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The Third Legislature appointed a Joint Committee on Military and Indian Affairs, which made the following report to the reSpective houses:


“The Joint Committee on Military and Indian Affairs hereby report that they have had the subject under careful consideration, and beg leave to present the following conclusions:

“1. That the military force now in the Territory is entirely insufficient to protect the inhabitants from the depredations of the Apaches, Pah-Utes and other hostile Indians. That it is, in fact, inadequate properly to garrison the different posts, and to defend the roads and mails, not to speak of waging an aggressive war upon the barbarous enemy, which war is positively necessary to the successful opening of the country.

“2. That experience has proven that the regular troops are poorly adapted to Indian fighting in this country; that while they hold the forts, another force must be provided for the field—a force familiar with the haunts and habits

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of the Indians, and who are eager to punish them.

“That, as set forth in the letter of Governor McCormick to the Secretary of War, in June last, the qualities shown by the several companies of native (or Mexican) volunteers, in service during the past year, were such as prove them to be the right men in the right place, and that it is much to be regretted that they were not kept in service. That the hearty thanks of the people are due to them for their marked efficiency, and that we earnestly recommend the Legislative Assembly to memorialize Congress for authority to raise a full regiment of them, (if it is thought that the men can be raised,) for the term of two years, confidently believing it to be the only step whereby the hostile savages can quickly, surety and cheaply be brought to terms.

“3. That for the immediate defense of the people, the organization of a company of rangers in each county, to serve only when actually needed, is a necessity; and that it is recommended that an appropriation to meet the expenses of sustaining the same be asked of Congress, as a just and reasonable demand.

“4. That the management of the Indian superintendency, for some time past, has been such as to injure rather than benefit the Territory. The Superintendent seems to have entertained the impression that he could discharge the duties of his important office by remaining in one particular locality, while it is the judgment of your committee that he should visit all parts of the Territory, and by actual observation and intercourse become familiar with the wants of the various tribes. This duty has been so entirely

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neglected that many of the tribes are yet ignorant of the existence of a superintendent, and have had no share in the appropriations of the Indian department. As for instance, the Moquis, who have within the past year sent two delegations to Prescott, to make inquiry on various matters with which the superintendent should long since have made them familiar.

“The present unfriendly attitude of the PahUtes and Wallapais may be attributed to the same inexcusable neglect. Had the superintendent manifested any interest in them, they might have been kept in order. But worse than all, the superintendent has been unable to control the Indians living in his own immediate vicinity, as is clearly shown by the recent affair in Skull Valley, where they were the aggressors, and far beyond the imaginary peace line created by him. “Your committee are of the opinion that the system of donations or presents to the Indians, or of feeding them in the hope of gaining their friendship, is a false one, and that to place them upon reservations without a distinct understanding that they are to remain there, and the necessary power to force a strict compliance with such understanding, is a stupendous farce. In conclusion, they would protest against the unfair representations of the superintendent, that the whites are determined to wrong the Indians, and that the recent offensive movements of the former against the Pah-Utes, Yavapais and Wallapais, are to be attributed to this determination.

“It is their opinion that, excepting against the Apache, who has always been considered hostile, the whites have not made any unfriendly

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demonstration until entirely satisfied—as in the case of the Pah-Utes, Yavapais and Wallapais—that they are bent on war, and already guilty of unprovoked atrocities. In the popular judgment, that on the first sign of antagonism it is necessary to deal summarily and severely with all Indians, and that half-way measures are of no avail, your committee would express a hearty concurrence.

“O. D. GASS,

“Chairman Council Committee.


“Chairman House Committee.”


The following year Governor McCormick, in a letter to General McDowell, urged that more troops be sent to General Gregg, and that that officer use discretionary views in dealing with the hostile Indians, and not have to submit his campaign plans to San Francisco for approval. The Governor said that the Pah-Utes, the Hualapais, and some of the Navajoes were on the warpath, also that the eastern tribes were active; to which General McDowell replied, under date of September 10th, 1867, in which he said that there were fourteen companies employed in northern Arizona, and thirteen companies in southern Arizona, which were all the troops that could be spared, and in which he also said that the Governor had expressed his satisfaction with this arrangement when in San Francisco. (Governor McCormick had visited San Francisco in 1866 to confer with General McDowell and the military authorities on affairs in Arizona.) General McDowell said, among other things: “You say men of experience are needed, as in the popular judgment here (Prescott),

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which I can most clearly demonstrate, it is impossible for the commanding officer to act promptly and with effect, unless he has permission to move the troops without a delay in submitting his plans to San Francisco for approval, according to the exigency of the hour. After your return to AriZona from your visit to San Francisco to confer with the military authorities on the conditions of this Territory, you wrote me that you found ‘general satisfaction’ over all arrangements for the military affairs in Arizona. These arrangements, made while both you and General Gregg were here, contemplated the most active operations against the hostile Apaches with the forces in the District, and with these arrangements you both appeared to be satisfied, at that time. Under them General Gregg has not been restricted from moving his troops according to the exigency of the hour, and has not been required to delay in order to submit his plans for so doing to San Francisco for approval. How the public have any chance of knowing what my instructions to General Gregg are, or are not, is not seen, but it has been sufficient to form their ‘popular judgment’ against me, in which you concur, and as you have been furnished with copies of my letters to General Gregg, along with conditions of things, on July 23rd, I am not able to see how you can have justly concurred in it. You say, ‘that in order to have anything like vigorous, speedy and aggressive operations, it seems absolutely necessary for the protection of life and property, and the holding of the country, that at least six cavalry companies should at once be added to General Gregg's command.’ Your communication

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will be sent to General Halleck for such further consideration as he may think proper to give it.”

These cavalry companies were never furnished, but Arizona was left with an insufficient guard to protect herself against the Indians who, at that time, both in the west and in the east, were up in arms.

It seems that about this time a commission was appointed to inquire into the cause of Indian difficulties on the plains, and to suggest remedial methods. This commission made its report early in 1867, and, in an editorial in the “Miner,” under date of August 24th, 1867, this report was reviewed as follows:


“The commissioners appointed some months ago to inquire into the cause of the Indian difficulties on the plains, and to suggest steps for their suppression, have made their report, and we find a synopsis of it in our late eastern exchanges. General Sanford, one of the commissioners, says:

“‘To be secure it is necessary for the Government to abstain from an aggressive war. It is plain the history of the Indian wars furnish no instance where Indians have asked for mercy, or even a cessation of the same.’ He recommends that all troops in the Indian country be employed in garrisoning military posts to protect wagon roads, railways and railroad lines, and the navigation and travel across the plains, and to punish and, if possible, kill the small thieving parties of Indians that come upon lines of travel. Commissioners should be sent to the

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Indians and friendly relations restored. To jeopardize and sacrifice the lives of large numbers of our people for the purpose of carrying on a frontier war against a few Indians who can readily be kept at peace, is deemed unwise.

“General Sanford, in view of the facts narrated, recommends that we avoid war; says, second, that final and permanent homes be provided for the Indians; third, that a tribunal be established before which Indian wrongs may be redressed, and, fourth, that the Indian Bureau be organized into a Department with full authority to control and manage the Indian countries.

“The other commissioners report in a similar strain, and one of the Commissioners of Indian Affairs accepts their conclusion as favorable, sound and satisfactory, and gives a report to Congress by saying: ‘The Indians can be saved from extinction only by consolidating them, and setting apart a territory for their exclusive occupation. The total cost of the Indian Bureau, in its extended form of operation, including all its expenditures, does not exceed $3,000,000 per annum.’

“Evidently all the commissioners have not had the actual experience to ascertain the correct idea of the Indian character. What could be more absurd to men who have lived upon the frontier, and dealt with the redskins, than the words of General Sanford, (whoever he may be), ‘that in order to secure peace it is necessary for the Government to abstain from aggressive war???’ What avail can it be to punish small thieving parties, when whole tribes are responsible for their depredations, and in league with them? The Commissioner of Indian Affairs

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seems eager to save the Indians from extinction. What makes him so sensitive on this point? We doubt very much that the taxpaying American people, especially those who know the Indians in their true light, would wish to save them from extinction at any price, much less than $3,000,000 per annum, which the Commissioner seems to think a modest sum. We are not of those who would kill every Indian on sight, be he friendly or unfriendly, but we look upon all this appellation of war with the barbarians, who would impede the development and progress of civilization, as exceedingly silly and preposterous. The giving of blankets and beads has proven a sad farce, and it is surprising that a single man wishes to continue the practice.

“It should be made known to Congress that however well meant the reports of these Commissioners, they display a glaring ignorance of the Indians' character and history, and are not worthy of consideration. So long as Congress is humbugged into accepting and favoring such views, so long will life and travel upon the plains be wholly insecure, so long are the great American people at the mercy of a few thousand red devils, and power and force are the only arguments calculated to control. Let them know that the whites are most powerful, and soon all will be well. Let them continue to believe that we deem it necessary to propitiate them by annual offerings, and that we fear an aggressive war, and they will take our scalps and property for years to come.”



© Arizona Board of Regents