CHAPTER XI. THE MILITARY (Continued).
General Orders as to Location of Troops in Arizona — Remarks of General McDowell — Easy Times for Government Contractors — General Gregg Orders That All Indians Off Reservations be Treated as Hostiles—Interference With Order by Indian Agent Dent — General Gregg's Order Countermanded by General McDowell — General McDowell Criticised by Governor McCormick—General McDowell's Second Annual Report—Reports Expeditions Against the Indians.‘‘
I. The troops heretofore at Fort Grant, and, since the flood there, at the site of old Fort Breckenridge, will be withdrawn from those places, and the stations there abandoned. The public property and stores will be sent, under the direction of the district commander, to such other stations as may be best for the service. The troops will be sent to Fort McDowell, and thence will proceed to establish themselves, as soon as practicable, at the most eligible point beyond the Sierra Ancha, in what has been called Meadow Valley, about eighty-five miles
II. Preliminary to establishing themselves as above, the companies will proceed to make a good trail from Fort McDowell to their new station, to be improved as far and as soon as possible into a wagon road.
The assistant inspector general is very decided in his language as to the insufficiency of the shelters provided in Arizona, and I submit that, in view of his condemnation of the hospitals at Tucson, Whipple, McDowell, Mohave, etc., which were all found good by the medical director, the building used at Whipple is the finest one in Arizona—his opinion should be received with some allowance. It depends on the standard of comparison whether these shelters merit the condemnation with which he visits them. I know nothing of the huts in Ireland; but have seen plenty of negro cabins that were very comfortable as compared with a tent, and this is the comparison to make. I lived ten years in Mexico, most all the time in a tent, and found the Mexican hacal comfortable in comparison.
If the officers and men, like at Camp Wallen, prefer to suffer rather than exert themselves, as those before them have done, and had rather live under a shelter tent than to make themselves comfortable, as they have been authorized and ordered to do, their discomfort merits reproaches rather than sympathy. It is seen, from recent reports, that the commanding officer of the camp is now making the shelters which he should have made long ago.
I sent a saw-mill to southern Arizona, to be used in the pinery to get out lumber for quarters, but it was never set up, and not long since a report of a board of survey came to me condemning the mill as old and worn out, or useless. No one took the trouble to see about it. It was a new mill which never had been used.
One of the causes of the unsatisfactory state of affairs in Arizona, and which has not been touched upon by the assistant inspector general, is, that of the few officers whom it has been possible to get there with their companies many are not yet suited to the particular kind of service required in that country, and of these many show but a feeble disposition to adapt themselves to it. Coming out of a war of immense proportions, in which many of them have borne a prominent and distinguished part, having passed through all the excitement that it created, they want rest, and the service in Arizona is peculiarly fatiguing and disagreeable. Many look upon the very act of being sent there as a punishment. Again, many have married since the war, or have but rejoined their families since peace was made, and they have their families with them, under circumstances of great privations to those of whom they are naturally most solicitous; many times with young children and no servants. They do not want to live the life of Indian-trackers, and accommodate themselves to that kind of service which only can insure success. Of course there are many exceptions, but this will apply to a large number with whom the personal comfort of their families
I passed an officer, going to his post, carried in an ambulance drawn by four mules, with a six-mule team carrying his baggage, and that of his infantry escort, who were scattered along the road, with their muskets in the wagon. Though cautioned about the danger of moving in this way, he was soon afterwards attacked and killed by the Apaches.
I met another officer going along with his company, encumbered with his family in such a way as to destroy his efficiency. This was shown when the officer above referred to was attacked, and, when the latter was ordered to go in pursuit, he pleaded that he could not leave his wife alone. He has since resigned.
In saying what I have, I do not wish to be understood as questioning the gallantry and intelligence of the officers in Arizona, but only as stating that the life and service there is one for which their antecedents have not qualified them.
In his remarks General McDowell called attention to the orders issued by him to those in command of certain posts, to provide themselves with shelter for men and officers, using such materials as were at hand, and employing soldiers to do the work. This would seem to
There is no doubt but what at this time contractors of all kinds, supplying either food, forage or labor for building, had a "picnic." Even if, as was charged, they had some times to divide with quartermasters, yet it required but a few contracts of any kind, made with the military, to place the contractor upon easy street financially.
In the paper accompanying these reports it is shown in one case where about eleven thousand tons of hay disappeared, the inference being that it was taken by "trade rats" of the biped species who, in exchange therefor, received a quartermaster's certificate.
The ordinary trade-rat is found everywhere in the Arizona desert. He surrounds his hole with cholla cacti to protect it from rattlesnakes; he robs mines of candles and cabins of food and articles useful to him, leaving a rock or something useless in place of the thing taken.
The general calls attention to the reduced cost of produce to the army posts, on account of the increased production of necessaries of life by the farmers of the Territory, which however, was attended by great loss of life and property.
General Gregg issued an order instructing his subordinates to treat as hostiles all Indians found off their reservations. When this order was promulgated, Dent immediately interfered, and wrote the following letter to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs:‘‘
On the 2nd instant, two teams belonging to a resident of La Paz, returning from Prescott in charge of two drivers and accompanied by five other men, were fired into with guns by a party of about forty Apaches, at a place in the open country sparsely covered with sage brush, and the two drivers and one traveler killed. The scene of the casualty was about eight miles on the La Paz side of Date Creek. Two of the
About three hours after the occurrence another train of wagons came up, and, being prepared, attempted to recover the stock. They followed them to a canyon in the mountains to the north of the road, when they were charged by the Indians and repulsed and the Indians thus made off with the entire booty. After burying the dead by the roadside they proceeded to town and reported the foregoing.
This depredation occurred on a part of the road heretofore regarded as safe against the hostiles, and is additional proof of the increasing boldness of the Apaches. By recent order of the military commanding officer a military patrol will be stationed between here and Date Creek, and the efficiency of the troops will be tested.
It is somewhat believed here, but I cannot report it officially, that some of the young men of the Yavapais and Mohaves join with the Apaches in their depredations. Such is the strength of sentiment and belief that should a reasonable proof be made of such coalition, the whites would retaliate on the friendly river Indians and sacrifice them mercilessly. I have steadily aimed to keep down this spirit, while the real proof is pending; but if, as I say, proof should be had of such joining with the Apaches, no force, either the influence of the Indian department, the check of truly friendly chiefs, or
At a convention held at the office of the Arizona superintendency at La Paz on the 21st day of March, A. D. 1867, in the presidency of G. W. Dent, superintendent of Indian Affairs, between delegations of the Mohave Tribe of Indians and the Chemehuevis tribe of Indians, for the purpose of concluding peace between these two bands, and restoring and confirming amity:
The Chemehuevis were personally present by Pan Coyer, their head chief, and certain of his captains and head men, and the Mohaves were personally present by Iretaba, their head chief, and certain of his captains and head men, and after full conference the two bands agreed upon the following terms, to wit:
2nd. The Mohaves shall occupy and cultivate the lands on the left bank of the Colorado river, and the Chemehuevis the lands on the right bank of the Colorado river; provided that Indians of either band may freely visit and travel over either country, and shall not be molested therein either in their persons or their property.
3rd. It is also agreed between the parties to this agreement that they will use their best exertions to prevent the members of either of the tribes from committing any depredations upon the persons or property of American citizens in the country occupied by them, and should any such depredations be committed that they will endeavor to recover property taken and bring the offenders and deliver them to the superintendent of Indian Affairs at La Paz.
The increasing number of Indian depredations committed throughout this district renders it necessary, in order to remove doubt, to announce what tribes are considered hostile and against whom hostilities may be carried on.
The following tribes are announced hostile, viz.: The Hualapais, the Chemehuevis, the Tonto, the Apache Tonto and the Apache Mohave, and all other tribes or parts of tribes within the limits of this district, including the Mohaves and other Indians, purporting to be friendly, except when the latter are found within the limits of the reservations on the Colorado river, or when acting in conjunction with the troops as guides or otherwise.
‘‘Arizona. * * * Plans to colonize the tribes known as the River Indians, the Yavapais, Hualapais, etc., upon a reservation on the Colorado river, set apart for them by Congress two years ago, have been considered and presented to the department, but for want of necessary funds nothing of a permanent character has been done. Nevertheless, the superintendent and Agent Feudge, who was more directly in charge of the enterprise, succeeded in inducting a considerable number of the Mohaves and of the tribes above named to commence planting. By the August report it appeared that the tribes, many of the members of which had been disposed to hostility, were peacefully at work, and that for the first time in months trains were moving between the river and Prescott, the capital of the Territory, without interruption. The first crops planted by the Indians were swept away by a flood in the river, and another rise had also occurred, the effect being so to saturate the ground as to assure the Indians of a successful crop.’’
The foregoing extract (given in full) shows that there is but one reservation on the river for all the tribes named in your general order. This is understood to be below Williams Fork, and therefore beyond the limits of either of the districts (Upper Colorado and Prescott) now under your command. This reservation, though set apart by Congress, is not yet established, and the Indian department is not in a condition at this time to support these Indians on it. Yet, by your general order, if the Indians whom the agent has succeeded in drawing to the reservation are found away from it for the purpose of hunting, under a condition of things where they must hunt or starve, you order that the permit of the agent shall not be regarded, and the Indians shall be declared hostile.
Many of the Mohaves and the Hualapais have hitherto been living quietly in the vicinity of Fort Mohave and on the bottom lands along the Colorado river, raising food for themselves and for sale, and procuring wood for the steamers plying on the river, transporting the supplies for the government, and the miners and other settlers in the Territory. By your General Order No. 3 these Indians are declared hostile, and war is to be waged on them.
Thus far the Indians complained of have, as is alleged, confined themselves to stealing stock, and it must be said that if the government has as yet made no provision for them in the one reservation set apart for them, and you forbid their being allowed to go hunting because some of them have abused the privilege, they have some excuse to plead also, as the whites have
The general commanding is quite sure you cannot have fully considered the effect of your two general orders, and he directs you to reconsider and modify them, and make no war on Indians not in hostility with the settlers, and that you aid the Indian department as far as possible in co-operating with its agents. That Indians steal when they find property on which they can lay their hands is not surprising, under the state of affairs now existing in Arizona. This, of course, is much to be regretted, but it is not a matter for which the military authorities are responsible, and the general is not disposed to authorize an indiscriminate warfare on whole tribes on a suspicion that some of their members, or some of another tribe, perhaps, have committed theft.
Under the orders of his superior officer, General Gregg was compelled to modify his orders in reference to hostile Indians, thus leaving the settlers of Northern Arizona at the mercy of predatory bands, who did not fail to kill, plunder
11. DISTRICT OF TUCSON—Camp Goodwin, on the upper Gila; Camp Bowie, Apache Pass; Camp Wall, Upper San Pedro; Camp Tubac, Tubac; Camp Lowell, Tucson; Camp Grant, Lower San Pedro. The camps of this district have afforded as fair a measure of protection to the settlements as the circumstances have admitted.
The most active operations have been in the southern part against Cochese's band of Apaches, who continued to keep up active hostilities against the southern settlements, and have, during the past year, killed many citizens and destroyed much property. The expeditions sent out from Camp Wallen have been successful, and have partially and temporarily checked the inroads of the Indians.
The southern part of the Territory has been at certain seasons of the year subject to intermittent fevers to such an extent as to prostrate a large part of the force, and cause many changes to be made in the camps, in the hope of getting to a healthy site.
Camp Wallen seems, at last, to have been made comfortable and healthy, the labor of the men on the ruins of an old Mexican house having given them sufficient shelter for themselves and their supplies.
The remainder of the force in the southern part of the Territory has been temporarily quartered, free of expense, in houses in Tubac, which the owners were glad to offer for the increased protection they would receive from the troops being relieved from having to build themselves shelters.
General Crittenden has recommended the building of the permanent camp near the site of old Fort Buchanan, where there are many adobes, made before the war, and which can be used in new buildings. It is proposed to commence this in November next, the labor to be done chiefly by the men with the materials at hand. When built, the post at Tubac will be discontinued.
There has been much complaint as to the insufficient shelters heretofore provided for the troops in Arizona, but the recent order from the War Department on the subject of shelters for troops has only been anticipated in the orders from these and division headquarters.
The troops have been required to make temporary shelters for themselves and their supplies by their own labor with the materials at hand. The principal difficulty in southern Arizona arises from the scarcity of timber and lumber.
In order to give a greater force at other points, I endeavored to break up this camp, but found the need of it so great that it had to be continued, and the commanding officer has been authorized to make adobe shelters for his command to the extent necessary for a post of this character.
Camp Goodwin is intended as a guard for such of the Indians as submit themselves to military control in that part of the Territory. It has been found very difficult to retain the Indians on even a reservation of the extent of the one at this post. There are frequent charges made by persons at a distance, of depredations committed by these Indians, who, it is said, steal away, and rob or murder, as has been their custom. The commanding officer denies this, and has shown, at least in one instance, that these charges are not true. It will undoubtedly take much time to break up the habits of generations, and those who expect an immediate cessation of all hostilities or molestations from these people are most likely to be disappointed.
It is much to be desired that Mexico should be induced to make a port of entry at Libertad, so that the freighters should have no difficulty in using that port to disembark their stores. It would then be supplied with lighters, and all facilities necessary, and which are now wanting at that place, for a port.
12. DISTRICT OF THE VERDE—Camp McDowell.—The troops at this post were employed with good effect by Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel Sanford in two very important and entirely successful combats with the hostile Apaches, killing and capturing a large number, and destroying large quantities of their property.
Wishing to follow up his successes, and force the Apaches in this district to submit, I endeavored to establish a camp in the heart of their mountain fastnesses, and gave orders to that effect last autumn; but owing to many circumstances I have thus far failed to get accomplished my purpose, and have to postpone it till a more favorable opportunity.
Twice, lately, the Indians near this camp have sent in word to the commanding officer that they wish to be at peace with the whites. But they have so little confidence in us, and we so little in them, that it is difficult to say whether anything positive is likely to come of their application. I have instructed the commanding officer that if they will submit to military control they will be provided for.
Ninety of the one hundred Indian scouts allowed this department have been allotted to the districts of the Verde and Tucson. The commanders of each bear witness to their efficiency in hunting, trailing, and fighting the Apaches. They have proved most valuable auxiliaries to the regular troops. Their peculiar knowledge of the country and habits of the Apaches makes them, in some capacity, indispensable. I wish that authority could be had for a still greater number. They are a cheap and effective force for local purposes. There is also in Arizona a class of men who are, on some accounts and for some purposes, even better than the Indians—those who were born there or have been a long time in the country. They would not be well suited to army life and discipline, particularly under the officers who are now in the Territory, who are unacquainted with it or its inhabitants; but who, were they employed for a few months at a time, or for some particular service, and under the lead of some of their own number, would be of great use in the peculiar kind of warfare which has to be carried on in that country.
Many of the settlers would, I have reason to believe be willing to go out for an expedition, could they be furnished with ammunition, food and transportation. Many have done so without any aid, and I think it well worth the while to obtain authority to furnish these supplies for any parties whose services any district commander may accept for an expedition against the Indians.
13. DISTRICT OF PRESCOTT—Camp Lincoln, on the upper Verde; Camp McPherson, La Paz road; Fort Whipple, Prescott.—The two cavalry companies in this district have done excellent service against the hostile Indians, and killed and captured a large number, and destroyed much of their (to them) valuable property.
In one of the combats Captain J. W. Williams, eighth cavalry, was badly wounded. I regret the loss of the services of this gallant and most effective officer, and am glad to learn that his wound is not so serious as at first reported.
The commander of this district, actuated by some motive I have not been able to appreciate, issued orders declaring war on all Indians in his command, save those employed with the troops, or on a reservation on the Colorado river. This unnecessary act was as impolitic as it was unjust, for we had more enemies than we had troops to combat them. He was therefore required to reconsider and modify his orders, and only war on hostile Indians.
14. DISTRICT OF THE UPPER COLORADO—Camp Mohave; Camp El Dorado.—The Indians in this district, as mentioned in my last report, have been brought into hostility with the whites; whether necessarily or unnecessarily—as it was not by any act of any one in the military service, is no longer a question.
They have done much damage, and have kept employed a large part of the force I had hoped to employ elsewhere. They have also affected with a spirit of hostility the Piutes heretofore friendly, and there is danger of this hostility extending up the Colorado and to the Salt Lake and Los Angeles road.
I have sent as large a force as possible to re-enforce Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel Price, commanding the district, and he has now nearly five hundred men, and was by the last account about to take the field, with good prospect of success. The country is, however, very much broken, and the Indians very active, and have become well armed; and it is not at all improbable the colonel may have to take much longer time than I have allowed him before he succeeds in his campaign.
That he might have as large a force as possible, I have temporarily attached Major Clendenin, with a company of cavalry under orders for Camp McDowell, to his command; and as the mining operations seemed to have been, at least for the present, suspended or abandoned
15. DISTRICT OF THE LOWER COLORADO—Fort Yuma.—This district contains the principal depot for receiving and forwarding the supplies to the country north of the Gila, and the reserve supply for the whole Territory. During the year the depot was accidentally burned, and with it a large quantity of public property. For fear that the troops might be depending on some of the supplies thus lost, a steamer was engaged to take to the mouth of the river such articles as the place seemed to be most likely in need of. They have arrived as have other cargoes sent by sailing vessels, and no danger is now felt of the troops being in want by reason of the accident. The depot is being rebuilt.
The company of artillery ordered from Fort Yuma, to obtain a force to go to Sitka, leaves this post with but a single company of infantry, from which a detachment is kept up at old Fort Gaston, on the Colorado river, a few miles above the Gila.
16. I am continually receiving complaints of the insufficient number of troops provided for the defense of the settlements against the hostile Indians. The governors of Nevada and Arizona have been earnest in their representations
17. The hostilities in that country are made by Indians who live in the mountainous parts of the Territory, where nature has combined everything to favor the life of murder and rapine they lead. They require a peculiar kind of warfare, and a peculiar force to carry it on successfully.
It is not so much a large force as an active one that is needed. It is more like hunting wild animals than any kind of regular warfare. The Indians are seldom in large bodies, and never take any risk. They move with great celerity, unencumbered with any baggage, and when out on their forays can seldom be overtaken. When they are, and are pressed, they give way and disperse among the mountains and ravines, so that it is impossible to follow them. The most that is done in such cases is to cause them to abandon any animals they may be carrying off. They can only be successfully fought by troops who
In view of this, and of the great expense it requires to obtain these few minutes, it is, I think, the highest economy to place in the hands of those who have to improve them, the best arms we have, some repeating rifle that will give them from five to fifteen shots without loading.
18. The need of sending off immediately to the scene of Indian hostilities all the men that were sent to me has made it necessary to send companies to the field as soon as they were organized, and in all cases with an insufficient number of officers, and many times with officers of other companies or corps. This, and the mistaken notion many men have that California is filled with gold, which they will be able to pick up in the first stream they come to, or that it exists in such quantities and in such conditions that a man can soon gather it and become wealthy, together with the hard service required of the troops in this Indian hunting, have combined to cause many desertions. The evil, which has become serious, is beyond my control, nor can I charge it upon any one.