Crook – The Terrible and the Just

The Camp Grant Massacre forced the Apache situation in Arizona upon the attention of the nation. No sane and sensitive mind could longer ignore or look with complacency upon such a state of affairs as was blazoned to the world by this shocking incident. For a long time the cruel treatment of the Apaches in Arizona had caused stirrings of conscience in the souls of good and informed citizens throughout the nation; and now there was a widespread belief that the Apaches were not having a square deal. It was becoming more and more apparent that the Government itself was responsible for deeds that were a stench in the nostrils of the civilized world. The result of this aroused feeling among people of humanitarian instincts was the creation at Washington (with the strong approval of President Grant) of the Permanent Board of Peace Commissioners, the object of which was to put an end to the injustices and cruelties visited upon the Indians and to introduce a sane, uniform, benevolent plan for the improvement of the red man.

Very prominent among Christian citizens who favored the Commission and the objects it sought to attain was Vincent Colyer–a Quaker, an ardent friend of the Indian and a believer in his inherent goodness. He was one of the members of the Peace Commission; and him President Grant sent to New Mexico and Arizona with plenary power to locate the nomadic Indian tribes in New Mexico and Arizona upon suitable reservations, to place them under the control of the properly designated officers of the Indian Department, and to supply them with such food and clothing as they might need. Letters from Grant instructed both the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Interior to clothe Colyer with such enlarged powers as would enable him to carry out the object of his mission as stated above. Already Congress had appropriated seventy thousand dollars “to collect the Apache Indians of Arizona and New Mexico on reservations, furnish them with subsistence and other necessary articles, and to promote peace and civilization among them.”

Colyer reached the Apache country in late August. First he interviewed Colonel Nathaniel Pope, Superintendent of Indian Affairs in New Mexico, and with his aid and approval located the Southern Apaches, who inhabited the region about Ojo Caliente, on a reservation adjacent to the Tulerosa River. Next he proceeded to Camp Apache, Arizona, where he was cordially received by Colonel John Green, the commanding officer. Here, September 7, 1871, he established Camp Apache Reservation. September 8, he set out for Camp Grant, where he arrived the thirteenth. He approved the reservation already established there and extended and carefully defined its limits. In consultation with Colonel N. A. M. Dudley in command of Camp McDowell, he established a temporary reservation five miles square at that post. At Camp Verde, October 3, he set aside a reservation for the Apache-Mohaves. With the approval of General George Crook, who had recently been placed in command of the Department of Arizona, he established a mile-square temporary reservation at Beale Springs for the Hualapai Indians, and one of like extent at Camp Date Creek for the Apache-Mohaves of that region.

Though Colyer came with authority direct from the President of the United States and carried credentials from the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of War, Governor A. P. K. Safford thought it necessary for him to issue a proclamation to the people of Arizona, under date of August 15, 1871, in which the following astonishing sentences occur: “I . . . call upon the officers and citizens of the Territory to receive said Commissioners with kindness and hospitality; to give them all the aid and information . . . within your power and knowledge. They have been selected with a view to their integrity and humanity of purpose, and sent here in the legal performance of duty. If they come among you entertaining erroneous opinions upon the Indian question and the condition of affairs in the Territory, then, by kindly treatment, and fair, truthful representation, you will be enabled to convince them of their errors.”

The two leading papers of the Territory, the Tucson Citizen and the Arizona Miner, viewed Colyer’s mission with bitterness and contempt. John Marion, editor of the Arizona Miner, in editorials written previous to Colyer’s arrival, referred to the Commissioner as “a cold-blooded scoundrel,” “a red-handed assassin,” and printed other endearing terms concerning him of like import. He wrote: “We ought, in justice to our murdered dead, to dump the old devil into the shaft of some mine, and pile rocks upon him until he is dead. A rascal who comes here to thwart the efforts of military and citizens to conquer a peace from our savage foe, deserves to be stoned to death, like the treacherous, black-hearted dog that he is. . . . ” The editorials in the Citizen were similar in tone, though they fell a little short in vituperative eloquence. Them is small wonder that Mr. Colyer, after reading many editorials and articles of this kind, showed no great eagerness to interview the citizens of the Territory with respect to his mission. He tells us that he was invited by gentlemen from Prescott to address a public meeting in that city on the Indian question, and that they assured him they would “protect him with their rifles and revolvers.” He wrote to the Prescott committee that, since his official duties were wholly with the Indians and the officers of the Government who had them in charge, he saw no sufficient reason why he should address a public meeting in which he “should have to be protected with rifles and revolvers.”

To tell the truth, Colyer was as contemptuous toward leading citizens of Arizona as they were full of scorn for him. He was a partisan–committed heart and soul to the cause of the Indians. The proved evils that he had uncovered looked so gross and wicked to him that he did not desire to talk with white men who had committed or defended them. He was in Arizona merely to carry out officially the instructions of the President, conveyed to him by the Secretary of the Interiorthat is, “to locate the nomadic tribes upon suitable reservations,” to bring “them under the control of the proper officers of the Indian Department,” and “to supply them with necessary subsistence, clothing and whatever else” they needed. Everywhere he went he was received in a very friendly and sympathetic spirit by the Army officers in command of the various posts. In reality, some of these officers had been among the first to urge upon their superiors and the Government just and humane action in dealing with these wild but bewildered tribes they had been ordered to exterminate. Moreover, they, too, had borne the abuse of the citizens and been cut with the vindictive lash of public scorn.

Colyer was honest in purpose and a true philanthropist, but he was prejudiced and intolerant, and his knowledge of the situation he was set to remedy was inadequate. He showed in his report that the Apaches in Arizona, even those to whom rations had been issued, were in an almost starving condition, with no alternative but to steal or die. One-half of all the avages who had been at war with the Americans, through his efforts, were gathered upon reservations. They numbered about four thousand and included most of the Tontos, many of the Coyoteros and Pinaleños, and all of the Apache-Mohaves and Apache-Yumas. (Detached members of the Mohave and Yuma tribes living with the Apaches.) Those who were still hostile and were determined to fight to the end were a small number of Mescaleros and Pinalefios, the Apache-Mohaves under Del Shay, and the Chiricahuas.

Colyer’s decisions and adjustments were approved by Grant; and General Sherman, in command of the Army, gave orders that they should be permanent. However, some of them soon had to be set aside by General Howard, who came to Arizona a little later with plenary powers from President Grant as a Peace Commissioner to rectify mistakes that had been made and to make peace with Cochise, chief of the Chiricahuas. Howard was a broader and more experienced philanthropist than was Colyer, and was able to achieve more lasting results.

As has been noted above, Crook assumed command of the troops in Arizona only two or three months previous to the arrival of Colyer. He came unannounced and unknown, “without baggage and without fuss.” Not even the stage driver knew who this lean, quiet, muscular passenger was. He took up his task as unobtrusively as a Pinkerton detective. First he talked with his friend Governor Safford. Before sunset of the June day on which he arrived in Tucson, orders had been issued to every officer in the southern division of his Department to report to him at once in Tucson. He listened much, but said little. He drew full and minute information from the Governor, from Army officers, and from the citizens of Tucson. He listened attentively and reflected deeply, but gave no inkling whatever of his own plans or policies. His supreme policy (and habit) was to listen to everything and say nothing. His reticence was always superb–to some it was exasperating.

Crook was every inch a soldier. He knew no such thing as ease. “The flinty and steel couch of war” was his “thrice-driven bed of down.” He was always fit for march, battle, or bivouac. No soldier ever surpassed him in energy, endurance, and indifference to exposure. He used neither liquor nor tobacco, and no soldier ever heard a profane or obscene word from his lips. He was as little given to show and outward insignia as was Grant. He rarely wore a uniform when it was not obligatory that he do so. In Arizona, no matter how hot, in duck suit and white canvas helmet, he rode everywhere on horseback or on his powerful mule “Apache.” On one of his terrible northern marches, he wore Government boots, corduroy trousers, a heavy woolen shirt, an old style Army blouse, a brown felt hat, and an old Army overcoat with red lining and a wolfskin collar. He was a shade over six feet in stature, erect, spare, sinewy, and muscular. His head was dean-cut and his features sternly chiseled; his bluish-gray eyes were deep-set; his nose prominent; his mouth large and firm, but not hard; his complexion ruddy; and his hair light brown. Decision, sagacity, tenacity of purpose were written in every feature. He was modest and reticent to a fault–somewhat too severe and brusque in speech, also. But he was not unkind. Children were not afraid of him; and there was no man–soldier or savage-so poor or ignorant that he could not gain access to him. Under all the quietness and unpretentiousness of his exterior, “manifesting itself even to a stranger, there was the power, the awful force of a man who does.”

By July 11 Crook was on the march at the head of a force consisting of five companies of cavalry and a large body of scouts, trailers, and packers. The immediate objective was not battle, but a strenuous practice campaign. Crook desired to study the country, harden his men, create esprit de corps, and build up a pack-train service that could follow at the heels of the fighting men anywhere. The line of march was to be by Fort Bowie, to Fort Apache, thence over the Mogollons to Camp Verde, and finally on to Fort Whipple and Prescott-a distance of about seven hundred miles through the country of the enemy, over burning mesa, through dense forests, and over uncharted mountains.

This long, hard march served its purpose well. It was a true school for soldier and officer alike. Crook came to know his command–its strength and its weakness–and the command came to know and respect its leader. He nude it clear to his subordinates that he wanted them to take note of everything; and on his part he was ever alert to learn all that he could about the trend of the mountain roves, the source and direction of each stream, the location of water holes, the quantity and quality of grasses to be found, the meaning of the smoke signals they saw now and then, and the names, characteristics, and possible uses of the plants and animals native to the region. Picket duty was a constant requirement; for not only did the smoke signals indicate the presence of hostile Apaches, but twice during the march cavalry detachments came upon the embers of campfires of raiding bands that had been disturbed in the midst of their feasting; and once Crook and some of his officers who were riding in advance of the cavalry were shot at by Indiam in ambush.

Humor, romance, and tragedy go with the mule wherever he plods his weary way. The mule never had a better friend than Crook. He has been called “the daddy of the army mule,” and his men were fond of saying that he was “pack-mule wise.” No other military leader ever gave so much time and thought to the perfecting of his pack train. He knew that when the final test came, victory or defeat would lie in his transportation system; for, just as water can rise no higher than its source, so men in the field can advance and fight only as food and ammunition are delivered to them at the front. The pack train he had made one of the chief studies of his life. He had familiarized himself with the good results achieved by the highly organized transportation systems of Spain, Peru, Mexico, and the mining communities of the Southwesti and now, at the beginning of his campaign in Arizona, he set about the task of bringing his pack train to the highest possible state of efficiency as patiently and intelligently as the scientist carries on an experiment in his laboratory. Nothing was too good for his pack traini in the interest of economy he saw to it that every article used was of the best material. Drunken and cruel pack-ers were removed, and sober, decent men put in their places. Mules must be of uniform size and proved fitness for the particular country in which a campaign was to be carried on. Raw-boned, sore-backed, abused, and nondescript animals were not to be tolerated. Every mule must be properly shod and fed and groomed; and each mule was to have his own pack saddle specially fitted to him. Crook spent much of his time in close observation of the pack train; and he often talked with the packers on the march and around the campfire. As a result of all this, his pack trains were the best to be found in the army. A Government circular stated that the average burden for a mule should not be more than one hundred and seventy-five pounds. But the animals in Crook’s command carried an average of more than three hundred pounds; and they suffered less, throve better, and bore up longer in hard campaigns over the rough Arizona trails than any other mules in the service.

In the lovely region about Camp Grant in the White Mountains many Apaches under such well-behaved chiefs as Miguel, Pedro, and Alchise, hunted, raised corn, lived happily, and gave they had to sell. In this way they would become well-to-do, like the white man, and would be able to send their children to school. He told them it was best, in order to make sure there would be no misunderstanding, that all of his words and theirs should be written down. He said, too, that since the Indians did not know the white man’s ways, it would be better for the soldiers to remain with them on their reservations to explain things and protect them. To the wise, friendly White Mountain chiefs and their people, these simple and sincere words seemed “good medicine.”

It was just at this time, while Crook was making his march from Tucson to Prescott and getting ready to strike a decisive blow, that President Grant, as previously related, was trying to find a peaceful solution to the Indian troubles in Arizona through the labors of Vincent Colyer of the Indian Peace Commission and General O. O. Howard, his own special representative. Crook cooperated courteously and fully with both Colyer and Howard, though he had little confidence that the outcome of the peace negotiations would be satisfactory. Meantime, he had continued to make quiet preparations for a stern campaign against incorrigible hostiles.

By the autumn of 1872 it had become apparent to everyone that nothing but force could put a stop to Apache outrages in Arizona, and that Crook was the man for the hour. Within a year from the time that Colyer had entered the Territory the Indians had made more than fifty new raids and had killed more than forty citizens. The Wickenburg massacre in which Loring, a brilliant young scientist, and a number of other stage passengers were attacked and murdered in the most coldblooded manner, was the most sensational of these raids. At the Date Creek Agency not far from Wickenburg the Government was feeding about a thousand Apache-Yuma Indians, together with a few Apache-Mohaves. These Indians were not altogether trustworthy. Now and then some of them would raid and steal. Crook satisfied himself that the terrible Wickenburg massacre was the work of bad Indians from the Date Creek Agency and with grim determination he set about ferreting out the criminals.

The task he had undertaken was not an easy one to accomplish, as even the well-disposed members of the band were, of course, loath to report on their own kin. For weeks and months Crook kept watch and followed every clue. Some of the Date Creek Indians were related to the Hualapais, and through this tribe Crook received a friendly warning that the next time he visited Date Creek he and his escort were to be killed. Owing to the sudden death of the officer in command at Date Creek, Crook made a trip to that post sooner than he had intended or the Indians had expected. Word was sent to the Indians that he would have a talk with them at a time and place fixed by him. He appeared at the appointed time, unaccompanied by soldiers. But along with him, in a casual sort of way, came a dozen of his packers–hardy, seasoned fighting men of the West–armed with knives and revolvers, and ready for instant action in case of treachery. The guilty Indians had laid their plot carefully. After the talk had gone on for some time in the most friendly manner, the leader, who sat in the middle of the semicircle opposite Crook and his party, asked for some tobacco; and when it had been given to him he began rolling a cigarette. As the General knew, this was the prearranged signal for an attack on him and his men.

At the first puff of the cigarette the fellow next to the leader raised his carbine and shot at Crook. Lieutenant Ross, on the alert, struck the rascal’s arm; so the bullet missed its mark. There was a deadly set-to. Hank Hewitt, a powerful man, seized the chief conspirator by both ears and beat his head against the rocks until he was unconscious. Some of the band were killed and a number were wounded; but most of them made their escape and came together later at the head of the Santa Maria River where five canyons unite. Crook sent word to them that unless they all came in he would be compelled to hunt down and destroy the whole band. No reply came back; so plans were made to pursue and punish them. They naturally expected the attack from the direction of Date Creek, but “the Gray Fox” let a considerable time pass; and then just as they were beginning to think they were safe, a command led by Hualapai scouts attacked them from an unexpected quarter, killing, wounding, or capturing more than forty.

Since hostilities were bound to continue, it was a good thing that the Wickenburg murders and the attempt on Crook’s life were spectacular; for the East now woke up and saw conditions as they really existed. In the fall of 1872 Crook received orders to bring all the renegade Indians onto the reservations and to guard them closely. So he began the closing-in and wiping-up campaign that he had long been preparing for. Concerted action was to begin about November 15. A number of separate commands, each one to be directed by an experienced officer, were to set out from widely separated posts and all move toward the Tonto Basin. Each command was to find and fight the Indians wherever possible until they submitted or were destroyed. The hostiles were to be kept constantly on the the move, so that if they escaped death in battle they would perish from privation, fatigue, or cold among the snow-clad mountains where they were to be driven. Crook himself, while leaving each unit free to act upon its own initiative, was to move from point to point along the front as occasion demanded. Major Randall was to operate from Camp Apache, Major Price from Date Creek, Major MacGregor from Fort Whipple, Major Mason from Camp Hualapai, Captain Burns from Camp McDowell, Colonel Carr from Camp Verde, and Major Brown from Camp Grant. Each expedition was to have its own scouts and its own pack train, made up of picked and hardened men. After reaching the Tonto Basin, the common objective, the various columns were to radiate in every direction, and thus from new angles cover again the country already traversed. Crook gave orders that women and children should be protected wherever possible; that prisoners should be well treated and, if possible, enlisted as scouts. Every trail was to be followed to its end; there was to be no falling back; if the enemy could not be pursued on horseback, the men were to proceed on foot. No sacrifice was to be considered too great.

The campaign arranged for, Crook set out at once for Camp Apache where he enlisted a force of Apache scouts. From Camp Apache he went to old Camp Grant by long and most difficult marches. At once he dispatched the column at Camp Grant under Major Brown to harry the Mescal, Pinal, Superstition, and Matitzal Mountains, with Camp McDowell as a terminal. Major Brown led two troops of the Fifth Cavalry and thirty Apache scouts. With this command went Captain Taylor and Lieutenants Bourke, Almy, and Ross–officers unsurpassed for bravery and endurance. General Crook had given personal attention to every detail that might enter into the success of this expedition. He had secretly gathered minute information from the Apache scouts who knew the whole region the troops were now about to enter. The first object was to find the ranchería of the brutal chief, Chuntz, and wipe it from the earth. A short time before this Chuntz had killed a little Mexican boy at Camp Grant in cold blood. After finding and destroying the stronghold of Chuntz, Major Brown’s force was to ferret out the ranchería of Del Shay in the region of the Matitzal range. Brown’s way was through the roughest and rockiest mountains–now over ridges and through defiles of granite and porphyry, and again through thickets of cholla, Spanish bayonet, scrub oak, and manzanita. There was snow on the mountains, and the cold was intense. The scouts were kept far in advance of the soldiers, and it was apparent at once that they were brave and trustworthy. The ranchería of Chuntz was found and destroyed, but he and his band escaped. No trace was found of them; they had fled the region. December 25 Brown’s troops united with Burns’ command that had left Camp McDowell a week before and had scoured the Matitzal range, killing six Apaches, capturing two, and destroying the ranchería where these Indians were in hiding. Those who escaped fled to a cave in the Salt River Canyon where a few days later one of the most terrible battles in Apache history was to be fought by the combined command of Brown and Burns.

Major Brown, on the evening of December 27, 1872, first made known to his officers and men that Crook’s chief object in sending out this expedition was to find the cave alluded to above. Nanteje, one of the Apache scouts, had known this stronghold from his boyhood. He was willing to lead the troops to it; but he explained that the march would have to be made by night and that if their approach was discovered not a man could escape. Only the hardiest soldiers were permitted to take part in the attack. All the rest were ordered to remain with the pack train and keep strict watch for hostiles. The party was to start at eight o’clock and go on foot across a rough projection of the Matitzals into the Salt River Canyon. Food and equipment were reduced to the smallest possible compass, but an abundant supply of extra cartridges was carried by each soldier in the blanket that he had slung about him. The command moved slowly and cautiously forward during the long night; and as the first gray tinge of dawn appeared, twelve or fifteen of the best sharpshooters were sent a little way in advance. These men had descended the precipitous face of the canyon several hundred feet when, in a small open space in front of the cave, they came upon a band of Apache warriors who had just returned from a raid on the Gila River. They were dancing around a little fire where several squaws were crouched in the act of preparing food for the hungry raiders. Ross and his men fired on the camp and killed six braves. The survivors, in consternation, rushed for the cave; and Major Brown, apprised by the terrific noise that a serious action had begun, hurried Bourke forward with forty men who were close at hand. Down the dangerous face of the cliff they went, and just as soon as Brown could bring up the rest of his force he, too, pressed forward. Bourke was not to bring on a fight if he could avoid doing so, but was to find shelter for his men and then to watch the cave and make sure that the enemy did not slip away. Bourke’s men and those under command of Ross came together–nearly sixty in all–and hid themselves behind rocks and boulders where they could command both sides of the cave. Almost immediately Brown brought his men up and placed them a little in the rear of this first line. After making sure that his whole force was safely disposed, he had his interpreters demand an unconditional surrender. The reply was a wild howl of rage and defiance. The Apaches did not know what a strong force confronted them and they felt sure of their prey. A renewed call to surrender brought only shouts of scorn. Brown now gave the Indians a chance to send out their women and children with the assurance that they would not be harmed. The Apaches answered with defiance that they would all fight to the bitter end.

Meantime, the savages used every device to get the soldiers to expose themselves. It was all in vain. Then they shot arrows high into the air, hoping they would fall upon the men in the rear. Little harm was done, however. The cave was protected in front by a smooth wall of rock about ten feet high. To surmount this in the face of the foe was impossible. Sharpshooters were now placed at advantageous points, but the Indians were no less wary than the soldiers. The men in advance were next ordered to fire against the sloping wall of the cave back of the warriors, who were massed at the front, behind the stone rampart. The deflected bullets did considerable damage and so galled the Apaches that they returned the fire, and in so doing, necessarily exposed themselves somewhat. Cries of women and children gave evidence that the firing of the soldiers was doing its deadly work; so again Major Brown called upon the Indians to surrender or at least to send out their women and children. There was a short silence and then came the death chant and a desperate charge over the rampart.

Under cover of this bold assault about a dozen of the braves slipped down and then off through the rocks toward Brown’s right flank. Half a dozen of them were shot down before they had gone ten yards, and the rest were driven back wounded into the cave. One daring fellow broke off toward the left flank and got behind the first line of soldiers, but he was immediately shot to pieces by the men in the rear line. It was now manifest that the Indians intended to die in the cave, unless reenforcements should arrive to relieve them. Burns had been sent early in the morning with Company G and the Pima guides to follow the trail of the horses that the raiders had brought from near Florence. As he was returning from a long detour through the mountains, he heard the heavy firing in the canyon. He approached the scene of battle on the canyon rim, directly above the cave and quickly took in the situation. He had two of his men harnessed so that they could lean far over the edge of the precipice; and from this point of vantage, held securely by their comrades, they fired at the Indians below. But the exposed savages lost no time in retreating under the cliff. Burns now gave orders to roll huge boulders down at the mouth of the cave. Immediately havoc was wrought by this frightful bombardment. The roar made by the falling and bursting masses of rock was appalling. Up to this time one or two of the survivors had continued to fire with cool desperation. But at last the shooting ceased. Brown now signaled to Burns to stop rolling down the boulders and also silenced his own guns. At noon, not knowing what to expect, he ordered his men to scale the wall and enter the cave. A frightful scene of carnage met their gaze. Thirty-five of the Indians were still alive, but many of this number were dying and about half of them did expire in the cave. In all, about seventy-five met death. The stronghold was amply supplied with arms and provisions. Some of the squaws who had been seen about the campfire at dawn had escaped; and as they would undoubtedly carry news of the attack to a neighboring ranchería, Brown deemed it urgent to withdraw from the canyon at once.

One desperately wounded warrior in the cave was overlooked by the soldiers. He later crawled out from among the dead and was able to intercept and turn back a large band from his tribe who were coming to join the Indians in the Salt River Canyon. They were not so much rescued as reprieved, for though they reached another stronghold, Turret Butte, almost as unassailable as the cave, Major Randall’s column pounced upon them here and meted out grim punishment. This band had been surprised redhanded in a marauding expedition. They had attacked, tortured, and slain a small party of white men near Wickenburg; and while attempting to make their way into the Tonto Basin, were vigorously pursued by the cavalry detachments operating on the western front. Though they had been followed so hard, they thought they had made good their escape when they reached this mountain fastness, hitherto considered impregnable. But Crook’s strategy was here triumphantly demonstrated. There was no spot on mountain or mesa or in deepest canyon where a hostile Indian could rest in safety. Major Randall took up the chase where the column from the west had had to drop it. In the night, on hands and knees, Randall’s men crawled up the steep mountainside until they saw the campfires of the savages on the rocky summit. At dawn the attack was made, and it was so sudden and determined that some of the warriors in their panic jumped to their death over the precipice. The rest were slain or captured.

By the end of the winter the most warlike savages had had enough. Early in April messengers were sent to Crook at Camp Verde to ask for terms of peace. They were told to bring in all their leading chiefs for a conference. Soon the mountains surrounding the Tonto Basin were everywhere alive with swift runners and signal fires. So far as possible the fighting was halted at once. In a short time Chalipun came with three hundred representatives of the leading tribes and offered to surrender. H said he was spokesman for all the hostile Apaches. Captain Bourke, the gallant and magnanimous soldier and fascinating historian, upon whose writing I have relied throughout this account, gives this graphic picture of the closing scene in this stern campaign of pacification:

“At Camp Verde we found assembled nearly all of Crook’s command, and a dirtier, greasier, more uncouth-looking set of officers and men it would be hard to encounter anywhere. Dust, soot, rain, and grime had made their impress upon the canvas suits which each had donned, and with hair uncut for months, beards growing with straggling growth all over the face, there was not one in the party who would venture to pose as an Adonis; but all were happy, because the campaign had resulted in the unconditional surrender of the Apaches and we were now to see the reward of our hard work.

” Crook took Chalipun by the hand and told him that, if he would promise to live at peace and stop killing people, he would be the best friend he ever had. Not one of the Apaches had been killed except through his own folly; they had refused to listen to the messengers sent out to ask them to give up the warpath and come in; and consequently there had been nothing else to do but go out and kill them until they changed their minds. It was of no use to talk about who began this war; there were bad men among all peoples; there were bad Mexicans as there were bad Americans and bad Apaches; our duty was to end wars and establish peace and not to talk about what was past and gone.” 1

For his distinguished service Crook was made a brigadier general. General Schofield, Commander of the Military Division of the Pacific, in a general order wrote: “To Brevet Major General George Crook, commanding the Department of Arizona, and to his gallant troops, for the extraordinary service they have rendered in the late campaign against the Apache Indians, the Division Commander extends his thanks and congratulations upon their brilliant successes. They have merited the gratitude of the nation.” There was ardent rejoicing throughout Arizona. For the first time in three hundred years the trails and mountains were free from marauding Apaches. For two years under the strong, wise administration of this great soldier and philanthropist peace prevailed and civilization grew apace. Crook was not only an Indian fighter and manager; he was a builder and planter as well. Under his regime, unhealthful posts were transferred to better locations; he improved the quarters of the officers and men, constructed good wagon roads from Army post to Army post, and had maps made of the hostile regions and of the Territory. He built a telegraph line seven hundred miles in extent, encouraged his officers to study the ways, ideas, rites, and ceremonies of the Indians under their control, and made plans to secure and set out on the various military reservations of Arizona such vines and fruit trees as were best suited to the climate and location. It was a misfortune for Arizona and the Apaches when, March, 1875, he was transferred to the command of the Department of the Platte.Citations:

  1. Bourke John G. On the Border with Crook. New York, Scribner, 1896.[]

Apache, History,


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Discover more from Access Genealogy

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading

Scroll to Top