Bascom Affair

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In February 1861, Lieutenant George N. Bascom of the 7th U.S. Infantry traveled to Apache Pass, Arizona, with orders to locate a boy taken captive by Apaches a few months earlier. Curious about the presence of the soldiers, Cochise approached Bascom’s camp and was invited into his tent for negotiations. When it became clear to Cochise that Bascom intended to kill him, he drew a knife and cut his way out of the tent. Subsequent attempts by both leaders to pressure the other to trade captives eventually resulted in the murder of all of the prisoners and the initiation of a war between the Chiricahuas and U.S. troops in southern Arizona and New Mexico.