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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 487

are always ready to show how a thing cannot be done and give labored and
logical reasons and arguments why it would be useless to attempt to
accomplish a purpose, as a rule are not the kind of meen to be selected for
any hazardous enterprise. While sonie men may be over zealous and
unduly confident, yet where you find a man of sterling ability and clear
strong will power who believes that a thing can be accomplished, the
chances are that, given an opportunity, he will be more likely to succeed
than one who has no faith in what he may be called upon to do, or re-
quired to undertake.
   Captain Lawton was of that class who believed that the Indians could
be overcome. Although he recognized their great skill, cunning and phys-
ical strength, he believed they could be miet and defeated by studying and
improving upon their own methods. He had made himself a splendid
record during the war of the rebellion, had also a fine record on the
frontier, had been one of General Mackenzie's most zealous supporters,
and possessed all the experience necessary to the command of such a force.
He was physically, perhaps, as fine a specimen of a man as could be found.
He weighed at that time two hundred and thirty pounds, was well pro-
portioned, straight, active, agile, full of energy, stood six feet five inches
in height and was without a superfluous pound of flesh. His bone, muscle,
sinew and nerve power was of the finest texture. It was said that he could
that time take up an ordinary man and throw him a rod. A giant in stature,
he had a bright handsome face, and was in the prime of life. I informed
him of what I desired and he was delighted at the opportunity for making
the effort and undertaking the enterprise, although it involved hardship
labor and required reckless courage to meet the dangers to be encountered.
   I also found at Fort Huachuca another splendid type of American man-
hood, Captain Leonard Wood, Assistant Surgeon, United States Army. He
was a young officer aged twenty-four, a native of Massachusetts, a grad-
uate of Harvard, a fair-haired, blue-eyed young man of great intelligence,
sterling manly qualities, and resolute spirit. He was also perhaps as
fine a specimen of physical strength and endurance as could easily be
found. He had a perfect knoxvledge of anatomy and had utilized this
knowledge of physiology in training himself and bringing every part of
his physique to its highest perfection, and seemed to have the will power
and energy to keep his own physical mechanism in perfect condition and
activity. I said to him:
   "We have heard much said about the physical strength and endurance
of these Apache Indians, these natives of the desert and mountain. I

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