Cochise and the "Bascom Affair"
January 28, 1861 Lieutenant George Bascom invited Cochise and several of his best men into their camp for a friendly dinner. Cochise had complied with the request, believing the soldiers knew, as he did, that a band of Coyoteros Apaches had kidnapped the boy, and that the Chiricahuas had nothing to do with it. Cochise and his men were arrested. Bascom informed Cochise that he was under arrest, to be held as hostage for return of the child. Cochise defended his case and told the soldiers that he did kidnap anyone, but they refused to believe him. Cochise was able to escape by boring a hole through the tent in which he was held in. Bascom then ordered the hanging of six Apache prisoners. Cochise never trusted a white man again. In 1862 the murder of Chief Mangus Colorado (Red Sleeve) and the mutilation of his body only increased the hostility between Apaches and the United States.
Cochise - The Battle of Apache Pass
After his escape, Cochise led the Apache Indians that were under his control and increased the number of raids against United States settlements and camps. Hundreds of civilians were killed and others, fearing for their lives evacuated from their houses. Then came the famed ambush of the California Volunteers in Apache Pass on July 15, 1862. Unfortunately for the Indian tribe, the American soldiers brought out their artillery guns (howitzers) which forced them to retreat.
Cochise becomes War Chief
Cochise was not daunted by the heavy artillery and in 1863 he was made war chief of the Apaches. He fought stubbornly against the Americans targeting settlements, stagecoaches and mail carriers.
Cochise and Tom Jeffords
In 1867 a brave mail contractor named Tom Jeffords had the courage to ride into Cochise's camp to ask for a personal treaty. Cochise was so impressed by the man's courage that he honored the request. After that, mail carriers were never molested, and Tom Jeffords and Cochise became close friends.
Cochise and the Peace Treaty
In 1872 the United States government represented by General Otis Howard sought to pacify the Chiricahua Apaches and Cochise by assigning them a reservation in their Dragoon Mountains homeland, Cochise agreed provided that Tom Jeffords was appointed agent. Two years after the peace agreement was settled, Cochise suffered a disease which was believed to be stomach cancer and died on June 8, 1874. His remains were secretly buried in a place deep in Dragoon Mountains along with his weapons. In 1876 the Chiricahua's reservation was terminated and the people were forced to move. It was Geronimo who then became war chief and continued the war with the white settlers.
Cochise is Exonerated by Fellix Tellez
A decade after his death, Cochise’s innocence was proven when the kidnapped Fellix Tellez appeared and worked for the U.S. Army. He said that it was a Western Apache tribe that kidnapped him and Cochise was not part of it. Fellix Tellez served the American Army as a scout who spoke Apache. Cochise was at last exonerated.
The Story of Cochise
For additional facts and information refer to the legend and the Story of Cochise and the Story of the Apache Wars.
The Apache Wars
The Apache Wars were a series of conflicts fought over 50 years (1851 - 1900) with American settlers and the US army against many Apache tribes in the southwestern United States. The Apache tribes involved in the conflicts included the Chiricahua, Jicarilla, Mescalero, Lipan, Chihenne or Warm Springs Apaches. The famous leaders of the Apache Wars were Geronimo, Cochise, Chatto, Victorio and Juh.