Chihuahua and Ulzana: The Cossacks of the Sierra Madre Translated by 'Mitrich' Orlov
There are rather few famous persons in American historiography of Apache wars that are still not covered by biographic studies. Among these few are leaders of White Mountain Apache Diablo and Pedro, sergeants of army scouts Alchise and Chato, and Chiricahua chiefs Loco, Nana and Kahtennay. Researchers unfairly neglected two more Chiricahua leaders who played important role in "Geronimo's Campaign" but were overshadowed by the big name of the latter. Those two are chief Chihuahua and his associate Ulzana, better known to Americans as Josanie. This article tries to bridge this gap.
Last Edit: Feb 16, 2010 18:28:23 GMT -5 by naiches2
On the night of May 18, 1885 a large group of Chiricahua Apaches led by chiefs Chuhuahua, Naiche, Geronimo, Nana and Mangus left San-Carlos reservation and headed to Mexico. That was the beginning of the last Apache war that went down to the US history under Geronimo's name, who by whim of fate won the greatest fame in American press those days. Charles Lummis, a journalist who followed that military campaign, called that group (which included only 35 actual warriors) “the deadliest fighting handful in the calendar of man”1.
1 - Schlesier K.H. Josanie’s War. — University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1998. — P. IX.
The next day however the leaders had had disagreement and they got separated: majority of chiefs kept on moving to the Mexican border, whereas one of them (Chihuahua) and his people turned North-East hoping to make a circle and quietly return to reservation. Unfortunately for him, when scouts of Lt. Charles Baehr Gatewood who chased the renegades reached the place of separation, they decided to head North as they thought that those who turned to Mexico would be intercepted by troops from Southern Arizona forts. When Chihuahua and his people encountered the pursuers, they had to abandon all hopes for unpunished return to peaceful life and rushed South, seeking shelter in Sierra Madre Mountains. Their way however now lay through south-eastern areas of New Mexico densely populated by white cattlemen and flooded by army troops and Indian scout parties. They had but to fight their way through. It was then perhaps when tragic star of brothers Chihuahua and Ulzana rose. By coincidence, these warriors who initially were the least inclined to fight Americans, were destined to make murderous raids that kept in fear all Arizona and New Mexico.
Until that time, names of Chokonen2 chief Chihuahua (Apache name – Kla-esch, about 1822-19013) and his segundo4 Ulzana were practically unfamiliar to the white people. Edwin R. Sweeney in Cochise's biography mentions that Eve Ball (chronicler of Chiricahua history) in private letter to the author wrote that Chihuahua "to have been a very young chief when Cochise was very old", and was at the head of Chokonen community sized second after Cochise's community that wandered along border of Arizona and New Mexico around Stein’s Peak.
According to one of the letters of Morris Opler (famous anthropologist who studied Apaches in 1930-s), Chihuahua became “a leader during the last part of Cochise’s life” [18, 369]. As Chihuahua's son Eugene told, he became an independent leader "when he was a very young man" as he probably inherited this position from his father. “Chihuahua was not a sub-chief to Cochise. The Chokonen had no sub-chiefs. If he wished, he joined other chiefs, as he had Cochise, but there was no obligation to do so. It was entirely up to him and his warriors whether or not they fought”, Eugene explained [2, 43].
2 - For Apache ethnos structure and particularly Chiricahua subtribes, see the previous issue of "Indian America". 3 - Chihuahua's and Ulzana's dates of birth are given by Thrapp, Dan L. Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography. These perhaps should be dated to the middle of the 1830s, judging by Chihuahua's photos taken by Frank Randall in spring 1884 and information about the chie'f youth in the year of Cochise's death (1874). 4 - Segundo (Spanish, literally: the second) — assistant of the chief of independent community (band), often – military chief.
Henry W. Daly who served as Chief Packer for General George Crook wrote that by 1886 Chokonen were separated in the three independent political groups. The first group (which remained loyal to the US government) was headed by Chato and Martine, the second (persistently hostile) – by Naiche and Geronimo, and the third one (hesitant) – by Chihuahua. “Chihuahua had his following, and with him were some of the brightest of the Chiricahua tribe, such as Josanie and others of that ilk”, – Daly noted [8, 458]. The community numbered hardly 90-100 persons, including 25-30 warriors. According to Woodward B. Skinner, Chihuahua was tall (about 6 feet) and well-built. Weighing about 200 pounds, he had “not an ounce of fat surplus flesh” [17, 226]. An interesting peculiarity of the chief's image was his skin that was too light for and Apache and light-gray eyes. Eugene Chihuahua recollected that one day a Mexican detachment visited their reservation trying to exchange captive Indians for Mexicans captured by Apaches. When they saw senior Chihuahua they said that they were going to take him and his son because they were not Apaches. "Chihuahua was mad. He was about to order them out of camp when an old woman came to them and told them in Mexican that she been with his mother when Chihuahua was born and knew that he was an Indio puro. And another told them that she knew that I, too, was all Apache. It was lucky for those Mexican troops that they didn’t try to take us" [2, 47]. Besides, Chihuahua differed so much from his fellow tribesmen by his polite manners and neatness in dress that Lt. Hugh Lennox Scott, agent of Fort Sill Military Reservation in 1890-s, called him "Apache Chesterfield" [7, 374].
Ulzana5 (Ulzan[n]a, 1821–1909) was Chihuahua's senior brother and his war chief and deputy-segundo. In the archives of San-Carlos reservation, Ulzana is described as a slim-built man about 5' 5" tall [14, 254]. He was "as brave as Chihuahua", but when choosing the chief the warriors gave majority of votes to the junior brother, and "Ulzanna had no resentment toward Chihuahua but became his segundo and was a faithful and loyal one", told Eugene Chihuahua and Richard Josanie (Ulzana's son) [2, 45]. When electing the chief of the community, Apaches were guided by many considerations, and not the last thing for them was so-called "Power" (special magic abilities) of the pretender. The "power" could reveal itself in various things; Cochise and Juh were famous for their ability to command and to make ambush, and Geronimo could read the future. Chihuahua had "power" over horses. He could train wild horses and heal their illnesses and wounds. “I saw him cure a horse dying of rattlesnake bite”, remembered Aca Daklugie, son of chief Juh [2, 61].
5 - In the US, better known as Josanie. Actually, in the spelling of this name we come across many alternative versions: Johlsanne, Jolsanny, Ulzahuay, Ulzanna, etc. Thus, E. Ball in «Indeh» writes Ulzanna, but gives name of his son as Johsanne; M. Opler writes "Ozoni" , and J. Betzinez with W. S. Nay — Olzonne .
The earliest record of Chihuahua could be found in the memoirs of Frederick G. Hughes, Clerk for the Chiricahua Indian Reservation Indian Agent's office, who mentioned that this Chief lived there until 1876 and helped chief Taza (Cochise's son and successor) to move population to San Carlos reservation. However, Eva Ball definitely disproves this fact. Thus, we do not know whether Chihuahua went to San Carlos or fled to Mexico together with Juh and Geronimo, but in 1880, according to Henry Daly, he was the first sergeant of Indian scout company under Lt. James A. Maney, Fifteen Infantry [8, 458]. Eugene Chihuahua confirms: "While at Fort Apache, my father was enlisted as a scout; at that time being a scout was not a disgrace, for they had not been used against their own people. When they were, those who stayed with the army were considered traitors." But even then Chihuahua's action was quite an unusual move for a Chiricahua leader. This is how Eugene explained that: "My father was the only chief who became a scout… My father didn't like living on a reservation; being a scout let him get away from time to time. And he got a rifle and an ammunition belt—and some clothes. (He wore only the shirt and jacket.) Best of all, my father could leave his wife and children and know that they would be protected" [2, 47]. Aca Daklugie: I knew there was something mysterious about Chihuahua, though I did not understand just what it implied. I did realize that, though he was a scout, the chief was respected [2, 31]. According to famous historian of Apache wars Dan L. Thrapp, Ulzana had been a scout too during Victorio Campaign 1880 [20, v.1]. By all appearances, Chiricahua did not fall under the influence of prophetical doctrine of Nock-ay-det-klinne, Medicine man of Cibecue Apache, which had been widespread over Apache reservations in 1881. Aca Daklugie however mentioned that Juh, Chihuahua, Nana, Kaytennae and many other famous chiefs and warriors attended meetings of the prophet's disciples. He also stated that Chihuahua, Geronimo and Naiche were present at the prophet's arrest and subsequent events that resulted in the battle of Cibecue Creek on August 30, 1881 and Apache scouts' rebellion. But he did not tell that any of the Chiricahua took part in the battle [2, 53-55]. Anyway, scouts' riot resulted in concentration of troops in the reservation and circulation of threatening rumors that agitated Chiricahua minds. In spite of agent Joseph C. Tiffany's assurances that maneuvers of army troops are not aimed at the Indians, Chiricahuas' suspicions that the government intended to call them to account for the past deeds grew in proportion to the number of soldiers that surrounded them. Eventually, on October 1 all Chiricahua who lived at San Carlos sub-agency (about 250 people) started to Mexico led by Juh and Naiche. Chihuahua's and Ulzana's community was probably among those people unless it had already joined small group of Chihenne headed by Nana that wandered outside reservation.
On April 18, 1882 renegades led by Chihuahua, Nana and perhaps Geronimo returned to Arizona, cut telegraph wires and caused a commotion at San Carlos agency. Lt. Thomas Cruse said that the party included Chihuahua and eight of his warriors [19, 236]. Chief of Indian police Albert D. Sterling and policeman Sagotal who arrived to the place of incident were killed not far from the camp of the of Chief Loco. According to one of the reports, Indians who deeply hated Sterling played football with his head. After that the party moved to Loco and made (according to some data, at gun point [4, 56]) peaceful Apache to come to the warpath. The military quickly arranged a pursuit, but the runaways had had several skirmishes with the army troops and broke through to Mexico. Here however they were caught by fatal surprise: early morning April 29, 1882 Apaches fleeing from the troops of Colonel George A. Forsyth and Captain Tullius Tupper entered Sierra en Medio mountains where they encountered 250 soldiers of Colonel Lorenzo Garcia, Sixth Infantry of Mexican army. As the majority of warriors were at the rearguard, the main blow fell on women and children. It was quick regroup of forces that saved Apaches from complete extermination. Jason Betzinez, peaceful Chihenne of the chief Loco, said that it were Chihuahua and Geronimo who organized efficient defense in nearly desperate situation [4, 71-75]. "People told me about my father, that he was the man that helped save the tribe," Eugene Chihuahua said. "He and Fun6, they saved the tribe. My father lay on his side firing at the Mexicans. The bullets came so close they pitted his chest by throwing gravel against him--looked like he had had viruelas [smallpox]" [15, 39].
6 - Fun, Larry (about 1866-1892, Yiy-zholl – Smoke Goes Out) Chokonen warrior, "half-brother" of Perico and Geronimo, who surrendered with them in September 1886. Committed suicide.
Chief Chihuahua, 1885
Apaches' casualties were terrible: 78 people only 11 of whom were warriors. Mexican army lost about 40 soldiers and officers in dead and wounded. The surviving Apaches settled in their favorite place – in the forbidding Sierra Madre Mountains on the border of Mexican states Chihuahua and Sonora, so-called Juh’s Stronghold. Americans had had a respite until the March 1883, when the new Chiricahua party swept throughout the South-West plundering and exterminating everything they saw. Those events entered American history as Chato’s Raid after the supposed leader of the raid 7. Aca Daklugie however categorically denied that it was Chato who was the leader: Chihuahua led the famous raid in which Judge and Mrs. McComas were killed between Lordsburg and Silver City. In history that is known as Chato's raid. It was not led by Chato, though he convinced Britton Davis that he had been the leader. Chihuahua was chief of this band, and it was Chihuahua's raid. [2, 50-51].
7 - Chato (Chat(t)o, Alfred, about 1854–1934), Chokonen warrior that aspired to be a Chiricahua chief. After settling at Turkey Creek, he signed up for the scouts and was appointed 2nd sergeant of Lt. Davis' ‘B’ Company. He took active part in Geronimo Campaign 1885-1886 and was awarded a medal for valor from the US President's hands. He and other peaceful Apaches of that delegation (Loco, Kaytennae, sergeant Noche and others) were sent straight from Washington to Florida, where they received status of prisoners of war, just like other Chiricahuas.
Daklugie's version could be called in question as when he told it to Eve Ball in 1950s his reminiscences were tinged with old hate to Chato, and he denied even the very idea of Chato's leadership. Jason Betzinez, who witnessed the beginning of that campaign, did not mention any hostility between Chato and other chiefs of Sierra-Madre Apaches: “… our two groups separated, Geronimo’s and Chihuahua’s continuing toward the Bavispe River while Chatto and Benito with their men headed north toward the United States” [4,102]8.
8 - Discussion of leadership in "Chato's Raid" see in [16, 84-86] and [19, 271].
Chato's raid served as official reason for General George Crook, Commander of Department of Arizona, who organized a punitive expedition to exterminate hostile Chiricahuas or make them surrender. On April 23, 1883 Crook's column consisting of 193 Apaches (scouts) and 42 white men (officers and muleteers) crossed the border and invaded the sovereign Mexico. On May 15 Captain Emmett Crawford's scouts attacked Apache rancheria. Indians' losses were light, but the emergence of American troops in the very heart of impregnable Chiricahua stronghold did impress the hostile chiefs. By Captain John J. Bourke, chief Bonito's daughter captured by Crawford's scouts testified that Apaches attacked by scouts belonged to communities of Chato and Bonito. However, John Rope (one of the Crawford's scouts) who was much more competent in Apache tribal structure told Greenville Goodwin in the late 1920s that it was Chihuahua's rancheria they attacked. Perhaps this contradiction shows that at that time Chato and Bonito recognized Chihuahua's leadership and he considered their people as his own. There is another variant: “Chihuahua, who is the only chief in camp” during the attack9, after “he and his brother had just come from warpath with lots of cattle” [3, 161].
9 -Franklin Randall. In the Heart of the Sierra Madre. El Paso Times, June 20, 1883.
John G. Bourke wrote in his diary that on May 18 in the morning there came a group of 16 men, women and children wishing to surrender. “In this band was "Chihuahua" himself, a fine-looking man, whose countenance betokened great decision and courage” [5, 82]. When Chihuahua met Crook, the chief expressed strong aspiration for peace. Bourke noted that “he was tired of fighting. His village had been destroyed and all his property was in our hands. He wished to surrender his band just as soon as he could gather it together” [5, 82]. After the productive talk, general allowed the chief to leave the camp to gather his scattered people. Scout John Rope remembered the first meeting of Chihuahua and Crook too, but in a very different tone: the chief alone entered the enemy camp, bravely passed by the scout rows, dismounted in cold blood, approached the general and said angrily: "If you want me for a friend, why did you kill that old woman, my aunt. If I was trying to make friends with someone, I would not go and raid their camp and shoot their relatives. It seems to me that you are lying when you speak about being friends" [3, 164]. Crook tried to assure Chihuahua of sincerity of his peaceful intentions and handed tobacco and food over to the chief, and then Chihuahua quickly left the camp.
The majority of Apaches surrendered to Crook by May 24, and the column burdened with prisoners headed back to the US. Several Chiricahua chiefs (Geronimo, Naiche, Mangus) had agreed with the general that they stay in Mexico to gather their people lost in the mountains and promised to return to San-Carlos afterwards10.
10 - Crook's credulity may seem very strange to a European but it is easily explained. Crook knew very well Apache's psychology and knew that those people took lies and failure to keep promise were the most grave sins which led to full loss of honor and dignity, and, in the old days, were punished by expulsion from the tribe. That is why promise given by an Apache in public was much more reliable than forced convoy, when an Apache had the full right to change his mind and to escape.
To be continued
Last Edit: Feb 19, 2010 5:15:37 GMT -5 by naiches2
Chihuahua was mentioned neither among chiefs moving to reservation nor among those left in the mountains. Angie Debo thinks that he and Mangus with 50-60 warriors surrendered to Lieutenant Britton Davis on November 16, 1883 [7, 196]. Davis himself writes about Chato and Mangus [6, 144-146], but after many years he could simply confuse names of the chiefs whom he saw for the very first time then. Chihuahua's name appears and figures more frequently in Davis's memoirs when he starts his story about unrest among the surrendered Apaches who were settled at Turkey Creek 10 miles away from Fort Apache. It was Lieutenant Britton Davis (commander of Company ‘B’ of Apache scouts) who was appointed the military manager of the Chiricahua. The young officer was in a very difficult situation. Apaches always found reasons to show him their displeasure every time he met them. And it was Chihuahua who usually acted as their leader. The main source of indignation was the order of General Crook that prohibited Apaches from beating their wives and from making and taking alcoholic drinks. Davis wrote that “Chihuahua, especially, was determined in his opposition to the order prohibiting tizwin11, for Chihuahua loved his toddy” [6, 123].
11 - Tizwin — a kind of strong corn beer brewed by Apaches.
Eve Ball's informers stated that Chihuahua signed up for the scouts again, but he occasionally overheard conversation between Davis, interpreter Mickey Free and sergeant Chato when they accused Geronimo and young leader Kaytennae12 of plotting a riot. Chihuahua was Kaytennae's relative. Having heard the evil slander of Davis's assistants, the chief appeared before Lieutenant Davis and said indignantly: “I have served as scout many years longer than Chato. I have served faithfully and told no lies. All that I have reported has been true; and there is proof of my faithfulness. I have told no lies. I have not sneaked to your tent at night. But I am not a spy and I will not work for anyone who employs one”. After that he took off his scout's outfit and threw it in the corner saying: “Take this stuff and give it to your spies.” — “You can’t quit,” said Davis. “You’ve just reenlisted. You have a long time yet to serve13.” “I am quit,” said Chihuahua and left the tent. He returned to his camp and began waiting for soldiers who would come to hang him. However, no punishment followed [1, 162-163; 2, 50]. Lieutenant Davis did not even mention that incident in his memoirs.
12 - Kaytennae, Jacob (about 1858–1918) – Chihenne warrior, segundo of the old Nana. 13 - Scouts were recruited for 3, 6 and 12 months, and unilateral termination of contract was treated by the US army as desertion.
Chiricahua resentment grew when in spring 1884 Kaytennae was condemned to three years imprisonment for preparation for Lieutenant Davis murder and was sent to Alcatraz Island, California. After all, in the morning May 15, 1885 several chiefs accompanied by about 30 armed supporters gathered in Davis's camp. The chiefs entered the lieutenant's tent and took seats in semicircle in front of him. “Loco began slow and halting harangue. Chihuahua impatiently interrupted him and springing to his feet, said: “What I have say can be said a few words. Then Loco can take all rest of the day to talk if he wishes to do so”. Chihuahua then went to repeat his previous arguments on the subjects of wife beating and tizwin drinking. They had agreed on peace with Americans and Mexicans, and other Indian tribes; nothing had been said about their conduct among themselves; they were not children to be taught how to live with their women and what they should eat or drink. All their lives they had eaten and drunk what seemed good to them. The white men drank wine and whiskey, even the officers and soldiers of the posts. The treatment of their wives was their haved." Davis replied that the issue of drinks is too serious to be settled at his level, and he must contact the general. “We all drank tizwin last night,” Chihuahua continued, “all of us in the tent and outside, except the scouts; and many more. What are going to do about it? Are you going to put us all in jail? You have no jail big enough even if you could put us all in jail.” Bonito and Zele tried to stop aggressive attacks of Chihuahua, but he was the only really drunk person of all present, and he persisted in his opinion. “Neither Geronimo nor any of the others had taken part in the discussion” [6, 144-146]. Still not having gained their objects, Apaches left Davies, and the latter immediately sent a telegram about the incident to his supervisor, Captain Francis E. Pierce to San Carlos. Pierce, who had been holding the post of the military chief of reservation for just two months, turned for advice to Al Sieber, chief of Indian scouts. But that white man who was the undisputable authority in Apache issues throughout Arizona spent the previous night gambling and drinking. Suffering from heavy hangover he brushed the telegram aside: “It’s nothing but a tizwin drunk. Don’t pay any attention to it. Davis will handle it”. Pearce decided not to forward the dispatch to General Crook or to take any other measures.
Having not received any reply from Crook, the discontented Chiricahuas left reservation on May 17, 1885 and headed to Mexico. There were 134 runaways: 44 warriors (34 men, 8 youngsters capable of carrying weapons, and two more or less grown-up boys), and the rest were women and children. Lieutenant Davis asserted that three Chiricahua scouts14 were to kill him and Chato but for some reason they did not. Geronimo and Mangus lied that Davis and Chato “had been killed, the scouts had deserted, and that all Indians were going to leave the reservation” [8, 490].
14 - The two of those could be identified as Perico and Chapo — "half-brother" and son of Geronimo. The third was probably Tsisnah, who also was a member of Geronimo's group.
Chihuahua and Naiche, who were seriously frightened of being accused of the past misunderstandings with the military, supported the rebels; having reached Mozalton Mountains they stopped for rest and there they exposed the deception. At night, Chihuahua, Ulzana and warrior named Atelueitze were going to kill Geronimo who camped some distance away from them. “Mangus and Geronimo heard of his intentions and started at once with their bands, going south” [8, 490]. Chihuahua and Ulzana decided to hide in the mountains north from Gila River and to refrain from plundering until the disorders settle down, and then to return to reservation to surrender and to explain the military authorities circumstances of their escape. However they were traced and attacked by a scout party, thus forcing them to enter the warpath, which became almost the most bloodletting in the history of Apache campaigns. In the meantime they had the only task: to break through to Mexico. The first encounter with soldiers took place on May 22 in Mogollon Mts., New Mexico. Two squadrons of Fourth Cavalry under Captain Allen Smith and scouts of Lieutenant Gatewood after long pursuit made camp at Davil’s Creek. Several scouts advanced looking for traces of the haunted, and soon they were attacked from the peak of the nearest mountain. Soldiers (some of them jumped out from the water naked) rushed to the battle, but Apaches scattered as they usually did. Soldiers climbed the mountain and found camp with 19 dying down fires, “large quantity of meat drying, one saddled horse and two other horses. There were nineteen fires in this camp”. Two privates and one scout were wounded (the scout asserted that he was shot by Geronimo himself), and two horses were killed. The soldiers assured that they wounded "several" enemies [10, 27]. Apaches headed South-East to Fort Bayard intending to provide themselves with the settlers' property. Soon they killed several white men just three miles away from Silver City.
Newspaper articles (which sometimes were close to the truth and sometimes not quite) reflected the habitual dissatisfaction of south-west citizens about the military men who could not catch those elusive "Apache bandits". One of those articles said about 24 citizens killed near Alma, and another – about murders in San Mateo mountains. Newspaper headlines in Silver City read: "Indian scouts desert to the hostiles", "The military do nothing". Cavalry troops were sent to the mountains from all directions, but the main problem was still not solved: location of hostile Indians was still unknown. Captain Allen Smith reported to Crook: “The Indians are at least fifty miles ahead of me. They have fresh horses and have not made a camp yet… I will follow although my chances are small” [19, 320]. On June 2, Crook reported to his commanders: “Indians shortly after crossing New Mexico line evidently divided into small parties which raided in widely separated localities, while the women and children were hid away in the mountains. Troops have been following around the different raiding parties without result other than to break down their stock [19, 322]. By June 4, 20 cavalry troops and 100 to 200 Indian scouts were located in the area of the supposed whereabouts of hostile Apaches, but the latter easily evaded encounters unless they wanted to get in the battle themselves. They killed at least 17 settlers with no losses from their part. Crook was sure that that group was headed by Geronimo, but Geronimo in fact had crossed the border long ago. Chihuahua's people filtered into Chiricahua Mountains in South-East Arizona having left southern Mexico flooded with soldiers and started to the border on their favorite route - through Guadalupe Pass (or Canyon) at the junction of the four states (two American and two Mexican ones). By that time, troops of the Fourth Cavalry under Henry Lawton and Charles Allen P. Hatfield were already conducting reconnaissance in that area. In the morning June 8, the detachment was sent to look for the Indians, and 8 people with sergeant remained in the canyon to guard the camp. At noon when soldiers were preparing for lunch they were attacked by enemies who skillfully evaded Lawton's detachment. Apaches killed five soldiers in the skirmish and stole 2 mules, 5 horses and took some camp equipment. Besides, sporadic fire of the soldiers hidden behind wagons with ammunition resulted in gunpowder explosion in one of the wagons. Major part of soldiers' property was burnt down. One of the witnesses told that Indians were laughing when they moved away shooting the surviving soldiers. Perhaps they had feeling of euphoria after they found so poorly guarded army camp with soldiers not capable of any resistance [10, 43]. After that, Apaches simply disappeared in endless Mexican Sierra, and even two army columns under Captains Wirt Davis and Emmett Crawford who during the whole summer were hunting the enemy in Mexico found their traces on rare occasions. On June 20, 1885 Captain Adna R. Chaffee, commander of the troop of Sixth Cavalry reported to the headquarters: “The only reports I have of the whereabouts of the hostiles I obtain from the Tucson Star of yesterday and the El Paso Times of the same date” [10, 41].
Only once Crawford's scouts led by Chato were lucky: on June 23 under heavy shower they found and attacked a camp of the hostiles high in the mountains not far from Mexican town Oputo. In spite of the complete surprise of the attack, 8 warriors, 4 boys and 3 women fled. Chato captured 15 women and children. Among the prisoners, there were Chihuahua's third wife Ilth-Gozey (or Ilth-Gazie) and her two children, Eugene and Ramona Chihuahua, as well as Ulzana's junior son. In the camp, there were 5 horses with Fourth Cavalry brand and a white mule, as well as some other property of the detachment attacked in Guadalupe Pass. That is how it became known who attacked Lawton's people.
The remaining summer Davis and Crawford were combing in vain the most remote nooks of Sierra Madre; sometimes they occasionally came across Apaches, and then they lost their trace again. In October they had to return to their bases in Arizona. General Crook drew attention of the Staff to “excessive hardships and difficulties which both commands in the Sierra Madres have endured”… “In the first place the whole country is of indescribable roughness. The Indians act differently than ever before, are split up in small bands and are constantly on the watch. Their trails are so scattered that it is almost impossible to follow them, particularly over rocks, which often delays the party following trails for several hours, even if the trail isn’t entirely lost, while the party being pursued loses no time.... Owing to the rains which reports show to have been of more than usual severity, the troops have been almost continually drenched to the skin for the last month.... Mr. Leslie, who brought in Captain Davis report, states that he swam the Bavispe River eleven times in one day, a stream that is usually easily forded” [10, 53]. In autumn, the elusive Apaches appeared in the US again. On November 5 General Crook received a telegram from Colonel Bradley at Fort Bayard, New Mexico: “A party of nine Indians reported moving south from Animas Peak. Capt. Sprole, Eighth Cavalry, struck the trail on the third and is in pursuit with part of his troops and Lieut. Gaston of Fechet’s troop”. Two days later, Bradley refreshed information: “Captain Sprole, Eighth Cavalry, followed party of hostile Indians from the Black range north of Lake Valley to the Goodsight Mountains without overtaking them. A part of Kendall’s troop, Sixth Cavalry, had a fight with hostiles this morning at South end of Florida Mountains, one Navaho scout reported killed and one of Kendall’s men wounded. No further information” [10, 54; 19, 334].
To be continued
Last Edit: Feb 19, 2010 5:16:34 GMT -5 by naiches2
Indeed, in the early November 1885 a party of 10 warriors led by Ulzana crossed the border and entered Florida Mountains in New Mexico, where a party of 16 warriors who had just crossed the border joined them for some time. On their way, they killed two Navajo scouts and one of White Mountain Apaches, and they left one of their warriors with a broken leg in Los Pinos mountains (Mexico). Not far from border, Apaches killed 2 more civilians. After that, 14 of them returned to Sierra Madre having taken all the loot. Ulzana's party hid for three weeks in the mountains north of the border, and soldiers decided that Apaches were gone. However, on November 23 Lieutenant James Lockett (who at that time was a substitute for Fort Apache commander Lieutenant Gatewood, who was on an field) notified General Crook that a small group of the hostiles was spotted 4 miles from the Fort, and that his scouts were ready for pursuit hot on the trail. While that message was transmitted, telegraph line was cut, and General could not learn any more. When the line was repaired, he found out that peaceful Apaches of the reservation were horror-struck. Small group of hostiles killed everyone they could reach. They made exclusion just for several women whom they took with them. On November 24 early morning Chiricahuas killed two white cowboys who were driving a herd of reservation cattle, stole a herd of chief Bonito's horses and with the sunrise they headed towards Eagle Creek River leaving the pursuers empty-handed. Lieutenant Charles Nordstrom with 10 privates and 19 scouts led by Chato began pursuit. Captain Crawford with a hundred of scouts urgently started to Bowie Station cutting any chance of breakthrough southward. Troops of the whole South-West were brought in fighting trim. On November 27 Lieutenant Lockett sent Crook a telegram: "It seems probable hostilies had slain eleven women, four children, and five men and boys" just to terrify other reservation Apaches and make them join. The hostiles had one casualty: scout Sanchez shot hostile Chiricahua man by name Azariquelch in the head. Fleeing south-west on fresh horses, the renegades wounded a man named Johnson near Black Rock, rushed through Aravaipa Canyon and stole more horses in Pueblo Viejo Valley, not far from Solomonville. A group of townsmen thought the thieves to be ordinary rustlers, so they began pursuit and were ambushed near Ash Fork Creek and lost two men killed. Apaches' path led through Ash Canyon to Duncan town on Gila River. Having discovered all this, Crook ordered Colonel Bradley to move all troops and scouts from Fort Bayard (New Mexico) and to block the hostiles preventing them from moving westward to Black Range and Steins Peak.
All South-East of the United States was so alarmed, and the political crisis was so serious that resulted in official inspection of Arizona military district. Lieutenant General Phillip H. Sheridan left Washington to meet Crook at Fort Bowie. Having examined the situation he summarized: “[The renegades] should all be exterminated or captured”. Unfortunately, this task was rather hard to be performed: in his letter to Bradley dated December 6, 1885 Crook wrote that “The events of the past two weeks have clearly demonstrated that when Indians get through the line into rough country north of the railroad, it is practically impossible to do anything with them… The country is so indescribably rough that any pursuit is almost a farce” [19, 336].
On December 8 Major S. Sumner wired Crook that Ulzana and his people killed two more civilians under Alma and fled to Mogollon Mountains notwithstanding that Samuel W. Fountain with ten Navaho scouts and Troop C of the Eighth Cavalry were on their heels. At last, on December 9 Fountain attacked Ulzana near Papanosas: “...that the Indians scattered in the dark, and from signs left thinks they intend to come together on their back trail, and endeavor to get south by their old trail by Mule Springs. Lieut. Fountain is now west of Mogollons, and Lieut. Gaston with troops of Eighth Cavalry is near old Fort West on the Gila. All troops have been notified. Lieut. Fountain counted sixteen in the party. This agrees with last report from Apache, received yesterday, that the hostiles carried off six White Mountain women and on child. There are only ten bucks, or possibly nine, as one was believed to have been badly wounded at the time the one was killed” [10, 54]. But that was not really so. Actual success of the Americans was restricted to capture of 14 horses, one mule and field supplies of the enemy. The very next day Ulzana attacked Lillie’s Ranch on Clear Creek, killing the owner and the manager. Having replenished the food supplies and ammunition, Ulzana's warriors saddled up again and disappeared in frosty mountain air. Crook ordered Major Biddle to move from Horse Springs with 40 scouts towards Mogollon Mountains. The troops restlessly ransacked in all directions, but still could not find any trace of the hostile Apaches until December 19, when Fountain on his way to Fort Bayard got in Ulzana's ambush at Little Dray Creek. Asst. Surgeon Doctor T.J.C. Maddox, U.S. Army and four privates were killed, and Lieut. De Rosey C. Cabell and one private were wounded. Apaches again had no losses. Socorro Country (New Mexico) got in turmoil again. Soon after that Indians killed the freighter and plundered his wagon. The night before Christmas Ulzana changed horses of his party for fresh ones near Carlisle few miles from Arizona boundary. Lieutenant David N. McDonald with M Troop, 4th Cavalry, and fifty Navaho scouts under Lieut. George L. Scott began pursuit. Very soon officers had had problems: on December 26 the Navajos went on strike: they “refused to go any further alleging a number of reasons, which were but excuses”, reported Crook angrily [19, 338]. Navajos knew very well that Apaches were great masters of ambush and understood that such pursuit was in spacious area of barely passable rocks was useless and deadly dangerous. Neither threats nor persuasions could make scouts move forward, and finally they turned back to Gila River just downstream of Duncan town. McDonald tried to trail Apaches himself, but they moved across “exceedingly rough rocky country”, so Lieutenant found further pursuit impossible and abandoned his intentions in Steins Peak Mountains 25 miles northward from Horse Shoe Canyon. On December 27 Ulzana's party showed up in Chiricahua Mountains having killed two white men near Galeyville town. Four cavalry troops searched the nearby mountains long and hard, but found nothing but old tracks. Soon the three-day snowstorm covered ground with snow, and Ulzana successfully fled from the pursuit and headed to warm and sunny Mexico.
Henry Daly wrote about this Ulzana's raid (he however thought that the party was led by Chihuahua): "He slipped through all the snares laid for him by the scouts of Major15 Wirt Davis’s and Captain Crawford’s commands. The troops guarding every water hole along the line could offer no resistance to his whirlwind dashes through their lines. He slipped into Fort Apache in November 1885 and killed twelve of the friendlies and carried off six of their women. He stole a bunch of horses out of a corral at White’s Ranch when there was a lot of cowboys guarding them who had remarked that they would like to see the color of a redskins that could get away with their horses. His party dashed into the various hamlets across the Mexican line and purchased what supplies of ammunition, mescal etc., that they wanted and made love to the Mexican women of those villages. When occasion demanded, they could ride one hundred miles in twenty-four hours and could nearly do the same on foot with as much ease" [8, 470].
15 - He was Captain then.
During that two-months raid, Ulzana covered more than 1,200 miles, killed 38 people, stole and rode to death 250 horses and mules, caused damages to the US citizens' property for many thousands dollars and returned home having lost only one man who was killed not by an American soldier but a reservation Apache. In New Mexico papers criticism of General Crook’s inability to manage the situation became hysterical. One of the papers called the raiders “Crook’s Pet Murderers”. General Sheridan however appreciated the efforts of the military leaders: “I have the greatest confidence in General Crook’s ability to accomplish this purpose, though the difficulties are very great”.
On November 18 Crawford again led expedition to Sonora with two companies of Indian scouts and one infantry company. By the end of December, Apache scouts found traces of a large group of people heading East. Lots of traces of horses and cattle indicated successful plunders. By that time all hostile Chiricahuas (excluding small group of Mangus) were wandering together. After several days of exhausting pursuit in the mountains, Crawford attacked their camp on December 9, 1886. Apaches escaped leaving all their unsophisticated belongings to the victors. The next day and old squaw came to Americans offering to begin negotiations. By her words, Crawford concluded that the enemy is ready to surrender, but the interpreter dropped behind with the train, so the meeting was appointed for the next morning. In the morning however Apache scouts were attacked by a party of Mexican rurales (volunteers) who took them for the hostiles. Captain Crawford was deadly wounded. Lieutenant Marion P. Maus took the lead and got in contact with Apache chiefs again; on January 15 officer and interpreter entered their camp. Naiche, Chihuahua, Geronimo, Nana and 14 warriors gathered for that meeting. “Why did you come down here?” asked Geronimo. “I came to capture or destroy you and your band,” said Maus. After all, Apaches agreed to meet Crook "in two moons" at Canon de los Embudos not far from American border [7, 251].
On March 25 General Crook met chiefs of hostile Chiricahuas. On that day he mainly exchanged accusations of lie with Geronimo, and no results were achieved. The next day General sent Kaytennae (who was already released from prison and was impressed by the might of the white people) and White Mountain Apache chief Alchise to persuade the hesitant chiefs to surrender on terms of two-year confinement. The chiefs decided that Geronimo who was identified by Americans as the leader of the hostiles would not be able to agree with the General, and the tribe needs more flexible spokesman.
On the last day of negotiations (December 27) Chihuahua was the first to make speech: I am very glad to see you and have this talk with you. It is as you say, we are always in danger out here. I hope from this time on we may live better with our families and not do any harm to anybody. I am anxious to behave. I think the sun is looking down upon me and the earth is listening. I am thinking better. It seems to me that I have seen the One who makes the rain and sends the winds; or He must have sent you to this place. I surrender myself to you because I believe in you and you do not deceive us. You must be our God. I am satisfied with all that you do. You must be the one w'ho makes the green pastures, who sends the rain, who commands the winds. You must be the one who sends the fresh fruits that appear on the trees every year. There are many men in the world who are big chiefs and command many people, but you, I think, are the greatest of them all, or you wouldn't come out here to see us. I want you to be a father to me and treat me as your son. I want you to have pity on me. There is no doubt that all you do is right, because all you do is just the same as if God did it. Everything you do is right. So I consider, so I believe you to be. I trust in all you say; you do not deceive. All the things you tell us are facts. I am now in your hands. I place myself at your disposition. I surrender myself to you. Do with me as you please. I shake your hand [shaking hands]. I want to come right into your camp with my family and stay with you. I don't want to stay away at a distance. I want to be right where you are. I have roamed these mountains from water to water. Never have I found the place where I could see my father or my mother, until today I see you my father. I surrender to you now and I don't want any more bad feelings or bad talk. I am going over to stay with you in your camp. Whenever a man raises anything, even a dog, he thinks well of it and tries to raise it right and treat it well. So I want you to feel toward me and be good to me and don't let people say bad things about me. Now I surrender to you and go with you. Naiche was the second to speak: “What Chihuahua says I say. I surrender just the same as he did. I surrender to you just the same as he did. What he has said I say” [6, 207]. Only after those two Geronimo had a word and surrendered too. Speech of firm and sometimes impulsive Chihuahua shows him as an excellent speaker and far-sighted politician. Many years later Eugene Chihuahua said: “My father, like Cochise, did not want to see his band exterminated; and he well understood what was in store for them if they continued the losing fight… Chihuahua did not know, nor did anyone else, that we were to be prisoners for twenty-seven years” [2, 99].
General Crook arrived to Canon de los Embudos with Camillus S. Fly, a photographer who took a series of unique photos of the last of legendary Chiricahua warriors. Geronimo who already became a famous warrior had his pictures quite willingly. Nana and Naiche tried to evade camera but did not hide. But the leaders of the last raids, Chihuahua and Ulzana, refused point-blank to be photographed notwithstanding all Fly's persuasions. The photographer tricked them only once: after the first round of negotiations, "the main leaders of the hostiles" saw preparations for taking photos, stood up and retreated to the background; the photographer took the first photo, and then when the hidden chiefs relaxed and left their shelter he took the second photo.
Chief Chihuahua at Canon de los Embudos.
Just after surrender, Crook left for Fort Bowie, and he was followed by surrendered Chiricahuas who moved slowly under just small escort of scouts. Having reached the border, the column made a camp and Apaches bought a lot of whisky from local bootlegger Godfrey Tribolet. The latter told Apaches that they made a very stupid thing when surrendered to the Americans who would surely hang them. At night, drunk Naiche and Geronimo began shooting and fled with their supporters back to the mountains, and their war lasted six months more.
Chihuahua however kept his word: his people remained in the camp. The prisoners of war arrived to Fort Bowie on April 2, where the chief reunited with his wife and children. According to the telegraph instructions of the US Military Secretary, on April 7 at 4.00 a.m. the prisoners left Bowie Station by train, under charge of First Lieutenant J. R. Richards, Jr., Fourth Cavalry, under escort of a company of the Eighth Infantry, for Fort Marion16, St. Augustine, Florida. That was the first of four groups of Chiricahua sent out of Arizona. The group included 77 persons: 15 men, 33 women and 29 children17. During the travel, one more child was born. Together with Chihuahua's band, there were old Nana, two wives and three children of Geronimo, Naiche's family and other relatives of those who were still hiding in Mexico.
16 - Built by the Spanish in 17th century, original name: Castillo de San Marcos. 17 - Information from General Crook's report. Lt. Davis said that Chihuahua's community included 14 men, 2 adolescents and 57 women and children. Perhaps, they were joined at Fort Bowie by the Apaches captured earlier.
On April 16, a reporter from Florida Times-Union wrote about arrival of the first group of Apaches to Jacksonville (Florida) for further travel to Fort Marion by ferry: “The bucks were thick-set, muscular, well-fed looking specimens, with generally a sullen and disdainful expression of countenance, looking not all subdued, but rather defiant, though incapable of any attempt at escape or violence.” Women was to be “equally unfavorable, generally clad in ill-made and baggy calico gowns and indescribable socks and other nondescript garments, the only attempt at ornamentation being necklaces of cheap brass or glass garments, and belts ornamented with tin or brass buttons or spangles”. Young squaws tried to look better. They were cleaner and their calico dresses “were in many instances made with ruffles and other fashionable appendages”. Look at the young men made the journalist examine men's clothes more close. He found out that many youngsters (“and even some of the grown men”) did not have underwear under their pants. Eventually, the Indians' clothes were found “primitive in the extremes”. Children generally ran altogether naked. Many squaws had their babies bound “into curious wicker-work cradles (Apaches called them "Tsach"), slung upon the backs of the doting mammas”. The reporter wrote that “the baggage of this queer company of tourists was a sight to behold. Great canvas bags, provided by the Government, filled with clothing; square packages tied with ropes; black tin cans and buckets and pots; packages of splendidly tanned and highly ornamented skins; bundles of dried meat, sacks of meal, blankets, coats, odd-looking blankets and variety of other plunder were spilled promiscuously into trucks (wagons), amid jeers of the colored porters, who were hauling the stuff, and transferred to stream ferryboat Armsmear, which lay alongside the dock waiting to carry the party across the river [17, 54-55].
Chihuahua's group arrived to Fort Marion on April 16 and was placed in interim tents as they did not want to live in damp casemates of old fort. In September 1886 they were joined by 434 Apaches sent by General Nelson A. Miles out of White Mountain Indian Reservation (Arizona).
Standing in center is Ulzana(?), Nana and Chihuahua. Fort Marion
In April 1887 all imprisoned Apaches were transferred from Fort Marion to Mount Vernon Barracks – an army camp 22 miles north of Mobile (Alabama). Soon, they were joined by warriors of Geronimo, Naiche and Mangus formerly kept in Fort Pickens. All prisoners of war were provided small huts and plots for gardening.
In 1890 St. Thomas' church was built in the reservation. The first child christened there was two-month-old Chihuahua's son named William St. Clair (Sinclair). His godparents were former commandant of Mount Vernon Mr. Thomas Rogers and his daughter [17, 295]. About that time one of Chihuahua's wives died leaving him two children. By the Apaches' tradition, Chihuahua's family left old house and settled in the new one, but they did not destroy belongings of the deceased, which became the deviation from traditions [17, 292].
Geronimo, Chihuahua, Nana, Loco and Ulzana at Mount Vernon
During the years of imprisonment, Chihuahua remained main leader of his people. Senior officer in Fort Marion recognized the chief's seniority and gave him uniform of the Captain of US cavalry. Since then he was never forced to work as opposed to other prisoners. According to Aca Daklugie, it was only Geronimo who was exempt from compulsory work besides Chihuahua: “He had no double bar, but he was Geronimo; and as long as either lived they did not work. It was not intended by Ussen that Apache warriors work” [2, 129]. Concealed opposition of the two leaders showed in mutual criticism. Chihuahua did not take alcohol during the years of imprisonment and condemned drinking and gambling, whereas Geronimo called him hypocrite and snob [17, 293].
Chihuahua, Naiche, Loco, Nana and Geronimo at Mount Vernon
To be continued
Last Edit: Feb 19, 2010 5:18:24 GMT -5 by naiches2