Sunny up here again, snow is melting on the hillsides, freezer defrosting in our front driveway and its exactly 54 degrees at the moment. Thermometer is right outside from where I am perched.
I put in 9-hours yesterday working on Book # 2 of the Arizona Ranger series. Have put in 160 pages so far, but this is still the initial stuff and my editing will not even begin until I am finished with the last chapter. Then I start at the beginning, in order to keep the flow going as I review it.
I have really enjoyed doing the research on the Arizona Rangers, who received far less notoriety than the Texas Rangers, and fought equally the number of Indian scrapes if not more. While the Texas Rangers dealt with the same bandits and Comancheros as the Arizona boys, and of course the great Comanche. The Arizona Rangers dealt with the Apache leaders; Victorio, Mangas, and the Great Cochise. Soon to follow was the better known Geronimo, but he was a pup compared to these three before him. Cochise, who was a fighter, rated as a General by the Rangers who dealt with him, sincerely wanted a fair peace. But he continued to butt heads with the wealthy men of the east coast who believed all Indians were one in the same and should be wiped out. Cochise had befriended trappers, hunters, townspeople and ranchers. He became on good terms with certain Rangers, but it was the East Coast military officers who knew nothing about fighting the Plains Indian, that created a lot of the problems. Such a man was Armstrong Custer, who gave the Sioux no respect and thought his 233 cavalry troopers could put 4,000 or more of some of the best horsemen in America to flight. Similar things happened in Arizona as senior officers, untrained in Indian fighting or peace time dealings with them, took over command of the new forts being built. A personal best in low standards was how often our senior commanders or even junior officers used white flags to bring Indian chiefs in to then capture them, all under a flag of truce. Congress later said it was okay for them to do that. As such repeatedly occurred, it made the life of a settler that much harder to live... another month or with hope a year. Train people controlled the military headliners and congressional leaders, who wanted the Indians destroyed, but hundreds of White settlers, Mexican farmers and freed slaves passing through Arizona en route to California never survived the wars to come. Even the legendary Kit Carson turned his back on his Indian friends and fought a "Scorched Earth" war, where he burned the farm lands and peach orchards, forcing the Navajo into a 400 mile death march rarely spoken of in history books. ( Had to do some research for that one). A large part of the elderly Navajo and the very young never made it to their new home, outside an Army Fort. No, not quite the Kit Carson I'd grown up reading about.
But in my series, I have said I rub fiction and fact together. I have changed some of the historical names and replaced them with fictional, unless I felt they should be held to account for their wrongs. One such fellow was a Lt. Bascom, who I am working on tonight. He came to the west unprepared for what his job entailed and he had not been involved in a single combative role before assuming the task of leading a company of cavalry out into the Arizona desert. Going on a single report that Cochise had stolen a herd of steers and kidnapped the ranchers 10-year old son, he did't bother asking the Rangers for assistance or even getting an interpreter, because Cochise only spoke Spanish and Apache, he went out in pursuit of the great Chief. Cochise had not been involved so he was not running anywhere and when the Company was seen with the white flag waving he went down to meet him with his brother, a woman, still unknown and Cochise's two nephews and one niece. Bascom accused Cochise of the crime and took him prisoner under the Flag of Truce. but that night Cochise escaped. He also took three White men hostage and he sent word to Bascom, " I will treat these three men as well as you treat my family." It was written in English. The Lieutenant got his dander up and hung the lot of them, including the children. Soon after, Cochise brought in the small tribe who had stolen the cattle and kidnapped the boy. The youth was fine. The other tribe was not part of Cochise's Apache.
But Cochise was a man of his word and he sent the three men back to Lt. Bascom very dead. This would begin the first of the new Apache Indian Wars of the early 1870's and they would continue on until Geronimo eventually surrendered. By then, Geronimo led his party of 30 warriors against thousands of US Army and over 3,000 Mexicans. Over one fourth of the United States Army was involved in the Arizona Indian Wars. But there were also 60 unofficial militia involved...now unpaid Arizona Rangers. Who road Southeast Arizona to protect the land from the evildoers coming across the border, while the troopers were used to protect the railroad from a non-existent enemy.
That's it for tonight, my ride is here.
Love to all. God Bless!