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E. 3. Troop Payment

During the period 1756-1767 the pay scale at Tubac was reportedly 600 pesos duros for the captain of the company, (which he greatly augmented by his commercial monopoly), 450 pesos for the lieutenant and 420 for the ensign. The enlisted men were paid 400 pesos each, making the total payroll of the Tubac cavalry unit 21,470 pesos at that time according to the Jesuit missionary Ignaz Pfefferkorn (Treutlein 1949: 292).

The royal inspector of 1766 reported the annual payroll at a somewhat lower figure of 20,665 pesos (Rubí Apr. 3, 1768), which may be taken as authoritative. Pfefferkorn somewhat overestimated the rate of payment, probably among the enlisted troops.

The army payroll problem, which could have been very serious on the frontier of New Spain with its long distances between posts and hazards of Indian ambush, was actually no great problem at all during the early years of the Tubac post. The royal treasurer in the capital simply paid the entire amount over to the commercial agent of the post 199comandant in the City Of Mexico. Through this agent the captain procured the supplies required by his command on an annual basis. He was allowed a markup averaging fifty per cent and the troopers were paid primarily in kind with these goods and the provisions the captain also supplied. The captain paid the heavy expense of freighting the supplies from the capital to the frontier once a year out of his markup. His agent purchased for him in the open market at the capital city so that his cost varied from year to year and could shoot up during an overseas war or if he had to buy before the supply fleets arrived. On the other hand the troops were protected by fixed prices set by the King so the economic fortunes of the post comandant were not always waxing (Treutlein 1949:292-293).

The trooper entered this closed commercial system the day he enlisted. When he entered the Tubac company the captain supplied him with a complete outfit of arms, body armor, saddle, bridle and other horse gear, six good horses and a uniform. This outfit was all charged to him, however, and he was expected to pay off his debt within his first year of service if possible (Rubí Dec. 31, 1766a).

The troopers' pay also went for their food and provisions for their families. On these items also the king set a fixed price, but the post commander usually could purchase supplies cheaply enough to profit on the double transaction. Often he could make a double profit since his troops were charged for their subsistence in pesos on his accounts but he could 200obtain local produce by bartering some of his manufactured goods at the going frontier price-which was not fixed. The captain's profit on food supplies averaged somewhat more than a hundred per cent probably (Treutlein 1949:293). In December of 1766 the Tubac garrison was indebted to Captain Juan Bautista de Anza to the loud tune of 4,089 pesos (Rubí: Dec. 21. 1766).

The cost of the Tubac fort to the Spanish royal treasury varied through time. Under the New Regulations of 1772 the authorized strength of forty-three enlisted men, four officers and ten Indian scouts entailed an annual appropriation of 18,988 pesos 6 reales (Escudero 1849:65). Enlisted men were paid 290 pesos annually (O'Conor Aug. 16, 1775). Each received two reales per day in coin, apparently in addition to the base pay. By that time a branch of the royal treasury had been established at Los Alamos, the great silvermining metropolis of southern Sonora, bringing a source of coins within reasonable distance of the frontier posts.

Under the new regime each cavalryman was ordered to keep seven horses instead of the six previously required. What with Apache thefts and the relatively high price of horse-flesh on the frontier, the new regulations were honored more in the breach than the observance. At Tubac the royal inspector of 1775 found one corporal and thirty-six men lacked their full complement of mounts (O'Conor Aug. 16, 1775). In other words the vast majority of the company personnel had less than the legal seven horses on hand.

201Another reform placed the administration of rations, horses, uniforms and clothing, riding gear and other equipment under direct administration of a junior officer designated as post quartermaster, the captain inspecting his procedure but no longer conducting a supply business for his personal gain. The first duty of the quartermaster should be to live up to the confidence placed in him by making him responsible for the welfare of the troops, warned the royal inspector in 1775. He should seek to supply goods of the best possible quality at the least possible price. To this end the Tubac quartermaster was ordered to purchase in the capital city-as had the captain-and not from local merchants with their "tyrannical prices" (ibid.), which upset the soldiers and left their families naked. The quartermaster received as recompense two and one-half per cent of the troopers' pay, and was prohibited from charging the men more than the cost of any item-in the regulations at any rate.

The new system provided for the funds of the Tubac company to be paid from the recently established branch of the royal treasury at Los Alamos. Coin was actually sent to the frontier posts so each trooper could receive his two reales per day called for in the New Regulations.

Lt. Oliva and his quartermaster (Ensign Juan Phelipe de Beldarrain) were very lax in this regard, and had not paid the prescribed two reales daily for two months prior to the Comandant-Inspector's visit in August of 1775. O'Conor 202ordered this disturbing and strange defect of administration remedied immediately. Further, he ordered the accounts developed prior to June 30, 1775, promptly settled. The company funds owed various troopers a total of 710 pesos 5 reales 4 granos which O'Conor ordered paid out of available money, so the soldiers could see the difference between good and bad management. At the same time other soldiers owed the company 509 pesos 7 reales 5 granos which were to be withheld from their pay to give the lesson greater impact (O'Conor Aug. 16, 1775).

a. Spoils. The financial lot of the Tubac cavalryman was in no wise so impoverished at any time as even the captain-monopoly system might seem to imply. For although the trooper might see few coins of his pay, he possessed a source of gain outside the royal payroll system and regulations which must have been a not unimportant motivation for service in the presidial companies, particularly under a commander such as Captain Juan Bautista de Anza whose capacity for defeating enemy Indians was well known on the Sonoran frontier.

This customary but extralegal system consisted of the spoils of war. The presidial companies operated on the same assumptions that Spanish troops had fought under throughout the seven hundred years Peninsular Campaign to throw out the Moors. That is, war captives were treated as slaves who could be retained and put to forced labor or sold for cold cash. Any horses or other stock captured were divided between the 203captors. Foodstuffs, weapons, clothing or whatever else might be abandoned by fleeing Indians was also distributed among the victors.

An example of this booty system was the Apache campaign of February-March of 1766 under Captain Anza. Few horses were recovered of the large number known to have been stolen in Sonora from their tracks, because the Apaches had eaten most of them. But those which remained "with the rest that had been captured I distributed among the people who accompanied me by drawing lots, and in equal parts, as the governor had ordered" (Anza Mar. 17, 1766:111). Anza's force consisted of detachments from his own fort of Tubac, Terrenate, Fronteras, and thirty Piman Indians. Of nearly forty captives taken during the campaign, some fifteen (several women with recently born infants) fell to the share of Anza and his men and were escorted to Tubac (ibid.). The age and high proportion of the women captured speaks for the ultimate purpose to which they were put and one of the non-monetary attractions of frontier service.

During the great Elizondo expedition against the Seris, Anza led a scouting party into the arid coastal region seeking water and action early in the winter of 1769. His water gave out before he could engage the enemy, but he did recover 126 horses, two of which died before he could get them out of the desert. He gave eight of them as prizes of war to Piman Indians and citizens who accompanied him and asked permission 204from the governor of Sonora to distribute the remaining 116 among his troops as was customary (Anza Nov. 10, 1769:116).

b. Accounts. The indirect system of paying the Tubac troopers before June 1, 1774, required an inordinate amount of bookkeeping to keep track of the complex credit situation of the comandant and each soldier. The fundamental set of books was the "Master Book" of the Captain's fund. There each soldier's account was noted. Ideally each trooper had his own account book with a parallel set of records which was compared with the master book quarterly when the captain and soldier both signed if the books conformed.

The one time when the soldier drew his pay was when he left the service-and even then the captain often carried him on the books instead of settling up (Rubí Dec. 31, 1766a).

From January 1, 1767, each trooper in the Tubac garrison also had a ration account where the record of his issued rations was kept. These accounts were maintained in a separate set of books from the hard goods accounts (Rubí Dec. 31, 1766b).

When the Comandant-Inspector approached the royal fort at Tubac in 1775 he warned its acting Commander to make sure that the accounts of each trooper were brought up to date as June 30, and that every man had his individual account book ready to present during the coming inspection (O'Conor July 5, 1775). The master account books of the company-such as they were-were also inspected by O'Conor, to determine the 205financial status of the command and the state of its records of payroll, equipment and rations (O'Conor Aug. 1, 1775).

After the New Regulations of Royal Forts went into effect at Tubac in 1774 the new post fund for meeting the two reales per day payroll of the troops required its accounts. The frontier commander further ordered that monthly summaries of this account be submitted to him (O'Conor Aug. 16, 1775).

The post quartermaster was ordered to submit his accounts under a prescribed oath: "I swear to God and this Holy Cross the purchases and invoices above are accurate and true, without any fraud nor dissimulation by either of the two parties, and since they are thus true I sign" (ibid.). The form of accounts to be kept on each trooper was also prescribed, as follows:

SOLDIER: Name Surname

In his favor owing from July 1 of 1775 until the end of December of the same at the rate of 290 pesos which he receives each year -- 145 p.


For the 21/2 per cent of the Quartermaster --
For so many pesos which he still owes from the last accounting --
For the 10 pesos which are retained for the Company Fund --
For so many yards of worsted or blue-cloth at so much per yard, in which month issued for jacket or breeches --
206For so many yards of such for lining --
For making the jacket, breeches or cape, paid to the tailor according to his receipt --
For a complete saddle --
For a pair of common spurs --
For one horse which he received such and such day, from the shipment purchased from Mr. Blank, of such and such place --
On such and such date of such and such month, one almud 1/12 of a fanega) of flour or maize --
On ditto, an almud of pinole --
On ditto, three sugar loaves --
On ditto, six bars of soap --
On ditto, eight packs of cigarettes of the Royal Monopoly --
On ditto, one almud of beans --
On ditto, one almud of chile --
In this form the rest which may be issued to the Soldier....

Accounts such as this were ordered liquidated semi-annually, each trooper to retain possession of his personal account book at all times.