Who Was the “Gray Ghost”?

One Apache story that has always fascinated me is the strange tale of Victorio’s sister Lozen and “the Gray Ghost.”

Lozen was in the first blush of her beauty when a strange man came riding into their territory. He was an Indian but dressed all in gray, escorting a closed carriage. Lozen loved him from the moment she saw him. He stayed with the Chihenne for several nights, asking questions about Apacheria and the country to the west. There was a woman in his closely guarded wagon, but she was rarely glimpsed. Lozen begged her brother to declare her love for the man they called the Gray Ghost, but the stranger said he was seeking some place where his people would be safe from their many enemies and he could not linger. Early one morning the little party rode on, and the Gray Ghost was never heard of again. Lozen never married but went on to become a great warrior, using her Power to defend her People.

In “Apache Voices,” Sherry Robinson dismisses this pretty Victorian melodrama as the invention of a Seneca woman living in El Paso. But what if there was some truth buried beneath all the embroidery? Given her age in the 1880s, it’s not unlikely that Lozen reached womanhood about the time the Civil War was winding up. Could the Ghost have been a Confederate soldier, cast adrift by defeat? There were a great many such men on the roads west in the summer of 1865.

First candidate to come to mind is the original Gray Ghost, Colonel John Singleton Mosby, a daring young cavalry commander in the mold of J.E.B. Stuart and George Custer. Subsequently immortalized in a short-lived 1950s TV series and a later Disney movie, the handsome, dashing Mosby had the honor of being among the last rebels to quit the field, finally laying down his sword nearly three months after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. Unfortunately for this theory, by December 1865 the former colonel had returned to lawfare in Virginia and so was unavailable for a tour of New Mexico Territory.

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: