CHAPTER VIII. OUTRAGES BY INDIANS (Continued).
Governor Safford's Message Calls Attention to Ourages—Public Sentiment in Reference to Camp Grant Massacre—Military Account of Camp Grant Massacre—Trial of Participants—Charge of Judge Titus— Defendants Acquitted—More Outrages by Indians—Lieutenant Cushing's Expeditions Against Hostiles—Killing of Lieutenant Cushing.
In his message to the Legislative Assembly at Tucson, January 14th, 1871, Governor Safford called attention to recent outrages in the month of August, linking the Indians in a simultaneous movement along the Southern Overland Route. Two stage drivers were killed, one stage captured and all on board were murdered. A train was taken and all with it killed. A stage station twenty-two miles east of Tucson was taken, and but two of the inmates escaped alive. Several others were killed about that time. He said that the Coyoteros and Apache-Mohaves, branches of the Apache tribe, had expressed a desire for peace, and that a large reservation had been set apart for the former by the United States. He said: ‘‘“I visited the reservation in June last, and believe the larger number of this band earnestly desire peace. I found they were very poor, with no seed for planting except that furnished by the military authorities, and they were of necessity obliged to roam over a large extent of country, as
“The Indians now engaged in open hostility are the Pinals, Tontos, what is commonly known as Cochise's band, and more or less renegades from all the bands that assume to be on terms of peace. It is also a well established fact that the Navahos, who occupy a reservation in New Mexico, have made frequent raids, and stolen property and murdered citizens as far west as Prescott. I believe I have fairly stated to you the condition and position the Apache Indians occupy toward us at present.”’’
An account of what is known as the “Camp Grant Massacre” has been given in a previous volume in the biography of W. S. Oury. The following, clipped from the two leading papers in the Territory at that time, shows public sentiment in reference thereto: The “Arizona Citizen” of May 6th, 1871, says:‘‘
“The canyon is situated south of the Gila River, some forty miles east of Florence, and about sixty miles north of Tucson. For weeks it had been known that a band of Indians was camped in that vicinity, and numbers of animals were stolen from the friendly Papagoes near Tucson. Four citizens in the San Pedro Valley were murdered by the party there encamped. These discoveries were rendered more believable by the fact that it was redskins, and that they had made one of the old style Pinal Treaties with the commander at Camp Grant. They had been receiving rations from that post for some time, and had, in an apparently friendly mood, settled themselves in the canyon near the post, and while eating government supplies would make their murderous raids and return under the shadow,
“Yes! as prisoners of war, armed to the teeth, unrestricted, and under no surveillance whatever. Prisoners of war, camped at a distance of four miles from the post to which they owed obedience. Prisoners of war who visited the valley of the Santa Cruz, distant eighty miles, and murdered two persons, and captured all the cattle and horses in the neighborhood, a few of which, together with an ornament worn by one of the victims, were recaptured at Camp Grant. Prisoners of war who next captured the United States mail twelve miles east of the San Pedro, and sixty-five miles from their rancheria and murdered the driver. Prisoners of war who marched to the San Pedro settlement and there murdered the last settlers in the valley, whence the avenging force followed their trail to the Camp Grant encampment. Prisoners of war who had just succeeded in all their depredations and were again on the warpath to the number of more than
“We have seen the action of the Papago Indians and the men who accompanied them termed a cowardly slaughter of helpless women and children. We do not know it to be such, but we are credibly informed that some of the women and children were killed, which could not possibly have been otherwise where men and women are collected indiscriminately, and men, particularly Papago Indians, in the excitement of battle, are not the proper persons of whom to expect wise discrimination. We should be as ready as any of our contemporaries, to denounce a war upon women and children, but such this was not. It was the action of the people, aroused by governmental neglect, who took up arms and marched forward, prepared to encounter the enemy of double their number, and avenge their wrongs, or perish in the attempt, and we say: ‘God speed every such mission.’”’’
In accordance with the peace policy which had been decided upon by the United States Government, these Indians were placed upon a reservation not far from the post. They were principally the Pinal and Aravaipa bands of Apache Indians. After some experimenting, Royal E. Whitman, a lieutenant in the Third Cavalry, was assigned to duty as their agent. He was unscrupulous, and had outside parties in Tucson to work the business. A sutler's store was first started, then a blacksmith shop, and butcher shop. His sharp practices and moneymaking proclivities soon became disagreeable to the Indians. Some have claimed that this caused dissatisfaction when it was discovered that they were being cheated out of what the Government was giving them, but notwithstanding all these stories, and that Whitman was considered by many as a worthless fellow, he had great influence with the Indians, and could do more with them than any one else. During the winter of 1870–71, it was claimed that these Indians committed many depredations within a radius of a hundred miles to the southwest. On the killing of Wooster and wife on the Santa Cruz, above Tubac, indignation meetings were held in Tucson. At these meetings there was much “speechifying,” as we are told, about killing the “red devils.” It was claimed that it was these Indians
In the early part of April, 1871, a raid was made upon the San Xavier and stock driven off by Indians. They were pursued and some stock recovered. One Indian was killed. It was claimed that he was identified as one of the Camp Grant Indians, he having lost a certain tooth which made him a marked man. The pursuing party returned to Tucson and claimed that the raiders were Camp Grant Indians. In a short time a plan was arranged to pursue the raiders. This plan was promulgated by one Jesus M. Elias. Some Papago Indians were
The party claimed as a justification of this massacre that they found an Indian boy riding a horse which was identified as one belonging to Don Leopoldo, and that some of the clothing of Dona Trinidad Aguirre was also found. Take it altogether the proof against these Indians was very slight. The trail followed led toward this point, but it does not appear that it was attempted to be followed for the last thirty miles
“The Government of the United States owes its Papago, Mexican and American residents in Arizona protection from Apache spoliation and assaults. If such spoliation and assaults are persistently carried on and not prevented by the Government, then its sufferers have a right to protect themselves and employ a force large enough for that purpose. It is also to be added that if the Apache nation, or any past of it, persists in assaulting the Papagoes, Mexicans or Americans in Arizona, then it forfeits the right of protection from the United States, whether that right is the general protection which a Government owes all persons within its limits and jurisdiction, or the special protection which is due to prisoners of war.
“Now, gentlemen, what is the evidence before you on this branch of the question? Have the Apache Indians, and especially that portion of them quartered near Camp Grant on which the deadly assault described in the indictment was made on the 30th day of April last, been persistently assailing, despoiling and murdering the Papago, Mexican and American residents of Arizona, and has this been prevented by the United States? The evidence is quite full on this subject, and I submit to you whether it does or does not prove that the Apache Nation, and especially that portion of it on which the assault charged in the indictment was made on the 30th of April last, then and now is in hostility to all the Papago, Mexican and American residents in Arizona, including the defendants and such as they? Has this or has it not been continued for years? Has it been attended with loss of life and property? And has the Government of the United States prevented this? Does or does not the evidence in the present question show that the clothing, arms and other property of murdered and despoiled Papago, Mexican and American residents of Arizona have been found in the possession of those on whom the assault charged in the indictment was made; that an obvious trail or Indian road leads from the place or places of this murder and spoliation direct to the encampment, and that these Indians, before and since the assault charged in the indictment, have admitted their participation in this murder and spoliation? After this is shown, is there any evidence that the United States Government has stopped this, or had done so on the 30th of
“Second: That it does or does not cast such reasonable doubt on the motive in making the assault charged in the indictment as will render you unable to see whether the defendants were actuated by murderous malice in making such an assault. Accordingly as you find the affirmative or negative of these conclusions, your verdict will be guilty or not guilty.”’’
Lieutenant Whitman seemed to have had remarkable success in gaining the confidence of the Indians, notwithstanding his moneymaking proclivities, as he induced many of them, under their chief, Es-kim-in-zin, to return after the outrage, believing that the military had no part in the massacre, but soon one of the returning parties by some blunder was fired upon by a squad of soldiers, and the Indians fled to the mountains, more hostile than ever.
There had been killed by Indians within a short time on the Pedro, Henry Long, Alex. McKenzie, Sam Brown, Simms, and others; on the Santa Cruz, Wooster and wife, Sanders and others; on the Sonoita, Pennington, Jackson, Carroll, Rotherwell and others. These murders were all laid to the Indians on the reservation, but, as a matter of fact, Cochise and his band were constantly raiding the country.
During the winter of 1870–71, there was no cessation to the amount of scouting conducted against the Apaches, who resorted to a system of tactics which had often been tried in the past, and always with success. A number of simultaneous attacks were made at widely separated points, evidently to confuse both the troops and the settlers by spreading a vague sense of fear all over the Territory, and imposing upon the military an exceptional amount of work and hardship. Bourke says:‘‘
“Attacks were made in southern Arizona upon the stage stations at the San Pedro, and the Cienega, as well as the one near the Picacho, and upon the ranches in the Babacomori Valley, and in the San Pedro, near Tres Alamos. Then came the news of a fight at Pete Kitchen's, and, finally, growing bolder, the enemy drove off a herd of cattle from Tucson itself, some of them beeves, and others work oxen belonging to a wagon train from Texas. Lastly came the killing
“One of the members of this last party was a beautiful young Mexican lady—Doña Trinidad Aguirre—who belonged to a very respectable family in the Mexican Republic, and was on her way back from a visit to relatives in Tucson. That one so young, so beautiful and bright, should have been snatched away by a most cruel death at the hands of the savages, aroused the people of all the county south of the Gila, and nothing was talked of, nothing was thought of, but vengence upon the Apaches.
“Lieutenant Howard B. Cushing was most active at this time, and kept his troop moving without respite. There were fights, and ambuscades, and attacks upon Indian rancherias, and night marches without number, several very successful. When the work oxen of the Texans above referred to were run off, the Apaches took them over the steepest, highest and rockiest part of the Sierra Santa Catalina. Cushing followed closely, guided by Manuel Duran and others. Progress was necessarily slow on account of the difficulties of the trail. The only result of the pursuit, however, was the recovery of the meat of the stock which the Apaches had killed when they reached the canyons under Trumbull's Peak. Three of Cushing's party were hurt in the ensuing fight, and several of the Indians were killed and wounded.”’’
“On the 5th of May, 1871, Lieutenant Howard B. Cushing, Third Cavalry, with several civilians and three soldiers, was killed by the Chiricahua Apaches, under their famous chief, Cochise, at the Bear Springs, in the Whetstone Mountains, about thirty-five miles from Tucson and about the same distance to the east of old Camp Crittenden. Cushing's whole force numbered twenty-two men, the larger part of whom was led into an ambuscade in the canyon containing the spring. The fight was a desperate one, and fought with courage and great skill on both sides. Our forces were surrounded before a shot had been fired; and it was while Cushing was endeavoring to lead his men back that he received the wounds which killed him. Had it not been for the courage and good judgment displayed by Sergeant John Mott, who had seen a good deal of service against the Apaches, not one of the command would have escaped alive out of the canyon. Mott was in command of the rear-guard, and, in coming up to the assistance of Lieutenant Cushing, detected the Apaches moving behind a low range of hills to gain Cushing's rear. He sent word ahead, and that induced Lieutenant Cushing to fall back. After Cushing dropped, the Apaches made a determined charge and came upon our men hand to hand. The little detachment could save only those horses and mules which were ridden at the moment the enemy made the attack, because the men who had dismounted to fight on foot were unable
“Inside of forty-eight hours there were three troops of cavalry en route to Crittenden, and in pursuit of the Apaches, but no good could be effected. Major William J. Ross, at that time in command of Camp Crittenden, was most energetic in getting word to the various military commands in the southern part of the country, as well as in extending every aid and kindness to the wounded brought in by Mott.
“When the combined force had arrived at Bear Springs, there was to be seen every evidence of a most bloody struggle. The bodies of Lieutenant Cushing and comrades lay where they had fallen, stripped of clothing, which the Apaches always carried off from their victims. In all parts of the narrow little canyon were the carcasses of ponies and horses half-eaten by the coyotes and buzzards; broken saddles, saddlebags, canteens with bullet holes in them, pieces of harness and shreds of clothing scattered about, charred to a crisp in the flames which the savages had ignited in the grass to conceal their line of retreat.
“The Chiricahuas seemed to have ascended the canyon until they had attained the crest of the range in a fringe of pine timber; but no sooner did they pass over into the northern foothills than they broke in every direction, and did not re-unite until near our boundary line with Mexico, where their trail was struck and followed for several days by Major Gerald Russell of the Third Cavalry. They never halted until they regained the depths of the Sierra Madre, their chosen haunt, and towards which Russell followed them as long as his broken down animals could travel.
“Of the distinguished services rendered to Arizona by Lieutenant Cushing, a book might well be written. It is not intended to disparage anybody when I say that he had performed herculean and more notable work, perhaps, than had been performed by any other officer of corresponding rank, either before or since.”’’
Lieutenant Cushing was one of the best and bravest officers in Arizona, and his continued campaigns against the hostiles had had a telling effect. He was considered the most successful Indian fighter in the army; brave, energetic and tireless, he followed the foe to their strongholds and there attacked them with vigor and spirit, dealing them blows the savages could not withstand. In him Arizona lost one of her most worthy defenders; a man who, at this critical time, she could ill afford to part with. He was the Custer of Arizona, and it can be said of him: “It is a part of life and the mystery of fate, that
Lieutenant Cushing belonged to a family which won deserved renown during the Civil War. One of his brothers blew up the ram Albemarle; another died most heroically at his post of duty on the battlefield of Gettysburg; another, enlisted in the navy, died in the service.