Cavalry, Infantry, Cochise and the Start of the War with the Chiricahua Apache. The book, Black Legend, covers the early history of Arizona under U.S. rule focusing on the black legend that has befuddled historians and blamed Lieutenant George Bascom, 7th Infantry, for starting a war. That story goes back to just one person, Sgt. Reuben Bernard, 1st Dragoons, who made up a story with himself as the hero, the wise sergeant and the stubborn lieutenant. Bernard wasn’t there. Eight people who were present wrote about it and they told a very different story of mistrust and misunderstanding in an attempt to rescue a captive boy. Everyone “knew” that Cochise had the boy, especially his stepfather, who was sent along as interpreter. The trail led to the Apache’s doorstep. Bascom set out with 66 infantrymen of his command, not 12 dragoons. Both sides took hostages, but negotiations broke down. The boy would return 12 years later as Mickey Free, Apache Scout.
Thanks: Doug Hocking.