CHAPTER VII. THE INDIANS AND THE MILITARY (Continued).
REPORT OF JOINT COMMITTEE—REGULAR TROOPS POORLY ADAPTED TO FIGHTING INDIANS RECOMMEND COMPANY OF RANGERS IN EACH COUNTY—CONTROVERSY BETWEEN GOVERNOR McCORMICK AND GENERAL McDOWELL IN REGARD TO TROOPS—“MINER” EDITORIAL ON COMMISSIONERS' REPORT ON INDIAN DIFFICULTIES.
“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
“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
“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.
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),
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:‘‘ “HUMBUG.
“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
“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
“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.”’’