CHAPTER X. THE MILITARY (Continued).
Report of Colonel Jones, Inspector—Remoteness of Arizona Bar to Frequent Inspections—Recommends Separate Military District for Arizona, and Concentration of Troops—Also Recommends More and Better Buildings—General McDowell's Remarks on Colonel Jones' Report — Statement of Conditions.
GENERAL: In reporting that I have completed the duty of inspecting the posts in Arizona and Southern California, I respectfully submit for consideration some general remarks and recommendations which I consider should constitute a separate and distinct report.
In compliance with the order directing me to make this tour, I have from time to time, as occasion offered, forwarded reports of each post visited, and in them have set forth the state of affairs as revealed by my inspections.
Leaving here on the 20th of April, the journey has occupied me eighty-four (84) days from this point, during which time I visited every post within the country designated, and travelled with government transportation over twenty-one hundred (2,100) miles.
The first and most important change which is deemed absolutely essential to any lasting improvement in the general condition of affairs in Arizona, is the organization of the Territory into a separate military department with a commander residing at some central point.
The distance travelled, and the length of time it has taken me to make this tour, show very clearly that it is not in the power of a commander residing in San Francisco to make frequent or even annual visits to Arizona. As further evidence on this point, reference is made to the fact that General McDowell has been able to make but one tour through the country in the three years it has been under his command.
This remoteness of the department commander affects everything wherein his action is necessary, and during the past winter, at some of the remote posts, it required three months and upwards to communicate with, and receive answers from, department headquarters. In fact, in point of time, St. Louis is quite as near as San Francisco to Prescott and Tucson, if not nearer; papers and letters from St. Louis reaching those points as a rule in from eighteen to
On the 16th of April he ordered two companies from camp McDowell to camp Grant, and two from the latter camp to the former. On receiving the order Colonel Ilges applied to his quartermaster for transportation; the latter replying that he had none available. Colonel Ilges forwarded his application to the commanding officer at Fort Yuma, who sent it to Colonel Crittenden at Tucson, nearly three hundred miles distant.
Not having any wagons at hand, and Colonel Ilges not being at that time under his command, Colonel Crittenden submitted the matter to me; and thus, but for my presence and the authority vested in me by General Halleck, this move would probably not have been made without referring the matter to department headquarters.
It is immaterial whether these movements required promptness or not; the delay in making them fairly illustrates the inconvenience and injury the service in Arizona unavoidably sustains in consequence of it not being a military department per se.
In San Francisco, without telegraphic communication, and with unreliable weekly or semi-weekly mails, it is impossible for the department commander to know of any particular transaction in Arizona until long after it has transpired, and matters are constantly arising which can neither be foreseen nor provided for, concerning which the best interests of the service demand prompt if not immediate action.
The division of the Territory and districts has not and cannot yield results at all satisfactory, nor can it atone for the evils which are a necessary accompaniment of Arizona being attached to the department of California.
In a word, there is scarcely a measure taken in San Francisco in regard to affairs in Arizona that could not be better and more intelligently ordered by a commander residing in the Territory, where he could from personal observation learn its wants, resources, geographical features, and the wants and condition of the troops and supply departments.
The evils of these petty commands are too well known to require special enumeration, but among the most prominent is the large number of men rendered non-effective, from the necessity of employing them in performing ordinary routine duties, the proportion being much greater in commands of one and two companies than in garrisons of five and six companies strong.
In this way the efficiency of troops is much impaired, discipline seriously injured, and the non-effective force greatly increased, in consequence of the necessity of leaving in camp a large proportion of a command for the protection of public property, etc., whenever it takes the field.
Would that I could reply in the affirmative; but when it is known that men were killed on the road a few miles ahead of and behind me, that animals have been killed and driven off from a corral, not fifty yards distant from a detachment of seven men specially designed for their protection, and that the safety of the detachment itself is probably due to the timely and accidental arrival of fifteen or twenty soldiers, it will be seen that neither life nor property are very secure at this time in Arizona.
I do not expect or look for any immediate improvement in the state of affairs in the event of concentration becoming the policy for the future, but its adoption would give at all times a large force for operations against Indians, and from several points. As matters now are and have been this is proved to be impracticable.
In the Prescott district the only change that seems to me necessary is to concentrate the six companies at one post, within from twenty to thirty miles of Prescott, maintaining outposts at the settlements, if necessary.
South of the Gila, the only point which I think it necessary or advisable to occupy are Camps Goodwin and Bowie and a point adjoining the site of old Fort Buchanan, which is exceedingly favorable for a large force, especially for cavalry.
The third point demanding attention is the want of more mounted men. There seems to me to be but one way of bringing about this result, and that is to mount infantry. This will render them available in the pursuit of Indians, and will be a strong addition to the effective force in the Territory. As footmen they are of but little service in Indian warfare.
This done, the troops concentrated, and the Territory organized into a military department, and it will not be long before a marked improvement becomes manifest in the general condition of military affairs in Arizona.
Quarters are promised the recruit when he enlists, money is annually appropriated by Congress for this purpose and, I may add, is continually squandered by being placed in the hands of unpractical and incompetent officers for expenditure.
The contentment, comfort, health, welfare, and efficiency of the soldier are so intimately connected with this subject of quarters when in garrison that they cannot be denied them as a rule without creating discontent with the service.
There are to-day many suffering soldiers in Arizona, soldiers who are suffering unnecessarily, who are exposed to the weather, as the negro of the south or the peasant of Ireland has never been, and this in a climate where the heat is greater and more oppressive than I ever experienced in Texas, the tropics, or elsewhere, where the thermometer ranges every day for
If a large post and depot should be located near old Fort Buchanan or elsewhere, the building of it should be committed to a regular quartermaster, and not to inexperienced young officers, as I found to be the case at Camp Goodwin.
This is one of the duties of the Quartermasters' Department that should, as far as possible be discharged by officers of the department. Under their superintendency better and cheaper buildings will, as a rule be erected.
The views set forth, whether sound or not, are my convictions, and, as I interpret my duty as inspector of the division, I feel bound to express them for the consideration of the major general commanding.
The state of affairs which the assistant inspector general noticed in Arizona has been well known to me, and has not ceased to engage my attention from the first. But it is not, in my judgment, due to the causes he supposes, and is not to be corrected by the measures be suggests.
2nd. In the concentration of the troops in large commands, as, for instance, the six companies in the district of Prescott, into one post, within from twenty to thirty miles of Prescott, maintaining outposts at the settlements, if necessary, and south of the Gila, having only Camps Goodwin and Bowie, one post near old Fort Buchanan, and a company at Sacaton.
Had the assistant inspector general been out here for the last two and a half years, he might have been able to discuss this question more satisfactorily with reference to the remedies he proposes, for they have both been tried, and the unsatisfactory condition of affairs he has noticed in the course of his inspection, and
When I came to the command of the department of the Pacific, in July, 1864, Arizona formed part of the district of New Mexico, and when it was added to my command, its inhabitants were greatly rejoiced. It was a claim to their consideration to have been prominent in having had the change effected. At first I had been averse to having the Territory, but yielded to the desire of others, when I came to see that it drew its supplies from this place, and that I had, in fact, to care for it, without having the authority to control it.
On its being placed under me, I made of it a district; appointed a general officer to command it; sent him more than a brigade of troops (at one time thirty-six companies), more men, and better men for the purpose, and, with some exception, better officers, than are there now.
He had full authority in the matter of distributing his troops, in making contracts and purchases for their supply; was furnished with everything he asked for, that had to come from here; had authority to institute courts-martial; and in short had all the authority, in every particular, that I, as department commander, at this moment possess.
Did this command as thus ordered, and these large posts, give that absolute security to the people and property all over Arizona, without which affairs may be properly said to be unsatisfactory? Were men suffered by the Indians to go alone within their reach, unmolested? Were cattle always safe even under the fire of a sentinel? No.
The assistant inspector general, speaking of what he calls the results of the present policy, says that men were even killed a few miles ahead of and behind him, and that animals were killed and driven off from a corral not fifty yards from a detachment of seven men specially designed for their protection. Well, the same was done under the state of affairs which he thinks would prove a remedy.
4th. That the portions of the Territory (with few exceptions) inhabited by the whites, are seamed with mountain ridges, which, like the plains between them, are bare of trees, and from which the roads and the settlements are as plain to the sight of the stealthy Apache, as is the pit of a theatre to a spectator in the gallery.
5th. That this physical condition of the face of the country enables the Apache to make a sure calculation what to do, and what to avoid. He can, from his secure lookout in the mountain side or top, see for miles off exactly how many persons are moving on the road, and how they are moving; he knows exactly where they must pass, where only they can get a drink of water; he never has occasion to take any risk, and it is his law never to take any.
6th. That having been at this business for years, and having an exact knowledge of every ridge, every pass and ravine, and being entirely unencumbered with any luggage, camp or garrison equipage, and being able to go for days on an amount of food on which a white man would sink from exhaustion, he can strike and escape before any one but the one stricken has
Bearing these facts in mind, it is easy to be seen that a large post will not prevent an assassination or a theft. Witness what was done last month, near one of the largest posts in Arizona, where there are five companies, and near which two men were killed while fishing; and what occurred a few days ago in Nevada, where a man, who was fishing near the post, was shot in the head by an Indian concealed behind a rock. Neither large posts nor small posts will prevent these things so long as the Indians are in a state of hostility, any more than murder and robbery will not be committed in the vicinity of a large city. This is well illustrated by the following slip from to-day's paper, August 14, giving an account of a raid in the vicinity of Prescott, Arizona Territory.
‘‘On Thursday, at noon, a band of Indians jumped the herd kept by Mr. A. G. Dunn, and at the time grazing within half a mile east of the centre of the town of Prescott. An alarm was immediately given and our citizens turned out in force, but being mostly on foot they gave up the chase. In an hour Lieutenant Purdy and twenty-five cavalrymen from Whipple were on the track, with several citizens well mounted; but after an absence of twenty-four hours they returned, having been unable to follow the trail. In the herd were five horses belonging to
The celerity and, above all, the secrecy of movement of a body decreases with its size. These large posts, established as indicated by the assistant inspector general, would be at a long distance from these mountain fastnesses, and long before the large body, encumbered by its pack train, could gain them, the Indians would know of its movement, and would have fled only to be seen making insulting gestures from a distant mountain ridge, or found hanging on the rear and shooting from some secure hiding place, on the pack train as it wound through some gorge or canyon.
The reports of expeditions carried on in the way suggested have almost invariably ended with the statement that, after leaving their camp and marching for several days over a barren country, meeting no one, they finally saw smoke from distant hills or mountain ridges answered by other smokes, and after pushing on with their command over almost inaccessible mountains and impassable canyons, they found
‘‘On the ninth day their track got very fresh, and we ambushed in some willow brush until night. We had been obliged to travel in the day-time, owing to dark nights and the roughness of the country. We were across Salt river, in what is known as the Salt River country. Just about sunset we started, and we had not traveled one hour when we were fired upon from the top of a very steep sided mountain. In fact, it was almost impossible for a man to climb it at all. The first notice we had of them was a volley of balls and arrows. They did not use their guns after the fire, but kept up a cloud of arrows with a perfect looseness, as though 'twas no trouble to make them. None of our men were hit. We returned the fire, but were unable to determine how many, if any, were hit, as at each volley the Indians would drop to the ground. They danced, shouted, and called us all the pet names their vocabulary affords, I presume. We prospected around the mountain and found there was no way to get up to it without the sacrifice of many valuable lives; and then the Indians could run from us, and having been discovered, and many signal smokes having been sent up, we gave it up as a bad job and returned to the post.’’
It may be asked if it is not necessary, for safety as well as efficiency, that a force going after these Indians should be large in order to effect anything. Such does not seem to be the opinion of two of the best commanders in Arizona.
Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Price, commanding the district of the upper Colorado, reports that in his expeditions after the Indians, he has ascertained, ‘‘that the Hualapais are a very cowardly race, and that ten good cavalry men could probably disperse the whole tribe if they could be caught on the plain; but they are very fleet runners, and have a large tract of country to range over.
They are well acquainted with the ways and manners of the white man, and many of them are armed with superior weapons, which they well know how to use from behind rocks and safe places. The officers from Prescott say they would prefer fighting five Apaches to one Hualapai.’’
In southern Arizona a detachment of forty officers and men sent out from Camp Wallen, a two-company post, were judged sufficient by one of our most celebrated Indian fighters, Colonel McGarry, to penetrate the haunts of Cochese, which they did successfully, destroying one of his rancherias and putting his men to flight.
With the exception of the troops in the district of the Verde, when they fell into the hands of an officer unsuited to his duty, there has not been a party sent out from a post in Arizona that has not driven the Indians wherever they could come up with them, or find them. One company of cavalry from the district of Prescott, last month dispersed and drove what is reported to be a combination of the Hualapais tribe and the Piutes. (See recent reports of General Gregg and Colonel Price.)
It is, I think, beyond a question that the defect is not in the quantity, but in the quality of the force. It is not so much a large body, but an active one that is wanted—one moving without any baggage, and led by active, zealous officers, who really wish to accomplish something, and who are able to endure fatigue, and willing to undergo great personal privations.
The assistant inspector general thinks a better state of affairs would follow if all the six companies in the district of Prescott were concentrated at one camp near the town (within twenty to thirty miles of it), with outposts at the settlements, if necessary. Has he calculated the number of these outposts? If he commenced with sending a few men to this ranch or that mill, other ranches and other mills would ask and have a claim for as much; and then, when all the defensive arrangements were made, some succeeding inspector would have the opportunity of repeating his report, ‘‘that animals have been driven off from a corral not fifty yards distant from a detachment of seven men, specially designed for their protection.’’ And then, how would protection be given the road from La Paz to Prescott over which the supplies have to be hauled? By a detachment from the large camp? How protect the road from Maricopa and Wickenburg, over which the mail is carried between southern and northern Arizona? By another detachment? Thus much for the defensive arrangements. The offensive movements against the Apaches would have to
I do not think it well to protect the road from the river, and from the Gila to Prescott, by troops stationed at the latter place. Supplies would have to be hauled to Prescott, and then hauled back over the road. It is a question if the camp at McPherson had not better be at La Paz, where, on the application of the superintendent of Indian affairs, another post will have to be made; and there would be no question, if it were not that the road from the Gila, coming into the La Paz road near McPherson, also need protection.
The offensive force given by the ten companies of cavalry is, as has been proven, large enough to go anywhere into Arizona, and the post on the Verde is near enough the haunts of the Indians for the infantry there to accomplish something if they had a commanding officer suited to the service.
As to the arrangement of troops south of the Gila, I find the only change that is suggested is that the posts of Camps Wallen and Tubac should be consolidated into one post at old Fort Buchanan; that the posts at Tucson and Grant should be abandoned. As to the first it is with General Crittenden and Colonel McGarry to do so or not, as they with their experience may judge best. The company at Tucson is necessary for escorting trains, etc., from the depot
I come now to the assertions made by the assistant inspector general, ‘‘that, indeed, it may well be doubted if life and property have ever been less secure in Arizona than at this time.’’ He adds, ‘‘and certainly, since traveling through the Territory in 1857 and 1859, I have never known the roads so dangerous as they are now.’’ In justice to myself and the service in Arizona the following facts are to be borne in mind:
1st. That when the whites first came to Arizona the Apaches were friendly to them. The following extracts are from the journals of Emory and Johnstone of their march to California under General Kearney in 1846:‘‘
October 20 * * * The general sent word to the Apaches he would not start until 9 or 10; this gave them time to come in, headed by their chief, Red Sleeve. They swore eternal friendship to the whites and everlasting hatred to the Mexicans. The order, quickness, and quietude of our movements seemed to impress them. One of the chiefs (Apache), after eyeing the general with apparent admiration, broke out in a vehement manner: ‘‘You have taken New Mexico, and will soon take California; go then and take Chihuahua, Durango, and Sonora,
November 4. * * * The Apaches gave us to understand that a marauding party of their people were in Sonora. The broad, fresh trail of cattle and horses leading up the Aroya induces us to believe that they have returned, successful, of course.
November 5. * * * The bed of this creek was deeply cut, and turned at short angles, forming a zigzag like the boyaux laid by sappers in approaching a fortress, each turn of which (and they were invulnerable), formed a strong defensive position. The Apache, once in possession of them, is secure from pursuit or invasion from the Mexican. * * *
Nature has done her utmost to favor a condition of things which has enabled a savage and uncivilized tribe, armed with the bow and lance, to hold as tributary powers three fertile and once flourishing States: Chihuahua, Sonora and Durango, peopled by a Christian race, countrymen of the immortal Cortez. These States were at one time flourishing, but such has been the devastation and alarm spread by these children of the mountains that they are now losing population, commerce, and manufactures at a rate which, if not soon arrested, must leave them uninhabited.’’
October 29. * * * About five miles from camp we fell upon the great stealing road of the Apaches. It is hard beaten and in places, many yards wide, filled with horse, mule, and cattle tracks, the latter all going one way from Sonora.
October 31. * * * Captain Moore and Carson shook hands with them (Gila Apaches), but they would not be induced to come into camp. They had been dealt with by Americans in the employment of Chihuahua, who had hunted them at $50 a scalp, as one would hunt wolves, and one American decoyed a large number of their brethren in rear of a wagon to trade, and fired a field piece among them.
November 2. * * * Some Apaches (Pinoleros) showed themselves on a hill top early this morning. * * * The high peaks afford fine points for lookouts, upon one of which is always seated one of their number, like a sentinel crow on the highest limb of the adjacent tree, watching over the safety of his thieving fraternity. Their wigwams scarce peep above the low brushwood of the country, being not more than four feet high, slightly dug out in the centre, and the dirt thrown around the twigs which are rudely woven into an oven shape as a canopy to the house. A tenement of a few hours' work is the home of a family for years or a day; like wolves they are ever wandering.
4th. That all the country north of the Gila was unsettled and almost totally unknown by the whites. Prescott, and the farms and mines near, and the roads leading to it, and all the settlements north of the Gila, were established since the breaking out of the rebellion.
5th. That if life and property were more secure in 1857 and 1859, it was not because of the existence of a better policy then than is now pursued; not because the one post in southern Arizona gave more protection than do many posts now established, some of which have been much larger than the one referred to. It was due, not to better protection against Indian hostilities, but to the fact that there were fewer hostilities to guard against, and fewer, much fewer, points to guard. The Indians who used to prey on Sonora and Chihuahua now find men and property to murder and steal near their haunts. Instead of the long, broad trails to Sonora mentioned by Johnstone, they now make short ones to the roads and property of the whites in Arizona. All that mountainous country running from northwestern to southwestern Arizona is infested by different bands of hostile Indians, who now have to be guarded against
The comparison is therefore in every way unjust. A fair one would be between the state of the country as it was when I first took charge, and what it is since 'my policy' has been in operation. The condition of the country when I received it was fully described in my report of March 23, 1866, as follows:
‘‘Their (the Apaches) murdering and marauding forays have been carried on from the sixty miles north of Prescott to the Sonora line, all along the valley of the Hassayamp, the Verde, the Agua Fria, the Gila, the Santa Cruz, San Pedro, Sonoita, Arivaipa, and Arrivaca, in Skull valley, on all the roads leading to Prescott and to Wickenburg, and from the Pimas to Fort McDowell—everywhere, in fact, where there was life or property to be taken. The Territory was reduced to so slow a point for want of troops, at the time of its being transferred to my command, that it was fast being abandoned. Tubac was entirely abandoned. All the farms in the upper Santa Cruz and in the vicinity of Tucson, on the Sonoita and the San Pedro, were abandoned. Valuable mines were given up, as no one could venture to go into the valley to either cultivate the land or herd the stock, so that the country produced no food.’’
The valley of the Santa Cruz is again peopled and planted. Every house in Tubac and every farm in its vicinity is occupied. Tucson, I was told by those who were to be believed had improved two hundred per cent.
A most convincing proof of the protection given is in the fact that the flour, beans, and forage raised in Arizona are now sufficient for the citizens and for the troops, and purchased by open competition for the latter at prices one-third and one-fourth and one-half of what has hitherto been paid.
Arizona was placed under my command in the spring of 1865, and has been under me a little over two years. I visited it as soon as I was able, and I believe I have seen more of it than any department commander ever has; more, I venture to say, than the commander of the department of Missouri has of New Mexico, or the commander of the Gulf has of Texas, or than either of them is likely to see of those countries in the next five years.
I do not concur in the idea thrown out that I am to visit every post in my department, once a year, if not oftener; I think I have done more of this than is usual; I would do more of it than I do, if I consulted merely my personal inclinations; but I find my presence is more needed, constantly, at headquarters than at any one post of my command. If I am absent my adjutant general or aide must do much in my name without being able to consult me. It should be as little expected of me as that the division commander should visit all the division every two years.
As an argument for having Arizona under one commander, he refers to the time it took him to make an inspection of the posts in that country, eighty-four days. Of this time but ten to fourteen days were necessary to reach Arizona, and as many to reach this place from that country. It was the very fact he mentions, the time it takes to go from one end of Arizona to the other, and the bad results that came of having a commander, even in a central point like Sacaton, who was to control points, places, and frontiers he could not readily communicate with, that caused the making of several smaller districts, within each of which the commander could be free to act at once, without the necessity of referring to any one on any matter connected with his active field operations.
This is entirely practicable in Arizona, where no concert of action of any moment exists or is likely to arise on the part of the Indians, who are dispersed over a large extent of broken country, and there is nothing more required of
The district commanders have no restriction placed on them by me in any matter concerning their movements against those hostile Indians. Their contracts have to come here for my approval, as they would have to do in any case for that of the division commander. Administrative questions connected with the care of public property, money and accounts, have to come here for the same reason.
Courts are not assembled often in Arizona for the same reason that they are not in Nevada and northern California—the want of officers. The remedy for this is not with me, and would not be with a commander at Sacaton.
The assistant inspector general writes with much emphasis as to the necessity of providing storehouses, hospitals, and quarters for troops in Arizona. He has specially referred to this subject in each of his reports, and he is sustained in his general proposition, that increased protection in the way of buildings for men and property should be given, by the recommendation of General Crittenden, and in fact most if not all the district commanders in the Territory.
‘‘I am perfectly convinced, since my arrival in the district, that the troops at all posts in this district should be quartered in adobe buildings, for both the health of the troops and as a matter of economy to the government. Indeed I think it is impossible for the troops to retain their health while in tents, especially during the summer season.’’
With respect to this I transcribe the following from the instructions to Colonel Lovell, of November 8, 1866, in answer to a letter from the commanding officer of Camp Wallen, recommending the erection of buildings at that place, the one concerning which General Crittenden makes the recommendation I have quoted:‘‘
By orders of April 23, 1866 (Special Orders No. 80), the troops ordered to the upper San Pedro were directed to go into camp, or provide themselves with such shelters as can be made with the means at hand by the labor of men.
The camp was established May 10, and yet up to September nothing seems to have been done by any one in Arizona towards providing these shelters for the men, such as have been made hitherto throughout this country, from Washington Territory to the Sonora line.
The troops, wherever sent, have always soon made themselves comfortable by their officers' direction, and by their own labor, and hutted themselves in the same way prospecting miners have done, and are continually doing,
You will order that, in making these shelters, the commanding officer shall put them up in the order of time prescribed in General Orders No. 39, for the huts to be built at the camp to be established northeast from Fort McDowell, (Camp Reno). The same provisions as to extra pay to the enlisted men, therein made, will apply in the case of the new camp.’’
I have not authorized more permanent quarters than those which the men could make by their own labor, with the materials at hand, because it was not known, nor could it be ascertained at once where permanent posts would be required.
The population in this country is so fluctuating (on account of the uncertainty of mining operations), that it frequently happens that before a permanent post is finished the necessity for it has ceased.’’
The recommendations of the Inspector-General that a division commander with headquarters in Arizona, be appointed, were afterwards adopted when General Crook was placed in command with full authority to direct the campaign according to his judgment without interference from a superior officer twelve hundred miles removed from the theater of conflict.