Military Characteristic of the Royal Fort at Tubac


The lives of the soldiers of the royal fort at Tubac can perhaps be appreciated best by examining the activities in which they participated and the material and ideational equipment they brought into play during those activities.

1. Indian Chasing Cavalry

Once the Tubac garrison was operational, it did not sit around the post waiting for hostile Indians to come knocking at the door to arrange a tilt. Most of its campaigns were in the nature of retaliatory raids following Apache or Seri incursions, but the hardriding Sonoran cavalrymen did carry the fight to the enemy.

a. Apache Offensive in 1752. Captain Juan Thomas de Beldarrain evidently did not require much time to shake his new cavalry troop down into a battle-ready outfit. Although the company was mustered only on March 26, he was using detachments to ride hard on the potentially hostile northern Pimans at least by early May (Beldarrain May 13, 1752). Then the governor's order to locate thirty men at Tubac dated June 2 created a moving and construction job, yet within two months Ortiz Parrilla ordered Beldarrain to undertake a campaign against Apaches to the east (Ortiz Parrilla Aug. 7, 1752:107). Captain Beldarrain was at the royal fort of Fronteras on September 11 in the course of that campaign (Beldarrain Sept. 11, 1752) with an unknow n number of his Tubac troopers.

177b. Seri Offensive in 1757. After Visitor Gallardo's attack on the Seris and Governor Diego Ortiz Parrilla's investment of their Tiburon Island refuge in 1749 and 1750 the Spaniards assumed they had just about exterm inated that refugee group of tribal remnants. The durable Seris disabused them before long, and went over to the attack. On November 3, 1757, a war party of Seris and rebel northern Pimans struck the settlement of San Lorenzo a short distance south of San ta María Magdalena, killing thirty-two persons (Libro de Entierros de Santa María Magdalena de 1702, p. 52-53). This brazen affront called for military reprisal, and the Spaniards collected troops to chase the offenders back to the Gulf once again. In that campaign troopers from Tubac participated and Manuel Ignacio Carizosa died at Santa Ana on December 30 from wounds received earlier in the month (ibid., p. 54).

c. Seri Offensive in 1760. After young Captain Juan Bautista de Anza took over command of the Tubac post in 1760 his first campaign was into Seri country near the Gulf of California. During this affair, he participated with credit in one of the epic incidents of Indian warfare under the somewhat unintelligent command of the then-governor of Sonora who later managed to get himself killed by such tactics. The Seris refuged in strength in the Sierra Prieta and the Spaniards advanced toward the canyon known as Prickly Pear Cactus Canyon (Cajon de la Nopalera) only to be drenched by a heavy rain. That night they spent standing to arms because of the proximity of the enemy, and next morning fifty-one men marched into 178the narrow canyon. The arroyo was so narrow and rocky that they had to march single-file past the high slopes affording the Seris perfect vantage on either side. Captain Bernardo de Urrea led the advance guard of six soldiers, followed by Governor Mend oza keeping him in sight, the military chaplain, Captain Anza, Captain Mena, a sergeant major, and the remainder of the detachment (Garcia Nov. 23, 1760:108-109).

The Seris finally scared some discretion into Governor Mendoza and he withdrew. Captain Anza covered the retreat with four troopers (ibid., p. 115).

After this futile campaign the Spaniards marched back to San Miguel de Horcasitas, and the governor conceived the idea of detailing Captain Francisco Elias Gonzalez (comandant at Terrenate) with fifty regular troops including a detachme nt of fifteen from Tubac to ride back and forth between San Miguel de Horcasitas and the port of Guaymas, checking the water holes and trails for fresh tracks to follow (ibid., p. 118).

d. Seri Offensive of 1761. After the impetuous Governor Mendoza got himself killed by Seris enroute to his new assignment as governor of Puebla (Almada 1952:464), interim Governor José Tienda de Cuerbo called a council of war of his four frontier post commanders at San Miguel de Horcasitas. They and other persons the governor approached offered large sums of money and the Jesuit Visitor of the province offered stores of provisions from the missions for a great offensive to punish the pestiferous Seris. The frontier posts were 179denuded of troops: thirty-seven from San Miguel, thirty-three from Altar, thirty-four from Fronteras, forty from Terrenate and the same number from Tubac. Captain Anza evidently took nearly his whole company on this campaign, helping to make the total 184 soldiers who were aided by 217 friendly Indians and twenty citizens. This force moved out of San Miguel on November 7, scouted the Cerro Prieto without finding a Seri.  For three months the Spanish force then ran down scattered Seris making for the coast and the island of San Juan Bautista. The Spaniards and their Indian allies succeeded in slaying forty-nine Seris and capturing sixty-three, while recovering 322 horses. The total allied loss was one soldier and one Indian killed, and twelve wounded who recovered. Once again a Sonoran governor hoped that he had vanquished the valiant Seris. But as soon as the big expedition withdrew from the coastal plain, the furious remnants of the Seri returned to the attack like a river breaking a dam. Meanwhile the Apaches had been making the most of the absence of troops to raid at will (Tamarón 1937:268).

e. Apache Offensive of 1766. During February and March of 1766 Captain Juan Bautista de Anza led a combined force from several posts plus some northern Piman scouts east into Apache country. "It was like a hundred other campaigns ; forty captives in all were taken and distributed by lot among the captors..." (Bancroft 1884:I:559). Anza took a detachment from Tubac and thirty Pima auxiliaries east to the San Pedro River to rendezvous with detachments from the forts 180at Terrenate and Fronteras. Then he continued eastward across the Willcox Playa to the Florida Mountains (Anza Mar.17, 1766:109). Unable to precipitate a battle with twenty Apaches he found on the summit, Anza retreated in feigned disorder, turning horses l oose to tempt the enemy and setting up an ambuscade in a small canyon. When the Indians fell into his trap, Anza charged his cavalry at their flank, but the uneven ground hampered the horses and most of the damage was inflicted by infantry fire (ibid., p. 110). Sure from the abundant smoke signals they were sending up that all the Apaches in that vicinity were warned of his presence, Anza marched for San Simón and found a seventywarriorranchería on top of another mountain. Two of the Apaches were killed in his attack, and the rest fled so precipitously that Anza's command collected much loot including nearly forty captives but few horses (ibid., p. 111). Anza concluded his campaign by sending small detachments sweeping through the San Vicente Mountains to frighten the Apaches living there on the borders of Sonora to flee northward toward the Gila River. He returned to Tubac after three weeks in the field because of an epidemic among his Piman Indian auxiliaries (ibid ., p. 112).

f. Seri Campaign of 1766. In December of 1766 Lt. Juan M. Oliva had a detachment of a corporal and nine enlisted men from the Tubac company on duty on the Seri frontier keeping watch and ward over those hostiles (Rubí Dec. 21, 1766). The Seris were at that time holed up in the Cerro Prieto, tying down the Tubac detachments and others (Rubí Dec. 31, 1766a).

g. Elizondo Expedition. In 1768 Sonora was galvanized by the greatest military effort yet seen in that Spanish frontier province. The cause of the great upheaval was the arrival of the giant Elizondo Expedition with hundreds of troops from southern Mexico, even 100 Catalan Volunteers from Spain, and the concentration of frontier fort forces to undertake a full scale war against the Seri and other Gulf Coast Indians. This all-out military effort to dispose of the Indian threat on the western flank of Sonora had been decided upon by José de Galvez, (Bancroft 1894:I:660-662), King Charles III's personal inspector-reformer of conditions in New Spain (Priestley 1916:404). Captain Juan Bautista de Anza and part of his Tubac garrison were mustered into the large force assembled in the central part of the province to wage offensive war against the coastal peoples.

1768 Campaigns--In the opening campaign Colonel Domingo Elizondo employed European tactics with complete futility. In late May and early June of 1768 he moved from Guaymas toward the Cerro Prieto stronghold with one column of seventy men while Urrea and Cancio marched in from Pitic and Buenavista with two others to drive the Seris into one area where a decisive battle could be fought. The three columns advanced until the horses gave out in the desert and Elizondo had to admit failure (Rowland 1930:142-143).

The Colonel, regular army though he may have been, was an intelligent man and learned from his experiences in the182Sonoran desert. He and the governor changed plans, throwing out small pickets to harry the hostile natives into concentrating in one stronghold which could then be assaulted in strength (ibid., p. 146).

First Captain into the field to implement the frontier-style campaign agreed upon was Captain Juan Bautista de Anza.  The young Tubac comandant rode out with fifty men and found three large Seri rancherías where his force killed several Indians, captured some horses and recovered a young Spanish captive, at the cost of one killed and several wounded (Rowland 1930:147).

After Anza's scout, Captain Urrea and the Colonel himself led the next troops out, Urrea striking west from Pitic with seventy men and Elizondo north from Guaymas with 210. A hundred of his men were infantry who were so exhausted after six day's marching he had to send them in to Pitic (ibid., p. 147-149). Urrea killed a few warriors, captured some women. Elizondo marched into a force of 300 archers on ground of their own choosing, and drove them from it.

These were small victories, however, and their result was merely attritional. A few Seris were killed and captured but the majority ran off to fight another day. Colonel Elizondo, trained in the decisive-battle school of European warfare, could hardly be expected to endure this sort of penny-ante fighting very long. He had been sent to Sonora to gain a knock-out victory over the coastal Indians-to exterminate 183them if need be. His whole military training cried out for a decisive action.

Therefore Elizondo kept trying to force the Seris into a decisive action (Bancroft 1884:I:663-664). The Indians, being reasonably intelligent as well as products of training in guerrilla hit-and-run and ambush style warfare rather than manpowerwasting toe-to-toe slugging matches, sensibly avoided being drawn into any such arrangement.

After the fall scouts, it appeared that Elizondo's moment had arrived, however, with a concentration of enemy Indians in the Cerro Prieto strongholds about thirty-five miles from Pitic (modern Hermosillo). Over six hundred regular soldiers were launched toward the mountains at the end of November in an effort to gain decisive victory (Rowland 1930:157-158). The various Spanish columns performed according to plan, but their achievement was practically nil-the Indians refused to be lured into the trap of standing up to the Spaniards in open battle (ibid., p. 159-160).

1769 Campaigns. Both Spaniards and Seris were tiring of this sort of warfare by the summer of 1769 when Visitor-General José de Galvez reached the theatre of conflict (Bancroft 1884:I:665). He ordered a general armistice to allow the Seris to come in and surrender on promise of complete amnesty for past deeds. Captain Anza returned the day after the armistice from a scout with a surrendered Seri as a guide during which he recovered one Spanish and two Indian captives 184and twenty-five horses his command had taken from the hostile Indians (Croix July 15, 1769:24).

The armistice was repeatedly extended to allow enemy bands a chance to make up their minds, and ran from May 8 through July 22, but the Seris end other hostiles stayed away from the Spanish towns in droves.

Then Captain Juan Bautista de Anza and other officers returned to the attritional style of frontier warfare, preparatory to another big push into the Cerro Prieto. Once again young Captain Anza was first field commander out after the armistice ended. This time he rode out with eighty dragoons at the end of July, guided by one of the few Seris who had decided for peace. The Seri naturally led Anza to an encampment of northern Piman apostates rather than his own tribesmen, but all the dragoons got for their ride was three prisoners and a collection of bows, arrows, and similar booty. Captain Anza ordered the foodstuffs collected at the ranchería which the Indians had fled to be burned. Continuing on into the coastal marsh country, Anza managed to bag a couple of Seris, but a ranchería nearby was warned by the noise of the scuffle and took flight. The column returned to Pitic on August 8 of that year 1769.

This sort of harrying continued until the European-trained officers and Visitor-General José de Galvez felt the time ripe for another attempt at precipitating a decisive battle. This time no less than four large columns marched toward the Cerro185Prieto. Matias de Armona struck in from the north with 105 soldiers plus 120 Indian auxiliaries. Diego Payran came up from the south with 130 soldiers and 100 native auxiliaries. Gabriel de Vildósola took the third column of 137 soldiers and 150 friendly Indians in on the eastern flank. The expedition commander also moved in from the east with 144 troops and 150 Indians (ibid., p. 198-199). The result was no different than before (Bancroft 1884:I:665) if as good (Rowland 1930:204).

From experience Elizondo and the other European trained officers learned what the presidial officers had known along: the Spaniards really had no choice. In terrain of their own choice, the coastal Indians could not be defeated by masses of troops. A decisive single engagement was in fact impossible unless it occurred by sheer accident, and the Spanish expedition was much too large to take advantage of such an accident should one occur. The only real alternative Elizondo had was to pour his resources into the type of attritional campaign the frontier officers had been leading.

When Visitor-General José de Galvez was taken ill with a severe and incapacitating fever, command of the great expedition devolved entirely upon Colonels Elizondo and Pineda, the provincial governor. They were by then convinced the attritional campaigns of the presidial captains were the only prospect for success in the campaign to break the 186troublemaking potential of the Gulf of California coastal tribes.

Once more Captain Anza came to the forefront as he led one of the first three columns of fifty men sent out under the revised plan of operations. One force found no Indians, the second captured a few and Anza had a battle. He ran onto a northern Piman ranchería where his force killed seventeen warriors, capturing several women and children. The commander himself was wounded in the face by an arrow in the first flight fired by the defenders, but he rode at the three Indians concentrating on him and they broke and ran from the pistol shot he fired at them (ibid,. p. 209).

Captain Anza reported to the governor on November 10 of 1769 that he had scouted the Cerro Prieto as ordered, locating the assembled Seri host in the Canyon of the Nopalera. He would have attempted an assault had his water not given out, but his campaign was not a total loss for he recovered a total of 126 horses from the enemy Indians. He was able to get 124 of them back alive, distributing eight as spoils of war to the Piman scouts and citizens accompanying him, and asked permission to distribute the remainder among the troops as was customary (Anza Nov. 10, 1769:116). Anza had been charged with locating water sources, and he explained that the dry lakes were as dry as though they had never been filled, wells excavated to a depth of a dozen yards yielded very little flow, and the springs were failing, being more mud than water (ibid., p. 116-117).

1871770 Campaigns--The attritional campaigns continued into 1770 until toward the end of March the first break in Indian resistance came at Pitic. Two Seris came in to sue for peace and pardon, which was granted, so forty-three of their band gave up the struggle and accepted Spanish peace conditions. The chief of this group revealed that germs had been fighting for the Spaniards over the winter. The most numerous of the three tribal groups involved in the fight had been decimated by yellow fever and reduced to the smallest of the three in numbers (Rowland 1930:214).

In the middle of March the Elizondo headquarters received word from Altar of Pápago cattle stealing so Indian-Agent Juan Bautista de Anza was given sixty of the presidial troops operating with the expedition to go tend to his "friendly" Indians (ibid. p. 215). After a trip north to his post at Tubac and beyond to settle Indian affairs among the allied northern Pimans at Tucson and Bac in May (Anza May 19, 1770:118-120), Captain Anza returned to the Gulf Coast Campaign.

During July Captain Anza with Captain Joséph A. Vildósola led 120 men into the Gulf Coast region scouting for Seris. After following the tracks of thirty Indians toward the coastal salines for twentyfour hours without water, the captains had to withdraw for safety's sake (Croix Sept. 25, 1770).

In August the Tubac comandant set off with seventy men to scout along the Gulf coast again. Lack of water forced him to turn back again and columns under Vildósola and Gallo 188suffered the same fate (Rowland 1930:224). Later in the fall Captain Anza, out on another scout, was able to catch off-guard some Seris who foolishly returned to the mainland from their Tiburon Island refuge. Ten Indians died (ibid., p. 25). Other scouting parties continued to carry the war to the isolated bands of hostile Indians who still remained, and the tide had definitely turned in favor of the Spaniards as the disease-weakened Indians rapidly surrendered.

With victory in sight the frontier fort commanders were eager to return to their posts to begin evening accounts with the Apaches who had taken advantage of their absence in western Sonora. Captain Gabriel de Vildósola in the fall of 1770 requested the restoration of the Tubac and Terrenate presidial contingents serving with the expedition for duty against the Apaches. The request was seconded by the Expedition Quartermaster Pedro de Corbalán. Colonel Elizondo refused to detach any of the troops under his command, although he was somewhat agitated by these requests (Anza. Oct. 31, 1770:122). A decisive victory was too close to Elizondo's grasp for him to jeopardize it by letting up the pressure on the remnants of the coastal peoples.

For twenty-eight days, October 1 through 28, 1770, Captain Anza was in the field against the hostiles again, as were captains Urrea and Vildósola and another party under Vellido with one of Urrea's frontier-reared sons who ranked as an ensign to back him up, as well as one under Peyran 189(Anza Oct. 31, 1770:120-121). Anza was only able to kill four Seri warriors and capture twenty-one prisoners because the Indians had been alarmed by Urrea's previous sweep through their country. Anza was disgusted with Vellido for leaving a fresh track leading into barren mountains where Ensign Urrea was sure the enemy was holed up to go scout the vicinity of the settled towns where he found nothing (ibid., p. 121). Peyran thought that he had killed two men and two women of the apostate northern Pimans.

Success--The procrastinating northern Piman apostates were reluctant to surrender but a significant number gave up in January of 1771 and by the middle of spring so few enemy families remained at large that the Spaniards concluded the campaign was over and the mission of the greatest military expedition Sonora had ever seen was accomplished (Rowland 1930:226). Attritional warfare had won, aided by epidemic disease. The Elizondo expedition disbanded, leaving such of the Catalan Volunteers as had not gone to California in 1769 in Sonora to bolster the frontier posts (Bancroft 1884:I:667).

The rest of the regulars and special levies departed from the northwest province on the first of May and Mexico City welcomed them on August 11, news of the great achievement having been published at the capital on June 17. Colonels Eli zondo and Pineda were put up for brigadier generalcies and Pedro de Corbalán was rewarded with governorship of Sonora (Rowland 1930:230-231).

190The frontier post commanders and their contingents returned to the lonely Apache borderlands to take up again their never-ending struggle against another Indian enemy.  They had participated in a great military adventure, met and dined and fought with great men, commanded the largest forces of their lives. The frontier posts must have seemed suddenly unbearably small and confining, the old familiar faces of presidial company complements irritatingly dull and boring. Had it not been for the leavening of fresh personalities in the Catalan volunteers, and the pride of accomplishment in wiping out the Indian problem on one flank of the province, and the air of reform blowing through the whole colonial administration from the throne of energetic King Charles III, the frontier post commanders and garrisons would have found life hardly bearable.

The skeleton forces left to hold the frontier forts against the Apaches during the Elizondo expedition had meanwhile fought their share of battles.

h. Apache Offensive in 1768. While Captain Juan Bautista de Anza and most of his men fought the Gulf of California coastal tribes, his ensign held the fort at Tubac and even managed to sally out against the Apaches (Bancroft 1884:I:663, fn. 4). Anza's subaltern somehow found twenty-six soldiers and fifty Indian auxiliaries to scout Apache country in December of 1768 (Croix Feb. 18, 1769:10). Unfortunately he encountered so many Apaches that he thought best 191to beat a hasty retreat although his lance-loving cavalrymen lanced to death two of the enemy and wounded others (Croix: Mar. 18, 1769:13).

i. Apache Offensive in 1769. On April 3 of 1769 Apaches attacked the eight Indians guarding the St. Francis Xavier at Bac Mission herds, forcing them to flee for their lives, leaving the animals to the aggressors. Informed of this assault the Tubac ensign sallied forth with ten troopers and fifteen citizens plus forty Piman auxiliaries and followed the trail of the marauders north to the vicinity of the Gila River. Scouting the terrain about an Apache ranchería the ensign decided the enemy was too numerous for his slender force and returned to Tubac to collect a larger one (Croix June 17, 1769:20).

j. Apache Offensive of 1770. After Captain Anza quelled the Pápago unrest in March of 1770, he took the sixty presidial troops Colonel Elizondo had given him for that purpose and went Apache hunting (Rowland 1930:216). Then in December of 1770 Colonel Elizondo relented somewhat from his refusal to allow the frontier post contingents and captains to return to their forts to campaign against the Apaches. By that time the successful completion of his mission was even more clearly in sight than it had been in October when he turned down Vildósola. Moreover the impudent southern Athapascans had thrown the gauntlet direct by raiding the Tubac remount herd. Captain Juan Bautista de Anza asked permission to return north and received it.

192Colonel Elizondo permitted Captain Anza to take thirty men with him when he departed for Tubac (Rowland 1930:226). These were probably the bulk of the contingent from his company still operating with the Sonoran Expedition, perhaps all that were left. Very likely Anza pushed them north at a fast clip and set right out in pursuit of the Apache raiders who had taken advantage of his long absence and ensign's timidity to insult the post again.

Anza's December departure from central Sonora marked the end of his participation in the great military operation drawing to a close in western Sonora and his return to frontier warfare free to turn his attention entirely north for the first time since he took command at Tubac.

k. Apache Offensive of 1771. Late in July or early in August of 1771 Captain Juan Bautista de Anza rode out of Tubac with thirty-four troopers and fifty northern Piman Indian auxiliaries. On the ninth of August this column struck an Apache ranchería on the banks of the upper Gila River, killing nine, taking eight prisoners and recovering one Spanish captive besides wounding a number of Apaches who escaped. Lt. Juan María Oliva and two soldiers were wounded in the affray (Bucarely Oct. 28, 1771). Hardly had they returned when Anza was busy preparing for another campaign under Bernardo de Galvez. During September Anza was preparing for that action as were Captains Urrea at Altar and Vildósola at Terrenate. Anza and Vildósola planned to link up at San Simón in order to join the detachment entering Apache territory 193from Janos in Chihuahua (Anza Sept. 17, 1771). Anza was trying to obtain supplies at the Upper Pimería missions and felt he could raise a force of up to sixty Piman scouts.

l. Apache Offensive in 1772. The large scale operations continued into 1772 when an advance post was set up at San Bernardino within modern Arizona in order to carry the fight closer to the Apaches. The San Bernardino picket appears to have been a joint enterprise of the Terrenate and Tubac companies.

m. Apache Offensive of 1773. During the early part of 1773 Captain Juan Bautista de Anza and at least a part of his Tubac company operated out of the advance post of San Bernardino against the Apaches. During January of 1773 Ensign Phelipe Beldarrain sallied forth from San Bernardino scouting for Apache sign and encountered eleven Indians at San Simón and taking three of then prisoner (O'Conor Aug. 10, 1775 No. 9). Captain Anza was commanding San Bernardino when the viceroy's dispatch rider caught up with him on January 22 with the viceregal request for information on his exploration project (Bolton 1930:I:55). Anza had to request furlough to return to Tubac to consult his papers there.

Later on in the fall of the year Captain Anza turned his hand to the Apache campaign again, departing in October for the upper Gila River (O'Conor Aug. 10, 1775 No. 9).

n. Summary. The campaigns listed here comprised only a small percentage of all those undertaken by the troops stationed at Tubac from 1752 to 1776. Acting Comandant Lt. Juan 194María de Oliva noted on his own service record in August of 1775 that he had gone out on more than 100 campaigns under the captains of the Company of St. Ignatius at Tubac (Oliva Aug. 13, 1775 No. 8). Since Oliva had not gone on all the scouts made, certainly the total must have been well over one hundred, indicating a minimum average of five forays annually for each of the twenty-four years of the post's existence and actually somewhat more than that.

 2. Garrison Strength

The original complement garrisoned at Tubac was only thirty men as already discussed (Ortiz Parrilla June 2 1752: 110v). When the royal fort at Altar was established two years after the Tubac post the twenty-man detachment Captain Beldarrain had to maintain at Ocuca returned to Tubac, raising effective strength to fifty.

The Jesuit missionary Ignaz Pfefferkorn stated that during his stay in the province (1756-1767) the frontier posts were garrisoned by three officers and fifty men each (Treutlein 1949:292). The governor of Durango gave the strength at the end of 1761 as fifty men including officers (Tamarón 1937:304305). Captain Juan Bautista de Anza took forty men from Tubac to campaign against the Seris in 1761 (ibid,. p. 268) and a detachment of ten men would have been a reasonable defensive holding force to leave at the post. The total complement of the unit when inspected at the end of December of 1766 was fifty-one officers and men (Rubí Dec. 21, 1766) 195so it had apparently remained at its original figure all the time, and the clerical estimates represent slight errors of estimation around the official figure.

After the recommendations of the Marques de Rubí were embodied in the New Regulations governing royal forts issued in 1772, the authorized strength of the Tubac garrison was set at forty-three enlisted men plus a captain, lieutenant, ensign, chaplain and ten Indian scouts (Escudero 1849:65). Three of the enlisted men were non-commissioned officers-a sergeant and two corporals (O'Conor Aug. 18, 1775).

Actual strength on August 1 of 1775 seems to have been only forty-two enlisted men (Oliva Aug. 1, 1775 No. 4).  The royal inspector who reviewed the company in that month reported that as a result of his review the effective force became forty-three men and ten scouts (O'Conor Aug. 16, 1775), after he transferred Sergeant Pedro Marques from the Sonora Flying Company to fill the vacant sergeancy (O'Conor Aug, 18, 1775).

196No bonus was required to attract recruits for the Sonoran frontier garrisons in the middle eighteenth century. More volunteered than the tables of organization called for, so enlistments tended to be similar to the tenure of U. S. jurists: service during life or good behaviour subject to the right of resignation (Treutlein 1949:290).

This favorable situation enabled the company commander to pick and choose his recruits. Three general principles of selection were proposed to Captain Anza by Field Marshal Pignatelly y Rubí:

  1. The recruit should possess the disposition and robustness required by the fatigues of frontier duty.
  2. The non-Spanish recruit should be accepted if he possessed the necessary qualities-a plea for racial tolerance and opening the ranks of the army to mestizos.
  3. Recruits should not be sought among the citizens settled at the post (Rubí Dec. 31, 1766a), which would defeat the purpose of civilian settlement there.

The next general inspector of the Tubac garrison repeated the Field Marshal's recommendations, ordering that recruits be of tall stature, good disposition, and robust and agile to carry out the incessant fatigues of frontier duty. They were to be free from notable facial defects, chronic or incurable diseases and from immorality (O'Conor Aug. 16, 1775).

b. Service Records. Like any military organization the Spanish presidial unit required records of its individual members. Each frontier fort comandant kept or supervised a 197Filiation Book which contained enlistment papers and service records of the soldiers (Rubí Dec. 31, 1766a).

This volume was checked by royal inspectors when they reviewed the post (O'Conor Aug. 1, 1775) but Lt. Oliva was unable to present the Tubac volume for Comandant-Inspector O'Conor's perusal in the summer of 1775 because Captain Anza had the volume in his possession (Oliva Aug. 1, 1775). The state of the post archives was so deplorable that the royal inspector issued precise instructions for the future management of its records (O'Conor Aug. 16, 1775). The acting comandant was ordered to solicit copies of missing documents, to fill out the company records and to maintain an inventory of the contents of the archive, without allowing a single document to be removed therefrom.

The service record of every recruit began with his enlistment paper in this prescribed form:

Name, son of John so much and of Mary so much; Native of such and such town belonging to which district; with what occupation; in what district; stature of so many feet, so many inches; aged ___; of such and such town belonging to which district; with what occupation; in what district; stature of so many feet, so many inches; aged ___; Religion Catholic Apostolic Roman; his marks these: skin color, eye set and color, eye-brow color, nose form, scars on what part of the face, enlisted as soldier for eight, six or five years, in such and such town, and on such and such day.


He received so many reales bonus for enlisting, and the penalties provided by ordinance were read to him, and he signed, or from not knowing how to write made the sign of the cross, being advised of what it is the 198atestation and would not serve him as any excuse, being witnesses: Name of Sergeants or Corporals of the place.

Among other things Comandant-Inspector Hugo O'Conor felt the sorry post of Tubac sorely needed in the summer of 1775 was an improved filing system. How an illiterate acting-commander could devise one is another question.

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 post199comandant 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.

 4. Armament

The basic weapons of the fort were the personal arms of 207the garrison but there was an arsenal of personnel weapons with which to arm the citizenry during emergencies and there were a few heavy weapons used for defending the post. Tubac was protected by 1766 with four cannon. These were four-pounders made in New Spain so of inferior workmanship. Two of the Tubac guns were entirely useless as a result of cracks in their breeches. The frontier soldiers possessed little knowledge or skill in the use of these cannon (Lafora 1939:127) which was probably just as well considering the poor quality of manufacture and danger to be apprehended from exploding breeches. Tubac still mounted four useless four-pounders in 1775, not unlikely the very same cannon (O'Conor Aug 10, 1775).

The Tubac garrison was essentially an offensive unit rather than a defensive garrison tied to its post. It had been founded as a cavalry troop (Ortiz Parrilla Mar. 26, 1752c:48) and a cavalry troop it always remained. The men were frontiersmen grown hard in the saddle from riding on cattle roundups and busting broncos from childhood. They were expert horsemen and not given to fatiguing easily-recruits were screened on the basis of horsemanship. In fact, little training was given the successful applicant (Treutlein 1949:290).

a. Lance. Cavalry weapons employed by the Tubac troopers included a long lance for use in the saddle, a musket, a long broad sword. The cavalry lance was the primary 208weapon and really the only one the troopers of the original garrison could handle with skill. Their ability to wield the lance made them deadly in a cavalry charge over open country but the hostile Indians quite intelligently seldom allowed themselves to be surprised in open enough country for the troopers to use their mounts to full advantage (Treutlein 1949:291). The skill of the Tubac troopers with the cavalry lance impressed even a field marshal from Spain (Rubí Dec. 21, 1766). The Lances used at Tubac varied in length (O'Conor Aug. 16, 1775) very likely to suit the strength and tastes of various troopers if not the geometric eye of inspecting officers pleased by uniformity.

b. Firearms. Recruits in the frontier posts lacked experience in the use of firearms because these were so scarce in farther New Spain, according to the Jesuit Missionary Ignaz Pfefferkorn. He saw some who could not even load their arms properly-if the troopers weren't joshing the good padre (Treutlein 1949:.291). Pfefferkorn's memory may have misled him with regard to the quality of the Tubac troops-he certainly forgot to mention that he had been stationed at Guebavi at all, an understandable omission since that was where he became so sick he had to be removed. Or Captain Juan Bautista de Anza achieved a remarkable improvement in the Tubac company after he took command. By the end of 1766 he had whipped his men into very good shape. Not only could they ride well, they could also drill better than average well on foot under Anza's commands. Moreover, that Captain had put his men to work maintaining their weapons and other equipment until it was all in good shape unless quite broken or worn out. Two of the cannon had burst and four rifles required repairs, but Anza had re-armed his men with Catalan carbines instead of the unwieldy muskets first issued the company (Rubí Dec. 21, 1766).

The Catalan carbine was considered the best firearm which could be procured for Spanish troops at that time. Not all the troopers were using this arm and Field Marshal Rubí suggested to Captain Anza that he persuade all his men to employ this same weapon, molding bullets only in its calibre. The preferred carbine measured two feet seven inches length in a twenty-calibre weapon-this shorter rifle worked better than the three-foot nine inch model (Rubí Dec. 31, 1766a).

In 1766 one of the Tubac soldiers named Miguel de Apodaca was a gunsmith. The Marques de Rubí suggested to Captain Anza that Apodaca be excused from daily duty with the troop except during campaigns so that he could devote himself to the repair and maintenance of the guns "without any cost" since he was already on the payroll and not a contractor (ibid.). Another armorer named José Antonio Ureña had just been recruited in 1775 (Oliva Aug. 13, 1775 No. 2). This twenty-nine year old Spaniard from Aguas Calientes (ibid., No. 3) already had accumulated the largest credit 210balance of any enlisted man in the company-forty-nine pesos (ibid., No. 7) suggesting that he was paid extra for his gunsmithing.

Powder for the troops was supplied by the post comandant as part of his commercial monopoly until the New Regulations of Royal Forts of 1772 went into effect. Under the new royal instructions army powder magazines furnished the powder directly to the troops even in the distant Frontier Provinces. The New Regulations, which went into effect at Tubac on June 1, 1774 (O'Conor Aug. 11, 1775, No. 11) also provided that eight pounds of powder per soldier be kept in the post magazine (O'Conor Aug. 16, 1775). Six boxes held the post's powder in 1775 (O'Conor Aug. 10, 1775).

Despite the recommendation of the Marques de Rubí with regard to employing guns of the same calibre, the royal inspector of 1775 found the Tubac garrison armed with poor quality rifles of various calibres and these considerably mistreated (O'Conor Aug. 16, 1775). This change probably resulted from Anza's draft on the post's arms for his expedition to Upper California and the lax command of the acting post comandant, Lt. Juan M. Oliva, plus years of hard usage which wore out the Catalan carbines. For in 1775 the garrison was armed with Barcelonan rifles which were more or less serviceable and some guns made in New Spain which were almost useless, all of different and small calibres (O'Conor Aug. 18, 1775).

The firearms employed by the Tubac troops took paper cartridges-that is, paper-held powder loads to propel the lead balls. These cartridges were made locally at the fort and apparently by the troopers, who were charged for the paper which went into their manufacture as well as for the lead they used in casting balls (O'Conor Aug. 16, 1775). It was no wonder that the soldiers preferred the cavalry lance to rifle fire for fighting hostile Indians! Every shot they fired cost them money, and a soldier's pay was never high enough to buy all he and his family might desire. Thus there was real economic as well as habitual basis for the preference for using lances against Indians displayed by the Tubac cavalrymen.

c. Swords. Swords rusted in their scabbards in the Sonoran frontier posts or were so dull and notched as to be useless according to Father Pfefferkorn (Treutlein 1949:291). At Tubac the Marques de Rubí found only three swords which not in proper shape-they had been cut down (Rubí Dec. 21, 1766). Inasmuch as the Marques was an experienced general officer from Europe, likely to have been very keen on clean equipment, his description can hardly be doubted. Either Pfefferkorn's dislike for the Spaniards ran away with his objective memories, or Anza had greatly improved the post between his departure and the Marques' inspection. In 1775 the swords were of a variety of sizes, but were not ordered replaced because new weapons for all the frontier posts were on order (O'Conor Aug. 18, 1775).

212Being a cavalry outfit, the Tubac company had to keep lots of saddles and horse gear in shape, and the royal inspector found it doing a very good job under Anza, although some of its riding gear was worn out (Rubí, Dec. 21, 1766). The stirrups used by the Tubac cavalrymen were often wooden affairs. A change to closed stirrups was ordered by the royal inspector in 1775 in compliance with the New Regulations (O'Conor Aug. 16, 1775). All the rest of the Tubac troop's horse gear the Comandant Inspector found in serviceable shape (O'Conor Aug. 18, 1775)-one of the few matters with which that perfectionist could find no fault.

d. Militia Weapons. The royal fort of St. Ignatius at Tubac throughout its existence stored firearms, cavalry lances and swords with which to arm civilians during an emergency. These arms had been purchased by order of the viceroy of New Spain dated January 31, 1752 (Revilla Gigedo, f. 21-21v). The Royal Exchequer paid for these arms and protective armor for the citizen-soldiers, and they were supposed to be maintained in a state of constant readiness for emergency issue. At the time of the 1766 inspection by the Marques de Rubí this store was at issue strength in guns and lances but short on swords and body armor (Lafora 1939:127). By the end of by the Marques de Rubí this store was at issue strength in guns and lances but short on swords and body armor (Lafora 1939:127). By the end of the post's existence this royal store of arms had considerably diminished. On August 10, 1775, the acting comandant reported in his possession (Oliva Aug. 10, 1775 No. 6) thirty-one rifles of which fifteen were good and sixteen useless, twenty two new swords, six useless lances and ten suits of medium quality armor.

 5. Uniform

The Spanish frontier soldiers fought without any prescribed uniform such as the regular regiments wore in the mid-eighteenth century. In Sonora the presidial troops dressed much like the rest of the populace according to Ignaz Pfefferkorn, the German Jesuit missionary. (See the description of dress below.)

The cavalry trooper did wear some defensive armor and carry a shield. The cuera was leather body armor. The shield consisted of three or four raw oxhides riveted together in the shape of an ellipse. It was perhaps three feet long, held by two leather loops, for the arm (Treutlein 1949:291). The shields of the Tubac troop were far from uniform, but in good condition under Anza's administration (Rubí Dec. 21, 1766).

The shoulder-belts worn by the Tubac cavalrymen were also not uniform but in good shape at the end of 1766 (ibid.). These were probably bandoleers introduced by Captain Anza to carry the accouterments for the carbines with which he armed his mounted troops, canteens, etc. One of the first adaptations Colonel Domingo Elizondo made in the equipment of the regular dragoons brought to Sonora a couple of years later was to simplify the harness used to carry a cartridge belt, powder horn and other paraphernalia (Rowland 1930:141). He acted largely on advice from Anza and Lt. Oliva, so it seems likely the Tubac officers must already have modified their own troopers' belts for frontier thorned-scrub conditions.

214The Tubac troop wore at least a semblance of a uniform by the and of 1766. The men had been issued a complete supply of capes, jackets, breeches and other clothing "in the most rigorous uniformity" so the individual trooper could no longer choose his costume at Tubac as perhaps he could in other posts. Only the cueras were not of the proper quality because of the great difficulty of obtaining proper hides from New Mexico (Rubí Dec. 21, 1766).

The Marques de Rubí suggested to Captain Anza that since scarlet cloth was "one of those which is considered least useful from its high cost, little durability and commonly bad quality, you can substitute for fatigues red-dyed worsted for jackets and blue for breeches, with metal buttons, preferring also for the use of the soldier the linen of Leon or domestic linen of Galicia, to the British and Ruoen cloths which cost considerably" (Rubí Dec. 31, 1766a).

Uniformity of color and devices was again urged on the acting comandant by Comandant-Inspector O'Conor in 1775. The latter ordered Lt. Oliva to issue clothing without purchasing it from the merchants residing at the post because of their excessive prices in the absence of the post quartermaster. The body armor and shields were still In poor shape at that time (O'Conor Aug. 16, 1775).

With the tightening up of the frontier military posts during the reforms instituted by Charles III, the Tubac cavalrymen were prescribed a uniform:

The clothing of the soldiers of this Company 215shall consist of a short jacket and breeches of worsted or blue-cloth, with a small ruffle, lapel and collar faced red, gilt buttons, a cape of blue Quereteran cloth, cartridge case, body armor and bandolier of hide in the style now used in the other forts of the Line, and on the bandolier sewed the name of the fort in order to distinguish one from another; black neckcloth, hat, shoes and leggings. From now on the ridiculous use of silver galoons on hats, jackets or breeches shall be prohibited under heavy penalties.

The uniform which the fort officers shall wear in town shall be blue dress coat and breeches, jacket ruffle, lapel

and collar faced with red cloth, gilt buttons, the use of galoon permitted only on the hat. (O'Conor Aug. 16, 1775).

Thus the king and his Irish Comandant-Inspector clamped down on the gaudy and individualistic use of silver decorations on coats and breeches which was so integral a part of Spanish costume in New Spain and so dear to the hearts of His Majesty's overseas subjects. By "galoon" O'Conor meant the rich silver lacing such as was and is yet used to stripecharro pants and jackets, and weight down the sombrero charro.

The Comandant Inspector had found the clothing worn by the Tubac garrison nearly completely worn out (O'Conor Aug. 18, 1775). 216The clothing furnished the soldiers for which they were responsible consisted of a cape, a hat, jacket, pair of breeches, two shirts, pair of long stockings and pair of shoes (Oliva Aug. 13, 1775, No. 6). The post commander rated the condition of his troops' clothing as good on the whole, in contrast to the inspector's more cosmopolitan and rigorous judgement.

6. Escort and Protection Mission

Duty in the frontier presidios was often a dull, unexciting routine although productive of nervous strain because of the ever-present possibility of Apache attack. For large stretches of duty time were spent detached from the fort garrison escorting supply trains and horse remount herds to the post, on guard against Apache attempts to make off with either. Longer tours took soldiers and non-commissioned officers away from the fort to guard duty at Indian missions where small detachments protected the lives of the missionaries and the property of the mission industrial plant, farms and ranches.

The tough presidial soldier, with his Western arms was more than a match for an equal number of Indians. Therefore the fort proper could be held with a comparatively small detachment and the mission guards numbered only one to half a dozen soldiers (Mattison 1946:281). At Tubac a post guard detail of five dismounted troopers rotated daily (Treutlein 1949:294) when available men permitted.

217The royal fort at Tubac, despite the small size of its garrison, always had the responsibility for furnishing escort detachments and mission guards. Escort duty was particularly onerous in the period immediately after the founding of the post, following the Pima Revolt. When Father Francisco Pauer embarked on one of his frequent forays to Bac and the north country, a military escort went with him (Libro de Bautismos y Casamientos de los Pueblos de Santa María Soamca, f. 10v). Sometime between 1754 and 1757 while Juan María de Oliva was still an ensign, he led a fourteen man detachment at Bac. About 200 Apaches attacked and this guard detail killed fifteen of them (Oliva Aug. 13, 1775 No. 8). At other times the detachment stationed at the Mission of St. Francis Xavier at Bac was under the command of a corporal. This little unit had the confidence and fortitude to pursue immediately Apaches who drove off the entire herd of mission cattle in the spring of 1766. Not only did they pursue, they were able to recover the herd of around 300 head (Anza Mar. 17, 1766:112). This detachment was small in numbers but long on courage and notably efficient at blooding the collective Apache nose (Lafora 1939:155). In the final days of the Tubac post it numbered only four men (Oliva Aug. 1, 1775).

Except when the Apaches had driven them all off, there were always horses to be guarded against such attacks at Tubac. Even when a detachment rode off on campaign, the troopers left part of their horse-strings behind to recruit and 218provide fresh mounts on their return (Treutlein 1949:291-292). Remount guard duty absorbed the largest detachment of the garrison, fifteen to twenty men watching wearily for two weeks at a tour. Tedium bred carelessness, and the Apaches often could surprise the remount guard detail and drive off all or part of the horses (ibid., p. 294). Unequal rotation of remount guard duty bred resentment among the troopers at Tubac (Rubí Dec. 21, 1766).

The fifty-one man company of 1766 had available to it in December a total of 313 horses, thirty-three of them with the eleven-man detachment on the Seri frontier (ibid.). The total herd was often over 1,000 head of stock, however, since horses, mules and cattle from the two missions nearest Tubac plus San Ignacio, and those belonging to civilian settlers at the post were thrown in with the fort's remounts on Captain Anza's orders (ibid.). In August of 1775 the garrison had 229 horses and thirty-four mules on hand which the acting commander rated in good condition (Oliva Aug. 13, 1775), but the Comandant-Inspector considered only average. This was sixty-nine horses and fourteen mules short of the required seven horses and one mule per man (O'Conor Aug. 18, 1775).

Another distasteful detail the troopers drew frequently was that of escorting the train of pack animals sent to bring in firewood and similar housekeeping tasks at the post (Rivera Dec. 26, 1766; M. Acuña Dec. 23, 1766; Baez Dec. 26, 1766). All provisions not grown or grazed at the post had to be packed in under armed escort, which further burdened the 219troopers with onerous escort duty (M. Acuña Dec. 23, 1766). Neither Beldarrain nor Anza paid the troopers for riding escort on their goods and provisions, even when the latter were destined for consumption in the captains' own households (Cota Dec. 22, 1766; J. M. Acuña Dec. 23, 1766). The royal inspector (Rubí Dec. 31, 1766) ordered this practice terminated.

Under Lt. Oliva's command the Tubac company deteriorated to the point where its garrison was occupied solely with guarding the remount herd and the post, aside from the small detachment at Mission St. Francis Xavier at Bac and another equally small at Terrenate. The great subaltern Indian fighter ignored Apache incursions of which he was informed as an independent commander, much to the justifiable disgust of the settlers of the upper Santa Cruz River Valley (O'Conor Aug. 18, 1775).

7. Reports

Although the geographic isolation of the frontier posts such as Tubac permitted their commanders to operate very independently of higher authority in every day matters, they always remained outposts of a giant colonial administrative machine which required intelligence of the activities of its least components, duly certified in writing.

Royal regulations called for semi-annual reports from the frontier fort commanders, but little attention was paid them in the Province of Sonora. Anza seems to have been somewhat better than most of the Sonoran captains about 220submitting reports, but Field Marshal Pignatelly y Rubí still had to jog him to prepare more detailed daily summaries.  These could be very dull resumes of the effective complement of the post from day to day, but the king's inspector perceived that they could be very useful at higher levels of administration if they contained details of the expeditions made, the passes and watering places found, and other description of frontier service (Rubí Dec. 31, 1766a).

Under the New Regulations of Royal Forts promulgated in September of 1772 which went into effect at Tubac June 1, 1774, post commanders were required to submit monthly reports on day-today events at the posts or on campaign (O'Conor Aug. 16, 1775). Operational diaries should express distances, directions, movements, mountains, watering places and their quality, number of Indians encountered in battles, number of prisoners of either sex taken, dead and wounded; the order of attack or defense by the Indians, the dispositions of the Spanish commander for attack or defense,, and the loss in dead and wounded sustained (ibid.).

8. Inspections

The military inspection must date from the invention of formal fighting forces and its form and function have been very stable in European armies for many centuries. How often the Tubac garrison stood inspection before its company commander is problematical-it almost never mustered the entire unit because of the demands of escort and guard duty. 221Probably the post comandant did review his troopers and their equipment before riding out of the fort on campaigns-such an inspection would have been highly necessary.

Periodically the post was visited by higher-ranking inspecting officers who subjected it to a thorough going-over. Field Marshal Calletano Pignatelly y Rubí, the Marques de Rubí, brought a staff of several junior officers to Tubac with him in December of 1766, and turned the post inside out for a few days. One of his officers made geographical observations for placing the post on his general map of Spanish North America, others took testimony from junior officers and men. The Field Marshall presumably had Captain Anza muster his handful of men for formal inspection, along with their extra clothing, equipment and horses.

That was the procedure of Comandant-Inspector Hugo O'Conor in August of 1775. He ordered acting commander Oliva to muster his company for inspection at 5 a.m. on August 2, the men to present themselves with all their arms, mounts and clothing, carrying only that which belonged to them. The remount hard was to be corralled in advance of that hour so each trooper could prove to O'Conor that he had the seven horses and a mule the New Regulations specified (O'Conor Aug. 1, 1775).

The inspection by higher officers was also an occasion for the post officers to display their royal commissions in proof of the legitimacy of their employment, as well as to 222present the files of superior orders relating to the operation of the post (ibid.). The illiterate Lt. Oliva had none to present to the Comandant-Inspector in 1775 (Oliva Aug. 1, 1775).

Not even for a Field Marshal's inspection could the entire company be mustered. While the Marques de Rubí's reports on his inspection of Tubac in 1766 contain no general roll of the troops, he clearly never saw Lt. Oliva and ten men detached to the Seri frontier, and the total number of men including officers whom he actually inspected at the post seems to have been no more than eleven (Rubí Dec. 21 & Dec. 22, 1766). This seems to have been the number Lt. Oliva could muster for Comandant Inspector O'Conor in 1775, plus nine Indian scouts. Some or all of them were guarding the remount herd. Six troopers were sick, and the rest of the slightly understrength company was out on campaign or guard duty (Oliva Aug. 1, 1775).

To check on the royal interests, the Comandant Inspector in 1775 required a report on the militia arms stored at Tubac and other things charged to the royal exchequer (O'Conor Aug. 10, 1775 No. 5).

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