It requires a little background. I used the letter in the Our War chapter about Cross's striking statement to a friend in July 1861. "I am ready for the wars," he wrote. But what did he mean?
Cross had been interested in "things milingtary" since his youth, but his principal military experience came between January 1859 and June 1861, which he spent in Arizona. At the time, Arizona was not yet a territory in its own right but part of the New Mexico Territory.
|Don Miguel Antonio Otero|
By late 1859, his reputation was already such that Don Miguel Antonio Otero, New Mexico’s delegate to Congress, asked him to report on how and where to position U.S. troops to make New Mexico Territory more hospitable for settlers and miners. As I write in Our War, Cross's report to Otero was "a tour de force."
Edward R. Sweeney, author of a comprehensive biography of Cochise, found the report in the National Archives, and John Fahey, a mutual acquaintance, shared it with me.
Here is Cross's Dec. 29, 1859, letter to Otero: