to Mr. Manning.
Washington, December 2, 1886.
Sir.: “I inclose herewith copies of a letter and accompanying papers from the Secretary of War, in relation to the loss of certain Government property by troops of the United States, in January last, while engaged in the pursuit of hostile Chiricahua Indians in Mexican territory, under express conventions between the United States and Mexico permitting such pursuit.
It appears that on the 12th of January last, while encamped in Sonora, Mexico, Lieutenant Maus, of the First United States Infantry, then commanding the expedition from the United States against the hostile Indians, was called away from his camp by the cries of his interpreter, who had gone after some stock which had previously been captured by the American troops from the hostile Chiricahuas. On approaching the place whence the cries proceeded, which was at some distance from the camp, Lieutenant Maus discovered his interpreter in the company of a party of Mexican troops, about fifty in number, who, at first professing to be friendly, presently began to demand of Lieutenant Maus a portion of the stock belonging to the United States and in the custody of his command, and upon his refusing to comply assumed a threatening manner. He offered them some of the captured stock, but they would not accept it, demanding mules instead.[Page 674]
While this parley was in progress, the detention of Lieutenant Maus (which you will find fully detailed in the body and inclosures of my No, 148,* of March 20 last, to Mr. Jackson) became known to his scouts, and produced great excitement among them, which was doubtless quickened and intensified by the fact that previously, on the same day, Captain Crawford, while in command of the same expedition, had received a mortal wound at the hand of Mexican troops, the same troops, indeed, that were now detaining Lieutenant Maus and clamoring for a portion of his stock. Momentarily apprehensive lest a fight might begin, Lieutenant Maus, acting, for the best interests of his command, which was not at the moment prepared for a conflict of arms, delivered into the hands of the Mexican troops 6 mules, 4 aparejos complete, 6 halters and straps, 6 blankets, 2 saddles, 2 bridles and 2 mantas, all of which, it is not doubted, the Mexican Government will return to the Government of the United States, or make compensation for, together with reasonable indemnification for the loss suffered by the United States in being deprived of the use of the property in question since the time of its delivery to the Mexican troops.
The value of this property is estimated at $1,500 and the damage resulting from its loss at $500.
You will present the case herein set forth to the Mexican Government, and ask for the return of the property described, or compensation therefor upon the terms above stated.
I am, etc.,