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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 XXXVI. A campaign against the Apaches (Captain Maus' narrative),   pp. 450-479 PDF (11.9 MB)

Page 463

with some Mexicans about two hundred yards away. He beckoned to me
and I went forward to talk to the men, as I was the only one who could
speak Spanish, Horn being wounded. I had sent Concepcion to drive back
some of the captured Indian stock which had wandered off during the
fight. As I advanced toward the Mexicans they saluted me very cour-
teously, and in a friendly way said that before they left they wanted to
have a talk. It was raining and they asked me to step under a sheltering
rock near by; this was the very point from which they had first fired. On
stepping under the rock, I found myself confronted with about fifty
Mexicans, all armed with Remington rifles, and a hard looking lot. I
would here state that I had sent them, according to my promise, six of the
captured Indian horses, which, however, they had not received, as they
said the horses were no good, being wounded and worn out; but of this I
did not know at the time. Old Concepcion was detained by them. He
was a Mexican who had been stolen by the Apaches when a boy, and was
employed as an interpreter, as he knew the Apache language.
   The manner of the Mexicans when they found me in their power had
undergone a marked change. They became insolent, stating that we had
killed their officers and that we were marauders and had no authority in
their country. They demanded my papers. I explained that there was a
treaty between Mexico and the United States, but that I had no papers, as
Captain Crawford had left all our baggage with the pack-train. Their
language was insolent and threatening. I now appreciated my position
and realized that the consequence of lmly being away from the command
with the interpreter was that there was no one with the scouts who could
make himself understood lby them. The Mexicans stated that I had
promised them animals to take back their wounded, and had not furnished
them, as those I had sent were worthless. I told them I would send them
other animals on my return, and started to go, when they surrounded me,
saying that I must remain until I had sent the mules.
   By this time our Indians were yelling and preparing to fight. A few
shots would have precipitated matters. The Mexicans called my attention
to the action of my scouts, and I told them that the Indians evidently
feared treachery and that I could not control themum while away. They
then said I could go if I would send theim six mules, after which they
would leave the country. This I promised I would do, but they would not
trust m-y word of honor and held old Concepcion a prisoner till I sent them
the mules. I demanded a receipt, which they gave, and afterward Mexico
paid our government the full value of the aminmals.

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