No. 462.
Mr. Fish to Mr. Foster.

No. 68.]

Sir: With reference to your dispatch of the 27th of August last, relative to alleged depredations of Apache Indians of Arizona Territory upon citizens of Sonora, in Mexico, I transmit a copy of a communication of the 10th instant, addressed to this Department by the Secretary of the Interior. You will make such use of the communication as may be-most advisable, toward explaining to the Mexican government that careful inquiry has been made into the complaints which had been addressed to them on the subject, and that there is every disposition on our part to prevent a recurrence of occasion for similar complaints.

I am, &c.,


Sir: This Department received, on the 23d of September last, a letter from the honorable the Secretary of State, inclosing a copy of a dispatch, under date of the 27th August last, addressed to the Department of State by Mr. Foster, the minister of the United States at the city of Mexico, and its accompaniments, in relation to depredations alleged to have been committed by Apache Indians of Arizona Territory upon citizens of the State of Sonora, Mexico. On the 26th September, 1873, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs was instructed to forward copies of the papers referred to to Indian Inspector Vandever, with a request that he investigate the subject and report to the Department. On the 16th ultimo the Commissioner of Indian Affairs submitted to this Department two reports from Inspector Vandever, dated October 19 and 20, 1873, respectively, concerning the depredations alluded to, with depositions of Juan Acuña and Joseph Pierson, and statements of Governor Safford, of Arizona, of R. A. Wilbur, agent for the Papago Indians, and of J. W. Hopkins, United States deputy collector of customs at Tucson, Arizona; also, a number of recent copies of “La Estella de occidente,” the official newspaper published at Ures, the capital of Sonora, containing marked articles, giving an account of Apache depredations in said State, copies of all which, including translations of the marked passages in said newspapers, are herewith transmitted for the information of the honorable the Secretary of State.

I will remark, in this connection, that a recent recommendation having been made by the officer commanding the Division of the Pacific that the control over the Indians on the Cochise or Chiricahua reservation be assigned to the military, the subject was referred to the Indian Bureau for report. The Commissioner of Indian Affairs, in a letter dated the 2d instant, says: “While there is evidence from official reports and other reliable sources that Cochise has endeavored, with commendable success, to carry out, in good faith, his promises to Special Commissioner General O. O. Howard, whose authority was plenary to make terms with this chief, it must be acknowledged that, owing to limited means at command, distance of the region, and difficulty of transportation, the Government has been apparently tardy in complying with its promises to Cochise and his band. These promises, however, at this date are being more fully [Page 727] complied with; and it is respectfully suggested and requested that Cochise have further opportunity to show his disposition and power to prevent raids, and his readiness to comply with his agreement to keep the peace.”

Under existing circumstances, as reported by the Commissioner, it was not deemed expedient at that time to acquiesce in the recommendation above referred to.

This Department will, however, in the event of a failure, which is not anticipated, on the part of the officers and agents of the Indian service, to put a stop to the depredations Complained of, take further measures with the co-operation of the War Department, for the protection of the citizens of Sonora, and of the United States, against the Indians of Arizona.

A copy of a communication, dated the 29th ultimo, from the Indian Bureau, containing instructions to the agent for the Indians of the Chiricahua agency, is also herewith transmitted for your information.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Hon. Hamilton Fish,
Secretary of State.

[Inclosure 1 in inclosure No. 68.]

Sir: I transmit herewith a communication, dated the 23d instant, from the honorable Secretary of State, and the dispatch therein referred to, of the United States minister to Mexico, in reference to complaints in the Mexican press, in relation to the depredations by the Apache Indians of Arizona Territory upon the citizens of Sonora, Mexico.

I would thank you to forward copies of these papers to Inspector Vandever, with a request that he will investigate the subject and report to the Department.

Very repectfully, your obedient servant,


The Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

[Inclosure 2 in inclosure in No. 68.]

Mr. Smith to Mr. Jeffards.

Sir: I am in receipt of your report of your agency for the month of November, 1873, in which you state your action in returning the horses stolen from the Rio Mimbres and also that you have been informed that a drove of horses stolen in Sonora have been trailed to your reservation, but have not found whether they were on the reservation or not.

You also state that Indians continue to come from northern reservations asking to be allowed to draw rations under pretense that they have been driven off their own reservations by the harsh measures of the military, and that you order them to return to their reservation.

You express the opinion that it is Indians of this class who commit the most of the numerous depredations complained of in Sonora; that these Indians cross your reservation to enter Sonora, and return the same way, leaving a trail leading to your reservation which brings Cochise’s band under the imputation of committing the marauding.

In connection with the facts, as stated by you, you are informed that the request has been made by the military division of the Pacific that your reservation be turned over to the control of General Crook, in order to prevent depredations in Sonora by Indians, and unless these depredations can be stopped by your action, with the co-operation of Cochise, and his band, this Department will feel obliged to comply with the request of the Military Department.

The matter is submitted for your serious consideration and that of the Indians. You will inform Cochise and his band of the prompt and decisive measures necessary on their part in preventing any other Indians from crossing their reservation into Sonora [Page 728] or in case they should cross and depredate in Sonora, to give them chase, and capture them and their booty.

Give Cochise distinctly to understand that unless the line between his reservation and Mexico can be thus guarded, this reservation will be held by the military, and he will be obliged to bring his men to a daily roll-call, that the truth as to whether any of his men depredate in Sonora may be established.

You will report at once as to the result of this conference with Cochise, and make any suggestions you may deem proper in the case.

Very respectfully, &c.,