|US Army Indian Scouts - Wikipedia
|Native Americans have made up an integral part of U.S.
military conflicts since America's beginning. Colonists recruited Indian
allies during such instances as the Pequot War from 1634–1638, the Revolutionary
War, as well as in War of 1812. Native Americans also fought on both sides
during the American Civil War, as well as military missions abroad including
the most notable, the Codetalkers who served in World War II. The Scouts
were active in the American West in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Including those who accompanied General John J. Pershing in 1916 on his
expedition to Mexico in pursuit of Pancho Villa. Indian Scouts were officially
deactivated in 1947 when their last member retired from the Army at Fort
Huachuca, Arizona. For many Indians it was an important form of interaction
with white American culture and their first major encounter with the whites’
way of thinking and doing things.
Soldiers and Indian scouts take observations
before the Battle of Big Dry Wash
Recruitment and enlistment
of the 3rd cavalry described Apache scouts in Arizona as
“almost naked, their only clothing being a muslin loin-cloth, a pair of
point toed moccasins and a hat of hawk feather”. In 1876 a description
of Crow Scouts reads that they wore, “an old black army hat with top cut
out and sides bound round with feathers, fur and scarlet cloth”. With the
availability of army clothing some Native scouts took advantage of the
availability of the clothing. In 1902 when new regulations were introduced
in March the U.S. Scouts received a new more regulated uniform.
|Recruitment of Indian scouts was first authorized on
28 July 1866 by an act of Congress.
"The President is authorized to enlist and employ in the
Territories and Indian country a force of Indians not to exceed one thousand
to act as scouts, who shall receive the pay and allowances of cavalry soldiers,
and be discharged whenever the necessity for further employment is abated,
at the discretion of the department commander."
There were different types of scouts, some enlisted as
Indian Scouts for brief terms and there were others who were hired as scouts
by the U.S. Army. Some individual may have served at different times as
a hired scout and an enlisted scout. Prior to the act in 1866 these scouts
were considered employees rather than soldiers. Enlistment records and
muster rolls, from 1866 to 1912 were in many instances filed by state,
some records were broken down by company or military post providing information
such as when, where, and by whom the scout was enlisted; period of enlistment;
place of birth; age at time of enlistment; physical description; and possibly
additional remarks such as discharge information, including date and place
of discharge, rank at the time, and if the scout died in service. Indian
scouts who were officially enlisted in the army after 1866 were issued
old pattern uniforms from surplus stock legally exempt from sale. Their
uniforms were worn with less regulation, sometimes mixed with their native
dress. In 1870, Captain Bourke
A group of Warm Spring Apache
In the Indian wars following the U.S. Civil War, the Indian
scouts were a fast-moving, aggressive, and knowledgeable asset to the U.S.
army. They often proved to be immune to army notions of discipline and
demeanor, but they proved expert in traversing the vast distances of the
American West and providing intelligence -- and often a shock force --
to the soldiers who sought hostile Indians. Pawnee Scout leader Luther
H. North commented, "Neither the Wild Tribes, nor the Government Indian
Scouts ever adopted any of the white soldier's tactics. They thought their
own much better." Another chief of scouts, Stanton G. Fisher, emphasized
the importance of Indian Scouts by saying of the soldiers, “Uncle Sam's
boys are too slow for this business."
There existed doubts as to whether Indian Scouts would
remain faithful or whether they would betray the white soldiers and turn
against them in conflict. The Cibicue Apaches were among the first regular
Army Scouts. They are also the only recorded 19th-century incident in which
Indian scouts turned against the U.S. Army at Cibicue Creek in Arizona
Territory. These Apache scouts were asked to campaign against their own
kin, resulting in a mutiny against the army soldiers. Three of the scouts
were court-martialed and executed.
Reduction of Forces/Pensions
The end of hostilities on the frontier meant a reduction
in the number of the Indian scouts needed. Army General Order No. 28 issued
on March 9, 1891 reduced the number of scouts to 150, distributed among
the different departments. This brought the numbers down to; Department
of Arizona, 50, Departments of the Dakota, Platte and Missouri, 25 each;
Department of Texas, 15, and Departments of the Columbia, 10. Pension files
provide information not only on Indian Scouts but also about his family
and others with whom he may have served or who knew him or his wife. Indian
Scouts and their widows became eligible for pensions with the passage of
an act on March 4, 1917, relating to Indian wars from 1859 to 1891.
Frontier Scouts included; black, native and mixed blood
individuals. Native involvement in military service come from different
tribes and regions across the United States including Narragansett, Mohegan,
Apache, Navajo and Alaska Natives (who would become involved in the 1940s).
One of the most notable U.S. Army Indian Scouts is Curley,
a member of the Crow tribe who became a scout in April 1876 under Colonel
John Gibbon. He then joined General Custer. Curley is most often identified
as the lone survivor of “Custer's Last Stand”. He denied witnessing the
battle. The Chicago Tribune published an article claiming that Curly had
made statements to them about the battle. John F. Finerty claimed that
"Curley said that Custer remained alive throughout the greater part of
the engagement, animating his men to determined resistance, but about an
hour before the close of the fight received a mortal wound."
The official website of the Navy lists the American Indian
Medal of Honor recipients, including twelve from the 19th century. In the
20th century, five American Indians have been among those soldiers to be
distinguished by receiving the United States' highest military honor: This
honor is given for military heroism "above and beyond the call of duty”,
exhibiting extraordinary bravery, and for some, making the ultimate sacrifice
for their country.
The role of Native American women in the U.S. Army is
being slowly filled by the efforts of such groups as The Women In Military
Service For America Memorial Foundation. It is known of individuals such
as Tyonajanegen, an Oneida woman, Sacajawea, a Shoshone, and various female
nurses have aided the military as far back as the American Revolution.
Little information is currently listed on women's roles as scouts during
the 19th century.
In 1890 the Scouts were authorized to wear the branch
of service insignia of crossed arrows. In 1942 the insignia was authorized
to be worn by the 1st Special Service Force. As their traditions passed
into the U.S. Army Special Forces, the crossed arrows became part of their
insignia being authorized as branch of service insignia in 1984.
|Battle of Big Dry Wash - Wikipedia
The Battle of Big Dry Wash was fought on July 17, 1882,
between troops of the United States Army's 3rd Cavalry Regiment and 6th
Cavalry Regiment and members of the White Mountain Apache tribe. The location
of the battle was called "Big Dry Wash" in Major Evans' official report,
but later maps called the location "Big Dry Fork", which is how it is cited
in the four Medal of Honor citations that resulted from the battle.
In the spring of 1882, a party of about 60 White Mountain
Apache warriors, coalesced under the leadership of a warrior called Na-tio-tish.
In early July some of the warriors ambushed and killed four San Carlos
policemen, including the police chief. After the ambush, Na-tio-tish led
his band of warriors northwest through the Tonto Basin. Local Arizona settlers
were greatly alarmed and demanded protection from the army which immediately
sent out fourteen companies of cavalry from forts in the region.
In the middle of July, Na-tio-tish led his band up Cherry
Creek to the Mogollon Rim, intending to reach General Springs, a well known
water hole on the Crook Trail. The Apaches noticed that they were trailed
by a single troop of cavalry and decided to lay an ambush seven miles north
of General Springs where a fork of East Clear Creek cuts a gorge into the
Mogollon Rim. The Apaches hid on the far side and waited.
The cavalry company was led by Captain Adna R. Chaffee.
However, Chaffee's chief scout, Al Sieber, discovered the Apaches' trap
and warned the troops. During the night, Chaffee's lone company was reinforced
by four more from Fort Apache under the command of Major Andrew W. Evans.
Early in the morning of July 17, one company of cavalry
opened fire from the rim facing the Apaches. Meanwhile, Chaffee sent two
companies upstream and two downstream to sneak across the canyon and attack
the Apaches. Na-tio-tish failed to post lookouts and the troops crossed
over undetected. From sixteen to twenty-seven warriors were killed, including
Na-tio-tish. On the ridge overlooking the wash, Lieutenant George H. Morgan
commanded the first major engagement of the battle. As he exposed himself
to enemy fire, a bullet ripped through his arm and into his body.
Observation before the battle.
About two hours into the battle, Lieutenant Thomas Cruse
spotted an encampment site of the Apaches which appeared to be deserted.
He took command of four men and dashed across the ravine to capture the
camp. Upon reaching the site, several hidden warriors fired upon Cruse
and his men, mortally wounding the soldier to Cruse's immediate right,
Private Joseph McLernan. Cruse dragged Pvt. McLernan to back to the safety
of their previous position. As the battle pitched in intensity, Lieutenant
Frank West took command of Chaffee's cavalry troop while Chaffee was engaged
with commanding the battle. The first shots were fired around 3:00pm and
the battle lasted until nightfall, when a heavy thunderstorm struck, bringing
rain and hail. Sieber, together with fellow scout Tom Horn and soldier
Lt. George H. Morgan, slipped to the banks opposite of the Apache line,
and provided rifle fire for the cavalry.
Pressured and outgunned, the remaining Apache warriors,
under the cover of darkness and the storm, slipped away on foot and retreated
to a nearby Apache reservation, about 20 miles away. The site of the battle
is now a historical park, in Coconino County, Arizona.
Four men received the Medal of Honor for actions at this
battle: Thomas Cruse, George H. Morgan, Charles Taylor, and Frank West.
Cruse, Morgan, and West were all Lieutenants and West Point graduates.
Taylor was a career soldier and troop First Sergeant at the time of the
battle. This engagement was the last major battle between the United States
Army and Apache warriors, the wars were not over yet however. The U.S.
army would soon begin the Geronimo Campaign which ended with Geronimo's
capture in 1886. Even then Apache attacks on white settlers in Arizona
continued as late as the year 1900.
|Canyon Diablo, Arizona - from Wikipedia
Canyon Diablo (Navajo: Kin ?igaaí) is a ghost town
on the Navajo Reservation in Coconino County, Arizona, United States on
the edge of the arroyo Canyon Diablo.
The town, which is about 12 miles northwest of Meteor
Crater, was the closest community to the crater when portions of the meteorite
were removed. Consequently, the meteorite that struck the crater is officially
called the "Canyon Diablo Meteorite."
(33 miles east of Flagstaff on Hwy 40)
The town originated about 1882, due to construction delays
attributed to the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad ordering the wrong span
length railroad bridge across the canyon. The bridge story is that the
original bridge when ordered was not long enough to span Canyon Diablo,
and this was only discovered when the bridge arrived on site from the manufacturer.
Consequently, for six months the transcontinental railroad ended at the
lip of Canyon Diablo while another bridge was manufactured and shipped
to the work site.
The original pillars the bridge was mounted on were excavated
from the surrounding Kaibab Limestone and shaped on site by Italian stonemasons.
The ruins of the lodgings of the railroad workmen are on the west end of
the bridge site. Although the railroad ended at the edge of the canyon,
work on the railroad route still progressed. Crews were sent ahead to survey
the route, prepare the grade and bed, cut and prestage railroad ties and
other supplies in advance of the iron rails that would accompany the trains
once the canyon was spanned when the new bridge arrived. Work quickly progressed
until the A&P crew linked up with the Southern Pacific Railroad crews
at Needles, California on August 9, 1883.
Originally a small mobile business community catering
to the needs of railroad men, once the railroad stopped at the edge of
the canyon this community quickly produced numerous saloons, brothels,
dance halls, and gambling houses, all of which remained open 24 hours a
day. No lawmen were employed by the community initially, so it quickly
became a very dangerous place. Its population was mostly railroad workers,
along with passing outlaws, gamblers, and prostitutes. The town was designed
with two lines of buildings facing one another across the rock bed main
street. The center street, however, was not named Main Street, but "Hell
Street". It consisted of fourteen saloons, ten gambling houses, four brothels
and two dance halls. Also on this street were two eating counters, one
grocery store, and one dry goods store. Scattered about in the vicinity
of downtown were large numbers of tents, shotgun houses, and hastily thrown
up shacks that served as local residences.
Within a short time the town had 2,000 residents. A regular
stagecoach route from Flagstaff to Canyon Diablo began running and was
often the victim of robberies. Within its first year, the town received
its first marshal. He was sworn in at 3:00pm, and was being buried at 8:00pm
that same night. Five more town marshals would follow, the longest lasting
one month, and all were killed in the line of duty. A "Boot Hill" cemetery
sprouted up at the end of town, which in less than a decade had 35 graves,
all of whom had been killed by way of violent death. The 36th grave was
that of former trading post owner Herman Wolfe, who died in 1899, the only
one to have died a nonviolent death.
Herman Wolfe's trading post was at "Wolfe's Crossing"
on the Little Colorado River about 12 miles north of Leupp, Arizona and
near a place called Tolchaco. Herman Wolfe died there and his body was
transported to Canyon Diablo for burial. Currently Wolfe's grave is heavily
monumented and the story is that after World War II a relative from Germany
found his grave and installed the headstone and other improvements on the
When the railroad bridge was completed, the town quickly
died. By 1903, the only thing remaining in the town was a Navajo trading
post. Later in the 20th century, when Route 66 passed within several miles
of the town, a gas station and roadhouse called Two Guns sprang up, but
it too was short-lived. What remains today at Canyon Diablo are a few building
foundations, the grave marker and grave of Herman Wolfe, and the ruins
of the trading post.
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