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Re: Geronimo's last Springfield

Posted by Rick Throckmorton on Thursday, 5 September 2019, at 5:28 p.m., in response to Re: Geronimo's last Springfield, posted by Lawrence F. Nirenberg on Thursday, 5 September 2019, at 3:43 p.m.

Apparently Randle took photographs at Ft. Apache as well, which may account for the slightly different set details one sees in the Apache photos. The ones taken showing the mixed parts rifle/carbine seem to be in one grouping and the others with the Wesson rifle. There is also the occasion M1873 carbine with 1879 sights that show up as well. If you pay close attention to the background details, you will see the two (at least two) different photographic sets. Including his home studio, we know he had set up at least three. As for the Fly photos at Canyon Los Embudos, there is a Fly boudior card out there of the famous shot of Geronimo and the three, with the Model 1873 Rifle with the 1879 sights of which you speak. I mention the boudior card as it is very clear in detail, and when you enlarge it, you can plainly see the ring on the front of the trigger guard where the sling swivel once was. It is obvious, one of the Apaches had taken the swivels off, probably to lighten the rifle a bit, as is what probably happened to the steel cleaning rod as well. Geronimo is holding a wooden "shooting stick" in his left hand, which was commonly done to steady a long arm while shooting. That steel cleaning rod probably saw a lot of alternate uses around the camp in the field, from being used in it's original purpose, cleaning barrels, to holding meat over a campfire, also a fairly common occurrence, and fairly often written about. I think you can count on the rifle in the Fly photograph being the one Geronimo carried in 1885 up to his "surrender" to Crook. They were not disarmed at the time, as they needed to protect themselves until they could get back to the designated meeting place in Arizona. Crook, after hard negotiations with the various Apache leaders, was fairly satisfied with the outcome of the talks, and thinking the surrender complete, left for Arizona to report the outcome of the negotiations. The Apaches were able to obtain copias amounts of alcohol from a local trader they were familiar with, and had a great drunk that same night. This trader also talked them up that the Americans intended treachery, which excited them greatly. Most of the Apache leaders, including Nana, Chihuahua, and Ulzana (Josanie), being tired of constant warfare, and desirous of peace, stuck to their surrender agreement, and returned to the north. Geronimo tried to agitate them into coming with him and continuing the running warfare, but they wouldn't have it. Geronimo and Naiche, along with 34 others, slipped away in the night into the mountains, continuing the reign of terror until they surrendered to Miles at Skeleton Canyon. Since Fly photographed him in the field with his rifle, and his not being disarmed at the time, and then continuing the fight until the Skeleton Canyon surrender, I think it is very reasonable to say that M1873 Rifle with the 1879 sights, is the weapon he carried during the campaign. Of course, he could have captured another, but you can see what he was carrying then, and he had plenty of opportunity to pick up another type weapon before Los Embudos.


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