The Volunteer Indian Fighter

The Volunteer Indian Fighter

Fountain almost immediately joined the New Mexico volunteers because of the ongoing Indian wars. In June 1865, he was seriously wounded while pursuing hostile Apaches. He spent a night trapped under his dead horse, with a bullet in his thigh, an arrow in his forearm, and another arrow in his shoulder. On his recovery, he was discharged as a brevet captain.[1]

The Mescalero Apaches were well armed after defeating the Confederates and absconding with supplies. Author A. M. Gibson wrote that Fountain also confronted the Mimbreño and Chiricahua Apaches during his military career and shared in the responsibility for their relocation to reservations. Fountain would later change his attitude toward the Indians and support them.
By early 1866, Fountain's formal military service ended.

Fountain participated in the Mescalero Indian roundup and the relocation of this group to Bosque Redondo under the guns of Fort Sumner and then commanded volunteer New Mexico cavalry against the Mimbreño and Chiricahua Apaches. Wounds received in the Western Apache campaigns led to Fountain's hospitalization at Fort Bliss, El Paso, where he recovered and was discharged from federal service.

In 1861 he enlisted in the First California Infantry Volunteers, commanded by Col. James H. Carleton. Fountain advanced from private to lieutenant in this Union force as it marched from the Pacific coast over mountains and deserts of the Southwest to the Rio Grande. After arriving too late to intercept Gen. Henry H. Sibley's retreating Confederate army, the California Column became an army of occupation for New Mexico and Arizona territories. Fountain was assigned to the garrison at Franklin (El Paso) and at nearby Mesilla in the New Mexico Territory.