Renegade period of the Apache Wars
|Part of the Apache Wars, American Indian Wars|
Renegade Apaches, by Henry F. Farny.
| United States
|Commanders and leaders|
| George Crook
Nelson A. Miles
The Renegade period of the Apache Wars refers to the conflicts between the United States and Mexico and the Apache people who left the reservation system between 1879 and 1886, and renegade Apaches who lived in northern Mexico into the 1920s.
From 1870 to 1880, Victorio and his band were moved to and left at least three different reservations, some more than once, despite his band's request to live on traditional lands. The Ojo Caliente reservation was located in their traditional territory, near present-day Dusty, New Mexico. Victorio and his band were moved to San Carlos Reservation in Arizona Territory in 1877. He and his followers left the reservation twice before but came back only to leave permanently in late August 1879 which started Victorio's War. Victorio was successful at raiding and evading capture by the military, he won a significant engagement at Las Animas Canyon on September 18, 1879.
In April, 1880, Victorio was credited with leading the Alma Massacre – a raid on United States settlers' homes around Alma, New Mexico. During this event, several settlers were killed. Victorio's warriors were finally driven off with the arrival of American soldiers from Fort Bayard. However, Victorio continued his campaign with the attack on Fort Tularosa.
On August 9, 1880 Victorio and his band attacked a stagecoach and mortally wounded retired Major General James J. Byrne.
In October 1880, while moving along the Rio Grande in northern Mexico, Victorio and his band were surrounded and killed by soldiers of the Mexican Army under Colonel Joaquin Terrazas in the Tres Castillos Mountains ( ), in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Some women and children escaped but were sent with Geronimo to Florida, Alabama and Oklahoma.
On May 17, 1885, a number of Apache including Mangus (son of Mangus Colorado), Chihuahua, Nachite, Geronimo, and their followers fled the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona. The people, who had lived as semi-nomads for generations, disliked the restrictive reservation system. Department of Arizona General George Crook dispatched two columns of troops into Mexico, the first commanded by Captain Emmet Crawford and the second by Captain Wirt Davis. Each was composed of a troop of cavalry (usually about forty men) and about 100 Apache scouts. They pursued the Apache through the summer and fall through Mexican Chihuahua and back across the border into the United States. The Apache continually raided settlements, killing other Native Americans and civilians and stealing horses.
Crook was under increased pressure from the government in Washington. He launched a second expedition into Mexico and on January 9, 1886, Crawford located the Chiricahua. His Indian scouts attacked the next morning and captured the Apache's herd of horses and their camp equipment. The Apaches were demoralized and agreed to negotiate for surrender. Before the negotiations could be concluded, Mexican troops arrived and mistook the Apache scouts for the enemy Apache. They attacked and killed Captain Crawford. Lt. Maus, the senior officer, met with the Chiricahua Apache, who agreed to meet with General Crook. Geronimo named as the meeting place the Cañon de los Embudos (Canyon of the Funnels), in the Sierra Madre Mountains about 86 miles (138 km) from Fort Bowie and about 20 miles (32 km) miles south of the international border, near the Sonora/Chihuahua border.
During the three days of negotiations, photographer C. S. Fly took about 15 exposures of the Apache on 8 by 10 inches (200 by 250 mm) glass negatives. One of the pictures of Geronimo with two of his sons standing alongside was made at Geronimo's request. Fly's images are the only existing photographs of Geronimo’s surrender. His photos of Geronimo and the other free Apaches, taken on March 25 and 26th, are only the known photographs taken of an American Indian while still at war with the United States.
Geronimo, camped on the Mexican side of the border, agreed to Crook's surrender terms. That night, a soldier who sold them whiskey said that his band would be murdered as soon as they crossed the border. Geronimo, Nachite, and 39 of his followers slipped away during the night. Crook exchanged a series of heated telegrams with General Philip Sheridan defending his men's actions, until on April 1, 1886, he sent a telegram asking Sheridan to relieve him of command, which Sheridan was all too willing to do.
Sheridan replaced Crook with General Nelson A. Miles. In 1886, General Miles selected Captain Henry Lawton to command B Troop, 4th Cavalry, at Fort Huachuca, and First Lieutenant Charles B. Gatewood, to lead the expedition that brought Geronimo and his followers back to the reservation system for a final time. Lawton was given orders to head up actions south of the U.S.–Mexico boundary, where it was thought that Geronimo and a small band of his followers would take refuge from U.S. authorities. Lawton was to pursue, subdue, and return Geronimo to the U.S., dead or alive.
The last Apache raid into the United States occurred as late as 1924 when a band of natives stole some horses from Arizona settlers. This is considered to be the very end of the American Indian Wars.
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