Victorio's Apache War 1879-1880

[ 1879 - 1880 ]

The Victorio War of 1879 and 1880 occurred because of the continuing collision of cultures in the Southwest. The war had its origins in the Grant administration's "Peace Policy" and the Indian Bureau's policy of concentration. The Warm Springs Apache were repeatedly denied their promised reservation at Ojo Caliente, New Mexico Territory. Their leader, Victorio, chose to fight rather than submit. The U.S. Army's job was to force submission. 

The roving Apache band led by Victorio terrorized most of the Arizona and New Mexico territories, killing prospectors and herders and stealing horses and guns. When army troops came too close, they fled over the border into Mexico, where the Americans could not follow. Victorio also terrorized Mexico with his band. Chief Victorio led a band of fewer than 200 in a yearlong guerrilla war against Mexican and American forces, until he and much of the remainder of his small force were found and killed by Mexican forces on October 15, 1880. Mexican forces trapped Victorio at Tres Castillos in norhtern Chihuahua. Outnumbered and out of ammunition, Victorio, 60 warriors, and 18 women and children were killed.

Timelines of War, 359; Dictionary of Wars, 26; Hembrillo Battlefield.