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    Part I  ---   Betrayal  cont.

     To fully understand Cochise's part in the Bascom Affair, it is helpful to recall that Cochise held two human qualities in the highest esteem:  Truthfulness and courage.  He was almost obsessed with the former, and was once quoted as saying, "I want the truth told.  A man has only one mouth and if he won't tell the truth he should be put out of the way." 

     Bascom received orders from post commander Colonel Morrison to travel to Apache Pass, where Cochise was known to camp frequently, taking with him fifty-four men.  He was to "do whatever you think is proper" in the pursuit of retrieving Ward's boy and livestock.  By this time one can only assume that Cochise's guilt in the matter was a forgone conclusion, as history shows no attempt by Bascom to entertain any other notion.

     It is beyond the scope of this work to go into great detail here, but suffice it to say that somehow Cochise received word of the approach of Bascom's force.  There is reason to believe that word had gotten to Cochise through his own intelligence of Bascom's intent, but this is conjecture.  Some accounts indicate that he had no idea what was about to happen.  In any event, Bascom set up a camp in Siphon Canyon, not far from the Butterfield stage station, and within hours he had Cochise inside his tent, along with Cochise's brother Coyuntura and two or three other relatives (Cochise had come into Bascom's camp accompanied by one of his wives, his young son Naiche, and several nephews, so it seems unlikely that he anticipated trouble).

     After some pleasantries, a small meal and coffee was served, putting Cochise further off guard.  It is about this time that Bascom suddenly demanded that Cochise return the stolen items and, of course, Felix Ward.  There was little in the way of pleasantries after that.

     Cochise, no doubt bristling at Bascom's arrogant accusation, stated flatly that neither he nor any Apache within his band had anything to do with such an act.  When Bascom pressed the point, covering up his own lack of confidence with bluster, Cochise repeated his denial (one can only imagine with great defiance) and even offered to send out runners to try and determine which Apache band was responsible (some accounts claim that he told Bascom that the Coyoteros had taken the boy and he would do all in his power to persuade them to return him).

    The critically important thing to note here is that Cochise was, in fact, innocent of this charge and was at this point being called a liar.  He was told that he and his family would be held captive until he (Cochise) made arrangements to have the boy brought to their camp forthwith.

    At that moment one of the most famous incidents in Western history took place -- so notable that is known amongst Apaches even today as "Cut The Tent". 



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