Since 1846 white New Mexico Territory settlers had battled the western Indians. During the Civil War from September 1863 to January 1864 Kit Carson led the U.S. military in an effort to round up the Navajo and send them to a reservation at Ft. Sumner, New Mexico.
After resisting direct military confrontation with the Navajo for four months, on Wednesday, January 6, 1864 troops under Kit Carson’s command commenced operations directly against the Navajo stronghold of the Canyon de Chelly.
This left the Navajo, led by the warrior Manuelito, no alternative short of death but to surrender and be confined to the reservation. Carson’s military success against the Navajo and their subsequent harsh “Long Walk” to the reservation has long tainted his name in the history of the American Indian.