'I Will Not Surrender the Hair of a Horse's Tail'

The Victorio Campaign 1879

Robert N. Watt

A major new account of the Victorio Campaign of 1879-1881, the most intensive confrontation between Apaches and the USA since the early 1860s.
Date Published :
November 2019
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Illustration :
67 photos, 6 diags, 11 maps, 22 tables
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781911512769
Pages : 328
Dimensions : 9.75 X 6.75 inches
Stock Status : Available
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781913118280
Pages : 512
Dimensions : 9.75 X 6.75 inches
Stock Status : Available


This volume covers the background to the Victorio Campaign of 1879-1881. In the early 1870s, a mixture of diplomacy and successful military campaigning by General George Crook led to the formation of several reservations for various Apache groups such as the Mescalero, Chiricahua and Western Apaches. Almost before the ink was dry on these treaties, an effort was made to rationalize this arrangement by placing the Apaches upon one reservation (the concentration policy). The first reservation to close was the Fort Bowie reservation, which belonged to the Chokonen (Central Chiricahua) Apaches. Some chose to resist, and this resistance - combined with the continued drive for concentration - brought about the closure of the Chihenne (Eastern Chiricahua) Apache reservation at Ojo Caliente, New Mexico, in 1877 and their removal to the San Carlos reservation in Arizona. The Chihennes were led by Victorio, Nana and Loco at this time, and they chose to accept the move, even though this was to the territory of the Western Apaches (with whom they often had a mutually hostile relationship). The land they were allocated was not healthy and a deadly feud between the Chihennes and the San Carlos Apaches quickly flared up; in September 1877, Victorio led a large portion of his people off San Carlos and tried to return to Ojo Caliente. Between 1877 and 1879, Victorio and his followers resisted their removal back to San Carlos - periodically fleeing and raiding mainly in Mexico to survive; they minimized hostile activity in the USA in order to keep alive their hopes of a return to Ojo Caliente. By August 1879, Victorio gave up hope that a return to Ojo Caliente was possible and declared war on the USA, as well as continuing their conflict with the Mexicans. Between September and December 1879, Victorio and his warriors - no more than 150 strong (and often as little as 50) - inflicted a number of defeats upon the Ninth Cavalry, US citizen volunteers and Mexican State troops. By the end of this volume, they had taken refuge - undefeated - in Northern Mexico and were poised to return to continue their battle with the USA for the return of their reservation. This research will outline the previously unreconstructed and sophisticated strategies and tactics utilized by Victorio, Nana and their followers to defeat every opponent sent against them.

About The Author

Dr Robert N. Watt is a lecturer in the Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS) at the University of Birmingham, UK. His main area of research is into the Apache Wars of 1860-1886, with particular reference to the Victorio Campaign of 1879-1881. He has made numerous archive and field trips to the USA and has visited most of the areas where the Victorio Campaign took place - including Tres Castillos in Northern Mexico, where Victorio was killed in October 1880. He has published articles on Victorio, the Apaches and the US Army in Small Wars & Insurgencies, The New Mexico Historical Review, War in History, Southwestern Historical Quarterly and The Journal of Military History. This article was awarded a Moncado Prize in 2017 by the Society for Military History. He has also published two books with Osprey on the ‘Apache Warrior’ and ‘Apache Tactics’ and taught a module on American Indian Wars for the History Department, the University of Birmingham. He has also published an article on the Red Army in the Second World War and has lectured on Soviet Deep Battle/Operations for a module in the same department.


“This tale of Victorio and Nana and their Chihenne Apaches as they take on the might of the Ninth Cavalry is inspirational and enthralling, and this book will go down in the annals of American history as an account of their humiliation because of their policies against the indigenous Indian peoples.”

- Books Monthly

"Watt has created a fascinating introduction to his trilogy and leaves his readers eagerly awaiting his next installment. Those interested in American Indian Wars, borderlands, and the late nineteenth-century Southwest would be wise to add this study to their collection."

- Journal of Military History

“...an exceptionally detailed narrative enriched with 18 period photos, numerous illustrations and plenty of superb maps.”

- Military History

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