The 9th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers, led by Colonel Edward Hatch, were pitted against Victorio and his Apache warriors in May 1880. The battle saw the more straightforward U.S. military tactics of Hatch against the guerrilla tactics of Victorio—who also had the terrain advantage and was riding on momentum from the Alma Massacre weeks earlier.
For some time the Buffalo Soldiers had tailed Victorio between Arizona and New Mexico. On May 11, twenty-five of K Troop’s cavalrymen were tasked with escorting supplies and establishing an outpost. Making the 33-year old Sgt. George Jordan’s job harder was that he had to protect settlers in the area. Their destination was Fort Tularosa.
The fort was abandoned, but still decent for defense. On the 13th, Sgt. Jordan and his men resting when a messenger informed them that the Apache were closing in on Tularosa. The decision was put to the cavalrymen who agreed to head to their defense. The troops were worn out and hadn’t been at the rest stop long. They also had to make sure the supplies reached Tularosa.
Jordan and his men would arrive the following morning to find the town hadn’t been attacked yet. The K Troop detachment was given time to rest up and make repairs to the corral and stockade fortifications before the impending attack. Later that evening, Victorio’s force of 100 attacked Tularosa which had 25 trained Buffalo Soldiers and some civilians.
Jordan’s men and the Fort Tularosa civilians were able to keep them out of the stockade. Knowing the other major target was the corral, Sgt. George Jordan called for ten cavalrymen to take up positions there. Ineffective in their assault, the Apaches retreated. Victorio’s forces would meet their fate in late 1880 when they ran into the Mexican army. His loss to Jordan ended what is called “Victorio’s War.”
Sgt. George Jordan would eventually be awarded the Medal of Honor for his feat.