The stage line brought many more whites through the Pima villages, but the Civil War had an even greater effect. Far from the center stage, the major impact of the war in Arizona slowed the pace of white settlement. When the army abandoned their posts throughout the state in order to send soldiers east, Apaches raids increased. Although Arizona's contributions to the national conflict were minimal, the Pimas and Maricopas played a key role in the western war.
While the Pimas and Maricopas continued to augment their economic alliance with the whites, they also expanded the other valuable service they had provided since the days of the Spaniards-protection from the Apaches. One of the first accounts of an American/Indian military alliance is recounted in the Pima calendar sticks which relate that the Pimas and Maricopas joined with white soldiers in a campaign against the Apaches under White Hat, in 1856 or 1857. As long as whites were just passing through, the protection Gileños (Pimas and Maricopas) provided for their supply trains was sufficient. Pimas and Maricopas fulfilled this need with regular punitive raids against the Apaches several times a year, keeping them away from Pima lands but stopping short of attacking their enemies' mountain ranches as (farm/camps). As the white population increased, so did Apache raids. When gold was discovered in the Weaver and Walker diggings near Prescott, miners flocking to the area found themselves much closer to Apache homelands than was prudent.
By the spring of 1863, the Apaches had attacked and murdered several small parties of prospectors and miners. Irate Prescott citizens petitioned the first territorial governor John N. Goodwin, who wrote a letter to President Lincoln on February 20, 1864, requesting military escorts for the mail and exploring parties. Goodwin suggested utilizing native Arizonans as volunteers because of their knowledge of the terrain and Apache warfare. At this time, the Federal government was deeply committed to the Civil War and communications between Prescott and Washington, D.C. were very slow, so no immediate action was taken. When the miners asked General Carleton, commander of the Military Department of New Mexico, for troops, his reply was, "Until the Navajo War is off my hands, soldiers cannot be sent."
In the mean time, Goodwin appointed King S. Woolsey, miner, rancher and Indian fighter, as Lieutenant Colonel to recruit and lead men against the Apaches. The editors of the Prescott Miner approved, reporting, "He [Woolsey] is one of our most daring and skillful Indian fighters, and believes fully in the extermination policy." Michael Conner came to Arizona's Weaver mining district in a prospecting party in 1861, and gave a firsthand account of the first major foray against the Apaches, the "Bloody Tanks" expedition. Woolsey and about 30 other settlers went after Apaches east of Prescott to recover livestock. After several days' march they sent to the Pima villages for rations and recruited 15 Maricopas. When they had traveled farther into Apache territory than they had ever gone before, the Pimas insisted on turning back unless the whites could ensure them safe escort back to their villages. The Maricopas stayed. On the "pretty, sunny morning" of January 24th, 1864, the party lit a campfire in a dry wash next to some water holes, often called "tanks."
Apache fires soon appeared on the mountain tops surrounding them and a band of perhaps 250 Apaches, ominously silent in war paint and feathers, headed toward them from the mountain trail above. Six of their chiefs and five whites met halfway between the two forces to talk. Guessing that none of the Apaches spoke English, Woolsey told his men to attack when he tipped his hat. With a touch of Woolsey's hat, five of the six Indians were slain instantly. Disturbed at their leaders' fate, the Apaches fired a haphazard volley and retreated up the canyon. About 19 Apaches were killed, mostly by rapid revolver fire as they reached a bottleneck in their retreat. The attack took place in Fish Creek Canyon about 12 miles from the Salt River Canyon, near present-day Miami. The fracas was mistakenly named "Bloody Tanks Massacre" after a misunderstanding about the location of the event. The well-armed band of miners and Maricopas routed the Apaches, but the threat still existed.
Eventually Governor Goodwin received permission from United States Provost Marshal James B. Fry to "raise within the Territory of Arizona one regiment of Volunteer Infantry to serve for three years or the duration of the war." The War Department intended that the recruitment of native Arizonans would supplement the California Volunteers, who hesitated to go on long scouting missions against the Apaches because their Civil War enlistment would soon be up. The Arizona Volunteers served for one year, and gave Mexicans, Pimas, and Maricopas an opportunity to avenge the losses they received at the hands of the Apaches while acquiring much-needed guns from the government.
Goodwin appointed Thomas Ewing, a teamster from the Pima Villages, to recruit Maricopa Indians, and former sergeant John D. Walker to recruit the Pimas. On October 2, 1865, First Lieutenant William Tompkins of the Third California Infantry arrived at Maricopa Wells and commissioned First Lieutenant Ewing, Second Lieutenant Charles Reidt, who was fluent in the Maricopa language, and Captain Juan Chevereah, chief of the Maricopas. He also mustered in 94 Maricopa recruits, designated as Company B, Arizona Volunteer Infantry. By May 16, 1866 there were 103 men in the company. John D. Walker was commissioned as first lieutenant and William A. Hancock as second lieutenant of Company C, made up of Pima Indians. Their chief, Antonio Azul, was made a sergeant and 89 Pimas were recruited to fill out the company. Five more Pimas were added later at Sacaton.
A unique Arizona character, John D. Walker was part Wyandotte Indian, born in Nauvoo, Illinois about 1840. He married a Pima woman and settled in the Pima village of Sacaton. Quick to learn, he compiled the first written grammar of their language and became a leader in Pima councils. He studied medicine and was something of a scientist. Such a background makes the other side of his character even more unusual.
According to historian James McClintock, "It is said that when they were in the field you could not tell him from the other Indians. He dressed like them, with nothing but a breech-clout, and whooped and yelled like his Indian comrades."
The native Arizonans enlisted just as Apache raiding reached new heights, and their orders-to destroy Apache camps, crops and supplies and kill resisters-coincided with their attitudes toward their traditional enemies. The Indian soldiers received a blue blouse, trimmed in red for the Maricopas and blue for the Pimas, one pair of blue pants, and one pair of shoes and one yard of flannel for a headdress. Most of them wore "teguas"-shoes of un-tanned hide with broad soles turned up at the toes with a hole to admit air and remove dirt. Scouts were often carried out on foot with packs containing a canteen, a blanket, and some dried beef and pinole, a food made of one part sugar to two parts roasted ground corn or wheat mixed with water. The Indians were expected to provide their own horses, but allowances were sometimes made for feed. Although these were the intended provisions, circumstances did not always afford them and the Indians often endured the cold without benefit of warm clothes, bedding or shoes. The Pimas and Maricopas were used to hardship, however; they were familiar with the country and knew the Apaches.
The two new volunteer companies left Maricopa Wells with Colonel Clarence E. Bennett's California Volunteers on September 4, 1865 to establish a fort seven miles north of the confluence of the Verde and Salt rivers. Both companies helped construct Camp McDowell to protect farms along the rivers from Apaches. The Tonto and Pinal Apaches inhabited the Tonto Basin, bordered by the Mazatzal and Sierra Ancha Mountains on the east and west and the Mogollon Rim to the north. These were some of the last Apache tribes to be subdued, and the Arizona Volunteers became their first considerable foe. The Indians at Camp McDowell lived in brush shelters. Military reports said their morale was high and they were allowed to return to their villages almost as often as they pleased. Although Hispanic and Anglo volunteers suffered various forms of typhoid from continuous attacks of fever caused by rain and humidity, not a single individual from Indian companies B or C was reported sick on post returns.
The Indian volunteers began their first foray on September 8, 1865, led by Lieutenant Reidt. They traveled northeast for several days into the Tonto Basin. Maricopa guides took them up the east side of the Mazatzal Mountains up Tonto Creek, 110 miles up steep banks, across canyons, and through arroyos thick with underbrush. "It was a trying, sorry march, and the animals and men suffered from the cactus." When one Pima was accidentally shot in the hand, all but fifteen returned to camp with him. The volunteers eventually surprised an Apache rancher a just east of Payson. One Apache was killed, several were wounded and their crops and houses were burned.
The Indian volunteers proved their valor in battle after battle. On October 15, 1865, Cuchavenashak, a Company B Maricopa charged an Apache. The Apache's first arrow went through his horse's ear, the second hit the Maricopa's belt plate and the third hit him in the forehead and glanced off, causing a flesh wound.
Cuchavenashak leaped off his horse clinched the Apache to him and killed him. This alarmed a rancher a of about 20 families of Apaches nearby. A volley of 100 shots was fired into the Apaches as they retreated.
The Arizona Volunteers were an experiment in cultural coexistence. For the good of the mission, the Indians were allowed to practice their traditional war customs without interference from white soldiers. On March 6, 1866, Lt. Ewing took a party near the Polos Blancos [sic] Mountains, on Rattlesnake Creek. It was decided to await the rising of the moon. During the wait, the Indian soldiers consulted a prophet or tobacco mancer. A circle was formed around the prophet who began to smoke "cigarettes." As soon as one was consumed another was furnished him by an attendant. After some time, he began to tremble and fell "dead" (stupefied). He lay there for several minutes, during which time not a sound was uttered by the command. When he arose, he said that his spirit had followed the trail, that the command was on, towards the "Massasahl" and there under the peak it saw two large rancher as with a great many warriors. His spirit then followed the trail north, where it found a rancher a that had been abandoned because of the death of one of the occupants." When he finished, the Indians slept. When the moon was high in the sky, Walker and Ewing led their men up the mountain in search of the rancher a. Halfway up the mountain they found an abandoned rancher a and later a large camp of Apaches, just as the tobacco mancer predicted.
On March 27, Lieutenant Walker led the largest expedition of Arizona Volunteers on record. An estimated 260 Papagoes and Pimas and 40 Maricopas from Company B left the Pima villages. Those without rifles or muskets fashioned war clubs while they established a temporary supply depot on Tonto Creek. In a fight four days later, 25 Apaches were killed and 16 taken prisoner. Three Pimas were wounded, one of whom eventually died. Because they were in Apache country, the Pima warrior's body was burned along with the mourners' clothes instead of his own belonging as was the custom in the villages. Although most warriors left the Pima villages well clad, many returned naked. This is also probably the expedition where the miners were shocked by the smashing of heads. Conner relates that the Pimas would lift a heavy stone above their heads and drop it on a dead or wounded Apache, crushing the skull of their enemy. Sometimes they placed the head of the victim on a flat rock to suitably cave in his face, perhaps so it would not be recognized in the next world. The Apaches, possibly learning it from the Pimas, followed this custom. Conner said he was more disgusted that the whites looked on with approval, musing that "savage civilized men are the most monstrous of all monsters."
In late Aug, 1866, Colonel Charles S. Lovell became commander of District of Arizona. He did not appreciate the Pima and Maricopa custom of living in their villages when not in the field and not being subject to the post commanders' orders. General Mason had promised the Indians that they could do as they pleased, and the spirit of cooperation had served all parties admirably. As was often the case with army/Indian relations, just as the vastly different cultures began to understand each other, personnel changed, previous arrangements were nullified; and once again the Indians had to adapt. Official feelings were not unanimous on the subject of Indian soldiers. In May, while still commander at Fort McDowell, Colonel Bennett asked the Arizona's Adjutant General to extend the volunteer enlistment or create a regular native regiment. If these options proved unworkable, he proposed that the volunteers be allowed to keep their arms when discharged so they could continue fighting Apaches effectively.
At Fort McDowell on September 11, 1866, because of the legalities of retaining them, Maricopa Company B was discharged from service by First Lieutenant Ewing and now Captain Juan Chevereah. The same day, Pima Company C was mustered out by Captain John D. Walker, First Lieutenant William Hancock and now Second Lieutenant Antonio Azul. All the men were allotted $50 pay and allowed to keep their firearms and equipment. Many volunteers who believed they would get no pay found that all at once they had more money than they had ever had at any time in their lives. In honor of the Arizona Volunteers, in the fall of 1866 the Third Arizona Territorial Legislature passed a memorial for their outstanding service.
The services of Arizona Volunteers were definitely missed. In November of 1866, General McDowell let it be known that any Indians enlisting as scouts would be treated as when they served in the Volunteers. They would not be required to drill or fight with army methods and could stay in their villages when not on patrol. Pimas and Maricopas continued to work with the military, but the practice peaked in 1869 as more Apaches became willing to serve as scouts. Although appreciated by those who fought alongside them, the general white population remained skeptical, as indicated by the press: "While they were bitterly opposed to the Apaches and had killed a great number, they were too superstitious to be good soldiers. The Indians believed in witchcraft and many were even unwilling to undertake campaigns until their wizards had indicated that the signs were right for them. Upon killing even a single Indian, the Pima and Maricopa soldiers insisted upon returning to their villages to celebrate. There, they sauntered about in indolence pompously arrayed in their uniforms, including overcoats, even when the mercury marks over tropical temperature."
The Indians' hour in the sun was short lived and, as veterans often do, they came home to new problems. More settlers moved in, and the town of Adamsville was founded on the south side of the Gila River, upstream from the Pima reservation, four miles west of present day Florence, Arizona. In September, 1868 Major Andrew Alexander, then commander at Camp McDowell, led a detachment to the area to settle a matter between the settlers of Florence and Adamsville and the Pima and Maricopa Indians. In November, he returned to restore cattle to the settlers that the tribes had stolen.
Confrontations multiplied as settlers increased near the Pima villages.
Upset by the indirect results of their assistance in making the area safe for settlers, the Pimas and Maricopas did not like the direct effects any better. In March of 1869, a group of Apaches desiring to make peace came into Camp Reno, 34 miles north of Camp McDowell in the Tonto Basin, were told to go to Camp McDowell where they would be provided for. Antonio Azul and a band of Pima scouts were outraged that the whites would consider settling their mortal enemies on neighboring lands. They believed that the plan all along had been to eradicate the Apaches and were shocked to find out otherwise.
Tensions on the Gila continued to escalate. In July of 1869, the town of Florence petitioned Major Alexander to protect them against the Pimas. John D. Walker accompanied him with a cavalry detachment and quieted the situation by arresting some disgruntled Indians. They soon released them because the major land holders feared the Pimas would retaliate once released. When Pimas and Maricopas moved onto land claimed by Adamsville settlers, Captain George Sanford ignored the problem, but Captain Frederick E. Grossman, United States Special Indian Agent for Pima Villages, showed concern over the growing dilemma. By November, there were over 200 Indians in the area and he and Chief Azul could not convince them to return to their reservation. Eventually the reservation was extended.
By 1871, several years of drought aggravated the situation. In October, as part of President Grant's new Peace Policy which replaced often corrupt Indian agents with Protestant missionaries, Reverend John H. Stout became the Pima reservation's agent. Because of the difficulties between settlers and Indians, plans were being made to relocate the Pimas and Maricopas to Indian Territory, Oklahoma. On May 11, a Council of Pima and Maricopa chiefs and head men reported to Stout: "You say this new country is a good place and you say you have not been there. Now, how do you know it is a good place, if there is plenty of water there? We want water here very much. We used to have plenty of it. Before the Americans and Mexicans settled on our river above us, we always had plenty of water . . . We always raised two crops a year. One of wheat and one of corn. Now, since the Americans and Mexicans have moved on the land above us and taken the water from our river [the Gila] to water their grain, we never raise but one crop [wheat]. Some of us who live on the lower part of the land which you say is ours do not get even enough water to water our wheat, and much of it is now lying down on the ground, dead."
Indian agricultural enterprise collapsed quickly by the 1870's as settlers in nearby American towns diverted the waters of the Gila River upstream from the Pima villages. Indians reported that they could no longer grow beans, pumpkins, melons or corn, and that their families were suffering. The Indians were promised food if they if they remained on the reservation. Some stayed, but over 300 went to new lands on the Salt River, where they had been invited by Mormon farmers who saw them as a buffer against Apaches. In both locations, white farmers complained that Indian cattle ate their grain. The Indians countered that the whites killed their cattle and sold their horses.
Finally, the combined chiefs said that "the Apaches have been at war with us for many years. We are afraid they will not make a good peace." The Pima villages had been a peaceful junction for many cultures over the centuries, but their traditional enemies were not yet an acceptable addition to the quickly evaporating oasis.
Stout reported that an Indian was slain at the Salt River settlement in August of 1872. The agent said he was a quiet, peaceable man, who left the reserve because there was no water. The murderer was let go, as were others in the area. Stout said, "From a proud, honest, virtuous, hardworking self-sustaining race, they are fast degenerating into utter worthlessness." The chiefs reported, "Our young men are getting to drink more whiskey every day, and we cannot keep the people from selling it to them, and bad men are doing bad with our women."
A few months later the chiefs were quoted, "Every year the people take more water from our river, and we have not enough, and the river here gets smaller all the time." Stout knew that relations between the races were deteriorating. "On one or two occasions I have heard men say, 'just wait 'til we get through cleaning out the Apaches, and then we'll show the Pimas a thing or two.' "
The straw that broke the camel's back fell on San Juan's Day, June 24th, 1873. The settlers in Adamsville participated in the rain-bringing celebration with the traditional riding for the chicken's head, feasting and a dance. At the height of the festivities, 23-year-old Antonito Azul was knifed in the heart and fell dead. Son of Pima Chief Antonio Azul, Antonito had been Reverend Stout's prize pupil. He traveled to San Francisco, New York and the nation's capital, where he gave a speech before President Grant. The killer was arrested, and the next day several hundred Pimas arrived in Adamsville. Three or four Pimas entered the courtroom and motioned for the prisoner to stand up. When he ignored them, they lifted him to his feet and bound his hands with a rope. He was led from the courtroom to the edge of town, where the Pimas formed a circle around the prisoner and killed him with their war clubs. The Indians then returned quietly to their homes. Troops from McDowell and Ft. Lowell were called in, but matters had quieted down by the time they arrived. When Stout talked to them, the Indians said that the murderer would have escaped, just as one had last year on the Salt River. To anyone's knowledge, this is the first instance of a white man being killed by the Pimas in anyone's memory. Antonito's murder caused many tribal members to regret their friendship toward the white tide that engulfed them.
Although relations became strained in the 1850s by the large increase of whites in the area and un-kept promises for supplies, the increased demand for crops and new tools brought about by the stage line and the Civil War brought prosperity to the Pima villages. Ironically, new wealth in the form of tools and livestock increased Yavapai and Apache raiding. Mining discoveries in hostile territories shifted the need for Pima and Maricopa assistance from supplies to protection.
Again, the whites and Gilenos had a common goal - to exterminate the Apaches. The First Arizona Volunteers, partially made up of Pimas and Maricopas, were successful in forcing many Apaches to surrender. The Volunteers were rewarded with pay, uniforms and a legislative memorial. However, policy changes toward the Apaches turned the tables on the Gilenos and they now faced living next to them instead of wiping them out. Replaced by Apache scouts, the Pimas and Maricopas were no longer needed by the U.S. Army. The irony was that without the assistance of the Pima and Maricopa volunteers, peace would not have been possible.
Success over the Apaches brought many more settlers to Arizona, and many settled upstream from the longtime oasis, damming up the Gila and diverting the water into canals for American farms. Livestock and sometimes Indian farmers were killed in the struggle for land and water rights while whiskey took its toll of demoralization and dissipation. The cultures failed utterly to understand each other and their once mutual goals were gradually became diametrically opposed.
The diaries of the Forty-Niners capture a few fleeting years when Indians cheerfully welcomed white men and were glad to help them, enhancing their lifestyle in the bargain. As U.S. Volunteers, the Pimas and Maricopas were proud to prove their prowess and valor side by side with American troops. In that small window of time, several cultures lived together and met each others' needs at the cultural crossroads. All too soon, however, settlers' traffic jammed the crossroads and dried up the oasis, which moved upstream, excluding the original owners from future prosperity.
Following General George Crook's successful 1872-1873 campaign against the Apache in the rugged mountains of central Arizona, the tribes were located on reservations after agreeing to the federal government's promise to provide provisions. Trouble began almost immediately after the Chiricahua were re-located to San Carlos in 1876, and thrown in with other Apache groups who regarded them as enemies. Also, leaders like Juh, Chatto, Chihuahua, and Victorio were unhappy with reservation life and continued bolting the reservation, leading raids in Arizona and Mexico. This initiated the so-called "renegade" period in the Apache Wars where soldiers would go in pursuit of those who left the reservation.
Two issues led to the final outbreak. The Apache men had a custom of biting off the nose of an unfaithful wife, a practice General Crook had strictly forbidden. They insisted he had no business interfering with their customs. The other was the drinking of "tiswin" a beer made of fermented corn. Mangus's wife was a maker of excellent tiswin and she hated the whites. She goaded her husband, the son of the legendary chief, Mangas Colorados, constantly. Chihuahua was one of her best customers. He liked to drink and complain but wasn't too interested in bolting the reservation again. The consummate malcontent Geronimo took advantage of the situation to stir up trouble.
In May, 1885 a group of Apache decided to test the policy against tiswin. They got drunk and confronted the officer in charge, Lieutenant Britton Davis. Davis informed them he was wiring General Crook for instructions. The wire was sent to a Captain Francis Pierce, an officer new to the area failed to grasp the gravity of the situation and determined it wasn't important enough to bother the general. Crook wouldn't see the telegram until several months later. Meanwhile, the Apache grew restless wondering what kind of wrath the general would bring upon them for their drunken binge and bolted once again for Mexico.
Thus began the last campaign to end the Apache Wars. In January, 1886, Captain Emmett Crawford defeated Geronimo and his band high in the Sierra Madre. Two months later the Apache leader met with General Crook at Canon de los Embudos, and agreed to surrender. That night bootleggers came into the Apache camp and sold them booze, at the same time telling them the soldiers planned to kill them once they were in Arizona.
Most likely these whiskey peddlers were at the behest of the Tucson Ring, a group bent on continuing the war for economic gain. Geronimo and his warriors bolted once again causing Crook's superior in Washington, General Phil Sheridan, also his roommate at West Point, to suggest he was placing too much trust in the Apache. Crook asked to be replaced and General Nelson Miles was sent to relieve him.
The campaign was nearly over by the time Miles arrived. He continued Crook's policy of using Apache scouts, durable pack trains and relentless pursuit. The Army also rounded up the Chiricahua on reservations and shipped them to Florida. That summer five thousand U. S. troops or some 20% of the U.S. Army were chasing less than two dozen warriors. In August Lieutenant Charles Gatewood, an officer known and respected by Geronimo, Tom Horn, along with two Apache scouts named Martine and Kayitah undertook a dangerous mission to Geronimo's camp. They held a parley with Geronimo and his band. After some haggling, Gatewood dealt the warriors his ace card. Their relatives had been exiled to Florida and if they wanted to see them again they'd have to surrender. On September 3, 1886, the wily war chief surrendered and the Apache Wars were finally over.