Washington, July 19.--The following is an extract from the official report of the massacre at Camp Grant, Arizona, by Lieut. Royal E. Whitman, just received here by the Board of Indian Commissioners. It is dated Camp Grant, May 17, and addressed to Col. J.G.C. Lee, Tucson. Lieut. Whitman, after describing the settlement of the Indians near the camp, and praising them for their peaceableness and good behavior, proceeds as follows:
On the morning of April 30th, I was at breakfast at 7 1/2 A.M., when a dispatch was brought to me by a Sergeant of Company D, Twenty first Infantry, from Capt. Plum, commanding Camp Lowell, informing me that a large party had left Tucson on the 28th, with the avowed purpose of killing of all the Indians at this post. I immediately sent the two interpreters, mounted, to the Indian camp with orders to tell the chiefs the exact state of things, and for them to bring their entire party inside the post. As I had no cavalry and but about fifty Infantry, nearly all recruits, and no other officer, I could not leave the post to go to their defense. My messengers returned in about an hour with intelligence that they could find no living Indian--their camp was burning and the ground was strewn with their mutilated women and children.
I immediately mounted a party of about twenty soldiers and citizens, and sent them with the Post Surgeon, with a wagon, to bring in the wounded, if any could be found. The party returned late in the evening having found no wounded, and without having been able to communicate with any of the survivors. Early the next morning I took a similar party, with spades and shovels, and went out and buried all the dead in and immediately around the camp. I had the day before offered the interpreters or any one, who could do so, $100 to go to the mountains and communicate with them and convince them that no officer or soldier of the United States Government had been concerned in the vile transaction, and failing in this, I thought an act of caring for their dead would be an evidence to them of our sympathy at least, and the conjecture proved correct, for while at the work many of them came to the spot and indulged in their expressions of grief, too wild and terrible to be described. That evening they came in from all directions, singly and in small parties, so changed in forty-eight hours as to be hardly recognizable, during which time they had neither eaten or slept. Many of the men, whose families had been killed, when I spoke to them and expressed sympathy for them, were obliged to turn away, unable to speak and too proud to show their grief. The women, whose children had been killed or stolen were convulsed with grief, and looked to me appealingly as though I was their last hope on earth. Children who, two days before, had been full of fun and frolic, kept at a distance expressing wondering horror. I did what I could. I fed them and talked to them, and listened patiently to their accounts. I sent horses into the mountains to bring in two badly-wounded women, one shot through the left lung, and one with an arm shattered. These were attended to, and are doing well, and will recover. Their camp was surrounded and attacked at daybreak. So sudden and unexpected was it that no one was awake to give the alarm, and I found quite a number of women shot while asleep beside their bundles of hay they had collected to bring in on that morning. The wounded, who were unable to get away, had their brains beaten out with clubs or stones, while some were shot full of arrows after having been mortally wounded by gunshot. The bodies were all stripped. Of the whole number buried, one was an old man and one a well-grown boy. All the rest women and children. Of the whole number killed and missing, about 125, eight only were men. It has been said the men were not there. They were all there. On the 28th we counted 128 men, a small number being absent for mescal, all of whom have since been in. I have spent a good deal of time with them since the affair and have been astonished at their continued unshaken faith in me, and their perfectly clear understanding of their misfortune.
They say: "We know there are a great many white men and Mexicans who do not want us to live at peace. We know that the Papagoes would not have come out after us at this time if they had not been persuaded to do so." What they do not understand is, while they are at peace and conscious of no wrong intent, that they should be murdered by Government arms in the hands of Papagoes and Mexicans. One of the Chiefs said, "I no longer want to live; my women and children have been killed before my face, and I have been unable to defend them. Most Indians in my place would take a knife and cut his throat; but I will live to show these people that all they have done and all they can do shall not make me break faith with you, so long as you will stand by us, and defend us in a language we know nothing of to a great Governor, we never have nor never shall see." About their captives they say: "Get them back for us. Our little boys will grow up slaves, and our girls, as soon as they are large enough, will be diseased prostitutes to get money for whoever owns them. Our women work hard and are good women and our children have no diseases. Our dead you cannot bring to life, but those that are living we gave to you, and we look to you who can write and talk, and have soldiers, to get them back." I will assure you it is no easy task to convince them of my zeal when they see so little being done. I have pledged my word to them that I never would rest easily, night or day, until they should have justice, and just now I would as soon leave the army as to be ordered away from them, or to be obliged to order them away from here. But you well know the difficulties in the way. You know that parties who would engage in murders like this, could and would (and already have) make statements and multiply affidavits without end in their justification. I know you will use your influence on the right side. I believe, with them, this may be made either a means of making good citizens of them and their children, or drive them into a hopeless war of extermination. They ask to be allowed to live here, in their old homes, where nature supplies nearly all their wants. They ask for a fair and impartial trial of their faith; and they ask that all their captive children, living, may be returned to them. Is their demand unreasonable? Unless some action is taken to convince them that our Government means kindness and justice, and they are driven away desperate and disappointed, blinded by ignorance, rage and superstition, I assure you I could hardly command men to fire on them; and if I fail to do for them now everything in my power, I should expect it to be remembered against me when I am finally called to account, as my gravest offense and my greatest life responsibility. This letter has been hastily written, but not inconsiderately. You may consider it yourself at liberty to use it as you like best. I am willing for a copy of it to go to the Indian Department. Capt. Stanwood will by this mail send a full account of the matter direct to Division Headquarters. If you are able to accomplish anything, I know you will gratify yourself, and your anxiety to do so has already gratified yours, very respectfully, Royal E. Whitman. First Lieutenant, Third United States Cavalry.
[The New York Times, July 20, 1871, p.1]