Chiricahua History: The apache - mexican wars
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Chiricahua History: The apache - mexican wars

Historical account by Geronimo of his involvement in the Apache - Mexican Wars of 1873 to 1880.

Source: As told by Geronimo, Public Domain Documents

About 1873 we were again attacked by Mexican troops in our settlement, but we defeated them. Then we decided to make raids into Mexico.

We moved our whole camp, packing all our belonging on mules and horses, went into Mexico and made camp in the mountains near Nacori.

In moving our camp in this way we wanted no one to spy on us, and if we passed a Mexican's home we usually killed the inmates.

However, if they offered to surrender and made no resistance or trouble in any way, we would take them prisoners.

Frequendy we would change our place of rendezvous; then we would take with us our prisoners if they were willing to go, but if they were unruly they might be killed.

I remember one Mexican in the Sierra Madre Mountains who saw us moving and delayed us for some time.

We took the trouble to get him, thinking the plunder of his house would pay us for the delay, but after we had killed him we found but nothing in his house worth having.

We ranged in these mountains for over a year, raiding the Mexican settlements for our supplies, but not having any general engagement with Mexican troops; then we returned to our homes in Arizona.

After remaining in Arizona about a year we returned to Mexico, and went into hiding in the Sierra Madre Mountains.

Our camp was near Nacori, and we had just organized bands of warriors for raiding the country, when our scouts discovered Mexican troops coming toward our camp to attack us.

The chief the Nedni Apaches, was with me and commanded one division. The warriors were all marched toward the troops and met them at a place about five miles from our camp.

We showed ourselves to the soldiers and they quickly rode to the top of a hill and dismounted, placing their horses on the outside for breastworks. It was a round hill, very steep and rocky and there was no timber on its sides.

There were two companies of Mexican cavalry, and we had about sixty warriors.

We crept up the hill behind the rocks, and they kept up a constant fire, but we had cautioned our warriors not to expose themselves to the Mexicans.

I knew that the troopers would waste their ammunition. Soon we had killed all their horses, but the soldiers would lie behind these and shoot at us.

While we had killed several Mexicans, we had not yet lost a man. However, it was impossible to get very close to them in this way, and I deemed it best to lead a charge against them.

We had been fighting ever since about one o'clock, and about the middle of the afternoon, seeing that we were making no further progress, l gave the sign for the advance.

The war-whoop sounded and we leaped forward from every stone over the Mexicans' dead horses, fighting hand to hand.

The attack was so sudden that the Mexicans, running first this way and then that, became so confused that in a few minutes we had killed them all.

Then we scalped the slain, carried away our dead, and secured all the arms we needed.

That night we moved our camp eastward through the Sierra Madre Mountains into Chihuahua. No troops molested us here and after about a year we returned to Arizona.

Almost every year we would live a part of the time in Old Mexico. There were at this time many settlements in Arizona; game was not plentiful, and besides we liked to go down into Old Mexico.

And, the lands of the Nedni Apaches, our friends and kinsmen, extended far into Mexico. Their Chief, Whoa, was as a brother to me, and we spent much of our time in his territory.

About 1880 we were in camp in the mountains south of Casa Grande, when a company of Mexican troops attacked us. There were twenty-four Mexican soldiers and about forty Indians.

The Mexicans surprised us in camp and fired on us, killing two Indians the first volley.I do not know how they were able to find our camp unless they had excellent scouts and our guards were careless, but there they were shooting at us before we knew they were near.

We were in the timber, and I gave the order to go forward and fight at close range.

We kept behind rocks and trees until we came within ten yards of their line, then we stood up and both sides shot until all the Mexicans were killed. We lost twelve warriors in this battle.

This place was called by the Indians "Sko-la-ta". When we had buried our dead and secured what supplies the Mexicans had, we went north-east.

At this place near Nacori Mexican troops attacked us. At this place, called by the Indians "Nokode," there were about eighty warriors. Bedonkohe and Nedni Apaches.

There were three companies of Mexican troops. They attacked us in an open field, and we scattered, firing as we ran. They followed us, but we dispered, and soon were free from their pursuit; then we reassembled in the Sierra Madre Mountains.

Here a council was held, and as Mexican troops were coming from many quarters, we disbanded.

In about four months we reassembled at Casa Grande to make a treaty of peace. The chiefs of the town of Casa Grande, and all of the men of Casa Grande, made a treaty with us.

We shook hands and promised to be brothers. Then we began to trade, and the Mexicans gave us mescal. Soon nearly all the Indians were drunk.

While they were drunk two companies of Mexican troops, from another town, attacked us, killed twenty Indians, and captured many more. We fled in all directions.

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