The Documents

The title of this website, "Shadows at Dawn," is intended in part to summon up the moment on the morning of April 30, 1871, when the attackers first glimpsed the Apache encampment near Camp Grant. Inhabitants of the borderlands typically timed their attacks on one another to occur at daybreak (as one resident of Tucson, Joseph Felman, explained in 1871, raiding parties against the Apache typically "wait for morning to take them by surprise"). The uncertain light of a new day was thus the time when one had to be most alert as to the possible perils hidden in the shifting shades along the horizon. But the title "shadows at dawn" also alludes the murky nature of historical truth, with its missing perspectives and obscure records, and to the long shadows that the past can cast into the present.

While the documents available on the Shadows at Dawn website go a long way towards dispelling these shadows, they cannot banish them completely. Although every effort has been made to include as wide a universe of materials as possible relating the Camp Grant Massacre, particular voices and certain points of view remain more prominent than others in the accounts. As with any other historical event, it becomes the task of the historian to navigate between these presences and absences as they endeavor to reimagine the vanished world of the past.

Document Index