FORT UNION
Historic Resource Study
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CHAPTER ONE:
BEFORE FORT UNION (continued)

     The Indians were the first to adapt to these erratic arid conditions, and some of them developed irrigation agriculture prior to the Spanish conquest. Dry-land agriculture was rarely successful in the region. Hunting and gathering were also important to the American Indians in the region. The Hispanos learned agricultural practices, including irrigation, from the Pueblo Indians and expanded the range of settlements in New Mexico. Both peoples functioned under an economy of self-sufficiency and trade with others, particularly plains Indians. Most industry was household by necessity. Because of isolation and limited resources, trade for manufactured commodities was severely limited until a few enterprising Anglo-American traders arrived with such items in the 1820s. Everyone who lived in or traveled across the region had to adapt to the realities of distance, terrain, climate, and limited resources of the Southwest. Anglo-Americans, including the army, followed Indian and Hispanic occupation of the land.

     The ancestors of the peoples known as Pueblo Indians arrived in the region centuries before the establishment of those remarkable Pueblo settlements encountered by the first Spanish explorers in the region. Most of the eighty or more Pueblo settlements noted by the Spaniards, beginning with Francisco Vasquez de Coronado in 1540, were on or near the Rio Grande, from Taos in the north to Isleta in the south, with a few (including Acoma, Zuni, and Pecos) away from the great river. A combination of Pueblo peoples revolted successfully against the Spanish conquerors in 1680, but the reconquest was completed in the 1690s under the leadership of Diego de Vargas.

     Over the years the number of Pueblos declined, but more than twenty villages remained when the United States acquired the territory. Although they had been affected in many ways by their Spanish masters, they still retained significant portions of their native cultures. Despite determined resistance on the part of some Pueblo people, including the uprising at Taos in 1847, the Pueblos were not considered a major threat to Anglo domination. There were problems because some of them continued to trade, as they had for decades, with plains tribes, especially the Comanches, who were considered a threat to Anglo control of the land. Pueblos also furnished some of the employees required by the military occupation of New Mexico, especially as guides and spies, and were affected to some degree by those contacts. They were one of many elements to which Anglo-Americans had to adjust in the Southwest. [30]

     As distinguished from the Pueblos, most of the other Indians were considered nomadic or "wild" because they did not reside in permanent villages, did not cultivate the soil (except for the Navajos), depended largely on hunting and gathering for food, traded with the Pueblos and other settlers in New Mexico when they had something to trade, and raided, particularly to steal livestock, when they did not have anything to trade. They often raided when hunting was bad and they were hungry. Warfare was an important element in the lives and cultures of these peoples. Raiding, stealing, bravery in the face of the enemy, and war honors counted high in their system of values. Thus they were a constant threat to the more settled peoples, especially those who produced crops and livestock. They helped keep the region in turmoil until they were settled in a particular area and the necessities of life were provided without resort to warfare. They were the primary reason for the presence of a large military force in the Southwest and the existence of Fort Union.

     The Ute Indians lived in present Utah, Colorado, and northern New Mexico. The Moache and Capote bands of southern Utes resided in the mountains of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico and traded with and fought against the Pueblos and New Mexicans. They had once been allies of the New Mexicans but became disaffected after their lands were penetrated by trappers and traders from the United States in the 1830s and 1840s. By the time the United States acquired New Mexico, the Utes were powerful raiders. They had a reputation for stealing horses and were considered excellent horsemen. Some of the Moache Utes occasionally allied with Jicarilla Apaches, and the two groups intermarried and shared territory. [31]

     The Jicarilla Apaches were Athapascan people who occupied the region in which Fort Union was founded, and ranged over northern New Mexico and southern Colorado and hunted on the plains to the east. Jicarilla means "little basket," and they made baskets. There were two bands of the Jicarillas. The Ollero band lived mostly west of the Rio Grande along the Chama River. The Llanero band resided mostly east of the Rio Grande from the area around Taos to the plains. The largest number lived along the New Mexico Cimarron River and ranged from the Arkansas River to the Pecos River and from the plains to an area west of the Rio Grande. There territory overlapped that of several other tribes. By 1850 the Jicarillas comprised the most serious Indian threat to travelers on the Santa Fe Trail through northeastern New Mexico and to frontier settlers in that region. Fort Union was established, in part, to provide protection from the Jicarillas. [32]

     Other Athapascans were found in New Mexico. Several bands of Apaches covered the southern region from Texas to Arizona, and the Navajos were located west of the Rio Grande. These people raided Pueblos and New Mexican settlements for decades as part of their way of life. They were not in close proximity to Fort Union, but troops from Fort Union participated in conflicts with them from the 1850s to the 1880s. The pacification of the Apaches and Navajos was essential to the Anglo development of New Mexico and Arizona. [33]

     Several tribes dominated the plains of eastern New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Kansas. They sometimes traded and raided in New Mexico and along the Santa Fe Trail. The southern Cheyennes and southern Arapahos were found along the Arkansas River in Colorado and Kansas. The Comanches dominated a large portion of present Texas but were a part of eastern New Mexico life for decades. The Kiowas, sometimes allied with the Comanches, engaged in raids on travelers crossing the plains. The Kiowa Apaches, one of several groups different groups identified as Plains Apaches, were closely allied with and lived with the Kiowas. Troops from Fort Union were sent onto the plains to protect travelers from these plains tribes until they were located on reservations in present Oklahoma in the 1870s. Of the plains tribes, the Comanches had the closest relationship with New Mexico. [34]

     There was extensive intertribal trade among the Indians of the plains and mountains and the Pueblos before the Spanish conquest, but that trade was disrupted when the Spaniards took over much of the surplus of the Pueblos. The non-Pueblo people raided Spanish settlements as well as the Pueblos. The Spaniards introduced the slave trade which further destroyed the peaceful exchange of commodities. Spanish officials eventually forbade the non-Pueblo people to come to New Mexican settlements. [35]

     When the Comanches arrived on the plains east of New Mexico in the early 1700s, the Jicarillas lost territory and trade to them. Comanches were permitted to come to the Pueblos and New Mexican villages to trade. They began to attack New Mexicans in the 1740s and were especially hard on Pecos Pueblo. Their destructive activities were stopped by the defeat of powerful Chief Cuerno Verde in 1779, and a peace agreement made with them by Spanish officials in 1786 lasted until after the war between the U. S. and Mexico. Anglo traders eventually destroyed that relationship. [36]

     That long era of peace with the Comanches permitted the expansion of New Mexican settlements east of the Rio Grande and east of Pecos Pueblo. San Miguel was established in the Pecos Valley in 1794, and other villages, including La Cuesta and Anton Chico, extended the New Mexican frontier farther down that river. There was an expansion of settlements along the Mora River during the early 1800s. The sheep industry expanded into eastern New Mexico. The arrival of Cheyennes and Arapahos along the Arkansas River, who began to raid into New Mexico in the 1820s, created new threats to settlers and, later, travelers on the Santa Fe Trail. Las Vegas was founded in 1835 as an outpost to help keep the raiders from penetrating farther into the settlements. As it turned out Las Vegas also needed protection. [37]

     The trade between New Mexicans and the Comanches gave rise to the Comancheros, Hispanos and Pueblos who traded with the Comanches. They carried food and other trade items to the Comanche villages and brought back horses and mules, buffalo robes and meat. They also bought captives taken by the Comanches in Mexico. The New Mexican buffalo hunters, Ciboleros, also were sometimes Comancheros or traveled on the plains with them. The Anglo-Americans opposed the trade between New Mexicans and Comanches and attempted to stop it after 1848. [38]

     As the New Mexican settlements and sheepherders moved eastward in the early 1800s, the Jicarilla Apaches raided them. When Anglos, such as Alexander Barclay, Lucien Maxwell, Alexander Hatch, James M. Giddings, and Samuel B. Watrous, extended the settlements farther east in the 1840s the Mescalero Apaches and the Comanches, as well as the Jicarillas, attacked them. [39] The troops at Fort Union were located to help protect those settlers, too.

     The Indian cultures were the oldest in New Mexico, but Spanish settlers arrived there before English colonies were established on the Atlantic seaboard of North Amenca. Following several exploring expeditions, beginning with Fray Marcos de Niza in 1539 and Francisco Vasquez de Coronado in 1540-1542, Juan de Oñate established the first Spanish colony in New Mexico in 1598. Spanish settlers introduced a new form of government (the imperial government of Spain), the Roman Catholic Church, and the livestock industry (especially sheep) to New Mexico. They hoped to find precious metals, but failed to find gold and silver in abundance in that arid land. The major resource of value to the Spaniards turned out to be the labor of the Pueblo inhabitants. The Pueblos suffered because of exploitation by the church and the state and rivalries between those two institutions, and they eventually rose up and drove the Spaniards out in 1680. [40]

     Except for several years after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, however, the Spaniards maintained control and expanded settlements and missions in the region which served as the northern buffer to help protect the more prosperous areas of New Spain. Prior to the 1680 uprising Spaniards had built their colony on the backs of the Pueblos. After the reconquest they built beside the Pueblos as allies against the other Indians. The Spaniards realized, as deBuys stated, "that New Mexico offered little worth fighting for." The colony was poor, isolated, and hard pressed by several tribes of Indians. With a small population and little opportunity for growth, "New Mexico was a tired backwater." [41] Over time, the unique culture of New Mexico resulted from the interplay of Hispanic and Indian societies.

     The Hispanic settlers and Indian civilizations of New Mexico struggled and fought almost 300 years over land, personal property, and life itself. From the settlement of the colony by Juan de Oñate in 1598 until the close of the Apache wars in the 1880s, the lives of all New Mexicans were affected by an almost constant warfare with heavy losses on all sides. Few families, Hispanic and Indian, escaped the loss of someone at the hands of enemy warriors. Manuel Antonio Chavez (1818-1889), one of New Mexico's finest soldiers and member of a prominent Hispanic family which was present at the time the Villa of Santa Fe was founded in 1610 and whose ancestors participated in the reconquest after the Pueblo Revolt, could name some 200 relatives who had died from Indian attacks during several generations. [42] There were, undoubtedly, many other families on both sides with similar experiences. It was, therefore, virtually predestined that the military would assume an important role in most New Mexican societies (Indian, Hispanic, and Anglo) during the Spanish, Mexican, and Anglo-American frontier eras. It also, as Simmons observed, "bred in the New Mexicans both a deep sense of fatalism and a particular kind of inner toughness. In bravery, they could match the Anglo-Americans; and in sheer grit, tenacity, and fortitude, they had no peers." [43]

     New Mexico was a remote outpost of the huge Spanish empire and was often neglected by the government in Spain and New Spain. Left to its own development in an arid environment occupied by Indians, New Mexico evolved a unique way of life. [44] The United States began to show interest in New Mexico soon after the famous Louisiana Purchase of 1803. When Zebulon Montgomery Pike's report of his expedition to the Southwest was published in 1811, providing a look at New Mexico and its people and the potential for trade there, some Anglo-Americans were anxious to take advantage of the opportunities. They discovered, as had earlier French traders, that Spain refused to permit trade outside its own empire. According to the tenets of mercantilism, by which European powers established colonies in the Americas, colonies existed for the benefit of the mother country. To permit trade with outsiders would weaken the empire and siphon off wealth that should go only to the European power.

     A trading party of Anglo-Americans, led by Robert McKnight and James Baird, traveled from the Missouri River to Santa Fe in 1812 in an attempt to open trade with New Mexico, inspired it appeared by Pike's favorable views on the potential for commerce with the province. The traders were taken prisoner upon their arrival, however, their trade commodities were confiscated, and they spent nine years in a Chihuahua prison because they had violated Spain's closed-door policy. Spanish officials also accused them of being spies. The would-be traders were freed at the time of Mexican independence from Spain. [45]

     In the same year that Mexico became independent of Spanish rule, 1821, Anglo-American infiltration of New Mexico began with the opening of the Santa Fe Trail to legal trade between Missouri and Santa Fe. With Spanish barriers down, the traders were welcome and usually found a ready market for cloth, hardware, Yankee notions, and other items which they exchanged for specie, furs, buffalo robes, and mules. Fur traders and trappers from the United States also were attracted to New Mexico, and some became residents. Armaments from the United States were brought over the Santa Fe Trail and traded to Indians, shifting the delicate balance of power between Hispanic settlers and Indians to the latter. [46] Hispanic merchants in New Mexico and Chihuahua became active participants in the trade with the United States. The overland commerce on the Santa Fe Trail developed into an integral part of the region and tied the economy of New Mexico so closely to the United States that eventual Anglo-American military and political conquest, also via the trail, was accomplished without effective opposition. The Santa Fe Trail remained the indispensable lifeline between New Mexico and the rest of the nation until the railroads reached the territory in the late 1870s, and it was the primary avenue by which Anglo ideas and institutions penetrated the territory before, during, and after the Mexican War. Fort Union and the army in the Southwest were dependent on the Santa Fe Trail and provided protection for everyone who utilized it. [47]

wagon train
"March of the Caravan," showing a wagon train traveling on the Santa Fe Trail near Round Mound in northeastern New Mexico, from Josiah Gregg, Commerce of the Prairies, 1844.

    The Mexican War, 1846-1848, was the great war of expansion for the United States (of great loss for Mexico), which followed the annexation of the Republic of Texas (part of Mexico prior to 1836) in 1845. [48] The war aims of President James K. Polk, elected in 1844 on a platform calling for expansion of the nation to the Pacific Ocean (called "Manifest Destiny" after 1845), included the conquest of New Mexico and California. The Army of the West, commanded by Brigadier General Stephen Watts Kearny, followed the Bent's Fort or Raton Route (later known as the Mountain Route of the Santa Fe Trail) from Fort Leavenworth to New Mexico and occupied Santa Fe without firing a shot on August 18, 1846. [49]

    When Kearny arrived there, he assured the New Mexicans they would be treated as citizens of the United States, including the right to practice their religion without interference. He promised to maintain law and order, provide the territory with a freely elected government as soon as possible, and to protect the people and their property from Indians. [50] The latter promise would be impossible to fulfill, as events later proved, and it kept the U.S. Army busy in New Mexico for another 40 years. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, which ended the war between Mexico and the United States, confirmed that New Mexico and much additional Mexican territory had been won by the United States.

    A U.S. military post was established at Santa Fe in 1846 and named Fort Marcy to honor Secretary of War William L. Marcy. [51] Kearny appointed Charles Bent as governor of New Mexico Territory, with New Mexican Donaciano Vigil as secretary. The army, however, remained in control of the area until after Congress created New Mexico Territory in 1850 and a civil governor was appointed by the president. In addition to maintaining order and directing operations of the government in New Mexico, the army had to deal with the Indians.

Stephen W. Kearny
Stephen W. Kearny led the Army of the West to New Mexico in 1846. His troops camped near the site where Fort Union was established In 1851; courtesy of Kansas State Historical Society.

     As Governor Bent reported about the Indians of the region, officials in Washington, D.C., began to learn something about the land and people which had been captured for the U.S. Bent informed Secretary of State James Buchanan that there were "eight powerful tribes of Indians" to be contained: Apaches, Navajos, Hopis, Utes, Kiowas, Comanches, Cheyennes, and Arapahos. He estimated the population of each and made it clear that the future development of the territory depended on keeping the Indians quiet. There was, Bent noted, the possibility of a New Mexican uprising against U.S. authority. He requested that a large military force be stationed in New Mexico and recommended the establishment of military posts where troops could control the Indians. [52]

     Bent estimated the population of the non-Pueblo tribes as follows: Jicarilla Apaches, 500; other Apaches, 5,500, Southern Utes, 1,400; Navajos, 7,000; Hopis, 2,450; Comanches, 12,000; Kiowas, 2,000; Cheyennes, 1,500; and Arapahos, 1,600. [53] The figures could not have been precise, but they indicated to higher officials what kind of Indian problem had come with the territory and, thereby, some idea of the military needs. Bent considered a minimum of 1,000 troops, stationed in "several forts near the Indians," as necessary. [54] A few weeks later when an uprising against U.S. authority threatened in the northern counties of New Mexico, Bent called for additional troops. [55]

     Governor Bent was at his home in Taos on January 19, 1847, when the rebellion occurred, and a combined mob of New Mexicans and Pueblo Indians killed and scalped him at his residence. The uprising against Anglo-Americans spread. There was fighting at Mora and Los Valles. On January 23, 1847, Captain I. R. Hendley, commanding at Las Vegas, declared, "Every town and village, except this (I did not give it time) and Tecolote, have declared in favor of the insurrection." [56] More Anglo-Americans were killed before troops from Santa Fe under command of Colonel Sterling Price, joined by volunteers under Ceran St. Vrain, crushed the rebellion. The military remained in control of New Mexico after the death of Bent until the appointment of James S. Calhoun as territorial governor in 1851. During those four years military commanders exercised virtual power over government affairs and periodically heard rumors of another uprising, but they spent much of their time trying to fend off Indian attacks on the settlements. [57]

     The military commanders directed the affairs of state and provided improved protection for many New Mexican settlements from Indians during 1847 and 1848. Indian raids on outlying settlements were reduced but not eliminated. An increase in Indian raids in 1849 touched off a series of events that led to the establishment of Fort Union two years later. During that time additional Anglo-Americans settled east of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

     In 1848 and 1849 Lucien B. Maxwell, son-in-law of Carlos Beaubien (the co-owner of the huge Beaubien-Miranda Land Grant later known as the Maxwell Grant), with the help of his friend Kit Carson, established a ranch and settlement on Rayado Creek that became known as Rayado. It was located near the Bent's Fort or Raton Route of the Santa Fe Trail and a trail from that route to Taos. The settlers faced considerable opposition from Jicarilla Apaches and Moache Utes. A small platoon of ten dragoons, under command of Sergeant William C. Holbrook, was stationed at Rayado late in 1849 to help protect the area. The following year the Post at Rayado was established and two companies of dragoons were garrisoned there. They remained there until after Fort Union was established. With the help of the army, Maxwell gained the foothold he needed in the area. A few years later he acquired the Beaubien-Miranda Grant, moved his headquarters to his new community of Cimarron on the Cimarron River north of Rayado in 1857, and prospered. Maxwell sold commodities to the army and to the Indian agency established at Cimarron. [58]

     When the Post at Rayado was established in 1850, Maxwell agreed to provide facilities for a regiment of dragoons at his headquarters at Rayado. Lieutenant J. H. Whittlesey, First Dragoons, reported that Maxwell offered the following terms in order to have the troops stationed there:

     "He will rent his house, which is new, well-built and includes Quarters, Stabling, Store-rooms, out shops, sufficient for one full company of Dragoons, for $100.00 per month. This price will also cover the right of grazing, cutting hay, and wood in the vicinity, ad libitum, and he will thoroughly whitewash and repair Quarters twice a year, all without any additional charge. The house is not yet quite finished, but will be so in a month or two, and could be occupied at once, if necessary."

     "There is also another small house belonging to another individual which will soon be completed, sufficient for Two Offices, which can be rented for $20.00 per month. This will make a total cost for rents, grazing, fuel, &c. but $120.00 per month, which I believe is less than at present expended for a Company of Dragoons for the same privileges at any post in the Territory. The offer appears to me a liberal and fair one." [59]

     Maxwell was not interested in selling the place. Other settlements were also being founded in the area.

     In 1848 and 1849 Alexander Barclay, an Englishman who had worked at Bent's Fort, and his partner, Joseph B. Doyle, constructed Barclay's Fort on the south side of the Mora River between the Mora and Sapello rivers west of the confluence of those two streams (La Junta, later Watrous, New Mexico). The trading post, located close to the Bent's Fort Route (later known as the Mountain Route of the Santa Fe Trail) and near the junction of the Cimarron and Mountain routes, was patterned after Bent's Fort and built of adobe. [60] Barclay built a grist mill on the Sapello. The trading post proved not to be a profitable venture and debts mounted. Barclay and Doyle apparently hoped to sell their fort to the U.S. government, but the army was not interested. [61]

     The founding of Fort Union added to the problems of the traders. They were boycotted by the army for selling whiskey to soldiers (perhaps an indication of their desperate need for cash), and some of their property was destroyed by the army. There followed a legal contest over ownership of the land on which Fort Union was located, which Barclay and Doyle eventually won and agreed to lease the land to the government. In 1853 Barclay and Doyle advertised that the fort would be sold at auction, but no sale occurred. In 1854 they advertised it for sale at private treaty without success. Barclay died in 1855 and William Kronig acquired the trading post in 1856. [62] Kronig lived at the "fort" until 1868, when he built a large residence closer to the junction of the two rivers.

     Not far from Barclay's Fort, just north of the junction of the Sapello and Mora rivers (La Junta), Samuel B. Watrous established a ranch and trading post in 1849. He was close to the Cimarron Route of the Santa Fe Trail and, like Barclay's Fort, not far from the junction of the two trails. His trading post took advantage of that location, but Watrous devoted most of his attention to farming and ranching. He later extended settlement farther east in New Mexico with a ranch on the Canadian River. On several occasions Indians made off with some of Watrous's livestock. Fort Union provided better protection for his herds and offered a market for some of his produce. The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad built through the area in 1879 and named the town located just south of Watrous's ranch in his honor. [63]

     There was an increase in Anglo and Hispanic settlement along a number of streams to the east and south of the Sangre de Cristos during the late 1840s and early 1850s, including the Rayado, Mora, Sapello, Gallinas, and Pecos. This was encouraged by promises by military commanders, beginning with General Kearny, to protect the settlements from Indians. The expansion of settlements, however, increased the demands on the limited military force stationed in the territory. The army was unable to provide the protection demanded and Indian raids increased. Settlers demanded more and better military force. The struggle between Indians and settlers, as noted, heated up in 1849. Indian raids resulted in retaliation by troops which, in turn, sparked renewed Indian raids.

     In April 1849 Captain John Chapman was sent with a force from Santa Fe to find and punish Utes who had reportedly been raiding northern settlements. While on this expedition Chapman was informed that Jicarillas were raiding in the area. He found and attacked a Jicarilla camp of about 40 lodges, driving them from their village with considerable losses. [64] In May 1849 Sergeant James Bally, First Dragoons at Cantonment Burgwin, met with some Jicarillas south of Taos. They denied raiding settlements and stealing livestock. [65] A few days later, on June 1, 1849, Captain Henry B. Judd, Third Artillery, encamped at Barclay's Fort, reported that Jicarillas were raiding Maxwell's settlers along the Rayado. [66]

     Captain Judd was commanding the Post at Las Vegas when a band of Jicarillas came to Las Vegas to trade in August. The Jicarillas set up camp about one-half mile from town. Judd believed the Indians were there to obtain powder and lead, and he requested the merchants not to supply those items to the Indians. A few Las Vegas residents claimed that they could identify individuals among the Jicarillas who had been involved in recent raids. When Judd learned that another band of Jicarillas was at the village of Los Valles some ten miles away, also attempting to trade, he "determined to seize this party" encamped near Las Vegas. [67]

     Lieutenant Ambrose E. Burnside, Third Artillery, was sent with a detachment of troops to the Jicarilla camp. The Indians were warned of his approach and ready to fight. The local judge, Herman Grolman, attempted to negotiate with the leaders of the Indians, but they were unwilling to talk and fired on Burnside's command and fled. The soldiers charged after them and a hand-to-hand conflict was carried on for several miles, during which fourteen Jicarillas were killed, many more wounded, and six became prisoners. Fearing possible reprisal by the Jicarillas reported to be at Los Valles, Judd dispatched Captain P. M. Papin and a company of New Mexican volunteers to protect that community. [68]

     Jicarilla Chief Chacon, who was not a participant in that fight, later claimed that the Jicarillas were seeking a peace settlement when they were attacked near Las Vegas. He noted that one of the prisoners was the daughter of Chief Lobo. [69] Lobo was a leader in several subsequent attacks in eastern New Mexico. His hostility was undoubtedly increased because his daughter was held prisoner.

     The attack on the Jicarillas at Las Vegas apparently caused the Indians to increase their raids on the settlements. In September a party of Jicarillas drove off 150 cattle from the rancho of Chaparito about nine miles from Los Valles, where Captain Papin and the "Mexican Volunteers" were stationed. Papin led the volunteers on a forced march of 25 miles to the Indians' camp and attacked them during the night. At least five of the Jicarillas were killed, including Chief Petrillo, and many more were wounded. One Apache woman, believed to be Chief Petrillo's widow, was captured. [70]

     Captain Judd, commanding at Las Vegas, took steps to guard the inhabitants of the ranches and settlements from Las Vegas to San Miguel. He ordered the alcaldes "to enroll all the men above the age of 16 who are able to bear arms within the limits of their jurisdiction and to organize and rigidly enforce a system of night Police and Patrols throughout the vicinity of their respective towns." According to Judd, this was well received, and he predicted that "if strictly adhered to will prevent much trouble." [71] The only opposition, according to Judd, came from two Anglo-American traders at Tecolote, W. H. Moore and Charles W. Kitchen. These men, said the captain, had profited most from Indian troubles and military occupation. [72]

     During the last 10 days of September 1849 Lieutenant Burnside led a detachment from the Post at Las Vegas in search of the camps of the Jicarillas on the Canadian River. He pursued a large band, which retreated before his command, but was unable to overtake them. He believed, on his return to Las Vegas, that the Jicarilla camps along the Canadian were abandoned and the Indians had gone into the mountains. Wherever their base was located, they continued to attack travelers and settlers. [73] Indian Agent Calhoun reported on October 1, 1849, that Indian raids had become almost a daily affair in the territory. Some people were afraid to travel, and the agent called for more troops. [74]

     The Jicarillas continued to raid New Mexican settlements and steal livestock, and their attack on the James M. White party on the Santa Fe Trail in October 1849 was the most spectacular incident in the escalating war. White was moving his family and trade goods from Independence to New Mexico, and his 13 wagons had joined a larger train belonging to Francis X. Aubry for the journey across the plains. White, his wife Ann, and daughter Virginia were accompanied by a black female servant and several employees. [75]

     On October 23, 1849, the Whites and several other persons left the wagon train and went ahead in two carriages. When they were a few miles east of the New Mexico Point of Rocks, probably at or near Palo Blanco or White Creek, they were attacked by Jicarilla Apaches on October 24 or 25. James White and the other men were killed; Ann White and her daughter and servant were captured. [76] All attempts to secure their release failed.

     Soldiers from Rayado and Taos, under command of Captain William N. Grier, First Dragoons, were sent to pursue the Jicarillas. With Watkin Leroux, Robert Fisher, and Kit Carson as guides, they arrived at the scene of the murder on November 9, more than two weeks after the attack, and picked up the trail of the Indians several miles east of Point of Rocks. They pushed hard on this trail, found the Indians camped on the Canadian River a few miles south of Tucumcari Butte, and attacked them early in the morning of November 17. The Indians fled, making their escape with fresh horses while those of the soldiers were exhausted from the long trip. Grier reported that the dead body of Ann White was found in the village, still warm. He surmised that she refused to go with the Indians and they had killed her as the troops approached. The body of the daughter was never found and it was later reported by Jicarillas and others that she had also been killed. The fate of the black servant was never determined. Grier's command returned to Taos on November 29, after surviving a severe blizzard on the plains. The only casualty to the storm was Grier's black servant. [77]

     Meanwhile, in November 1849, Captain Judd at the Post at Las Vegas sent a detachment to Lower Cimarron Spring on the Santa Fe Trail (south of present Ulysses, Kansas) as escort for the eastbound mail and a party of travelers and to escort anyone traveling west on his return trip. A Jicarilla woman prisoner, the daughter of Chief Lobo, was sent with the escort "to negotiate with her people for the release of Mrs. White and such other prisoners as might have been in their hands." At one of the camps along the trail, the woman prisoner attempted to kill two men, stabbed two mules (one of which died), and tried to stampede the mules. She was shot down by one of the soldiers and her mission was ended. The escort also faced the hazards of the same blizzard as Grier's command and brought all travelers through to Las Vegas without any losses. [78]

     The hostility of the Jicarillas was to be a factor in the decision to relieve Major John Munroe, commander of U.S. troops in New Mexico, in 1851 and assign the command of the military department to Lieutenant Colonel Edmund Vose Sumner, who established Fort Union in the area where the Jicarillas were most active. Meanwhile, in December 1849, Calhoun and Munroe attempted to arrange a peace treaty with the Jicarillas but failed. [79]

     In 1850 Indian raids continued in New Mexico. Calhoun wrote to Commissioner of Indian Affairs Orlando Brown in January: "It is my duty to advise you that our Indian troubles are daily increasing and our efficiency as rapidly decreasing." [80] In February he wrote, "this Territory is encircled by wild Indians." [81] The increasing attacks by Jicarillas and other tribes led New Mexicans to petition the president for more military protection in February 1850. The 52 petitioners declared that "No one in this territory is safe in his person or property. Murders and robberies are of daily occurrence." They asked that the Indians be confined to certain areas, that additional roads and military posts be established, and that an adequate force of mounted troops be sent to the territory. [82]

     Hugh N. Smith, New Mexico territorial delegate to Congress, requested that resident agents be sent to live among the troublesome Indians in the territory and that the agents be supported with a strong military force. [83] Commissioner of Indian Affairs Orlando Brown, Adjutant General Roger Jones, and officers in the field favored a periodic display of force. [84] Brown also recommended appointment of special agents to seek peace treaties with the Indians. [85]

     Meanwhile the Indian attacks continued. Jicarilla Chief Lobo reportedly had promised to avenge the killing of his daughter and seemed to have the support of many warriors. In February 1850 a party of Jicarillas drove off an estimated 12,000 sheep near Santa Fe, killing several herders and capturing others. A few days later they killed one "Mexican" and wounded two others on the Santa Fe Trail near San Miguel. [86] On April 5 Jicarillas raided Lucien Maxwell's herders' camp located three miles from Rayado, stealing "nearly all the Horses and mules belonging to this place" and wounding two men. Sergeant William C. Holbrook, stationed at Rayado, led a detachment of dragoons, with Kit Carson as guide, in pursuit of the Indians. After a march of 30 miles they overtook them after crossing the Canadian River and attacked, killing five of the Indians and recovering most of the livestock. [87]

     On April 19 Indians made several attacks near Las Vegas, killed some herders, and drove off livestock. On April 21 three New Mexicans cutting lumber near Las Vegas were killed by Indians. [88] Early in May, near Wagon Mound, a combined force of Jicarilla and Ute warriors attacked the westbound mail party and killed all ten men. [89]

     The victims of the Wagon Mound Massacre were not discovered until May 19 when the eastbound mail party arrived at the site. They immediately returned to Barclay's Fort and notified the commanding officer at Las Vegas, Major E. B. Alexander, Third Infantry, of the attack. The mail party refused to proceed without an escort as far as Cedar Spring "some 150 miles from" Las Vegas. [90] Captain William N. Grier, First Dragoons, was sent with troops from Taos to increase the garrison at Rayado, help protect the settlements, and better guard the Santa Fe Trail. [91]

     Lieutenant Burnside and a detachment of mounted artillery were sent from Las Vegas, joined by Alexander Barclay of Barclay's Fort, to investigate the circumstances of the attack and try to determine who had done it, bury the dead, and recover the mail if possible. Burnside took "Mexican" laborers from Las Vegas to dig a mass grave for the remains. Two of the bodies were found in the mail wagon; the other eight were on the ground and had been "very much eaten by the wolves." The wagon was burned over the grave "to prevent if possible, the bodies being dug up by the Wolves." [92]

     Burnside concluded the attacking party had been large in numbers, "not less than one hundred Warriors," and declared "so large a party of Americans have never before, been entirely destroyed by the Indians; . . . in fact, ten Americans have heretofore been considered comparatively safe, in travelling over the road with proper care." Richard Kern, military cartographer and artist, called it "the most daring murder ever committed by the Indians" along the trail. One of the New Mexican laborers, who had been a prisoner among the Indians for many years, identified the arrows as belonging to both Jicarillas Apaches and Utes. [93]

     It was later learned that the Jicarillas attacked the mail party some 20 miles from Wagon Mound and a running fight had occurred throughout much of one day. The mail party camped near Wagon Mound for the night, during which a party of Utes joined the Jicarillas. The combined force of Indians finished the massacre the following day. The mail party had resisted but were overwhelmed by superior numbers. The Jicarillas lost five killed; the Utes lost four; and the number of wounded was not reported. [94]

     The eastbound mail was still waiting for an escort when Burnside's detachment returned, and a merchant caravan was ready to accompany the troops. Also awaiting an escort were Lieutenant James H. Simpson of the topographical engineers, who had orders to survey an area north and east of Las Vegas for a possible site to establish a new military post to provide better protection for the Santa Fe Trail and settlements such as Rayado, and Richard H. Kern, cartographer and artist accompanying Simpson. On May 27 Lieutenant Burnside and 23 soldiers left the Post at Las Vegas to protect all those groups. The troops stayed with the mail and traders' wagon train until they had safely crossed the Cimarron River at Willow Bar, approximately 200 miles from Las Vegas. On the return they assisted Simpson and Kern with the survey, one of several conducted in the search for what would become the site of Fort Union. [95]

     More protection was provided along the Santa Fe Trail during the summer of 1850, keeping the route open. In June some Apaches (mostly Mescaleros but believed to include Jicarillas) and Comanches met with representatives of the Indian affairs department on the Pecos River to discuss peace. The proposals were mainly an offer to exchange prisoners and no agreement was reached. [96] Also in June Indian agents in New Mexico were directed to cancel licenses of traders with the Jicarillas. Any trader caught carrying arms, ammunition, or liquor to Indians in the territory was to be arrested and confined. [97]

     During the same month Captain Grier, commanding at Rayado, submitted his recommendations as requested by Colonel Munroe for the defense of the line of settlements from Abiquiu through Taos, Rayado, Mora, La Junta (later Watrous), Las Vegas, and San Miguel. Grier noted that the most serious threat was from "the Apaches, who, having committed an outrage, must retreat back into the Mountains, to the Cañon of Red River, or down the Pecos." To protect the long line of settlements, he recommended that the post at Las Vegas be abandoned, a new post and depot be established at La Junta, and the garrison at Rayado be increased. These troops could protect the settlements and the Santa Fe Trail. [98] This was one of several recommendations for the establishment of a new post in the land of the Jicarillas.

     The Jicarillas continued to raid. On June 26, 1850, a party of from 250 to 300 drove off a large number of livestock near Rayado and killed two citizens and a soldier. Captain Grier, commanding the Post at Rayado, had only 23 men in garrison at the time and "was compelled to remain on the defensive." Grier felt fortunate that his command had been able to save the army horses. An additional company of dragoons was sent from the Post at Las Vegas on June 28 to join the one company stationed at Rayado in preparation for a campaign against the Jicarillas. In addition Grier called for citizen volunteers to join the campaign. [99]

     After the reinforcements arrived, Captain Grier led 78 dragoons and about 90 armed citizens from Mora and Rayado on an expedition against the Jicarillas on July 23. After a three-day march, during which they overtook two small parties of Indians and killed and wounded several, they found a large Jicarilla camp approximately 100 miles north of Rayado. The Indians had been warned of the approaching troops and were attempting to escape. In a running fight the dragoons killed and wounded several warriors, and recovered some of the stolen livestock. According to Lieutenant John Adams, during the entire expedition the dragoons and volunteers "killed 6 Indians and wounded many more, took about 60 head of horses and mules, 150 sheep and 70 head of cattle." They also captured a quantity of the Indians' provisions and camp equipment. Captain Grier reported one dragoon killed, Sergeant Lewis V. Guthrie. [100] The raids by Jicarillas in the area decreased for a few months but picked up again the following spring until Fort Union was established. During the summer of 1850 Lieutenant Burnside provided an escort for the eastbound mail train and accompanying merchant wagons as far as the crossing of the Arkansas River. The troops protected westbound travelers on the return trip and reported no Indian troubles along the route. [101]

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