mexico.
This expedition occupied only four weeks and the Indians traveled a dis-
tance of over twelve hundred miles. That such a raid was possible despite
the fact that in addition to the commands already mentioned, there was a
large force of regular troops in the field (forty-three companies of infantry
and forty troops of cavalry), shows the energy and daring of these Indians.

The necessity of following and constantly harassing them being evi-
dent, two expeditions were again formed to go in pursuit. One consisted
of a battalion of Indian scouts (one hundred and two men) and a troop
of cavalry under Captain Wirt Davis, Fourth Cavalry, and the other of a
battalion of Indian scouts (one hundred men) under Captain Crawford,
Third Cavalry. The first battalion (Davis) was composed of San Carlos
and White Mountain Indians, principally, and the second (Crawford) was
composed of Chiricahuas, Warm Springs and White Mountain Apaches.
The Indians of the battalion were largely a part of the band to be de-
stroyed, and in every respect as savage and as able as they. Captain Davis
operated in Chihuahua, while Captain Crawford proceeded with his com-
mand into Sonora. Captain Crawford selected the people composing his
command on account of the fact that they were mountain Indians and
knew the haunts of these to be pursued, being, indeed, a part of their bands.
Many doubted the wisdom of taking these men alone with no troops, and
predictions of treachery were freely made, but still officers volunteered for
the duty. Those selected were Lieutenant Marion P. Maus, First Infantry,
and Lieutenant W. E. Shipp, Tenth Cavalry, to command the companies,
while Lieutenant S. L. Faison, First Infantry, was the adjutant, quarter-
master and commissary officer, and Acting Assistant Surgeon T. B. Davis
was the medical officer. The scouts were selected and enlisted, fifty each, by
Lieutenants Maus and Shipp, thus forming the battalion of one hundred men.

The history of this expedition into Mexico, its unique formation, the
almost unparalleled hardships and dangers it encountered, the tragic death
of its commander, Captain Emmet Crawford, and the international phase
of the affair, all give it an especial interest, and we will follow its move-
ments in detail from the time the command left Apache till its return and
muster out of the service a period of six months. This account is best given
in the narrative of Captain Marion P. Maus, who accompanied Captain
Crawford, and is himself one of the most experienced officers in the
service. His account illustrates the difficulties to be overcome, as well
as the fortitude and courage of our officers and soldiers.






450



PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS OF



CHAPTER XXXVI.

A CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE APACHES. [CAPTAIN MADS' NARRATIVE.]

BEGINNING OP THE CAMPAIGN OP 1885 CROSSING INTO MEXICO METHODS OP THE INDIAN SCOUTS
LITTLE MEXICAN TOWNS AND THEIR PEOPLE MESCAL AND ITS USE BY INDIANS FIRST NEWS OP
THE HOSTILES BEGINNING OP A MOUNTAIN MARCH ON FOOT ABANDONED CAMPS THE
DEVIL'S BACKBONE FINDING THE HOSTILES THE ATTACK A BATTLE WITH
MEXICAN TROOPS THAT WAS FOUGHT BY MISTAKE CAPTAIN CRAWFORD
MORTALLY WOUNDED LATER ACTION OF THE MEXICANS THE HOME-
WARD MARCH MESSENGER FROM GEROXIMO A CONFERENCE
AN INDIAN TRICK DEATH OP CAPTAIN CRAWFORD BUR-
IAL AT NAOORI, MEXICO UNFRIENDLY DISPOSI-
TION OP THE MEXICANS ARRIVAL IN UNITED
STATES TERRITORY RETURN FOR
THE HOSTILES THE SIGNAL
THE ESCAPE AND PURSUIT
RESULTS OP THE
EXPEDITION

HE following sketch graphically illustrates the warfare of
times of peace, and the duties and perils of the American
regular soldier. Such narratives, were they all written,
would constitute much of the history, almost to date of
the southwest. The narrative has an added value in
the fact that it is the story of personal experiences.

The command, fully equipped for field service, left Apache,
Arizona, on November 11, 1885, for Fort Bowie. Here it was inspected by
Lieutenant-General Sheridan and Brigadier-General Crook, and with words
of encouragement from these officers, the command started south by way of
the Dragoon Mountains, endeavoring to find the trail of a band of Indians who
were returning to Mexico after a raid into the United States. Thoroughly
scouting these mountains without finding the trail, we went on to the
border and crossed into Mexico twenty miles north of the town of Front-
eras, with the object of pursuing the renegades to their haunts in southern
Sonora. We believed that if we could trace this band we could find the
entire hostile camp under Geronimo and Natchez. Under instructions
from Captain Crawford, I preceded the command to the town of Fronteras
to notify the Presidente of the town of our approach, of our object in




GENERAL NELSON A. MILES.



451



coming, and to gain information. It was a small place, composed of the
usual adobe buildings, and its people lived in a constant state of alarm about
the movements of the hostiles. The command arriving, we proceeded to
Nocarasi, a small mining town
in the Madre Mountains. On
account of the roughness of these
mountains we found great diffi-
culty in crossing them with the
pack-train. We found one horse
which had evidently been aban-
doned by the hostiles, but no dis-
tinct trail.

In marching the command it
was interesting to notice the
methods adopted by our Indians
in scouting the country to gain
information and prevent surprise.
It illustrated to us very clearly
what we must expect from the
hostiles, who would employ the
same methods. It was impos-
sible to march these scouts as
soldiers, or to control them as
such, nor was it deemed advisa-
ble to attempt it. Among them
were many who had bloody rec-
ords; one named Dutchy had
killed, in cold blood, a white
man near Fort Thomas, and for
this murder the civil authorities were at this time seeking to arrest
him. Their system of advance guards and flankers was perfect,
and as soon as the command went into camp, outposts were at once
put out, guarding every approach. All this was done noiselessly
and in secret, and without giving a single order. As scouts for a com-
mand in time of war they would be ideal. Small of stature, and ap-
parently no match physically for the white man, yet when it came to
climbing mountains or making long marches, they were swift and tireless.
The little clothing they wore consisted of a soldier's blouse, discarded in
time of action, light undergarments and a waist cloth, and on the march




CAPTAIN MAUS.



452 PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS OF

the blouse was often turned inside out to show only the gray lining.
Nothing escaped their watchful eyes as they marched silently in their
moccasined feet. By day small fires were built of dry wood to avoid
smoke, and at night they were made in hidden places so as to be invisible.
If a high point was in view, you could be sure that a scout had crawled to
the summit and, himself unseen, with a glass or his keen eyes had searched
the country around. At night only was the watch relaxed, for these
savages dread the night with a superstitious fear. It was necessary to allow
them their way, and we followed, preserving order as best we could by
exercising tact and by a careful study of their habits. Under the influence
of mescal, which is a liquor made in all parts of Mexico and easily pro-
cured, they often became violent and troublesome and we could not help
realizing how perfectly we were in their power. However, no distrust of
them was shown. One of my Indians, a sergeant named Rubie, followed
me one day while I was hunting. I thought his actions were curious, but
they were explained when he suddenly came from the front and told me
to go back. He had seen the footprints of hostiles near by. In the action
which followed later he came to me and warned me to cover. There was,
however, very little evidence of affection or gratitude in them as a class.

Continuing the march, we reached the town of Huasavas in the valley
of the Bavispe. Orange and lemon trees were filled with golden fruit,
although it was now the 22d of December. This valley, surrounded by
high mountains, was fertile though but little cultivated. The only vehicles
in use were carts, the wheels of which were sections sawed from logs. The
plows were pieces of pointed wood. The people were devoid of all the
comforts of life. Corn flour was obtained by pounding the grains on
stones. They were a most desolate people, and completely terrorized by
the Apaches, who were a constant menace to them, as they were to the
inhabitants of all these towns. Here occurred the first serious trouble
with the Indian scouts. One of them, who was drunk but unarmed, was
shot by a Mexican policeman. At the time I was on my way to the town
and met the Indian, who was running down the road toward me, followed
by two policemen or guards firing rapidly. One ball passed through his
face, coming out through the jaw. The other Indian scouts were much
incensed, and at once began to prepare for an attack on the town, giving
us much trouble before we were able to stop them. The officers were
unable to sleep that night, as many of the Indians had been drinking and
continued to be so angry that they fired off their rifles in the camp. The
next day I released one of them from prison, and subsequently had to pay



GENERAL NELSON A. MILES. 453

a fine of five dollars for him. It was claimed by the Mexicans that the
Indians had committed some breach of the peace.

Here we got the first reliable news of the hostiles who were murdering
people and killing cattle to the south. Crossing the mountains we passed
the towns of Granadas and Bacedahuachi, the latter being the site of one
of the fine old missions built by the daring priests who had sought to plant
their religion among the natives many years before.

Proceeding on our way over a mountainous country, we finally came
to the town of Nacori. This place was in a continual state of alarm, a
wall having been built around it as a protection against the Apaches, the
very name of whom was a terror. From our camp, sixteen miles south of
this town, two of our pack-trains were sent back to Lang's Ranch, New
Mexico, for supplies. To our surprise a deputy United States marshal
from Tombstone came here to arrest Dutchy. Captain Crawford declined
to permit the arrest, and in a letter to the marshal (now on file in the
State Department) asked him to " delay the arrest till I may be near the
border where protection for myself, officers and white men,, with my pack-
trains, may be afforded by United States troops other than Indians,"
offering to return if desired. The scouts were intensely excited, and under
the circumstances the marshal did not wish to attempt to arrest Dutchy,
and returned without delay.

We had now penetrated over two hundred miles into the mountains of
Mexico, and we were sure the hostiles were near. It was decided to move
immediately in pursuit of them. In this wild and unknown land even
our Indians looked more stolid and serious. One by one they gathered
together for a medicine dance. The Medicine Man, Noh-wah-zhe-tah,
unrolled the sacred buckskin he had worn since he left Apache. There
was something very solemn in all this. The dance, the marching, the
kneeling before the sacred buckskin as each pressed his lips to it and the
old man blessed him, impressed us too, as we looked on in silence. After-
ward, the Indians held a council. They said they meant to do their duty,
and would prove that they would fight to those who said they would not,
and they seemed very much in earnest. I am satisfied that they desired
to get the hostiles to surrender, but do -not believe they intended or de-
sired to kill them their own people. In view of their relations it was
little wonder that they felt in this way.

It was decided that all must go on foot, and that officer and scout
alike must carry his own blanket, all else being left behind. Leaving a
few scouts (the weakest and the sick) to guard the camp, a force of



454



PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS OF







seventy-nine was equipped with twelve days' rations, carried on three or
four of the toughest mules best suited for the purpose, and we started
forward. We marched to the Haros River, which we forded, and then



Online LibraryNelson Appleton MilesPersonal recollections and observations of General Nelson A. Miles embracing a brief view of the Civil War, or, From New England to the Golden Gate : and the story of his Indian campaigns, with comments on the exploration, development and progress of our great western empire → online text (page 38 of 51)