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HEADQUARTERS Gila EXPEDITION,
Depot on Gila, New Mexico, July 14, 1857. MAJOR: Herewith I have the honor to transmit report of operations of southern column by Colonel Miles and Captain Ewell. The northern column having been detached on the 22d June, the southern with myself marched on the 23d. On the 24th captured nine Mogollen women. On the 25th attempted to surprise a rancherio; was discovered by the neigbing of horses. On the 27th had a battle with Apacles on the Gila river, 35 miles north of Mount Graham or Floridian; killed twenty-four, four women having accidentally been killed in the melec, and including one afterwards; made twenty-seven prisoners ; destroyed many fields of corn ; and rescued from captivity a Mexican boy, who escaped to us.
We had nine wounded ; among those were Lieutenants Steen, 3d infantry, and Davis, 1st dragoonsboth slightly, I am happy to say; all are rapidly recovering. Much praise is due to every officer and soldier, particularly to Captain Ewell, who was my active man on all important detached occasions. Colonel Miles was everything I could wish—the same gallant veteran. Lieutenant McCook deserves much credit for the admirable manner in which he managed with his Pueblo Indians, in surprises as well as in battle. I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
B. L. E. BONNEVILLE, Colonel 3d Infantry, Commanding Gila Expedition. Major W. A. NICHOLS,
Assistant Adjutant General, Santa Fé, New Mexico.
HEADQUARTERS SOUTHERN COLUMN GILA EXPEDITION,
Camp Floyd, July 13, 1857. SIR: In making out the report of the battle with the Coyotero Apaches on the 27th of June last, I request you will refer to my journal accompanying this, to see in what manner the wings of the southern column were placed, the difficulty of the march in single file down a tremendous rocky precipice, which extended the column to great length, and which prevented the whole line from coming into action together.
The column was divided on this occasion into two wings; although commanding the whole, I retaincd the command of the right, giving to Captain Ewell, Ist dragoons, that of the left; it was composed of B, G, and K companies of 1st dragoons, C and F companies of 3d infantry, the guides and spies under Lieutenant McCook, 5th infantry, (veing the Pueblo Indians and Captain Blas Lucero's Mexicans,) in advance. Captain Ewell's report, enclosed, states in what manner the battle commenced ; at that time you were riding beside me at the head of the right wing, and at least a mile and a half from the battle field, threading our way carefully down a rocky, bushy pathway, followed by a squadron of mounted rifles, under command of Captain Clairborne and Lieutenant Dubois, being in command of B and K companies of that regiment, and Lieutenants Jackson and Cook commanding B and I companies, 8th infantry. So soon as musketry was heard by us, the order was given to gallop and the charge was made by all, you leading the van to the field of battle. When I arrived, which was not until after Lieutenant Dubois had passed with his company, my first object was to ascertain how the field laid, what the disposition of the troops, and how the enemy was placed. I soon found that Captain Ewell, under his heavy charge of dragoons, had broken the Apaches, they had taken cover in the thick underwood, and that it was the work of infantry to pick them out; that the dragoons were occupying the left bank of the Gila, cutting off the retreat of the enemy to Mount Turnbull, and that Captain Clairborne and Lieutenant Dubois had very properly charged on the right bank and prevented them from reaching the mountains on that side. My object, then, was to bring into action, as soon as possible, the 8th infantry, and re crossed the river from where Lieutenants Whipple and Steen, with the 3d infantry, were engaged, to give this order, but found, to my great surprise, that Lieutenants Jackson and Cook, with their companies, were already up and actively engaged in the place where they were most required. It was then a primary object to so regulate our firing that our troops should not injure each other, which could easily be done, where all were so anxious to destroy an enemy, in a narrow valley covered with a dense undergrowth of willow. When I re-crossed the river again, I found Lieutenant Steen had been driven out of the bushes by a volley from the dragoons, and Lieutenant Moore actively rallying his men to prevent them firing. When this was accomplished, the infantry dashed into the thicket and soon captured many prisoners. Their frequent volleys showed that many a warrior was sent to his final rest.
The battle field extended for a mile on both sides of the Gila, and, covered with a thick undergrowth, persons within could readily see those outside, but could not be seen within ; this gave the enemy a very great advantage, and it is a miracle how so few of our officers and men, exposed as they were, escaped.
I suppose the battle commenced about half-past fuur p. m.; it lasted until near sunset, when we encamped on the field.
The officers engaged being few in number, I can readily say that all were most distinguished. My thanks are particularly due Captain Ewell for planning the battle and breaking the enemy. In his report he mentions the officers with him who were most distinguished. Of those in the right wing, I would most particularly call your attention to the merits of Captain Clairborne and Lieutenant Dubois, mounted rifles, Lieutenants Jackson and Cook, 8th infantry. The latter had a personal rencontre with an Apache and slayed him with his rifle.
To Assistant Surgeon Haden I am most particularly indebted for his uniform gentlemanly deportment, skillful and kind treatment of the sick during our long and weary march, his daring and bravery in seeking the wounded on the battle ground, and scientific treatment of them to a final cure, under the most unfavorable circumstances — travelling in a litter and on horseback for so many days, under 60 burning and scorching a sun.
On the 28th of June I ordered an officer, with a detachment of soldiers, to examine the battle field and count the dead. He found killed twenty warriors and four women; two of these women were killed by the Pueblo Indians, one was killed while fighting with a bow and arrows, and the other, I presume, was accidentally shot, for at a short distance only it is difficult to distinguish, by dress, the men from the women, so much are they alike. Twenty-six women and children were taken captive on the battle field; one woman was captured on the Francisco river, making twenty-seven in all. All the camp utensils, clothing, &c., &c., were taken or destroyed. A captive woman informed me that there were forty warriors there when the battle commenced, and she thought but three had escaped. On the 29th or 30th of June Colonel Loring, descending the Francisco, captured a wounded Apache, who informed him that he was in the battle of the 27th, that there were forty warriors and but two had escaped. This corroboration of the saine fact would seem to require I should report thirty-seven or eight killed, but only twenty could be found.
I commend to your favorable notice the officers Captain Ewell recommends, viz: Lieutenants Moore, Chapman, and Davis, of the 1st dragouns; also, Lieutenants Whipple and Steen, 3d infantry, and Lieutenant McCook, 3d infantry, and Lieutenant Lazelle, 8th infantry.
My thanks are due to every soldier as well as officer engaged in this battle for their zeal and efficiency and daring bravery. Some of the officers request a particular mention made of the following as being most distinguished: Ist dragoons, Sergeant Perlon, company B; Corporal J. Anderson, Private Donnelly, Private Walsh, of company G; Lance Corporal Lambert, company D, and Private Barraer, of company D, 3d infantry ; Sergeant J. Heron, and Private John S. Harper, of company K; Private Thomas McNamara, Thomas P. Morris, and John Brown, of company C; Sergeants Dooling and Morrison, Corporal Maloney, Privates Giles, Mooney, McCardle, Quinn, Woodsmanse, Wies, and Zinzenhaffer, of company F.
8th infantry.—Corporals John O'Donnel and W. Robinson, of B company, Sergeant C Wolpert and Private McBay, of I company.
The wounded are as folows: Second Lieutenant Davis, Ist dragoons, in the knee; Second Lieutenant Steen, in the corner of the right eye.
Both of these wounds were made by arrows. Corporal Anderson, of G company, 1st dragoons, was wounded twice, by bullet and arrow; Private Donnelly, of the same company, was wounded ; also, Private Barrer, of company D, 1st dragoons.
Sergeant Heron, of company K, 3d infantry, was wounded through the arm; also Privates Johnson and McNamara, of C company, 3d infantry, were wounded by arrows.
One Pueblo Indian was badly wounded by ball, and I expect from our own guns, through his own negligence, he having run into an Indian lodge, and coming out with a basket on his head, concealing his red badge, the distinguishing mark of the Pueblos.
Captain Blas Lucero was actively engaged on the field of battle with
his men, receiving and securing the prisoners when brought out of the thicket.
I cannot close this report without making mention that the only
D. S. MILES,
3d Infantry, Commanding Gila Expedition.
San LUCIA, July 13, 1857. SIR: I have the hunor to report my operations while separated from your immediate command. On the 24th of June I was sent to operate against Indians reported in advance.
My command consisted of Lieutenants J. N. Moore, A. B. Chapman, and B. F. Davis, with a detachment of 1st dragoons ; Captain Claiborne and Lieutenant Du Bois, mounted rifles ; Lieutenants W. D. Whipple and A. E. Steen, with battalion of the 3d infantry; Lieutenants Thomas K. Jackson, John R. Cooke, and Henry M. Lazelle, with battalion of the 8th infantry. Lieutenant Alexander McD. McCook went in charge of spies and guides, (Mexican and Pueblos.) The party of Indians were found by the spies to be only a few women cooking meyeal, and they were all taken prisoners during the night by Blas Lucero, with a party of spies and guides, (Mexican and Pueblos.)
My march was continued towards the Gila river, where Indians were reported in force, until the 27th, when I was joined by the main column. During this interval a party of Pueblos, with an American, were sent to comunicate with Colonel Bonneville, but discovered a party of Apaches in anıbush, and returned. Their vigilance saved their lives and that of the American Lieutenant Chapman, with a platoon of dragoons, was then sent back, and afterwards, on the appearance of more Indians, was supported on the flank by Lieutenant Whipple with a detachment of the 3d infantry. The Apaches retiring, Lieutenant Whipple rejoined my column, and Lieutenant Chapman carried his communications to Colonel Bonneville, both executing their allotted duties in a satisfactory manner. A long march was thereby made several miles longer for Lieutenant Whipple's party, but the whole was cheerfully gone through with. Not prepared for so long a separation from the main column, the command was forced to butcher an Indian horse, which was eat by men and officers.
The march was resumed the evening of the 27th, my command consisting of the 1st dragoons, as above; the battalion of the 3d infantry, Lieutenants Whipple and Steen; Lieutenant Lazelle, of the 8th, as
signed to a platoon of dragoons; Lieutenant McCook with the spies and guides.
The mountain was extremely rugged, and to prevent surprise the infantry and Pueblos were kept in advance. Approaching the Gila the country became level, and the Pueblos soon discovered Indian signs, and told me to “gion with my people.” The dragoons were hurried on, and soon came on an Apache camp on the river bank, partly surrounded by thick brush. Lieutenant Moore led the head of the column through the village and across the river, taking up such a position as to cut off all retreat. This well-timed movement went far towards securing the decisive results.
Lieutenant McCook joined the head of the column on the charge, and rendered important personal services.
Lieutenants Whipple and Steen were deployed among the brush, fighting the Indians, and securing a number of prisoners. Lieutenant Steen was struck by an arrow in the corner of the eye.
Lieutenant Davis, 1st dragoons, was shot in the knee in a personal encounter with an Apache.
Corporal Anderson, company G, 1st dragoons, was twice seriously wounded, (arrow and bullet.)
The wounded were promptly attended by Assistant Surgeon Haden before the action was over.
Captain Claiborne and Lieutenant Dubois, mounted rifles, were early on the ground, and in time to render important services with zeal and efficiency.
The dragoons went forward the same afternoon to another village, but the Apaches had left.
Colonel Bonneville and yourself having arrived before the fighting was over, I do not report the killed and prisoners, some twenty odd of each.
Lieutenant Lazelle, 8th infantry, in charging with the dragoons, shot one Indian and cut down another.
The officers in command of detachments present the following names of enlisted men as active and efficient during the action :
1st dragoons, Sergeant Peslon, company B; Corporal J. Anderson, fighting in the brush, twice wounded ; Pivate Donnelly, wounded; Private Walsh, of company G; Lance Corporal Lambert, company D; Private Barrer, company D, wounded; 3d infantry, Sergeant J. Herron and Private John S. Hafer, company K; Private Thomas McNamara, Thomas P. Morris, and John Brown, company C, “were among the most active men,” reported by Licutenant Whipple.
Sergeants Dorling and Morrison, Corporal Maloney, Privates Giles, Mooney, McCordel, Quinn, Wordmann, Wies, and Zinzenhaffer, of company F, 3d infantry, were favorably mentioned by Lieutenant Steen. Respectfully submitted.
RICHARD S. EWELL,
Captain 18t Dragoons. Colonel D. S. MILES,
Com'g Southern Column, Apache Campaign.