Early in the summer of 1882 Crook was reassigned to the command of the Department of Arizona. He took up his duties at Whipple Barracks, Prescott, September 4. During the years of his absence all the good work he had accomplished in Arizona at the cost of so much blood and toil had been torn down. Conditions could scarcely be worse than he found them. The Chiricahuas were all in the Sierra Madre on the warpath; many of the Indians on the reservation were hostile–ready to break out in case of the slightest exciting disturbance; all were miserable, sullen, distrustful.
Within a week after reaching his headquarters, Crook was once more in the saddle, steering his stout mule eastward toward the deep and gloomy canyons and forests around Fort Apache. In these remote places he met and talked both with those openly hostile and those still firmly loyal in spite of their distrust and discontent. He knew all these Indians personally, and the Indians of all conditions and tempers knew him–knew him and trusted him. What Crook wanted now was to get exactly and fully the point of view of the Apaches themselves; to reassure them as to his good and just intentions toward them; and to give stern warning to those among them who were determined to make trouble that he intended to handle them with a glove of steel. On this tour Crook took with him only Captain John G. Bourke and C. E. Cooley as interpreter, Al Sieber the scout, and Surgeon J. O. Sikinner. He met everywhere influential bands and leaders, hostile as well as friendly, in conferences where all that was said was taken down in formal fashion and put on paper. He had private talks, also, with scores of the Indians at Fort Apache, San Carlos, and other places. He found that the Indians were much more timid and cautious in what they said in council when what they uttered was set down on paper than in private conversations. He found out that the words and actions of the various Government officials placed over them were so contradictory that the Indians were in doubt about everything and did not know what to believe. They were constantly being told by one person or another that they were to be disarmed, were to be attacked by troops, were to be sent away from their own country, etc., etc.; and as a result many of them had decided that they had better die fighting like men than be crushed under foot or driven out.
There were both pathos and humor in the remarks of some of Crook’s old-time friends now in all but open rebellion. Said Alchise: “The officers you had here were all taken away, and new ones came in–a different kind. . . . We couldn’t make out what they wanted; one day they seemed to want one thing, the next day something else. . . . The agent at the San Carlos never gave us any rations, but we did not mind that, as we were taking care of ourselves. One day the agent at the San Carlos sent up and said that we must give up our own country and our corn patches and go down there to live, and he sent Indian soldiers to seize our women and children and drive us all down to that hot land. ‘Uc’lenni’ and I were doing all we could to help the whites, when we were both put in the guard-house. All that I have ever done has been true and honest. I have always been true and obeyed orders. I made campaigns against Apache-Yumas, Apache-Tontos, Pinaleños, and all kinds of people, and even went against my own people. When the Indians broke out at the San Carlos, when Major Randall was here, I helped him to go fight them; I have been in all the campaigns. When Major Randall was here we were all happy. . . . Where has he gone? Why don’t he come back? . . . Oh, where is my friend, the captain with the big mustache which he always pulled? Why don’t he come back? He was my brother and I think of him all the time.” 1Bourke John G. On the Border with Crook, p. 436.
After his many and extended conferences with the Indians Crook was satisfied that, in all manner of ways, they had been treated unjustly and outrageously by dishonest agents and scheming citizens. In his report to the Department of War, he writes: “The simple story of their wrongs, as told by various representatives of their bands, under circumstances that convinced me they were speaking the truth, satisfied me that the Apaches had not only the best of reasons for complaining, but had displayed remarkable forbearance in remaining at peace.” Five different times the limits of the reservation had been cut down. The copper camps of Globe and McMillenville on the west and Clifton on the east had encroached upon the territory allotted to the Indians. Coal mines and a silver mine had been discovered near the south extremity of the reservation, and speculators, in connivance with the agent, were doing their best to get control of these properties for their own enrichment. “The agent had approached a circle of twenty of the chiefs and head men assembled at the San Carlos and offered each of them a small bag containing one hundred dollars–Mexican–and told them that they must agree to sign a paper, giving up all the southern part of the reservation, or troops would be sent to kill them.” 2Bourke John G. On the Border with Crook, p. 441. At the north limit of the reservation Mormon settlers had encroached on fields already planted by the Apaches at Forestdale. In these greedy attempts of white men to grab territory that did not belong to them the interest of the Indians was never taken into account. All this, and much more of like damnable import, Crook brought to light in his preliminary inquiries.
When Crook returned to Arizona, the civil agent at San Carlos was P. P. Willcox. However, full control of the Indians on the reservation was placed in Crook’s hands. The sole duty of the agent was the rationing of the Indians. There were at that time five thousand Apaches on the reservation. Four thousand were settled near the agency at San Carlos, and one thousand White Mountain Apaches had been allowed to remain in the neighborhood of Fort Apache. Both Willcox and Colonel Beaumont, his clerk, a former Civil War officer, an able and honorable gentleman, cooperated harmoniously with Crook and his representatives.
The General now set about his program of reconstruction. He drove off all squatters and miners who could not show dear right and title to be on the reservation, boldly and strenuously resisted further efforts to cut down the limits of the reservation, and squelched the disturbing talk about removing the Apaches to the Indian Territory. He caused a complete census to be taken of every Indian able to bear arms, and made it obligatory for each one to have constantly on his person a metal tag whereon should be written his number and a letter to indicate his band. On the census roll, opposite each name, a description must be written to correspond with the tag. It was required that, for the present, the Indians be counted at frequent intervals. He made it dear to them that all this was done for their own protection, as in this way they could prove at any time, if ill-disposed white men accused them of committing depredations off of the reservation, that they were not guilty. Crook told them that as soon as they had convinced him that they could be trusted, the roll call would be infrequent, and promised them that the different bands, under the direction of the Army officer placed over them, could go where they pleased on the reservation to select for themselves the places to plant the crops they would be expected to raise for their own support. He notified them sternly that a stop would be put to the making of tizwin. In the spring of 1883, when new scouts were enlisted, they were placed on a different basis from the one used in the past. When not engaged in scouting expeditions on the war trail, they were to be assigned to duty among their respective bands to direct and advise their people and to keep the military officers informed concerning their progress and behavior. Crook’s dictum, in brief, was that they should “live among their own people and control them just as we control ours.”
October 5, as soon as Crook returned from his intimate survey of conditions on the reservation, he issued a general order in which he said, “Officers and soldiers serving in this department are reminded that one of the fundamental principles of the military character is justice to all–Indians as well as white men–and that disregard of this principle is likely to bring about hostilities and cause the death of the very persons whom they are sent here to protect.
“In all their dealings with the Indians, officers must be careful not only to observe the strictest fidelity, but to make no promises not in their power to carry out; all grievances, arising within their jurisdiction, should be redressed, so that an accumulation of them may not cause an outbreak. Grievances, however petty, if permitted to accumulate, will be like embers that smoulder and eventually break into flame.
“When officers are applied to for the employment of force against Indians, they should thoroughly satisfy themselves of the necessity for the application, and of the legality of compliance therewith, in order that they may not, through the inexperience of others, or through their own hastiness, allow the troops under them to become the instruments of oppression.
“There must be no division of responsibility in this matter; each officer will be held to a strict accountability that his actions have been fully authorized by law and justice, and that Indians evincing a desire to enter upon a career of peace shall have no cause for complaint through hasty or injudicious acts of the military.”
October 15, at San Carlos, and again, November 2, Crook called into council the chief representatives of the various bands on the reservation and made known to them in terse and simple language his plans for them and the rules by which they were to conduct themselves in future. The Indian Agent was present at the conference of November 2, and the following officers reported to him there: Captain Emmet Crawford, Lieutenant Charles B. Gatewood, and Lieutenant Britton Davis. To Crawford was committed full military control of the reservation, with headquarters at San Carlos; Gatewood was stationed at Fort Apache and given particular supervision of the White Mountain Apache; and Davis was assigned to duty at San Carlos as assistant to Crawford and commander of the Apache scouts there. They were listed as on detached service and were to report directly to Crook. No braver, more honorable, more competent soldiers ever had dealings with American Indians than General Crook and these three young officers into whose hands he now committed the affairs of the reservation. All four of them have achieved lasting fame in the history of the Army and the literature of the Southwest for their resolute and just, yet gentle and humane, dealings with these fierce, misguided, mistreated Apaches.
Crook’s plans worked out well. One hundred and seventynine families in the spring of 1883 moved from the hot, flat San Carlos region to the cool mountain valleys around Fort Apache, Cibicu, and Carizo. They were encouraged to farm and raise stock. They produced crops ten times as large as those of the previous year, and cut and sold to the quartermaster four hundred tons of hay and three hundred cords of wood, for all of which they received good pay. They behaved themselves well. There were no more cases of evil-doing and consequent punishment than among the same number of civilized people. Said Crawford in his annual report: “These Indians will require nothing from the Government after they gather their crops”; and Crook wrote in his report: “From the date of my arrival in this Territory until the latter part of March, there was not a single outrage or depredation committed on Arizona soil, either by reservation Indians or renegades.”
It was, after all, the outlaw Chiricahua and Warm Spring Indians, some five hundred strong, in the wild, high mountains of northern Mexico that gave Crook and everybody else in Arizona the greatest anxiety. The General was convinced, from information he had been able to pick up on the reservation, that these turbulent absentees would cross the border before long to make trouble in Arizona. He lost no time in taking what precautions were possible. Even before mid-October, with two staff officers, an interpreter, and half a dozen Apache scouts, he rode to the extreme southeastern corner of the Territory and sent out his scouts into the mountain ranges to try to get some news of them. But no trace could be found of them. He was, however, none the less confident that sooner or later they would make a mid into Arizona; so he began at once to get his pack trains into tiptop order. In the art of the pack train he was now, as ever, supreme; and in the pursuit of hostile Apaches the only hope of success and salvation resided in the pack train.
For the strenuous work ahead of him Crook enlisted five companies of Indian scouts. Usually a company of scouts consisted of twenty-six privates, two sergeants, and two corporals, but in the expectation of a campaign in Mexico, the companies now enlisted were much larger. Sergeants and corporals were chosen from the chiefs and other leading men of the tribe; and so far as possible the personnel of a particular company was drawn from the same band. Seven scouts were selected to serve as a secret-service force–very dangerous duty assigned only to the most discreet and trustworthy Indians on the reservation. Two of the seven were women. They had no part in military expeditions; their duty was to note and report secretly to Crawford and Gatewood any sign of mutiny, hostility, or unrest. Al Sieber was made chief of scouts and Sam Bowman and Archie MacIntosh served with him as assistants and masters of the pack trains. The ill-starred Mickey Free (adopted son of the Irishman, John Ward) was attached to the organization as interpreter with the rank of a first sergeant. A chapter might well be devoted to extended characterizations of these four remarkable men, each of whom bore a significant part in Apache affairs during the seventies and eighties. As soon as the enlistment and organization of the scouts had been completed, the five pack trains in the department were ordered to San Carlos to be reorganized and equipped. Each train consisted of forty pack mules, and to each unit was assigned a chief packer and ten assistants. When these five pack trains had been whipped into shape under Crook’s own vigilant eye, it goes without saying they represented the very top notch of what pack trains should be.
By late October all was in readiness for active campaigning. Small garrisons had been called in from scattered positions and located at strategic central points where they could be used to the greatest advantage in case of emergency. Crawford, with three companies of Indian scouts, had been ordered to take station in the neighborhood of Cloverdale, New Mexico, and from that point to patrol the border westward. He sent his spies far south into Mexico in search of some trace of the renegades, but none was found. All remained quiet in Arizona up to late March, 1883. Then came the anticipated irruption. Two raiding parties left their remote strongholds in the Sierra Madre–one under Geronimo with about fifty warriors to harry Sonora and steal stock; a band of twenty-six under Chatto to secure ammunition in Arizona.
Chatto’s raid was cyclonic in swiftness and destructiveness. His party crossed the border southwest of Fort Huachuca, March 21. That evening they killed four men at a charcoal camp. The next evening three men near the Total Wreck mine, west of the Whetstone Mountains, suffered a like fate. That night the party crossed the San Pedro River and the Southern Pacific railroad near Benson. Two men were killed at Point of Mountain on the twenty-third. The raiders now broke up into small parties. A main trail led across the Pinaleño Range into the San Simon Valley, thence northward to the Gila Valley, and near Ash Springs, crossed into New Mexico–not later than March 27. March 28 Judge McComas and his family were killed on the road between Silver City and Lordsburg and their small son was carried away. Chatto was in Arizona not more than six days. During that time he traveled about four hundred miles. Nothing that alert and experienced generalship, supported by the prompt and indefatigable efforts of brave veteran soldiers, could do was left undone in the attempt to catch and punish the raiders; but not a soldier got a glimpse of a single hostile during the six-day raid, and Chatto rode triumphantly back into the mountains of Mexico. He returned, however, without any additional supply of ammunition.
On March 24 Crook had telegraphed Britton Davis, temporarily in command at San Carlos, notifying him that a band of renegades had crossed the border and cautioning him to be on the alert for them. When the news of the raid was made known to the Indians who daily frequented the agency, they instantly betook themselves to their respective villages, brought out arms and ammunition that the officers had no knowledge they possessed, and prepared to fight the hostiles in case they should appear. Some of the Tontos volunteered to do outpost duty in the mountains. It was supposed that the object of the raiders was to persuade disaffected Indians on the reservation to join them and, in particular, to replenish their supply of ammunition. On the night of March 28 Davis received a telegram informing him of the McComas tragedy. He was in constant suspense and for days had been able to get little rest. At midnight, March 30, he had barely dropped to sleep when he was awakened by the slight creaking of his door to find confronting him an armed Indian. He reached instantly for his revolver; but the intruder was no enemy; he was a secret-service man. He informed Davis in an excited whisper that the Chiricahuas had come. Word had reached this scout that they were in the village of some White Mountain Apaches who lived about fourteen miles from San Carlos. Davis called in the scouts near the agency, and in the starlight led the way to within half a mile of the White Mountain Camp and waited for day to break. He advanced cautiously upon the camp at dawn. None of the people were in sight, but the Indian first sergeant called out to them. A man’s voice replied from one of the wickiups. It was that of Tzoe–a member of the raiding band, but not a willing one. He was not a Chiricahua but a White Mountain Apache married to a Chiricahua. He had been forced to go with the Chiricahuas when last they fled into Mexico, and he was here now trying to get news about his mother and his family. Because he had a certain rosiness of complexion, the soldiers always called this Indian “Peaches.” He seemed glad to give himself up. From him and from others of the party captured later, Davis learned the details of the raid. He said that with Chatto was the subchief Benito; that during the six days they were in Arizona they traveled about four hundred miles; that they were armed with the latest Winchesters; that they repeatedly changed their mounts from horses stolen at ranches along the way; and that Chatto got no sleep during the raid except what he could snatch on horseback, since he stood guard whenever the party stopped to rest.
Even before Chatto’s raid, Crook had been pushing preparations for a strong expedition into the Sierra Madre. March 31 he received orders from the General of the Army to pursue the raiders without regard to Army Department or national boundary lines. Crook telegraphed to Davis to ask if “Peaches” could be induced to lead the expedition into the mountain haunts of the hostiles. Tzoe willingly agreed to assume this most dangerous task. 3I met and interviewed Tzoe in the summer of 1933 at his home on Cibicu Creek. His hut, a sort of combination ramada and shack, was located on the site of the Battle of Cibicu fought in August, 1891. “Peaches” was then a very old man and was ill. He died about a year later. He was able to give interesting details concerning his part in the events here narrated.
As a preliminary to his campaign in Mexican territory, Crook journeyed by rail to both Sonora and Chihuahua in order to have a clear understanding with the civil and military officers of these states. He was received kindly and hospitably and was promised full cooperation in his determined attempt to subjugate the Chiricahuas. May 1 Crook left San Barnardino Springs on the international border with one hundred and ninety-three Apache scouts, forty-five cavalrymen, and two pack trains. The other officers in the expedition were Captains Crawford, Chaffee, and Bourke, and Lieutenants Gatewood, West, MacKay, Fieberger, and W. W. Forsyth. Dr. George Andrews went as surgeon, J. B. Sweeney as hospital stewad, Sieber as chief of scouts., MacIntosh as his assistant, and Mickey Free and Severiano as interpreters. Every pack animal in the Department was used. Provisions were carried sufficient to last for sixty days, and every man was provided with one hundred and fifty rounds of ammunition. The officers messed with the packers, and clothing and bedding were reduced to the minimum.
The command moved southwestward for three days without seeing a human being. The whole region through which they marched had been ravaged by the Apaches. Moving now only at night, May 8, they entered the Sierra Madre. Here were found fresh and abundant signs of the hostiles–abandoned camps that gave evidence they had recently been occupied by families of from fifteen to forty, and cattle and horses both living and dead all along the route. No rougher terrain could be imagined, “hopeless for any kind of campaigning other than with Indians afoot.” It was a paradise, however, for those who could reach it and inhabit it. Says Crook: “We found at all times an abundance of the purest water and plenty of fuel, the mountains being covered with forests of pine and oak. We made our way cautiously, and with considerable difficulty farther and farther into the recesses of the Sierra Madre, the trail becoming very precipitous. A number of mules were lost by slipping over precipices, but in each case the contents of their packs, when not too much damaged, were saved with much trouble.
“On the 12th, the guide ‘Peaches’ conducted us to the stronghold of the enemy, a formidable place, impregnable to attack, had such been dreamed of. To be explicit, the whole Sierra Madre is a natural fortress, and to drive the Chiricahuas from which, by any other method than those we employed, would have cost hundreds of lives. The enemy was not to be found in this particular fortress. The nature of the Apache impels them to change their camps every few days, and thus avoid as much as possible anything like a surprise.”
On May 15 the scouts, led by Gatewood, found the camp of Chatto and Benito. These two chiefs were absent at the time. The camp was located halfway up the front of a very steep mountain, cut by ravines and arroyos. The attack by Crook’s scouts came as a complete surprise. A fight ensued that lasted seven hours. The Indians were defeated and the camp was captured. Nine renegades were killed and five half-grown children captured. About forty mules and horses were taken and other property, all of which had been stolen from Mexicans or Americans. When the attack was made, some of the women had fled into the thick undergrowth taking with them a captive white boy whom Crook believed to be Charlie McComas. He was not recovered and his fate has never been known. The oldest of the girls who had been captured by the scouts said that only a few days before two messengers had been sent to San Carlos to find out whether the renegades would be allowed to return to the reservation. She said she knew her people wanted to make peace and that, if permitted to do so, she would find a delegation of them and bring them in. She was given permission to go. The next day a signal smoke went up which heralded the approach of six women. Crook declined to talk with them. He said that if the hostiles wanted to surrender their chief men must come to him for a talk.
May 18 Chihuahua, one of the ablest and most intelligent leaders among the renegades, made his appearance. He said that hitherto they had thought these strongholds to be unapproachable; that never before had either Mexican or American soldiers been able to come beyond the foothills; that several of the chiefs were now out on raids into Sonora and Chihuahua, but that he was sure most of the Chiricahuas were very tired of constant war and would gladly settle down and be at peace.
Soon after this the scattered renegades began to come in-among them Loco, Nachez, Chatto, Geronimo, Benito, and Ka-ya-ten-nae, a very capable and popular young chief who had never been on a reservation but had always remained in the Sierra Madre. All of them wanted to surrender and go on the reservation. Geronimo, with thirty-six warriors, had been on a long raid in western Chihuahua. They had stolen hundreds of cattle and had been killing Mexicans all along the route. May 9 five Mexican women and a child had been captured. They had suffered cruel treatment for two weeks but had been abandoned to their fate and had found their way into the American camp. They said it had been Geronimo’s intention to exchange them for Apache women and children captured by the Mexicans; but that when he and his band found out that a large force of Apache scouts had penetrated into the Sierra Madre they were so alarmed that they released them and also abandoned three hundred head of cattle they had rounded up during their raid.
When these leading chiefs came before him and made known their desire to go back to the reservation, Crook sternly charged them with their bloody and innumerable crimes, and told them he had not gone to the trouble of coming there with this expedition merely to capture them, but to wipe them out. He told them that they were bad Indians and deserved to be exterminated; that if they wanted to fight he was able and ready to fight them at any time; that the Mexican troops, also, were approaching from every side; and that, if they thought they could do it, the best thing for them was to fight their way out. Several days passed before he would give his consent to their surrender. At the last the chiefs fairly besought him to take them back to San Carlos. He replied that he had no authority to place them on the reservation again; that both Army and civilians were demanding their utter destruction; and that the Mexicans, also, demanded satisfaction for the outrages committed against them. Geronimo and the others then said they would give themselves up and he could do as he pleased with them. They begged him to stay a few days until they could gather up all their people, so widely scattered and in places so difficult to reach that they could not be brought in at once. Crook could not do this as his rations were running so low that he feared, with the additional demands made upon him by the many Chiricahuas he was already feeding, his command might suffer before he could get back to his supply camp at the border.
It was finally agreed that the General should proceed toward the border, by short marches, with Nana, Loco, and Benito, and about fifty other men and two hundred and seventy-three women and children ready to start at once; and that runners should be sent out to get word to those who had not come in that they should come on and overtake Crook at San Bernardino or, failing in this, come on along the mountain ridges to San Carlos at their own risk. Crook reached his supply camp June 10, and the Chiricahuas were sent on to San Carlos in charge of Captain Crawford and the scouts, where they arrived June 23, 1883. It was supposed that it would be about “two moons” before the remaining chiefs and their one hundred and fifty followers would arrive at the border. In his report of July 23, 1883, Crook wrote: “The fact that the Indians left behind have not come in is a matter of no significance. Indians have no idea of the value of time. The members of Loco’s band who came into San Carlos in May last were sixty-six days in making the journey, though they had 40 or 50 miles less distance to travel than those whom I left in the Sierra Madre.” By way of comment on these words of the General, it is perhaps only fair to say that Geronimo’s tardiness in making his appearance was extremely significant as a mark of his despicable character, for he was taking his time in order to add to his large herd of stolen stock which he fondly hoped to trade to good advantage to reservation Indians when once more in their midst. The Indians who came in with the General were nearly all of the Warm Spring band. Most of the Chiricahuas were still behind, with their leaders Nachez, Mangus, Geronimo, Chatto, and Zele.
The months rolled by; October arrived; and still nothing was heard from the loitering Chiricahuas. Meantime, the newspapers of Arizona lost no opportunity to abuse Crook for bringing back these hostiles. “The telegraph wires were loaded with false reports of outrages, attacks, and massacres which had never occurred; these reports were scattered broadcast with the intention and in the hope that they might do him injury. Crook made no reply to these scurrilous attempts at defamation. . . . But he did order the most complete investigation to be made of each and every report, and in each and every case the utter recklessness of the authors of these lies was made manifest.” 4Bourke John G. On the Border with Crook, p. 454.
Britton Davis was now ordered to take station on the border with a company of Indian scouts to try to send word to the tardy chiefs to hurry up and protect them, also, on their march from the border to San Carlos. At San Bernardino he waited for weeks but was unable to get word from the delayed bands. Finally, there rode into camp Nachez and Zele with about twelve warriors and twenty-five women and children. They were all in prime condition and were riding Mexican ponies. Davis gave them swift and safe conduct to San Carlos. Then he returned to his camp, and after a wait of several more weeks Chatto and Mangus arrived with about sixty followers and a hundred stolen horses. Riding from thirty to forty miles a day, Davis delivered them at the agency without interference on the part of the whites.
No news had been received concerning Geronimo. So back to the border with his scouts rode Lieutenant Davis to await his coming. Six weeks passed and still there was no sign of him. Disgusted at the long delay, Davis was about to leave the border with his scouts, when one day in April, 1884, to the southward a great cloud of dust was seen approaching, and within a few hours Geronimo appeared, mounted on a white horse, accompanied by some fifteen men and seventy women and children, and behind him a herd of three hundred and fifty Mexican cattle. With his usual insolence he rode up to Davis, and wanted to know why he was to go into San Carlos under military guard. He insisted that they move very slowly so that his cattle could feed and rest along the way. At Sulphur Spring, in the ugliest of moods, he demanded that a three-day halt be made so that the cattle could rest and graze. With great difficulty Davis compromised on a halt of one day. But now something serious happened. The Collector of Customs from the port of entry at Nogales and the United States Marshal for the Southern District of Arizona made their appearance and demanded the arrest of Geronimo and his men for the murder of Arizona citizens, and the confiscation of the stock they had smuggled in from Mexico. Davis said he could not allow such action to be taken without a direct order from General Crook. The Marshal had no such order; but then and there he wrote out a subpoena and served it on Davis as a citizen of the United States, and ordered him to effect the arrest of the Indians. Davis was thus placed in an almost incredibly difficult situation–as between the domineering attitude of the fierce and faithless Geronimo and the demand of these reckless and stupid officers of the Federal Government. He was equal to the situation, however. At Fort Bowie was a young officer, J. Y. F. Blake, who had been Davis’ chum at West Point. Davis had written to him, naming the day he would be at Sulphur Spring and inviting him to ride over for a talk. To Davis’ delight Blake rode into camp at this moment of direst need; and like a flash there came to the mind of the perplexed officer a solution to his problem. He explained his predicament to Blake, reminded him that he was his senior in rank, besought him to take command, order him, Davis, to remain at Sulphur Spring subject to the orders of the United States Marshal, and, as soon as the civil officers and the cowboys were all asleep, to pull out with the pack train, the Apaches, and their stock, and make a rapid night march toward the reservation. Blake fell in with the plan at once. He and Davis spent a convivial evening with the Marshal and the Collector, in the course of which these patriots drank freely of Blake’s Scotch whisky. The seriousness and urgency of the situation was at once made known to Geronimo and he consented to slip away in the night. The officers slept long and deep; and when they awoke after sunrise, Geronimo with his entire outfit had been gone for many hours. Davis was on hand, but was unable to inform them of the direction taken by his superior officer and the Indians. The Marshal climbed to the roof of the house and surveyed the horizon in every direction, but there was no sign of a marching body within twenty miles. The chagrin of the two officers can better be imagined than described, when they discovered how adroitly they had been outwitted. Geronimo’s success in stealing his large herd of cattle and getting them to San Carlos availed him little; for he was forced to turn them over to the agency for beef, the Mexican owners in due time receiving pay for them from our Government.
Footnotes: [ + ]
|1.||↩||Bourke John G. On the Border with Crook, p. 436.|
|2.||↩||Bourke John G. On the Border with Crook, p. 441.|
|3.||↩||I met and interviewed Tzoe in the summer of 1933 at his home on Cibicu Creek. His hut, a sort of combination ramada and shack, was located on the site of the Battle of Cibicu fought in August, 1891. “Peaches” was then a very old man and was ill. He died about a year later. He was able to give interesting details concerning his part in the events here narrated.|
|4.||↩||Bourke John G. On the Border with Crook, p. 454.|