Apache Wars History

Apache Wars History -One Last Time at Guadalupe Canyon

Apache Wars

The bullet went out through the body of the Apache warrior. He groaned in pain and held on tightly to his Springfield rifle, but it did not fall. Blood was oozing from the wound as Adelnitz fled from 7th Cavalry soldiers who had attacked his small camp. The shot put the other four Apaches in the camp on full alert. The only other warrior there, the nimble and somewhat infamous Masai, immediately ran down the rock-covered mountain and disappeared spotlessly from the soldiers’ bullets. The three Apache women chased the men and disappeared into rocks and brush.

This 19th-century confrontation was not so different from other brief, if violent, encounters between the military and the free-roaming Apaches of the Southwest. But what is more remarkable is the date – May 17, 1896, nearly 10 years after the Chiricahua Apache war leader Geronimo surrendered for the last time. The 7th Cavalry Attack took place in or near Guadalupe Canyon, which straddles the Arizona-New Mexico border and continues into Mexico. Based on the records available today, it is unclear whether the fighting took place in the Arizona Territory, the New Mexico Territory, or Mexico. No cross-border agreement existed in 1896 that would have allowed American troops to legally enter Mexico in pursuit of the renegade Apache. Contemporary newspapers speculated that the fighting took place in Mexico, and those reports drew the attention of the Adjutant General’s office in Washington, D.C., which sent a communication to the commander of the 7th Cavalry, Colonel Edwin Vos Sumner, with details of the location of the battle. was inquired about. . Sumner’s apparently similar response neither confirmed nor denied that the fighting took place in Mexico. Wherever the fighting took place, the soldiers involved were stationed in the Arizona Territory. The confrontation was the last battle in the last Apache campaign of the US Army.

Frederic S. Remington (1861-1909); A Dash for the Timber; 1889; Oil on canvas; Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas; 1961.381

Geronimo surrenders to the brig. General Nelson Miles in Skeleton Valley, Arizona Territory in September 1886 has generally been seen as the end of Apache hostilities. Actually, the government had announced only this much after his surrender. The conquered Apache were either settled on reservations or exiled by the government to serve their lives as prisoners of war in faraway places such as Florida. Nevertheless, small bands of freed Apache, often referred to by the military as ‘marauders’ or ‘hostiles’, continued to trouble the army until 1896. Author and historian Linda Sanchez, Lincoln, NM, who is considered an expert on the remnants of the Apache Band of the Sierra Madre in Mexico, notes that by the 1930s there were several violent confrontations on either side of the border. But the military was not involved in these confrontations with the so-called Bronco Apache; Instead, they were led by local authorities or vigilante groups such as the Francisco Fimbres campaign of the 1930s.

War was a way of life for the Apache, and they began fighting the Spaniards in the 1500s, followed by the Mexicans and, finally, the Americans. The conflict between the Apache and white explorers began in the early 1830s. The US military began actively fighting the Apache in the 1850s, and by the 1880s decades of white migration into and through Arizona territory sealed the fate of the Apache. The Indians resisted, but better weapons, an endless supply of soldiers and a relentless campaign to settle the land dashed the Apache’s hopes of being free as they had done for centuries. Brigadier General George Crook’s winter campaign of 1872–73 broke Indian resistance in the north-central Arizona region. Campaigns against Victoria and Geronimo in the 1870s and 1880s destroyed the last large-scale Apache resistance to settlers, which was once a predominantly Apache country. The last major skirmish on Arizona soil between the Army and the Apache took place on July 17, 1882, at the Big Dry Wash, north of today’s Payson. One cavalryman was killed, while about 16 Apaches fell that day.

In 1896, military officers asked the Adjutant General in Washington to increase the number of Indian Scouts from 40 to 70 in order to deal with small bands of roaming Apaches who continued the old lifestyle of raiding and free running. A small group of Chiricahuas—three men, three women and one boy—survived the night before Geronimo and Nyche’s band were brought to Skeleton Canyon to formally surrender to General Miles in September 1886. Ten years later, one of these would appear prominently in Chiricahua, Adelnitze, Guadalupe. Valley Battle.

The other warriors involved in that battle of May 1896, the Masai, were members of the Chihena Band of the Chiricahua Apache’s Loko. The Masai probably caused as much trouble as the scout-outlaw Apache Kid did, but much of the Masai’s work may have been blamed on the child. Born in the Arizona Territory around 1860, Apache Kidd became a scout for the Army and participated in the Battle of the Big Dry Wash, General Crook’s 1883 Sierra Madre discovery of Geronimo, and the 1885 Geronimo Campaign. After being caught in a row at the San Carlos Reservation in 1887, he escaped, but surrendered that June. While being taken to the Yuma Territorial Prison on November 2, 1889, the child was locked back and forth through the legal system before escaping again. He remained a fugitive for the rest of his life, although many took credit for killing him several times. and location. Contemporary accounts have Masai running with Apache Kidd several times. The Masai are frequently mentioned in military reports and newspapers from the 1890s, and are credited with killing many cowboys and miners.

According to Jason Betzinez’s I Fought with Geronimo, the Masai were being taken on a train with other Apache scouts in 1882 when they learned that their band leader, Loco, and others had run off the San Carlos reservation. Were and were going to Mexico. Masai jumped off the train. Four years later, he repeated the feat in a more famous escape. In September 1886, he escaped from the train that was sending him back east along with about 400 other peaceful Chiricahuas who were rounded up at Fort Apache. The Masai got off the Florida-bound train in Missouri and returned to the Arizona area on foot and alone. Sure, he was one of the last free Apache fighters, but when it comes to the Masai it’s hard to separate fact from fiction. A 1953 story claims he wiped out an entire Mexican cavalry unit ‘by bringing it into a shallow gorge just in time for a mountain cloudburst’.

Although the US Army was in the field from the early 1890s until 1896, the only battle with the Apaches occurred on March 7, 1890, when soldiers from the 4th and 10th Cavalry Regiments attacked a small band of Apaches on the Salt River. , 30 miles north of the Globe, Arizona Territory, killing two and capturing three. Troops pursued Masai, Apache Kidd and other Bronco Apaches in the early 1890s, but were never able to capture them. In the middle of the decade, Apache activity increased. The Bronco Apaches murdered Elizabeth Merrill and her father, Horatio Merrill, on December 3, 1895, near Solomonville, Arizona Territory, and on March 28, 1896, they killed Alfred Hands in their cabin on the eastern side of the Chiricahua Mountains. De Portal, Ariz.) Citizens and newspapers in the area claimed action by the military.

The army launched an offensive in April and May 1896 to pursue hostile Indians. As part of the campaign, Captain James M. Bell of the 7th Cavalry stationed at Fort Grant, Arizona Territory, sent First Lieutenant Sedgwick Rice to search for the heretics. Born in Minnesota, Rice became second lieutenant in October 1883, and then first lieutenant in May 1892, the month he was transferred to the 7th Cavalry.

Rice, accompanied by a detachment of three Indian Scouts and four soldiers, left a railroad stop and downtown San Simon station on the Southern Pacific Railroad on May 11, 1896. Rice and his men moved south, passing the Peloncillos, a mountain range that runs parallel to the Arizona-New Mexico border, until they crossed the trail of horses and Apache Indians on May 12. Scouts told Rice that there were five horses and three Indians ahead and that four of the five horses had rawhide and the other had iron boots. Scouts identified the Indian track as one men’s and two women’s tracks. Darkness was fast approaching, however, as the soldiers and scouts went into the camp for the night.

Early the next morning, Rice’s contingent continued to move south. A day later, on May 14, they reached a point where the trail turned away from the mountains and headed toward the Animas Valley in the New Mexico region – a clear route to Mexico that was historically used by the Apaches when They had fled to the United States. At that time, the command met some soldiers under Second Lieutenant Nathan King Avril, also of the 7th Cavalry, who were exploring the area. An 1890 West Point graduate who had been with the 7th for almost a year, Avril had engaged some Apaches in a skirmish six days earlier, the army’s first battle with the Apaches since 1890. His command remained in the hope of stopping the Indians. Rice headed to Avril’s camp in Guadalupe Canyon to meet him.

Guadalupe Canyon, a natural, protected pass leading from the Arizona Territory into Mexico, was long used by the Apaches as an escape route. Realizing its strategic importance, General Crook and others frequently stationed troops there. During the Jeronimo Campaign, in June 1885 a small rebellion in Guadalupe Canyon was attacked by some of Jeronimo’s warriors. After the Apache leader surrendered in Mexico in 1886, he returned to Arizona territory through Guadalupe Canyon under the protection of Lieutenant Charles Gatewood.

Before Rice could reach camp in Guadalupe Canyon, Avril climbed up and informed him that the Apache had crossed the border about three miles west of Cloverdale, a New Mexican border east of the Arizona Territory. There is a farm.

Rice’s and Avril’s combined forces now boarded together to see 7th Cavalry Lieutenant Edwin C. Bullock, who was camping nearby. That evening Rice sent a courier to inform his commanding officer of the day’s events and then prepared for the next movement by the troops. Rice believed that the Indians were still in the vicinity, and planned to scout Guadalupe Canyon and its surrounding mountains.

On the morning of May 15, Rice left camp with Avril and 10 men from Troop E, the 7th Cavalry, one enlisted man from Troop I, one from Troop C, and 10 Indian scouts. John H. Slaughter, former Cochise County Sheriff and now a principal rancher, joined the group, as did other citizens including Slaughter’s foreman at San Bernardino Ranch, Jesse Fisher. Slaughter knew the area well and joined Avril in his crackdown against the Apaches last week. During that scout, soldiers and civilians attacked an Apache camp and captured a small Apache girl, who had been taken to live with the slaughter at her farm. A few years later, this girl who died in a fire came to be known as Apache May.

Rice’s command received no sign of a Bronco Apache that day. Near evening, the weary men went to the camp for the night. However, Rice immediately decided to send scouts to see if they could locate the Apache camp. The scouts left, and on the morning of the 16th, they saw an Apache camp of two men and three women.

Among the scouts were several Western Apaches, including Sherman Curley, who, much later, told ethnographer Grenville Goodwin about the incident. Also on the trip, according to Curley, was the famous Apache Scout, Merejildo Grijalva, who was 56 in 1896 and had been a Scout since the 1860s. The years ahead of Grijalva may have explained Curley’s statement that Grijalva was ‘too fat to travel fast.’ Curley and another Apache scout went back to tell Rice about their find, while Grijalva and the others went into hiding.

Upon receiving Curley’s report, Rice told his men to climb up and ride swiftly towards the Apache camp. They went as far as they dared and waited for the cover of darkness. Rice, he said, tried to encircle the camp, which was not easy, as the Apaches’ were located in an extremely difficult position in one edge of the cliff, or rather on a summit, about halfway up a very steep mountain. The May 22, 1896 issue of the Tombstone Prospector newspaper described the area as having a ‘projective character… of vertical or upward dangling cliffs and a sudden drop, making it nearly impossible to get closer than a long-range shot.’

Avril, 12 soldiers, three Indian scouts and four civilians moved to a position north of the Apache camp. If the Apaches decided to flee in that direction, Rice wanted them there. Avril and his men broke away from the Slaughter’s group at the base of the mountain, to cover the east and west valleys that were off the mountain where the Apaches were located. It would take about five hours for Avril and his men to get into position.

After Avril’s party went into darkness, Rice, a soldier and seven Apache scouts moved closer to the Renegades’ camp. At 4 a.m. on May 17, Rice’s contingent reached a position only 250 yards above the Apache camp. They had a commanding view of the camp and waited to attack at sunrise.

The three Apache women below started walking, less than two hours after Rice and her men came into position. Women were easy targets, but Rice instructed her men to shoot only in self-defense. Apache scouts stated that if two men were killed the women would most likely surrender, so the wait continued. Finally, shortly before 7 a.m., one of the Indian men showed himself. It was Adelnitz, the warrior who fled for almost 10 years just before Geronimo and Naich surrendered. Adelnietze, now about 50 years old, was tall for an Apache, standing about 5 feet 10 inches. Rice reported that Adelnitz was apparently responding to an alarm call from one of the Apache women, who had traced Avril’s men down to the camp at the foot of the mountain. The tombstone prospector, probably depicting the fighting reported by his civilian informants, reported that a ‘warrior stood up and moved on…’

Avril had decided to move closer to the enemy camp, although it was almost dawn and not a good time to try to approach the unseen Apache. The lieutenant sent a sergeant and two other soldiers into a valley, and he led the others behind a peak, which he believed to be the rear of the Apache camp. According to Rice’s plan, Avril deployed his men to capture anyone who came down the mountain. In the cold before dawn, they waited for daylight.

Avril then saw a man on the next ridge on a high summit. According to Avril, one of the scouts informed him that it was an Apache woman—the lieutenant’s first concrete confirmation that the Apache camp was indeed there. Scouring the mountain through his field glasses, Avril saw the people he believed to be Rice and his men. He decided to move on to the next ridge. Avril chose a soldier to accompany her and then proceeded in the direction of the Apache woman. Others were ordered to keep their fire under control, so as not to alert the enemy.

Rice, however, prepared for action, and his men opened fire. Adelnitz took a shot, but with typical Apache strength and endurance, he ran down the mountain through a narrow opening in the rocks, followed by one or more Apache women. The Masai also began a hasty retreat from the camp, as the soldiers’ bullets came harmlessly off the rocks, which provided them with cover.

Rice assumed that the renegade would run straight at Avril and his men, as he had planned. But Rice did not know that Avril and Slaughter had parted ways at the base of the mountain and that many in Avril’s army were not in a good position to intercept a flight.

Avril later said that he could not get the scouts closer to the camp. In his report, he quoted his scouts as saying, ‘Camp here, we sit down, Chericahua [sic] listen to us….’ According to Avril, he forced a scout (Curley) to continue, but reported that the scout ‘moved too slowly and eventually refused to go forward, either through fear for himself or the rebels’. for fear of scaring.’ Curly provided a slightly different account; He reported difficulty following the trail: ‘Just by itself, without the help of another scout, it was going slow. They should have sent two or three scouts with me to help.’

Avril and his accompanying soldier had barely made the valley floor, hearing Rice’s shots from above. Shots followed the three Apache women straight towards Avril, but according to Avril, she was frightened by Curley’s ‘into the air’ rifle firing. Scout saw things differently. He reported that as the renegade Indians ran to the foot of the hill, they tried to point them at Avril, but the lieutenant could not see them. Therefore, it was only up to Curley to fire at them. Anyway, the women took cover in rocky formations. In his official report, Avril pleaded guilty to failing to get Curley in the correct position and to warn Apache with his rifle. He also expressed dissatisfaction with the scout who had gone with the slaughter and his men.

As Avril watched the Apaches run down the mountain, Rice and his men were in hot pursuit. The renegade fled to the shore valleys, and the soldiers and scouts could pick up only one trace – the very bloody trail left by Adelnitz. Apache scouts found Adelnitz’s rifle, a short barrel in an 1873 Springfield, and a pair of field glasses, bow and arrow, moccasins, and some clothing. The Tombstone Prospector reported that these items were found in the camp where Adelnitz was first shot, and that soldiers and scouts followed his trail to the spot where ‘the ground was covered in blood’ and there were Apache leggings ”. It was full of blooded.

Although Adelnitz was not found, the scouts assured Rice that he was dead or would soon be, as an Apache would never drop his all-important leggings. Avril put on the leggings and later presented one of them with an arrow recovered from the camp to the editor of the prospector.

The search for the wounded Adelnitze was finally called off, with scouts traveling for 48 hours without rest or much food or water. Soldiers and civilians were moving during those 20 hours. In the Apache camp, soldiers found two stolen horses, one of which belonged to John Slaughter. They also recovered clothing they suspected belonged to Elizabeth Merrill, the woman who had been murdered in December 1895.

Rice and his men returned in their horses and packs, abandoned in a valley several miles away the night before. They then went to Lieutenant Bullock’s Guadalupe Canyon Camp for the night. Rice instructs Avril to continue the search for the wounded Apache (Adelnitze) with the command of Apache Avril having previously reported the shooting. According to newspaper reports, Avril and his men eventually find Adelnitze, who was actually dead, as had been predicted by the scouts. They also found the body of an Apache man killed in a previous battle in May.

The two fights in May were the main confrontations of the Apache campaign of 1896. After the May 17 Battle, the U.S. The military strengthened its forces along the border, signed a cross-border agreement with Mexico, and sent patrols to Mexico in June, July, and August. Another battle came to a close in June when troops working under the frontier broke into an Apache camp and captured some of the camps. No Apaches were injured or killed, and apparently no shots were fired. According to newspaper reports, Apache scouts gave a warning call that allowed the Apache adults to flee the camp just before the attack began. Since there was no gunfight in that June attack, Guadalupe Canyon can be seen as the last battle between US forces and free-roaming Apaches. Subsequent hunts of the renegade Apache over the years would include civilians from outside Mexico or just north of the border.

Major General Nelson Miles approved of what happened at the Battle of Guadalupe Canyon. In a telegraphic dispatch on June 6, 1896, Miles’ adjutant general wrote on behalf of his boss: ‘The Major-General in command of the army greatly appreciates the skill, patience and perseverance of the soldiers … and has so far achieved The success made … . Miles’ praise for members of the 7th Cavalry came 20 years after the unit’s monumental defeat against the North Plains Indians at Little Bighorn, and six years after the 7th Cavalry’s so-called Revenge on Wounded Knee.

John Slaughter was elected to the Arizona Legislature 11 years after the 1896 Apache campaign. He was also named deputy sheriff, and he held that honorary title until his death in 1922. Slaughter is buried in Douglas, Ariz., and his Slaughter Ranch (San Bernardino Ranch) is a National Historic Landmark. His foreman, Jesse Fisher, was killed at Slaughter Ranch by a Mexican outlaw in 1921. Jesse’s son, Edward Fisher, still lives in Douglas and remembers sitting on John Slaughter’s lap as a young boy.

Lieutenant Avril served in the Arizona Territory until 1898, and then participated in the Spanish–American War, during which he was noted for gallantry and recommended for a brevet. Avril married Mary B. Bradley in New York on July 23, 1901, and they had five children. After serving in the Philippines in 1905–06, he was appointed military attaché to the Russian Court in St. Petersburg. Averill’s October 1947 visit to Albany, N.Y. died in His grandson, Michael Crimmins, is a Catholic priest in New York who, as a young boy, vaguely remembers his grandfather. Avril’s granddaughter, Katherine Sims, lives in Connecticut.

Lieutenant Rice briefly lived in the Arizona Territory and served as an acting Indian agent on the San Carlos Reservation in 1898. He became a major in the 48th U.S. Volunteer Infantry in 1899 and respectfully dropped out in 1901. After that, he became a captain in the 3rd Cavalry and served in the Philippines and Fort Leavenworth. He died on February 15, 1925, in Fort Brown, Texas.

The Masai, Apache warriors who survived the Guadalupe Canyon attack, symbolized the plight of the liberated Apaches after the end of the Apache Wars, continuing the old ways until a group of cowboys took them to Chloride, New Mexico in September 1906. Did not kill near the area. Because people thought it was Apache Kidd who died that day, the area became known as the Apache Kidd Wilderness. Merezildo Grijalva, the old Apache scout, lapsed into obscurity after the turn of the century. He died on April 5, 1912 at his Arizona farm near Solomonville. Scout Sherman Curley died in January 1934.

The Battle at Guadalupe Canyon on May 17, 1896, was a very dramatic end to the Apache Wars, but it had many elements that were standard during those wars – the use of Apache scouts, fruitless pursuits of an entire day, the approach of night to Apache’s camp and dawn. to attack. Furthermore, the 7th Cavalry had fought again, inflicting sole casualties (Adelnitze) and performing well – at least in the eyes of General Miles. All that is not known what the Masai thought about it.


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