about table of contents home


A. A New Fort Is Suggested

Father Balthasar warned that the rebellion should be repressed before it could spread to still loyal Indians, and to do so the northern Pimans would need to feel the vigor of Catholic arms (Balthasar, Jan. 18, 1752:8v). The Provincial also warned the viceroy that the volunteer militia the governor had enlisted could not be kept away from home very long. The way to free the militiamen from service and effectively defeat the rebel Indians, Balthasar advised, was to enlist a 135new company of fifty regular troops under an experienced commander and post them into the northern Piman country on the plain between San Ignacio and Tubutama Missions, where he thought there was plenty of pasture and water. Garrisoned there, the com pany could protect not only Tubutama and San Ignacio, but also dominate Saric, the brain-center of the revolt, and Oquitoa and Caborca to the west (ibid., f. 9).

Throwing a new unit into the northern Piman country would leave the Terrenate and Fronteras garrisons free to hold back the barbarous Apaches, and the Horcasitas company free to fight the bloody Seris, Balthasar advised. He assured the viceroy that Governor Ortiz Parrilla would have no difficulty recruiting such a force, since not only Sonora but also Sinaloa and the rest of Nueva Viscaya were full of apt arrow fodder eager to enlist. The problem as he saw it would be to supply the arms and munitions needed to equip a new company (ibid., f. 9). The army officers on the ground would best know the suitable sites for locating the new garrison, Balthasar felt (ibid., f. 10). He brought up the problem of financing but politely left its solution to the viceroy. The Provincial kept to his line that local officials knew the situation best in regard to selecting a suitable commander for the new company, but at the same time he very carefully stated that he only knew that Don Juan Thomas Beldarrain had given proofs of forcefulness, animation and dispatch in battle and was acquainted with the area (ibid., f. 10v).