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Title: An Apache Campaign in the Sierra Madre - An Account of the Expedition in Pursuit of the Hostile Chiricahua Apaches in the Spring of 1883
Author: Bourke, John Gregory
Language: English
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[Illustration: CRAWFORD’S COLUMN MOVING TO THE FRONT.]


AN APACHE CAMPAIGN IN THE SIERRA MADRE.

An Account of the Expedition in Pursuit of the
Hostile Chiricahua Apaches in the
Spring of 1883.

by

JOHN G. BOURKE,

Captain Third Cavalry, U. S. Army,
Author of “The Snake Dance of the Moquis.”

Illustrated



New York
Charles Scribner’S Sons.
1886.

Copyright 1886,
By Charles Scribner’S Sons.

Press of J. J. Little & Co.,
Nos. 10 to 20 Astor Place, New York.



PREFACE.


The recent outbreak of a fraction of the Chiricahua Apaches, and the
frightful atrocities which have marked their trail through Arizona,
Sonora, New Mexico, and Chihuahua, has attracted renewed attention to
these brave but bloodthirsty aborigines and to the country exposed to
their ravages.

The contents of this book, which originally appeared in a serial
form in the _Outing Magazine_ of Boston, represent the details of
the expedition led by General Crook to the Sierra Madre, Mexico, in
1883; but, as the present military operations are conducted by the
same commander, against the same enemy, and upon the same field of
action, a perusal of these pages will, it is confidently believed,
place before the reader a better knowledge of the general situation
than any article which is likely soon to appear.

There is this difference to be noted, however; of the one hundred
and twenty-five (125) fighting men brought back from the Sierra
Madre, less than one-third have engaged in the present hostilities,
from which fact an additional inference may be drawn both of the
difficulties to be overcome in the repression of these disturbances
and of the horrors which would surely have accumulated upon the heads
of our citizens had the _whole_ fighting force of this fierce band
taken to the mountains.

One small party of eleven (11) hostile Chiricahuas, during the period
from November 15th, 1885, to the present date, has killed twenty-one
(21) friendly Apaches living in peace upon the reservation, and no
less than twenty-five (25) white men, women, and children. This
bloody raid has been conducted through a country filled with regular
troops, militia, and “rangers,”--and at a loss to the enemy, so far
as can be shown, of only one man, whose head is now at Fort Apache.

              JOHN G. BOURKE.

  APACHE INDIAN AGENCY,
  SAN CARLOS, ARIZONA,
  _December 15th, 1885_.



  LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


                                                        PAGE

  CRAWFORD’S COLUMN MOVING TO THE FRONT      _Frontispiece._

  APACHE VILLAGE SCENE                           to face   7

  APACHE WAR-DANCE                                        17

  APACHE INDIAN SCOUTS EXAMINING TRAILS BY NIGHT          23

  APACHE AWL-CASES, TOBACCO BAGS, ETC.                    26

  APACHE AMBUSCADE                                        34

  APACHE HEAD-DRESSES, SHOES, TOYS, ETC.                  49

  APACHE WEAPONS AND EQUIPMENTS                           64

  APACHE GIRL, WITH TYPICAL DRESS                         79

  APACHE WARFARE                                          88

  APACHE BASKET-WORK                                     100

  FIGHTING THE PRAIRIE FIRE                              107



AN APACHE CAMPAIGN.



I.


Within the compass of this volume it is impossible to furnish a
complete dissertation upon the Apache Indians or the causes which led
up to the expedition about to be described. The object is simply to
outline some of the difficulties attending the solution of the Indian
question in the South-west and to make known the methods employed
in conducting campaigns against savages in hostility. It is thought
that the object desired can best be accomplished by submitting an
unmutilated extract from the journal carefully kept during the whole
period involved.

Much has necessarily been excluded, but without exception it has
been to avoid repetition, or else to escape the introduction of
information bearing upon the language, the religion, marriages,
funeral ceremonies, etc., of this interesting race, which would
increase the bulk of the manuscript, and, perhaps, detract from its
value in the eyes of the general reader.

Ethnologically the Apache is classed with the Tinneh tribes, living
close to the Yukon and Mackenzie rivers, within the Arctic circle.
For centuries he has been preëminent over the more peaceful nations
about him for courage, skill, and daring in war; cunning in deceiving
and evading his enemies; ferocity in attack when skilfully-planned
ambuscades have led an unwary foe into his clutches; cruelty and
brutality to captives; patient endurance and fortitude under the
greatest privations.

In peace he has commanded respect for keen-sighted intelligence, good
fellowship, warmth of feeling for his friends, and impatience of
wrong.

No Indian has more virtues and none has been more truly ferocious
when aroused. He was the first of the native Americans to defeat in
battle or outwit in diplomacy the all-conquering, smooth-tongued
Spaniard, with whom and his Mexican-mongrel descendants he has waged
cold-blooded, heart-sickening war since the days of Cortés. When the
Spaniard had fire-arms and corselet of steel he was unable to push
back this fierce, astute aborigine, provided simply with lance and
bow. The past fifty years have seen the Apache provided with arms
of precision, and, especially since the introduction of magazine
breech-loaders, the Mexican has not only ceased to be an intruder
upon the Apache, but has trembled for the security of life and
property in the squalid hamlets of the States of Chihuahua and Sonora.

In 1871 the War Department confided to General George Crook the task
of whipping into submission all the bands of the Apache nation living
in Arizona. How thoroughly that duty was accomplished is now a matter
of history. But at the last moment one band--the Chiricahuas--was
especially exempted from Crook’s jurisdiction. They were not attacked
by troops, and for years led a Jack-in-the-box sort of an existence,
now popping into an agency and now popping out, anxious, if their
own story is to be credited, to live at peace with the whites, but
unable to do so from lack of nourishment.

When they went upon the reservation, rations in abundance were
promised for themselves and families. A difference of opinion soon
arose with the agent as to what constituted a ration, the wicked
Indians laboring under the delusion that it was enough food to
keep the recipient from starving to death, and objecting to an
issue of supplies based upon the principle according to which
grumbling Jack-tars used to say that prize-money was formerly
apportioned,--that is, by being thrown through the rungs of a
ladder--what stuck being the share of the Indian, and what fell
to the ground being the share of the agent. To the credit of the
agent it must be said that he made a praiseworthy but ineffectual
effort to alleviate the pangs of hunger by a liberal distribution
of hymn-books among his wards. The perverse Chiricahuas, not being
able to digest works of that nature, and unwilling to acknowledge
the correctness of the agent’s arithmetic, made up their minds to
sally out from San Carlos and take refuge in the more hospitable
wilderness of the Sierra Madre. Their discontent was not allayed by
rumors whispered about of the intention of the agent to have the
whole tribe removed bodily to the Indian Territory. Coal had been
discovered on the reservation, and speculators clamored that the land
involved be thrown open for development, regardless of the rights
of the Indians. But, so the story goes, matters suddenly reached a
focus when the agent one day sent his chief of police to arrest a
Chiricahua charged with some offense deemed worthy of punishment in
the guard-house. The offender started to run through the Indian camp,
and the chief of police fired at him, but missed his aim and killed a
luckless old squaw, who happened in range. This wretched marksmanship
was resented by the Chiricahuas, who refused to be comforted by
the profuse apologies tendered for the accident. They silently
made their preparations, waiting long enough to catch the chief of
police, kill him, cut off his head, and play a game of foot-ball with
it; and then, like a flock of quail, the whole band, men, women,
and children--710 in all--started on the dead run for the Mexican
boundary, one hundred and fifty miles to the south.

Hotly pursued by the troops, they fought their way across Southern
Arizona and New Mexico, their route marked by blood and devastation.
The valleys of the Santa Cruz and San Pedro witnessed a repetition
of the once familiar scenes of farmers tilling their fields with
rifles and shot-guns strapped to the plow-handle. While engaged in
fighting off the American forces, which pressed too closely upon
their rear, the Apaches were attacked in front by the Mexican column
under Colonel Garcia, who, in a savagely contested fight, achieved
a “substantial victory,” killing eighty-five and capturing thirty,
eleven of which total of one hundred and fifteen were men, and the
rest women and children. The Chiricahuas claim that when the main
body of their warriors reached the scene of the engagement the
Mexicans evinced no anxiety to come out from the rifle-pits they
hastily dug. To this fact no allusion can be found in the Mexican
commander’s published dispatches.

[Illustration: APACHE VILLAGE SCENE.]

The Chiricahuas, now reduced to an aggregate of less than 600--150
of whom were warriors and big boys, withdrew to the recesses of the
adjacent Sierra Madre--their objective point. Not long after this the
Chiricahuas made overtures for an armistice with the Mexicans, who
invited them to a little town near Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, for a
conference. They were courteously received, plied with liquor until
drunk, and then attacked tooth and nail, ten or twelve warriors being
killed and some twenty-live or thirty women hurried off to captivity.

This is a one-sided description of the affair, given by a Chiricahua
who participated. The newspapers of that date contained telegraph
accounts of a fierce battle and another “victory” from Mexican
sources; so that no doubt there is some basis for the story.

Meantime General Crook had been reassigned by the President to the
command of the Department of Arizona, which he had left nearly
ten years previously in a condition of peace and prosperity, with
the Apaches hard at work upon the reservation, striving to gain a
living by cultivating the soil. Incompetency and rascality, in the
interval, had done their worst, and when Crook returned not only
were the Chiricahuas on the war-path, but all the other bands of
the Apache nation were in a state of scarcely concealed defection
and hostility. Crook lost not a moment in visiting his old friends
among the chiefs and warriors, and by the exercise of a strong
personal influence, coupled with assurances that the wrongs of which
the Apaches complained should be promptly redressed, succeeded in
averting an outbreak which would have made blood flow from the
Pecos to the Colorado, and for the suppression of which the gentle
and genial tax-payer would have been compelled to contribute most
liberally of his affluence. Attended by an aid-de-camp, a surgeon,
and a dozen Apache scouts, General Crook next proceeded to the
south-east corner of Arizona, from which point he made an attempt
to open up communication with the Chiricahuas. In this he was
unsuccessful, but learned from a couple of squaws, intercepted
while attempting to return to the San Carlos, that the Chiricahuas
had sworn vengeance upon Mexicans and Americans alike; that
their stronghold was an impregnable position in the Sierra Madre,
a “great way” below the International Boundary; and that they
supplied themselves with an abundance of food by raiding upon the
cattle-ranches and “haciendas” in the valleys and plains below.

Crook now found himself face to face with the following intricate
problem: The Chiricahuas occupied a confessedly impregnable position
in the precipitous range known as the Sierra Madre. This position was
within the territory of another nation so jealous of its privileges
as not always to be able to see clearly in what direction its best
interests lay. The territory harassed by the Chiricahuas not only
stretched across the boundary separating Mexico from the United
States, but was divided into four military departments--two in
each country; hence an interminable amount of jealousy, suspicion,
fault-finding, and antagonism would surely dog the steps of him who
should endeavor to bring the problem to a solution.

To complicate matters further, the Chiricahuas, and all the other
Apaches as well, were filled with the notion that the Mexicans were
a horde of cowards and treacherous liars, afraid to meet them in war
but valiant enough to destroy their women and children, for whose
blood, by the savage’s law of retaliation, blood must in turn be
shed. Affairs went on in this unsatisfactory course from October,
1882, until March, 1883, everybody in Arizona expecting a return of
the dreaded Chiricahuas, but no one knowing where the first attack
should be made. The meagre military force allotted to the department
was distributed so as to cover as many exposed points as possible,
one body of 150 Apache scouts, under Captain Emmet Crawford, Third
Cavalry, being assigned to the arduous duty of patrolling the
Mexican boundary for a distance of two hundred miles, through a
rugged country pierced with ravines and cañons. No one was surprised
to learn that toward the end of March this skeleton line had been
stealthily penetrated by a bold band of twenty-six Chiricahuas, under
a very crafty and daring young chief named _Chato_ (Spanish for Flat
Nose).

By stealing fresh horses from every ranch they were successful in
traversing from seventy-five to one hundred miles a day, killing and
destroying all in their path, the culminating point in their bloody
career being the butchery of Judge McComas and wife, prominent and
refined people of Silver City, N. M., and the abduction of their
bright boy, Charlie, whom the Indians carried back with them on their
retreat through New Mexico and Chihuahua.

It may serve to give some idea of the courage, boldness, and subtlety
of these raiders to state that in their dash through Sonora, Arizona,
New Mexico, and Chihuahua, a distance of not less than eight hundred
miles, they passed at times through localities fairly well settled
and close to an aggregate of at least 5,000 troops--4,500 Mexican and
500 American. They killed twenty-five persons, Mexican and American,
and lost but two--one killed near the Total Wreck mine, Arizona, and
one who fell into the hands of the American troops, of which last
much has to be narrated.

To attempt to catch such a band of Apaches by _direct_ pursuit would
be about as hopeless a piece of business as that of catching so many
fleas. All that could be done was done; the country was alarmed
by telegraph; people at exposed points put upon their guard, while
detachments of troops scoured in every direction, hoping, by good
luck, to intercept, retard, mayhap destroy, the daring marauders.
The trail they had made coming up from Mexico could, however, be
followed, _back_ to the stronghold; and this, in a military sense,
would be the most _direct_, as it would be the most practical pursuit.

Crook’s plans soon began to outline themselves. He first
concentrated at the most eligible position on the Southern Pacific
Railroad--Willcox--all the skeletons of companies which were
available, for the protection of Arizona.

Forage, ammunition, and subsistence were brought in on every
train; the whole organization was carefully inspected, to secure
the rejection of every unserviceable soldier, animal, or weapon;
telegrams and letters were sent to the officers commanding the
troops of Mexico, but no replies were received, the addresses of the
respective generals not being accurately known. As their co-operation
was desirable, General Crook, as a last resort, went by railroad to
Guaymas, Hermosillo, and Chihuahua, there to see personally and
confer with the Mexican civil and military authorities. The cordial
reception extended him by all classes was the best evidence of the
high regard in which he was held by the inhabitants of the two
afflicted States of Sonora and Chihuahua, and of their readiness
to welcome any force he would lead to effect the destruction or
removal of the common enemy. Generals Topete and Carbó--soldiers of
distinction--the governors of the two States, and Mayor Zubiran,
of Chihuahua, were most earnest in their desire for a removal of
savages whose presence was a cloud upon the prosperity of their
fellow-citizens. General Crook made no delay in these conferences,
but hurried back to Willcox and marched his command thence to the
San Bernardino springs, in the south-east corner of the Territory
(Arizona).

But serious delays and serious complications were threatened by the
intemperate behavior of an organization calling itself the “Tombstone
Rangers,” which marched in the direction of the San Carlos Agency
with the avowed purpose of “cleaning out” all the Indians there
congregated. The chiefs and head men of the Apaches had just caused
word to be telegraphed to General Crook that they intended sending
him another hundred of their picked warriors as an assurance and
pledge that they were not in sympathy with the Chiricahuas on the
war-path. Upon learning of the approach of the “Rangers” the chiefs
prudently deferred the departure of the new levy of scouts until the
horizon should clear, and enable them to see what was to be expected
from their white neighbors.

The whiskey taken along by the “Rangers” was exhausted in less
than ten days, when the organization expired of thirst, to the
gratification of the respectable inhabitants of the frontier, who
repudiated an interference with the plans of the military commander,
respected and esteemed by them for former distinguished services.

At this point it may be well to insert an outline of the story told
by the Chiricahua captive who had been brought down from the San
Carlos Agency to Willcox. He said that his name was Pa-nayo-tishn
(the Coyote saw him); that he was not a Chiricahua, but a White
Mountain Apache of the Dest-chin (or Red Clay) clan, married to two
Chiricahua women, by whom he had had children, and with whose people
he had lived for years. He had left the Chiricahua stronghold in the
mountain called Pa-gotzin-kay some five days’ journey below Casas
Grandes in Chihuahua. From that stronghold the Chiricahuas had been
raiding with impunity upon the Mexicans. When pursued they would draw
the Mexicans into the depths of the mountains, ambuscade them, and
kill them by rolling down rocks from the heights.

The Chiricahuas had plenty of horses and cattle, but little food of a
vegetable character. They were finely provided with sixteen-shooting
breech-loading rifles, but were getting short of ammunition, and
had made their recent raid into Arizona, hoping to replenish their
supply of cartridges. Dissensions had broken out among the chiefs,
some of whom, he thought, would be glad to return to the reservation.
In making raids they counted upon riding from sixty to seventy-five
miles a day as they stole fresh horses all the time and killed
those abandoned. It would be useless to pursue them, but he would
lead General Crook back along the trail they had made coming up
from Mexico, and he had no doubt the Chiricahuas could be taken by
surprise.

He had not gone with them of his own free will, but had been
compelled to leave the reservation, and had been badly treated while
with them. The Chiricahuas left the San Carlos because the agent had
stolen their rations, beaten their women, and killed an old squaw.
He asserted emphatically that no communication of any kind had been
held with the Apaches at San Carlos, every attempt in that direction
having been frustrated.

[Illustration: APACHE WAR-DANCE.]

The Chiricahuas, according to Pa-nayo-tishn, numbered seventy
full-grown warriors and fifty big boys able to fight, with an unknown
number of women and children. In their fights with the Mexicans about
one hundred and fifty had been killed and captured, principally women
and children. The stronghold in the Sierra Madre was described as a
dangerous, rocky, almost inaccessible place, having plenty of wood,
water, and grass, but no food except what was stolen from the
Mexicans. Consequently the Chiricahuas might be starved out.

General Crook ordered the irons to be struck from the prisoner; to
which he demurred, saying he would prefer to wear shackles for the
present, until his conduct should prove his sincerity. A half-dozen
prominent scouts promised to guard him and watch him; so the fetters
were removed, and Pa-nayo-tishn or “Peaches,” as the soldiers
called him, was installed in the responsible office of guide of the
contemplated expedition.

By the 22d of April many of the preliminary arrangements had
been completed and some of the difficulties anticipated had been
smoothed over. Nearly 100 Apache scouts joined the command from the
San Carlos Reservation, and in the first hours of night began a
war-dance, which continued without a break until the first flush of
dawn the next day. They were all in high feather, and entered into
the spirit of the occasion with full zest. Not much time need be
wasted upon a description of their dresses; they didn’t wear any,
except breech-clout and moccasins. To the music of an improvised
drum and the accompaniment of marrow-freezing yells and shrieks
they pirouetted and charged in all directions, swaying their bodies
violently, dropping on one knee, then suddenly springing high in air,
discharging their pieces, and all the time chanting a rude refrain,
in which their own prowess was exalted and that of their enemies
alluded to with contempt. Their enthusiasm was not abated by the
announcement, quietly diffused, that the “medicine men” had been hard
at work, and had succeeded in making a “medicine” which would surely
bring the Chiricahuas to grief.

In accordance with the agreement entered into with the Mexican
authorities, the American troops were to reach the boundary line _not
sooner than May 1_, the object being to let the restless Chiricahuas
quiet down as much as possible, and relax their vigilance, while at
the same time it enabled the Mexican troops to get into position for
effective co-operation.

The convention between our government and that of Mexico, by which
a reciprocal crossing of the International Boundary was conceded
to the troops of the two republics, stipulated that such crossing
should be authorized when the troops were “in close pursuit of a band
of savage Indians,” and the crossing was made “in the unpopulated
or desert parts of said boundary line,” which unpopulated or desert
parts “had to be two leagues from any encampment or town of either
country.” The commander of the troops crossing was to give notice
at time of crossing, or before if possible, to the nearest military
commander or civil authority of the country entered. The pursuing
force was to retire to its own territory as soon as it should have
fought the band of which it was in pursuit, or lost the trail; and in
no case could it “establish itself or remain in the foreign territory
for a longer time than necessary to make the pursuit of the band
whose trail it had followed.”

The weak points of this convention were the imperative stipulation
that the troops should return at once after a fight and the ambiguity
of the terms “close pursuit,” and “unpopulated country.” A friendly
expedition from the United States might follow close on the heels of
a party of depredating Apaches, but, under a rigid construction of
the term “unpopulated,” have to turn back when it had reached some
miserable hamlet exposed to the full ferocity of savage attack, and
most in need of assistance, as afterwards proved to be the case.

The complication was not diminished by the orders dispatched by
General Sherman on March 31 to General Crook to continue the pursuit
of the Chiricahuas “without regard to departmental or national
boundaries.” Both General Crook and General Topete, anxious to
have every difficulty removed which lay in the way of a thorough
adjustment of this vexed question, telegraphed to their respective
governments asking that a more elastic interpretation be given to the
terms of the convention.

To this telegram General Crook received reply that he must abide
strictly by the terms of the convention, which could only be changed
with the concurrence of the Mexican Senate. But what these terms
meant exactly was left just as much in the dark as before. On the 23d
of April General Crook moved out from Willcox, accompanied by the
Indian scouts and a force of seven skeleton companies of the Third
and Sixth Cavalry, under Colonel James Biddle, guarding a train of
wagons, with supplies of ammunition and food for two months. This
force, under Colonel Biddle, was to remain in reserve at or near San
Bernardino Springs on the Mexican boundary, while its right and left
flanks respectively were to be covered by detachments commanded by
Rafferty, Vroom, Overton, and Anderson; this disposition affording
the best possible protection to the settlements in case any of the
Chiricahuas should make their way to the rear of the detachment
penetrating Mexico.

A disagreeable sand-storm enveloped the column as it left the line of
the Southern Pacific Railroad, preceded by the detachment of Apache
scouts. A few words in regard to the peculiar methods of the Apaches
in marching and conducting themselves while on a campaign may not be
out of place. To veterans of the campaigns of the Civil War familiar
with the compact formations of the cavalry and infantry of the Army
of the Potomac, the loose, straggling methods of the Apache scouts
would appear startling, and yet no soldier would fail to apprehend
at a glance that the Apache was the perfect, the ideal, scout of
the whole world. When Lieutenant Gatewood, the officer in command,
gave the short, jerky order, Ugashé--Go!--the Apaches started as if
shot from a gun, and in a minute or less had covered a space of one
hundred yards front, which distance rapidly widened as they advanced,
at a rough, shambling walk, in the direction of Dos Cabezas (Two
Heads), the mining camp near which the first halt was to be made.

[Illustration: APACHE INDIAN SCOUTS EXAMINING TRAILS BY NIGHT.]

They moved with no semblance of regularity; individual fancy alone
governed. Here was a clump of three; not far off two more, and
scattered in every point of the compass, singly or in clusters, were
these indefatigable scouts, with vision as keen as a hawk’s, tread
as untiring and as stealthy as the panther’s, and ears so sensitive
that nothing escapes them. An artist, possibly, would object to
many of them as undersized, but in all other respects they would
satisfy every requirement of anatomical criticism. Their chests
were broad, deep, and full; shoulders perfectly straight; limbs
well-proportioned, strong, and muscular, without a suggestion
of undue heaviness; hands and feet small and taper but wiry;
heads well-shaped, and countenances often lit up with a pleasant,
good-natured expression, which would be more constant, perhaps,
were it not for the savage, untamed cast imparted by the loose,
disheveled, gypsy locks of raven black, held away from the face
by a broad, flat band of scarlet cloth. Their eyes were bright,
clear, and bold, frequently expressive of the greatest good-humor
and satisfaction. Uniforms had been issued, but were donned upon
ceremonial occasions only. On the present march each wore a loosely
fitting shirt of red, white, or gray stuff, generally of calico, in
some gaudy figure, but not infrequently the sombre article of woollen
raiment issued to white soldiers. This came down outside a pair of
loose cotton drawers, reaching to the moccasins. The moccasins are
the most important articles of Apache apparel. In a fight or on
a long march they will discard all else, but under any and every
circumstance will retain the moccasins. These had been freshly made
before leaving Willcox. The Indian to be fitted stands erect upon
the ground while a companion traces with a sharp knife the outlines
of the sole of his foot upon a piece of rawhide. The leggin is made
of soft buckskin, attached to the foot and reaching to mid-thigh. For
convenience in marching, it is allowed to hang in folds below the
knee. The raw-hide sole is prolonged beyond the great toe, and turned
upward in a shield, which protects from cactus and sharp stones. A
leather belt encircling the waist holds forty rounds of metallic
cartridges, and also keeps in place the regulation blue blouse and
pantaloons, which are worn upon the person only when the Indian scout
is anxious to “paralyze” the frontier towns or military posts by a
display of all his finery.

The other trappings of these savage auxiliaries are a Springfield
breech-loading rifle, army pattern, a canteen full of water, a
butcher knife, an awl in leather case, a pair of tweezers, and a
tag. The awl is used for sewing moccasins or work of that kind. With
the tweezers the Apache young man carefully picks out each and every
hair appearing upon his face. The tag marks his place in the tribe,
and is in reality nothing more or less than a revival of a plan
adopted during the war of the rebellion for the identification of
soldiers belonging to the different corps and divisions. Each male
Indian at the San Carlos is tagged and numbered, and a descriptive
list, corresponding to the tag kept, with a full recital of all his
physical peculiarities.

This is the equipment of each and every scout; but there are many,
especially the more pious and influential, who carry besides,
strapped at the waist, little buckskin bags of Hoddentin, or sacred
meal, with which to offer morning and evening sacrifice to the
sun or other deity. Others, again, are provided with amulets of
lightning-riven twigs, pieces of quartz crystal, petrified wood,
concretionary sandstone, galena, or chalchihuitls, or fetiches
representing some of their countless planetary gods or Kân, which
are regarded as the “dead medicine” for frustrating the designs of
the enemy or warding off arrows and bullets in the heat of action.
And a few are happy in the possession of priceless sashes and shirts
of buckskin, upon which are emblazoned the signs of the sun, moon,
lightning, rainbow, hail, fire, the water-beetle, butterfly, snake,
centipede, and other powers to which they may appeal for aid in the
hour of distress.

The Apache is an eminently religious person, and the more deviltry he
plans the more pronounced does his piety become.

[Illustration: APACHE AWL-CASES, TOBACCO BAGS, AND HEAD-DRESSES WORN
BY YOUNG GIRLS.]

The rate of speed attained by the Apaches in marching is about an
even four miles an hour on foot, or not quite fast enough to make a
horse trot. They keep this up for about fifteen miles, at the end
of which distance, if water be encountered and no enemy be sighted,
they congregate in bands of from ten to fifteen each, hide in some
convenient ravine, sit down, smoke cigarettes, chat and joke, and
stretch out in the sunlight, basking like the negroes of the South.
If they want to make a little fire, they kindle one with matches, if
they happen to have any with them; if not, a rapid twirl, between the
palms, of a hard round stick fitting into a circular hole in another
stick of softer fiber, will bring fire in from eight to forty-five
seconds. The scouts by this time have painted their faces, daubing
them with red ochre, deer’s blood, or the juice of roasted “mescal.”
The object of this is protection from wind and sun, as well as
distinctive ornamentation.

The first morning’s rest of the Apaches was broken by the shrill
cry of Choddi! Choddi! (Antelope! Antelope!) and far away on the
left the dull slump! slump! of rifles told that the Apaches on that
flank were getting fresh meat for the evening meal. Twenty carcasses
demonstrated that they were not the worst of shots; neither were
they, by any means, bad cooks.

When the command reached camp these restless, untiring nomads built
in a trice all kinds of rude shelters. Those that had the army “dog
tents” put them up on frame-works of willow or cotton-wood saplings;
others, less fortunate, improvised domiciles of branches covered
with grass, or of stones and boards covered with gunny sacks. Before
these were finished smoke curled gracefully toward the sky from
crackling embers, in front of which, transfixed on wooden spits,
were the heads, hearts, and livers of several of the victims of
the afternoon’s chase. Another addition to the _spolia opima_ was a
cotton-tailed rabbit, run down by these fleet-footed Bedouins of the
South-west. Turkeys and quail are caught in the same manner.

Meanwhile a couple of scouts were making bread,--the light, thin
“tortillas” of the Mexicans, baked quickly in a pan, and not bad
eating. Two others were fraternally occupied in preparing their bed
for the night. Grass was pulled by handfuls, laid upon the ground,
and covered with one blanket, another serving as cover. These
Indians, with scarcely an exception, sleep with their feet pointed
toward little fires, which, they claim, are warm, while the big ones
built by the American soldiers, are so hot that they drive people
away from them, and, besides, attract the attention of a lurking
enemy. At the foot of this bed an Apache was playing on a home-made
fiddle, fabricated from the stalk of the “mescal,” or American aloe.
This fiddle has four strings, and emits a sound like the wail of a
cat with its tail caught in a fence. But the noble red man likes the
music, which perhaps is, after all, not so very much inferior to that
of Wagner.

Enchanted and stimulated by the concord of sweet sounds, a party of
six was playing fiercely at the Mexican game of “monte,” the cards
employed being of native manufacture, of horse-hide, covered with
barbarous figures, and well worthy of a place in any museum.

The cooking was by this time ended, and the savages, with genuine
hospitality, invited the Americans near them to join in the feast. It
was not conducive to appetite to glance at dirty paws tearing bread
and meat into fragments; yet the meat thus cooked was tender and
juicy, the bread not bad, and the coffee strong and fairly well made.
The Apaches squatted nearest to the American guests felt it incumbent
upon them to explain everything as the meal progressed. They said
this (pointing to the coffee) is Tu-dishishn (black water), and that
Zigosti (bread).

All this time scouts had been posted commanding every possible line
of approach. The Apache dreads surprise. It is his own favorite
mode of destroying an enemy, and knowing what he himself can do,
he ascribes to his foe--no matter how insignificant may be his
numbers--the same daring, recklessness, agility, and subtlety
possessed by himself. These Indian scouts will march thirty-five or
forty miles in a day on foot, crossing wide stretches of waterless
plains upon which a tropical sun beats down with fierceness, or
climbing up the faces of precipitous mountains which stretch across
this region in every direction.

The two great points of superiority of the native or savage soldier
over the representative of civilized discipline are his absolute
knowledge of the country and his perfect ability to take care of
himself at all times and under all circumstances. Though the rays
of the sun pour down from the zenith, or the scorching sirocco
blow from the south, the Apache scout trudges along as unconcerned
as he was when the cold rain or snow of winter chilled his white
comrade to the marrow. He finds food, and pretty good food too,
where the Caucasian would starve. Knowing the habits of wild animals
from his earliest youth, he can catch turkeys, quail, rabbits,
doves, or field-mice, and, perhaps, a prairie-dog or two, which
will supply him with meat. For some reason he cannot be induced to
touch fish, and bacon or any other product of the hog is eaten only
under duress; but the flesh of a horse, mule, or jackass, which has
dropped exhausted on the march and been left to die on the trail,
is a delicious morsel which the Apache epicure seizes upon wherever
possible. The stunted oak, growing on the mountain flanks, furnishes
acorns; the Spanish bayonet, a fruit that, when roasted in the ashes
of a camp-fire, looks and tastes something like the banana. The
whole region of Southern Arizona and Northern Mexico is matted with
varieties of the cactus, nearly every one of which is called upon
for its tribute of fruit or seed. The broad leaves and stalks of the
century-plant--called mescal--are roasted between hot stones, and
the product is rich in saccharine matter and extremely pleasant to
the taste. The wild potato and the bulb of the “tule” are found in
the damp mountain meadows; and the nest of the ground-bee is raided
remorselessly for its little store of honey. Sunflower-seeds, when
ground fine, are rich and nutritious. Walnuts grow in the deep
ravines, and strawberries in favorable locations; in the proper
season these, with the seeds of wild grasses and wild pumpkins, the
gum of the “mesquite,” or the sweet, soft inner bark of the pine,
play their part in staving off the pangs of hunger.

The above are merely a few of the resources of the Apache scout when
separated from the main command. When his moccasins give out on a
long march over the sharp rocks of the mountains or the cutting
sands of the plains, a few hours’ rest sees him equipped with a new
pair,--his own handiwork,--and so with other portions of his raiment.
He is never without awl, needle, thread, or sinew. Brought up from
infancy to the knowledge and use of arms of some kind,--at first the
bow and arrow, and later on the rifle,--he is perfectly at home with
his weapons, and knowing from past experience how important they are
for his preservation, takes much better care of them than does the
white soldier out of garrison.

He does not read the newspapers, but the great book of nature is
open to his perusal, and has been drained of much knowledge which
his pale-faced brother would be glad to acquire. Every track in the
trail, mark in the grass, scratch on the bark of a tree, explains
itself to the “untutored” Apache. He can tell to an hour, almost,
when the man or animal making them passed by, and, like a hound, will
keep on the scent until he catches up with the object of his pursuit.

In the presence of strangers the Apache soldier is sedate and
taciturn. Seated around his little apology for a camp-fire, in the
communion of his fellows, he becomes vivacious and conversational. He
is obedient to authority, but will not brook the restraints which,
under our notions of discipline, change men into machines. He makes
an excellent sentinel, and not a single instance can be adduced of
property having been stolen from or by an Apache on guard.

He has the peculiarity, noticed among so many savage tribes in
various parts of the world, of not caring to give his true name to a
stranger; if asked for it, he will either give a wrong one or remain
mute and let a comrade answer for him. This rule does not apply
where he has been dubbed with a sobriquet by the white soldiers. In
such case he will respond promptly, and tell the inquirer that he is
“Stumpy,” “Tom Thumb,” “Bill,” “Humpy Sam,” or “One-Eyed Reilly,”
as the case may be. But there is no such exception in regard to the
dead. Their names are never mentioned, even by the wailing friends
who loudly chant their virtues.

[Illustration: APACHE AMBUSCADE.]

Approaching the enemy his vigilance is a curious thing to witness. He
avoids appearing suddenly upon the crest of a hill, knowing that his
figure projected against the sky can at such time be discerned from
a great distance. He will carefully bind around his brow a sheaf of
grass, or some other foliage, and thus disguised crawl like a snake
to the summit and carefully peer about, taking in with his keen black
eyes the details of the country to the front with a rapidity, and
thoroughness the American or European can never acquire. In battle
he is again the antithesis of the Caucasian. The Apache has no false
ideas about courage; he would prefer to skulk like the coyote for
hours, and then kill his enemy, or capture his herd, rather than,
by injudicious exposure, receive a wound, fatal or otherwise. But
he is no coward; on the contrary, he is entitled to rank among the
bravest. The precautions taken for his safety prove that he is an
exceptionally skillful soldier. His first duty under fire is to jump
for a rock, bush, or hole, from which no enemy can drive him except
with loss of life or blood.

The policy of Great Britain has always been to enlist a force of
auxiliaries from among the natives of the countries falling under
her sway. The Government of the United States, on the contrary, has
persistently ignored the really excellent material, ready at hand,
which could, with scarcely an effort and at no expense, be mobilized,
and made to serve as a frontier police. General Crook is the only
officer of our army who has fully recognized the incalculable
value of a native contingent, and in all his campaigns of the past
thirty-five years has drawn about him as soon as possible a force of
Indians, which has been serviceable as guides and trailers, and also
of consequence in reducing the strength of the opposition.

The white army of the United States is a much better body of
officers and men than a critical and censorious public gives it
credit for being. It represents intelligence of a high order, and
a spirit of devotion to duty worthy of unbounded praise; but it
does not represent the acuteness of the savage races. It cannot
follow the trail like a dog on the scent. It may be brave and
well-disciplined, but its members cannot tramp or ride, as the case
may be, from forty to seventy-five miles in a day, without water,
under a burning sun. No civilized army can do that. It is one of the
defects of civilized training that man develops new wants, awakens
new necessities,--becomes, in a word, more and more a creature of
luxury.

Take the Apache Indian under the glaring sun of Mexico. He quietly
peels off all his clothing and enjoys the fervor of the day more than
otherwise. He may not be a great military genius, but he is inured
to all sorts of fatigue, and will be hilarious and jovial when the
civilized man is about to die of thirst.

Prominent among these scouts was of course first of all “Peaches,”
the captive guide. He was one of the handsomest men, physically,
to be found in the world. He never knew what it was to be tired,
cross, or out of humor. His knowledge of the topography of Northern
Sonora was remarkable, and his absolute veracity and fidelity in all
his dealings a notable feature in his character. With him might be
mentioned “Alchise,” “Mickey Free,” “Severiano,” “Nockié-cholli,”
“Nott,” and dozens of others, all tried and true men, experienced in
warfare and devoted to the general whose standard they followed.



II.


From Willcox to San Bernardino Springs, by the road the wagons
followed, is an even 100 miles. The march thither, through a most
excellent grazing country, was made in five days, by which time
the command was joined by Captain Emmet Crawford, Third Cavalry,
with more than 100 additional Apache scouts and several trains of
pack-mules.

San Bernardino Springs break out from the ground upon the Boundary
Line and flow south into the Yaqui River, of which the San Bernardino
River is the extreme head. These springs yielded an abundance of
water for all our needs, and at one time had refreshed thousands of
head of cattle, which have since disappeared under the attrition of
constant warfare with the Apaches.

The few days spent at San Bernardino were days of constant toil and
labor; from the first streak of dawn until far into the night the
task of organizing and arranging went on. Telegrams were dispatched
to the Mexican generals notifying them that the American troops would
leave promptly by the date agreed upon, and at last the Indian scouts
began their war-dances, and continued them without respite from each
sunset until the next sunrise. In a conference with General Crook
they informed him of their anxiety to put an end to the war and bring
peace to Arizona, so that the white men and Apaches could live and
work side by side.

By the 29th of April all preparations were complete. Baggage had been
cut down to a minimum. Every officer and man was allowed to carry
the clothes on his back, one blanket and forty rounds of ammunition.
Officers were ordered to mess with the packers and on the same food
issued to soldiers and Indian scouts. One hundred and sixty rounds
of extra ammunition and rations of hard-bread, coffee and bacon, for
sixty days, were carried on pack-mules.

At this moment General Sherman telegraphed to General Crook that he
must not cross the Mexican boundary in pursuit of Indians, except in
strict accord with the terms of the treaty, without defining exactly
what those terms meant. Crook replied, acknowledging receipt of these
instructions and saying that he would respect treaty stipulations.

On Tuesday, May 1st, 1883, the expedition crossed the boundary
into Mexico. Its exact composition was as follows: General George
Crook, in command. Captain John G. Bourke, Third Cavalry, acting
adjutant-general; Lieutenant G. S. Febiger, engineer officer,
aid-de-camp; Captain Chaffee, Sixth Cavalry, with Lieutenants West
and Forsyth, and forty-two enlisted men of “I” company of that
regiment; Doctor Andrews, Private A. F. Harmer of the General
Service, and 193 Indian scouts, under Captain Emmet Crawford,
Third Cavalry, Lieutenant Mackey, Third Cavalry, and Gatewood,
Sixth Cavalry, with whom were Al. Zeiber, McIntosh, “Mickey Free,”
Severiano, and Sam Bowman, as interpreters.

The pack-mules, for purposes of efficient management, were divided
into five trains, each with its complement of skilled packers. These
trains were under charge of Monach, Hopkins, Stanfield, “Long Jim
Cook,” and “Short Jim Cook.”

Each packer was armed with carbine and revolver, for self-protection,
but nothing could be expected of them, in the event of an attack,
beyond looking out for the animals. Consequently the effective
fighting strength of the command was a little over fifty white
men--officers and soldiers--and not quite 200 Apache scouts,
representing the various bands, Chiricahua, White Mountain, Yuma,
Mojave, and Tonto.

The first rays of the sun were beaming upon the Eastern hills as
we swung into our saddles, and, amid a chorus of good-byes and
God-bless-yous from those left behind, pushed down the hot and sandy
valley of the San Bernardino, past the mouth of Guadalupe cañon, to
near the confluence of Elias Creek, some twenty miles. Here camp was
made on the banks of a pellucid stream, under the shadow of graceful
walnut and ash trees. The Apache scouts had scoured the country to
the front and on both flanks, and returned loaded with deer and wild
turkeys, the latter being run down and caught in the bushes. One
escaped from its captors and started through camp on a full jump,
pursued by the Apaches, who, upon re-catching it, promptly twisted
its head off.

The Apaches were in excellent spirits, the “medicine-men” having
repeated with emphasis the prediction that the expedition was to be
a grand success. One of the most influential of them--a mere boy,
who carried the most sacred medicine--was especially positive in his
views, and, unlike most prophets, backed them up with a bet of $40.

On May 2, 1883, breakfasted at 4 A.M. The train--Monach’s--with
which we took meals was composed equally of Americans and Mexicans.
So, when the cook spread his canvas on the ground, one heard
such expressions as _Tantito’ zucarito quiero_; _Sirve pasar el
járabe_; _Pase rebanada de pan_; _Otra gotita mas de café_, quite
as frequently as their English equivalents, “I’d like a little more
sugar,” “Please pass the sirup,” “Hand me a slice of bread,” “A
little drop of coffee.” Close by, the scouts consumed their meals,
and with more silence, yet not so silently but that their calls for
_inchi_ (salt), _ikôn_ (flour), _pezá-a_ (frying-pan), and other
articles, could be plainly heard.

Martin, the cook, deserves some notice. He was not, as he himself
admitted, a French cook by profession. His early life had been passed
in the more romantic occupation of driving an ore-wagon between
Willcox and Globe, and, to quote his own proud boast, he could “hold
down a sixteen-mule team with any outfit this side the Rio Grande.”

But what he lacked in culinary knowledge he more than made up in
strength and agility. He was not less than six feet two in his socks,
and built like a young Hercules. He was gentle-natured, too, and
averse to fighting. Such, at least, was the opinion I gathered from
a remark he made the first evening I was thrown into his society.

His eyes somehow were fixed on mine, while he said quietly, “If
there’s anybody here don’t like the grub, I’ll kick a lung out of
him!” I was just about suggesting that a couple of pounds less
saleratus in the bread and a couple of gallons less water in the
coffee would be grateful to my Sybarite palate; but, after this
conversation, I reflected that the fewer remarks I made the better
would be the chances of my enjoying the rest of the trip; so I said
nothing. Martin, I believe, is now in Chihuahua, and I assert from
the depths of an outraged stomach, that a better man or a worse cook
never thumped a mule or turned a flapjack.

The march was continued down the San Bernardino until we reached its
important affluent, the Bávispe, up which we made our way until the
first signs of habitancy were encountered in the squalid villages of
Bávispe, Basaraca, and Huachinera.

The whole country was a desert. On each hand were the ruins of
depopulated and abandoned hamlets, destroyed by the Apaches. The
bottom-lands of the San Bernardino, once smiling with crops of
wheat and barley, were now covered with a thickly-matted jungle
of semi-tropical vegetation. The river banks were choked by dense
brakes of cane of great size and thickness. The narrow valley was
hemmed in by rugged and forbidding mountains, gashed and slashed
with a thousand ravines, to cross which exhausted both strength
and patience. The foot-hills were covered with _chevaux de frise_
of Spanish bayonet, mescal, and cactus. The lignum-vitæ flaunted
its plumage of crimson flowers, much like the fuchsia, but growing
in clusters. The grease-wood, ordinarily so homely, here assumed a
garniture of creamy blossoms, rivaling the gaudy dahlia-like cups
upon the nopal, and putting to shame the modest tendrils pendent from
the branches of the mesquite.

The sun glared down pitilessly, wearing out the poor mules, which
had as much as they could do to scramble over the steep hills,
composed of a nondescript accumulation of lava, sandstone, porphyry,
and limestone, half-rounded by the action of water, and so loosely
held together as to slip apart and roll away the instant the feet of
animals or men touched them.

When they were not slipping over loose stones or climbing rugged
hills, they were breaking their way through jungles of thorny
vegetation, which tore their quivering flesh. One of the mules,
falling from the rocks, impaled itself upon a mesquite branch, and
had to be killed.

Through all this the Apache scouts trudged without a complaint,
and with many a laugh and jest. Each time camp was reached they
showed themselves masters of the situation. They would gather the
saponaceous roots of the yucca and Spanish bayonet, to make use of
them in cleaning their long, black hair, or cut sections of the
bamboo-like cane and make pipes for smoking, or four-holed flutes,
which emitted a weird, Chinese sort of music, responded to with
melodious chatter by countless birds perched in the shady seclusion
of ash and cotton-wood.

Those scouts who were not on watch gave themselves up to the luxury
of the tá-a-chi, or sweat-bath. To construct these baths, a dozen
willow or cotton-wood branches are stuck in the ground and the upper
extremities, united to form a dome-shaped frame-work, upon which are
laid blankets to prevent the escape of heat. Three or four large
rocks are heated and placed in the centre, the Indians arranging
themselves around these rocks and bending over them. Silicious
bowlders are invariably selected, and not calcareous--the Apaches
being sufficiently familiar with rudimentary mineralogy to know that
the latter will frequently crack and explode under intense heat.

When it came to my time to enter the sweat-lodge I could see nothing
but a network of arms and legs, packed like sardines. An extended
experience with Broadway omnibuses assured me that there must always
be room for one more. The smile of the “medicine-man”--the master of
ceremonies--encouraged me to push in first an arm, then a leg, and,
finally, my whole body.

Thump! sounded the damp blanket as it fell against the frame-work and
shut out all light and air. The conductor of affairs inside threw a
handful of water on the hot rocks, and steam, on the instant, filled
every crevice of the den. The heat was that of a bake-oven; breathing
was well-nigh impossible.

“Sing,” said in English the Apache boy, “Keet,” whose legs and arms
were sinuously intertwined with mine; “sing heap; sleep moocho
to-night; eat plenny dinna to-mollo.” The other bathers said that
everybody must sing. I had to yield. My _repertoire_ consists of
but one song--the lovely ditty--“Our captain’s name is Murphy.” I
gave them this with all the lung-power I had left, and was heartily
encored; but I was too much exhausted to respond, and rushed out,
dripping with perspiration, to plunge with my dusky comrades into the
refreshing waters of the Bávispe, which had worn out for themselves
tanks three to twenty feet deep. The effects of the bath were all
that the Apaches had predicted--a sound, refreshing sleep and
increased appetite.

[Illustration: APACHE HEAD-DRESSES, SHOES, TOYS, ETC.]

The farther we got into Mexico the greater the desolation. The valley
of the Bávispe, like that of the San Bernardino, had once been
thickly populated; now all was wild and gloomy. Foot-prints indeed
were plenty, but they were the fresh moccasin-tracks of Chiricahuas,
who apparently roamed with immunity over all this solitude. There
were signs, too, of Mexican “travel;” but in every case these were
“_conductas_” of pack-mules, guarded by companies of soldiers.
Rattlesnakes were encountered with greater frequency both in camp
and on the march. When found in camp the Apaches, from superstitious
reasons, refrained from killing them, but let the white men do it.

The vegetation remained much the same as that of Southern Arizona,
only denser and larger. The cactus began to bear odorous flowers--a
species of night-blooming cereus--and parrots of gaudy plumage
flitted about camp, to the great joy of the scouts, who, catching
two or three, tore the feathers from their bodies and tied them in
their inky locks. Queenly humming-birds of sapphire hue darted from
bush to bush and tree to tree. Every one felt that we were advancing
into more torrid regions. However, by this time faces and hands
were finely tanned and blistered, and the fervor of the sun was
disregarded. The nights remained cool and refreshing throughout the
trip, and, after the daily march or climb, soothed to the calmest
rest.

On the 5th of May the column reached the feeble, broken-down towns
of Bávispe and Basaraca. The condition of the inhabitants was
deplorable. Superstition, illiteracy, and bad government had done
their worst, and, even had not the Chiricahuas kept them in mortal
terror, it is doubtful whether they would have had energy enough to
profit by the natural advantages, mineral and agricultural, of their
immediate vicinity. The land appeared to be fertile and was well
watered. Horses, cattle, and chickens throve; the cereals yielded
an abundant return; and scarlet blossoms blushed in the waxy-green
foliage of the pomegranate.

Every man, woman, and child had gathered in the streets or squatted
on the flat roofs of the adobe houses to welcome our approach with
cordial acclamations. They looked like a grand national convention
of scarecrows and rag-pickers, their garments old and dingy, but no
man so poor that he didn’t own a gorgeous sombrero, with a snake-band
of silver, or display a flaming sash of cheap red silk and wool.
Those who had them displayed rainbow-hued _serapes_ flung over the
shoulders; those who had none went in their shirt-sleeves.

The children were bright, dirty, and pretty; the women so closely
enveloped in their _rebozos_ that only one eye could be seen. They
greeted our people with warmth, and offered to go with us to the
mountains. With the volubility of parrots they began to describe
a most blood-thirsty fight recently had with the Chiricahuas, in
which, of course, the Apaches had been completely and ignominiously
routed, each Mexican having performed prodigies of valor on a par
with those of Ajax. But at the same time they wouldn’t go alone
into their fields,--only a quarter of a mile off,--which were
constantly patrolled by a detachment of twenty-five or thirty men of
what was grandiloquently styled the National Guard. “Peaches,” the
guide, smiled quietly, but said nothing, when told of this latest
annihilation of the Chiricahuas. General Crook, without a moment’s
hesitancy, determined to keep on the trail farther into the Sierra
Madre.

The food of these wretched Mexicans was mainly _atole_,--a weak
flour-gruel resembling the paste used by our paper-hangers. Books
they had none, and newspapers had not yet been heard of. Their only
recreation was in religious festivals, occurring with commendable
frequency. The churches themselves were in the last stages of
dilapidation; the adobe exteriors showed dangerous indications of
approaching dissolution, while the tawdry ornaments of the inside
were foul and black with age, smoke, dust, and rain.

I asked a small, open-mouthed boy to hold my horse for a moment until
I had examined one of these edifices, which bore the elaborate title
of the Temple of the Holy Sepulchre and our Lady of the Trance. This
action evoked a eulogy from one of the bystanders: “This man can’t be
an American, he must be a Christian,” he sagely remarked; “he speaks
Castilian, and goes to church the first thing.”

It goes without saying that they have no mails in that country.
What they call the post-office of Basaraca is in the store of the
town. The store had no goods for sale, and the post-office had no
stamps. The postmaster didn’t know when the mail would go; it used
to go every eight days, but now--_quien sabe?_ Yes, he would send
our letters the first opportunity. The price? Oh! the price?--did
the _caballeros_ want to know how much? Well, for Mexican people, he
charged five cents, but the Americans would have to pay _dos reales_
(twenty-five cents) for each letter.

The only supplies for sale in Basaraca were fiery mescal, chile, and
a few eggs, eagerly snapped up by the advance-guard. In making these
purchases we had to enter different houses, which vied with each
other in penury and destitution. There were no chairs, no tables,
none of the comforts which the humblest laborers in our favored land
demand as right and essential. The inmates in every instance received
us urbanely and kindly. The women, who were uncovered inside their
domiciles, were greatly superior in good looks and good breeding to
their husbands and brothers; but the latter never neglected to employ
all the punctilious expressions of Spanish politeness.

That evening the round-stomached old man, whom, in ignorance of
the correct title, we all agreed to call the Alcalde, paid a
complimentary visit to General Crook, and with polite flourishes bade
him welcome to the soil of Mexico informed him that he had received
orders to render the expedition every assistance in his power, and
offered to accompany it at the head of every man and boy in the
vicinity. General Crook felt compelled to decline the assistance of
these valiant auxiliaries, but asked permission to buy four beeves
to feed to the Apache scouts, who did not relish bacon or other salt
meat.

Bivouac was made that night on the banks of the Bávispe, under
the bluff upon which perched the town of Basaraca. Numbers of
visitors--men and boys--flocked in to see us, bringing bread and
tobacco for barter and sale. In their turn a large body of our people
went up to the town and indulged in the unexpected luxury of a ball.
This was so entirely original in all its features that a mention of
it is admissible.

Bells were ringing a loud peal, announcing that the morrow would be
Sunday, when a prolonged thumping of drums signaled that the _Baile_
was about to begin.

Wending our way to the corner whence the noise proceeded, we found
that a half-dozen of the packers had bought out the whole stock of
the _tienda_, which dealt only in _mescal_, paying therefor the
princely sum of $12.50.

Invitations had been extended to all the adult inhabitants to
take part in the festivities. For some reason all the ladies sent
regrets by the messenger; but of men there was no lack, the packers
having taken the precaution to send out a patrol to scour the
streets, “collar” and “run in” every male biped found outside his
own threshold. These captives were first made to drink a tumbler
of _mescal_ to the health of the two great nations, Mexico and the
United States,--and then were formed into quadrille sets, moving in
unison with the orchestra of five pieces,--two drums, two squeaky
fiddles, and an accordion.

None of the performers understood a note of music. When a new
piece was demanded, the tune had to be whistled in the ears of
the bass-drummer, who thumped it off on his instrument, followed
energetically by his enthusiastic assistants.

This orchestra was augmented in a few moments by the addition of a
young boy with a sax-horn. He couldn’t play, and the horn had lost
its several keys, but he added to the noise and was welcomed with
screams of applause. It was essentially a _stag_ party, but a very
funny one. The new player was doing some good work when a couple of
dancers whirled into him, knocking him clear off his pins and astride
of the bass-drum and drummer.

Confusion reigned only a moment; good order was soon restored, and
the dance would have been resumed with increased jollity had not the
head of the bass-drum been helplessly battered.

Midnight had long since been passed, and there was nothing to be done
but break up the party and return to camp.

From Basaraca to Tesorababi--over twenty miles--the line of march
followed a country almost exactly like that before described. The
little hamlets of Estancia and Huachinera were perhaps a trifle
more squalid than Bávispe or Basaraca, and their churches more
dilapidated; but in that of Huachinera were two or three unusually
good oil-paintings, brought from Spain a long time ago. Age, dust,
weather, and candle-grease had almost ruined, but had not fully
obliterated, the touch of the master-hand which had made them.

Tesorababi must have been, a couple of generations since, a very
noble ranch. It has plenty of water, great groves of oak and
mesquite, with sycamore and cotton-wood growing near the water, and
very nutritious grass upon the neighboring hills. The buildings have
fallen into ruin, nothing being now visible but the stout walls of
stone and adobe. Mesquite trees of noble size choke up the corral,
and everything proclaims with mute eloquence the supremacy of the
Apache.

Alongside of this ranch are the ruins of an ancient pueblo, with
quantities of broken pottery, stone mortars, Obsidian flakes and
kindred _reliquiæ_.

To Tesorababi the column was accompanied by a small party of guides
sent out by the Alcalde of Basaraca. General Crook ordered them back,
as they were not of the slightest use so long as we had such a force
of Apache scouts.

We kept in camp at Tesorababi until the night of May 7, and then
marched straight for the Sierra Madre. The foot-hills were thickly
covered with rich _grama_ and darkened by groves of scrub-oak. Soon
the oak gave way to cedar in great abundance, and the hills and
ridges became steeper as we struck the trail lately made by the
Chiricahuas driving off cattle from Sahuaripa and Oposura. We were
fairly within the range, and had made good progress, when the scouts
halted and began to explain to General Crook that nothing but bad
luck could be expected if he didn’t set free an owl which one of our
party had caught, and tied to the pommel of his saddle.

They said the owl (Bû) was a bird of ill-omen, and that we could
not hope to whip the Chiricahuas so long as we retained it. These
solicitations bore good fruit. The moon-eyed bird of night was set
free and the advance resumed. Shortly before midnight camp was made
in a very deep cañon, thickly wooded, and having a small stream a
thousand feet below our position. No fires were allowed, and some
confusion prevailed among the pack-mules, which could not find their
places.

Very early the next morning (May 8, 1883) the command moved in
easterly direction up the cañon. This was extremely rocky and steep.
Water stood in pools everywhere, and animals and men slaked their
fierce thirst. Indications of Chiricahua depredations multiplied. The
trail was fresh and well-beaten, as if by scores--yes, hundreds--of
stolen ponies and cattle.

The carcasses of five freshly slaughtered beeves lay in one spot;
close to them a couple more, and so on.

The path wound up the face of the mountain, and became so precipitous
that were a horse to slip his footing he would roll and fall hundreds
of feet to the bottom. At one of the abrupt turns could be seen, deep
down in the cañon, the mangled fragments of a steer which had fallen
from the trail, and been dashed to pieces on the rocks below. It will
save much repetition to say, at this point, that from now on we were
never out of sight of ponies and cattle, butchered, in every stage of
mutilation, or alive, and roaming by twos and threes in the ravines
and on the mountain flanks.

Climb! Climb! Climb! Gaining the summit of one ridge only to
learn that above it towered another, the face of nature fearfully
corrugated into a perplexing alternation of ridges and chasms. Not
far out from the last bivouac was passed the spot where a large
body of Mexican troops had camped, the farthest point of their
penetration into the range, although their scouts had been pushed in
some distance farther, only to be badly whipped by the Chiricahuas,
who sent them flying back, utterly demoralized.

These particulars may now be remarked of that country: It seemed
to consist of a series of parallel and very high, knife-edged
hills,--extremely rocky and bold; the cañons all contained water,
either flowing rapidly, or else in tanks of great depth. Dense
pine forests covered the ridges near the crests, the lower skirts
being matted with scrub-oak. Grass was generally plentiful, but not
invariably to be depended upon. Trails ran in every direction, and
upon them were picked up all sorts of odds and ends plundered from
the Mexicans,--dresses, made and unmade, saddles, bridles, letters,
flour, onions, and other stuff. In every sheltered spot could be
discerned the ruins,--buildings, walls, and dams, erected by an
extinct race, once possessing this region.

The pack-trains had much difficulty in getting along. Six mules
slipped from the trail, and rolled over and over until they
struck the bottom of the cañon. Fortunately they had selected a
comparatively easy grade, and none was badly hurt.

The scouts became more and more vigilant and the “medicine-men”
more and more devotional. When camp was made the high peaks were
immediately picketed, and all the approaches carefully examined.
Fires were allowed only in rare cases, and in positions affording
absolute concealment. Before going to bed the scouts were careful
to fortify themselves in such a manner that surprise was simply
impossible.

Late at night (May 8th) the “medicine-men” gathered together for the
never-to-be-neglected duty of singing and “seeing” the Chiricahuas.
After some palaver I succeeded in obtaining the privilege of sitting
in the circle with them. All but one chanted in a low, melancholy
tone, half song and half grunt. The solitary exception lay as if in a
trance for a few moments, and then, half opening his lips, began to
thump himself violently in the breast, and to point to the east and
north, while he muttered: “Me can’t see the Chilicahuas yet. Bimeby
me see ’um. Me catch ’um, me kill ’um. Me no catch ’um, me no kill
’um. Mebbe so six day me catch ’um; mebbe so two day. Tomollow me
send twenty-pibe (25) men to hunt ’um tlail. Mebbe so tomollow catch
’um squaw. Chilicahua see me, me no get ’um. No see me, me catch him.
Me see him little bit now. Mebbe so me see ’um more tomollow. Me
catch ’um, me kill ’um. Me catch ’um hoss, me catch ’um mool (mule),
me catch ’um cow. Me catch Chilicahua pooty soon, bimeby. Me kill
’um heap, and catch ’um squaw.” These prophecies, translated for me
by an old friend in the circle who spoke some English, were listened
to with rapt attention and reverence by the awe-struck scouts on the
exterior.

The succeeding day brought increased trouble and danger. The
mountains became, if anything, steeper; the trails, if anything, more
perilous. Carcasses of mules, ponies, and cows lined the path along
which we toiled, dragging after us worn-out horses.

It was not yet noon when the final ridge of the day was crossed and
the trail turned down a narrow, gloomy, and rocky gorge, which
gradually widened into a small amphitheatre.

This, the guide said, was the stronghold occupied by the Chiricahuas
while he was with them; but no one was there now. For all purposes
of defense, it was admirably situated. Water flowed in a cool,
sparkling stream through the middle of the amphitheatre. Pine, oak,
and cedar in abundance and of good size clung to the steep flanks
of the ridges, in whose crevices grew much grass. The country, for
a considerable distance, could be watched from the pinnacles upon
which the savage pickets had been posted, while their huts had been
so scattered and concealed in the different brakes that the capture
or destruction of the entire band could never have been effected.

The Chiricahuas had evidently lived in this place a considerable
time. The heads and bones of cows and ponies were scattered about
on all sides. Meat must have been their principal food, since we
discovered scarcely any mescal or other vegetables. At one point the
scouts indicated where a mother had been cutting a child’s hair; at
another, where a band of youngsters had been enjoying themselves
sliding down rocks.

Here were picked up the implements used by a young Chiricahua
assuming the duties of manhood. Like all other Indians they make vows
and pilgrimages to secluded spots, during which periods they will not
put their lips to water, but suck up all they need through a quill or
cane. Hair-brushes of grass, bows and arrows, and a Winchester rifle
had likewise been left behind by the late occupants.

The pack-trains experienced much difficulty in keeping the trail
this morning (May 9). Five mules fell over the precipice and killed
themselves, three breaking their necks and two having to be shot.

[Illustration: APACHE WEAPONS AND EQUIPMENTS.]

Being now in the very centre of the hostile country, May 10, 1883,
unusual precautions were taken to guard against discovery or
ambuscade, and to hurry along the pack-mules. Parties of Apache
scouts were thrown out to the front, flanks, and rear to note
carefully every track in the ground. A few were detailed to stay
with the pack-mules and guide them over the best line of country.
Ax-men were sent ahead on the trail to chop out trees and remove
rocks or other obstructions. Then began a climb which reflected the
experience of the previous two days; if at all different, it was
much worse. Upon the crest of the first high ridge were seen forty
abandoned _jacales_ or lodges of branches; after that, another
dismantled village of thirty more, and then, in every protected
nook, one, two, or three, as might be. Fearful as this trail was the
Chiricahuas had forced over it a band of cattle and ponies, whose
footprints had been fully outlined in the mud, just hardened into
clay.

After two miles of a very hard climb we slid down the almost
perpendicular face of a high bluff of slippery clay and loose shale
into an open space dotted with Chiricahua huts, where, on a grassy
space, the young savages had been playing their favorite game of
mushka, or lance-billiards.

Two white-tailed deer ran straight into the long file of scouts
streaming down hill; a shower of rocks and stones greeted them, and
there was much suppressed merriment, but not the least bit of noisy
laughter, the orders being to avoid any cause of alarm to the enemy.

A fearful chute led from this point down into the gloomy chasm along
which trickled the head-waters of the Bávispe, gathering in basins
and pools clear as mirrors of crystal. A tiny cascade babbled over a
ledge of limestone and filled at the bottom a dark-green reservoir of
unknown depth. There was no longer any excitement about Chiricahua
signs; rather, wonder when none were to be seen.

The ashes of extinct fires, the straw of unused beds, the skeleton
frame-work of dismantled huts, the play-grounds and dance-grounds,
mescal-pits and acorn-meal mills were visible at every turn. The
Chiricahuas must have felt perfectly secure amid these towering
pinnacles of rock in these profound chasms, by these bottomless
pools of water, and in the depths of this forest primeval. Here no
human foe could hope to conquer them. Notwithstanding this security
of position, “Peaches” asserted that the Chiricahuas never relaxed
vigilance. No fires were allowed at night, and all cooking was done
at midday. Sentinels lurked in every crag, and bands of bold raiders
kept the foot-hills thoroughly explored. Crossing Bávispe, the trail
zigzagged up the vertical slope of a promontory nearly a thousand
feet above the level of the water. Perspiration streamed from every
brow, and mules and horses panted, sweated, and coughed; but Up! Up!
Up! was the watchword.

Look out! came the warning cry from those in the lead, and then
those in the rear and bottom dodged nervously from the trajectory
of rocks dislodged from the parent mass, and, gathering momentum as
each bound hurled them closer to the bottom of the cañon. To look
upon the country was a grand sensation; to travel in it, infernal.
Away down at the foot of the mountains the pack-mules could be
discerned--apparently not much bigger than jack-rabbits,--struggling
and panting up the long, tortuous grade. And yet, up and down these
ridges the Apache scouts, when the idea seized them, ran like deer.

One of them gave a low cry, half whisper, half whistle. Instantly all
were on the alert, and by some indefinable means, the news flashed
through the column that two Chiricahuas had been sighted a short
distance ahead in a side cañon. Before I could write this down the
scouts had stripped to the buff, placed their clothing in the rocks,
and dispatched ten or twelve of their number in swift pursuit.

This proved to be a false alarm, for in an hour they returned, having
caught up with the supposed Chiricahuas, who were a couple of our own
packers, off the trail, looking for stray mules.

When camp was made that afternoon the Apache scouts had a long
conference with General Crook. They called attention to the fact that
the pack-trains could not keep up with them, that five mules had been
killed on the trail yesterday, and five others had rolled off this
morning, but been rescued with slight injuries. They proposed that
the pack-trains and white troops remain in camp at this point, and
in future move so as to be a day’s march or less behind the Apache
scouts, 150 of whom, under Crawford, Gatewood, and Mackey, with Al.
Zeiber and the other white guides, would move out well in advance to
examine the country thoroughly in front.

If they came upon scattered parties of the hostiles they would
attack boldly, kill as many as they could, and take the rest back,
prisoners, to San Carlos. Should the Chiricahuas be intrenched in a
strong position, they would engage them, but do nothing rash, until
reinforced by the rest of the command. General Crook told them they
must be careful not to kill women or children, and that all who
surrendered should be taken back to the reservation and made to work
for their own living like white people.

Animation and bustle prevailed everywhere; small fires were burning
in secluded nooks, and upon the bright embers the scouts baked
quantities of bread to be carried with them. Some ground coffee on
flat stones; others examined their weapons critically and cleaned
their cartridges. Those whose moccasins needed repair sewed and
patched them, while the more cleanly and more religious indulged in
the sweat-bath, which has a semi-sacred character on such occasions.

A strong detachment of packers, soldiers, and Apaches climbed the
mountains to the south, and reached the locality in the foot-hills
where the Mexicans and Chiricahuas had recently had an engagement.
Judging by signs it would appear conclusive that the Indians had
enticed the Mexicans into an ambuscade, killed a number with bullets
and rocks, and put the rest to ignominious flight. The “medicine-men”
had another song and pow-wow after dark. Before they adjourned it
was announced that in two days, counting from the morrow, the scouts
would find the Chiricahuas, and in three days kill a “heap.”

On May 11, 1883 (Friday), one hundred and fifty Apache scouts, under
the officers above named, with Zeiber, “Mickey Free,” Severiano,
Archie McIntosh, and Sam Bowman, started from camp, on foot, at
daybreak. Each carried on his person four days’ rations, a canteen,
100 rounds of ammunition, and a blanket. Those who were to remain in
camp picketed the three high peaks overlooking it, and from which
half a dozen Chiricahuas could offer serious annoyance. Most of those
not on guard went down to the water, bathed, and washed clothes. The
severe climbing up and down rough mountains, slipping, falling, and
rolling in dust and clay, had blackened most of us like negroes.

Chiricahua ponies had been picked up in numbers, four coming down the
mountains of their own accord, to join our herds; and altogether,
twenty were by this date in camp. The suggestions of the locality
were rather peaceful in type; lovely blue humming-birds flitted from
bush to bush, and two Apache doll-babies lay upon the ground.

Just as the sun was sinking behind the hills in the west, a runner
came back with a note from Crawford, saying there was a fine camping
place twelve or fifteen miles across the mountains to the south-east,
with plenty of wood, water, and grass.

For the ensuing three days the white soldiers and pack-trains
cautiously followed in the footsteps of Crawford and the scouts,
keeping a sufficient interval between the two bodies to insure
thorough investigation of the rough country in front. The trail
did not improve very much, although after the summit of a high,
grassy plateau had been gained, there was easy traveling for
several leagues. Pine-trees of majestic proportions covered the
mountain-tops, and there was the usual thickness of scrub-oak on
the lower elevations. By the side of the trail, either thrown away
or else _cachéd_ in the trees, were quantities of goods left by the
Chiricahuas--calico, clothing, buckskin, horse-hides, beef-hides,
dried meat, and things of that nature. The nights were very cool,
the days bright and warm. The Bávispe and its tributaries were
a succession of deep tanks of glassy, pure water, in which all
our people bathed on every opportunity. The scouts escorting the
pack-trains gathered in another score of stray ponies and mules,
and were encouraged by another note sent back by Crawford, saying
that he had passed the site of a Chiricahua village of ninety-eight
_wickyups_ (huts), that the enemy had a great drove of horses and
cattle, and that the presence of Americans or Apache scouts in the
country was yet undreamed of.

Additional rations were pushed ahead to Crawford and his command,
the pack-trains in rear taking their own time to march. There was
an abundance of wood in the forest, grass grew in sufficiency,
and the Bávispe yielded water enough for a great army. The stream
was so clear that it was a pleasure to count the pebbles at the
bottom and to watch the graceful fishes swimming within the shadow
of moss-grown rocks. The current was so deep that, sinking slowly,
with uplifted arms, one was not always able to touch bottom with the
toes, and so wide that twenty good, nervous strokes barely sufficed
to propel the swimmer from shore to shore. The water was soft, cool,
and refreshing, and a plunge beneath its ripples smoothed away the
wrinkles of care.

On May 15, 1883, we climbed and marched ten or twelve miles to
the south-east, crossing a piece of country recently burned over,
the air, filled with soot and hot dust, blackening and blistering
our faces. Many more old ruins were passed and scores of walls of
masonry. The trail was slightly improved, but still bad enough;
the soil, a half-disintegrated, reddish feldspar, with thin seams
of quartz crystals. There were also granite, sandstone, shale,
quartzite, and round masses of basalt. In the bottoms of the cañons
were all kinds of “float”--granite, basalt, sandstone, porphyry,
schist, limestone, etc.; but no matter what the kind of rock was,
when struck upon the hill-sides it was almost invariably split and
broken, and grievously retarded the advance.



III.


About noon of the 15th we had descended into a small box cañon, where
we were met by two white men (packers) and nine Apache scouts.

They had come back from Crawford with news for which all were
prepared. The enemy was close in our front, and fighting might
begin at any moment. The scouts in advance had picked up numbers of
ponies, mules, burros, and cattle. This conversation was broken by
the sudden arrival of an Apache runner, who had come six miles over
the mountains in less than an hour. He reached us at 1.05, and handed
General Crook a note, dated 12.15, stating that the advance-guard had
run across the Chiricahuas this morning in a cañon, and had become
much excited. Two Chiricahuas were fired at, two bucks and a squaw,
by scouts, which action had alarmed the hostiles, and their camp was
on the move. Crawford would pursue with all possible rapidity. At
the same moment reports of distant musketry-firing were borne across
the hills. Crawford was fighting the Chiricahuas! There could be no
doubt about that; but exactly how many he had found, and what luck
he was having, no one could tell. General Crook ordered Chaffee to
mount his men, and everybody to be in readiness to move forward to
Crawford’s support, if necessary. The firing continued for a time,
and then grew feeble and died away.

All were anxious for a fight which should bring this Chiricahua
trouble to an end; we had an abundance of ammunition and a
sufficiency of rations for a pursuit of several days and nights, the
moon being at its full.

Shortly after dark Crawford and his command came into camp. They
had “jumped” “Bonito’s” and “Chato’s” _rancherías_, killing nine
and capturing five--two boys, two girls, and one young woman, the
daughter of “Bonito,” without loss to our side. From the dead
Chiricahuas had been taken four nickel-plated, breech-loading
Winchester repeating rifles, and one Colt’s revolver, new model.
The Chiricahuas had been pursued across a fearfully broken country,
gashed with countless ravines, and shrouded with a heavy growth of
pine and scrub-oak. How many had been killed and wounded could never
be definitely known, the meagre official report, submitted by Captain
Crawford, being of necessity confined to figures known to be exact.
Although the impetuosity of the younger scouts had precipitated the
engagement and somewhat impaired its effect, yet this little skirmish
demonstrated two things to the hostile Chiricahuas; their old friends
and relatives from the San Carlos had invaded their strongholds as
the allies of the white men, and could be depended upon to fight,
whether backed up by white soldiers or not. The scouts next destroyed
the village, consisting of thirty _wickyups_, disposed in two
clusters, and carried off all the animals, loading down forty-seven
of them with plunder. This included the traditional riffraff of
an Indian village: saddles, bridles, meat, mescal, blankets, and
clothing, with occasional prizes of much greater value, originally
stolen by the Chiricahuas in raids upon Mexicans or Americans. There
were several gold and silver watches, a couple of albums, and a
considerable sum of money--Mexican and American coin and paper. The
captives behaved with great coolness and self-possession, considering
their tender years. The eldest said that her people had been
astounded and dismayed when they saw the long line of Apache scouts
rushing in upon them; they would be still more disconcerted when
they learned that our guide was “Peaches,” as familiar as themselves
with every nook in strongholds so long regarded as inaccessible.
Nearly all the Chiricahua warriors were absent raiding in Sonora and
Chihuahua. This young squaw was positive that the Chiricahuas would
give up without further fighting, since the Americans had secured all
the advantages of position. “Loco” and “Chihuahua,” she knew, would
be glad to live peaceably upon the reservation, if justly treated;
“Hieronymo” and “Chato” she wasn’t sure about. “Ju” was defiant, but
none of his bands were left alive. Most important information of all,
she said that in the _ranchería_ just destroyed was a little white
boy about six years old, called “Charlie,” captured by “Chato”
in his recent raid in Arizona. This boy had run away with the old
squaws when the advance of the Apache scouts had been first detected.
She said that if allowed to go out she would in less than two days
bring in the whole band, and Charlie (McComas) with them. All that
night the lofty peak, the scene of the action, blazed with fire from
the burning _ranchería_. Rain-clouds gathered in the sky, and, after
hours of threatening, broke into a severe but brief shower about
sunrise next morning (May 15).

[Illustration: APACHE GIRL WITH TYPICAL DRESS.]

The young woman was given a little hard bread and meat, enough to
last two days, and allowed to go off, taking with her the elder of
the boy captives. The others stayed with us and were kindly treated.
They were given all the baked mescal they could eat and a sufficiency
of bread and meat. The eldest busied herself with basting a skirt,
but, like another Penelope, as fast as her work was done she ripped
it up and began anew--apparently afraid that idleness would entail
punishment. The younger girl sobbed convulsively, but her little
brother, a handsome brat, gazed stolidly at the world through eyes
as big as oysters and as black as jet.

Later in the morning, after the fitful showers had turned into a
blinding, soaking rain, the Apache scouts made for these young
captives a little shelter of branches and a bed of boughs and dry
grass. Pickets were thrown out to watch the country on all sides
and seize upon any stray Chiricahua coming unsuspectingly within
their reach. The rain continued with exasperating persistency all
day. The night cleared off bitter cold and water froze in pails and
kettles. The command moved out from this place, going to another and
better location a few miles south-east. The first lofty ridge had
been scaled, when we descried on the summit of a prominent knoll
directly in our front a thin curl of smoke wreathing upwards. This
was immediately answered by the scouts, who heaped up pine-cones
and cedar branches, which, in a second after ignition, shot a bold,
black, resinous signal above the tops of the loftiest pines.

Five miles up and down mountains of no great height but of great
asperity led to a fine camping-place, at the junction of two
well-watered cañons, near which grew pine, oak, and cedar in plenty,
and an abundance of rich, juicy grasses. The Apache scouts sent up
a second smoke signal, promptly responded to from a neighboring
butte. A couple of minutes after two squaws were seen threading
their way down through the timber and rocks and yelling with full
voice. They were the sisters of Tô-klani (Plenty Water), one of the
scouts. They said that they had lost heavily in the fight, and that
while endeavoring to escape over the rocks and ravines and through
the timber the fire of the scouts had played havoc among them.
They fully confirmed all that the captives had said about Charlie
McComas. Two hours had scarcely passed when six other women had come
in, approaching the pickets two and two, and waving white rags.
One of these, the sister of “Chihuahua”--a prominent man among the
Chiricahuas--said that her brother wanted to come in, and was trying
to gather up his band, which had scattered like sheep after the
fight; he might be looked for in our camp at any moment.

On the 18th (May, 1883), before 8.30 A.M., six new arrivals were
reported--four squaws, one buck and a boy. Close upon their heels
followed sixteen others--men, women, and young children. In this
band was “Chihuahua” himself, a fine-looking man, whose countenance
betokened great decision and courage.

This chief expressed to General Crook his earnest desire for peace,
and acknowledged that all the Chiricahuas could hope to do in the
future would be to prolong the contest a few weeks and defer their
destruction. He was tired of fighting. His village had been destroyed
and all his property was in our hands. He wished to surrender his
band just as soon as he could gather it together. “Hieronymo,”
“Chato,” and nearly all the warriors were absent, fighting the
Mexicans, but he (“Chihuahua”) had sent runners out to gather up his
band and tell his people they must surrender, without reference to
what the others did.

Before night forty-five Chiricahuas had come in--men, women, and
children. “Chihuahua” asked permission to go out with two young men
and hurry his people in. This was granted. He promised to return
without any delay. The women of the Chiricahuas showed the wear and
tear of a rugged mountain life, and the anxieties and disquietudes
of a rugged Ishmaelitish war. The children were models of grace and
beauty, which revealed themselves through dirt and rags.

On May 19, 1883, camp was moved five of six miles to a position
giving the usual abundance of water and rather better grass. It
was a small park in the centre of a thick growth of young pines.
Upon unsaddling, the Chiricahuas were counted, and found to number
seventy, which total before noon had swollen to an even hundred, not
including “Chihuahua” and those gone back with him.

The Chiricahuas were reserved, but good-humored. Several of them
spoke Spanish fluently. Rations were issued in small quantity,
ponies being killed for meat. Two or three of the Indians bore fresh
bullet-wounds from the late fight. On the succeeding evening, May
20, 1883, the Chiricahuas were again numbered at breakfast. They had
increased to 121--sixty being women and girls, the remainder, old
men, young men, and boys.

All said that “Chihuahua” and his comrades were hard at work
gathering the tribe together and sending them in.

Toward eight o’clock a fearful hubbub was heard in the tall cliffs
overlooking camp; Indians fully armed could be descried running about
from crag to crag, evidently much perplexed and uncertain what to do.
They began to interchange cries with those in our midst, and, after
a brief interval, a couple of old squaws ventured down the face of
the precipice, followed at irregular distances by warriors, who hid
themselves in the rocks half-way down.

They asked whether they were to be hurt if they came in.

One of the scouts and one of the Chiricahuas went out to them to
say that it made no difference whether they came in or not; that
“Chihuahua” and all his people had surrendered, and that if these
new arrivals came in during the day they should not be harmed; that
until “Chihuahua” and the last of his band had had a chance to come
in and bring Charlie McComas hostilities should be suspended. The
Chiricahuas were still fearful of treachery and hung like hawks or
vultures to the protecting shadows of inaccessible pinnacles one
thousand feet above our position. Gradually their fears wore off, and
in parties of two and three, by various trails, they made their way
to General Crook’s fire. They were a band of thirty-six warriors,
led by “Hieronymo,” who had just returned from a bloody foray in
Chihuahua. “Hieronymo” expressed a desire to have a talk; but General
Crook declined to have anything to do with him or his party beyond
saying that they had now an opportunity to see for themselves that
their own people were against them; that we had penetrated to places
vaunted as impregnable; that the Mexicans were coming in from all
sides; and that “Hieronymo” could make up his mind for peace or war
just as he chose.

This reply disconcerted “Hieronymo;” he waited for an hour, to resume
the conversation, but received no encouragement. He and his warriors
were certainly as fine-looking a lot of pirates as ever cut a throat
or scuttled a ship; not one among them who was not able to travel
forty to fifty miles a day over these gloomy precipices and along
these gloomy cañons. In muscular development, lung and heart power,
they were, without exception, the finest body of human beings I had
ever looked upon. Each was armed with a breech-loading Winchester;
most had nickel-plated revolvers of the latest pattern, and a few had
also bows and lances. They soon began to talk with the Apache scouts,
who improved the occasion to inform them that not only had they come
down with General Crook, but that from both Sonora and Chihuahua
Mexican soldiers might be looked for in swarms.

“Hieronymo” was much humbled by this, and went a second time to
General Crook to have a talk. He assured him that he had always
wanted to be at peace, but that he had been as much sinned against as
sinning; that he had been ill-treated at the San Carlos and driven
away; that the Mexicans had been most treacherous in their dealings
with his people, and that he couldn’t believe a word they said. They
had made war upon his women and children, but had run like coyotes
from his soldiers. He had been trying to open communications with
the Mexican generals in Chihuahua to arrange for an exchange of
prisoners. If General Crook would let him go back to San Carlos,
and guarantee him just treatment, he would gladly work for his own
living, and follow the path of peace. He simply asked for a trial; if
he could not make peace, he and his men would die in these mountains,
fighting to the last. He was not a bit afraid of Mexicans alone; but
he could not hope to prolong a contest with Mexicans and Americans
united, in these ranges, and with so many Apache allies assisting
them. General Crook said but little; it amounted to this: that
“Hieronymo” could make up his mind as to what he wanted, peace or war.

May 21st was one of the busiest days of the expedition. “Hieronymo,”
at early dawn, came to see General Crook, and told him he wished for
peace. He earnestly promised amendment, and begged to be taken back
to San Carlos. He asked permission to get all his people together,
and said he had sent some of his young men off to hurry them in
from all points. He could not get them to answer his signals, as
they imagined them to be made by Apache scouts trying to ensnare
them. Chiricahuas were coming in all the morning,--all ages, and
both sexes,--sent in by “Chihuahua” and his party; most of these
were mounted on good ponies, and all drove pack and loose animals
before them. Early in the day there was seen winding through the
pine timber a curious procession,--mostly young warriors, of an
aggregate of thirty-eight souls,--driving steers and work cattle, and
riding ponies and burros. All these were armed with Winchester and
Springfield breech-loaders, with revolvers and lances whose blades
were old cavalry sabres. The little boys carried revolvers, lances,
and bows and arrows. This was the band of Kaw-tenné (Looking-Glass),
a young chief, who claimed to be a Mexican Apache and to belong to
the Sierra Madre, in whose recesses he had been born and raised.

[Illustration: APACHE WARFARE.]

The question of feeding all these mouths was getting to be a very
serious one. We had started out with sixty days’ supplies, one-third
of which had been consumed by our own command, and a considerable
percentage lost or damaged when mules rolled over the precipices.
The great heat of the sun had melted much bacon, and there was the
usual wastage incident to movements in campaign. Stringent orders
were given to limit issues to the lowest possible amount; while the
Chiricahuas were told that they must cut and roast all the mescal
to be found, and kill such cattle and ponies as could be spared.
The Chiricahua young men assumed the duty of butchering the meat.
Standing within five or six feet of a steer, a young buck would prod
the doomed beast one lightning lance-thrust immediately behind the
left fore-shoulder, and, with no noise other than a single bellow of
fear and agony, the beef would fall forward upon its knees, dead.

Camp at this period presented a medley of noises not often found
united under a military standard. Horses were neighing, mules
braying, and bells jingling, as the herds were brought in to be
groomed. The ring of axes against the trunks of stout pines and oaks,
the hum of voices, the squalling of babies, the silvery laughter
of children at play, and the occasional music of an Apache fiddle
or flute, combined in a pleasant discord which left the listener
uncertain whether he was in the bivouac of grim-visaged war or
among a band of school-children. Our Apache scouts--the Tontos
especially--treated the Chiricahuas with dignified reserve: the
Sierra Blancas (White Mountain) had intermarried with them, and were
naturally more familiar, but all watched their rifles and cartridges
very carefully to guard against treachery. The squaws kept at work,
jerking and cooking meat and mescal for consumption on the way back
to San Carlos. The entrails were the coveted portions, for the
possession of which the more greedy or more muscular fought with
frequency.

Two of these copper-skinned “ladies” engaged in a pitched battle;
they rushed for each other like a couple of infuriated Texas steers;
hair flew, blood dripped from battered noses, and two “human forms
divine” were scratched and torn by sharp nails accustomed to this
mode of warfare. The old squaws chattered and gabbled, little
children screamed and ran, warriors stood in a ring, and from a
respectful distance gazed stolidly upon the affray. No one dared
to interfere. There is no tiger more dangerous than an infuriated
squaw; she’s a fiend incarnate. The packers and soldiers looked on,
discussing the “points” of the belligerents. “The little one’s built
like a hired man,” remarks one critic. “Ya-as; but the old un’s a
_He_, and doan’ you forgit it.” Two rounds settled the battle in
favor of the older contestant, although the younger remained on the
ground, her bleeding nostrils snorting defiance, her eyes blazing
fire, and her tongue volleying forth Apache imprecations.

But all interest was withdrawn from this spectacle and converged upon
a file of five wretched, broken-down Mexican women, one of whom bore
a nursing baby, who had come within the boundaries of our camp and
stood in mute terror, wonder, joy, and hope, unable to realize that
they were free. They were a party of captives seized by “Hieronymo”
in his last raid into Chihuahua. When washed, rested, and fed a
small amount of food, they told a long, rambling story, which is
here condensed: They were the wives of Mexican soldiers captured
near one of the stations of the Mexican Central Railway just two
weeks previously. Originally there had been six in the party, but
“Hieronymo” had sent back the oldest and feeblest with a letter to
the Mexican general, saying that he wanted to make peace with the
whites, and would do so, provided the Mexicans returned the Apache
women and children held prisoners by them; if they refused, he would
steal all the Mexican women and children he could lay hands on, and
keep them as hostages, and would continue the war until he had made
Sonora and Chihuahua a desert. The women went on to say that the
greatest terror prevailed in Chihuahua at the mere mention of the
name of “Hieronymo,” whom the peasantry believed to be the devil,
sent to punish them for their sins.

“Hieronymo” had killed the Mexican soldiers with rocks, telling his
warriors he had no ammunition to waste upon Mexicans. The women
had suffered incredible torture climbing the rough skirts of lofty
ranges, fording deep streams of icy-cold water, and breaking through
morasses, jungles and forests. Their garments had been rent into rags
by briars and brambles, feet and ankles scratched, torn, and swollen
by contusions from sharp rocks. They said that when “Hieronymo”
had returned to the heart of the mountains, and had come upon one
of our lately abandoned camps, his dismay was curious to witness.
The Chiricahuas with him made a hurried but searching examination
of the neighborhood, satisfied themselves that their enemies--the
Americans--had gained access to their strongholds, and that they had
with them a multitude of Apache scouts, and then started away in
the direction of our present bivouac, paying no further heed to the
captured women or to the hundreds of stolen stock they were driving
away from Chihuahua. It may be well to anticipate a little, and say
that the cattle in question drifted out on the back trail, getting
into the foot-hills and falling into the hands of the Mexicans in
pursuit, who claimed their usual wonderful “victory.” The women did
not dare to turn back, and, uncertain what course to pursue, stayed
quietly by the half-dead embers of our old camp-fires, gathering up
a few odds and ends of rags with which to cover their nakedness; and
of castaway food, which they devoured with the voracity of famished
wolves. When morning dawned they arose, half frozen, from the
couches they had made, and staggered along in the direction taken by
the fleeing Chiricahuas, whom, as already narrated, they followed to
where they now were.

And now they were free! Great God! Could it be possible?

The gratitude of these poor, ignorant, broken-down creatures
welled forth in praise and glorification to God. “Praise be to the
All-Powerful God!” ejaculated one. “And to the most Holy Sacrament!”
echoed her companions. “Thanks to our Blessed Lady of Guadalupe!”
“And to the most Holy Mary, Virgin of Soledad, who has taken pity
upon us!” It brought tears to the eyes of the stoutest veterans to
witness this line of unfortunates, reminding us of our mothers,
wives, sisters, and daughters. All possible kindness and attention
were shown them.

The reaction came very near upsetting two, who became hysterical
from over-excitement, and could not be assured that the Chiricahuas
were not going to take them away. They did not recover their natural
composure until the expedition had crossed the boundary line.

“Hieronymo” had another interview with General Crook, whom he assured
he wanted to make a peace to last forever. General Crook replied
that “Hieronymo” had waged such bloody war upon our people and the
Mexicans that he did not care to let him go back to San Carlos; a
howl would be raised against any man who dared to grant terms to
an outlaw for whose head two nations clamored. If “Hieronymo” were
willing to lay down his arms and go to work at farming, General Crook
would allow him to go back; otherwise the best thing he could do
would be to remain just where he was and fight it out.

“I am not taking your arms from you,” said the General, “because I
am not afraid of you with them. You have been allowed to go about
camp freely, merely to let you see that we have strength enough to
exterminate you if we want to; and you have seen with your own eyes
how many Apaches are fighting on our side and against you. In making
peace with the Americans, you must also be understood as making peace
with the Mexicans, and also that you are not to be fed in idleness,
but set to work at farming or herding, and make your own living.”

“Hieronymo,” in his reply, made known his contempt for the Mexicans,
asserted that he had whipped them every time, and in the last fight
with them hadn’t lost a man. He would go to the San Carlos with
General Crook and work at farming or anything else. All he asked for
was fair play. He contended that it was unfair to start back to the
San Carlos at that time, when his people were scattered like quail,
and when the women and children now in our hands were without food or
means of transportation. The old and the little ones could not walk.
The Chiricahuas had many ponies and donkeys grazing in the different
cañons. Why not remain one week longer? “Loco” and all the other
Chiricahuas would then have arrived; all the ponies would be gathered
up; a plenty of mescal and pony-meat on hand, and the march could be
made securely and safely. But if General Crook left the Sierra Madre,
the Mexicans would come in to catch and kill the remnant of the band,
with whom “Hieronymo,” would cast his fortunes.

General Crook acknowledged the justice of much which “Hieronymo” had
said, but declined to take any action not in strict accord with the
terms of the convention. He would now move back slowly, so as not
to crowd the young and feeble too much; they should have time to
finish roasting mescal, and most of those now out could catch up with
the column; but those who did not would have to take the chances of
reaching San Carlos in safety.

“Hieronymo” reiterated his desire for peace; said that he himself
would start out to gather and bring in the remnants of his people,
and he would cause the most diligent search to be made for Charlie
McComas. If possible, he would join the Americans before they got out
of the Sierra Madre. If not, he would make his way to the San Carlos
as soon as this could be done without danger; “but,” concluded he, “I
will remain here until I have gathered up the last man, woman, and
child of the Chiricahuas.”

All night long the Chiricahuas and the Apache scouts danced together
in sign of peace and good-will. The drums were camp-kettles partly
filled with water and covered tightly with a well-soaked piece of
calico. The drumsticks were willow saplings curved into a hoop at one
extremity. The beats recorded one hundred to the minute, and were
the same dull, solemn thump which scared Cortés and his beleaguered
followers during _la Noche triste_. No Caucasian would refer to it
as music; nevertheless, it had a fascination all its own comparable
to the whirr-r-r of a rattlesnake. And so the song, chanted to
the measure of the drumming, had about it a weird harmony which
held listeners spell-bound. When the dance began, two old hags,
white-haired and stiff with age, pranced in the centre of the ring,
warming up under the stimulus of the chorus until they became lively
as crickets. With them were two or three naked boys of very tender
years. The ring itself included as many as two hundred Indians of
both sexes, whose varied costumes of glittering hues made a strange
setting to the scene as the dancers shuffled and sang in the silvery
rays of the moon and the flickering light of the camp-fires.

On May 23, 1883, rations were issued to 220 Chiricahuas, and, soon
after, Nané, one of the most noted and influential of the Chiricahua
chiefs, rode into camp with seventeen of his people. He has a strong
face, marked with intelligence, courage, and good nature, but with
an under stratum of cruelty and vindictiveness. He has received
many wounds in his countless fights with the whites, and limps very
perceptibly in one leg. He reported that Chiricahuas were coming in
by every trail, and that all would go to the San Carlos as soon as
they collected their families.

On the 24th of May the march back to the San Carlos began. All the
old Chiricahuas were piled on mules, donkeys, and ponies; so were the
weak little children and feeble women. The great majority streamed
along on foot, nearly all wearing garlands of cotton-wood foliage to
screen them from the sun. The distance travelled was not great, and
camp was made by noon.

The scene at the Bávispe River was wonderfully picturesque. Sit
down on this flat rock and feast your eyes upon the silver waves
flashing in the sun. Don’t scare that little girl who is about to
give her baby brother a much-needed bath. The little dusky brat--all
eyes--is looking furtively at you and ready to bawl if you draw
nearer. Opposite are two old crones filling _ollas_ (jugs or jars)
of basket-work, rendered fully water-proof by a coating of either
mesquite or piñon pitch. Alongside of them are two others, who are
utilizing the entrails of a cow for the same purpose. The splash and
yell on your right, as you correctly divine, come from an Apache “Tom
Sawyer,” who will one day mount the gallows. The friendly greeting
and request for “tobacco shmoke” are proffered by one of the boys,
who has kindly been eating a big portion of your meals for several
days past, and feels so friendly toward you that he announces himself
in a pleasant, off-hand sort of way as your “_Sikisn_” (brother).
Behind you are grouped Apache scouts, whose heads are encircled with
red flannel bandages, and whose rifles and cartridges are never laid
aside. Horses and mules plunge belly-deep into the sparkling current;
soldiers come and go, some to drink, some to get buckets filled with
water, and some to soak neck, face, and hands, before going back
to dinner.

[Illustration: APACHE BASKET-WORK.]

In this camp we remained several days. The old and young squaws had
cut and dried large packages of “jerked” beef, and had brought down
from the hill-sides donkey-loads of mescal heads, which were piled
in ovens of hot stones covered with wet grass and clay. The process
of roasting, or rather steaming, mescal takes from three to four
days, and resembles somewhat the mode of baking clams in New England.
The Apache scouts passed the time agreeably enough in gambling with
the Chiricahuas, whom they fleeced unmercifully, winning hundreds
of dollars in gold, silver, and paper at the games of _monte_,
_conquien_, _tzi-chis_, and _mushka_.

The attractive pools of the Bávispe wooed groups of white soldiers
and packers, and nearly the whole strength of the Chiricahua women
and children, who disported in the refreshing waters with the agility
and grace of nereids and tritons. The modesty of the Apaches of both
sexes, under all circumstances, is praiseworthy.

“Chato” and “Loco” told General Crook this morning that “Hieronymo”
had sent them back to say that the Chiricahuas were very much
scattered since the fight, and that he had not been as successful as
he anticipated in getting them united and in corraling their herds
of ponies. They did not want to leave a single one of their people
behind, and urged General Crook to stay in his present camp for a
week longer, if possible. “Loco,” for his part, expressed himself
as anxious for peace. He had never wished to leave San Carlos. He
wanted to go back there and obtain a little farm, and own cattle and
horses, as he once did. Here it may be proper to say that all the
chiefs of the Chiricahuas--“Hieronymo,” “Loco,” “Chato,” “Nané,”
“Bonito,” “Chihuahua,” “Maugas,” “Zelé,” and “Kan-tenné”--are men of
noticeable brain power, physically perfect and mentally acute--just
the individuals to lead a forlorn hope in the face of every obstacle.

The Chiricahua children, who had become tired of swimming, played
at a new sport to-day, a mimic game of war, a school of practice
analogous to that established by old Fagan for the instruction of
young London pickpockets. Three boys took the lead, and represented
Mexicans, who endeavored to outrun, hide from, or elude their
pursuers, who trailed them to their covert, surrounded it, and poured
in a flight of arrows. One was left for dead, stretched upon the
ground, and the other two were seized and carried into captivity. The
fun became very exciting, so much so that the corpse, ignoring the
proprieties, raised itself up to see how the battle sped.

In such sports, in such constant exercise, swimming, riding, running
up and down the steepest and most slippery mountains, the Apache
passes his boyish years. No wonder his bones are of iron, his sinews
of wire, his muscles of India-rubber.

On May 27, 1883, the Chiricahuas had finished roasting enough mescal
to last them to the San Carlos. One of the Apache scouts came running
in very much excited. He told his story to the effect that, while
hunting some distance to the north, he had discovered a large body
of Mexican soldiers; they were driving back the band of cattle run
off by “Hieronymo,” and previously referred to. The scout tried
to communicate with the Mexicans, who imagined him to be a hostile
Indian, and fired three shots at him. Lieutenant Forsyth, Al. Zeiber,
and a small detachment of white and Indian soldiers started out to
overtake the Mexicans. This they were unable to do, although they
went some fifteen miles.

On the 28th, 29th, and 30th of May the march was continued back
toward the San Carlos. The rate of progress was very slow, the
Mexican captives not being able to ride any great distance along the
rough trails, and several of our men being sick. Two of the scouts
were so far gone with pneumonia that their death was predicted
every hour, in spite of the assurances of the “medicine-men” that
their incantations would bring them through all right. “Hieronymo,”
“Chato,” “Kan-tenné,” and “Chihuahua” came back late on the night
of the 28th, leading a large body of 116 of their people, making an
aggregate of 384 in camp on the 29th.

On the 30th, after a march, quite long under the
circumstances,--fifteen to eighteen miles,--we crossed the main
“divide” of the Sierra Madre at an altitude of something over 8,000
feet. The pine timber was large and dense, and much of it on fire,
the smoke and heat parching our throats, and blackening our faces.

With this pine grew a little mescal and a respectable amount of
the _madroña_, or mountain mahogany. Two or three deer were killed
by the Apache scouts, and as many turkeys; trout were visible
in all the streams. The line of march was prolific in mineral
formations,--basalt, lava, sandstone, granite, and limestone. The day
the command descended the Chihuahua side of the range it struck the
trail of a large body of Mexican troops, and saw an inscription cut
into the bark of a mahogany stating that the Eleventh Battalion had
been here on the 21st of May.

The itinerary of the remainder of the homeward march may be greatly
condensed. The line of travel lay on the Chihuahua side and close
to the summit of the range. The country was extremely rough, cut
up with rocky cañons beyond number and ravines of great depth, all
flowing with water. Pine forests covered all the elevated ridges,
but the cañons and lower foot-hills had vegetation of a different
character: oak, juniper, maple, willow, rose, and blackberry bushes,
and strawberry vines. The weather continued almost as previously
described,--the days clear and serene, the nights bitter cold, with
ice forming in pails and kettles on the 2d and 3d of June. No storms
worthy of mention assailed the command, the sharp showers that fell
two or three times being welcomed as laying the soot and dust.

Game was found in abundance,--deer and turkey. This the Apache scouts
were permitted to shoot and catch, to eke out the rations which had
completely failed, the last issue being made June 4th. From that date
till June 11th, inclusive, all hands lived upon the country. The
Apaches improved the excellent opportunity to show their skill as
hunters and their accuracy with fire-arms.

[Illustration: FIGHTING THE PRAIRIE FIRE.]

The command was threatened by a great prairie fire on coming down
into the broad grassy valley of the Janos. Under the impetus of a
fierce wind the flames were rushing upon camp. There was not a moment
to be lost. All hands turned out,--soldiers, scouts, squaws,
Chiricahua warriors, and even children. Each bore a branch of willow
or cotton-wood, a blanket, or scrap of canvas. The conflagration
had already seized the hill-crest nearest our position; brownish
and gray clouds poured skyward in compact masses; at their feet a
long line of scarlet flame flashed and leaped high in air. It was a
grand, a terrible sight: in front was smiling nature, behind, ruin
and desolation. The heat created a vacuum, and the air, pouring in,
made whirlwinds, which sent the black funnels of soot winding and
twisting with the symmetry of hour-glasses almost to the zenith. For
one moment the line of fire paused, as if to rest after gaining the
hill-top; it was only a moment. “Here she comes!” yelled the men on
the left; and like a wild beast flinging high its tawny mane of cloud
and flashing its fangs of flame, the fire was upon, around, and about
us.

Our people stood bravely up to their work, and the swish! swish!
swish! of willow brooms proved that camp was not to be surrendered
without a struggle.

We won the day; that is, we saved camp, herds, and a small area of
pasturage; but over a vast surface of territory the ruthless flames
swept, mantling the land with soot and an opaque pall of mist and
smoke through which the sun’s rays could not penetrate. Several
horses and mules were badly burned, but none to death.

For two or three nights afterwards the horizon was gloriously lighted
with lines of fire creeping over the higher ridges. As we debouched
into the broad plain, through which trickled the shriveled current of
the Janos, no one would have suspected that we were not a column of
Bedouins. A long caravan, stretched out for a mile upon the trail,
resolved itself upon closer approach into a confused assemblage of
ponies, horses, and mules, with bundles or without, but in every case
freighted with humanity. Children were packed by twos and threes,
while old women and feeble men got along as best they could, now
riding, now walking. The scouts had decked themselves with paint and
the Chiricahua women had donned all their finery of rough silver
bracelets, wooden crosses, and saints’ pictures captured from
Mexicans. This undulating plain, in which we now found ourselves,
spread far to the north and east, and was covered with bunch and
grama grasses, and dotted with cedar.--The march brought us to Alisos
Creek (an affluent of the Janos), a thousand yards or more above the
spot where the Mexican commander García, had slaughtered so many
Chiricahua women and children. Human bones, picked white and clean by
coyotes, glistened in the sandy bed of the stream. Apache baskets and
other furniture were strewn about. A clump of graves headed by rude
crosses betrayed the severity of the loss inflicted upon the Mexicans.

Between the 5th and 8th of June we crossed back (west) into Sonora,
going over the asperous peak known as the Cocospera.

In this vicinity were many varieties of mineral--granite gneiss,
porphyry, conglomerate, shale, sandstone, and quartz,--and travel
was as difficult almost as it had been in the earlier days of the
march. We struck the head waters of Pitisco Creek, in a very rugged
cañon, then Elias Creek, going through another fine game region, and
lastly, after crossing a broad tableland mantled with grama grass,
mesquite, Spanish bayonet, and Palo Verde, mescal, and palmilla,
bivouacked on the San Bernardino river, close to a tule swamp of
blue, slimy mud.

The scouts plastered their heads with this mud, and dug up the bulbs
of the tule, which, when roasted, are quite palatable.

On the 15th of June the command recrossed the national boundary,
and reached Silver Springs, Arizona, the camp of the reserve under
Colonel Biddle, from whom and from all of whose officers and men we
received the warmest conceivable welcome. Every disaster had been
predicted and asserted regarding the column, from which no word had
come, directly or indirectly since May 5th. The Mexican captives were
returned to their own country and the Chiricahuas marched, under
Crawford, to the San Carlos Agency.

Unfortunately the papers received at Silver Springs were full of
inflammatory telegrams, stating that the intention of the government
was to hang all the Chiricahua men, without distinction, and to
parcel out the women and children among tribes in the Indian
Territory. This news, getting among the Chiricahuas, produced its
legitimate result. Several of the chiefs and many of the head men
hid back in the mountains until they could learn exactly what was to
be their fate. The Mexican troops went in after them, and had two or
three severe engagements, and were, of course, whipped each time.
When the road was clear the Chiricahuas kept their promises to the
letter, and brought to the San Carlos the last man, woman, and child
of their people.

They have been quietly scattered in small groups around the
reservation, the object being to effect tribal disintegration, to
bring individuals and families face to face with the progress made by
more peaceable Apaches, and at same time to enable trusted members of
the latter bands to maintains more perfect surveillance over every
action of the Chiricahuas.

Charlie McComas was never found; the Chiricahuas insist, and I think
truthfully, that he was in the _ranchería_ destroyed by Crawford;
that he escaped, terror-stricken, to the depths of the mountains;
that the country was so rough, the timber and brush-wood so thick
that his tracks could not be followed, even had there not been such a
violent fall of rain during the succeeding nights. All accounts agree
in this.

Altogether the Chiricahuas delivered up thirteen captives,--women and
children,--held by them as hostages.



      *      *      *      *      *      *



Transcriber’s note:

  Obvious typographical errors and punctuation errors have been
  corrected after careful comparison with other occurrences within
  the text and consultation of external sources.

  Except for those changes noted below, all misspellings in the text,
  and inconsistent or archaic usage, have been retained.

  Pg 10: ‘one was suprised’ replaced by ‘one was surprised’.

  Pg 11: ‘boldness, and sublety’ replaced by ‘boldness, and subtlety’.

  Pg 14: ‘the Cayote saw’ replaced by ‘the Coyote saw’.

  Pg 18: ‘the Amercan troops’ replaced by ‘the American troops’.

  Pg 23: ‘not infreqently the’ replaced by ‘not infrequently the’.

  Pg 24: ‘or millitary posts’ replaced by ‘or military posts’.

  Pg 34: ‘like the cayote’ replaced by ‘like the coyote’.

  Pg 51: ‘constantly patroled’ replaced by ‘constantly patrolled’.

  Pg 76: ‘dead Chiracahuas’ replaced by ‘dead Chiricahuas’.

  Pg 98: ‘and his beleagured’ replaced by ‘and his beleaguered’.





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