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Vol. 3 - No.02 February, 2021 Nooseletter Home SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Chronicle of the Old West
Dakota Livesay | Old West Historian
On May 19, 1885, a breakdown in the Army's communication resulted in death and destruction. This story is intriguing.

Continued.... (see below)
Undelivered Telegram
In the mid 1880’s the Apache of the Arizona Territory were causing a lot of problems. Finally in May of 1885 the last of a band of Chiricahua were returned to the San Carlos reservation in Arizona.

Already on the reservation were leaders like Geronimo and Mangas. But they didn’t like it there. It was difficult for them to obey the white man’s rules, such as not being able to beat their wives, or not drinking tiswin, a strong alcoholic drink.

One evening a group of Apache leaders, including Geronimo, broke out a container of tiswin, and started commiserating about their plight. When the sun came up, they decided to go to the military headquarters, and have a talk with the army.

A Lieutenant Davis was in charge. Unable to appease the Apache, he told them he would telegraph General Crook with their concerns. The Apache respected General Crook, and agreed to hold off any action until they heard from him.

The telegram was sent. It was given to Al Sieber, Crook’s chief of scouts, to be delivered. Now, Al had also had a few nips of his version of tiswin the night before, and he was fed up with the whining about the regulations imposed on the Apache, so he went to his tent instead of delivering the telegram.

Meanwhile, back at the San Carlos Reservation, Geronimo and the others, hearing nothing from General Crook, and concerned he was probably on his way there to put down this insurrection, left the reservation for Mexico.

Over the next 15 months, almost 125 settlers, peaceful Indians, and 10 soldiers were killed as the result of an undelivered telegram.
The Western Union Telegraph Company
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Chronicle of the Old West
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