The Pueblo Food Experience Cookbook is an original cookbook by, for, and about the Pueblo peoples of New Mexico. This…smile.amazon.com
They called him Mickey Free. His kidnapping started the longest war in American history, and both sides - the Apaches…smile.amazon.com
The Mogollon peoples discovered this secluded spring more than a millennium ago. In small nearby encampments, they constructed lodges, probably semi-subterranean pit houses. They manufactured plain brown pottery, raised corn and gathered wild plants. They used bows and arrows.
The Chiricahua Apaches, drifting southwest from the southern Great Plains, found the spring in the sixteenth century, and they made it the center of their new homeland, which became known as Apachería, the desert basin and range country of southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico and north central Mexico. In small encampments, the Chiricahuas constructed ephemeral brush or grass lodges called wickiups. They wove grass baskets. Sometimes, they raised a little corn. They gathered wild plants. They used bows and arrows and, later, rifles and pistols. They gloried in warfare and the raid.
In a ravine which leads to a canyon which, in turn, descends to a pass between southeastern Arizona’s Chiricahua and Dos Cabezas Mountains, a small spring issues from the earth. Called Apache Spring, it delivers its stream — cool, clear, sparkling like a cascade of diamonds — into a sequestered rocky basin shaded by a few oak trees. Among exposed roots of the oaks, moss as green as emeralds clings to stone surfaces at the basin’s rim. The water flows from the basin and trickles down the ravine toward the canyon, to a place where it will play out and submerge back into the earth.
In the pass, called Apache Pass, about a mile above the level of the sea, nature has stirred a cocktail of ecological systems, a blend of two deserts and two life zones. Here, the high, hot Chihuahuan Desert to the east, in southern New Mexico, merges with the lower and even hotter Sonoran Desert to the west, in southern Arizona; and both deserts, marked by agave, yucca, sotol and cholla, merge with the higher woodland, distinguished by mountain mahogany, oak, juniper and piñon pine.
Along the stream — the only source of water for all seasons near the pass and its adjoining mountain slopes — mountain lions, bobcats, gray foxes, coyotes, coatimundl and mule deer quench their thirsts in the cover of the night. The red-capped acorn woodpecker rattles the morning stillness. The dusky-eyed Mexican jay whenks querulously at other birds. Plumed Gambel’s quail scurry through late spring undergrowth, plumed puffs of down — their chicks — in close pursuit. Hummingbirds, glittering like rubies in dappled sunlight, pause at the spring during their annual journeys north and south. Turkey vultures wheel through the summer skies above the spring.
|Fort Bowie ruins, The Ranger Station is at the center-right in the back.|
Morrison assigned Bascom a force of 54 newly arrived mounted troopers. The inexperienced lieutenant proceeded to lead his inexperienced troopers into the field. Finding tracks of the raiders’ ponies leading eastward from Ward’s ranch towards the Chiricahua Mountains, he assumed Cochise’s band was guilty of the raid. Had he known Chiricahua Apaches were not known at that time for kidnapping and that the livestock raiding they engaged in then was limited almost entirely to south of the border, Bascom may have approached the chief in another way.
Cochise eventually did come to Bascom’s camp, at dinner time. Because Cochise brought several of his family members to Bascom’s tent to share a meal, he obviously believed this was a social visit. At some point during this meeting, Bascom accused the chief of kidnapping the boy. Though Cochise denied the accusation and told the officer he did not know the whereabouts of the boy he did say he would try to locate him and secure his release. However, the lieutenant told the chief he would not allow him to leave until the boy was returned.
Cochise’s warriors then attacked a wagon train coming into the pass along the Overland Trail, killing the Mexicans on it, and taking the Anglos hostage. His warriors also captured Wallace, the Butterfield employee. The chief then attempted to trade his hostages for Bascom’s. Exchanging hostages was something Mexicans and Apaches had engaged in routinely and was a common practice of the time. In Cochise’s mind, he probably saw this as a logical solution to the problem.
Again the lieutenant insisted he would not release his Apache hostages until the boy was returned. And again Cochise denied having any knowledge of the whereabouts of the boy, still offering to help find him if Bascom would let his relatives go. What was going on in the minds of all involved, we can only wonder now. Each of us can only try to imagine what we might have felt, and done, had we been in the situation ourselves. Can you imagine the anger Cochise must have felt after having trusted his family would be safe in Bascom’s tent? Was he angry at himself for letting his guard down? Did he feel betrayed by Bascom’s initial pretense of hospitality?
Most certainly, he was deeply offended the lieutenant did not believe he did not have the boy. Being a leader held in such high regard by his people it must have been incomprehensible to Cochise to have his word doubted. Try to imagine the mortification Bascom might have felt when the whole situation spun out of his control and escalated into violence. Was he ever really concerned about the missing boy or was he consumed with a sense of duty, an ambitious desire to carry out orders and advance his military career?
What about the hostages? Can you imagine the terror they were experiencing as the drama played out, knowing they were caught in the center of it? Why didn’t Bascom exchange his hostages for Cochise’s? Some historians believe even Bascom’s soldiers were asking among themselves this very question. At some point, Cochise’s frustration with Bascom’s inflexibility turned to resignation, as he abandoned hopes of a peaceful resolution. At what point that frustration turned to murderous rage, we can only guess.
This was one of the first times the United States Army had been able to use artillery against the Indians in the Southwest.
Roberts advanced with his howitzers and had them open fire. Their effectiveness was limited by the fact that they were 300–400 feet below the Apache defenses. Roberts moved his guns ahead to a better position, all the time under heavy fire. Once the guns were in effective range, the artillery opened fire in earnest.