Marc Simmons: Army enlisted Apache scouts in Indian wars

"An extraordinary chapter in Southwest history highlights the service of U.S. Army Apache Scouts. Authorized by Congress in 1866, the Native units, organized in companies, were used for tracking down their own brethren, who were still hostile.

The Chiricahua branch of the tribe provided the largest number of scouts. Its range originally stretched from the Rio Grande across Southern New Mexico and deep into Arizona.

Apache Scouts voluntarily signed on for three, six or 12 months and many re-enlisted repeatedly. One scout named Deklay served the Army a total of 34 years.

All were issued regular uniforms, but Indians were allowed to wear what they pleased. Hence, Chiricahuas were often seen decked out in odd mixes of both Apache and military styles.

Army officers from the East, assigned to the region, were often hesitant to use Apaches as scouts, doubting their loyalty. They learned quickly, however, to rely on them. "

Get the Story:
Marc Simmons: Trail Dust: Apache Scouts helped Army against Native 'hostiles' (The Santa Fe New Mexican 11/5)

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