More the logistical support of the Geronimo
More than 5,000 troops were under General Miles’ command at that time, including
elements of the 4th, 6th and 10th Cavalry. He gave the principal pursuit mission to the 4th
because it was headquartered at Fort Huachuca, the base of operations for the campaign.
The Army had permission to go to Mexico in pursuit.
Captain Henry Lawton, commanding officer of “B” Troop, 4th Cavalry, was an
experienced soldier who knew the ways of the Apaches. His tactics were to wear them
down by constant pursuit.
Stationed at the fort at that time were many men who would later become wellknown in the
Army: Colonel W. B. Royall, commanding officer of the fort and the 4th Cavalry, who was
responsible for the logistical support of the Geronimo campaign; Leonard Wood, who went
along on the expedition as contract surgeon; Lieutenant Colonel G. H. Forsyht; Captain
C.A.P. Hatfield; Captain J.H. Dorst; and First Lieutenant Powhatan H. Clarke, who was
immortalized by the artist, Remington, for saving a black trooper during the campaign.
With the fort as advance base for the pursuit forces, the heliograph communications
network, which General Miles had established in Arizona and New Mexico, was used
effectively for logistical purposes. However, the Indians and the Army were conducting
their chase in Mexico where the system did not extend. So the most the heliograph could
do in the campaign was relay messages brought by fast riders from the border.
April 1, 1886 was the date that Captain Lawton led his troopers with two pack trains and
30 Indian Scouts through the Huachuca Mountains to Nogales, Mexico, to pick up
Geronimo’s trail. Though various units would join the pursuit later and separate to follow
trails left by the Indians back and forth across the border, there were few times that Army
troops and members of Geronimo’s band would come face to face.
Four Months later, Captain Lawton and Leonard Wood were sent back to Fort Huachcua,
worn down by the rough country and grueling campaign.
More than 3,000 miles were covered by the Indians and the Army during the chase, which
took a month longer than General Miles had planned. The men had walked and ridden
through some of the most inaccessible desert land in North America, in heat sometimes
above 110 degrees.
After Geronimo’s surrender, “B” Troop of the 4th Cavalry was given the mission of
escorting the Apache’s to Florida.
The chase of Geronimo caught the interest of the Nation and the World. In 1887 President
Grover Cleveland approved the transfer of “B” Troop, 4th Cavalry to Fort Myer, VA, near
Washington, D.C. There, with Captain Lawton still commanding, the troop formed an
honor guard, and were reviewed by dignitaries, both foreign and national.
Captain Lawton, who had won the Medal of Honor with the 30th Indiana Infantry in the
Civil War, also fought in Cuba in 1898, and was killed in action in the Philippines in 1899
as a Major General.
Leonard Wood kept a complete account of the Geronimo campaign and later, when he was
assigned to Cuba, put to good use his experiences in the pursuit. In 1895 in Cuba he
served under General Samuel Whitside, who had founded Fort Huachuca in March 1877 as
a Captain of “B” Company, 6th Cavalry. Leonard Wood later rose to the rank of General
and became Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army.
Elements of the 4th were stationed at Fort Huachuca from 1884 to 1890. During World
War II the 4th was reorganized and redesignated the 4th Cavalry, Mechanized. After
numerous reassignments and changes, it became the 4th Cavalry, Armored.
An Apache war chief, Geronimo, and a small band of warriors broke
out of a concentration camp. He fought a guerrilla campaign against
hundreds of United States cavalry and held out for months by raiding
from the mountains which had been the Apache range until the white men
came. While the cavalry followed rumours and false trails from canyon
to mesa, newspapers in the east quickly made the defiant Apache a folk
legend, demonizing him and at the same time making him a symbol of the
It was only with the help of other Apache scouts that the cavalry
at last cornered Geronimo and negotiated his surrender. Geronimo, who
had left the army concentration camps twice before, returned to the
fences and lived until he was old by learning to sign his name in
English and selling his autographs at ‘wild west’ shows. Suffering
from tuberculosis and pneumonia, Geronimo died pathetically on a winter
night, alone, after