Verde Heritage By Glenda Farley, Cottonwood, AZ Local historian Glenda Farley guides us on a journey back in time to discover fascinating moments that make up our Verde heritage and history.
Sunday, December 1, 2013
1869: MILITARY NEWS; General Wheaton, 21st Infantry.
"E. J. Cook informs us that while traveling on the steamer, from San Francisco, to Wilmington, California, Lieut.-Colonel and Brevet-Bigidier-General Wheaton, 21st U. S. Infantry, who was a fellow passenger, informed Mr. Cook that he was on his way here, to take command, and that General Thomas Devin, the present commander of the entire District of Arizona, had been ordered to Tucson, to assume command there. Also, that General Alexander, now at Fort McDowell, would be transferred to the new post at the Toll Gate, on the Prescott and Mohave road, and that General Stoneman, Colonel 21st U. S. Infantry, will soon assume command of the District, with headquarters at Wilmington, California. Mr. Cook was favorably impressed with General Wheaton, and thinks he will render the Territory good service."
"The people South of the Gila will be glad of General Devin should again go among them, for they have professed great love for him and his manner of dealing with the Indians. We, ourself, shall regret his departure, and we think he would rather reside at Whipple than at any other post in the Territory; but he is too good a soldier to clamor at the change."
"We do not like having District headquarters at Wilmington, and think Gen. Stoneman ought to camp closer to the enemy. Even should a Department be formed of Arizona and a part of California, Wilmington would be no place for headquarters. They should be at some convenient point in the Territory, or in the saddle in the field."
"We had hoped that General Devin would be left in command here for some time to come, in order that he might use the knowledge he has obtained of the enemy and the country to the discomfiture of the former, and the benefit of the latter, but such is rarely ever the case. When an officer and his men become conversant with the work before them, from actual experience, they are generally transferred out of the country and their places supplied with new men --- unacquainted with the country, the Indians, their habits, haunts and mode of warfare. Arizona has been a sufferer by military changes."
(The Weekly Arizona Miner; Prescott; July 17, 1869; page 2, column 1.)
"ARRIVAL OF GENERAL WHEATON"
"Brevet Major General Frank Wheaton, Lieutenant Colonel of the 21st Infantry, arrived at Fort Whipple Saturday afternoon last, and took command of that post, as well as the Sub-District of Upper Arizona. Knowing that our people are anxious to learn something regarding the man upon whom the responsibility of protecting them rests, we called at the residence of Col. E. D. Baker Sunday last, were introduced to the General, conversed with him upon many topics of interest to the Territory, and came away firm in the belief that he will prove an able, efficient officer, and true friend to the Territory."
"Not being possessed of the cheek of a San Francisco local reporter, we did not, of course, undertake to bore the General with questions regarding his past service, but we have since learned from another officer that for bravery, skill, knowledge of Indian warfare, and gentlemanly traits of character, our new commander bears a high reputation in army circles. He is an old frontiersman, having helped survey the boundary line between New and Old Mexico, in 1855, when he passed down the Gila in this Territory, and spent many months in Arizona. He has fought Indians in Nebraska, Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming, Texas and New Mexico, consequently, is no Quaker. During the war, he had command of the sixth Division of Sedgwick's corps, and took part in every important battle fought in Virginia. He came here direct from New Orleans, Louisiana. The General was accompanied by his wife, who, we are informed, is an intelligent, estimable woman."
"This is all we know about General Wheaton, and we will close by hoping that the authorities at Washington and San Francisco will render him all the aid in their power, in the efforts we expect him to put forth to subdue the Indians and give peace to this land."
(The Weekly Arizona Miner; Prescott; August 28, 1869; page 2.)
"ANOTHER INDIAN OUTRAGE"
"On Wednesday last, as Wales Arnold, sutler at Camp Lincoln, two soldiers and one citizen, were returning to that place, with a wagon, they were attacked by Indians, about ten miles east of the Agua Frio. Mr. Arnold and a soldier named Whitcomb, were about two hundred yards in advance of the wagon, when the Indians, who were in ambush, fired their first volley. Mr. Arnold was thrown from his horse but suceeded in reaching the wagon unhurt. Whitcomb's horse carried him into the bushes and he was not seen afterwards. General Wheaton, with his usual promptness, dispatched a detachment of troops in pursuit of the Indians."
(The Weekly Arizona Miner; Prescott; October 9, 1869; page 3, column 1.)
"We understand that Gen. Wheaton is busily engaged, organizing scouts to go against the Apaches. He started for Camp Verde a day or two ago." (The Weekly Arizona Miner; Prescott; October 30, 1869; page 3.)