Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, Transmitted to Congress, With the Annual Message of the President, December 6, 1886
to Mr. Jackson.
Washington, March 20, 1886.
Sir: I inclose herewith a copy of Lieut Marion P. Maus’ report in the matter of the killing of Captain Crawford, Third United States Cavalry, while in camp near the Haros River, Sonora, Mexico, by Mexican troops.
The killing of Captain Crawford is a very serious affair, and must be investigated with great care and thoroughness. The enlistment of Indian scouts in the United States Army was especially to provide means appropriate to the end in view, for which express conventions exist between Mexico and the United States—i.e., to pursue and capture hostile Indians who were not to be suffered to find an asylum in the territory of either Mexico or the United States. The broken country and uninhabited regions along the boundaries of the two countries made the movement of regular troops practically futile against such hostile fugitive Indians, and the employment of Indian scouts presented almost [Page 576] the only means of successfully subjugating the Indian bands who ravage the thinly settled region along the Mexican border.
But such Indian scouts are regularly enlisted, paid, armed, and commanded. They are part of the lawful Army of the United States, and were on the occasion of Captain Crawford’s death under his command, and were in close pursuit, and in the very act of ending successfully a vigorous campaign against a dangerous body of hostile Indians by the capture of Geronimo and his band, when they encountered unfortunately the Mexican forces, at whose hands this dreadful injury was sustained.
To abandon the employment of Indian scouts for this especial service would appear to be to relinquish the best known means of giving peace to the border land between Mexico and the United States, and safety to the inhabitants of both countries.
The testimony of Lieutenant Maus, appended, who succeeded Captain Crawford in command, shows, with marked emphasis, hostility to the United States forces on the part of the detachment of Mexican troops and those in command. This hostility was manifested most unmistakably after the killing of Captain Crawford, and when full knowledge of the nationality and regularity of the troops under his command had been acquired by the Mexicans. Proofs of this contained in the depositions are found in the utterances and exclamations of the Mexicans, and in the insolent and outrageous detention of Lieutenant Mans as a prisoner until his release was caused by fear of an attack by his forces to obtain his rescue.
The treatment of Lieutenant Maus and his interpreter by the Mexicans was a gross violation of treaty stipulations and a breach of ordinary comity and international usages between friendly powers. The duty to inflict punishment on such offenders and make proper reparation is imposed upon the Government of Mexico, in whose territories and under whose authority the offenders professed to act.
I have full confidence and just expectation that the Mexican authorities will justly and firmly proceed in the investigation of this lamentable incident, and vindicate their own authority and secure justice to the United States and their officer who was slain in the courageous and honorable discharge of his public duty.
I am, &c.,
General Crook to Adjutant-General Drum.
Arizona, February 28, 1886.
Sir: In compliance with instructions contained in your telegram of yesterday, I have the honor to forward herewith the full report of First Lieut. M. P. Maus, First Infantry, of the attack of the Mexican troops on the command of the late Captain Crawford while in camp near the Haros River, Sonora, Mexico, January 11, 1886. The report was received by courier this a.m.
Very respectfully, &c.
Lieutenant Maus to Capt. C. S. Roberts.
February 23, 1886.
Sir: I have the honor to submit the following more complete report of the attack of the Mexican troops on this command while in camp on the 11th of January, 1886, at that time it being impossible to make a complete or clear report.[Page 577]
After the fight with the hostiles on the 10th ultimo, about 12 o’clock m., the command went into camp a short distance above the place occupied by the hostiles at the time of attack. Such of their camp outfit as was useless to the scouts was destroyed. The command at this time was worn out by constant moving since the preceding day about 11 a.m., since which time it had had no food. Our packs, which had been left behind about 10 miles under the charge of Dr. T. B. Davis and some scouts, did not arrive that night, although they had been sent for. Some dried meat and venison found in the hostile camp served as a temporary relief to the command. Feeling secure from any attack and being overcome by fatigue, despite cold and hunger, the scouts seemed to rest well.
At this time our force present was as follows, viz: Capt. Emmet Crawford, Third Cavalry, commanding; First Lieut. Marion P. Maus, First Infantry; Second Lieut. W. E. Shipp, TenthCavalry; chiefs of scouts, Thomas Horn and William Harrison; hospital steward Nemick and 79 scouts.
At about daylight the following morning, while Captain Crawford, Lieutenant Shipp, and I were lying by a fire, Lieutenant Shipp and I being awake, loud cries of alarm came from some of the scouts who were lying down among the rocks. Lieutenant Shipp, Mr. Horn, and I ran forward at once to ascertain the cause of the alarm, when a severe tire of musketry was opened on our camp. The scouts first said it was Captain Davis’ scouts, who were operating in Chihuahua, but in a few moments we found the attack was made by Mexican troops. We all endeavored to stop the fight at once, calling loudly to the Mexicans who we were—part of the scouts aiding, repeating clearly “Soldados Americanos.” Quite a number of the scouts had run to the rocks without arms. One scout was severely wounded by this first volley while sleeping. The fire was returned by some of the scouts, although by but very few. Captain Crawford ordered it stopped entirely, and by the efforts of the officers it was in about fifteen minutes entirely stopped, the Mexican fire having also ceased.
Some Mexicans now advanced and I felt sure that the trouble was over. Captain Crawford and I then both left the rocks and went towards the nearest two Mexicans, who were only a few yards away. At one time I was within 10 yards of one of them. Captain Crawford could not speak Spanish, but made signs, saying in Spanish, American soldiers. I told them distinctly who we were, calling attention to our uniform. The captain had on a soldier’s uniform and I wore a soldiers’ overcoat. These men, one of whom was an officer, looked alarmed, evidently surprised at the number of men in the rocks and kept moving away towards a hill a little higher than our own saying “No tiras, no tiras” (do not fire). I said “No we would not.” The hill in question was already occupied by two or three of our scouts, who were lying very close and could not be seen.
Now, as all depended on no shot being fired, Captain Crawford directed me to go back and insure this. I turned back and had taken but a few steps when one shot sounded, followed immediately by a volley. The Indians say that this single shot killed Captain Crawford. I cannot say, for on reaching the rocks I turned to find him mortally wounded, he having fallen behind a rock which he had probably mounted after I left him, not two minutes before. Firing now became very rapid; four Mexicans, exposed at the time, were instantly killed. No power could stop the firing. It seemed, indeed, a hopeless task to stop this unnecessary bloodshed. We all tried to stop the fight, calling loudly to stop shooting, and that we were Americans and friends. At this time it was seen that a party of Mexicans had gone around to our right, evidently with the intention of taking possession of a high point of rocks about 400 yards distant which commanded our position. This, however, was also occupied by some scouts, and I sent more there. The Mexicans were driven entirely away. This move was certainly made in part during the time the firing had ceased on both sides. I am convinced that our firing, at first being very slight and then stopping, impressed the Mexicans that we were very weak.
Before the second attack commenced they could plainly hear all Mr. Horn said to them. The main attacking party was then on a high and well-protected point, in a direct line not over 200 yards away. The firing continued for half an hour or longer. Then the Mexicans, beaten and driven back, most of them out of rifle range and some of them a mile distant, answered our calls which had constantly been kept up.
During the fight the hostiles had assembled on the opposite bank of the river, about a mile distant. They (the Mexicans) were then told not to fire, and Mr. Horn, who speaks Spanish very well, went out at once, and I followed him and had a talk with the Mexicans. They assured me that they took us for hostile Indians, and deplored, in an apparently sincere manner, the unfortunate affair. They said they had followed for days this party of savages. This is untrue, as the trail of the hostiles came from west to east, we having struck it north of Sahuaripa about 25 miles, following it for six days east along the Haros River until we located the camp. Then moving north we had approached the hostile camp from the north. The trail they had followed was our own, made the night before the attack of the hostile village. The Mexicans coming from the north did not crass the hostile trail at all, a fact I know, as I followed [Page 578] their trail part of the way on my return march toward Nacori. They asked questions about our fight with the hostiles, and were told that all the stock then around our camp was captured from the hostiles. They were told all the incidents of the fight. They could see where the hostiles were. I told them that if they wanted to pursue them, there they were; however, that they had asked for terms of surrender.
The Mexicans said that they were in a bad way, and wanted to return; that they were without food and transportation, and asked my aid to get them back; also that I permit the doctor to come and dress their wounded, reporting five. I consented to do this when he had come and attended to our own wounded, and also that I would loan them, upon a receipt, six of the captured horses, which were to be returned. But I told them that I could give them no rations as our supply was almost exhausted. They then gave me a paper claiming the attack a mistake. Copies of this paper, both in Spanish and English (as well as I can translate it), are appended hereto, and marked A and B, respectively. I told them that we were acting on the defensive; that we had to defend ourselves or be killed, and that they had paid no attention to our calls, which they claimed not to have heard. They insisted that I should give them also a paper to show no bad intention on our part, which I was willing to do, as we were attacked and there could be no reason why we should not acknowledge our firing.
As well as I can recall the Spanish words and their meaning, the paper was in substance as follows: That on the 11th day of January, 1886, while in camp, our command met, unexpectedly, the forces of the Mexicans; that we fired without retreating or turning away. They then asked permission to carry off their dead, and I went with them till they had carried off four bodies. When the packs came up, which was about an hour later, the doctor dressed our wounded, and at my request went over later and dressed the Mexican wounded. Our loss in the engagement was: Captain Crawford, mortally wounded, Mr. Horn, chief of scouts, slightly, and two scouts slightly wounded, and one severely. The Mexican loss, as far as I learned, was four killed and five wounded.
A squaw came in from the hostiles during the afternoon, saying they feared to come and talk while the Mexicans were near. I desired to get the Mexicans to move away, as I still hoped the surrender of the hostiles probable, discouraged as they were, without food and without shelter, since the capture of their camp. I therefore ordered six of the captured horses to be sent to the Mexicans the following morning, the scouts being unable to get them that night.
In the mean time we must move. Our rations would only last at best two days more; our supply of ammunition, which was only one belt to each Indian, had been largely consumed in the two fights, and, if needed, none to refill them. Our pack train was left in camp about 16 miles south of Nacori.
On the 8th ultimo, while we were following the Indian trail, five scouts were sent back with instructions for the pack train to go to Nacori, get supplies, then move south till our trail was struck, and follow it. Under ordinarily favorable conditions in that rough country it might be a week reaching us at this time.
Having consulted with the doctor, I decided to move the next day, making litters to carry the wounded. Canes were procured in the morning, which, by wrapping in bundles of five, litters were made. Six horses had been sent the Mexicans, and they having declined to come down the hill to receive them, the horses were brought back. The scouts reporting some of the captured herd on the hills near the Mexicans, I sent Concepcion, the interpreter of the Apaches, and who is a Mexican by birth, to drive them back, it not being desirable to send Indian scouts. Being myself busily engaged, my attention was called to his loud calling. I went out, finding that he said he could not return. I went over farther, not understanding this, and as I alone could speak Spanish—Mr. Horn then suffering from his wound—I did not think of their detaining me. They said, Come up; we want you to see about the horses. I had forgotten about them. They spoke in a reassuring manner, saying they were friends, when I reached them. This party consisted of only a half dozen or more, and as it was raining they asked me to come under the shelter of a large overhanging rock, which was about 30 yards distant. Here I found about 50 men, most of them with their arms inclined against the rock. They said, Now we must settle this business about the horses; I said I was willing to do so; I told them that I had ordered horses to be sent them, and asked why they did not take them; they said they were not brought up to them. Concepcion was with me at this time. I said I would give them the horses, and that I would go and get them, and turned to go. They detained me. I said, then, Do you mean to say I cannot leave here? They answered in the affirmative. I then sent Concepcion to camp for the horses. He came back, bringing them. The Mexicans refused to take them, saying they were worthless. The scouts had selected the worst, and they were not serviceable. I then sent for more, but the scouts objected, as they considered these animals their property, and it was considered best not to insist on their being sent. I then said, Here are your horses; I can, do no more. They [Page 579] now demanded my right in Mexico. I told them by the right of treaty, which they ought to know. They asked for my papers. I had none, all having been left with the pack train by Captain Crawford. They said my men were not their friends. They then asked where the train was. I told them it was sent to Nacori for supplies. They then said that I should go to Nacori with them; that I should bring all the Americans to camp with them; that they wanted mules to take their wounded, and the doctor to care for them; and at Nacori, rations; but that the Indians must not camp with them, as they were afraid of the Indians.
My position was indeed helpless. I offered to send for my papers, and warned them that I was an American officer, and that my command, though Indians, were also American. I wore the uniform of my country, and I told them to beware how they treated me, that I had a lawful right to be in Mexico. I remembered that Captain Crawford had received a letter, the same day we struck the Indian trail, from the President of Sahuaripa, which acknowledged us Americans operating against the hostiles. It contained information concerning Indian depredations. I spoke to the Mexicans of this letter and they permitted Concepcion to go for it; it was read to them; but they seemed not to appreciate it (appended hereto, marked H).
During the time Concepcion was waiting for the letter in our camp, he told the Indians what the Mexicans said, and also that I was a prisoner; then their excitement became intense. They said they would rather go out in the mountains than go with these Mexicans. They began stripping for a fight, taking position in the rocks, shouting defiantly to them, shaking their fists at them, and using some Mexican words which they knew. They had been closely watching the Mexicans all the time. They said they did not fire for fear that Concepcion and I might be killed; and, indeed, if they had done so, I could not have blamed them. Here were these scouts, only a short time before most wisely reclaimed from their savage state and made American soldiers, showing a greater sense of honor and justice in their conduct than men who were supposed to be civilized. These Indians who had been given the task of hunting down the renegades, directing where they were to be found in Mexico, then finding their trail and guiding us day and night over a country so broken as to make the march even in daytime painfully laborious, till their stronghold was found, then having fought them and so discouraged them by taking away the few comforts that even an Indian must have, as to make them sue for terms of peace, it seemed that neither the uniform nor the protection of the United States could save them from the murderous attacks and annoyances of men they were taught to look upon as friends and allies.
The Mexicans, who were observing the scouts, now called my attention to them and their evident hostility towards them as indicated by their manner. I told the Mexicans that I was detained in their camp, and of course could not control the Indians where I was; but if back with my command, I could do so. A second fight must necessarily be very unfortunate in the condition the command was in at the time. Moreover, the commencement would, I am sure, have been the signal for my death and that of Concepcion. In fact, I had already felt we would not be allowed to return. Then I said, You had better let me return; I can control my men, and that I would on my word of honor send them six mules which belonged to the Government of the United States. They then said that I might go, but they kept Concepcion apparently as a guarantee.
I sent the mules and told them to release Concepcion, which they did. Order was now restored.
It was too late to move that day, and I had to lay over until the next day.
I had no further verbal communication with them. I wrote, however, a note saying, as well as I could in Spanish, that I would remain with my command, and would send for my papers; that if they demanded more of me they would cause trouble, and if they persisted in doing so, I would call on the military authorities of Sonora, and in compliance with my word that I would give them rations at Nacori, where they were going.
I was then informed that they would not interfere with me.
I also wrote for a receipt, which I had not yet received, for the mules that I sent them. A copy of this receipt is hereto appended and marked I.
I wrote them further that I was satisfied, but for them not to move at the same time that I did. (I kept no copies of those simple notes, as, indeed, I had no time to make them, and I wrote them in very crude Spanish, having no dictionary with me.) I am convinced that to the hostile demonstration of the scouts I owe my release, as the Mexicans certainly feared a fresh conflict and appreciated the necessity of my release.
I am willing to admit that the first attack was through a mistake as to our identity, for it was early and misty. I certainly desire to be just to these men, but it is impossible for me to believe that they were laboring under any such mistake at the time of the second attack, in which Captain Crawford received a wound which cost him his life.[Page 580]
The dishonorable and treacherous conduct of these men toward me after the fight show plainly their character. They had no right to demand anything of me. They attacked us while peacefully resting in camp.
In justice to this command, I have endeavored to give you here all the details of this most unfortunate affair.
I submit statements of Lieutenant Shipp, Chiefs of Scouts Horn and Harrison, and of Hospital Steward Nimick, of the interpreter Concepcion, which statements are hereto appended and marked C, D, E, F, and G, respectively.
I have, &c.,
First Lieutenant First Infantry, Commanding.
I, Santaña Perez, say that unexpectedly we have met the American troops and a party of Indian soldiers on the Rio Haros, and that we Mexicans fired only three volleys before either party ascertained our mistake.
- Señor Captain CRAWFORD.
- Señor Lieutenant MAUS.
- SANTAÑA PEREZ.
I, Santaña Perez, state unknowingly we have met on the Haros River with the force of Americans and of Indian soldiers, we coming the Mexicans, have fired, that without turning back any of us, for we could not see at the time.
- Captain CRAWFORD.
- Lieut. MAUS.
- SANTAÑA PEREZ.
Mexico, January 20, 1886.
Sir: I have the honor to make the following statement:
On the morning of January 10, 1886, Captain Crawford’s command of Indian scouts captured the camp of the hostile Indians on the Haros River, in Sonora, Mexico. There were present eighty-one scouts; Captain Crawford, Third Cavalry; First Lieut. M. P. Maus, First Infantry; Second Lieut. W. E. Shipp, Tenth Cavalry; Mr. Thomas Horn, Mr. Wm. Harrison, and Second-Class Hospital Steward Nemick, Troop G, Fourth Cavalry.
The command went into camp near the old hostile camp, and Captain Crawford sent two scouts to bring up the pack mules, which had been left in rear the preceding day.
About 7 a.m., January 11, the scouts cried out that a great many Mexican soldiers were coming. Lieutenant Maus, Mr. Horn, and I ran forward to let them know who we were. Captain Crawford was lying down and did not get up immediately. The Mexicans commenced firing on the scouts at short range. The latter took refuge in the rocks and returned the fire. Lieutenant Maus, Mr. Horn, and I meanwhile kept calling out who we were. Calls had been made before the firing commenced. We tried to stop the shooting on both sides, but the Mexicans were so near that it was a matter of absolute necessity for the scouts to protect themselves.
The Indians did very little shooting at this time and acted strictly on the defensive. After some time the firing ceased, and we continued calling out that we were American soldiers. At this time I saw Captain Crawford standing on a rock about 20 yards in the rear of me; a small party of Mexicans was near, and while Mr. Horn was talking to them in Spanish, they without warning opened fire on us, giving Captain Crawford a mortal wound in the head and slightly wounding Mr. Horn in the arm. The men who did this shooting were not 30 yards from us, and I cannot believe that [Page 581] they thought we were Indians. Captain Crawford’s entire person was exposed, and his face and dress could not be mistaken for those of an Indian. He wore a soldier’s uniform and a brown campaign hat, and he had a good deal of beard on his face. Mr. Horn was dressed in civilian’s clothes and while talking held his hat in his hand. I was near him, and wore a brown canvas coat, blue trousers, and a brown hat. I was unarmed.
I know of no demonstration on the part of the scouts which could furnish a cause for this attack in the midst of our talk. The firing then recommenced on both sides, and continued at intervals for more than an hour. Captain Crawford was not conscious after he was shot, but the remaining officers and Mr. Horn did their best to put an end to the fight, continually restraining the scouts and calling to the Mexicans. We had a very strong position on the rocks, and the Mexicans, failing to dislodge us, finally withdrew to a hill about 500 yards distant.
Mr. Horn, who speaks Spanish well, then succeeded in getting an answer to his repeated calls. He went unarmed to the Mexican camp and was soon followed by Lieutenant Maus. From this time there was no more firing. One scout was severely wounded while in bed at the beginning of the fight and two others were slightly wounded; that they did not suffer more was due to the protection afforded by the rocks. I saw three dead Mexicans. The scouts who were near Captain Crawford say that one of these was the man who shot him. When Lieutenant Mans went to the Mexicans after the fight he left me in charge of the camp, and. I had no communication with the Mexicans then or afterwards. We left this camp on the morning of January 13.
The scouts behaved admirably. Although we tried to stop the fight it was impossible to prevent some firing by them, but they did no more than was necessary for self-defense. I saw no white men fire. I feel constrained to make special mention of the admirable services rendered by Mr. Horn, and of his bravery and coolness, although wounded.
The Mexicans may have originally thought our scouts were hostiles, but there was no reason why they should not have immediately discovered their error. The presence of six white men, whom they were obliged to see, and the continued calls made to them in Spanish and English, which they certainly heard, make an excuse impossible.
The shooting of Captain Crawford by a man not 25 yards distant seems a deliberate assassination.
Very respectfully, &c.,
- W. E. SHIPP,
Second Lieutenant, Tenth Cavalry.
- First Lieut. M. P. Maus,
First Infantry, Commanding Second Battalion Indian Scouts.
Mexico, February 23, 1886.
Statement of Mr. Thomas Horn concerning the engagement between American and Mexican forces, about 60 miles southeast of Nacori, Sonora, Mexico, January 11, 1886.
About the time it was daylight on the 11th of January, while in camp, I heard the Indians say there were Mexican soldiers coming, then in about two minutes that they were Major Davis’ scouts, and they then snouted to them, thinking they were Major Davis’ scouts, in Apache language; and the Mexicans, which they proved to be, answered by a volley of shots. We had then found out that they were Mexicans. Captain Crawford hallooed to me to go ahead and speak to them. By that time they were within a hundred yards of our camp. I spoke to one of them, and he had his gun up to his shoulder; he took it down, looked at me, then took deliberate aim and fired at me, wounding me in the arm. Then the Indians told me that Captain Crawford was killed. Then the Indians began fighting in earnest, as it appeared that the Mexicans wanted to kill us all. Up to this time the Indians had fired very little. I shouted to the Mexicans for an hour and could get no answer; and after we had driven them all away from us they answered. I told them to stop shooting and I would come over. I told them we were an American force of Indian soldiors, with American officers; that we had fought the hostiles the day before, and that the animals we had were taken from them.
Lieutenant Maus came over and spoke to the officer in command of the Mexican troops, which they said they were. They said that they thought we were hostile Indians, and I asked them if they did not know an American from a broncho at 25 yards. They then gave Lieutenant Maus a paper, saying they did not recognize us, and said [Page 582] they saw the Indians’ heads in the rocks, taking them for hostiles. But I was on a rock in plain sight, and so were Captain Crawford and Lieutenant Maus, at the time. I did not see Captain Crawford at the time he was shot, as I was ahead in the rocks where I had been sent, and was hid there from his view by a ledge of rocks, where we went into camp. Several Mexicans said if we had not enough to come out and fight again. I told them we were sent down by General Crook to fight hostile Indians, not Mexicans.
At first I believe that they may have been mistaken at that time of day, it being misty. But when they came to camp all firing on the part of the Indians had been stopped, and they (the Mexicans) could hear what I distinctly said when I told them we were American soldiers, even those (and there were a large number of them) who were sheltered in the rocks 300 yards away.
The Mexicans accused me of killing their captain, both to myself and Lieutenant Maus, which, though false, proves that they recognized me at the time.
Chief of Indian Scouts and Spanish Interpreter.
Mexico, January 25, 1886.
Statement of Chief of Scouts Harrison in regard to the attack of the Mexicans on Camp of Scouts, January 11, 1886.
While in camp on January 11, 1886, about seven o’clock a.m., I heard the Indians calling Mexicans. Captain Crawford said to Lieutenant Maus to go ahead and see about it. Lieutenants Maus and Shipp and Mr. Horn ran forward to the point of rocks. Before any talk I heard volleys of firing, which was scarcely returned by the scouts, many of whom had gone out to look without their guns. The firing soon ceased for about ten minutes. The orders were for all of us to prevent any firing from the Indians. Loud calls were made by Lieutenant Shipp and Mr. Horn, saying we were American soldiers. Conversation took place between Lieutenant Maus and two of the Mexicans, Captain Crawford telling Lieutenant Maus what to say. These men were very close. What was said I don’t know, for I don’t understand Spanish. The Mexican spoken to answered si, si (yes, yes), but still kept going off to the left under a tree. One shot was then fired, followed instantly by a volley. The sound of this first shot came from the direction where I first saw the Mexicans. Firing now became severe on both sides, the Mexicans running off, many of them 1,500 yards away. The fire, after about half an hour longer, entirely stopped. Then Mr. Horn went over and a talk took place, after which there was no more firing. I am sure the Mexicans knew who we were before the second attack and the shooting of Captain Crawford.
Chief of Indian Scouts.
Mexico, Feb. 23, 1886.
Statement of Second Class Hospital Steward Frank J. Nemick, private, Troop G, Fourth Cavalry.
On the morning of January 11, 1886, about good daylight, while in camp on the Haros River, I heard the scouts crying out, “Mexican soldiers!” At the time Captain Crawford told Lieutenant Maus to go and speak to them before they came to camp. Hardly had he started forward when severe firing commenced from the Mexicans into our camp. There were very few shots fired by the scouts at the time, few having guns, as they ran forward to see without their guns.
When the firing opened the captain and I sought shelter, he telling me not to fire unless they came into camp. Firing ceased for a few seconds. The captain heard Mr. Horn speaking and thought the Mexicans understood who we were. The captain and I then started forward, and when we had gone about 15 steps the grass caught near one of the fires, and the captain told me to put it out.
I had put out the fire and was starting up to where the Mexicans were coming up towards camp, when the fire in the grass broke out again. Just as I started to put [Page 583] it out again, I saw the captain mounting a big rock which was in plain sight of the Mexicans. At the time I was putting out the lire, stooping down with my back to a ridge, a bullet whistled past me, striking about a foot to my right in the fire. I got up, looked around, and saw a Mexican beginning to reload his gun that he had fired. I then took to the rocks for protection with my gun. Just before reaching the rocks he fired at me again, missing me. He was killed by an Indian scout. I had my back turned to the Mexican with my undress uniform at the time. I could not have been taken for a hostile Indian.
The firing lasted, I think, about two hours, and whenever any one exposed himself the Mexicans fired from a point about 200 yards distant.
Orders had been given by the captain and chief of scouts for the Indians to stop firing. I heard continual calling in Mexican by Lieutenant Maus and Mr. Horn, saying we were American soldiers. The Mexicans did not answer until driven off, most of them out of rifle range from camp. After the fight the Mexicans remained on the adjacent hills.
I assisted Dr. Davis in dressing the wounds of the Mexicans after the fight, four in number.
Private, Troop G, Fourth Cavalry, Second-Class Hospital Steward.
Mexico, February 23, 1886.
Statement of Concepcion, sergeant Company E, Battalion of Indian Scouts, Mexican interpreter of the Apache language.
Mr. Horn and I went with six horses of the captured stock, by order of Lieutenant Maus about two-thirds of the distance to where the Mexicans were, calling to them to come and take them; they said to bring them up there. Mr. Horn said he was no servant for them, and if they would not take them they would have to arrange with the lieutenant. They refused to come and get them, and we went back to the camp with the horses.
The next day I went alone to get some of the animals of the Indians that had gone over in the Mexican camp. The Indians were afraid to go. I went over and asked the Mexicans if they had seen the animals. They said they had only seen one. They asked why the lieutenant did not come over and fix about the horses. I said: “Why don’t you go and see him? He is looking after the captain, who is wounded. I am going after my stock.” Their captain then said to his men, “Don’t let this man go away from here; he must die here with us.” I said: “What I am going to tell you is the truth. The most of you are gray-headed like I am. We have one God and only one life. When the time comes we will die.”
In a little while the captain made me get on a rock and call Lieutenant Maus. I got up and called him, saying I was kept there and could not come until he came and fixed about the horses. Then the lieutenant came, the Mexicans saying, “It is all right; come on, we only want to arrange about the horses.” He came up, and they said, “Come behind a rock close by; it is raining and we want shelter.” He and I went behind the rock and over fifty Mexicans surrounded us, making him sit down; they said, “We want to arrange this business.” The lieutenant (Maus) said, “All right; hurry up, for I am in a great hurry.” They said they wanted horses. He said, “I sent some; why did you not take them?” They said they did not take them because he did not send them clear up to them. He said he would get them the horses, and sent a note by me to camp for them. I told them that the best ones were back of their camp, but they said there were none there. I told them I did not lie, that the horses were there. They sent a man out for them, and he brought a mare. I then went and got five more, but when they saw them they would not take them, saying they were no good. Lieutenant Maus said he could do no more. They said they were going to Nacori with us; that the lieutenant, the doctor, and I should stay with them; and that they wanted rations and mules to carry their wounded; and that the Indians should not camp with them. They said we had no right in Mexico, and asked Lieutenant Maus for his papers. He said that they were left with the pack train. He said he had a letter from the president of Sahnaripa, and he sent me for it.
When I went back to camp I told the Indians that the Mexicans were going to Nacori with us. They said they would not go with the Mexicans, but would go out into the mountains sooner. When the Indians were mounting the rocks and stripping, the Mexicans called Lieutenant Maus’ attention to it. He said, “Well, you keep me here. I can’t control them while here. They are not like white soldiers.” The lieutenant [Page 584] started to go, but Mexicans said, “No.” He promised them if they would let us go back to our camp be would lend them six mules. They then let him go, but they kept me a prisoner until he sent the mules; then they let me go, telling me all was right.
Signature witnessed by me this 24th day of February, 1886. I certify that this is a correct translation of the statement of Concepcion, Apache interpreter.
Chief of Scouts, Spanish Interpreter.
Señor Captain Emmet Crawford (wherever he may be):
My Dear Sir: I have had the honor to gratefully receive your letter of yesterday, in which you notify me you are marching a force of Americans and Indians towards Sahnaripa, and (requesting) that I send you notice of the movements of the savages and of the rancheros that may be near here.
In obedience to your request I will state that the opinion of those persons best informed regarding the ground is that the Indians may be found scattered about the Sierra de Badesi at the junction of the rivers, from which point they send parties to the neighborhood of those people where they commit their murders and depredations.
As lately as yesterday I received a note from the Hacienda de Guisamopa, 12 leagues distant to the southeast from this point, in which they said the day before they had heard Indian rumors. By that you will see the savages are scattered out in small parties.
I send a small escort of fourteen nationals, with Capt. José Gonzales, the bearer of this, who will give you verbal accounts of these matters.
This, occasion gives me the opportunity to subscribe myself, your friend and faithful servant,
To-day I received of Lieut. Maus, U. S. Army—
- Six (6) mules.
- Four (4) aparejos.
- Two (2) saddles.
- Six (6) blankets.
- Eight (8) ropes.
- Four (4) coronas.
- Two (2) bridles.
- Five (5) halters.
- Two (2) mantos.
A true copy.
Second Lieutenant, First Infantry.