Horn Arms Sixty Apaches, Pursues Renegades
BY TOM HORN
Originally published in 1904
Old Pedro [the Cibecue Apache chief] enlisted to scout against troublesome Apache [like Geronimo], my friend, was very glad to see all of us, and the first night I got to his camp he kept me up all night long, telling him of the Chiricahua outbreak and raid.
..After I had told him the whole story it was daylight and Sieber had got up and come to the fire where we were sitting, and then the old chief showed his wisdom.
“Sibi,” said Chief Pedro, “this ‘Talking Boy’ and I have been up here all night talking of this raid of the Chiricahuas. This boy has told me the whole and I am sadly disappointed in one thing. I can’t see the work of that chief of all devils, called Geronimo. He was not in the raid. Where was he? Things are bad now, but they would have been far worse had he been there.”
Afterwards we learned sure enough that during this raid Geronimo had been laid up with a shot through the shoulder.
“…I will give you 150 warriors, all good, picked men,” said Pedro, “and you can go over there [into Mexico] and kill a good many of them, and then come back and rest up a while, then go back and kill some more, and keep that up the rest of the summer.
“…I am going to tell you what you know well, and you may think I am a fool to tell you, but there is going to be a great lot of war, of which this last outbreak is the starter, and it will continue for many years. Apache soldiers you will have to use, for, as brave as your white soldiers are, they can not endure the hardships necessary to overcome the bad Apaches.
“Those Cibicu Indians will break out soon and they will have to go north to the Mogollons, as they are not Mexico Indians. So it will be war on the south from the Chiricahuas, and war in the north from the Cibicus, and many and many a white settler and traveler will be killed. Take my advice and my warriors and go at it at once. Now, good night, and think this over, and re- member it is I, Pedro, a wise chief, who tells you this; remember, also, that I never talk two ways.”
After Pedro had gone to bed Sieber said to me:
“Tom, that is exactly what you and I have said all the time, and it would be a great thing for the settlers of this territory if we could take the old man’s advice and his warriors and go at these bad Indians; but the Government would never tolerate such a thing, and all we can do is to do as we are told.”
In a few days we went on to Camp Apache, and Sieber reported to the commanding officer there, as was his custom when he went into a Government post. The com-manding officer told him to come to the adjutant’s office the next morning, as he wanted to have a talk with him.
The next morning Sieber and I went to the adjutant’s office at 9 o’clock, and I was ordered out, as the adjutant said he had no business with me. Seiber told him I was the interpreter, and it would be necessary for me to know of anything that was going to be done.
My business,” said the adjutant, “is not with an interpreter; it is with you, who are the chief of scouts.”
I was turned out, and went and sat down and waited for Sieber to get through. When Sieber came out he looked so grave and solemn that I did not speak to him till he spoke to me. At last, when we got to our camp and sat down, he sent an Indian woman to find Micky [Micky Free, the fierce and wild scout, captured by the Apache as a child], so we could talk. Then Sieber, Micky and I held a war council. Sieber had to talk in Spanish so that Micky could understand, and then he told us what we had to do.
“I am ordered,” said Sieber, “to take you two boys and go with a detachment of soldiers to Cañon Creek, and from there to Cibicu, and see these Indians and arrest five of them who are making all of this trouble, as the adjutant says, and we are to take a lot of those same Indians with us to show us who these Indians are. We are to arrest them and confine them here in the guard house.”
Sieber then named several Apache scouts who were attached to the fort, and said we would go with them.
Dead Shot and Dandy Jim are both sergeants of the scouts,” he continued, “and they will show us the men we are to arrest. There will be a detachment of about twenty men to go with us. Now, those are my instructions.”
We were all paralyzed by such an order, for this reason: Dead Shot and Dandy Jim were two of the worst of all the bad men, and they were capable of doing anything bad and nothing good. They were both Cibicu Indians and entirely in sympathy with anything the bad Indians on Cibicu wanted to do. Sieber, as Chief of Scouts, had made a strong protest against enlisting these two at the time they were enlisted, as he knew them well, and knew their reputation with the other Indians. They both, also, had considerable influence with all bad and turbulent Indians, and were sworn enemies of Sieber and Micky; but as for myself, I knew them by reputation only.
“There will be men leave this post in the morning who will either be brought back dead, or else will be left dead in the mountains,” said Micky, “for this is a trap that we are going into, and they will try hardest to kill us three, for they think we have no business to come up here and interfere with them. A rabbit trap will catch a wolf, but it won’t hold him,” added Micky; “so we will just act as though we suspected nothing. We won’t be able to find the Indians that we are going after, but we must make the bluff.”
Micky suggested that after we got started he would look after Dead Shot, and for me to look after Dandy Jim; “and,” said Micky, “we will civilize them.” Sieber said that was his idea exactly, as he himself would have to be with the soldiers all the time.
Such was the trip we started on the next morning.
Luckily for the soldiers, there were about thirty men of them, but Dead Shot had told the adjutant a dozen would be enough. “Those Indians are not bad, and are not renegades,” said Dead Shot; “they will all help the soldiers to arrest these bad men, and it is a good thing to send the white scouts, for they tell lies on all of us; and when they see how things are out there, they will have nothing to say.”
At Cañon Creek we camped and found there a lot of Indians. Among them was a captive (Mexican). His name was Suneriano. Suneriano had been captured by these Indians when a small boy, and had never left them.
At this time he was married; had a couple of women and half a dozen children.
Way long in the middle of the night one of his kids, a girl about nine or ten years old, came and woke me.
She crawled down beside me, or rather was crouching there when she woke me. She told me she was sent by her father, who was Suneriano, to tell me that we would all be killed on Cibicu Creek; that there was a trap laid for us, and that Dead Shot was going to lead us into it.
She said all the women and children were then up in the mountains, and we would find only warriors. “There are about sixty of the men,” she said. She then went crawling away on her stomach and disappeared. I did not sleep any more that night, and so quietly did this little girl come and go that Micky, who slept within six feet of me, did not hear her.
At daylight I told Sieber what this child had told me, and he in turn told Captain Hentig, the officer in command of the escort. Sieber did not tell Hentig how he got the information, but just told him the condition of things out there. Hentig told Sieber that if he was afraid he could take his two men, meaning Micky and me, and go back to Camp Apache. Sieber replied no; that we would go along to pilot the scattered soldiers back to Camp Apache!
About noon we got to Cibicu Creek, and Sieber spoke to me and told me to watch my man, and to tell Micky to watch his. We could not see any Indians where there should have been lots of them camped, and Dead Shot said they had probably moved down the creek; and there it was that he came to understand that we understood what he was trying to do, for Micky said to him: “Dead Shot, we are onto your game, and I am going to stay close to you all the time, and if any thing goes wrong you will be stealing moccasins in the camp of the Great Spirit just as soon as the fight comes off.”
(Dead Shot was accused by the squaws of having once stolen a pair of moccasins from a woman of Pedro’s band. This is the lowest crime an Apache brave can commit.)
Dead Shot saw that Dandy Jim was in about the same fix that he himself was. He appealed to Captain Hentig, but had to do so through Sieber, as he and Hentig could not understand each other. Hentig ordered us to leave them, and we told him we were not doing as Dead Shot accused us of doing. Hentig then ordered Micky and me to get behind, which we did.
Dead Shot wanted to go down the cañon, but Sieber swung up the side of the cañon, and then it was that the Indians in ambush opened up on us, for they saw that Sieber would not go into their trap. They were not prepared for such a move as we made, and consequently did not do a great deal of damage. Dead Shot and Dandy Jim being in front of the soldiers while Micky and I were behind, they both made a run and got away as soon as the firing started. About ten minutes after the fight started, Captain Hentig was killed. There were eleven men wounded in the fight, but none badly. Our Indian scouts all left us. There were five of them.
We saw the renegades running to get on a high point directly over us, and Sieber yelled to Micky and me to get up there first, which we did. We beat the renegades to the top by about forty yards and this saved the whole party. Had the renegades reached this point we never could have gotten out of Cibicu Cañon. This point was the commanding place, and five soldiers came up and helped Micky and me to hold it. Sieber got Hentig’s body on a pack mule, and when we were all ready they came up out of the cañon.
We turned off the trail and buried Hentig in the hills, and then started to make our way back to Camp Apache.
We had to leave all trails and stick to the mountains, but were not bothered any more, for it got dark about the time we started, and we traveled all night, daylight find- ing us at Camp Apache minus Captain Hentig and our Indian scouts.
Tom Horn’s War Dogs
Sieber wanted to report to the commanding officer, but before he could find him and report, the Indians commenced to fire on the Fort. They commenced about sun- up, and kept up their firing for about an hour. There were not more than one hundred of them, and the nearest of them were three hundred yards away. They did not hit anything except a pony belonging to one of the children in the Fort. The pony was in a small shed, and the bullet passed through the shed. In about an hour the soldiers were ordered to go up on the hills and drive the Indians away, which they did.
This meant war. Until this time the Indians were allowed to do as they pleased. Now telegrams were sent to Camp Thomas, Camp Grant, Camp McDowell and Camp Verde, in response to which troops began to come in after a couple of days.
Two hours after the renegades had been driven off the hills I was sent to Pedro’s camp, about twenty miles away, and by 10:00 o’clock that night I was back at Camp Apache with sixty volunteers from Pedro, and they did sure look “fighty.” All of them had rifles of their own, but that night I made all of them put their own guns in the Government storehouse, and gave each of them a Springfield carbine and belt and all the ammunition they wanted. My object in this was to have them all armed with guns that used Government ammunition.
Their own guns were good, but shot all kinds of ammunition.
The second day, Colonel Eugene A. Carr came in from Camp Thomas with two troops of cavalry. He was the first to arrive, and he, as ranking officer, took command.
Lots of the Indians from both Cibicu and Cañon Creek were coming in. They camped close to the Post and said they did not want to be classed with the ones who had killed Hentig and fired on the Post. Many of them said that while they lived on Cibicu, they were under the influence of the renegades, who lived there, and that they had to do as the bad ones said.
Well, we started out to find the bad Indians, and we knew from the information we got from the other Indians who had come in that there was a band of about sixty of the turbulent ones. We could not learn any- thing from the rest of the Indians except where these sixty Indians were.
Horn, you take your war dogs and find them,” said Colonel Carr to me.
I had previously told him I could find them within a few days sure, for my volunteers knew the country so well that the renegades could not get away.
Find them,” said Carr, “and go at them; then send me word and I will come, and come a-runnin’, too.”
I started out and went right straight to the renegades.
When I struck their trail I saw they were headed in the direction of Green Valley. I sent word back to Camp Apache to Carr, and kept on after them. In Green Valley I found they had taken a lot of horses from old man Tweeksbury and a lot from Al Kose. About ten miles farther on I found they had killed Louie Huron and Charley Sigsbee. All of the settlers thereabout had joined me. I left them to bury the dead men and look after one of the Sigsbee boys who had been wounded, and who had killed one of the renegades after he was shot.
I was all alone with my “war dogs” as Colonel Carr called them, and they were very anxious to strike the renegades, who were not more than six hours ahead of us. It was night, though, and we had to camp and get ready for a big ride on the next day. Our horses were a little tired and my main man of these Indian volunteers, whose name was Tul-pi, said we could start as late as daybreak and yet strike the renegades before night. We camped and Sigsbee let us turn our horses in his pasture where the feed was fine. Sigsbee gave us a sack of flour and we killed a yearling heifer belonging to Stimpson, and proceeded to “fill up.” Tul-pi had put out guards around on the hills, and pretty soon they yelled that there was American cavalry coming. It was perfectly dark, but they could tell from the sound of the horses feet. I got on one of the guard’s ponies and went tomeet the cavalry; for my men were all Indians and I was afraid we might be taken for hostiles.
It proved to be Major Chaffee, Al Sieber and Pat Kehoe. Chaffee had started from McDowell and had come through the Green Valley at a guess, and he had struck it right. Sieber and Pat Kehoe had been close to Camp Apache, and had met the courier I was sending back to let Colonel Carr know I was on the trail, so on they came after me. They had run into Major Chaffee in Green Valley.
Well, we all camped, and as they had been traveling all day and it was now past 9 o’clock at night, they were a tired lot, but they were all full of fight.
After everybody got filled up we had a war talk, and I told Major Chaffee what my war chief had to say, and that was that we could strike the Indians next day.
Sieber and Kehoe thought the same thing, but all of us knew we would have to make a long, hard drive to make it.
At daylight, Major Chaffee cut loose from his pack trains, and away we went. About ten miles from where we camped, the Indians had camped and then we knew we would get them that day. How we did go. All my men were mounted on their very best war ponies, and all had had a good night’s feed and rest, so everything was in shape for a big day’s ride. The cavalry troop were in like condition and all extra traps had been left with the pack train.
About 10 o’clock we came to the Meadows Ranch, on the east fork of the Verde, and found old man Meadows killed, Hank shot all to pieces, and John also badly shot up. We left the doctor, a couple of soldiers and a couple of citizens who were following us to help them, and learned from the ranchers that the renegades had most likely seen us coming when they left the Meadows Ranch. Mrs. Meadows swore the Indians were not half a mile ahead of us.
As soon as we left the Meadows Ranch we could see that there was a change in things, for the renegades began to go faster and to drop horses. About noon we struck them as we went up out of the basin on to the rim. We struck only a few, and that formed the rear guard they had thrown out. My men killed one and shot another so we caught him in about a mile. He soon died.
He proved to be one of the men who had mutinied when Hentig was killed. We overtook him at a place called Crook’s Springs. I was trying to hold some of my men out so as to keep us from running into a trap, but Major Chaffee said the renegades were traveling so fast they could not lay an ambush for us. Anyhow, we were traveling so fast I could not keep my men out. Tul-pi said we would get the renegades when they were crossing Chevlon’s Fork, a very deep cañon a short distance ahead. Sieber and Pat thought the same thing. Chevlon’s Cañon was a cañon that could be crossed in but a few places on account of its depth and the precipitous nature of its walls. We all knew this crossing we were coming to, and Sieber told Chaffee to send five men with Pat Kehoe to go below, and the Indians could never get up on the other side.
As we came to the banks of the cañon the renegades were just starting up on the opposite side. We opened fire on them, of course. About half way up the side of the cañon, on the opposite side, the trail would have to run around on a wide bench for a ways to find an opening in the bench to allow them to pass through.
Then there would be a place in the trail leading straight away from us. The distance was just about six hundred yards, and when they came to a place that led straight away from us it made fine shooting. Going up over the last rim was a place about sixty feet long, and no one could get out of the cañon without going through this place. Sieber and the first sergeant of I Troop (Chaffee’s), whose name was Woodall, and who was a famous shot, took up a position with me to command this last slide, to stop as many Indians and horses as possible.
It was a deadly place for the renegades. We had been at them an hour, at least, before they got up to this place, and they were pretty badly demoralized. Pat Kehoe had gotten his five men down in the cañon below them, and they could not go that way. Up the cañon it was impossible for them to go, so up the slide they had to go. Not a horse ever did get up that place. There were three started up at first, and the one in the lead was a gray. I suppose we all thought the same thing, and that was if we could hit the lead horse he would fall back on the others and knock them down like ten- pins. We all fired at the gray horse and down he came, struggling, and back he knocked the two behind him.
We all felt good, for if Sieber and Woodall felt as I did, each of them thought his shot had done the work.
Good work, men!” cried Major Chaffee; “keep that hole stopped and we have got ‘em.” He did not use just those words, for Chaffee, in a fight, can beat any man swearing I ever heard. He swears by ear, and by note in a common way. And by everything else in a general way.
He would swear when his men would miss a good shot, and he would swear when they made a good shot. He swore at himself for not bringing more ammunition, and he would swear at his men for wasting their ammunition or shooting too often. Then an Indian would expose himself and he would swear and yell: “Shoot, you damned idiots! What do you suppose I give you ammunition for, to eat?”
The gray horse stuck in the trail and no other horse could get up till he was gotten out of the way. Several renegades tried to get him out of the way, but it was an awful place to work to much advantage, for we were all good shots, and while the distance was close to six hundred yards, we had the range down so fine, and we were perhaps fifty feet above them, so that for that dis- tance the spot for us was ideal. After they saw they could not get the gray horse away from the place where he had fallen, another tried to lead his horse over the gray one, and down that horse went; not ontop of the gray, but nearly so, and that blocked the trail completely.
No more horses tried to go through, but several Indians ran up on foot.
About 4 o’clock there came up the heaviest hail and rain storm that I ever saw in my life. There was heavy pine timber all over the country. The storm came up suddenly, and it got so very dark that we could not see across the cañon. Then the hail and rain commenced.
Wah! I feel cold and wet from it yet! That hail and rain punished us pretty well, I tell you. It was over in twenty minutes, and the fight was over, also. All of us were so cold and wet we could neither see nor shoot, and there was a regular torrent running in the bottom of the cañon.
After the storm was over we went back a short distance and waited and wished for Chaffee’s pack train.
About 6 o’clock we were all surprised to see the pack train come in, but in the meanwhile we had some fires started and were feeling better. We soon got something to eat, for there were many willing cooks that night.
The pack train had seen no hail nor rain and was perfectly dry. Our horses were all doing well, for the grass was as fine and fresh as I ever saw anywhere.
After dark Colonel Carr and a couple of troops of cavalry came in. He had made a very long march, having come from Cañon Creek that day. He also went into camp, and considering how wet and cold we all had been at 4 o’clock, we thought now we were in luck.
A lieutenant in Chaffee’s troop, who was afterwards killed on San Juan Hill (his name was West), in telling some of the officers of Carr’s command how wet and cold we got, explained everything about it to his own satisfaction by saying: “Why, Major Chaffee got so cold and wet he had to stop swearing.” (Carr and his command had not seen any rain or hail, either.)
On the following morning we were all thrown out to cross the cañon and see what damage we had done the day before. We found a sad looking outfit up on the side of the cañon. Out of more than a hundred horses, the renegades had only about twenty that were not killed or wounded. We found twenty-one dead Indians, and one wounded squaw. Some of the soldiers afterwards said that there were a couple of wounded bucks, but that Micky had stuck his knife into them. Micky had come up with Carr the night before. I don’t know if Micky did this deed or not; but I am afraid he did.
A squaw had been shot on the shin bone by a Springfield rifle ball, and the bone was of course shattered in a thousand pieces. The soldiers, some of them, ran onto her, and were getting ready to carry her back to camp, under the direction of the army surgeon; when they were all ready to start with her she began to scream and motion, and kept pointing to a pile of rocks and brush, and one of the soldiers looked to see what there was there that she was making so much fuss about, as they could not understand what she was saying. The soldier found a little old papoose, about ten months or a year old, concealed under that rubbish. One of the men carried it along over to camp. There the surgeons cut her leg off, and she was sent into Camp Verde along with a few wounded soldiers we had.
All the rest of the troops, except Major Chaffee’s, returned to their respective posts, while Chaffee and his troop, my volunteers and I, started out to see if we could find which way the escaped Indians had gone.
The wounded squaw told Tul-pi that there had been about forty-five warriors in the party, and she thought most of them were killed. She said they all knew that a lot of Pedro’s warriors were with the soldiers, and they were all very mad because Pedro would send his men out after them. The woman said the Cibicus learned the morning of the day of the fight that these men of Pedro’s were after them.
We could not learn anything of the ones who had escaped, for most of them had gotten away before the hail of the day before. Nearly every evening a hail storm or a rain storm would come up, and as all the men we were after were on foot, the signs of them were soon obliterated.
We stayed around there on top of the mountain for about ten days. We even went as far down as Chane’s Pass, where there was a sheep camp. We camped within about a mile of the Pass, and several of us went down to see if they had seen any sign of the scattered renegades, but found they had not.
The foreman of the shearing pens, (they were shearing), told us a big, long-winded story of a bear that was packing a sheep off every night, and how they had lain out by the shearing pens all night watching for him to come back so they could kill him.
We went back to camp, and about 1 o’clock that night a sheep herder came to our camp to see if he could get our doctor to come down to the shearing pens. He told us that the bear they had been laying for for several nights had made his appearance. The bear, from what we could learn from the herder, had come along about midnight and the two men who were lying there fired at him. The bear grabbed one of the men and nearly ate him up before all of the men belonging to the camp could get the bear to let up on his victim. The companion of the wounded man had gone for help as soon as the bear grabbed his partner, and in a couple of minutes nearly all the men in camp were there. The bear had been very busy in the meanwhile, and when all the camp got around him he had dropped his man and skipped out. Our doctor, or rather surgeon, went down with the herder, and I followed a few minutes later with Sieber. The man the bear had been doing business with was still alive, but he was the worst used up man I ever saw. He was crushed and bitten and broken in every bone and muscle, so our doctor said. He died before morning. Some of the men in the sheep camp said the bear had been eating sheep meat till he was tired of it, and when he met a hog he thought he would have a mess of it.
Finally we got word to leave the top of the mountain and go back home. Chaffee went back by way of Camp Verde and I went back to Camp Apache and disbanded my volunteers. The scattered renegades had all returned to Cibicu and Cañon Creek and were hiding among the other Indians.
To be continued…