A chief of the Chiricahua Apaches, Mangas Coloradas (Red Sleeves) in alliance with his son-in-law Cochise, a chief of the Chokonen Apache had been waging an all out War to drive the encroaching white settlers from Apache lands since 1860. It was war to the knife and the knife to the hilt and atrocities were common on both sides. They never achieved their goal of eliminating all whites from Apache territory, but with the withdrawal of Federal troops at the beginning of the Civil War, the white population was greatly reduced. The war began to turn against the Apaches as volunteer troops were sent to New Mexico and Arizona and Union control reasserted.
On January 18, 1863, the seventy year old Mangas Coloradas appeared at For McLane to talk peace. General Joseph Rodman West, a volunteer officer with the California volunteers was not interested in discussion. He ordered that the apache chief be taken into custody and tersely ordered his guards to murder him. (more…)