Geronimo His Own Story
Part I: The Apaches
Part II: The Mexicans
Part III: The White Men
Part IV: The Old And The New
Part II: The Mexicans
Raids That Were Successful
In the summer of 1862 I took eight men and invaded Mexican territory.
We went south on the west side of the Sierra Madre Mountains for
five days; then in the night crossed over to the southern part of
the Sierra de Sahuaripa range. Here we again camped to watch for
pack trains. About ten o'clock next morning four drivers, mounted,
came past our camp with a pack-mule train. As soon as they saw us
they rode for their lives, leaving us the booty. This was a long
train, and packed with blankets, calico, saddles, tinware, and loaf
sugar. We hurried home as fast as we could with these provisions,
and on our return while passing through a canyon in the Santa Catalina
range of mountains in Arizona, met a white man driving a mule pack
train. When we first saw him he had already seen us, and was riding
at full tilt up the canyon. We examined his train and found that
his mules were all loaded with cheese. We put them in with the other
train and resumed our journey. We did not attempt to trail the driver
and I am sure he did not try to follow us.
In two days we arrived at home. Then Mangus-Colorado, our chief,
assembled the tribe. We gave a feast, divided the spoils, and danced
all night. Some of the pack mules were killed and eaten.
This time after our return we kept out scouts so that we would
know if Mexican troops should attempt to follow us.
On the third day our scouts came into camp and reported Mexican
cavalry dismounted and approaching our settlement. All our warriors
were in camp. Mangus-Colorado took command of one division and I
of the other. We hoped to get possession of their horses, then surround
the troops in the mountains, and destroy the whole company. This
we were unable to do, for they too, had scouts. However, within
four hours after we started we had killed ten troopers with the
loss of only one man, and the Mexican cavalry was in full retreat,
followed by thirty armed Apaches, who gave them no rest until they
were far inside the Mexican country. No more troops came that winter.
For a long time we had plenty of provisions plenty of blankets,
and plenty of clothing. We also had plenty of cheese and sugar.
Another summer (1863) I selected three warriors and went on a raid
into Mexico. We went south into Sonora, camping in the Sierra de
Sahuaripa Mountains. About forty miles west of Casa Grande is a
small village in the mountains, called by the Indians "Crassanas."
We camped near this place and concluded to make an attack. We had
noticed that just at midday no one seemed to be stirring; so we
planned to make our attack at the noon hour. The next day we stole
into the town at noon. We had no guns, but were armed with spears
and bows and arrows. When the war-whoop was given to open the attack
the Mexicans fled in every direction; not one of them made any attempt
to fight us.
We shot some arrows at the retreating Mexicans, but killed only
one. Soon all was silent in the town and no Mexicans could be seen.
When we discovered that all the Mexicans were gone we looked through
their houses and saw many curious things. These Mexicans kept many
more kinds of property than the Apaches did. Many of the things
we saw in the houses we could not understand, but in the stores
we saw much that we wanted; so we drove in a herd of horses and
mules, and packed as much provisions and supplies as we could on
them. Then we formed these animals into a pack train and returned
safely to Arizona The Mexicans did not even trail us.
When we arrived in camp we called the tribe together and feasted
all day. We gave presents to everyone. That night the dance began,
and it did not cease until noon the next day.
This was perhaps the most successful raid ever made by us into
Mexican territory. I do not know the value of the booty, but it
was very great, for we had supplies enough to last our whole tribe
for a year or more.
In the fall of 1864 twenty warriors were willing to go with me
on another raid into Mexico. There were all chosen men, well armed
and equipped for battle. As usual we provided for the safety of
our families before starting on this raid. Our whole tribe scattered
and then reassembled at a camp about forty miles from the former
place. In this way, it would be hard for the Mexicans to trail them
and we would know where to find our families when we returned. Moreover,
if any hostile Indians should see this large number of warriors
leaving our range they might attack our camp, but if they found
no one at the usual place, their raid would fail.
We went south trough the Chokonen Apaches' range, entered Sonora,
Mexico, at a point directly south of Tombstone, Arizona, and went
into hiding in the Sierra de Antunez Mountains.
We attacked several settlements in the neighborhood and secured
plenty of provisions and supplies. After about three days we attacked
and captured a mule pack train at a place called by the Indians
"Pontoco". It is situated in the mountains due west, about
one day's journey from Arispe.
There were three drivers with this train. One was killed and two
escaped. The train was loaded with mescal, which was contained in
bottles held in wicker baskets. As soon as we made camp the Indians
began to get drunk and fight each other. I, too, drank enough mescal
to feel the effect of it, but I was not drunk. I ordered the fighting
stopped, but the order was disobeyed. Soon almost a general fight
was in progress. I tried to place a guard out around the camp, but
all were drunk and refused to serve. I expected an attack from Mexican
troops at any moment, and really it was a serious matter to me,
for being in command I would be held responsible for any ill luck
attending the expedition. Finally the camp became comparatively
still, for the Indians were too drunk to walk or even fight. While
they were in this stupor I poured out all the mescal, then I put
out all the fires and moved the pack mules to a considerable distance
from the camp. After this I returned to camp to try to do something
for the wounded. I found that only two were dangerously wounded.
From a leg of one of these I cut an arrow head, and from the shoulder
of another I withdrew a spear point. When all the wounds I had cared
for, I myself kept guard till morning. The next day we loaded our
wounded on the pack mules and started for Arizona.
The next day we captured some cattle from a herd and drove them
home with us. But it was a very difficult matter to drive cattle
when we were on foot. Caring for the wounded and keeping the cattle
from escaping made our journey tedious. But we were not trailed,
and arrived safely at home with all the booty.
We then gave a feast and dance, and divided the spoils. After the
dance we killed all the cattle and dried the meat. We dressed the
hides and then the dried meat was packed in between these hides
and stored away. All that winter we had plenty of meat. These were
the first cattle we ever had. As usual we killed and ate some of
the mules. We had little use for mules, and if we could not trade
them for something of value, we killed them.
In the summer of 1865, with four warriors, I went again into Mexico.
Heretofore we had gone on foot; we were accustomed to fight on foot;
besides, we could easily conceal ourselves when dismounted. But
this time we wanted more cattle, and it was hard to drive them when
we were on foot. We entered Sonora at a point southwest from Tombstone,
Arizona, and followed the Antunez Mountains to the southern limit,
then crossed the country as far south as the mouth of the Yaqui
River. Here we saw a great lake extending beyond the limit of sight.
Then we turned north, attacked several settlements, and secured
plenty of supplies. When we had come back northwest of Arispe we
secured about sixty head of cattle, and drove them to our homes
in Arizona. We did not go directly home, but camped in different
valleys with our cattle. We were not trailed. When we arrived at
our camp the tribe was again assembled for feasting and dancing.
Presents were given to everybody; then the cattle were killed and
the meat dried and packed.
Next Page - Varying Fortunes
Previous Page - Fighting Under Difficulties