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The Black Legend: George Bascom, Cochise, and the Start of the Apache Wars

The Black Legend: George Bascom, Cochise, and the Start of the Apache Wars

by Doug Hocking


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In 1861, war between the United States and the Chiricahua seemed inevitable. The Apache band lived on a heavily traveled Emigrant and Overland Mail Trail and routinely raided it, organized by their leader, the prudent, not friendly Cochise. When a young boy was kidnapped from his stepfather’s ranch, Lieutenant George Bascom confronted Cochise even though there was no proof that the Chiricahua were responsible. After a series of missteps, Cochise exacted a short-lived revenge. Despite modern accounts based on spurious evidence, Bascom’s performance in a difficult situation was admirable. This book examines the legend and provides a new analysis of Bascom’s and Cochise’s behavior, putting it in the larger context of the Indian Wars that followed the American Civil War.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781493034451
Publisher: TwoDot
Publication date: 10/01/2018
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Doug Hocking was born on Long Island. While still young, Hocking was transplanted to the Jicarilla Apache Reservation in New Mexico where he grew up forming close friendships with Native Americans and Mexican Americans learning the peoples, cultures, and terrain of the Southwest. Hocking currently lives in Sierra Vista, Arizona, where he has frequently visited the site of Forts Buchanan and Breckenridge, Cochise’s Stronghold, Johnny Ward’s Ranch, and Apache Pass, seeing them through the eyes of historian, ethnographer, and archaeologist.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Chapter 1 An Overview of the Black Legend of Cochise and Lieutenant Bascom 1

Chapter 2 George Nicholas Bascom 30

Chapter 3 Richard S. Ewell, the Occupation of Arizona, and the Founding of Fort Buchanan 48

Chapter 4 The Settlements of Arizona 71

Chapter 5 Life at Fort Buchanan 98

Chapter 6 Cochise and the Overland Mail 117

Chapter 7 Apache Fight for Survival 133

Chapter 8 The Raid on Johnny Ward's Ranch 143

Chapter 9 Negotiating with Cochise 161

Chapter 10 Life Surrounded by Five Hundred Apaches 177

Chapter 11 Surgeon Irwin Earns First Medal of Honor 184

Chapter 12 The Cavalry Arrives 191

Chapter 13 Cochise's Revenge 203

Chapter 14 Aftermath 221

Chapter 15 Conclusions: Why War Came 247

Chapter 16 Conclusions: Bascom Exonerated 255


Appendix A Company C, 7th Regiment of U.S. Infantry, February 1861 268

Appendix B Sergeant Daniel Robinson's Wagon Train 272

Appendix C Others at Apache Pass 274

Appendix D Increased Commitment to Guard the Overland Mail 277

Appendix E Biographical Index 280

Appendix F The Arizona Wagon Train 295

Appendix G Military Correspondence 298

Appendix H Apache Accounts 306


Apache Band Regions in the Gadsden Purchase (ca. 1861) 316

Overland Mail Station Route 317

Apache Pass 318

Endnotes 319

Bibliography 354

Index 363

About the Author 375

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