From a private letter by an eye-witness of the late Apache horrors in Arizona we make the following interesting extracts:
Let me explain to you exactly the circumstances of the massacre. The Apaches, you know, have always been considered the most hopeless of Indians, and have always refused to treat with the Government or go on any reservation. The post commander at Camp Grant, Lieutenant Whitman, believing they could be much improved, by a systematic course of kindness, had gradually induced 500 of them, commencing with a few starving old women, to come into camp near the post and accept food and work. Contrary to all expectation they seemed grateful, and disposed to make terms with the Government at last; the men were obedient to the slightest suggestion from their new-found friend, and women and children seemed gay, happy, and contented; he spent hours explaining to them, through his interpreter, their duties to the country, and told them they would be taken care of if they would only be peaceable and industrious. They comprehended the situation at once, and had made a brave beginning toward improvement, and were even clearing the ground to put in a crop of corn. But the notorious Apache at Peace was no good news to the white adventurers whose living depends entirely on the few thousands of hunted and ignorant savages, and accordingly a party of white men, who prefer hostile Indians as more lucrative at and near Tucson, formed the humane plan of attacking this peaceful camp near us, and killing every man, woman, and child they could lay hands on. A messenger was despatched to Lieut. Whitman, telling him his proteges were in danger, and he sent immediately to warn the friendly red men of their peril. His messenger was too late--the burning huts and the ground strewn with bodies of butchered women and children were all there was left of the first earnest attempt to civilize the Apaches. It was an awful sight. The survivors had fled to the fastnesses of the mountains. Word was sent to them to bring in their wounded to the post for care, and they did so, the principal chief being first to come in. He was naked, and when he held out his hand for the usual shake he was so choked he could scarcely speak. Almost like a human being, wasn't it? Pointing to his naked and solitary condition he said, "This is my family!" three wives and seven children being killed before his eyes in the space of five minutes. The rest came straggling in one by one, stripped of their clothing, their hair pulled out or cut off, and seemed entirely heart-broken. This slaughter was the end of ther first attempt at accepting the white man's protection.
"Bring us back our children," they said to the post commander, "and we will go away from the white man's sight." Thirty of the young and pretty squaws had been carried off to a debauched captivity. When the commander told them he would do all he could, it seemed to them a mockery. The chief said: "If you had lost your children and asked me to retake them, I should have said no, or should have got them for your at once or lost my life trying to." "Your ways are not our ways, and I can only say I will do as I can for you," responded the commander; "you know what I have done for you before." "You know us so well," replied the chief; "you know what our ways are. If our people are killed, we find the parties guilty if we can. If not, we kill anybody we meet, except our sworn friends. You know we have never told you a lie, and you have never lied to us; and now we tell you again we will keep quiet and see what this great Government of yours will do for us. We know, too, that the men that killed our kindred do not wish us to be at peace, and that they hope to drive us off. After we wait for your Government, we must have our revenge. If it does not avenge our loss, we will come and tell you, our friend, before we do anything, that you may not be able to say: 'Those Apaches that I fed, that I worked for, whose children I buried that the coyotes might not eat them, lied to me and said they would keep the peace.' We cannot be at peace when our children are captive and our families killed by our enemies." What can be done under such discouragements to civilize the Indians! Among a people who make more money off his warhoop than when at peace, how can any Christianizing process succeed! I am no advocate of Indian saintliness of character; but, viewing the above unprovoked butchery of well-behaved Indians, are you not compelled to admit that the red man is quite as desirable a neighbor as the majority of frontier palefaces?
[New York Tribune, June 10, 1871, p.5]