KIT CARSON AND THE JICARILLA APACHE
In the 1840s and 50s, the Jicarilla Apache were the terror of the Santa Fe Trail and the Rio Arriba. They repeatedly clashed with the cavalry and raided wagon trains, and there was bad blood between the band and the Army after the Battle of San Pasqual, when they were on opposite sides during the Mexican American War. In 1854, as traffic was on the increase along the historic trade route, the Jicarilla soundly defeated the 1st United States Dragoons in the Battle of Cieneguilla.
Cieneguilla was the worst defeat of the US Army in the West up to that time, and it was just one of the first major battles between the US Army and Apache forces during the Ute Wars. According to one version of events, the 60 dragoons, under the direction of a Lt. Davidson, had engaged in an unauthorized attack on theJicarilla while they were out on patrol. Others claimed that the Jicarilla either ambushed the Army or taunted them into attack. Kit Carson, who was agent for the Jicarilla, would defend Davidson’s actions—and after this fight, he served as a scout against the Jicarilla.
Much like the Sioux defeat of Custer at Little Big Horn, the Jicarilla’s victory over the Army led to retribution and disaster. The Jicarilla were defeated and faded from memory before the Civil War. These are the events that brought them to ruin.
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FRIEND OF COCHISE
The first full-length biography of the Western legend Tom Jeffords, immortalized by Jimmy Stewart in 1950’s Broken Arrow...This book tells the true story of a man who headed West drawn by the lure of the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush in 1858; made a life for himself over a decade as he scouted for the army, prospected, became a business man; then learned the Apache language and rode alone into Cochise’s camp in order to negotiate peaceful passage for his stagecoach company. In his search for the real story of Jeffords, Cochise, and the parts they played in mid-nineteenth century American history and politics, author Doug Hocking reveals that while the myths surrounding those events may have clouded the truth a bit, Jeffords was almost as brave and impressive as the legend had it.
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