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Miles, Nelson Appleton, 1839-1925 / Personal recollections and observations of General Nelson A. Miles embracing a brief view of the Civil War, or, From New England to the Golden Gate: and the story of his Indian campaigns, with comments on the exploration, development and progress of our great western empire

Chapter XXXVII. The Arizona campaign. (I),   pp. 480-493 PDF (5.5 MB)

Page 492

had been burned over leaving no grass, and water was so scarce that the
troops frequently suffered intensely. One portion of the command was
without food, with the exception of such game as they could kill, for five
days. At one time when the pack-train had been delayed by the rough-
ness of the trail, the troops were obliged to subsist on two or three deer
killed by the scouts, and on mule meat without salt.
   Sonora, the part of Mexico in which the operations of the troops were
now being carried on, is a rough, mountainous country, presenting obsta-
cles of an extremely serious nature. It is a succession of rugged inoun-
tains, broken here and there by a steep caion, and producing nothing but
a few wild fruits, cacti, and some game. There is but little water and
that often of a poor quality. Grass is almost entirely wanting dulrin1g
the dry season.
   This section of country was very thinly populated, but here and there
would be found a small town built within a walled enclosure. Inside this
wall were oue story adobe houses and scores of children and adults
who wore but little superfluous clothing. Nothing could speak more
eloquently of the fear and dread in which the Mexicans held the Apaches
than these little walled towns:l but in spite of the mnany lessons they
had received, they were still poorly armed and in a condition to fall
ready victims to the hostiles. The intelligent and liberal construction
given by Governor Louis E. Torres, of Sonora, to the terms of the coni-
pact between the two governmnents was of very great assistance to our
officers in mnoving troops and supplies through that portion of the country,
and was acquiesced in by other Mexican officials. Every assistance within
his personal and official powers was rendered by the governor to aid in
arresting the common enemy that had for many years disturbed the peace
of the two republics.
   During the early days of the expedition much of the difficult work
-was done by the cavalry in southern Arizona and northern Sonora.
Forage could then occasionally be obtained, but as the mnountains grew
more and m-ore impassable that arm proved inadequate, and the chief
dependence was necessarily placed upon the infantry. Ill some of the
companies there were mien wimo had seen service in India and in South
Africa, and in their opinion this campaign in Arizona and far down in
southern Sonora was the hardest, imost exacting service they had ever
endured. The heat was so intense at timies that the men could not place
their hands on the metal wvork of their guns. Pack-trains could, in the
middle of the day, move only five or six miles before the animals became

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