on-line book icon

table of contents

National Historic Site
NPS logo

map of Grierson's operations against Victorio, 1880

Disarming the Agency Indians

CONVINCED THAT VICTORIO WAS drawing supplies and recruits from the Fort Stanton reservation, Colonel Hatch, now commanding the District of New Mexico, won permission to disarm the agency Indians. Converging columns arrived at the agency simultaneously on April 12, 1880. One came from Texas; composed of five troops of the 10th Cavalry under Colonel Grierson, it included Captain Lebo's Troop K from Fort Davis. Approaching from the west, Colonel Hatch had fought a bitter engagement with part of Victorio's band and had discovered agency identification tags on the bodies of some of the slain warriors.

About 320 Indians had been assembled, but they were nervous and suspicious. Over Grierson's objections, Hatch bowed to Agent Russell's demand that, to avoid exciting the Mescaleros unduly, only one company of infantry be sent into the Indian camp to receive the arms. The Apaches could not bring themselves to give up their weapons, and they began slipping out of the village and up a nearby mountainside. Seeing that the Indians were breaking for safety, Hatch unleashed Grierson, and the 10th Cavalry charged. Part surrounded the village, and the rest, carbines banging, swarmed up the slope. The Mescaleros scattered in small parties, but each found troops in pursuit. About 250 people gave up and were returned to the agency under guard. Between 30 and 50 made good their escape and probably joined Victorio. Hatch took the field in search of Victorio, while Grierson, after combing the Guadalupe Mountains for a week, returned to Texas. Again, Victorio took refuge in Mexico.


top of page

History  |   Links to the Past  |   National Park Service  |   Search  |   Contact

Last Modified: Fri, Oct 18 2002 10:00:00 pm PDT

ParkNet Home