After the Civil War, between the year of 1866 and 1870 the natives and the white man...read Cavalry... did battle no less than 137 times in Arizonza alone. And from these almost 650 natives would perish, as did about 30 cavalry men.
Regardless of the side you might wish to have compassion for, you might give some thought to what a government annual report covering 1869 had to say. It was quoting in part the input of General Edward O.C Ord. I'll borrow a few lines on this subject from Robert M. Utley's book entitled..."Frontier Regulars: The United States Army and the Indian, 1866-1890." Therein the author makes the profound statement that...
A populace (was) tormented by murder, property loss, and constant insecurity savagely abused by its defenders for their poor showing. At the same time, the army viewed the citizens with growing resentment. Too many were vowed exterminationists, and their insistence on classing all Indians as hostile sometimes added unnecessarily to the hostile ranks. The intensity, if not the origins, of both the Yavapai and Walapai hostility could be traced to white treachery. Furthermore, as the Indians kept the mines from full development, the major business of Arizona came to be the Army. McDowell's successor, Gen. Edward O.C. Ord, put it bluntly in 1869: "Almost the only paying business the white inhabitants have in that territory is supplying the troops... If the payments and quartermasters of the Army were to stop payment in Arizona, a great majority of the white settlers would be compelled to quit it. Hostilities are therefore kept up with a view tp protecting inhabitants, most of whom are supported by the hostilities." Thus the populace dammed the army for lethargy, and ineffectiveness, and the army dammed the populace for provoking war, then fattening on the soldiers who had to fight it."
But that aside, back in 1869 F troop of the 8th US Cavalry found themselves at Senaca Mountain in the state of Arizona. Pinpointing it more closely, they were at the area where the North South river known as the Agua Fria River flows through the mountain range. The troop was probably about 20 miles north west of modern day Phoenix.
It is most difficult to locate any information about the numbers of combatants on either side. It is equally difficult in getting any of the details of the clash other than that they actually did battle on the 25 of August. As frustrating, any records found so far seem to suggest that at the end of the day's battle no less than 8 soldiers from the 8th US Cavalry were recommended for a Medal of Honor. Eight were awarded on 3 March 1870, and from five that I have had a look at no clues are yet available on the duties performed that day. The only thing I can find so far was that the medals were awarded for simply... "Gallanty in Action."
One of these came to Canadian Pte Herbert T Mahers. His home town as well as any information about his life before or after the war and where he was finally laid to rest are as much of a mystery as are the duties he and the others performed during the battle.
Over the next month I hope to be able to gain further information to share with you about Herbert and several other recipients that have been noted in past blogs.
In the mean time I can add that his deed was performed on 25 August 1869 and that was 144 years ago Sunday past.