'I Will Not Surrender the Hair of a Horse's Tail'

The Victorio Campaign 1879

Dr Robert N. Watt

A major new account of the Victorio Campaign of 1879-1881, the most intensive confrontation between Apaches and the USA since the early 1860s.
Publication date:
November 2017
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Illustration :
67 photos, 6 diags, 11 maps, 22 tables
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781911512769

Dimensions : 245 X 170 cm


• This research reconstructs both the US Army's and the Apaches' strategies and tactics deployed in 1879. There has been little effort to reconstruct a comprehensive review of the former and no effort to outline the latter's stratagems
• The work makes a conscious effort to reconstruct this history from primary sources contained in the US national archives and other regional archives in the Southwest USA. It also utilises local contemporary newspapers
• The primary sources challenge the view that the Apache conflict was insignificant from the mid-1870s (mixture of diplomacy and the end General Crook's first successful military campaigns against the Apaches) through to late 1881 (mutiny of Apache scouts at Cibecue and the flight of the Chiricahua Apaches to Mexico through to the final surrender of Geronimo in 1886). The conflict brought about by the effort of the US Government to concentrate Apaches on one reservation provoked a major war between the USA and those Apaches fighting to be returned to their original reservations
• Reconstructs the political context within which the US army had to operate whilst trying to campaign against the Apaches. This clarifies the political obstacles to achieving military success for the US army independent of their Apache opponents. It also explains how and why the US army and other regional actors acted in such a way as to try to circumvent these political barriers

This volume covers the background to the Victorio Campaign of 1879-1881. In the early 1870s, a mixture of diplomacy and successful military campaigning by General George Crook led to the formation of several reservations for various Apache groups such as the Mescalero, Chiricahua and Western Apaches. Almost before the ink was dry on these treaties, an effort was made to rationalise this arrangement by placing the Apaches upon one reservation (the concentration policy). The first reservation to close was the Fort Bowie reservation, which belonged to the Chokonen (Central Chiricahua) Apaches. Some chose to resist, and this resistance - combined with the continued drive for concentration - brought about the closure of the Cheyenne (Eastern Chiricahua) Apache reservation at Ojo Caliente, New Mexico, in 1877 and their removal to the San Carlos reservation in Arizona. The Chihennes were led by Victorio, Nana and Loco at this time, and they chose to accept the move, even though this was to the territory of the Western Apaches (with whom they often had a mutually hostile relationship). The land they were allocated was not healthy and a deadly feud between the Chihennes and the San Carlos Apaches quickly flared up; in September 1877, Victorio led a large portion of his people off San Carlos and tried to return to Ojo Caliente. Between 1877 and 1879, Victorio and his followers resisted their removal back to San Carlos - periodically fleeing and raiding mainly in Mexico to survive; they minimised hostile activity in the USA in order to keep alive their hopes of a return to Ojo Caliente. By August 1879, Victorio gave up hope that a return to Ojo Caliente was possible and declared war on the USA, as well as continuing their conflict with the Mexicans. Between September and December 1879, Victorio and his warriors - no more than 150 strong (and often as little as 50) - inflicted a number of defeats upon the Ninth Cavalry, US citizen volunteers and Mexican State troops. By the end of this volume, they had taken refuge - undefeated - in Northern Mexico and were poised to return to continue their battle with the USA for the return of their reservation. This research will outline the previously unreconstructed and sophisticated strategies and tactics utilised by Victorio, Nana and their followers to defeat every opponent sent against them.


This tale of Victorio and Nana and their Chihenne Apaches as they take on the might of the Ninth Cavalry is inspirational and enthralling, and this book will go down in the annals of American history as an account of their humiliation because of their policies against the indigenous Indian peoples.
Books Monthly

Listed in Military History Monthly's round up of the best military history titles for March 2018.
Military History Monthly

...an exceptionally detailed narrative enriched with 18 period photos, numerous illustrations and plenty of superb maps.
Bulletin MHS