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Here’s a valuable piece on Indian Scouts in general and the Western Apaches in particular.
July 25 marks the anniversary of Lt. Guilfoyle’s clash with Nana’s raiders in the San Andres Mountains. It’s a good moment to revisit one of the many intriguing puzzles surrounding the Raid: was Victorio’s sister Lozen with the raiding party, or did she stay behind to guard the women and children in the Sierra Madre?
I have never seen a complete roster of Nana’s original followers. There were said to be 13 when the war party crossed the Rio Grande below Fort Quitman, but Sweeney lists just five: Mangas, Bacutla, Jatu, Sάnchez and Suldeen. Kaytennae was certainly another, but it’s uncertain who the others were (and if there were only 13).
When the raiders departed their camp in the Sierra Madre Lozen was probably back from her heroic trip escorting a young woman and her newborn baby to the Mescalero Reservation. It’s hard to believe she would not have been remembered and noted if she were among the raiders, and equally hard to believe she would not have been in the forefront of a war party setting out to avenge her brother’s death.
But she had accepted the responsibility of guarding the women and children on earlier occasions, and Nana may well have believed she was indispensable in that role while he led most of the men off to the north. Her mysterious ability to “sense” the enemy threat at a distance would have greatly increased the security of the camp.
As far as I know there’s only one mention of a woman (other than captives) in contemporary accounts of the Raid. Reporting his attack on the hostiles’ camp in the San Andres on July 25, Lt. Guilfoyle claimed to have hit two hostiles and captured two horses and 12 mules as well as “cooking utensils” and other equipment. In the last line of his dispatch he mentions that the band included “eleven bucks, one squaw and one child.”
“Squaw,” like “buck” was not necessarily a derogatory term in those days, but simply a short-hand descriptive to distinguish native males and females. No one who saw her in action would describe Lozen as a “squaw,” however, and Guilfoyle strongly implies the woman he saw came from the Mescalero Agency. It was not unusual for Apache raiding parties to bring along one or two women to cook and keep the camp, chores that otherwise fell to any apprentice warriors in the group.
There’s no authenticated photo of Lozen that I know of, although she’s said to be one of the women pictured in the group behind Geronimo in the picture above.
“There’s forage in the plain. Ah, leave your little filly, And open the campaign!” runs a satiric couplet mocking British General William Howe’s delay in taking the field against the rebels in the Revolution. (Gossips in Boston attributed Sir William’s tardiness to his infatuation with a pretty American woman in that city.)
I mention that ditty only because it runs through my head every July 17, the date when Nana officially opened his campaign in New Mexico Territory by jumping a small Army supply column in Alamo Canyon. The two packers lost their mules but escaped with their lives. They carried the news of the ambush to Fort Stanton and to Lt. Guilfoyle, who was in the mountains with a company of Apache scouts hunting Mescalero renegades. “The game’s afoot!” as Shakespeare had Henry V say (and Conan Doyle’s Holmes later echoed more famously).
Although July 13 is generally cited as the date Nana’s raiding party crossed the Rio Grande into West Texas, at least some of his warriors may have been across the river as early as July 8, when two railroad employees were killed at a spring below Fort Quitman.
According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, a disgruntled treasure hunter is suing the estate of the late Santa Fe art dealer Forrest Fenn, alleging Fenn cheated him of the treasure Fenn claimed to have buried somewhere in the Rockies by moving the hoard after the hunter advised Fenn he had solved the clues Fenn included in his book The Thrill of the Chase. The alleged treasure was then allegedly discovered by another individual, who is also named in the lawsuit, together with Fenn’s grandson and a third man who has written a book about the decade-long search for the hidden hoard.
I keep inserting “alleged’s” in this story because as far as I know no independent, objective observer has ever actually seen the fabulous treasure. Fenn released photos of the chest and its contents, but I know of no expert who has ever examined or appraised the hoard. For all I know, the gems were cheap costume jewelry and the ‘gold’ coins chocolate.
I was surprised at the way not just feather-headed TV personalities but serious news outlets took Fenn’s story at face value, despite his dubious reputation in the Santa Fe art and antiquities community. What might have been considered a harmless and amusing hoax took on a darker aspect when people began dying in the search.
“You may have been exposed to harmful extremist content recently,” Facebook frets. “Violent groups try to manipulate your anger and disappointment. You can take action now to protect yourself and others.”
Presumably Mark Z and his minions would prefer the patriotic farmer use his musket to take a potshot at the galloping extremist in the road rather than the oncoming redcoats. The Patriots called them “King’s Men” and less complimentary epithets.
A post at Today in History on Galileo Galilei serves as a timely reminder when we are so often told that “the science is settled” or this theory is “disinformation” and that is a baseless “conspiracy theory.” The Inquisitors who sentenced the great astronomer to a lifetime of house arrest are with us yet, and stronger today than in my youth.
Not to brag, but today the temperature on my back porch was 120, four points hotter than Furnace Creek in Death Valley.
“Here I am, an old man in a dry month,”
Interesting piece by Daniel Aranda in the June 2021 issue of Wild West on the famous but incorrect picture of the great Victorio. Included in the photo galleries of most popular histories of the Apache Wars (and even featured on the cover of Dan Thrapp’s seminal 1974 biography of the Chihenne chief) the image above has now been correctly identified as the portrait of a handsome young Mojave named Beitero. No authentic photograph of Victorio is known to exist, although Aranda believes one may have been taken before the chief’s death at Tres Castillos in 1880 and a copy may still exist somewhere.
If unearthed, such a photo would help resolve the differing written descriptions of the man. Some of those, like Lt. Charles Gatewood’s unflattering depiction of “a palsied, aged and decrepit chief who was barely able to accompany squaws and children in their forays,” likely confuses Victorio with his much older uncle Nana.
I rose to the defense of Black Jack Logan in an earlier post, but today it’s appropriate to revisit the General John Logan Memorial with an emphasis on the “Memorial” rather than the man whose name it bears. Logan flourishes his country’s flag astride a horse in Chicago’s Grant Park not for his military qualities (he was abler than most of the Union’s generals, but that’s faint praise). His most significant and lasting achievement came in 1868 when as Commander In Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic he declared May 30 to be “Memorial Day” and called on his fellow veterans to make it a national day of remembrance for their 365,000 comrades who gave their lives to preserve the Union.
They also not coincidentally ended slavery in the “Land of the Free.” Those today who have forgotten the sacrifice that entailed would do well to revisit Lincoln’s Second Inaugural: “Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.'”
Coincidental with our own Memorial Day, May 29 marks the 568th anniversary of the fall of the city built by the Caesar Constantine to the Turks in 1453. This Christian disaster, well told by Roger Crowley, extinguished the last flickering embers of the empire that ruled for more than a 1,000 years. By comparison, the Czars ruled Russia for about half that and their successors for scarcely 70, the British lasted perhaps 200, the French on and off for only 60, the Italians and Germans even less. The American Century (from the Spanish-American War to date) has lasted nearly 125. Constantine’s city still stands, but its great church is now a mosque and “you can’t go back to Constantinople, been a long time gone.”