Rio Hondo

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. Please consider reading our editorial policy to understand how and why we publish the resources we do.

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

18 July 1863; Roswell, New Mexico: Attempting to steal horses, about 50 Indians, probably Mescalero Apaches, attacked Lt. Juan Marques, 1st New Mexico Cavalry, and 15 men of Company A camped at the Rio Hondo on their way back from an expedition. The Apaches gained possession of the camp, but the soldiers dislodged them and drove them across the river. Soon the Indians recrossed and charged the herd again, but the soldiers drove them back again, this time with a loss-Pvt. Jose Chaves was killed.

The fight continued for several hours. More Indians arrived and joined in until they numbered about 200. Finally the soldiers' ammunition gave out. Marques ordered his men to escape, which they managed to do without further casualties.

Chaves was the only army casualty in the affair, but all the government's animals, including ten mules, were lost. Marques estimated that he and his men had killed six Apaches.

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