'Horses Worn to Mere Shadows'

The Victorio Campaign 1880

Robert N. Watt

This book covers the Victorio Campaign between the Apaches and the USA and Mexico from January to October 1880.
Date Published :
January 2022
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Illustration :
109 b/w photos, 25 color maps, 2 b/w sketches, 29 tables, 8 figures
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781912390717
Pages : 500
Dimensions : 9.75 X 6.75 inches
Stock Status : Available
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781915113030
Pages : 502
Dimensions : 9.75 X 6.75 inches
Stock Status : Available


This study, following on from the author's acclaimed book 'I Will Not Surrender a Hair of a Horse's Tail', commences with Victorio’s return to New Mexico in January 1880. The US army’s January to February campaign illustrates the operational decoy strategy employed by Victorio to protect his own logistic support whilst simultaneously undermining that of his opponents. The Hembrillo Canyon operation in April 1880 saw the largest battle of the Victorio Campaign. By the end of May 1880, Victorio’s warriors have rendered the Ninth Cavalry unfit for field service. This was achieved through the Apache strategy of directly and indirectly targeting the US army’s horses and mules. Yet the Apaches also suffer their first major defeat of the campaign at the end of May. After regrouping and engaging in widespread raiding in northern Mexico, Victorio engaged the Tenth Cavalry in Western Texas during July-August 1880. Failing to break through that regiment’s defences he retreated back into Mexico. This allowed the US army in New Mexico to rest and recover. By September 1880, the US army had negotiated a cross border operation of questionable legality. Known as the Buell Expedition, the aim was to coordinate with Mexican state troops to destroy the Apaches. This volume will end with Mexican state troops, led by Colonel Joaquin Terrazas’, inflicting a major defeat upon the Apaches at Tres Castillos. It will be argued that the setbacks in Western Texas and at Tres Castillos demonstrate the employment of strategies and tactics by the Apaches which came very close to succeeding.

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.


"There is little doubt that Watt’s fine work will stand the test of time....a must read for anyone interested in Native American history, the Apache Wars, or the Southwest."

- Southwestern Historical Quarterly

"British historian Robert Watt leaves no stone unturned in his meticulously detailed account of one of the American Southwest’s decisive encounters between the U.S. Army and American Indians... an impressive study of warfare, diplomacy, and resistance."

- Round Up Magazine

"Taken as a whole, these three volumes are a labor of love, constituting the most detailed summary and comprehensive analysis of small-scale conflict between the Native Americans and the United States we may well expect to read in our lifetimes. That should be achievement enough to satisfy any historian."

- Journal of Military History

"Beyond his detailed narrative of movements and battles, the author also provides a thought provoking and expansive analysis of the politics behind this and every military confrontation, driven by the participants’ need to meet the requirements imposed upon them by forces both internal and external."

- The Journal of America's Military Past

"...a richly detailed account superbly illustrated by photographs, many taken by the author."

- HistoryNet

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