Did you know…? According to published journals and memoirs of army officers from the 1880s, Geronimo was well known, but he wasn’t considered a major leader, or a threat, until mid- to late-1880s. Earlier, the army had its hands full with Cochise and his successors, as well as with Victorio, Nana, Juh, and others.
As I got deeper into historic research for my new historical western, Warriors, coming out in mid-March, I was surprised that several cavalry commanders said of Geronimo, “He isn’t half the leader of [the others]” and that “I doubt that anyone will even remember his name in ten years.” Now, of course, we know otherwise, as many books, movies, and documentaries have been created about the man.
In his early interactions with the army, Geronimo led his band of followers away from the horrible San Carlos reservation many times before being forced to return to the miserable conditions there. But he kept many army patrols busy chasing him throughout Arizona and New Mexico over the years. As his influence and skill grew, the army devoted entire cavalry units to the pursuit and capture of the man. Along the way, he claimed many victorious battles against the army, but the Indian Wars culminated with his surrender, which pretty much ended the era of freedom for the indigenous peoples of the southwest.
In my next post I’m going to talk about the origins of the experiment that became the famous Buffalo Soldiers of the Ninth Cavalry. So follow me below on your favorite media for more revisionist history.
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