Cochise, who was
described as a large man (for the time), with a muscular frame,
classical Roman features, and long black hair had married Dos-Teh-Seh,
the daughter of
in the 1830s. The pair would have two children -- Taza, born in 1842, and Naiche,
born in 1856.
were annexed by the United States, which ushered in a brief period of
relative peace. For more than a decade, Cochise worked with
the new settlers and even helped the new settlers by teaching them how
to live on the dry, arid land.
In 1856 Cochise became the
principal war leader of the Chokonen band after the death of its
chief, Miguel Narbona and the peace between the
and the United States continued.
When the Apache Pass
Stage Station was built in 1858, he even worked for a time as a
woodcutter for the Butterfield Overland line, and also helped protect
the stagecoaches from attack.
However, the tenuous
peace would not last as more and more white settlers began to encroach
lands, and formally ended in 1861, when an
raiding party drove away a local rancher's cattle and kidnapped his
eleven-year-old step-son. The rancher, John Ward, believed Cochise was
responsible for the raid and demanded that the military confront the
leader to recover the boy and livestock.
Before long, on February 3, 1861, 2nd
Lieutenant George Bascom, a young graduate of West Point, brought a
detachment of 54 men to Apache Pass to confront Cochise regarding the
kidnapping of the boy and livestock. When Bascom asked for return of
the captive and the stolen cattle, Cochise said Coyotero
had committed the crime and volunteered to negotiate for the return of
the boy. Evidently unbelieving, Bascom then had Cochise, his brother,
two nephews, a woman, and two children arrested until the boy and the
livestock were returned.
However, Cochise was able
to escape and to ensure the safety of those he had left behind, captured
three Americans before sending Bascom this message: "Treat my people well,
and I will do the same for yours, of whom I have three." The
inexperienced Bascom, decided instead to flex his muscle, hanged the
hostages, and began to make preparations for war against Cochise. In retaliation
for their deaths, Cochise
killed the three Americans he had taken hostage and joined forces with
his father-in-law, and the leader of another
Chiricahua band. The two
leaders, along with their warriors then set on a series of retaliatory
skirmishes and raids of the white settlements.
On July 15 and 16, 1862,
General James H. Carleton, leading a Federal army eastward to head off the
Confederate invasion of
encountered Cochise and
at Apache Pass fighting for control the nearby Apache Springs.
The two leaders, along
with 500 warriors held their ground against the force of California
volunteers until the U.S. Army employed a howitzer against the Indian
forces. Though it was the first time that they had faced artillery fire,
they continued to fight stubbornly for several hours before fleeing.
General James Carlton
subsequently took over as commander of the territory. In January,
1863, General Joseph Rodman West, under orders from General Carleton, was
able to capture
by meeting with him under a flag of truce. Though allegedly a peaceful
conference, the U.S. Army took
Mangas Coloradas prisoner
and later executed him. This, of course, very much angered Cochise, who retaliated
in all out war against the white settlers, which continued for the next
nine years. At the same time, Geronimo was also fighting against white
encroachment and the two leaders often paired in their retaliation.