Making Peace with Cochise: The 1872 Journal of Captain Joseph Alton Sladen

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Edwin Russell Sweeney
University of Oklahoma Press, 1997 - Biography & Autobiography - 179 pages
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"Cochise" was a name that struck terror into hearts across the Southwest. Yet in the autumn of 1872, Brigadier General Oliver Otis Howard and his aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Joseph Alton Sladen, entered Arizona's rocky Dragoon Mountains in search of the elusive Chiricahua Apache chief. Accompanied only by a guide and two Apache scouts, they sought to convince Cochise that the bloody fighting between his people and the Americans must stop. After twelve years of war, Cochise had already reached that conclusion, but he had found no American official he could trust.

Known as the "Christian general" during the Civil War, General Howard was a man of courage, honesty, and compassion. When he went bravely to visit Cochise, who later recalled that "to do so might have caused his death", he won the Indian's sincere respect. Howard's devoted aide, Joseph Sladen, maintained a journal during their two-month quest from Fort Tularosa, New Mexico, to Cochise's stronghold. During the time he spent with Cochise and his Chokonen band, Sladen had the opportunity to observe the chief among his people. A student of medicine and human nature, Sladen found much to admire in Apache culture. His anecdotes about Cochise offer a perspective on the man that no other account provides.

Joseph Sladen's journal is a unique source on Chiricahua lifeways and an engrossing tale of travel and adventure. Enriched by Edwin R. Sweeney's introduction, epilogue, and lively notes, Making Peace with Cochise is both a tribute to the legendary chief and his people and a remembrance of two courageous officers who helped change the course of Apache-American relations.


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Making peace with Cochise: the 1872 journal of Captain Joseph Alton Sladen

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Sladen, a Civil War veteran and medical school graduate, had the good fortune to accompany Gen. Oliver Howard on his successful attempt to make peace with Cochise, the Apache leader who battled long ... Read full review


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About the author (1997)

Retired as a professional accountant, Edwin R. Sweeney is an independent scholar and the author of "Cochise: Chiricahua Apache Chief"; "Mangas Coloradas: Chief of the Chiricahua Apaches"; and "From Cochise to Geronimo: The Chiricahua Apaches, 1874-1886.

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