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VERDE HERITAGE 1874: Rio Verde Indian Reservation Report

"REPORT OF ACTING SURGEON WILLIAM H. CORBUSIER, United States Army."

"This is a temporary camp at the Rio Verde agency; situated two and one-half miles west of the Rio Verde and sixteen miles north of Camp Verde. It is located on a small stream, which comes out of the rocks about one hundred and fifty yards west of the camp, and is a continuation of a stream which flows down the mountains, sinks in a canyon about two and one-half miles west of this place, runs through limestone, and makes its appearance again near the camp. The water has lime in solution, and is warmer at its place of exit than it is below, and has received from the Indians the name Hok-e-roo-ya, (hot water). [Haskell Spring near the college.] All the water for the use of the post is taken from this stream."

"Since the commencement of the year 1874, from fifteen to thirty men of Company K, Fifth Cavalry, and from thirty to one hundred and twenty Indians scouts, under Second Lieut. W. S. Schuyler, Fifth Cavalry, have been stationed here. At this time (December 31, 1874,) there are eighteen soldiers and forty scouts at the post. The soldiers have occasionally been changed, but the detail has always been from Company K."

"Until the 2nd of June last the camp was near the Rio Verde, and the men suffered very much from intermittent fever. The Indian agency being there the troops could not leave, and the agent could not be prevailed upon to move. In June, Lieutenant Schuyler took charge of the agency, and immediately moved out of the river bottom to the present location, at the foot of the mountains, 300 feet higher than the river."

"There are about one thousand five hundred Indians on the reservation, composed of Apache, Yumas, and Apache-Mojaves --- two tribes, speaking two different languages. These Indians are under three head chiefs, and are divided into fourteen bands, under petty chiefs. Scouts are selected from the Indians, and enlisted for six months. For a time they lived in shelter tents, and were camped two hundred yards back of the soldiers; but they now live with their people in brush-shelters of their own make. Soldiers' clothing is issued to them."

"Until December the men lived in old A-tents or in shelter-tents, but at that time they completed an adobe house, in which they now live altogether. The small stream spoken of runs about one hundred and twenty-five feet north of the camp. There are many acres of calcareous deposit from this stream, covered by one or two feet of clayey soil, and on this, where there is a slope of one foot in fifteen, the quarters are built."

"The barrack faces the east, is 39 1/2 by 21 1/2 feet, with walls 6 feet high and 18 inches thick; has a canvas roof and dirt floor, and has a door and two small windows in each of the walls, front and back. The doors and windows are canvas. There is a large chimney at the south end, which heats the room and makes it quite comfortable. The men sleep on rough, wooden single bedsteads, provided with ticks filled with grass, and plenty of blankets. The beds are arranged around the room with the heads toward the walls."

"North of this house eighteen feet is an adobe kitchen and dining-room in one, 23 by 16 1/2 feet, with walls 8 inches thick. It is also covered with canvas, and contains a stove and cooking utensils, a table, benches, etc. Outside at the north end is an oven in which the bread is baked."

"Officers' quarters consist of hospital-tents framed and floored, and provided with adobe fireplaces and chimneys."

"The guard-house is a wall-tent. The place of confinement for Indian prisoners is a hole sixteen feet square, dug in the side of a steep hill. A stone wall ten feet high is built on each side, and it is covered with a dirt roof. Although it is not to be commended, it is warm, well ventilated, and secure, and is the best that could be devised for temporary use."

"As there are no hospital accommodations here, this being a temporary camp, men sick enough to go to a hospital are usually sent to Camp Verde. A wall-tent is used as a dispensary."

"There are no stables for the horses; they are kept one hundred feet in back of the quarters. Back still farther is the sink; a new one is dug every two months. The Indian prisoners are constantly cleaning up; the refuse is burned, so the camp is kept very clean."

"There is a heavy growth of cedar on the hills all around, and this is the wood furnished by the contractors for fuel."

"The duties while here are light, but in the mountains a great deal of scouting is done on foot; three or four days' rations have to be carried, besides a blanket, carbine, and cartridges, and the duties are very arduous. High mountains have to be climbed, and deep, rocky canyons crossed under a broiling sun or through the snow, in order to find hostile Indians. The rarified air frequently adds greatly to the fatigue, causing palpitation of the heart and exhaustion."

According to the "consolidated sick report, Rio Verde Indian Reservation, 1873-1874" the "mean strength" of soldiers included 1 officer and 21 enlisted men. The number of cases of "intermittent fever [malaria] was 26.

("A Report on the Hygiene of the United States Army with Description of Military Posts;" Circular No. 8; War Department, Surgeon-General's Office; Washington, May 1, 1875; Washington, Government Printing Office, 1875.)

Because the Native Americans were declared to be "peaceful," the War Department no longer had control of the reservation or its inhabitants. The Interior Department took control through the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

1875: "Annual Report of the Commission of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior"

According to Levi E. Dudley, Special Commissioner of Indian Affairs: "'General Crook assured me that neither himself or his officers would place any obstruction in the way of removal, and he would afford me every assistance in his power EXCEPT TO COMPEL THEM TO MOVE BY MILITARY FORCE; and when the move was decided upon, General Crook did afford me every facility for transportation at his command. ... Of course the Indians were opposed to going, but when told it was the order of the President, that the move was intended for the purpose of placing them in a more healthy and better country, that the move was to be peaceable, and they were not to be driven by troops, their consent was obtained.'"

"The number of agencies through which the Apaches are cared for by the Government has been reduced during the year from 8 to 6 by the consolidation of the Verde with the White Mountain agencies with the San Carlos, and the removal of the Indians belonging there to the San Carlos reservation ... 1,400 from the Verde arrived March last." ...

(United States Bureau of Indian Affairs; U. S. Government Printing Office, 1875; pages 41-42; and Verde Independent; February 23, 2013.)

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