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Victorio's Last Stand

VICTORIO WENT BACK TO HIS STRONGHOLD in the Candelaria Mountains of Mexico. Grierson's command Victorio's Last Stand returned to the monotonous but exacting duty of patroling the Rio Grande frontier. Troops from Arizona and New Mexico formed an expedition under Col. George P. Buell that, with Mexican permission, drove deep into Chihuahua. But it was to be the Mexicans themselves who destroyed Victorio. On October 14, 1880, Col. Joaquin Terrazas with a large force of volunteers and Tarahumari Indian scouts caught the Apaches at Tres Castillos. For a day and a night the adversaries waged a bitter and bloody battle. A Tarahumari sharpshooter dropped Victorio, abruptly ending the career of this remarkable leader who had terrorized New Mexico, Texas, and Chihuahua for 2 years. His following was all but annihilated. Most of the survivors, including the aged Warm Springs Apache chieftain Nana, joined Geronimo in the Sierra Madre, to the west, and carried on the traditions of Victorio for another 5 years.

A few survivors—12 warriors, 4 women, and 4 children— returned to Texas. In January 1881 they stopped a stagecoach in Quitman Canyon and killed the occupants. Baylor's Texas Rangers took the trail. It twisted and turned through mountain and desert, but Baylor hung on. He was reinforced on January 24 by Lt. C. L. Nevill and a detachment of Rangers who had been stationed at Fort Davis operating against outlaws. At dawn on January 29 the Rangers surprised the Apache camp high in the Sierra Diablo. Four warriors, two women, and two children fell in the first fire; the rest, most of them wounded, scattered. With this action, the Indian wars of Texas drew to a close.


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

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