The settlers had sent repeated requests for military protection to the Arizona Territorial Headquarters at Fort Whipple. At last there was a response to their pleas. The importance of the Verde Valley settlement had finally been recognized.
Traveling in response to Special Order No. 21, 1st Lieutenant Antonio Abeytia left Fort Whipple on August 23, 1865. Company "K," 1st Cavalry, New Mexico Volunteers, consisted of 18 foot soldiers, a doctor and the 1st lieutenant. There were 4 broken-down mules pulling a wagon loaded with equipment and rations for 30 days. The march was uneventful until they started down the long hill to the Verde River.
Lois Boblett wrote about her journey from Prescott to "The Settlement" at the confluence of West Clear Creek and the Verde River in 1865. That group of 14 or 15 people "had and awful time. ... We had been traveling over 2 weeks when we reached the top of the divide, then we had a long hill to the river bottom. We all decided to call this mountain 'Grief Hill;' for we had such a hard trip over it." (see: "Diary of Lois A. Boblett;" manuscript; Camp Verde Historical Society Museum; etc.)
1st Lieutenant Antonio Abeytia wrote in his report; "Upon reaching the mountain top overlooking the valley [we] had not descended it one hundred yards when the transportation wagon broke down scattering contents some 600 yards down into the canyon. ... Suddenly the Indians, about 300 warriors armed with rifles, bows and arrows, made their appearance immediately above where the wagon broke down. ... There were only three men near the wagon. ... Before the others could reach them the Indians had burnt up everything except some muster rolls." ... (see: "Sacks Collection;" documents at Fort Verde Museum; Camp Verde, Arizona.)
James M. Swetnam wrote; "On the way down, within seven miles of the settlement, the soldiers were attacked by the Apaches, the commissary wagon captured and burned, and one or two troopers wounded, and two government mules killed." (History of Arizona; by Thomas Edwin Farrish, Arizona Historian; Volume IV; 1916; page 244.)
The primitive road and descent onto the Verde Valley was called "Grief Hill" after this event in August of 1865. Then, a specific place on that road came to be called "Grief Hill." The "grief" came from the fact that wagons had to be unloaded and lowered by block and tackle, while the contents of the wagon had to be caried by men and animals to the bottom of the hill.
Camp on Clear Creek of the Rio Verde:
The 20 men of Company "K" had spent a sleepless night guarding against another attack. They marched without food or water in the August heat toward the green cottonwoods in the valley. They arrived on the banks of the Rio Verde in the afternoon on August 27, 1865. Then they continued on to "The Settlement."
The military detachment set up a tent camp in the flat area near the stone fort the settlers had built for their own protection. Without much of their own food and supplies, they were dependant on the generosity of the settlers. Just the fact that soldiers had arrived was good news to the settlers. At the time, reported to be living at "The Settlement," were 17 men, two women [Mrs. Whitcomb and her daughter, Lois Boblett], and 3 children [Mr. Elliott had children, but where was Mrs. Elliott?].
The small unit of military men knew they were totally inadequate to protect the settlers. In September the Indians were raiding the corn fields. 1st Lieutenant Abeytia reported on September 11; "The Indians made another raid, taking some sixty bushels of corn and destroying a large quantity of it. There was at least 150 to 200 Indians in the cornfields that night. I must respectfully state that the Indians are quite numerous here and I look for them at any moment to get the herd and probably attack the camp." ... (see: Reports of Abeytia in the "Sack Collection" and the National Archives and Records Adminiatration, General Reference Branch, Washington, D. C., etc.)
Fort Verde; by Nicholas J. Eason; 1966; 30 pages.
Camp Lincoln and the Arizona Volunteers; "Poor Food, Poor Equipment, Poor Housing, Impossible Task: The Arizona Volunteers in the Verde Valley, 1866." by Stan Brown; 7 pages (internet).