Mangas Coloradas

Mangas Coloradas

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Mangas Coloradas, a member of the Apache tribe, was born in New Mexico in about 1795. A superb warrior, he eventually became the chief of the Eastern Chiricahuas and led constant attacks on Mexican settlements in Sonora and Chihuahua.

In October 1846 Mangas Coloradas he began negotiations with Brigadier General Stephen Kearny in an attempt to form an alliance against the Mexicans. These discussions ended in failure and in 1852 Mangas Coloradas signed a peace treaty bringing an end to his raids on Mexico.

During the American Civil War Mangas Coloradas joined forces with Cochise to attack white settlers. Mangas Coloradas and Cochise killed five people during an attack on a stage at Stein's Peak, New Mexico. They also joined up with Victorio and Geronimo at the battle of Apache Pass. Soon afterwards he was badly wounded in another raid. Mangas Coloradas was taken to Janos where a Mexican doctor was forced to treat him. Apparently the doctor was warned that he would be killed if Mangas Coloradas did not recover.

Mangas Coloradas was eventually captured by a party of soldiers and taken to Fort McLane, New Mexico. He was murdered by his guard on 18th January, 1863.

Mangas Coloradas Apache (1793 - 1863)

American Indian tribes of New Spain, later New Mexico Territory were predominately Navajo and Apache. Rio Grande river seemed to be a dividing line between the Apache tribes: Mescalero on the east, Jicarilla on the west and Chiricahua in the southwest part of New Mexico Territory. See Resource Page New Mexico. [1] After gold was discovered, miners either rode right on through NM,AZ, Nevada in the frenzy to reach the California gold, or they began looking for gold in these territories.

Mangas Coloradus, known as "Red Sleeves" was the chief of the Bedonkohe branch of the Chiricahua or Coppermine Membreno Apache due living in area where the mines were located in New Mexico Territory. He became the chief of Mimbreno and Warm Springs Tribe in 1850. This was close to Gila cliff dwellings. He captured a young girl while on a raid in Mexico. He named her Tu-esseh. The couple had two sons, named: Sethmooda, (killed by Mexicans in Pinos Altos Mtns), and Carl Mangus (a Fort Sill scout). Chief Mangus Coloradas's daughter, Dos-teh-seh, was primary wife of Chief Cochise of the Chiricahua Tribe, There may have been more children by a second wife. His grandsons Taza and Naiche by Cochise, later became chiefs of the Chiricahua Tribe.

Gold (Mangas called it "yellow iron") was found In 1860 near Pinos Altos (long ago owned and mined by Spanish). This increased tension in an already tense time.. An incident at a mining camp, possibly in the Pinos Altos Mtns, Mangas Coloradas was whipped, which caused his distrust of American troop occupation of New Mexico. If the Apaches struck back, miners and settlers screamed. They carved up the Bedonkohe lands, cut down trees, killed or drove away the deer, elk, and buffalo that were food sources. One day Miners attacked a Bedonkohe camp, killing, wounding and capturing women according to Sweeney. [2] [3]

Because most chiefs felt deeply about their honor and were hurt when accused of lying, the incident of his being whipped was humiliating to him. Later this increased when his son in law, Cochise was shot and accused of lying. The two of them, their warriors joined forces of other branches with Chiricahuas, Bedonkohes, and Chokonens for many years of attacks on troops and settlers. Mangas led the dance. Even in his later years he had to be the strategist, at the front of each attack, be strong even if aging. Mangas took care of raids of southwestern NM, and Cochise took care of southeastern Arizona. [4] Because the Civil War was going on, the army had withdrawn to fight in that war. Mangas and Cochise blocked many trails or canyons, thus killing Americans. With the Army gone, many settlers, miners withdrew due to fear of being next.

Mangas Coloradas, as the Spanish and Mexicans named him, was known as La-choy Ko-kun-noste, alias "Red Sleeve", or Dasoda-hae, "He Just Sits There" by the Mimbreño (Tchihende) division of the Chokonen (Central) Chiricahua Apaches. Mangas stood somewhere between 6 foot 4 inches and 6 foot 8 inches tall, most unusual for an Apache. His imposing size surely contributed to his becoming a chief.

Mangas witnessed the intrusion of the Spanish and Mexican people upon Apache lands forcing his people to fight. He led the Apache on numerous raids against the hated invaders from the south. When the Americans came, Mangas and the other Apache leaders saw that these white men fought their enemies too and so for many years the Apaches were on friendly terms with the Americans. This would all change.

In 1861 two occurrences between Apache Chiefs and Americans began a war that would last into the 1920's. Below, what happened to Magnas Coloradas is detailed:

"In early 1861, the great Apache Chief Mangas Coloradas went to a mining camp at Santa Rita in New Mexico. He was going to tell the miners of richer veins nearby. The whites tied him to a tree and flogged him to within an inch of his life.

"When the beating was finished, Mangas crept back to his people. He had once been a great supporter of peace with the whites. But after the humiliating incident, Mangas joined his son-in-law Cochise in making war to the death."

Source: Chief Mangas Coloradas, True West Magazine, March 23, 2017 by Mark Boardman.

That same year a young US Cavalry officer wrongly accused Mangas' son in law, Chief Cochise, of kidnapping a white cattle rancher's son. The officer tried to detain Cochise and a party of his family and friends who had come in peace to meet the US Army's representative. Cochise escaped but in the end his family members and friends were executed, hung and left hanging for all to see. Cochise was infuriated.

The Apache Wars had begun by the hand of the Americans.

With the Civil War the presence of the US Army became almost non-existent as the soldiers were called east. The Apaches as well as other western warrior tribes thought they had pushed the Americans out of their lands. Then, in 1862, the California Column of the US Army came into Apache territory. They came to help put down the Confederate invasion of New Mexico. All the Apache chiefs knew was this large procession was crossing their land. Mangas and Cochise brought together around 300 Apache warriors and set up an ambush in Apache Pass that held the old Butterfield Stage Line's route in the Chiricahua Mountains. In the pass was a good fresh water spring, the only one for many miles in any direction. The California Column had no choice, they had to have that water. This is where the Apache chiefs set up an ambush. Their plan was a good one. They outnumbered the Americans two to one, the Americans would march right into the trap and the Americans would be forced to either die fighting for the water or leave and die for the lack of water. The only thing the Americans had going for them was they had brought two mountain howitzer cannons with them. The Apaches had no idea what a cannon could do. Before they broke and ran, abandoning the water, at least 50 Apache warriors had been killed. Mangas Coloradas was among those that were wounded.

After a slow recovery from a chest wound suffered at Apache Pass, and a complete recovery with the help of a Mexican doctor, Mangas was captured in January, 1863, by Captain Edmond Shirland's First California Volunteer Cavalry. Mangas trusted Shirland and rode in by himself to a meeting arranged by the Captain. The chief was taken to Fort McLean in Arizona, where Brigadier General Joseph Rodman West ordered his execution. Mangas was killed by guards when he protested against their torturing him with hot bayonets and the Apache Wars continued.

Mangas and his wife had several daughters but no sons so he made it his mission to marry off his daughters to the younger Apache chiefs or the sons of older Apache chiefs. He ended up the father-in-law of the Chiricahua (Tsokanende) Chief Cochise, the Mimbreño Chief Victorio and the Mescalero (Sehende) Chief Kutbhalla.

Mangas' Death

Mangas was shot in the chest at another battle of Apache Pass. He recovered and sent for a truce . The army was determined to kill him though. So in 1863 when they had him in custody, one of the militia officers gave the execution order.

" I want him dead or alive tomorrow morning, do you understand? I want him dead." [5] These were the words of Union Gen West.

They had him tied up, tortured him with bayonets to force him to try to escape. When he did so, he was shot. They cut off his head sent it to the Smithsonian Institute for some reason, yet Smithsonian Institute either never received it or it was mixed up in the uproar that of the Civil War or when Cochise went on the warpath. Find a Grave records show he is buried in Grant County, New Mexico. [6] [7]

This murder and mutilation of Mangas caused 25 more years of Apache war.

A gruesome side note to the life of Mangas Coloradas after his execution:

Introducing: Mangas Coloradas

When John Baylor invaded New Mexico Territory on behalf of the Confederacy in the summer of 1861, the Chiricahua Apache chief Mangas Coloradas had already been at war with the U.S. Army for several months. U.S. soldiers had tried to take his son-in-law Cochise prisoner during a parlay at Apache Pass the previous February, and all of the Chiricahua bands had declared a war of revenge on the Americans.

In the months since, they came together to attack military and civilian wagon trains across Apachería, Chiricahua territory that extended from the Dragoon Mountains east of Tucson to the Rio Grande, and south across the border into Mexico. For Mangas Coloradas and the Chiricahuas, the Civil War was part of a much longer history of their own engagements with American and Mexican soldiers, fought in defense of their territory and their sovereignty.

Mangas Coloradas had not reached his 70 th year in 1861 by resorting only to warfare in his interactions with foreigners, however. Depending on the circumstances, he negotiated with the soldiers, gold miners, surveyors, and other travelers who crossed his lands. Sometimes he charged them fees to pass through, other times he traded with them. Sometimes he sat down with their leaders and discussed treaties of peace. Whatever action he took, Mangas Coloradas always did so for the benefit of his people, the Bedonkohe and Chihenne bands he had led for more than fifty years.

Mangas Coloradas and his people were a serious challenge to both the Confederate and Union Armies’ campaigns to gain control of New Mexico in the early 1860s. In The Three-Cornered War, readers will follow Mangas Coloradas from his stronghold in the Mogollon Mountains in eastern New Mexico to Apache Pass in the west, south into Mexico, and then to the mining town of Piños Altos as he fights to defend Chiricahua territory against Confederate and Union incursions.

Readers will also notice that Mangas Coloradas is the only protagonist in The Three-Cornered War who is not represented by a portrait photograph. He never sat for the few photographers who traveled through the Southwest in the 1850s and 1860s. And although he was one of the most well-known people in the region during this time period, he was only rarely depicted in contemporary illustrations the latter are profoundly racist. Several historians have used a photograph of his son, Mangas, as a stand-in for him but this only confuses matters, so I decided not to use it. The only other image of Mangas Coloradas that I could find was a dual image of his skull, produced by an American phrenologist in 1873. Because I did not want that egregious postmortem image to represent Mangas Coloradas and his leadership of his people in the Civil War West, I chose to go without any image of him in the book.

The photograph I have used for this post is one that I took of Apache Pass, the place where everything changed for Mangas Coloradas and the Chiricahuas in the summer of 1862.

To tell Mangas Coloradas’s and the Chiricahuas’ story, I used Edwin Sweeney’s definitive biography (University of Oklahoma Press, 2011) Apache oral histories collected by Eve Ball (Indeh (1988) and In the Days of Victorio (1970)) the autobiography of Geronimo diaries and other accounts written by American surveyors, explorers, gold miners, and soldiers in the Southwest in the 1850s and 60s Paul Hutton’s The Apache Wars (Crown, 2016) Lance Blyth’s Chiricahua and Janos (University of Nebraska Press, 2012) military records of the Union Army’s Apache campaign collected in the OR and in Records of California Men in the War of the Rebellion and a site visit to Apache Pass, much of which is preserved as part of Fort Bowie National Historic Site in Arizona.

Chief Mangas Coloradas

Chief Mangas Coloradas

In early 1861, the great Apache Chief Mangas Coloradas went to a mining camp at Santa Rita in New Mexico. He was going to tell the miners of richer veins nearby. The whites tied him to a tree and flogged him to within an inch of his life.

When the beating was finished, Mangas crept back to his people. He had once been a great supporter of peace with the whites. But after the humiliating incident, Mangas joined his son-in-law Cochise in making war to the death.

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Mangas Coloradas’ Undue Fate

Managas Coloradas

There’s no way to look at the murder and mutilation of Apache Chief Mangas Coloradas without horror. He is considered by historians as one one of the most important Native American leaders of the 19th Century. He was a skilled war leader and chief and was father-in-law to Cochise.

Long before the “White Eyes” came to the southwest, the Apaches had warred with Mexicans. So in 1846 when the United States went to war with Mexico, Mangas Coloradas saw them as heroes attacking their common enemy. He signed a peace treaty with the U.S., promising soldiers safe passage through Apache lands.

That treaty was forgotten when gold and silver was later found. He long fought the “White Eyes” but came to understand he couldn’t defeat them, so sought a peace treaty to save his people.

In January of 1863, under a flag of peace and with assurances of his safety, Mangas Coloradas went alone into Fort McLane in southwestern New Mexico to meet with General Joseph Rodman West. Instead of talking peace, General West ordered the chief’s execution.

Soldiers tortured and killed the chief–pretending he was trying to escape. They took his body outside the camp, dug a shallow grave and buried him. But the next day they returned, dug him up, cut off his head and boiled it in a big black kettle.

The skull was sent to New York, where it was on display for a time. Native people believe it ended up in the Smithsonian Institution, but they have searched and found no record of it. Its fate is unknown. But the aftermath is tattooed into the hide of western history.

“Little did the White Eyes know what they were starting when they mutilated Mangas Coloradas,” said Asa Daklugie, the son of Chief Juh and nephew of Geronimo, whose oral history told to Eve Ball is the basis for her outstanding book, Indeh: an Apache Odyssey. “While there was little mutilation previously, it was nothing compared to what was to follow…It was White Eyes who started it (scalping in the Apache War.) The Indians of the east and of the plains practiced it a little, but not until both Mexicans and White Eyes scalped some of our people did Apaches resort to it.”

He said the “White Eyes” never understood how dastardly they had really been to Mangas Coloradas.

“His death was bad but to the Apaches, the troop’s cutting his head off and boiling it to get his skull were much worse….To an Apache, the mutilation of the body is much worse than death, because the body must go through eternity in the mutilated condition….That meant that their great chief must go through the Happy Place forever headless.”

The death and mutilation of Mangas Coloradas only increased hostilities between the Apaches and the ever-growing Anglo population coming into New Mexico and Arizona territories. What happened next was an ugly and bloody war that lasted 25 years.

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The Night They Shot Mangas Coloradas

"Men, that old murderer has got away from every soldier command and has left a trail of blood for 500 miles on the old stage line. I want him dead or alive tomorrow morning, do you understand? I want him dead."

These were the words of Joseph Rodman West, Brigadier General of the Union Army and future senator from Louisiana, as he addressed the sentries he had assigned to guard the Chiricahua Apache chief Mangas Coloradas through a dreary wintry night in a makeshift adobe prison cell at Fort McLane, southwestern New Mexico.

His sentries understood -- January 18, 1863.

Mangas Coloradas - US Public Domain Photo

". the single greatest leader the Apaches had was a physical giant as well as a domineering personality: Mangas Coloradas. " said James L. Haley, in Apaches: A History and Culture Portrait. "He was a truly striking figure with a hulking body and disproportionately large head. Born sometime in the early 1790's, Mangas was fast becoming an old man, but still he possessed cunning as impenetrable as the thick mat of hair that hung down to his waist. His lips were thin and tightly drawn, his nose aquiline. Mangas Coloradas' following was large and exceptionally cohesive, and he commanded great respect [among the Chiricahuas]."

Frustrated Search for Peace

In the summer of 1860, Mangas Coloradas (Red Sleeves, for the color of a shirt he wore), the principal chief of the Bedonkohe branch of the Chiricahua Apaches, had sought peace, not war, with the whites. With wisdom burnished by advancing years, he could see the American invasion surging relentlessly, like a tidal wave, threatening to engulf the Apache people. Facing the inevitable, Mangas had searched for ways to protect his band's desert basin and mountain forest country in southwestern New Mexico insure the safety of the Bedonkohes and his family and forge an American/Apache relationship based on trust and honor.

Unfortunately, American ranchers, farmers, stagecoach employees and miners – often protected by U. S. soldiers – had already begun carving up the Bedonkohe range. They staked homesteads in the wilderness, grazed livestock on desert and forest grasslands, broke the rich soils of river bottoms, opened mines into hillsides, and hunted the mountain slopes for game. They antagonized the Apaches by employing the mistrusted and hated Mexicans. The settlers – in effect, invaders – howled when Bedonkohes as well as other Apache bands struck back by raiding settlements and stealing livestock. Some Americans – who regarded the extermination of the Indians essentially as part of the process of clearing and developing the land – killed Apaches whenever and wherever they got a chance, often with government endorsement and support.

The climate of tension and conflict in southwestern New Mexico would only intensify after prospectors discovered what Mangas Coloradas called "yellow iron" near Pinos Altos – in a region once mined by the Spanish – on May 18, 1860. The strike set off a gold rush. Miners – a raw breed of frontiersmen – accelerated the assault on the Bedonkohes' lands, cutting down timber, driving out game, gouging up mountains. Determined to force the Apaches from their homeland, 30 miners launched a surprise attack on an encampment of Bedonkohes on the west bank of the Mimbres River at sunrise on December 4, 1860, supposedly in retaliation for the theft of miners' livestock. The miners "killed four Indians. wounded others, and captured thirteen women and children," according to Edwin R. Sweeney in his book Mangas Coloradas: Chief of the Chiricahua Apaches.

The military itself undermined any opportunity for trust and hope between the Americans and the Apaches, in large part because a green second lieutenant, George N. Bascom, and his troopers deceived another renowned Chiricahua Apache chief, Cochise, and lured him, his family and several warriors into a trap at Apache Pass, in southeastern Arizona in early February, 1861. Cochise, the son-in-law of Mangas Coloradas and principal chief of the Chokonen branch of the Chiricahuas, managed to escape, but Bascom held Cochise's family and warriors captive. Bascom torpedoed negotiations. Fighting erupted. Blood flowed on both sides. Known as the "Bascom Affair," it ended with six warriors, including Cochise's brother, hanging by ropes from the branches of trees. Like the visions in the witches' caldron in Macbeth, the swinging corpses foretold the coming nightmare of a long and brutal struggle between the Apaches and the Americans.

A Call to War

With his land besieged, his people threatened, and American trustworthiness shattered, Mangas Coloradas joined forces with Cochise, and they called the Chiricahuas – the Bedonkohes, the Chokonens, and other branches – to war. It would be remorseless and savage.

As an aging man and an old campaigner, Mangas knew well the price of war: the demand for constant vigilance, the continual poise for sudden flight, the trial of gnawing hunger, the hardships for the women and children, and the anguish of death.

He also knew the art and the peril of leadership. He knew he would lead the dance of war, the Apache dramatization of a coming battle. He would move around the fire in the night to the beat of the drums, summoning his warriors by name, one by one, to join him, and they would come, firing their weapons into the dark sky while the shaman chanted prayers for power and success. ". there is no backing out," a Chiricahua informant told Morris Edward Opler in an interview for the book An Apache Life-way: The Economic, Social, & Religious Institutions of the Chiricahua Indians, "I don't care if the odds are against him, a man goes out if he is called upon. He is frenzied, beside himself. It is the power, the prayers, and not just the man." Mangas Coloradas knew, too, that, even with his physical abilities diminished by his advancing years, he would put his life on the line every time as he led his warriors into battles. A leader, said an Opler informant, "would go before [his warriors] in battle and perform great feats to spur them on."

Even in his early 70's, Mangas Coloradas bore the mantle of Apache leadership with a will and force honored and respected by his people and feared by the Americans and Mexicans alike.

"Uniquely in the known history of the Apaches," said David Roberts in Once They Moved Like the Wind, "Mangas had sought to confederate the separate tribes. As well as being a master of intertribal diplomacy, Mangas was a military tactician of genius. He was also – as an Apache chief had to be to retain the following of his warriors – a champion in one-to-one combat. His relentless torment of white settlers enhanced his reputation for ruthlessness."

General John R. Bartlett, charged with surveying the boundary line between the U. S. and Mexico in 1851 said that Mangas Coloradas commanded "great influence among the several Apaches tribes. " He was ". a man of strong common sense, and discriminate judgment. "

In Apache Mothers and Daughters, by Ruth McDonald Boyer and Narcissus Duffy Gayton, Dilth-cleyhen, daughter of Victorio, another famous Apache chief, reported the she could only stare the first time she saw Mangas Coloradas, who stood well over six feet in height. It was his eyes, however, that attracted her the most. They were not large eyes, Dilth-cleyhen told Boyer and Gayton, but they shone brightly, and when he lifted her in play, she felt that he could see right through her. She said that they were kind eyes, laughing, but penetrating. Dilth-cleyhen also knew that those eyes could turn ferocious.

The Battle Joined

While Cochise rampaged across southeastern Arizona, Mangas Coloradas either led or inspired increased raiding in southwestern New Mexico, especially in the gold mining region around Pinos Altos. With the Civil War erupting, the Butterfield Overland Mail stagecoach service abandoned its route and the trail and way stations across Oklahoma, Texas, southern New Mexico and southern Arizona into southern California. Butterfield employees, settlers, tradesmen and even some miners quit their homes and businesses to head for the east and safety. Union forces withdrew from the region, heading east to battle Confederate forces advancing up the Rio Grande. "There came a great war when white men fought white," Apache informant James Kaywaykla told Eve Ball, who interviewed him for her book In the Days of Victorio, "and their troops were withdrawn from our territory. Mangas Coloradas and Cochise thought that at last the invaders were giving up the attempt at conquest, and they rejoiced."

The two chiefs now combined their warriors into a single unified force, aiming to drive out the last remnants of Americans and Mexicans. Beginning a litany of violence – which is detailed by Sweeney – Mangas Coloradas and Cochise first blockaded the principal route between Mesilla, New Mexico, and Tucson, Arizona, taking command of the trail where it passed through the narrow Cooke's Canyon. They knew that the canyon, which passed immediately south of Cooke's Peak, a landmark in southwestern New Mexico, would draw travelers to its dependable spring water, funnel them through the rocky corridor, and serve as a perfect ambush site.

During the summer of 1861, the Apache warriors of Mangas Coloradas and Cochise massacred and mutilated a party of seven near the east end of the canyon. Near the same location, they massacred and mutilated a party of eight or nine Mexican herdsmen and stole their 40 head of cattle. Again, near the same location, they attacked a wagon train of east-bound refugees, killing four, wounding eight, and stealing as many as 400 cattle and 900 sheep. Over the months, the forces of Mangas Coloradas and Cochise left what one chronicler called "many bones, skulls, & graves" in Cooke's Canyon. Eventually, the Apaches killed as many as 100 Americans and Mexicans in Cooke's Canyon, making it the most feared passage on the trail from Mesilla to Tucson.

As the summer of 1861 drew to a close, Mangas and Cochise grew more bold, leading a large force of warriors against the mining communities near Pinos Altos. The Apaches killed five and wounded seven. Later, they attacked two wagon trains, killing several more. They tortured two captives to death.

Mangas and Cochise cast a web of blood and terror across southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona in 1861 and 1862, but they also paid a heavy price. Both chiefs suffered wounds in the fighting. They lost dozens of top warriors, including relatives, good friends and close allies. Mangas, burdened by his advancing age, evidently felt his appetite for war begin to wane. Moreover, he heard a drumbeat of bad news. A Mexican force had killed seven Chiricahuas, including his brother, in northern Chihuahua. A Confederate force captured and executed several more Chiricahuas. Smallpox ravaged Chiricahua bands near the Mexican villages of Janos and Fronteras.

Perhaps even more menacingly, a volunteer column of more than 2,000 Union troops, under the command of Brigadier General James Henry Carleton – a man who would develop a rabid hatred for Mangas and Cochise – had begun a march from California eastward across the Apache lands to reassert American control in the Southwest.

James Henry Carleton
- US Public Domain Photo

In answer, on July 15, 1862, Mangas and Cochise, with some 200 warriors, ambushed a detachment of about 100 of the California volunteers at Apache Springs, at Apache Pass, in southeastern Arizona. "Every tree concealed an armed warrior," said John C. Cremony in his classic Life Among the Apaches, "and each warrior boasted his rifle, six-shooter and knife. A better armed host could scarcely be imagined." After a hard fight, however, the Chiricahuas withdrew, outgunned by the detachment's two mountain howitzers. In a skirmish near the end of the fight, Mangas suffered a terrible gunshot wound.

"The Apaches carried Mangas all the way to the town of Janos, in Mexico—a distance of 120 miles in a straight line," said David Roberts. "At Janos resided an Anglo doctor in whose talents, uncharacteristically, the Apaches had great faith. They handed Mangas, who was near death, over to the doctor, and told him that if he failed to save the chief, they would kill everyone in the village. Mangas recovered."

The Last Reach for Peace

In the late summer of 1862, Mangas Coloradas, now an old man physically scarred and emotionally wounded by war, reached once more for peace. He met with an intermediary to issue a call to the Americans for peace. He summoned his Bedonkohe band into council and proposed peace with the Americans. Against the advice of other leaders, he decided that he would take the risk of going in person to meet with the military officials to explore the possibility for peace. "Mangas Coloradas knew the danger well but wanted peace so badly that he risked his life," said Ace Daklugie, the son of a contemporary Chiricahua chief, in Eve Ball's book An Apache Odyssey: Indeh.

Unknown to Mangas, General Carleton, with a contempt born of sanctimony, had said, "Mangas Coloradas sends me word he wants peace, but I have no faith in him." He then issued General Order No. 1, directing Joseph Rodman West – another officer with a rabid hatred of Apaches – to undertake a campaign to "chastise" Mangas' people, "that band of murderers and robbers. "

On January 17, 1863, several of West's troopers and a party of miners raised a white flag at Pinos Altos in a symbolic invitation to a council for peace. Mangas responded. He came in good faith, escorted by 12 Chiricahuas, expecting, Sweeney said, ". that the whites would embrace his offers for peace. " especially after ". a war that the Apaches felt had been forced upon them by the whites." As Mangas and his escort arrived, under the white flag of truce, armed soldiers burst from hiding, and ". our squad suddenly leveled our guns upon the [Indians]. " a miner reported later. In an act of treachery, the Americans had taken the old warrior hostage. They released his 12 escorts, sending them back to their people to deliver the news of Mangas' capture.

The troopers took their lone prisoner about 15 miles south to Fort McLane, which had been abandoned and burned in 1861 but pressed back into service for West's campaign. One soldier commented that "Mangas was the most magnificent specimen of savage manhood that I have ever seen." General West, a pygmy by comparison, looked up at his tall prisoner, snidely calling him "an old scoundrel" and saying that he had murdered his "last white victim." In what would prove to be another act of deception, West told Mangas that he and his family would be imprisoned together but would be "well treated."

Meanwhile, West told his sentries, "I want him dead."

West had Mangas thrown into the makeshift adobe cell, where the old chief covered himself with a blanket against the cold and lay down to try to sleep when darkness fell. About midnight, his guards began to torment him, heating their bayonets in a campfire and burning Mangas' feet and legs with the hot metal. They watched him flinch at the searing pain, then they shot the old man to death, answering West's order to kill him. Mangas Coloradas had been "trying to escape," they said, giving West a cover.

"The soldiers who murdered him treacherously buried his body in a shallow grave," Daklugie told Eve Ball. "The next day they dug it up, cut his head off, and boiled it to remove the flesh. Then they sent the skull to the Smithsonian Institution."

In another interview, Daklugie had told Ball that Mangas' ". death was bad, but to the Apaches the troops' cutting his head off and boiling it to get his skull were much worse. That meant that their great chief must go through the Happy Place forever headless."

"The killing of an unarmed man who has gone to an enemy under truce was an incomprehensible act," James Kaywaykla told Eve Ball during an interview for In the Days of Victorio, "but infinitely worse was the mutilation of his body. Little did the White Eyes know how they would pay when they defiled the body of our great chief!"

General Carleton felt proud of the brave guards who shot Mangas Coloradas to death that night. He thought he had broken the back of Chiricahua resistance in southwestern New Mexico. He was wrong. Cochise and other Apache chiefs followed in the footsteps of Mangas Coloradas. The clash of cultures would continue for almost another quarter of a century.

Edwin R. Sweeney's Mangas Coloradas: Chief of the Chiricahua Apaches, the definitive work on the chief, has been my paramount source for this article. I recommend it highly to anyone interested in Mangas Coloradas, the Chiricahuas or the Apache wars.

Great Apache Chief Mangas Coloradas

Of all the ferocious Indian tribes that struck terror in the hearts of whites, the Apache were among the most fierce. And, among Apache leaders, one was especially feared, but most Americans today have never heard of him. Those great Apache leaders who came after him and whom he mentored became famous and revered: Geronimo, Cochise, Victorio, Lozen. They owed much to one great Apache chief named Mangas Coloradas. His Apache name was unpronounceable to whites, but his Mexican foes named him “Mangas Coloradas,” meaning “Red Sleeves,” for the blood of the many Mexicans he killed. Today historians regard him as one of the most important Native American leaders in the 1800s, partly because of his remarkable fighting achievements not only against Mexico, but against the American Army, but also for his brilliant guerilla strategies and astute leadership in uniting many disparate bands to fight for their lands and heritage.

Mangas Coloradas may today live in the shadows of the legacies of Cochise and Geronimo, but in his day, they followed in his shadow. In great part because of his legacy as a great and honorable warrior chief and then, his horrific death, Geronimo and Chochise and other Apache leaders vowed revenge. And they kept their word.

Mangas Coloradas cast a long shadow in part because he was a giant of a man, literally: 6’6” tall with a very powerful frame. A young white prospector met the chieftain just days before his death at age 70 and wrote of his imposing stature: “Mangas was a very large athletic man….His shoulders were broad and his chest full and muscular. He stood erect and his step was proud. Altogether he presented quite a model of manhood.”


1800-luvun alussa nykyisen New Mexicon alueelta Santa Rita del Cobresta tehdyt kuparilöydöt saivat apassit tekemään sopimuksen meksikolaisten kanssa vuonna 1822. Tuolloin chiricahua-apassien päämiehenä toiminut Juan José Combás salli kaivostoiminnan aloittamisen kansansa mailla. Osa chiricahuoista vastusti kaivoksia ja siirtyi asumaan kauemmas Ojo Calienten lämpimille lähteille johtajanaan Cuchillo Negro (Baishan) [5] .

Mangas Coloradasin viha meksikolaisia kohtaan sai alkunsa vuonna 1837, kun Santa Ritan pienessä kaivoskaupungissa surmattiin joukko sinne juhliin kutsuttuja chiricahuoita. Kyseessä oli päänahanmetsästäjien virittämä ansa. Chihuahuan maakunnan hallitus oli luvannut tietyn rahasumman jokaisesta apassin päänahasta ja tämä lupaus johti joukkosurmiin. Ammuttujen joukossa oli myös Juan José Combás. [6] [7]

Verilöylyssä mukana ollut Mangas Coloradas menetti vaimonsa, mutta onnistui itse pakenemaan pienen poikansa kanssa. Tapauksen jälkeen hän yhdisti voimansa Cuchillo Negron ja muiden chiricahua-johtajien kanssa ja hävitti meksikolaisasutukset Santa Ritassa ja sen ympäristöstä. [8]

Yhdysvaltain armeijan liikkuessa apassien maiden halki vuonna 1846 valloittamaan Kaliforniaa, tarjosi Mangas Coloradas apuaan meksikolaisten maakuntien valtaamisessa. Yhteistyö toimi hyvin chiricahuoiden osallistuessa kenraali Stephen W. Kearnyn sotilasosaston rinnalla taisteluihin Meksikon sodassa. [1] Seuraavan vuosikymmenen kultalöydöt chiricahuain mailta ennakoivat heille kuitenkin huonoa tulevaisuutta. Mangas Coloradas pyrki säilyttämään rauhanomaiset suhteensa Pino Altosin kullankaivajiin, jotka elivät sekä apassien että satunnaisten navajo-ryhmien alituisen hyökkäysuhan alla. Saatuaan kutsun kullankaivajien kylään Mangas Coloradas käveli suoraan ansaan. Kaivosmiehet sitoivat chiricahua-johtajan puuhun ja ruoskivat häntä säälimättömästi. [4] . [9]

Kullankaivajien käsittelyn jälkeen vapaaksi päästetyn Mangas Coloradasin henkiset haavat eivät parantuneet. Hän pyysi apua vävyltään Cochiselta. Kostotoimenpiteet pantiin täytäntöön, ja chiricahuat autioittivat Pino Altosin kaivoskylän. Vuonna 1861 luoteinen New Mexico ja Arizonan kaakkoiset alueet saivat vastaanottaa lukuisia Mangas Coloradasin ja Cochisen johtamia iskuja. Vuonna 1862 he veivät soturinsa kenraali James H. Carletonin kolonnaa vastaan. Taistelut kävivät kuitenkin raskaiksi chiricahuoille. Monta hyvää soturia kuoli ja lisäksi Mangas Coloradas sai vastaanottaa suru-uutisen. Meksikolaiset joukot olivat surmanneet hänen veljensä. Taistelujen loppuvaiheessa Mangas Coloradas haavoittui rintaan ja putosi hevosensa selästä. Pelästyneet soturit kantoivat vertavuotavan johtajansa pois rintamalta ja lopettivat sodan vähäksi aikaa. [10]

Cochise päätti yrittää pelastaa Mangas Coloradasin hengen. Hän ei luottanut apassien omiin parantajiin, vaan kuljetti soturisaattueen kanssa Mangas Coloradasin meksikolaiseen Janosin kylään, jossa oli laajan maineen saavuttaneen lääkärin vastaanotto. Pahasti haavoittunut Mangas Coloradas luovutettiin tohtorin käsiin uhkavaatimuksen myötä: "Jollet paranna häntä, koko kaupunki kuolee!" [11] . [12]

Joitakin kuukausia myöhemmin Mangas Coloradas palasi kansansa luo Mimbres-vuorille (Mimbres Mountains). Hän sai kuulla, että kenraali Carleton oli antanut ohjeet kaikkien miespuolisten apassien surmaamisesta. Mangas Coloradasia tukeneet mescalerot oli vangittu Bosque Redondon reservaattiin, ja useita hänen heimoveljiään oli teloitettu. Kaiken muun lisäksi eräs chiricahuain kylistä oli joutunut isorokon saastuttamaksi. Vanhana ja sotaan väsyneenä Mangas Coloradas oli valmis rauhaan tietäen, että sopimusratkaisu olisi apassien kannalta viisain teko. [13]

Lentävien muurahaisten aikaan (apassikalenterin tammikuu) vuonna 1863 muuan meksikolainen ratsasti Mangas Coloradasin leiriin valkoisen lipun kanssa. [11] Mangas Coloradas sopi tapaamisen Kalifornian sotavoimien virkamiesten kanssa neuvotellakseen rauhasta. Mimbreño-päällikön soturit varoittivat johtajaansa Yhdysvaltain petollisuudesta, mutta Mangas Coloradas ei uskonut vastapuolen tekevän mitään pahaa vanhalle miehelle, joka halusi keskustella rauhasta. Hän otti mukaansa valkoisen lipun ja 15 soturiaan. Nähtyään amerikkalaisten nostavan leirissään rauhanlipun Mangas antoi sotureilleen määräyksen palata takaisin. Muiden apassien ratsastaessa pois chiricahua-johtaja joutui useiden aseistettujen sotilaiden ympäröimäksi. Jälleen kerran Yhdysvaltain armeija oli pettänyt hänet.

Aseistetut miehet saattoivat Mangas Coloradasin Fort McLeanin linnakkeen pihamaalle, jonne kenraali Joseph Westin komennuskunta saapui katsomaan vankia. [14] Mangas Coloradas pysytteli vaiti. Sotilaat määrättiin pitämään silmällä Mangas Coloradasta, jota vartioitiin yön ajan ulkona nuotion äärellä. Silminnäkijän mukaan joukko sotilaita lämmitti pistimiään tulessa ja sohi niiden kuumilla kärjillä Mangas Coloradasin jalanpohjia. Kun mimbreño-johtaja nousi ylös moittiakseen sotilaiden käytöstä ja suojellakseen itseään, vartiomiehet ampuivat häntä useita kertoja kuolettavasti. [15] [16]

Virallinen sotilasraportti kertoi Mangas Coloradasin kuolleen yrittäessään paeta. [15] [1] Tapauksen jälkeen armeijan kirurgi leikkasi Mangas Coloradasin pään irti sen suuren koon takia. Kallo keitettiin ja puhdistettiin ja lähetettiin lopuksi Smithsonian-instituuttiin lisätutkimuksia varten. [16] Seuranneissa pseudotieteellisissä tutkimuksissa kallo mitattiin ja hänen aivonsa punnittiin. Tulos osoitti, että Mangas Coloradasin aivot olivat painavammat kuin siihenastista ennätystä pitäneellä Daniel Websterillä. [17] Coloradasin tekemän ennätyksen rikkoi vuonna 1955 kuollut Albert Einstein. [18]

Apache Descendants Hold Mangas Coloradas, Victorio and Lozen Dearly

Their Apache ancestors were chased, hunted and herded into history. Shaped by decades of war, Geronimo, Cochise, Victorio, Lozen and Mangas Coloradas (and those they ran with) cultivated a genius for survival so their descendants could live on.

In what can only be received as a triumph of the Apache people, this year Shaylee Mangas and Haley D. Apache Tsinnijinnie participated in their tribe’s puberty rites over 4th of July weekend in Mescalero, New Mexico. The girls, who are cousins, are also winners of the Apache birth lottery trifecta they are both descendants of larger than life ancestral figures Mangas Coloradas, Warm Springs Apache leader Victorio and his sister Lozen, a medicine woman who could divine their enemies’ whereabouts and steer her people clear.

The girls were honored by a visit from another cousin, a young marine stationed in 29 Palms, California, who came home to pray with them, to speak Apache language with their grandmother, and to celebrate that their ancestors’ great hardships and early deaths were not in vain. His name is Coloradas Mangas, and like his ancestor’s position vis a vis U.S. military, his name is flipped from the original. Mangas Coloradas was a combatant with Coloradas Mangas, a combatant for. It might seem an almost ironic translation of an ancestor’s legacy, but circumstances have changed enough in the ensuing generations that the inversion of both the name and the role makes sense to the family as a continuation of their lineage.

Coloradas Mangas, a U.S. Marine, attended the puberty rites for his cousins, and is descended from Mangas Coloradas, Victorio, and Lozen.

“We know who we are, where we come from, and not just who our family is, but what our people fought for—pride, respect and family, to hold onto our lands, cultural background and way of life,” Coloradas explained.

Mangas Coloradas was a formidable Apache warrior, unstoppable by legitimate means, so he was stopped by illegitimate ones. Assassinated by Union soldiers in Fort McLane, then beheaded, his brain was scooped out of its skull and dispatched to the Smithsonian.

At the tribe’s Feast Grounds where his cousins’ puberty rites were being held, Coloradas cut a dignified figure even as the sun beat down relentlessly those early July afternoons.

“I’m wearing the uniform for my people who take a lot of pride in it,” he said.

Coloradas wrestled with the contradictions of joining the military force of the government that “put us here on reservations, placed us in boarding schools, suppressed us culturally especially our language and tradition.” But he eventually resolved it.

𠇏reedom trickles down to the reservation, so our way of life, our ability to protect our own language can continue into the future,” Coloradas said.

He is clear about his duties and what he is fighting for.

“My family wants our ancestor’s brain returned home to our people,” Coloradas said solemnly. “When it’s returned, we’ll do the ceremony to rebury it, perform all the prayers and blessings. Then we’ll be done with it.”

One hundred and fifty years ago, day to day,* the Apache chief Dasoda-hae — better known as Mangas Coloradas, “red sleeves” — was extrajudicially executed by U.S. Army soldiers at Fort McLane, New Mexico.

This legendary Apache statesman’s nickname was Spanish, because he’d spent the 1830s and 1840s fighting Mexicans seeking bounties on Apache scalps. Indeed, when the U.S. in 1846 attacked Mexico, Mangas Coloradas gave U.S. soldiers safe passage through Apache territory, and subsequently signed a treaty with the victorious Americans. (There’s a handy map of the scene in this pdf.)

He did his utmost to keep relations with the gigantic industrial society on his borders safely diplomatic, but over the 1850s Apaches spiraled into conflict with aggressive Anglo settlers drawn by the call of gold. In 1861 Mangas Coloradas married his daughter to another Apache chief, Cochise. These two were able to keep whites at bay with raids for a short time (and given a big assist from the resource diversion of the Civil War). But there was only one way this was going to end.

In January 1863, Mangas Coloradas — about 70 years old and still alive to the impossibility of long-term success by force of arms — arrived under a flag of truce to negotiate a ceasefire with Brigadier General Joseph Rodman West. West had him clapped in irons instead, and let his soldiers know exactly how to handle their prisoner.

Men, that old murderer has got away from every soldier command and has left a trail of blood for 500 miles on the old stage line. I want him dead or alive tomorrow morning, do you understand? I want him dead.

That night, Mangas Coloradas was tortured with red-hot bayonets and shot “trying to escape.” The Apache Wars would expand calamitously in the years to come.

The army medical officer David Sturgeon took the Apache’s scalped head (they scalped him, too), eventually bringing it to Ohio after he left the service. Sturgeon finally presented his prize to Prof. Orson Squire Fowler Fowler examined it and published a description in his 1873 work Human Science: Or, Phrenology: Its Principles, Proofs, Faculties, Organs, Temperaments, Combinations, Conditions, Teachings, Philosophies, Etc., Etc..**

The fate of this horrid trophy after it passed through Fowler’s hands is a mystery. It’s rumored that the Smithsonian received it, and perhaps surreptitiously got rid of it while the institution has always denied ever having the skull of Mangas Coloradas, it is a fact that the Smithsonian collected and still possesses an alarmingly enormous trove of Native American remains.

* It appears to me that Mangas Coloradas entered into army custody on January 17, and was shot just about midnight that night: the exact moment of the incident could be either the 17th or the 18th. An eyewitness account from one of the soldiers on night watch describes giving over the watch to George Lount until midnight. When the first watchman returned at that time, he noticed that “Mangas arose upon his left elbow, angrily protesting that he was no child to be played with. Thereupon the two soldiers [who had been torturing Mangas], without removing their bayonets from their Minie muskets, each quickly fired upon the chief, following with two shots each from their navy six-shooters.”

** What did the skull-measurer make of his prize? “It bulges out at its side in the region of Secretion, Caution, and Destruction, beyond anything I ever saw. Cunning is his largest organ, and far exceeds any other development of it I have ever seen, even in any and all Indian heads. It is simply monstrous. Yet Destruction also far exceeds any other development of it I ever saw …

“Conscience and Worship are unusually large, both absolutely and relatively, which coincides with the scrupulous fidelity with which he kept his promises. He doubtless thought he was but doing his duty in avenging the injuries white men had done to his tribe, by torturing and killing them. He must also have been a devout worshipper of the Great Spirit and extremely superstitious. Benevolence is very poorly developed indeed.”

(Mangas Coloradas actually was a very tall man with a very large head: a number of accounts attest to this.)

Watch the video: Mangas Coloradas (December 2022).

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