Battle of Hembrillo Basin
|Battle of Hembrillo Basin|
|Part of the Apache Wars, Victorio's War|
A map of the engagement in Hembrillo Basin.
|Commanders and leaders|
|71 cavalry||~150 warriors|
|Casualties and losses|
The Battle of Hembrillo Basin, or the Battle of Rattlesnake Springs, was fought between the United States Army's 9th Cavalry against a combined band of Chiricahua and Mescalero Apaches led by Chief Victorio.
Victorio's War was a series of battles fought between the United States Army and Victorio in which American and Mexican troops attempted to return the Apaches to the reservation at Mescalero, New Mexico. Chief Victorio led a large band of warriors across southern Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, spreading terror and destruction throughout the population.
As the day wore on, the cavalry troopers were needing water. Victorio recognized this limiting factor, and wisely guarded the nearby springs with warriors armed with repeating rifles, maximizing their firepower with meager personnel.
In 1988, archaeologists from Human Systems Research, Inc. began to process the artifacts from the Hembrillo Basin battleground under contract from the United States Army. During a 10 year analysis, over 800 cartridges were discovered, tagged, and positioned with GPS. Forensic analysis revealed that the cartridges were fired from 147 unique rifles and carbines, and 39 separate pistols.
Officers from nearby White Sands Missile Range and Fort Bliss are frequently given staff tours of the battlefield to increase historic knowledge of small unit tactics against overwhelming odds. Artifacts, such as rifle cartridges, from the battle are still found today.
- White Sands Missile Range: WSMR Chronology: Cowboys to V-2s to the Space Shuttle to Lasers
- Milliken, Frederic. The Buffalo Soldiers. Phoenixmasonry Masonic Museum.
- Associated Press. (1999) "Scientists rewrite history of cavalry, Apache fight", Lubbock Avalanche Journal, 24 April 1999
- Gott, Kendall. (2004). In Search of an Elusive Enemy: The Victorio Campaign. Global War on Terrorism Occasional Paper 5. Combat Studies Institute Press: Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
- Laumbach ,Karl W. (2001). Fire Fight at Hembrillo Basin Archaeology: Volume 54 Number 6, November/December 2001
- White Sands Missile Range Museum: The Hembrillo Battlefield Located on White Sands Missile Range
- Human Systems Research, Inc.: Hembrillo Battlefield Survey
- Eckles, Jim. "Major Makes Discovery at Hembrillo", Missile Ranger, 9 May 2008