Conchas Springs

Michael has a BA in History & American Studies and an MSc in American History from the University of Edinburgh. He comes from a proud military family and has spent most of his career as an educator in the Middle East and Asia. His passion is travel, and he seizes any opportunity to share his experiences in the most immersive way possible, whether at sea or on the land.

Part of our in-depth series exploring the forts of Comancheria

22 July 1863; Conchas, New Mexico: Navajo warriors attacked a three-man detachment of Company I, 1st New Mexico Cavalry, guarding a herd of beef cattle at Conchas Springs, near the junction of the conchas and Canadian Rivers. Though badly outnumbered, the soldiers-Sgt. Jose Lucero and Pvts. Juan F. Ortiz and Jose Banneras-fought the Navajos from 11 a.m. until after sundown, killing and wounding several.

The soldiers fought gallantly, but Lucero and Ortiz were killed and Banneras was severely wounded with eight arrows. Banneras managed to gather the guns of his dead comrades and throw them in the springs. After pounding Banneras's skull with rocks, the Navajos drove the cattle off to the west, leaving him for dead.

Amazingly, the soldier recovered toward morning and made his way to Chaperito, on the Gallinas River. From Camp Easton, Capt. Edward H. Bergmann mounted 30 men and went to intercept the Navajos. At the Pecos River, a squad under a Cpl. Martinez hit the Navajos' rear, killing two, wounding a number of others, and recapturing three beeves.

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