Now what Miles had actually reported to his superior officers was this: "I informed [them] should they throw down their arms and place themselves entirely at our mercy we should certainly not kill them, but that they must surrender absolutely as prisoners of war to the Federal authorities, and rely upon the Government to treat them fairly and justly. I informed them that I was removing all the Chiricahuas and Warm Springs from Arizona, and that they would all be removed from this country at once and for all time." Did Cleveland and Sheridan misinterpret Miles' words because they lacked adequate training in logic and the correct use of the English language, or did Miles report an unconditional surrender and the conditions upon which the surrender was made in one and the same breath? It is for the reader to decide. What is plain is that Miles was handling a very hot potato and desired to pass it on just as soon as possible. In reality, on the morning of September 8, before he had read Sheridan's telegram of September 7, he had entrained the hostile, and started them for San Antonio in charge of Lawton, Wood, and a strong escort. Howard, Miles' immediate superior in command, charged Miles with starting the hostiles for Florida "in direct contravention of the Lieutenant General and without waiting to hear the decision of the President or of the War Department." Miles denied this. But there are other ways of killing a cat than by choking it with butter. Hagedorn, basing his statement upon an entry in Leonard Wood's Diary for September 8, 1886, says: "The acting adjutant-general on Miles' staff [ Captain William A. Thompson] . . . received the telegram as the troops were preparing to take the Indians to the railroad, read it, tucked it in his pocket. . . . Wood, arriving with Lawton and the balance of the hostile, with orders to go with them as far as San Antonio, had time only to refresh his tattered wardrobe before the escort wagons drew up. . . . Captain Thompson, riding down to the railroad at Wood's side, very mellow and friendly, patted his pocket. 'I've got something here which would stop this movement, but I am not going to let the old man see it until you are gone.'"
Miles must have drawn a long breath of relief the moment that the entrained Indians crossed the limits of his Department. September 10 the Secretary of War telegraphed to General D. S. Stanley at San Antonio, commanding the Department of Texas: "You will take charge of these Indians and securely confine them at San Antonio barracks and hold them until further orders." The same day Stanley replied by wire: " Geronimo and party have arrived and are quartered in quartermaster's depot under guard. There is no permanent or safe guardhouse and no place of security at the post proper, which is only now in course of construction." Miles' disposition of the hostiles was playing hob with the plans of the President and the higher Army officials. Not until September 11 was Sheridan informed that the Indians had been stopped at San Antonio. September 13 he instructed Miles "to forward without delay a special report of the capture of Geronimo and the hostile Apaches." Evidently Miles did not report promptly. September 17 General Howard sent this telegram to the Adjutant General at Washington: "The special field order of General Miles directing that Geronimo and his band be sent to Fort Marion, Florida, states it is issued in obedience to telegraphic instructions from the Acting Secretary of War, dated September 4. Will you please furnish me with a copy of these instructions?" September 18 the Acting Adjutant-General replied to Howard: "There is no record of a telegram of September 4, or any other date, from the Acting Secretary of War to General Miles, directing him to send Geronimo and band to Fort Marion, Florida. No such order has been given." September 23 the Acting Secretary of War sent the following telegram to Howard: "The President desires you, without delay, to send him by telegraph a full report of the capture of Geronimo and the Apaches who were with him." The same day Howard replied: " General Miles was ordered by telegraph on the 13th instant to forward without delay a special report of the capture of Geronimo and the Apaches who were with him. On the 18th instant he acknowledged the receipt of the telegram, and stated the report would be forwarded by mail." September 24 the President wired Howard that he would "be satisfied with a detailed account of the immediate circumstances attending the capture." That same day Howard replied in a dispatch of considerable length that concluded with this paragraph:
"I believed at first from official reports that the surrender was unconditional, except that the troops themselves would not kill the hostiles. Now from General Miles' dispatches and from his annual report . . . the conditions are plain: first, that the lives of all the Indians should be spared; second, that they should be sent to Fort Marion, Florida, where their tribe, including their families, had already been ordered."
About Apache Tracker
Apache Tracker is a resource about survival, being a Physical and Spiritual warrior, and oneness with nature or "the spirit that moves in all things." I named this site in honor of the Apache. The Apache was the ultimate, survivor, warrior, guerrilla fighter, and lived in tune with his surroundings, on a spiritual and physical level. However you will find many other topics of interest on this site. Tracking is a mind set and awareness that goes beyond the physical to all levels, including the spiritual.
About the Author
About the Author
Roger Thunderhands Gilbert is an accomplished writer, musician, and artist. In his lifetime, he has done many things. These would include aviation, the martial arts, and a life long study of spiritual and tribal ritual. In the martial arts, his study has included three disciplines, Aikido, Kung Fu San Soo, and Tai Chi. He also worked with the Special Forces in a training capacity. In the field of aviation, he obtained his private, commercial, and instrument ratings as a pilot, with multi-engine, and flight instructor qualifications. He learned tracking as a boy and has worked with the sheriff’s search and rescue in that capacity. His spiritual knowledge includes in-depth study, and personal experience, with many shamanistic and esoteric practices. He is a practitioner of Kriya yoga, Kundalini yoga, Tantrika, and Chinese inner alchemy. In addition, he received his certificate in acupressure and uses several modalities for healing. He considers himself an authority on the Biblical teachings of Yeshua or Jesus, but considers himself spiritual, not religious. And last but not least, he has done an exhaustive study and been an activist of North American Native tribes and ritual. His own roots are of Métis descent, and his spirituality is universal.