Another good question from my presentation at HSNM conference: HOW MANY MEN DID NANA HAVE WITH HIM?

Estimates of the number of warriors in Nana’s raiding party at any given time vary from as few as a dozen to 70 or more.

All accounts seem to agree he was accompanied by 13-15 men and boys when he crossed the Rio Grande into Texas. (There may also have been a woman with them; I’m still looking for some confirmation of that tidbit of information. It wasn’t unknown for raiding parties to take along a woman or two to handle  the camp chores, although these were more usually the responsibility of young male ‘apprentices’ who were traditionally required to make four raids in this subordinate role before graduating to full warrior status.)

And most accounts agree that at some point 24 Mescalero joined the war party, although their agent  later denied that any of ‘his’ Indians were involved in the raid. When and where they joined up with Nana is not certain; most chroniclers place the meeting in the Sacramentos, but I suspect it was in the San Andre Mountains.

Robert Stapleton saw more than a dozen warriors including Mescalero and Navajo  when they passed by his sawmill in the San Mateos, and rancher Joseph Ware counted 20 in the raiding party that same day.  There were 19, including both Navajo and Apache, who attacked Rancho Cebolla, but that was after the raiding party had split into at least two and possibly three separate detachments.

Capt. Parker claimed he faced 40 in the fight in Carrizo Canyon, and Lt. Burnett later wrote that he counted 40 — and some of his men claimed 60 — hostiles in the fight at Canada Alamosa. But I tend to discount the numbers reported by the military, if only because they were generally trying to excuse their defeats.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: