INDIAN AND MILITARY AFFAIRS.
New Mexico in 1851-63 was the ninth military department of the United States. It was commanded in 1851 by Colonel John Monroe; in 1851-2 by Colonel E. V. Sumner, 4th artillery; in 1852-4 by Colonel Thomas J. Fauntleroy, 1st dragoons; in 1854-8 by General John Garland, 8th infantry; in 1858-9 by Colonel B. L. E. Bonneville, 3d infantry; in 1859-60 by Fauntleroy again; in 1860-1 by Colonel W. H. Loring; in 1861-2 by Lieutenant-colonel E. R. S. Canby, 10th infantry; and in 1862-3 by General James H. Carleton, 6th infantry and California volunteers.
The force under these commandants down to 1858 was from 1,400 to 1,800 men; and later from 2,000 to 4,000, distributed generally at from twelve to fifteen posts or forts, of which the most important were forts Union, Marcy, Defiance, Craig, Stanton, Fillmore, Bliss, and Sumner. The military headquarters was successively at Santa Fé, Fort Union, Alburquerque, and again at Santa Fé from 1852. The troops in the first years were the 1st and 2d dragoons, nine companies; 3d infantry, ten companies; and 2d artillery, two companies. In 1856-7 a regiment of mounted riflemen was transferred from Texas for a time, and two companies of the 8th infantry were added to the force. In 1860-1 other companies of the 5th and 10th infantry were added, and three regiments of New Mexico volunteer cavalry were called into service. There were 58 companies in 1861, and in 1862-3 the California volunteer regiment served in New Mexico, some of the other troops, however, having been withdrawn.
The duty of the army, maintained at a cost of about three million dollars a year on an average, was—except during the Texan invasion connected with the war of the rebellion in 1861-2—to afford to the New Mexican people that protection from their Indian foes which had been promised by General Kearny in 1846, and by the treaty of 1848. No such protection was in reality afforded, and Indian depredations were as constant and disastrous, or more so, as was claimed by many, as in any corresponding period of the Mexican regime. Though the commanders were for the most part competent men, and the soldiers fought bravely in hundreds of toilsome campaigns, the force was inadequate, and no definite consistent policy was adopted by the government at Washington. In general terms there was no radical difference of opinion as to the course that should be taken. The savage tribes must be exterminated, which would require a large military force, and which nobody really favored; or they must be fed at government expense, which would cost a large amount of money, though less for some years than the policy of extermination; or a combination of the two methods should be adopted, including the employment of an adequate military force to chastise the hostile bands, forcing them to make treaties and settle on reservations, together with strict vigilance and a proper supply of food, until the Indians could be made to understand the advantages of peace. The merits of this last plan, though there were minor variations of opinion respecting details, were clear enough to all in the territory and at the national capital; there were no very formidable obstacles in the way if men and money could be supplied; but the government preferred to let matters drift in the old way, spending its money in driblets, and accomplishing practically nothing until the last years of this period. The system, so far as any definite plan was followed, was to send out detachments from the different posts in pursuit of marauding bands, often unsuccessful, but often killing a few Indians and recovering all or part of the plunder. Occasionally an expedition was organized on a larger scale, to wage war on some tribe or district, generally resulting in a treaty, kept by the foe for only a very brief period. Hardly anything was done to remove the Indians’ idea of past years and centuries, that warfare for plunder, with occasional intervals of peace and gifts and recuperation, with alternate victory and defeat, was to be the main industry of themselves and their descendants, as it had been of their ancestors. And practically, the Mexican population was to a considerable extent under the influence of the same idea. Outrages perpetrated upon the Indians were hardly less frequent than depredations upon the people. Civil authorities, the military, and the citizens were often at variance on almost every phase of Indian affairs, these differences being the natural result of the prevailing policy, or lack of policy, and no party, white or Indian, except the national government, being much to blame. The people on several occasions furnished volunteers to aid in the military campaigns; sent out, with partial authority from the legislature and sometimes against the wishes of federal and military officers, many badly managed and ineffective private expeditions; and were always clamorous for more soldiers, especially for license to organize volunteer troops for the United States service. They also urged congress in frequent memorials to pay for the past services of volunteers, and for property stolen and destroyed by the Indians since 1846; but no attention was paid to these demands, founded in right, though often exaggerated as to amount, during the period covered by this chapter.
The number of wild Indians—that is, excluding the 7,000 peaceful and friendly Pueblos—in New Mexico was about 17,000; that is, 10,000 Navajos in the north-west, 2,000 Utes in the north, and 5,000 Apaches occupying the rest of the territory, though these numbers were usually overstated in reports of the earlier years, and though it must be noted that hostile bands from abroad—Apaches from the west and south, Utes from the north, and especially Comanches, Kiowas, and other natives of the plains from the east—often extended their raids into New Mexico. There were three or four years of the thirteen covered by this chapter which were regarded as years of peace, though none which were entirely free from depredations; but in the other years, all or part, especially of the Navajos and Apaches, were on the war-path. Much that has been said of Indian warfare in Arizona may be applied to that in New Mexico; but here the Indians as a rule did not kill for the sake of killing, as did the Apaches of Arizona and of southern New Mexico in later years, but only incidentally in the prosecution of their profession as plundering raiders. Women and children captured became servants or practically slaves, many of those taken by the Indians being sold to distant tribes. In this constant warfare the Indians were believed to be more successful than their adversaries in their capture of live-stock, while in the matter of captives the citizens had the best of it. There are no definite or trustworthy records of casualties except for brief periods, but the number of whites killed was probably from 200 to 300, and the property lost may have amounted to a million dollars. I make no attempt to catalogue depredations or campaigns, since I have neither space, nor in most cases sufficient data, for a complete record. I shall first present a general and brief view of military operations,; and finally the different tribes and sections will be treated successively, with somewhat more of detail in certain phases of the subject
Colonel Sumner assumed command in July 1851, with instructions to select new sites for military posts, to act in concert with the superintendent of Indian affairs, to inflict severe punishment on the savage foe, and to effect a reduction in military expenditures. In all these things he was successful to a certain extent, if one or two of the usual Navajo campaigns and temporary treaties may be regarded as the severe chastisement ordered. In the latter part of 1852 the country was reported at peace, the Indians for the most part friendly, and, particularly the Navajos and Apaches, completely overawed. This state of comparative peace lasted a little more than a year, during which time a little progress was made by the civil department. But this progress cost too much; methods were not approved, and promises not kept; so that in 1854-5 almost all the bands were again on the war-path. General Garland and his subordinates made active campaigns in all directions, especially against the Mescaleros, Jicarillas, and Utes; a volunteer force was called into the service; treaties were made by Governor Merriwether—not destined to be approved; and thus for 1856-7 a kind of precarious peace was patched up. Then in 1858 serious troubles arose with the Navajos, and the war, with its many campaigns under the direction of Garland, Bonneville, Fauntleroy, and Canby, was continuous in 1859—61, as will be more fully recorded a little later. At the same time the southern Apaches took advantage of the occasion to renew their raids; the Mormons were thought to be tampering with the Utes; troops were brought in from abroad; and the volunteers were somewhat irregularly reorganized for active service.
In 1861, when affairs were in this condition, and the war still in progress, an invasion of the territory by Texan confederates, an episode of New Mexican annals to be treated in the following chapter, caused the troops to be withdrawn from their Indian campaigns for other service deemed more urgent; and for over a year, while the Utes and Jicarillas remained friendly, the Navajos and other Apache bands were left free to devastate the settlements, without opposition except such as the citizens in small parties could offer. It was alleged that the southern Apaches and Texan tribes were incited and aided by the confederates; and however this may have been, the latter certainly had no motive for affording protection to their foes. In 1862, when the invaders had been driven out, and fears of further confederate operations had for the most part disappeared, General Carleton, succeeding Canby in September, his army being composed largely of Californian and New Mexican volunteers, turned his attention most energetically to the Indian foe. For the first time a definite policy was adopted. Carleton’s idea, and a very sensible one, was to chastise the savages thoroughly, and show them that there was to be no more trifling. No treaties were to be made, and no terms accepted except unconditional surrender as prisoners of war. In the field no quarter was to be shown except to women and children. At Bosque Redondo, on the Pecos, Fort Sumner was established, and here all the Navajo and Apache prisoners were to be brought as fast as taken, to await later decisions as to their fate, but with a plan of making this a permanent reservation for those tribes. The general’s force was not sufficient for the full accomplishment of his plans; but he went to work in earnest, and effected much. First the Apaches were taken in hand, and by the spring of 1863 about 400 Mescaleros had submitted, and were living in peace at the Bosque, while the other bands had been forced to suspend for a time their raids, Fort West having meanwhile been garrisoned at Pinos Altos. Then began the campaign against the Navajos, carried on with such energy that by the end of the year a considerable number of that tribe were either at Fort Sumner or on the way thither, and the prospect was encouraging for complete success in the near future, though conflicts were still occurring in many parts of the territory, and various obstacles were yet to be encountered.
In 1848-51 James S. Calhoun was general agent for the New Mexican Indiana On the organization of the territory, the governor became ex-officio superintendent of Indian affairs, and the position was held successively by Calhoun in 1851-2, Lane in 1852-3, and Merriwether in 1853-7. Then the offices were separated, and James L. Collins, an old resident of New Mexico, served as superintendent in 1857-63, being succeeded by Michael Steck in 1863. These superintendents appear to have been earnest and capable men, but their actions were so hampered by lack of means, conflicting or insufficient instructions, lack of a definite policy, and—especially in the early years— misunderstandings with the military authorities, that they could accomplish but little. They were instructed to accompany in person or by agents all expeditions, and to make treaties with the Indian tribes; but Calhoun in 1851 complained much of the difficulties that surrounded him, of lack of support and cooperation by the military, of increasing depredations, and of the efforts of designing men, his enemies, to prevent his success, and even draw the Pueblos into hostility; yet he made some kind of a treaty with the eastern Apaches. Congress in February 1851 extended over New Mexico all existing laws on trade and intercourse with the Indians, at the same time providing for the appointment of four agents at a salary of $1,500 each.
The four agents appointed in April 1851 were R. H. Weightman, soon elected to congress; John Greiner, stationed for a time at Taos, and later territorial secretary; Abram R. Wooley, of whom nothing more appears; and Edward H. Wingfield, who was stationed in 1852-3 at Fort Webster, was dismissed in 1853, and who published a pamphlet in defence of his conduct. In 1852 Michael Steck and Spruce M. Baird were appointed in place of Weightman and Wooley; and in 1853 a new corps, consisting of Kit Carson, Henry L. Dodge, James M. Smith, and Edmund A. Graves. Subsequent changes are given in a note or in a later portion of this chapter in the annals of the different agencies.
Superintendent Lane in 1852-3 was a believer in the policy of keeping the Indians quiet by feeding them, as cheaper and more effective than fighting. Accordingly, he made provisional treaties with some of the north-eastern and south-western Apache bands, agreeing to furnish food for five years, and some other aid to all who would work. A considerable number in the north were induced to settle on a farm west of the Rio Grande, and a like experiment was tried at Fort Webster. We know but little of details, except that, without waiting for approval of the treaties, Lane spent about $20,000 in the execution of the plan; and when the rations were suspended for want of funds, the Apaches became worse than ever. Superintendent Merriwether from 1853 found the Indians for the most part hostile. His theory was that the Indian title to all lands near the settlements should be purchased, to be paid for in annuities, from which the amount of depredations should be deducted. Before the end of his term in 1857 he made several treaties with different tribes, which were never approved. There was a general agreement in these and later years that the Indians must be induced to settle on reservations, and aided to a considerable extent for some time, but the government was very slow to act. Efforts to promote such settlement were, however, recommended, appropriations were increased, and some attention was paid to the various agencies, where goods were distributed each year. Under superintendents Collins and Steck there was no change of a general nature to be noted. It was, for the most part, a period of constant warfare. The Texan invasion caused most of the agencies to be abandoned for a time in 1861-2. The people, legislature, and all officials became extremely impatient. Various views on details of policy were expressed, various petitions and protests made; the necessity of a definite reservation system became more and more apparent; and there were few who did not approve, in a general way, General Carleton’s energetic measures of 1862-3, though some of his acts and views led to bitter controversy.
The northern part of the territory, outside of the Navajo country, was occupied or ranged over by the Jicarilla Apaches—so named in early times from the pottery made in small quantities by their women—about 900 in number, and by three bands of Utes—also written Utahs, and in earlier times by the Spaniards, Yutas—numbering 2,000 or more. The Jicarilla country was east of the Rio Grande, and the Mohuache Utes also came to regard this region as their home, the agency for both tribes being at Taos, and later at Cimarron, or Maxwell’s rancho. The Ute country was west of the river, stretching north-westward into Colorado and Utah, where most of the tribe lived, and the agency for the Capotes and Pauches, or Tabuaches, as the New Mexican bands were called during this period, was at Abiquiú. The Utes and Jicarillas were, to some extent, related by intermarriage, and in disposition and habits had much in common, being roving tribes, who were naturally averse to restraint, settlement, or civilization. Both were always ready to be fed by the government, and equally disposed to steal such supplies as were not otherwise obtainable without much work. The Utes were brave, warlike, better armed than other tribes, and skilful hunters; bold in the assertion of their right to the broad tract over which they ranged, wholly opposed to farming or reservation life, but willing to be friendly and abstain from depredations if liberally supplied with food. Their ideal was to retain their hunting-grounds, periodically visiting an agency to receive their gifts—which must not be less than other tribes received—and having free access to the settlements, where whiskey could be procured. The Jicarillas were equally fond of whiskey, somewhat more treacherous and cruel, less brave and energetic as warriors and hunters, making pottery, and sometimes planting on a small scale, and regarding theft as a natural means of supporting themselves if no easier way could be found. A large reservation near the settlements, where they could lead an easy, vagabond, drunken life, would have pleased them well enough.
At the beginning, both tribes were engaged in constant raids for plunder, and the Jicarillas were regarded as among the worst of Apaches. Yet Governor Calhoun made some kind of a treaty with them in 1851; they were pleased with the distribution of goods at Taos, and in 1853 Governor Lane induced 250 of them to settle on a farm west of the Rio Grande, on the Rio Puerco. But when Merriwether was obliged to announce that Lane’s treaties were not approved, and to suspend the distribution of supplies, both Jicarillas and Utes in their disgust went on the war-path. The former, after an active campaign by troops under lieutenants Bell and Davidson, in one battle of which over 20 dragoons lost their lives, were conquered, and made a treaty in July 1854; while the latter were defeated by Colonel Fauntleroy in a campaign of March to May 1855. From this time these tribes were friendly, though committing occasional thefts, or even worse depredations, and sometimes accused of other offences of which they probably were not guilty. The frequent raids of other tribes from the west and east made it difficult in many cases to identify the real culprits. The Indians did not live at or generally near the agencies, and were only in the slightest degree under the agents’ control. They came in to get their irregular allotments of goods, which were generally exchanged as soon as possible for liquor. They became, naturally, more and more a horde of drunken, pilfering, destitute, and mendicant vagabonds. At certain times and places they showed indications of a tendency to industry and good behavior, but the abominable lack of system prevented any of these rare exceptions being utilized as the nucleus of real improvement There was no progress, but constant deterioration. Reports on their condition and prospects varied with the point of view. Some agents, considering their past history and present circumstances, wondered that they were no worse, and wrote encouragingly; others, looking at the Indians as they were, and unmindful of the environment, could see no gleam of hope. The Jicarillas and Utes were, however, the only ‘union’ Indians, except the Pueblos, during the war of 1861-2, which fact—in view of their holding, as foes of the Navajos and tribes of the eastern plains, a kind of balance of power—with the additional circumstance that the Utes resisted the Mormon efforts of 1858, made them in these and later years the recipients of many complimentary allusions. All agreed, however, that these Indians should be put on reservations, which should be far from the settlements. Indeed, the suggestion was often made, as followed later, that the Jicarillas should be joined to the southern Apaches, and the Utes to the Colorado bands.
Respecting the northern agencies, agents, and native bands in charge of each, there is some confusion, the reports of early years being vague or altogether lacking. In 1851-3 John Greiner seems to have been stationed at Taos; then in 1853-9 Christopher Carson had charge of this agency. In 1860-1 special agents A. H. Pfeiffer and Henry Mercure were in charge; in 1861 the agency was moved from Taos to Cimarron, or Maxwell’s rancho, W. F. M. Arny being made agent, and his successor in 1862-3 was Levi Keithly. At the Abiquiú agency of the Capote and Pauche Utes, E. A Graves appears as agent in 1853, Lorenzo Labadi in 1855-6, Diego Archuleta in 1857, Lafayette Head in 1859-61, and José A. Manzanares in 1862-3. Agent Head had his headquarters at Conejos in 1860, and special agent Henry Mercure was in charge of the Pauches in 1862, on the Rio Chatna, and in 1863 at Tierra Amarilla.
Of the southern Apaches during this period it is difficult to present a definite and connected record. The bands belonging properly to New Mexico were the Mescaleros of the east, between the Pecos and Rio Grande, and the Mimbres and Mogollones—sometimes grouped as Gila Apaches—of the west. The number of these three bands at the first could not have exceeded 4,000, was perhaps considerably less—estimates of the time being very confusing—and constantly diminished before 1863; but the adjoining bands of Arizona and Chihuahua frequently entered New Mexico, as the lines were often crossed by the New Mexicans. There were few years in which some of these bands or parts of bands were not committing ravages in one section or another, and few in which other parties were not showing encouraging signs of a willingness to abandon their raiding habits. In disposition they were not unlike the Arizona Apaches, though not so bad as the worst of that territory. They often extended their raids into Mexican territory, carrying on a constant trade in plunder and captives with Mexicans, New Mexicans, and Navajos. In these early years they rarely molested the scattered herders of the frontier regions, holding also free intercourse with a disreputable class of traders, who kept them supplied with whiskey and ammunition. They were generally willing to abstain from theft on condition of being fed, and in several instances engaged in farming; but they were of variable temperament, impatient of all restraint, the victims of mismanagement and of frequent outrage.
In the first years but little appears about the Apaches, but from the boundary survey and overland mail and immigration records I infer that their hostilities were not very continuous or serious. In 1852-3 a considerable number of the Gila bands was collected at Fort Webster, and under the care of Agent Wingfield they were induced, under a promise of supplies for a term of years—the arrangement being similar to that made with the Jicarillas in the north—to promise peace and make a beginning of farming. It was a costly though somewhat successful experiment, but naturally, when the treaty was not confirmed and the supplies were stopped the Indians became worse than ever. E. A. Graves is named as agent at Dona Ana in 1854, resigning in June. At this time the Mescaleros began to give much trouble, and campaigns were made against them by Lieutenant Sturgis and Captain Ewell, with such success that in March 1855 they were suing for peace, and in June a treaty was made by Governor Merriwether, by which a reservation was designated near Fort Stanton, a new post established at this time and named for a captain killed in the campaign. The treaty was not approved, but an agency was from this time maintained at the fort under Michael Steck as agent, and the Mescaleros, or a considerable part of them, kept the peace, received their goods, and in most seasons tilled the soil, for six years. There were some drunken quarrels, troubles with other Indians, and petty thefts. Once in 1856 they all ran away to the mountains on Steck’s refusal to give them their supplies until stolen property had been returned. The governor disapproved the agent’s action, but the Indians returned after a few months. Agent Steck had great faith in the possibility of reforming the Apaches under a proper system, and he went to Washington in 1860 in their interest, leaving W. A. Sapp in charge at Fort Stanton.
Governor Merriwether also made a treaty in 1855 with the Mimbres, and they behaved nearly as well as the Mescaleros, planting and keeping the peace, though much demoralized by liquor and cheated by citizens. The Mogollones were somewhat less tractable, and by Colonel Bonneville’s campaign through their country against the Coyoteros and other bands of the Gila in 1857, an unfortunate movement in the opinion of Agent Steck, both they and the Mimbres were scattered, and rendered to a considerable extent hostile. In 1858, however, many of both bands had resumed their friendly attitude, planting on the Rio Palmas and Santa Lucia in 1857-8. From this time a reservation on the Upper Gila for all the Apaches was strongly recommended, and in 1860 such a reservation was authorized and surveyed near the Arizona line.
In 1861 the confederate invasion put an end to all efforts of the civil department in behalf of the Apaches, and all—including the Mescaleros on the abandonment of Fort Stanton—threw off every restraint, and gave themselves up to hostile raids, the agencies being broken up. This state of affairs continued until 1863, though Agent Labadi at Anton Chico made some fruitless efforts to regain control of the Mescaleros, who, in August 1862, killed forty men and six children, besides taking some captives and a large amount of live-stock. Before the end of the year they asked for peace, but no faith was felt in their sincerity. In 1863 General Carleton’s active operations resulted in bringing about 400 of this tribe together at Fort Sumner, or the Bosque Redondo, where they behaved well, according to Agent Labadi’s reports, though the general regarded them as a band of murderous vagabonds, in whose promises no reliance was to be placed. The other Apaches were kept quiet, a garrison being stationed at Fort West. Fernando Maxwell this year appears as agent for the Southern Apaches at Mesilla.
The Pueblos now, as before and later, led a quiet and industrious life in their twenty communities, with about 7,000 inhabitants. They never cost the United States a dollar of warlike expenditure, and they received much less aid from the civil department than any of the hostile tribes. This was often noted by them and others as an injustice, yet it was perhaps only apparently so, since it was also remarked that a man will surrender all his money to a highway robber more readily than he will give a small sum to a deserving applicant for charity. In New Mexico and at Washington, among officials and others, the high merit of the Pueblos was constantly remarked, but there were other more urgent appeals for money. The only aid they got was $5,000 in 1855 and $10,000 in 1857 for the purchase of implements, only a small portion of which was of any real use to them. Their agents were A. G. Mayers in 1856, S. M. Yost from 1857, S. F. Kendrick in 1860, and John Ward in 1861-3. Reverend Samuel Gorman, a baptist clergyman, worked as a missionary among them from 1854, having a school at Laguna at times. In 1851 Governor Calhoun expressed fears that these Indians would be drawn into hostility, but his fears had apparently very slight foundation. In 1853, according to Whipple’s report, the small-pox carried off many of the people, especially in the west. As a rule, there was but slight change in condition during these years. The Indians with their docility retained all their old superstitions, even putting to death several persons accused of witchcraft at Nambé in 1854. They were nominally catholics, but the church did nothing for their education, only a few pueblos having resident priests, and the rest being but rarely visited. Yet they were sufficiently under priestly control to give Protestants a chance to bewail their ecclesiastical bondage. Politically each pueblo ruled itself in its own way, but as Indians the people were, to a certain extent, under control of the department, and there was some clashing with territorial authority. The legislature about 1855 declared the pueblos corporate bodies, capable of suing and being sued, which led to much vexatious litigation, and to the danger of all property being eaten up in legal expenses. The Indians in some cases voted for delegate to congress, but their votes were rejected. Indeed, in not being citizens to be ruled by the civil laws, or Indians in the sense of adaptability to regulations of the interior department, or hostiles to be taken in hand by the military, their position was anomalous and perplexing. Yet in many respects they were the best people in the territory. They were jealous of interference, especially with their lands, sometimes even declining to receive gifts from the government for fear of incurring a debt that might lead to a loss of their titles. In this matter, however, the government acted with comparative promptness and wisdom, and most of the pueblo titles—some of them resting on written grants, and others on testimony of long possession, with loss of papers—being examined and approved by the surveyor-general, were confirmed by congress in 1858, and many of them surveyed for patent before 1863. The grants contained generally about 17,500 acres, some being much larger, and a few smaller. The necessity of schools, and especially of industrial education, was often urged, but nothing was practically accomplished till a later period.
Of all the New Mexican tribes, the Navajos—Navajóes in the original form—caused the most trouble and expense to people and government during these thirteen years; but in their case, also, was finally made the greatest progress toward a final settlement. The Navajos, about 10,000 in number, occupying a broad tract in the north-west in this territory and what became Arizona, were somewhat similar to the Apaches in their predatory habits, though superior to them in every respect except the immorality of their women, but also like the Pueblos in their stock-raising, cultivation of the soil, and manufacture of blankets. Conscious of their strength, they paid little heed to the rights of other tribes, by all of whom they were hated. For many years plundering raids on the Mexican flocks and herds had been their leading though not their only industry. In this 'warfare they had lost more captives—to become slaves of the New Mexicans— than they had taken, bat in the taking of live-stock the advantage had been largely in their favor. On the merits of the long struggle, except that it had originated in the predatory instincts of the Indians, each party was about equally to blame, instances of treachery and outrage being frequent on both sides for a century past To the Americans, on their taking possession of the territory, the Navajos professed friendship, but, as we have seen, could hardly understand why that should interfere with their warfare on the Mexicans; and presently they came to class the Americans with their old foes, and to regard chronic war with the United States as their normal occupation for the future. Having no realization of their new enemy’s power, they deemed the conditions of the struggle about equal. Regarding the proffer of peace as an indication of weakness or fear, they were willing when hard pressed at any point to make a treaty, which they broke just as soon as their interest seemed to require it. Treaty-making was simply an incidental feature of their business, like treaty-breaking; and had plausible pretexts been deemed essential, the New Mexicans, continuing like the Indians their raids as of old, rarely failed to furnish them. Another complicating circumstance was the fact that the Navajos were much less completely than other tribes under the control of their chiefs, so that one portion of the nation often made war when the rest deemed it not wrong but unwise. No tribe was more in need of or likely to be so much benefited by a sound whipping.
The Navajos having broken, not only the treaty made by Washington in 1849, but a new one made at Jemes by Calhoun and Sumner in confirmation of the former, Colonel Sumner in the winter of 1851-2 made an expedition with his dragoons, and even penetrated eight or ten miles into the famous Chelly Canyon stronghold, but was obliged to retire without having accomplished anything. Fort Defiance, however, was established about this time, just across the later Arizona line, and not without some restraining effect. H. L. Dodge was put in charge as agent at the fort, holding the position until his death in 1856; and some distributions of goods were made; but only by a portion of the tribe were depredations suspended. In 1853, on their refusal to surrender a murderer, Sumner prepared for a campaign; but by the new commander and governor these preparations were suspended, and all past offences were pardoned, including the murder. Presently, in 1854, a soldier being killed, the Navajo chiefs gained much credit by hanging the murderer in presence of the troops. It was known later that they had hanged a Mexican captive instead of the real culprit! In 1855 Governor Merriwether formed a treaty with this as with other tribes, respecting which not much is known, except that, like the rest, it was never approved. The distribution of goods continued, and though no successor to Dodge was immediately appointed, comparative peace lasted through 1857.
In July 1858 occurred another murder, that of a negro servant at Fort Defiance. A prominent Navajo killed him simply because he had trouble with his wife, and the usages of his tribe required that somebody most die. In order to force the Indians to surrender the murderer—which they never did—a constant warfare was waged from August by Colonel D. S. Miles, the new commander at the fort; captains McLane, Hatch, and Lindsay, with Major Brooks, being the officers prominent in the campaigns. The Navajos did not fight so well as usual, a fact due, it was thought, to their use of fire-arms instead of the customary bows and arrows. It was alleged, with some show of supporting testimony, that the guns had been supplied by the Mormons of Utah. There were several fights, resulting in the death of some fifty Indians and seven or eight soldiers, with the serious wounding of Captain McLane; but the Indians lost a large amount of sheep and other live-stock, and in December were suing for peace. An armistice was made on the 4th, and a treaty of peace, involving indemnification in live-stock for all depredations committed since August, the liberation of all captives who might desire it, and the fixing of bounds beyond which the Indians were not to pass, was signed on the 25th.
As usual, the Indians failed to comply with the conditions of this treaty, which had been made by Colonel Bonneville, the successor of General Garland; and in 1859 Major Simonson made an unsuccessful expedition to enforce compliance, depredations continuing as before. Alexander Baker was this year put in charge of the agency, and was succeeded in September by Silas F. Kendrick.
In 1860 the Navajos became so bold ay to attack Fort Defiance in April, though they were repulsed without serious loss on either side. An active campaign was ordered from Washington, and was made by Colonel Canby in the winter of 1860-1, the regular troops being aided by a large force of volunteers, including many Pueblo and Ute Indians. So far as fighting was concerned, not much was effected by Canby, but by losses of live-stock the Indians were led to sue for peace in February 1861, when an armistice of three months, later extended to twelve, was agreed upon. In July all the troops were withdrawn, except two companies at Fort Fauntleroy. Depredations were by no means suspended, and in September the Navajos were rendered still more hostile by an outrage at Fort Fauntleroy, where, in a dispute about a horse-race, the Indians were fired upon, and a dozen or more killed, the rest, with many wounded, taking to flight. The confederate invasion made it impossible to send regular troops to the north-west, and the governor’s call on the militia for a campaign in October had no effect, though the governor, general, and superintendent had a talk with the Navajo chiefs, and obtained many assurances of friendly intentions.
There was no change in 1862, except that the Navajos became somewhat bolder in their raids, which extended to all parts of the country. There were no campaigns by regular troops, though the establishment of Fort Wingate moved the Indians in December to send in one of their petitions for peace. Some raids were made by New Mexican companies, but all efforts to organize a general movement by the militia were unsuccessful. General Carleton took command in September, but his attention for the rest of the year was devoted mainly to the Apaches. In 1863 operations were carried on by Colonel Carson in the north-west, the plan of removing all the Indians to Fort Sumner on the Pecos was developed, July 20th was fixed as the date after which every Navajo was to be treated as hostile, and orders were repeatedly issued to kill every male Indian capable of bearing arms. While there were no great fights or victories from a military point of view, and while there was but slight diminution in the frequency and extent of depredations, yet, by continuous and active operations in all parts of the country, and by prompt refusal to entertain any proposition of peace or the old-time treaties, very great progress was made in the essential task of showing the Indians that their foe was at last in earnest, and that they must yield or be exterminated. A beginning was also made at the Bosque Redondo, where over 200 Navajo prisoners were gathered, or were at least en route at the end of the year. At the beginning of 1864 Carson and his forces marched to the Chelly Canyon, and while the direct result of the campaign was only 23 killed, 34 captured, and 200 surrendered, and while there were continued hostilities in other regions, yet from this time the Indians began to surrender in large numbers, and before the end of the year the Navajo wars were practically at an end, and over 7,000 of the tribe were living at Bosque Redondo. Their reservation life, and the controversies arising from their transfer, will be recorded in a later chapter.