Killing of General J. J. ByrneOne
of the final acts of violence in raiding led during 1880 by the feared Apache
Just prior to this incident, Victorio's band--100
to 200 strong-- had finished a sanguinary two years of raiding in southwest
Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico. His brilliant guerrilla tactics baffled his
U. S. Army pursuers and earned their grudging admiration.
J. J. Byrne,
a surveyor and retired military man, had fought in U. S. Army in the Civil War
(1861-65), having been cited both for gallantry and meritorious conduct. At the
time of his death, he was the lone passenger on the stage bound for Fort
Drawn by small, swift Mexican mules, the coach left Fort
Quitman, a former Army post on the Rio Grande, August 13, 1880. As it entered
a steep canyon Victorio's men attacked. Gen. Byrne was killed almost at once but
the driver, Ed Walde, turned the stage and raced back to the fort for safety.
Later in 1880 the United States and Mexico fielded 5,000 soldiers to hunt
down Victorio, who was finally killed in Mexico. Thus ended the career of one
of the most notable Indian chiefs in the southwest.
Byrne, born in Ireland
about 1842, was buried near Fort
Quitman but later reinterred in Fort
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