Gallantry in Action

The story of Lt. Charles Gatewood and the Apache Scouts who served with him during The Geronimo Campaign


            Despite his general lack of notoriety, Lieutenant Charles Baher Gatewood of the 6th

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Cavalry is the U.S. Army Officer who is personally credited with negotiating the final surrender

of Geronimo and a band of renegade Chiricahua Apaches in September of 1886.  As pointed out

by several historians, while Geronimo became a famous personality, few people are aware of the

actual role that Lt. Gatewood played in bringing peace to the American west. Worse yet, almost

no one is aware of the contribution made by U.S. Army Apache Scouts Kateah and Martine in

making Lt. Gatewood’s mission a success. 

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One officer, an Assistant Contract Surgeon by the

name of Leonard Wood, received the Medal of Honor for his service during the hunt for

Geronimo but not Gatewood, who was, by all accounts, “the closing act” of the entire campaign.

            The significance of The Geronimo Campaign cannot be underestimated. The key to

westward expansion involved the securing of all lands for settlement. Having marauding Apache

Indians on the periodic warpath for some 25 years, was a burr under the saddle of progress. 

Prior to their final surrender, different numbers of Apaches engaged in open warfare with the

U.S. Army from 1860 to 1872 and escaped from the reservation.  By 1876 most of the

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Chiricahua Apaches were moved from the Chiricahua Mountains to a less desirable location

known as the San Carlos Reservation. By 1879 the last of the marauding Apaches, including

Geronimo, were trying to adjust to life at San Carlos.  For various reasons related to the loss of

their home and their living conditions, Geronimo led an escape in 1881 and fled with his

followers into the mountains south of the border, only to return in April of 1882 to force other

Apaches to join him.  Armed resistance of one type or another continued in 1883 and May of

1885 until September of 1886. 

The incident that brought this politically volatile situation to a boil, occurred when

Geronimo, Chief Natches, 20 warriors, 13 Apache women and 6 children fled to Mexico, instead

of returning to the reservation, after meeting with General Crook on March 25/27/1886 in the

Canyon de los Embudos.  (Accounts differ on the number of people in Geronimo’s party.  Lt.

Britton Davis reports that Geronimo fled with Natches, 18 warriors, 13 women and 2 children)

Even though 80 Apaches agreed to return to Arizona with the troops, for all general purposes,

Part 2 of The Geronimo Campaign began, when Geronimo and his most ardent followers slipped

away from Crook’s camp and returned to a life on the run, in the early morning hours of March

28, 1886.

            During his service in Arizona, General George Crook made history, when he was able to

successfully engage some 6000 Apaches from various tribes and bring a general state of peace to

the region, by having his officers administer a system of reservations. Crook believed in the

theory of divide and conquer and played one tribe against each other, until he had enough control

over the situation to use diplomacy and when necessary military force to establish order. Still, as

effective as Crook’s methods were, he could not keep every Apache Indian on the reservation at

all times, any more than he was able to prevent periodic outbreaks of violence.

            In addition to his belief in using force backed up by diplomacy, General Crook also

advocated the recruitment of Apaches into the Army as Scouts.  In fact, it has been well

documented in history, that General Crook believed that it took an Apache to catch an Apache. 

Generally speaking, the Apaches who joined the Army as Scouts did so to carry on the

warrior tradition.  Even Apaches who once waged war on civilians and the army were offered a

chance to serve and many did.  By and large the Apaches who served as Army Scouts did so with

distinction. Apaches who served as Army Scouts were full fledged American soldiers, who were

expected to conduct themselves accordingly. They served in the enlisted ranks and received

regular army wages.  It is also well documented that besides being brave soldiers, the Apaches

who served were outstanding trackers, who possessed incredible endurance and held up to the

rigorous demands of frontier life, much better than the average white soldiers did.  The few that

 caused trouble were no different than the non Native American soldiers who broke the rules. 

When General Crook failed to return Geronimo and his followers to the reservation, the

fate of the Apache people was sealed when Crook was replaced by General Nelson A.Miles on

April 2. 1886.  By all accounts, General Miles was no General Crook.  Besides the fact that these

men did not like each other, General Miles was a well connected officer, with a much different

personality, who had a great deal of experience with other tribes, but none fighting or dealing

with the Apaches.

After replacing General Crook as the Commanding General of the Department of

Arizona, General Miles asked for and received approximately 5500 troops and scouts, which was

almost twice the number that the army gave to Crook, when he captured, killed and subjugated

thousands of Apaches from the Tonto, White Mountain, Mescalaro, Mohave, Yuma, Oja

Calientas, Coyoteros and the Chiricahua tribe.  In addition to using troops to secure water holes

and the Mexican border, Miles saturated the area with a string of observation posts and

heliograph stations and deployed long range patrols that ventured deep into Mexico to hunt down

less than 40 Apache men, women and children.  The vanguard of this massive effort was a patrol

that was led by Captain Henry Lawton and was comprised of Assistant Contract Surgeon Dr.

Leonard Wood, 55 cavalry troopers and infantry, 100 mules, 30 mule packers and twenty Yuma

Indian Scouts. 

On May 10, 1886, Captain Lawton and his men departed Arizona and remained in the

field until early July, when his patrol refitted and went operational again on July 6th. While

traveling through extremely difficult terrain and operating in intolerable weather conditions,

Captain Lawton and his men were never really able to close with the Apaches, although they did

come close on a few occasions. During one incident, one of Lawton’s patrols raided an Apache

camp that was located between the San Pedro and Santa Cruz Rivers and managed to seize their

horses.  In typical Apache form, Geronimo and his followers ambushed this particular Army

patrol as they left the area.  During the ensuing gun battle, the Apaches recovered all of their

horses without sustaining any casualties of their own and left two soldiers killed in action and

two wounded.  On June 6th and July 13th Lawton’s men raided Apache camps, but the Indians

were able to escape while only suffering the loss of their supplies.

Even though they were not successful, the troops who searched for Geronimo and his

followers gave a good account of themselves, as they endured months of tremendous hardships. 

According to several historians, the U.S. Cavalry was no match for the harsh terrain of the

Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico and spent more time on foot than in the saddle. Mules,

preferably the small kind, were required to navigate the mountainous and often muddy terrain

during monsoon season. When issued army boots were torn to shreds soldiers went barefoot,

wrapped their feet in cloth or wore Indian moccasins.

In addition to the harsh conditions, watering holes and streams were sometimes few and

far between. Worse yet, when water was found it was often far from refreshing or drinkable. 

The soldiers suffered even more, when the temperatures in the summer months soared into the

triple digits. When their regular rations ran out, the soldiers were forced to live off the land. 

Soldiers survived on mule meat, horse meat and anything else they were lucky enough to

scrounge.  A bad situation was made worse, by the potential for conflict with Mexican

authorities, once U.S. troops began operating south of the border. Even though the United States

and Mexico was fighting the same enemy, there were instances when tensions rose and

hostilities broke out between U.S. Army units and Mexican forces.

As documented by Lt. Britton Davis in his account of The Geronimo Campaign; in the

span of 15 months, the Apaches were able to fully re-supply themselves on seven different

occasions by using hit and run tactics. Even after General Miles unleashed a force of some 5000

troops and 500 Indian Scouts, including Captain Lawton and his patrol, the renegade Apaches

remained on the run and were able to rest and replenish their supplies. This was accomplished,

because the Apaches were able to purchase and trade for food, weapons, fresh mounts and

whatever they needed from certain villages and individuals. In other instances Apaches on the

run took what they needed from ranches, unfriendly towns and the unfortunate victims of their

raids. It is also remarkable, that during their last reign of terror, none of the Apaches were killed

by U.S. troops, but several Americans and an untold number of Mexicans were killed. (One

account claims that more than 500 Mexicans were killed by Geronimo and his followers while

they evaded U.S. and Mexican authorities. Another historian documents that Captain Lawton’s

patrol came across an average of ten dead Mexicans a day during their pursuit of the Apaches)

            Back in Arizona, General Miles was not in good spirits, when none of his columns or 

observation posts were able to pin point the location of the elusive Apaches after several months

of campaigning. Rather than face defeat, General Miles was the forced to utilize the services of

Lt. Gatewood, an outstanding 6th Cavalry officer who served with distinction under General

Crook.  As history reflects, Lt. Gatewood had a remarkable reputation and was a recognized

expert on Apache warfare and customs. Best yet, Lt. Gatewood was respected by the Apaches,

including Geronimo. Under the circumstances, even General Miles had to admit that Lt.

Gatewood was the right man for the job. After four months of being unable to capture or kill

Geronimo and his followers, General Miles summoned Lt. Gatewood from his post in New

Mexico on July 13, 1886 and had him re-assigned to The Department of Arizona.

            One reason why Lt. Gatewood was respected by the Apache people, involved an attempt

by white businessmen to defraud the Apaches over the sale of hay in 1884.  According to one

historian, who documented this incident in great detail; while serving as the Commanding

Officer of the White Mountain Apache Reservation, Lt. Gatewood conducted a fair and impartial

investigation, that resulted in him filing a criminal complaint against two Arizona businessmen

on fraud charges, after they refused to pay some Apaches for hay that was removed from the

reservation. The businessmen reportedly appealed to General Crook to have Gatewood drop the

charges. When Crook tried to intervene, Lt. Gatewood refused to knuckle under and went

forward with his case.

As the story goes, politics and corruption went against the Lieutenant and the charges

were dropped against the two businessmen by a sympathetic judge. The two businessmen then

retaliated by filing false imprisonment charges against Lt. Gatewood.  Lt. Gatewood spent

eighteen months in living hell, while his future was being decided by a system that was easily

influenced and generally very anti Apache. Fortunately, a change in judges resulted in the

dismissal of all charges against Gatewood. 

Even though his actions soured his relationship with General Crook, Lt. Gatewood was

admired by the Apaches, who saw that he was prepared to go to jail and lose his army career to

do what was right and not what was politically correct. Lt. Gatewood was also a courageous

soldier, who commanded a detachment of Native American Scouts.  Apaches on both sides of

the equation learned from experience, that Lt. Gatewood was an incredibly brave soldier and a

fine officer who treated his men well, regardless of the color of their skin.

            When General Miles gave Lt. Gatewood his marching orders, that included the terms of

surrender, he sent him south with Kateah and Martine, a mule packer by the name of Frank

Hudson and a civilian army interpreter by the name of George Wratten. Both Kateah and

Martine were hand picked for this demanding mission, because of their influence and standing

among the Chiricahua Apaches. Kateah for example, was a former follower of Geronimo who

returned to the reservation rather than remain on the run. That fact alone, made Kateah the

perfect draft choice when Gatewood’s patrol was being formed. Martine was a well respected

Apache, who chose to live peacefully on the reservation, rather than join the dissenters who

periodically escaped and conducted raids, only to return and repeat the cycle over and over


            When his escort of twenty soldiers was not provided at Ft. Bowie, Arizona, Lt. Gatewood

and his small scouting party rode off in search of Captain Lawron’s patrol and Geronimo. After

running into a 4th Cavalry and infantry patrol, Lt. Gatewood and his group was escorted to

Lawton’s camp on the Aros River in Mexico. It should be noted, that at this point in the

campaign, Captain Lawton and his patrol was nowhere near the Apaches.

According to the available research, Captain Lawton was not happy when Lt. Gatewood

arrived with independent orders from General Miles, to locate Geronimo and his followers and

offer them terms of surrender. To complicate matters, Lt. Gatewood was so sick, he was forced

to ask Assistant Surgeon Leonard Wood to relieve him from duty. At one point Lawton

reportedly demanded that Gatewood continue in his mission, regardless of his deteriorating

medical condition.  Fortunately, Dr. Wood intervened and persuaded Lawton to permit

Gatewood to rest for 24 hours before moving on.

            The Geronimo Campaign was brought to a successful conclusion without firing a shot,

when Lt. Gatewood and his small scouting party remained well ahead of Lawton’s column and

skillfully tracked the elusive Apaches, while avoiding a confrontation with Mexican troops who

were also hunting Geronimo and his followers.  After spending several arduous weeks on the

trail, Lt. Gatewood and his scouting party met Lt. Wilder in the town of Fronteras, Mexico and

picked up some valuable intelligence information on the whereabouts of the Apaches. Three

days later, on August 24, 1886, Lt. Gatewood and his small scouting party displayed a flour sack

on a stick to signal their peaceful intentions, when they arrived in the vicinity where the Apaches

were camped.

With Captain Lawton’s patrol well out of sight, Lt. Gatewood and his men were clearly

outnumbered and out gunned, when they arrived at the bend in the Bavispe River, near the

location in the Torres Mountains, where the Apaches were camped.  At great personal risk,

Kateah and Martine approached the Chiricahua camp to inform Geronimo and his followers, that

the U.S. Army was closing in on their position and that Lt. Gatewood was nearby and wanted to

meet.  After a few tense moments, Kateah and Martine were able to discuss the matter with

Geronimo and arrange a meeting with Gatewood.  While Kateah remained with Geronimo and

the others, Martine returned to Gatewood to relay an invitation to enter the Apache camp. 

Early on the next morning on August 25, 1886, Lt. Gatewood prepared to meet the

Apaches and deliver the terms of surrender. Because he was very familiar with Indian protocol,

Lt. Gatewood collected all the tobacco he could find (15 pounds) and entered the conference site

along the Bavispe River, not knowing what to expect. After laying his weapons down,

Gatewood and Geronimo exchanged a few pleasantries before getting down to business. 

While delivering the terms of surrender, Lt. Gatewood played his trump card when he

advised the Apaches that their families were being sent to Florida. This is an important point to

remember, because in the past, the Apaches were always able to escape from the reservation and

return at will, to rest and refit while spending time with their families. Depending on the damage

they caused while they were on the run, renegade Apaches could usually reach some amiable

agreement with the Army, as long as they promised to behave. The minute their relatives were

shipped to Florida, the Chiricahua Apaches no longer had a reservation to return to in Arizona. 

            It is also important to bear in mind, that many of the different Apache tribes did not get

along. This fierce rivalry made it impossible to allow the Chiricahua Apaches to move in with

certain other tribes.  The Apaches were also very family oriented and were deeply affected by the

news that their loved ones were being relocated to Florida without them. As a result, after

hearing what Lt. Gatewood had to say, the dismal reservation at San Carlos didn’t look like such

a bad place, when compared to the thought of leaving Arizona, to travel to such a far away place

like Florida.

Initially, the Apaches decided not accept the terms of surrender, but they agreed to

consider the matter overnight and speak to Gatewood in the morning. The next day Geronimo

and several other Apaches approached Captain Lawton’s camp where Lt. Gatewood was staying

and agreed to accept the terms of surrender, providing that Lt. Gatewood gave his word that they

would travel in safety to meet General Miles.  Geronimo then entered the Army camp and

greeted Captain Lawton with a warm embrace and praised him for his tenacity as a soldier in

hunting him down. On August 26, 1886, Lt. Gatewood’s mission to locate the renegade Apaches

and persuade them to surrender was completed.  Although it would prove to be no easy chore, all

Gatewood had to do now, was safely deliver Geronimo and his followers to Arizona, so they

could officially surrender to General Miles.

In what must be one of his most famous letters found in the files of the Arizona Historical

Society, Lt. Gatewood writes to his wife Georgia about his negotiations with Geronimo on

August 26, 1886, “My Dear Wife, I am now in camp on the Bavispe River about 30 miles south

of San Bernadino. Well, I’ve had a talk with Geronimo in person. It took all day yesterday &

made me very tired. He & I are grown to be great friends. He laid his arms down and gave me a

hearty shake of the hand.”

            What makes Lt. Gatewood an even more heroic figure, is the fact that he did not want

anything more to do with The Geronimo Campaign, or leading Native American troops in

battle, when he was summoned to return to Arizona by General Miles. In his defense, Lt.

Gatewood was in poor health and not in the best of spirits, considering how close he came to

being prosecuted for trying to protect the rights of the Apaches in his charge. In fact, Gatewood

participated in the hunt for Geronimo simply and only because he was ordered to do so.

            Whether Gatewood volunteered for this assignment, or he accepted this mission because

he was ordered to do so, is not important. What matters, is that it took unbelievable courage for

Lt. Gatewood to stand firm and tell the Apaches that they could either accept the terms of

surrender, or face annihilation.  Remember, up until this point, the Apaches had played a

dangerous game of catch me if you can with the U.S. Army, whenever they fled the reservation

in large and small numbers to go on the run.  Even though this is not the format to discuss who

did what to who first, it is important to remember. that on a number of occasions, the Apaches

did a lot more than just get drunk and steel a few horses when they went on the warpath.  By

1886, the United States Army in Arizona, along with the civilian populations on both sides of the

border (to include the Mexican government), had absolutely no patients for the acts of violence

that were committed by renegade Apaches, especially Geronimo.

            One of the best reference sources on The Geronimo Campaign can be found in the

Gatewood File at the Arizona Historical Society. Contained in this file is a copy of Lt.

Gatewood’s official field report dated October 15, 1886.  In this official U.S. Army document,

Lt. Gatewood outlines his orders and how his mission was carried out. It is imperative when

discussing the justification to posthumously decorate Lt. Gatewood and his Scouts to keep in

mind, that Lt. Gatewood’s field report was never contested by General Miles, or anyone else. 

This means, that we should be able to use Gatewood’s after action report to assign credit where

credit is do, especially since no other formal report provides better evidence about the actions of

Lt. Gatewood, his two Apache scouts and the circumstances surrounding the Apache surrender. 

            It is also interesting to read the statement that Captain Lawton gave to the Frostburg

Mining Journal, Frostburg, Maryland on September 25, 1886, about Lt. Gatewood’s participation

in The Geronimo Campaign.  According to this newspaper article, Captain Lawton said, “I

would not deprive the officer who made the capture of his credit, or receive the surrender. The

man who is entitled to the honor is Lieutenant Charles B. Gatewood, of the 6th Cavalry. 

Gatewood sent two of his scouts to Geronimo’s camp in response to the latters signal with a flag

of truce, and followed shortly afterward, and was talking to Geronimo when I rode up. Lieut.

Gatewood delivered the Indians to me and I turned them over to General Miles.” 

One well respected historian, who has done extensive research on Lt. Gatewood and The

Geronimo Campaign, documents that Captain Lawton filed an official army report to his

superiors on September 9, 1886, that specifically mentioned the exceptional service performed

by Dr. Wood, Lt. Smith and Lt. Robert Brown during The Geronimo Campaign, but made no

mentioned of the conspicuous involvement of Gatewood or his scouts. All these years later, we

are left to wonder why Captain Lawton failed to formally request that Gatewood and his Scouts

should be decorated, when Lawton was quite willing to give credit where credit was due in a

statement to the press.

Another historian reports, that General Miles lost his patience with a Tucson newspaper

reporter over the issue of failing to give Lt. Gatewood credit for the capture and surrender of

Geronimo.  This incident took place at the San Xavier Hotel, during a celebration where the

grateful people of Tucson were honoring Army officers for their role in The Geronimo

Campaign.  As the story goes, when a newspaper reporter familiar with The Geronimo Campaign

inquired why Lt. Gatewood was not present, given the fact that he was responsible for capturing

Geronimo and company, General Miles is quoted as saying that he was sick of the “adulation”

that Lt. Gatewood was receiving because he was only doing his duty. It is also interesting to

note, that Lt. Gatewood was conveniently assigned to office duties in Los Angeles at the time

of this celebration and was purposely left behind by Miles, when he traveled to Arizona to be

honored along with Captain Lawton and others.

According to another historian, it is possible that inter unit rivalry within the cavalry was

one reason why Lt. Gatewood was never properly honored for his actions.  After all, Gatewood

was assigned to the 6th Cavalry, while the other Army officers were predominantly with the 4th


            Another reason why Lt. Gatewood was never given the full measure of credit for his

actions, involves a very disturbing incident, that allegedly took place on the trail during the

return trip to Arizona, after Geronimo and his followers surrendered in Mexico. However, bear

in mind that in order to do examine this extremely controversial incident, we must rely on what

appears to be very credible hearsay evidence and witness statements, that clearly conflict with

the position taken by such well respected personalities as Dr. Leonard Wood, a man who would

rise in rank and become a General in the United States Army 

            According to another version of history, Lt. Gatewood and his small scouting party

traveled with Geronimo and his people with some separation between them and Lawton’s patrol

on the return trip to Arizona.  It is also well documented, that Lt. Gatewood was concerned

enough for the safety of Geronimo and his followers, that he permitted the Apaches to retain

their weapons for personal protection after they surrendered.  It is also important to note, that

Captain Lawton agreed to these terms and allowed the Apaches to remain armed, while they

traveled back to the United States with the cavalry escort. In addition, it was also understood that

Lt. Gatewood would remain with the Apaches at all times.

What happened next is a subject of great debate; one that we will examine in as much

detail as possible in the closing pages of this article.  According to several witness accounts,

tensions between the soldiers and the Indians came to a boil in Guadalupe Canyon, a location

where some of Lawton’s men lost friends, in a previous skirmish with the same band of Apaches. 

One account has Captain Lawton leaving camp on official business, while Lt. Abiel Smith led a

group of rabble rousing soldiers on the Apache camp, to attack and disarm the Apaches. 

According to documents found in The Gatewood File at the Arizona Historical Society,

Dr. Wood’s diary includes an entry pertaining to this event dated August 31, 1886.  This entry

states, “Camped in Gudalupe Canyon.  Found very little water, just enough to make coffee.  The

Indians had misunderstood the remarks of Lieut. Smith which they over-heard in a conversation

in which he had apparently spoken of the possibility of surrounding them in case they tried to

break loose.  The Indians were a good deal excited as they neared the frontier and whatever they

heard excited them very much more.  Smith ranked Gatewood one file, and rather sharp friction

developed between them this morning.”

            Again, according to another version of these events; when the alert Apaches got wind of

the soldier’s treachery, Geronimo and his followers mounted up and fled the area.  After Lt.

Gatewood went in hot pursuit and caught up with Geronomo, the Apache leader reportedly asked

what they should do if the soldiers opened fire on them.  Lt. Gatewood is said to have remarked,

“I will proceed toward the troops and endeavor to have the firing stopped, otherwise I will run

away with you.”

            Based on Lt. Gatewood’s continued willingness to protect Geronimo and his people, the

Apaches agreed to establish a new camp, while Mr. Wratten and Geronimo followed Lt.

Gatewood when he headed back along the trail to confront the advancing soldiers. According

to this version of the events, Lt. Gatewood drew his revolver and immediately challenged

Lt. Smith, which stopped the soldiers from advancing any further. Words were reportedly

exchanged and it was necessary for Gatewood to threaten the use of deadly force, on anyone who

tried to hurt the Apaches who were traveling under a flag of truce.

            Before we go any further with these allegations, we must consider the mindset of the

times. While it makes Gatewood look good to view his actions by modern standards, we must

remember, what it was like to be a cavalry trooper in 1886, especially after losing friends in a

fight with Apaches in the very same location where you were camped.  There is also no doubt

that Lt. Gatewood appreciated and understood the emotions of his fellow soldiers, as much as he

knew what the Apaches were thinking. This explanation is not meant to condone the actions of

Lt. Smith or anyone else in his group if these allegations are true, but to explain that in the eyes

of many soldiers in 1886, there was no shame in taking any action that might provoke hostilities

with renegade Apaches, regardless of the presence of a truce. 

The best evidence to support these claims can be found in the statements that were

recorded by Lt. Gatewood’s son, Major Charles B. Gatewood Jr., a West Point graduate himself

and a career Army officer, who grew up privy to much of the information he later documented

after he became a historian and an expert on his father’s military service. According to Major

Gatewood, Mr. George Wratten witnessed everything described above and confirmed that there 

were two separate camps established in Guadalupe Canyon; one for the Apaches and one for

Lawton’s patrol. Mr. Wratten’s recollection of the events describes in detail, what happened

when Geronimo and his people fled their camp and how Lt. Gatewood got the Indians to calm

down, before he confronted Lt. Abiel Smith, Dr. Leonard Wood and others, who were heading

toward the new Apache position in a single file formation. According to Mr. Wratten,when Lt.

Gatewood accused Lt. Smith of plotting to kill Geronimo and he threatened to kill anyone who

tried to harm the Apaches, Dr. Wood immediately backed down and left the area followed by Lt.

Smith and the others.  If Mr. Wratten’s statements are to be believed, one can assume that Lt.

Gatewood did not make any friends with his fellow soldiers, by interfering with a plan to seek

revenge on the Apaches, who had previously killed U.S. troops in the general vicinity of the

place where the column stopped to camp.

It is also very interesting to note, that in 1925, Colonel M. Day repeated the exact same

story to Lt. Gatewood’s son that George Wratten relayed, when he reported what transpired

during the return trip to Arizona. Besides being a very close personal friend and a West Point

classmate of Lt. Gatewood, Colonel Day also served with distinction in The Geronimo

Campaign.  Another army officer stated in writing, that although Lt. Gatewood was very tight

lipped about what transpired during the campaign, he did share some of his experiences with a

few close friends, several years after his involvement in the Geronimo surrender. 

In 1926 Major Gatewood also spoke to Frank Hudson, the mule packer who accompanied

his father on The Geronimo Campaign.  When Major Gatewood asked Mr. Hudson if these

stories were true, the former Army mule packer responded by saying, “Where the hell did you

get that? You’re not far from the truth.”

The Arizona Historical Society files also contain a letter to Major Gatewood from a

soldier by the name of Charles Mauer, who states that he overheard an argument between his

father (Lt. Gatewood) and Lt.Abiel Smith over the proposed attack on the Apaches. Another

witness of sorts is Lt. Clay, who in a letter to Gatewood’s son wrote; “If it had not been for your

father’s ability with these Indians, they well have killed us all, as they had every opportunity to

do so.”

            As stated before, according to Dr. Wood’s biographer, Dr. Wood explained this incident

by stating that the Apaches misunderstood Lt. Smith’s remarks and in essence over reacted.  Dr.

Wood would have us believe, that all Lt. Smith was suggesting was that the soldiers should

surround the Apaches to prevent an escape and that the troopers were planning no treachery. In

hindsight, this last statement makes no sense, because Geronimo and his Apaches had agreed to

surrender and were authorized by two Army officers (Captain Lawton and Lt. Gatewood) to

retain possession of their weapons.  In fact, it appears reasonable to project, that the only reason

the Apaches fled the area where they were camped, was to avoid a confrontation with the

soldiers. The fact that Geronimo and the others returned with Gatewood, proves that they

believed Gatewood would once again intervene on their behalf.

The dispatches between Captain Lawton and General Miles must also be considered

before we put this matter to rest.  A careful examination of these dispatches confirms the

seriousness of the situation that Lawton was facing, while traveling back to Arizona with the

Apaches, after they agreed to surrender to General Miles.  In a dispatch dated August 28th

Captain Lawton informed General Miles that he was returning with Geronimo, Natches and 36

other Apaches.  Captain Lawton also informed Miles, that the Apaches were “very restless and

uneasy in their last camp, made so by the movement of troops which they observed and from the

flood of couriers coming to my camp which they could not understand.”

            In a dispatch dated August 31st Miles tells Lawton, “Whenever you have a good

opportunity to secure the persons of Geronimo and Natches do so by any means, and don’t fail to

hold them beyond the possibility of escape.” Clearly, this dispatch is a written order to use

whatever force necessary to keep Geronimo and Natches in custody and prevent their escape

once they were under the control of Lawton’s patrol.

In another dispatch dated August 31st Miles notifies Lawton that he will meet the

Apaches if they guarantee that they will surrender. Miles then added, “or you can use any other

means you think advisable.  You will be justified in using any measures. If they surrender they

will not be killed, but treated rightly. I am ready to start but not until I am sure it will do some

good.”  This dispatch gives the distinct impression that General Miles needed to be reassured that

the Apaches were willing to surrender according to his terms.  However, this dispatch also

clearly relays the general’s desire to have the Apaches delivered to him unharmed if they are

amenable to the surrender terms. 

Once again, we must ask ourselves in 2021, why Lt. Smith or anyone else for that matter

might think that it was necessary, to take any preventive action to keep the Apaches from

escaping, especially when they gave no indication that they were going anywhere but back to

Arizona with an Army escort?  Clearly, everyone in Lawton’s patrol knew that the Apaches

were traveling under a flag of truce, that extended them the right to retain their weapons. In

addition, every soldier in 1886 knew full well, that any attempt to violate the terms of the truce

or make the Apaches feel uncomfortable, would result in an outbreak of violence.

There is also the issue of Lt. Gatewood to consider.  No where in history are there any

statements documented that confirm or speculate, that Lt. Gatewood lost control or influence

over Geronimo and his followers at any time once the Apaches surrendered; with the exception

of the incident when U.S. troops under Lt. Abiel Smith allegedly took action that was interpreted

by the Apaches as being aggressive in nature.  Even then, Gatewood and no one else is

reportedly credited with going after the Apaches, calming them down and restoring a sense of

order. Gatewood is also said to have expressed his displeasure with the way things were going

with Captain Lawton and threatened to report his frustrations with General Miles.

Again, if Captain Lawton had no problem with Geronimo and his people retaining their

weapons why should Lt. Smith, Dr. Wood or anyone else take it upon themselves to

countermand his orders and go on the offensive, to try and disarm the Apaches, or act in such a

fashion as to deny the Apaches the opportunity to “escape.”  Even though this is a subtle point,

we must also keep in mind that the Apaches were allowed to return to Arizona in their own

formation, that did not require or include being in the immediate presence of any armed soldiers,

except for Lt. Gatewood and the members of his small scouting party. In addition to traveling

with some distance separating them from Lawton’s column, the Apaches were allowed to make

camp away from the soldiers, again with Gatewood as their liaison to the cavalry. As a result, it

is difficult to imagine, how any soldiers could feel that it was necessary to keep a closer eye on

the Apaches, when they were under the immediate control of Lt. Gatewood and allowed to

bivouac in their own campsite unless tempers flared.  As circumstantial as some of this evidence

may be, these observations provide some legitimate food for thought and serve to make certain

witness statements that side with Gatwewood’s action appear very credible.

            Regardless of what did or did not happen on the return trip to Arizona, Lt. Gatewood

and his scouting party, along with Captain Lawton and his patrol, delivered Geronimo, Natches

and 36 of their followers to General Miles on September 3, 1886 in Skeleton Canyon, some sixty

five miles southeast of Ft. Bowie.  It has also been reported, that when General Miles was late

for the surrender, Chief Natches had second thoughts and headed for the hills. Once again Lt.

Gatewood is said to have gone after Natches and after talking to him about his family and the

needs of his people, he managed to convince the Apache Chief to return with him to meet Miles. 

If these observations are all true, it means that Lt. Gatewood saved the day at the original

surrender of the Apaches by the Bavispe River in Mexico, as well as during the incident in

Guadalupe Canyon and at the surrender sight in Skeleton Canyon. Officially, the surrender was

complete by September 4, 1886.

On August 29, 1886 just under 400 Chiricahua Apaches, including the Apaches Army

Scouts were surrounded, disarmed and herded onboard a train in Arizona and shipped under

guard to Florida.  After meeting General Miles and submitting to the terms of the surrender

Geronimo, Chief Natches, their remaining warriors and Kateah and Martine were disarmed and

transported under guard to Florida on September 8, 1886, where they were initially confined at

Ft. Pickens while their families were housed at Ft. Marion.  Even though it would take several

decades to partially correct this injustice, Lt. Gatewood’s son was instrumental in helping Kateah

and Martine receive pensions from the Army for their frontier service.

            While being all that he can be for the United States Army, Lt. Charles B. Gatewood was

seriously disabled in the line of duty on May 18, 1892, when he ran under a burning army

barracks to use explosives to put out a raging fire, that threatened to destroy Fort Mc Kinney in

Wyoming. Unfortunately, a premature explosion shattered his left arm.  In a letter to his wife

dated September 30, 1892, that was written while recovering in Wyoming, Lt. Gatewood writes, 

“Everybody kind and sym for mishap.” On October 2, 1892, Lt. Gatwood included the following

remarks in a letter to his wife, “Rheum bad in right shoulder, (left arm shattered)…Tomor Board

meets for final decis.,will be retirement.”

            Lt. Gatewood arrived for duty in the west in 1879 and left in 1892 to return back home to

Fort Monroe in Virginia, after being forced to retire on disability with half pay.Lieutenant

Gatewood died on May 20, 1886 at the age of 43.  For his service to his country, his wife

Georgia received a $17.00 a month pension. Speaking about his father, Major Charles Gatewood

remarked, “My father was deeply and terribly hurt, more in his sense of the fitness of things than

in any sense of his own injury.”

            In an official War Department document dated June 26, 1895 to Major General N.A.

Miles from H.C. Corbin Assistant Adjutant General and Joseph B. Doe, Acting Secretary of War

the following is reported; “I have the honor to inform you that the request of Captain A. P.

Blocksom, 6th Cavalry, bearing your recommendation for a medal of honor for 1st Lieutenant

C.B. Gatewood, 6th Cavalry, for gallantry in going alone at the risk of his life into the hostile

Apache camp of Geronimo in Sonora, August 24, 1886, was submitted with the following

endorsement: It is to be regretted that the terms of the law authorizing the issue of the

Congressional medals of honor for most distinguished gallantry “in action” do not permit the

recognition by that means of the bravery of this officer.”

According to Brigadier General Charles D. Rhodes, Lt. Gatewood’s actions did not meet

the requirements at the time for the Medal of Honor, because by strict definition, the

Lieutenant’s actions did not include any “gallantry in action.”  General Rhodes also wrote that

his regiment felt that all of the credit for the surrender of Geronimo belonged to Lt. Gatewood

and that, “there was considerable criticism that neither material nor sentimental recognition was

accorded Gatewood for the outstanding act of courage and good judgment, which only field

soldiers could appreciate.” 

Lt. Gatewood was not motivated by fame or medals and went in harms way simply

because he was ordered to do so.  Still, that does not dilute the impact of his actions in any way.

Lt. Charles B. Gatewood and his small party accomplished what some 8000 U.S. and Mexican

soldiers were unable to do.  Surely, if the modern day U.S. Army continues to believe that the

Medal of Honor is too rich for this man, there must be some other decoration or consideration

that Lt. Charles B. Gatewood is “qualified” to receive, considering the nature and implications of

his heroic actions during The Geronimo Campaign.  One suggestion is to posthumously promote

Lt. Gatewood to the rank of Captain.

Even though the United States Army has very strict guidelines regarding the awarding of

decorations, especially the Medal of Honor, one would think that Lt. Gatewood’s after action

report and other well established facts are enough to recognize this officer in a meaningful

fashion.  After all, how many U.S. Army Officers in the 1880s would travel without a military

escort, to meet with such a famous renegade Apache as Geronino and a group of his armed

followers.  No only did Gatewood do this without an escort of armed troops, he did so while

being the bearer of very bad news, while advising Geronimo that his options were to surrender or

face annihilation. How his superiors refused to accept Gatwood’s actions as meting the

definition of gallantry in action defies logic.

            Keep in mind, that Assistant Army Surgeon Leonard Wood was awarded the Medal of

Honor for traveling 100 miles on horseback and on foot to carry dispatches through “hostile

territory” and for temporarily commanding a unit of infantry during The Geronimo Campaign. 

Even though Dr. Wood did not make contact with hostile enemy forces, during the action for

which he was decorated, the U.S. Army felt that he qualified for the Medal of Honor. 

Clearly, one can argue that Lt. Gatewood and his scouts also traveled through terrain that

was occupied by hostile forces, when they tracked the renegade Apaches and delivered the

surrender agreement to Geronimo on behalf of General Miles. Most historians and military

experts would agree that carrying the terms of surrender into a heavily armed enemy camp,

where you are seriously outnumbered and in no position to resist without losing your life, is

significantly more dangerous, than carrying dispatches through hostile terrain, when you do not

encounter any enemy forces on your journey. Without taking anything away from Dr. Wood or

anyone else, we are left to wonder why Lt. Gatewood was not recognized in an appropriate

fashion by the United States Army.

The moment has also come for the United States Government to formally honor Kateah

and Martine and apologize to all the Apache Scouts who served honorably and were carted off to

virtual imprisonment, after rendering faithful service to the United States Army.  According to

author Fairfax Downey, 4,672 Apaches enlisted in the United States Army and served as Scouts

from 1871 until 1886.  These Apache Scouts fought in many campaigns and skirmishes with

over a dozen of them being awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery.

Life on the frontier was a very demanding and dangerous experience, that tested the

metal of soldiers, civilians and the Native Americans, who were forced by circumstances beyond

their control to submit to a drastic change in lifestyle in the name of progress.  Throughout the

Apache Wars and The Geronimo Campaign, the Southwest border in Arizona, New Mexico and

Northern Mexico (Sonora) was an inhospitable place, where the end was in doubt until the

Geronimo issue was resolved and a “final solution of sorts” was carried out against the

Chiricahua Apaches.

            According to Lt. Gatewood, the Apaches respected force and gave their “profoundest”

respect to anyone “who gets the better of them.”  In many respects, you can say, that the Indian

Wars were won by the United States Army because the adage, “Peace through superior

firepower,” applied then as it does now. 

Authors note: In an effort to gain some recognition for Lt. Gatewood, Kateah and

Martine, the author contacted several members of Congress and requested in writing that an

investigation be conducted to determine if the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) or some other

suitable decoration could be bestowed on Lt. Gatewood, Kateah and Martine.  After reviewing

the detailed presentation that was provided to Congress the U.S. Army Decorations Board denied

this request.  Whether or not the United States Army ever changes its position on this matter, all

we can do at this late date is honor Lt. Gatewood, Kateah and Martine as best as possible and

insure that the story of their national service is told from every perspective, so the people who

enjoy reading American military history can decide what is fact and what is fiction. 

The author is a Retired U.S. Customs Agent and former police officer who was physically

disabled in the line of duty while working undercover as a federal agent. To date the author has

published over 180 magazine articles and nine books.

            Sources and references:

            1.  The Gatewood Collection of the Arizona Historical Society

            2. The Truth About Geronimo By: Britton Davis

            3. Forty Miles A Day On Beans and Hay By: Don Rickey Jr. 

            4. Nelson A. Miles & The Twilight of the Frontier Army By: Robert Wooster

            5. Indian Wars of the West By: Paul Wellman

6.  The National Park Service file on Lt. Gatewood at Ft. Bowie.

            Magazine Articles:

            6. Warrior Tactics Adopted By Blaine Taylor

            7. Geronimo’s Final Surrenderm By Richard Killblane

            8.  Geronimo By Griffin Oliver

            9. Captain Lawton’s Pursuit of Geronimo By: Walter Holden 

            10. Lieutenant Charles Gatewood’s Civil Difficulties

in the Arizona Territory began with Judge Zuck by:  Louis Kraft

11. Assignment Geronimo by Louis Kraft. 

The following is a copy of the letter that the author sent to members of Congress in an effort to encourage the United States Army to decorate and or honor Lt. Charles Gatewood in an appropriate fashion for this service during The Geronimo Campaign. 

Honorable Ben Nighthorse Campbell

United States Senator

State of Colorado

Dear Senator Campbell:

            As a member of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association I have become active with certain legislative projects.  In doing so, I have become aware of your efforts to enact legislation that is beneficial to the law enforcement profession.  I would also like to report that you are considered to be one of the most respected U.S. Senators by my association.

            Although the request I am making has nothing to do with my affiliation with F.L.E.O.A., I would like to believe that we could elicit support from my association if you thought it would be helpful to do so.  As such, I have chosen to write to you and submit a request, as unusual as it may be, to correct history and formally honor three U.S. soldiers who were denied formal recognition back in 1886. I am of course speaking about Lt. Charles Baher Gatewood of the U.S. 6th Cavalry and his two U.S. Army Apache Scouts, Kateah and Martin (AKA Martine).

            Although certain attempts have been made in the past to secure a medal for Lt. Gatewood I am not aware of any previous attempts to secure formal recognition for U.S. Army Apache Scouts Kateah and Martine. Please understand that my goal is to provide you with as many relevant facts as possible which explains why I have written a rather lengthy letter and have attached supporting documentation. Obviously, since this is a very serious matter, I would be remise if I failed to convince you that my request is a valid one and worthy of further consideration. I am confident that I have uncovered extremely relevant facts that were overlooked in the past and can now be used to qualify Lt. Gatewood, along with U.S. Army Scout Kateah and Scout Martine for an appropriate decoration. 

            I ask that you ignore much of what has been represented in the movies and examine

the official documents and personal papers that I have attached as well as any other reports or information that you can secure in your official capacity as a U.S. Senator. I feel confident that I can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the actions of Lt. Gatewood and his two scouts warrant an official investigation of historical events to determine the exact level of formal recognition that these men deserve, given the circumstance at hand.   

            In my humble opinion, I believe that Lt. Charles B. Gatewood, along with U.S. Army Apache Scouts Kateah and Martine deserve the Congressional Medal of Honor for the heroism that they displayed during the last engagement of the period of history that is commonly known as the Geronimo Campaign. These men accepted a dangerous mission, one that 8000 U.S. and Mexican troops had failed to perform. Lt. Gatewood and his Scouts went into harms way armed

for war but hopeful that they could bring about a lasting peace. In the end their mission was a  success. Kateah and Martine performed their duties as expected and delivered Lt. Gatewood to a well hidden Apache camp where he was able to meet the “hostiles” and deliver the message that General Miles had entrusted with him. Lt. Gatewood was then responsible for convincing the Apaches to accept the terms of surrender or be annihilated. 

            The story of the Geronimo Campaign is much too lengthy and complicated to relay in

this format.  What is well documented in history is the unique role that Lt. Gatewood and his two Scouts played in this action. I can unequivocally state that it is quite clear that Gatewood and his two scouts accomplished what no one else was able or capable of doing.

            Two large armies from the U.S. and Mexico were actively involved in the hunt for Geronimo and the small band of Apaches that he took with him when he fled the reservation for the last time in mid 1886. The Apache people who followed Geronimo were far from beaten and continued to be a major thorn in the side of the United States and Mexico despite their depleted numbers.

            Lt. Britton Davis, 6th U.S. Cavalry, reports that Geronimo and company had re-supplied themselves some seven different times while fleeing from the troops that were pursuing them. In short, permit me to state that many more lives could have been lost if Lt. Gatewood and his Apache Scouts had not been successful in their mission. The Apaches made peace with various settlements along their escape route in return for goods and services. Everything from food, temporary shelter, guns and ammunition were all acquired on the road, either through bartering or theft. As such the U.S. Army and Mexican soldiers were consistently facing a well armed and fully resupplied adversary. Neither the U.S Army or the Mexican forces were ever able to engage Geronimo and his entire band of followers in any significant punitive actions. Geronimo and his people had successfully eluded the U.S. and Mexican Army until Lt. Gatewood and his scouts took on the job of hunting the Apaches down.   

            Before I continue permit me to mention a few facts that you may not be aware of. First, Lt. Gatewood has been described as a knightly and most honorable man. His reputation as both a professional army officer and accomplished Indian fighter is well documented. More importantly, and very significant to this story, is how the Apache people admired the man they affectionately and respectfully called Bay-chen-daysen or Long Nose.

            Few people are aware that while performing his official duties as the Commanding Officer of the White Mountain Reservation, Lt. Gatewood was formally charged and almost prosecuted because he stood up for the rights of the Apache people and went up against two powerful white businessmen who tried to defraud the Apaches over the sale of hay. (Documents attached) Lt. Gatewood refused to stand down and rejected his commanding general’s request to drop his investigation when these white businessmen complained to General Crook. Instead, Lt. Gatewood filed his complaint and personally affected the arrest of the culprits. Unfortunately for Lt. Gatewood, the charges against the white businessmen were dropped. Instead of putting the matter to rest the businessmen filed a criminal complaint against Lt. Gatewood.

            Luckily for Gatewood, a sympathetic judge dropped the charges that he falsely imprisoned the two businessmen, but not until some 18 months of having his career hang in the balance had passed. However, as a result, the Apache people saw that Lt. Gatewood was a man of tremendous honor who faced the possibilities of a term in prison and a ruined army career rather than knuckle under and do what was viewed at the time as the politically correct thing to do. Naturally, this did not sit well with General Crook. Gatewood’s decision to ignore the wishes of General Crook and drop his investigation significantly damaged their relationship. Going up against a general has never been good for one’s career, in any army, and at any time in history, even when you’re right.

            Even when taking into consideration the fact that promotions in the army back then

were few and far between, it is difficult to accept the fact that Lt. Gatewood remained a First Lieutenant for the rest of his army career. Lt. Gatewood graduated from West Point in 1877, was placed on the disabled list in 1892, and was sent home to Virginia, where he died in 1896. That’s a long time to be a lieutenant especially when you look at Gatewood’s accomplishments in battle, his heroics and his performance as the commanding officer of a well managed Apache Reservation.

            Geronimo also respected and personally liked Lt. Gatewood very much. This was well known in army circles and no doubt later served to motivate General Miles to use the lieutenant in the capacity that he did. No other army officer in the Department of Arizona was more qualified than Lt. Gatewood to hunt Geronimo down and deliver the unconditional terms of surrender. Even Lt. Gatewood’s Apache Army Scouts, Kateah and Martine, were hand picked for this very demanding mission.

            Just because Lt. Gatewood was liked by Geronimo and his people didn’t mean that he was not in danger when he approached the Apache camp near the Bavispe River in late August of 1886. Quite the contrary, Gatewood may have been respected and admired but he was still a U.S. soldier and the bearer of some very bad news. Any soldier coming into rifle range of the hidden Apache camp could have easily been picked off. Once Lt. Gatewood managed to get close enough to the Apache camp to be recognized, he had a good chance of being given permission to enter unharmed. The trick was being able to approach the camp under a flag of truce without scaring the Apaches off or provoking them into a gun battle. This is where Kateah and Martine earned their army pay.

            There are no words to describe the courage it took for Kateah and Martine to approach

the Apache camp considering all that was going on and the fact that they were now U.S. Army Scouts. I think you can easily say that at this point in the operation Kateah and Martine were actually in more jeopardy than Lt. Gatewood was. Their lives could have been extinguished in an instant. Luckily, after bringing word that Lt. Gatewood was nearby with an important message Martine was allowed to leave the camp and show Gatewood the way in.  

            This time, there would be no bargaining with Geronimo and Lt. Gatewood knew it.

In simple terms, the surrender was unconditional and not negotiable. Lt. Gatewood had to

stand on firm ground with the Apaches. Clearly, it was only because Geronimo and the others respected Lt. Gatewood that he was permitted to enter their camp in the first place. Initially there were some tense moments but eventually things settled down as the Apaches discussed what to do with their guest. The Apaches ended up asking Lt. Gatewood to tell them what he would do if he was in their situation. Lt. Gatewood was very blunt and extremely honest. To prove how important these “negotiations” were the army continued to re-supply Lt. Gatewood and the Apaches with rations and tobacco for the next two days. 

            Even Lt. Gatewood, with his in depth knowledge of the Chiricahua Apache, could not be  sure how Geronimo and company would react when they were told that their friends and loved ones were already being shipped to Florida. Luckily for Gatewood, and a lot of other people, the Apaches were deeply troubled by the removal of their families from the area. Traditionally, Apaches who fled the reservation system would often sneak back to their homes to rest and be re-supplied with food and what ever else they needed before going back out on the run again. By removing all Apaches from the Arizona Territory, Geronimo and his people had no safe haven to return to. Their options were to continue to fight or surrender, since there was no place on earth where the Apaches would not be pursued.

            The Chiricahua Apaches did what they felt was required of them in order to survive and it is not important as part of this request to debate who did what to who first, when, where or how. What is important is that based on Lt. Gatewood’s warnings and advice the Apaches chose peace over war in August of 1886. 

            Lt. Gatewood lived and fought among the Apache people and other Native American tribes throughout much of his career. At different times he commanded more Native American soldiers than white soldiers. This is often overlooked when we examine this man’s credentials and the contribution made by the Native Americans who served with him. The Apache scouts were inducted into the United States Army and paid enlisted man’s wages just like every other soldier. They earned rank according to their standing in the tribes and performed their duties under the code of military conduct just like any other soldiers. The Apache scouts were not informants or prisoners serving in the army like trustees do in a prison. The Apaches were paid government employees and should have been afforded the same rights and privileges of any other U.S. soldier. As such, it is time to correct the record and honor these men as soldiers who served with distinction.

            Again, this is not the format to discuss whether or not Geronimo and his followers were justified to wage war for the atrocities and mistreatment they endured while under the “care” of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs and the “protection” of the United States Army. What is important to discuss is the fact that General Crook’s replacement, General Nelson Miles tried everything under the sun to capture Geronimo and his “renegades,” but failed. It is imperative when examining these events to take into consideration the political temperament of the times. General Miles and General Crook were rivals. History is cold and calculated in this regard and shows that Miles had no love for Crook or anything associated with him, including his tactics.

            Crook’s tactics were to use Apaches to fight Apaches and diplomacy before force.

Miles came from the General Philip H. Sheridan school of Indian fighting which took the concept of peace through superior firepower a step further to include the adage, “the only good Indian is a dead Indian.” As such, it did not serve General Miles interest to recognize the contribution made by Lt. Gatewood in the subsequent capture/surrender of Geronimo, simply because Gatewood subscribed to the Crook method of operation. For General Miles to have done more to honor and promote Lt. Gatewood would mean he would have to recognize the efforts of Gatewood’s mentor, General Crook. That would have been out of character for a man like General Miles. Once General Crook was reassigned to Chicago, General Miles wasted no time in flooding Southern Arizona and Mexico with observation posts and long range patrols of infantry and cavalry troops. One of these patrols was commanded by Captain Henry Lawton of the 4th Cavalry.  

            I hate to speculate but it seems more than likely that men back in the late 1880’s were as they are now. It is possible that Miles would have done a lot more for Gatewood had this officer been part of his team. If one examines other officers who came up through the ranks networking under General Miles, men like Leonard Wood and Henry Lawton, you can find a Medal of Honor winner and promotions to the general officer ranks. Still, Gatewood was neither advanced in grade or decorated for his heroics and accomplishments.  

            I have attached a War Department memo from Major General Nelson A. Miles that indicates that in 1895, Captain A. P. Blocksom, 6th Cavalry, recommended that Lt. Charles B. Gatewood should be given the Medal of Honor. The response from the War Department dated June 24, 1895, regretfully informs the officers involved that, “the terms of law authorizing the issue of Congressional Medals of Honor for most distinguished gallantry “in action” do not permit the recognition by that means of the bravery of this officer.” I believe that if General Miles wanted Lt. Gatewood promoted and or decorated with the Medal of Honor he would have used his tremendous influence to make sure that this happened. If the United States Army accepted what Dr. Leonard Wood did, on an uneventful patrol that failed to accomplish its intended mission, as “gallantry in action” or “conspicuous service”, then one can easily state that what Lt. Gatewood and his patrol accomplished far exceeded the criterior for the Medal of Honor.      

            As I mention above, one of the patrols that was formed prior to General Miles reaching out to Gatewood for assistance was commanded by Captain Henry Lawton. It has been said that Lawton was out for blood and desperately wanted to be the one to capture Geronimo or be the cause of his demise. A contract Assistant Surgeon by the name of Leonard Wood accompanied this long range patrol which lasted some three months and accomplished absolutely nothing of consequence even though it had covered 1400 miles of unbearable terrain.

            I am not aware of any direct contact or close combat actions between Lawton’s Patrol

and any marauding Apaches during this uneventful foray into Mexico that took place before Lt. Gatewood and company joined the column. One small scouting party attached to Lawton’s Patrol is reported to have come close to capturing the “renegade” Apaches but as you know being close only counts in horseshoes and handgrenades. I assume that Captain Lawton and General Miles, regardless of what they failed to do for Lt. Gatewood, felt justified when they requested that Assistant Surgeon Wood be given the Medal of Honor. Leonard Wood received his Medal of Honor in March of 1898.

            As I will mention again later on in this letter, Lt. Gatewood was not given any credit for his heroic actions when Captain Lawton filed his official field report about the surrender of Geronimo and the other Apaches in September of 1886. To me this is a red flag that clearly indicates that Lawton and others denied Gatewood proper recognition for what everyone else in the Army and the U.S. Cavalry at the time knew was an accomplishment that was only made possible because Lt. Gatewood orchestrated the surrender of Geronimo. (numerous documents attached)     

            I also apologize if I am incorrect, but as far as I am aware from my research, Dr. Wood’s commission was held up along with numerous others. As a result, I am not sure when he actually became an army officer and if he actually was a commissioned officer or technically a civilian medical provider at the time that he traveled into Mexico with Lawton’s Patrol. If I am not mistaken I thought I read that Dr. Wood received his commission in September of 1886 which is after he participated in this foray into Mexico as the Assistant Surgeon and “second” in command of Lawton’s patrol. U.S. Army records should confirm this either way.  

            I am also aware that Dr. Wood served our nation in many important posts and do not mean to detract from the overall impact that his service had on our nation’s military history. However, there are a few things relative to Dr. Wood and the Lawton Patrol that you might be interested in reading about, if for no other reason than to see the true importance of the contribution that was made by Lt. Gatewood and his scouts. It has also been reported that Dr. Wood may have saved the life of his commanding officer, Captain Lawton, from a severe case of dysentery. One researcher speculated that this may have made Captain Lawton exceptionally beholding to Dr. Wood. Obviously, we’ll never know whether this is true or not.

            Even though I do not admire General Miles for the way in which he treated Lt. Gatewood, I am aware that Dr. Wood, Captain Lawton and General Nelson A. Miles were very brave men who served our nation in various wars and armed conflicts with great distinction. My intention here is to show that the only medal given out during this campaign was given to a man who had nothing to do with the actual capture/surrender of Geromino. Whether or not Dr. Wood had a pivotal role in helping to keep the Apaches under control or to enforce the terms of the surrender is also highly debatable. 

            On one occasion, Captain Lawton did recognize the contribution made by Lt. Gatewood even though it is quite clear that Lawton did not like being upstaged by Gatewood. Captain Lawton also did not appreciate having Lt. Gatewood show up with independent orders from Miles to do as he wished as long as Gatewood was hunting Geronimo. I have attached a copy of

a statement made by Lawton to newspaper reporters about Gatewood which states, “ I would not deprive the officer who made the capture of his credit, or receive the surrender. The man who is entitled to the honor is Lieutenant Charles B. Gatewood, of the 6th Cavalry. Gatewood sent two of his scouts to Geronimo’s camp in response to the latters signal with a flag of truce, and followed shortly afterward, and was talking to Geronimo when I rode up. Lieut. Gatewood delivered the Indians to me and I turned them over to General Miles.” (Frostburg Mining Journal, Frostburg, Maryland, September 25, 1886)

            According to author Louis Kraft, in his official report dated September 9, 1886, Captain Lawton singled out Dr. Wood, Lt. Smith and Lt. Robert Brown and just about everyone else for exceptional service during the Geronimo Campaign, except Lt. Gatewood. Public statements are fine but official credit must be conveyed in an official after action report for any credit to be given to an officer. Captain Lawton may have said some nice things to a newspaper reporter but he apparently failed miserably when it came time to include any complimentary statements about Lt. Gatewood in his official field report. 

            Mr. Kraft also reports that on November 8, 1887, during a reception at the San Xavier Hotel, General Miles praised all of the officers involved in the surrender of Geronimo, except Lt. Gatewood. When one well informed reporter asked the general about Lt. Gatewood’s involvement General Miles snapped that he was, “sick of this adulation of Lieutenant Gatewood, who only did his duty.” Lt. Gatewood, who was ordered to remain in Los Angeles, was absent from this celebration and was not present to defend his honor.

            It should also be noted that Lt. Gatewood was assigned to the 6th Cavalry where General Miles, Capt. Lawton and the others were with the 4th Cavalry. I hate to believe that such petty rivalries existed back then as they do now. However, after spending many years of my law enforcement career involved in drug enforcement duty I can certainly believe that one unit of the same army could be jealous of a colleague who served with distinction but happened to be assigned to another group.

            I also offer another reason for the disparity between Gatewood and the others, one that has very little to do with a competitive spirit between different army units.  A controversy of sorts exists that involves reports that an attempt was made by a faction of U.S. soldiers in Captain Lawton’s command to attack the Apaches once they surrendered and were traveling under the protection of the United States Army.

            According to one version, Lt. Gatewood risked his own life to protect the Apaches from a small mob of undisciplined soldiers who sought revenge by attacking Geronimo and his people after they had surrendered. This version indicates that Lt. Abiel Smith joined in a mutiny of sorts with some enlisted personnel in the Canyon de Guadelupe on the return trip to the U.S. As documented by Lt. Gatewood’s son, an army officer himself and part time historian of sorts, and reported by persons present or close to his father, tempers flared at the time because the soldiers and Apaches were camped at the very spot where a previous skirmish between the army and the Apaches had taken place.

            Captain Lawton was not present in the army’s side of the camp and could do nothing by his legitimate absence to maintain order and discipline. As stated above, Lt. Abiel Smith is reported to have led a rabble rousing group of armed soldiers who intended to go over to the Apache camp to avenge the deaths of their previously fallen comrades. This attack failed because Lt. Gatewood threatened to use force if anyone tried to harm the Apaches in his charge. It was also mentioned that Dr. Wood was the first person in line when Lt. Gatewood blocked the trail and thwarted the attack. If this incident is true then Lt. Gatewood went up against his own people to prevent the surrendered Apaches from being harmed in any way.       

            Leonard Wood’s biographer reports a different version and use entries in Wood’s journal to bear out that the Apaches misunderstood Lt. Smith’s orders to surround the “Indians” to prevent escape as a preventive measure and not as a true indication that the army was planning any treachery.

            A slightly more detailed account of this issue is reported by historian and author Louis Kraft.  According to Mr. Kraft, Lt. Smith wanted to disarm the Apaches and make them true prisoners.  When the Chiricahua Apaches overheard these remarks Geronimo and company  mounted up and began to flee the area. Kraft reports in his findings that it was Lt. Gatewood and no one else who went after Geronimo and his people. Gatewood is reported to have told Geromino, when asked what they should do if they are fired on by the troops, “I will proceed toward the troops and endeavor to have the firing stopped, otherwise I will run away with you.”

            After finding a defensible spot the Apaches established a new camp while Gatewood, Mr. Wratten and Geronimo went to confront the U.S. soldiers. Again, according to Kraft’s research Lt. Gatewood confronted Lt. Smith who cited his seniority over Gatewood when he demanded to meet with the Chiricahua Apaches. Tempers flared and Gatewood accused Smith of wanting to kill Geronimo. When Lt. Smith continued to state his demands to meet with the Apaches, Lt. Gatewood threatened to kill the first man who tried. Dr. Wood was the first man in line. Leonard Wood obviously sensed the seriousness of Gatewood’s threat and retreated, leaving Lt. Smith as the next person in line. Lt. Smith also backed down and an orderly was sent to get Captain Lawton. The Apaches were protected and the honor of the United States Cavalry was upheld by a defiant and devoted Lt. Gatewood. Geronimo formally surrendered in Skeleton Canyon on September 3, 1886 while Chief Naiche surrendered on September 4th. The Apache Wars were over.   

            What cannot be challenged by anyone is that Lt. Gatewood was concerned enough about his ability to properly protect the Apaches from his own people and the Mexicans that he refused to accept their weapons and permitted the Apaches to retain their rifles and sidearms even after they had surrendered. Even Captain Lawton never tried to disarm the Apaches, which leads me to believe that he bowed to Gatewood’s convictions and may have privately shared his subordinates feelings on the matter.

            To some extent, Lt. Gatewood’s instincts were proven correct, especially if you believe the version that indicates that certain U.S. troops did intend to harm the Apaches who were traveling in their “custody ” under a flag of truce. Clearly, if Captain Lawton had no problem with Geronimo and his people retaining their weapons, then Lt. Smith was going against the wishes of his commanding officer by taking it upon himself to disarm the Apaches and make them more suitable “prisoners.” I also offer that any soldier from that era would have to suspect or know that any attempt to disarm the Apaches would result in a confrontation. So, whether Lt. Smith and company intended to actually harm the Apaches, or “merely” disarm them and make them prisoners they were provoking them to either flee or retaliate.  

            Regardless of the motivation of the soldiers involved, the Apaches were concerned enough for their safety to flee the area. Lt. Gatewood brought them back and maintained the terms of surrender. There was also a clear and present threat of an armed intervention against the Apaches by the Mexican soldiers in the area. In fact, there was a close call of sorts that involved a contingent of the Mexican Army and the returning U.S. column. Luckily, violence was averted and the U.S. troops were permitted to continue to escort the Apaches to meet General Miles. When properly led the U.S. troops in Lawton’s Patrol did stand ready to protect the Apaches from being harmed by the Mexican soldiers.

            Even Gatewood’s son writes about the need to try and put yourself in the mind set of

the people who lived during the difficult times of the late 1800’s. What we find hard to believe as acceptable behavior today was considered standard operating procedure for many back then. In many respects, Lt. Gatewood was a remarkable figure because he was a man who had

a tremendous amount of integrity compared to others in his day. When you examine Gatewood closely, even though you can see traces of certain prejudices and “typical” feelings that were acceptable for his era, he is a man who did what was right regardless of what may have been the politically correct thing to do at the time.    

            Lt. Gatewood’s son was a remarkable investigator of sorts and was meticulous in his efforts to try and document the actions and heroics of his father and those who stood with him. In doing so, Gatewood’s son interviewed many eyewitnesses and people who were in the position to be privy to the best hearsay available. One reason why we have so many documents to examine today is because Lt. Gatewood’s son left no stones unturned in his search to prove that his father and his scouts deserved formal recognition for their heroics. 

            Major Charles B. Gatewood Jr., Lt. Gatewood’s son, documented a statement made

by George Wratten, the army interpreter assigned to assist his father during the Geronimo Campaign. George Wratten reported that he personally witnessed Lt. Gatewood confront U.S. troops who intended to harm the Apaches in the camp near the Guadalupe Canyon. Mr. Wratten included in his statement that Dr. Wood was the first man in line when his father, Lt. Gatewood, threatened to kill anyone who tried to harm the Apaches.

            It should be noted that although Lt. Gatewood did not actually utilize the services of Mr. Wratten as an interpreter during the negotiations with the Apaches, Mr. Wratten did go along and was present with Lt. Gatewood every step of the way. Mr. Wratten’s service to our country has also never been formally recognized. After the surrender of the Apaches, Mr. Wratten served as a translator and remained with the Apaches during a period of their incarceration. His knowledge of the events are a first hand account of what transpired. Mr. Wratten had direct contact with all of the major players involved and as such is reporting his observations and not just matters that are more commonly referred to as hearsay. Therefore, his statements should be given a great deal of merit and consideration when you are trying to determine exactly what took place back in 1886.    

            Another witness of sorts is Colonel M. Day, a man who served during the Geronimo Campaign under General Crook and General Miles. Colonel Day was an especially close personal friend and West Point classmate of Lt. Gatewood. In 1925, Colonel Day told Gatewood’s son that his father had personally confided in him about the matter of the attempted “massacre” involving U.S. troops. According to Gatewood’s son the story that was relayed to him in 1925 by Colonel Day was exactly the same story that George Wratten relayed to him back in 1906.

            Due to the passage of so much time it is remarkable that two such witnesses should recall the exact same events with little or no deviation. As a former police officer and retired federal agent who made a career out of gathering all kinds of evidence, including witness statements I always find it interesting when credible witnesses confirm each others stories. 

            In 1926, Lt. Gatewood’s son asked Frank Hudson, a mule packer assigned to his father, if these stories were true. Hudson responded by saying, “ Where the hell did you get that? You’re not far wrong.” In addition, Lt. Gatewood’s son also documented that a cavalry sergeant by the name of Charles Mauer stated that he overheard the argument between Lt. Gatewood and Lt. A.L. Smith concerning the proposed attack on the Apaches.      

            Another witness of sorts, a Lt. Clay, wrote in a letter to Lt. Gatewood’s son that, “if it had not been for your father’s ability with these Indians, they might well have killed us all, as they had every opportunity to do.”  Other facts seem to bear out Clay’s statements since the Apaches were well armed and always on alert which explains why they were able to pick up on  the plans of Lt. Smith and company, regardless of what these plans were. 

            Brigadier General Charles D. Rhodes stated in one particular letter that despite the reality of the situation, Lt. Gatewood’s actions did not meet the requirements at the time for the Medal of Honor because the Lieutenant’s actions by strict definition were unaccompanied by any “gallantry in action.” General Rhodes goes on to state that his regiment felt that all of the credit for the surrender of Geronimo belonged to Lt. Gatewood and that, “there was considerable  criticism that neither material nor sentimental recognition was accorded Gatewood for the outstanding act of courage and good judgment, which only field soldiers could appreciate.”

            Again, under the common understanding of the definition of the term, “gallantry in action” I cannot understand how the U.S. Army had no qualms about giving Dr. Wood the highest decoration in the land but denied Lt. Gatewood this honor. I ask that you re-examine the official definition for the term, “gallantry in action” and certify today that what Gatewood and his scouts did was clearly a gallant act that took place in time of war and saved the lives of both soldiers and civilians alike.

            Furthermore, considering the lack of social standing that Native Americans had at the time, it is obvious that it was not politically correct back in 1886 to honor, promote, or commend a U.S. Army officer who protected the lives of the Chiricahuas from avenging fellow American soldiers. If this in fact took place, as Mr. Wratten has stated, the Army would have had to mention a very distasteful incident in order to bestow the Medal of Honor on Lt. Gatewood. Considering the political climate of the times, and the anti Native American feelings that involved westward expansion, it would have taken an Act of Divine Intervention to motivate the U.S. Army to commend any officer for doing what Gatewood was reported, by at least one eye witness, to have done.   

            What makes Lt. Gatewood a truly heroic figure is the fact that he really didn’t want to have anything more to do with chasing Geronimo by the summer of 1886. Gatewood had just escaped being criminally prosecuted for upholding the rights of the Apache people, an act that was definitely not the politically correct thing for a white man to do back in the late 1880’s. In his own handwriting he advised his wife of his feelings and personal hopes that Geronimo and company would surrender before he was forced to join the campaign. Lt. Gatewood was tired of dealing with the troublesome Apaches and wanted no part of any duty that involved leading Native American Scouts.

            Lt. Gatewood was also in poor health at the time and technically unfit for anything even remotely close to arduous field duty. Sick or not Lt. Gatewood was “drafted” into action by a very desperate General Miles when his “team” of officers were unable to hunt down the “renegade” Apaches. Lt. Gatewood was sent packing with a minimal force of his two scouts, a mule packer and one interpreter. The column of soldiers he was promised for escort was denied by the commander of Ft. Bowie. Nevertheless, Gatewood pressed on with his small and lightly armed force in search of Geronimo and his small band of Apaches.

            When Gatewood finally met up with Captain Lawton, Lawton’s Patrol had no idea where Geronimo and his people were. Furthermore, Lawton’s Patrol was no where near where the Apaches were actually resting or “hiding.” According to author Louis Kraft, despite the importance of his mission Lt. Gatewood asked Assistant Surgeon Wood for a medical discharge from duty on August 8th, 1886. Wood refused and Lt. Gatewood was forced again to continue to serve even though he was legitimately sick. Another author states that Lawton drove Gatewood to continue in his mission regardless of how sick he was. In this account, Dr. Wood is credited with getting Lawton to back off and give Gatewood some time to rest before he resumed his advanced scouting efforts.

            Despite his poor health, Lt. Gatewood and his scouts outsmarted everyone involved and even managed to elude the Mexican army units that were eager to lure the Apaches into a trap so they could annihilate them. Eventually, using excellent tracking skills, proactive intelligence and a knowledge of his adversaries, Gatewood and his scouts came upon the Apache camp near the Bavispe River in Fronteras, Mexico.

            I offer you as proof of this action the official field report of Lt. Charles B. Gatewood. Since the United States Army has accepted this report without prejudice as this officer’s final word on the matter I ask that you and your colleagues in the Congress and Senate of the United States base your decision to decorate these three men largely on Lt. Gatewood’s formal field report that is dated October 15, 1886. Not only does this report document the actions of Lt. Gatewood, but it is perhaps the best account of the actions of Kateah and Martine.

            When this mission was completed Geronimo and his people were sent under guard to Florida then on to Oklahoma for a life on the reservation. Regardless of their former official standing as American soldiers, the Apache Scouts who joined the U.S. Army ended up

not as free men but as guests of the United States Government on various reservations. What happened to the Apache people is a stain on the conscious of all men who lived at the time and subscribed to the politics of the day. To disarm and in essence imprison U.S. Army personnel because of the color of their skin, especially after they rendered faithful service, was a disgraceful event to say the least. To his credit, Lt. Gatewood’s son was responsible for securing pensions for the scouts who served with his father. I have attached documents to this effect.

            I leave this matter in your hands. You may ask yourself what my motivations are. I am

an Italian American not a Native American by birth. Still, I find what happened in the name of westward expansion to be very upsetting to say the least. As for me, I was injured in the line of duty on three occasions during undercover operations, including once in a plane crash landing incident. I was forced to medically retire from the U.S. Customs Service in July of 1997. I can truly sympathize with Lt. Gatewood knowing how difficult it must have been for him to function as well as he did in a job that he loved with the deteriorating health that he had. 

            I mention this, because like many other incidents that law enforcement officers can experience in their careers, I can fully appreciate the position that Lt. Gatewood and his colleagues were in. Lt. Gatewood was an outstanding army officer who did his job and nothing more. Like most modern day law enforcement officers, Lt. Gatewood had no visions of grandeur, and certainly never accepted this, or any other assignment with the thought of receiving any formal recognition or medals for his deeds.

            I guess I also feel a certain kinship to Lt. Gatewood because I am a close personal friend of his surviving great grandson, a Mr. Gary Ross of Sonoita, Arizona. Like his great grandfather, Gary is a man of tremendous integrity and honor. You also can’t help but get close to people when you perform extensive research about them. It’s very similar to conducting a long term investigation as a federal agent or police detective. As such, it’s easy to like and admire Lt. Gatewood. You can truly sense the admiration that many people had for him when you read various correspondence and personal papers.          

            In conclusion let me say that my intentions here are honorable. After completing my research I have no choice but to challenge the decision of the War Department as the Department of Defense was once called when it denied authorizing the Medal of Honor to Lt. Gatewood.  For reasons that I have done my best to explain I have also taken things a step further and feel compelled to respectfully request that in addition to Lt. Gatewood, his two Scouts, Kateah and Martine, should also be awarded an appropriate medal for their distinguished service.   

            These medals may not do much for the men who earned them but they might serve to remind us all that our nation should never be afraid to right the wrongs of the past. America must always distinguish itself from all the other nations and be a land that will face its darkest days head on and eagerly take whatever steps are necessary to put a fresh coat of honor over the blemishes in our nation’s history as they are uncovered.

            If we get into the habit of correcting our past errors in judgment we might make fewer mistakes in the future. Certainly, despite the advancements in science and technology there is

still far too much bigotry and hatred in our country. We are therefore obligated to take every opportunity to give credit where credit is due regardless of how painful it is to correct the mistakes that were made in the past. Our only hope is to educate our young people and what better way of accomplishing this than to admit that our forefathers screwed up back in the late 1880’s and failed to honor three brave soldiers and not just a white officer and two Apache Scouts.   

            I hope that you can see that Lt. Gatewood, along with Kateah and Martine, can be honored for many reasons. Lt. Gatewood was aided in his efforts by two very brave scouts. Lt. Gatewood was largely able to successfully negotiate the final and lasting surrender of the Apache people because of the direct involvement of Kateah and Martine in his mission. Regardless of how poorly the Apache people were treated by others, Gatewood and his small patrol averted further bloodshed and violence by convincing them to agree to the terms of surrender. As previously mentioned, by certain witness statements, Lt. Gatewood also personally risked his own life to protect the Apaches, who were traveling under a flag of truce, from his own people. It is also clear that Lt. Gatewood and others did successfully protect the Apaches in their charge from being slaughtered by elements of the Mexican Army that were hunting Geronimo and the other Chricahua Apaches.

            Even if by their actions the life of only one human being was saved these men deserve to be honored. Considering the fact that some 8,000 U.S. and Mexican troops failed to find Geronimo and his people, what Lt. Gatewood and his scouts accomplished was a remarkable feat of soldiering.   

            Obviously, it is always possible that I may have missed something in conducting my research. Perhaps a formal investigation by more experienced researchers and credentialed history majors would clarify any doubts that anyone might have regarding the actions of all parties involved. Who knows what else might be uncovered.      

            Lastly, we have Gatewood’s heroics while stationed in what was to become his last post of duty, Ft.Mc Kinney, in Wyoming. With little or no regard for his own personal safety, Lt. Gatewood ran under a burning army barracks with the intention of using dynamite to create an explosion that would destroy the building in such a fashion as to stop the fire from spreading any further. In doing so, a premature explosion shattered Lt. Gatewood’s left arm and disabled him for life. Between this debilitating injury and the medical problems he developed from living a very harsh frontier life, sometimes under sustained combat conditions, Lt. Gatewood was listed as unfit for active duty and sent home to Virginia on disability in 1892.  Four years later Lt. Gatewood died. His wife was given a $17.00 a month pension.

            History remembers Geronimo, but few people remember Lt. Gatewood, and even less recall the contribution made by Kateah and Martine. Using the logic of our times, one would think that the Apache people who enlisted in the United States Army as Scouts would have been treated like other soldiers and given their freedom instead of being disarmed, disgraced and  imprisoned even though they had provided faithful service.

            According to authors Fairfax Downey and J.N. Jacobsen, 4,672 Apaches enlisted in the United States Army and served as Scouts from 1871 until 1886 and fought in numerous campaigns and skirmishes during the Indian Wars. The service of the Native Americans who served as U.S. Army Scouts during the Indian Wars is well documented yet rarely are the exploits of these brave men discussed openly in our nations schools. Perhaps we can change that. 

            History is also quite clear about the contribution that was made during this period of time by Lt. Charles Baher Gatewood. This officer lived up to the finest traditions and standards of a West Point graduate. Lt. Gatewood always conducted himself with his oath of office in mind. He was a very humble man who was twice as brave and never forgot the significance of the saying, duty, honor, country. As befitting as it might be to bestow the Medal of Honor on Lt. Gatewood at a suitable historical landmark in Arizona, such as Ft. Apache, it might be more appropriate to have this historic ceremony take place at West Point. Perhaps, this award ceremony, if held at the Mecca of our nation’s military training would serve to instill a new sense of justice and integrity in all who attend this fine institution who might be called upon someday to do the right thing despite the wishes of an unruly mob or an undisciplined group of fellow soldiers.

            Finding Geronimo and his people who fled into Mexico was a mission that seemed as impossible as finding a needle in a hay stack. While thousands of other soldiers wandered aimlessly around no mans land, Gatewood and his small party simply removed the hay and took care of business. As a young man my father always told me that good things come to those who wait. I hope in the case of Lt. Gatewood, Kateah and Martine that their time has finally come.  

            As you can see I used many documents from the Arizona Historical Society along with other published material to establish my claims and provide you with a basis to conduct your own investigation into the facts. Again, forgive the long letter but I could not in good conscience make this request and only provide you with a few lines.

            I can’t thank you enough for reading my letter and the supporting documentation that I have attached. If there is anything else I can do to further this cause please let me know. I look forward to hearing from you once you have had a chance to examine this matter more closely.

I have also sent a copy of this material to Senator John Mc Cain, Senator Jon Kyl and Congressman Bob Stump.


                                                                                                            Nick Jacobellis


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