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When the ranchmen heard of our predicament, they would not sell us horses, but would give every man a mount who had lost stock. Besides this, they wrote out and presented us with a "bill of sale" for every horse we could get from the Indians bearing their brands. In addition to all this, they made us a tender of money for supplies. 

This they did for a two-fold reason: one was their time-honored generosity; the other was because so long as we were roaming the Plains, seeking the opportunity we so much desired, we were acting as a buffer between the Indians and the settlements. For they thought the red-skins would have all they could do to dodge us and keep what they had already stolen, without bothering them. When we finally got started there were just twenty-four of us in the party, afterward known as the "Forlorn Hope."

After the supply camp was reached, we packed ten head of animals and we were off to the "Yarner," as the old Texans called the Staked Plains. Going to the head of White cañon we ran on to a Mexican meat-hunting outfit, and through our interpreter, Hosea, we told them to pull back to the Pecos, and for them to get word to all the Mexicans as soon as they could, to steer clear of the Llano Estacado during that summer. We gave them to understand that "a word to the wise" should be sufficient. From where we met the Mexicans, we went south to our old battle-field. This time we could approach the place in a free-and-easy manner. Flowers were everywhere in full bloom. There were several different varieties; though none of us were good enough botanists to classify and name them. But we could smell the sweet perfume from them and admire their beauty; and for the next six weeks, wherever we roamed, the air was fragrant with their sweet odor. But we did not see "The Yellow Rose of Texas."

From here we went to, and explored, the tunneled sand-hills. There we found the Sewall gun, as had been told us.

We could find no water anywhere in this region, although we were in three parties and rode the country for miles around.

This must have been one of their last-resort retreats, when closely pushed for a temporary refuge. Some thought this place was where the Comanches and Apaches met to exchange horses and stolen goods; and it was a well-surmised fact that horses taken from the settlements of Texas were exchanged for horses stolen in New Mexico or on these plains; then, by the time the Indians had returned to their respective reservations, each exchanged horse was a long way from its original home, and in a strange land was seldom ever regained by the lawful owner.

From these sand-hills we returned to the battle-ground and made our second night's camp, near the long water-hole. From here we went to the Casa Amarilla by way of the North Fork of the Thompson cañon; from here to the Laguna Plata, where Captain Lee had captured the camp; thence marching south from the sand-hills, we struck a trail crossing ours at a left-angle, going towards the Laguna Sabinas, in nearly an easterly course. This we surmised must be a pretty strong party of Indians. Harvey now sent the pack train back to the Casa Amarilla with Dick Wilkinson and five men. The eighteen of us now took up the trail and followed it till dark. We were now about fifteen miles southeast of the point to which our pack train had gone, all of us as hungry as bears.

The trail we had followed was another fool's trail. The Indians knew we were in the country, and they thought to delay and puzzle us so they would get us as far away from their real hiding-place as possible. At one time the trail turned north, then northwest, then it would strike out northeast, and we kept twisting around on the trail until darkness overtook us. Harvey then told me to tell Hosea to guide us to the Casa Amarilla.

As we were approaching the camp a clear voice rang out, "Halt! Who are you?"

"Harvey's men," we replied.

"All right, boys; come ahead!"

We were camped on top of the edge of the bluff above the natural and excavated caves. From our position the next morning, we had a fine view through our glasses to the north, east, and south. Looking eastward for many miles, several bunches of wild horses were in sight. Small bands of buffalo and antelope could be seen, too. We lay over here all day; and when darkness set in we made a twenty-five mile march to Lake Sabinas. No Indian was there. Thence we marched to the Double Lakes, and to the big springs of the Colorado; thence we skirted the edge of the Llano Estacado north to near where Sewall was killed; thence back on the Staked Plains, visiting every place where water could be found that we knew of or could find.

Three different times we arrived at places the Indians had recently left. But they were elusive, and were cunning enough to send us on two fool's errands.

Thus our time was occupied, marching and counter-marching from place to place, until the 18th of July, where we were encamped on the head-waters of a tributary of the Colorado river, when it was deemed best to send out three different scouting parties by twos.

Harvey sent Al. Waite and me toward the head-waters of the North Concho; Hosea and Sol Rees were sent west toward the Blue sand-hills; Squirrel-eye and George Cornett were ordered to make a night ride in the direction of the Double Lakes. Waite and I left camp on the morning of the 19th, going south along the eastern edge of the Staked Plains. When we were some four miles from camp we saw to our left, and about two miles from us, moving animals. Focusing upon them with our glasses, three mules and five head of horses could be plainly seen.

"Now," said Waite, "let's get as close as we can to that stock and see what it means."

By turning east down a sag we kept out of sight of them. We traveled nearly a mile when we got a good-sized hill between us and where we had seen the animals. Then we headed for the hill. Its north side was steeply gullied. In one of these gullies I held the horses while Waite ascended the hill to get a good searching view of the surrounding country. It was about sixty-five yards from where I was holding the horses to where Waite was taking his observations.

After he had taken in the surroundings a short time, he said: "John, fasten the horses and come up here! I see Prince, George Williams's saddle-horse, and Billy Devins's mules, as sure as the world!"

I was soon on the hill at his side, and there, sure enough, not over a quarter of a mile distant, was Prince and seven other head of stock. Three were mules. They seemed to be contented. Some were grazing, one was lying down, and the others were standing. We both now used our glasses, taking in the dips, draws and points of land far and near. For an hour or so we talked and looked. Finally we decided that the horses and mules must have been lost by the Indians, after they had made the raid on Rath, and that they were there alone, and no hostile camp near; and that we would get them now and go back to camp, _which we did_.

We rode straight out to them, after we had remounted and got out of the gullies. Al. had been in the camp with Prince all of the fall and winter before. He rode up to them, while I stopped a few rods back to look for any decoy that might have been placed by the Indians.

He said "Hello, Prince!" and rode quite up to him. I am sure the horse recognized him; for he neighed and came up to Waite, who circled around the rest of the stock and started with them toward our camp.

After they had been driven to within a mile or so of camp we stopped, and went up on a hill, whence we looked the country over good again. Then, before going on to camp, Waite put his saddle on Prince. We drove the band into camp. Waite dismounted a few steps from where the boys were. They were all up and expectant.

Samuel Carr was greatly rejoiced at sight of Prince. The mules belonged to the two Moore brothers, who were known on the range far and near as both hide- and meat-hunters. They dried tons and tons of meat for a St. Louis firm. The horses belonged to different hunters. All had undoubtedly dropped out of the big band without being missed by the Indians, when taking them through the breaks, on the trip to the Plains.

The next morning Waite was ill, and Carr was sent with me toward the head of the North Concho. After getting as far south as where we had seen the stock from the day before, we turned due southwest and kept a steady walking gait for six hours. We came in sight of a slightly broken tract of ground about two miles away and to the left of the course we were traveling. We halted and brought our field-glasses into use. We noticed antelope were coming from the west towards the breaks. We thought we saw, many miles to the west, a band of horses. But the atmosphere at that time of day was slightly hazy; we could not determine for sure what the objects were. We decided to reconnoiter the country the antelope were traveling toward first.

Turning our horses to the left, we rode to the breaks and came to some sulphur springs. There were several of them, and it was a great watering-place. As we came close to them a band of wild horses scented us and went in a wild, mad rush out of the breaks. Galloping out upon the plains the clatter of their hoofs made a noise that we could hear when they were over a mile from us.

The big gray wolf was here and the coyote; also ravens, the blackest of black species of the crow family. A tremendously large eagle soared above us for a while, then took its flight toward the south prong of the Colorado. Some of these springs were strongly impregnated with sulphur. Two of them were splendid drinking-water. We found no sign of any Indians.

We felt comparatively safe, but we were ever vigilant. We were riding the best of horses. Each one of us carried a canteen and a six-pound powder-can of water. After watering our horses we rode west about three miles and dismounted, to graze the horses and make some coffee for ourselves. After building our fire of buffalo-chips we made the coffee, sat down facing each other, and placed our cooked meat and bread between us, I facing west and Carr east. After eating and resting a while we proceeded on west toward the objects that we had failed to make out. It was now about four o'clock in the afternoon of the 20th of July. We were in a region that neither of us had ever been in before. We thought we must be west of the head of the North Concho, and yet a long way north of it.

The objects that had attracted our attention were yet a mystery to us, and as we were not satisfied without further investigation we rode on west until near sundown. We had ascended a rise in the plain where we had an excellent view for many miles around in all directions—and there on west and southwest, scattered over many thousands of acres of land, were bands of wild horses. They were ranging in unmolested freedom and in perfect quiet. No Indians near here, we reasoned, or these watchful, quick-fleeing animals would not be so quietly and contentedly grazing. As evening came on, young colts came running and frisking around in reckless abandon in their wild unfettered freedom. No other wild animal will run from man's presence, be he white or red, quicker than the American wild horse. How did these majestic-looking creatures happen to be in this country? Some historians tell us that their ancestry dates back to the conquest of Mexico by the Spanish under Cortez, who brought the original stock from old Spain, no horses being in the country prior to the Aztec rule; and that from the horses Cortez brought over the sea the wild horse of the old Southwest originated.

There were different methods by which these wild animals were captured, but one which I witnessed I will describe:

Early in the spring of 1878, a Mexican outfit came from San Miguel, New Mexico, to the Laguna Rica, bringing with them twenty head of saddle-horses and eight men, for the purpose of capturing wild horses. He wanted nothing but females, for breeding purposes.

I was camped at the Casa Amarilla, eight miles from Laguna Rica, where the Mexican found me the next day after his arrival. This was a great wild-horse region at the time. I had noticed that morning an unusual, continued, rapid movement among all the bands of wild horses that were in sight, but could not account for it at the time. In the evening the Mexican rode into my camp. His name was Valdez. He could speak good English; told me his business in the country and his method of securing the animals. He would single out a certain band of the animals and start two men on horseback toward them, their horses walking. When they got close enough for the band to scent or see them the wild animals would be on the _qui vive_, while the stallion that was master of the herd would trot and walk a short way towards the approaching horsemen, raise his head high, and look steadily at them. When assured of danger he would whirl around and run back toward the band, biting and squealing at them until he had them all on the run; then he would forge ahead and take the lead. Away they would all go, generally from three to five miles without stopping. Then he would come back a way on the trail, acting as rear guard.

In the mean time the two horsemen followed them up, still walking their horses, and when the now vigilant stallion saw that they were still coming he would start his band again. Wild horses always run in a big circle; hence they would, on the second run, go from fifteen to twenty miles before stopping, but slowing down by degrees.

When the direction of the circle was determined, two other riders would start out and cross an arc of the circle. Another would do the same outside the circle; then one man would take two extra horses, hurry across the circle and intercept the first riders with fresh horses and a supply of tortillas, carne and agua (bread, meat and water). Another would station himself, with four extra horses, as near to the circle as caution and convenience would allow.

As the circle had once been completed, the horsemen adjusted themselves accordingly. The wild horses were kept on the move as much as possible, both day and night.

The horsemen would drop in behind the wild animals at intervals; but they were always in a walk. Thus it was called "walking them down."

On the third day the very old and weaker ones dropped out of the circle; by the fourth day the best of the herd were tired and leg-weary, so much so that the men could now close in on them and would have to drive them to keep them moving.

Sometimes an enraged stallion would turn on the pursuers and have to be shot. The afternoon of the fourth day on which Valdez and his men had been following a mixed band of some eighty-odd head of these untamed steeds of the Llano Estacado, I by previous arrangement joined in the walk-down. I did this for curiosity and observation.

The band at the time I left my camp was about six miles southeast of me, and was then being driven by the Mexicans toward the Laguna Rica. When I got to where the horses were I actually felt sorry for the poor captive creatures. Some would lie down; then the stinging rawhide end of a lariat would be snapped at them and strike unerringly where the vaquero intended it to. Up they would get, and reel ahead. It was night when the men got them to camp, and they kept those that were not literally fagged out on the move nearly all night—moving backward, then forward.

The next morning the Mexicans were all on hand with lariats. They roped and threw the mares down. They then took a knife and cut under each front knee-cap. This severed a ligament and let the joint-water out at the same time. Then they would brand them and turn them loose. In this way they got thirty-five mares, from yearlings up.

Using the knife the way they did stiffened both front legs. After getting all they cared for out of this band, they drove the ones they had crippled and branded to the margin of the lake; and with one herder to stay with them they were no trouble to handle afterward.

In a few days, after resting, regular water and grazing, they were in a condition to be driven to the ranch in San Miguel. They moved along as any horse would that was badly chest-foundered.

Coming back to the time and place Carr and I were watching the wild horses, and looking the country over with our glasses, we waited until dusk, and then started back in the direction we had approached the place from. Going a mile or so, we turned and traveled for an hour toward the North Star, and dismounted for the night, feeling sure, if we had possibly been seen during the day by Indians, that we had eluded them.

The day had been excessively warm. As darkness spread its canopy over the plain, not a breath of air seemed to be stirring, and the stars were shining brightly. Unsaddling our horses, we placed the saddles cantle to cantle and spread a blanket upon the ground. We could not help but note the silence. We ate our lunch, consisting of cold meat and bread, drank water from our canteens, and then lay down for the night upon our blankets, our saddles for pillows and the firmament for a quilt.

We lay stretched out talking in a low tone for hours before we could go to sleep. After our horses had finished grazing both lay down some fifty feet from us. When our conversation had ceased for a time the utmost stillness and silence prevailed. The buffaloes were nowhere in this vast solitude. We were so far from water that even the birds were not here, and Carr remarked that the _very stillness_ was noisy.

I said "stillness," but we could hear a low murmur like m—m—mum—um—um. What caused this? Philosophers have told us that it was the last and least audible sound coming from a long distance. Being wafted along the earth's surface made us imagine that we thought we really heard something. After some time, Carr asked me how far from the Bender place, in Kansas, I had formerly lived. After answering him, he asked me: "Did you see a novel that is going the rounds claiming that the Benders left Kansas, crossed the Indian Territory, and were seen somewhere in western Texas on their way to Old Mexico?"

I said, "No; but Al. Waite told me that he had read such a story."

"Yes," said he, "he read it last winter, in my camp. Now," said he, "I don't think those Montgomery county people did right in misleading the public about the Benders."

"What do you mean, Sam?" I asked.

"Well," he said, "they killed all of the Benders just below the mouth of Onion creek, in Montgomery county, Kansas, close to the Indian Territory line."

I said, "Well, that is a new one. What will we hear next?"

"Now, John, I'll tell you that after the Independence crowd had gone over to the Bender country, dragged the creeks, and searched the country over for Dr. York's body, and when they started back after their fruitless search, that Senator York asked Kate Bender, the pretended clairvoyant, to go into a trance and tell him where his brother was. She told him there were too many men present at the time, but if he would come back the next Friday night and bring but one man along she would go into a trance and reveal to him where his brother was." Carr continued by saying that a member of the party had told him that while Kate and the Senator were talking he had occasion to go to the Bender stable; and while he was there he saw John and the old man Bender at the pig-pen and they were engaged in an animated talk, in a low tone of voice, which talk was in German; that the old man acted in an excited manner; and that he then suspected that the Benders believed or thought that they were under suspicion. "Now," said Carr, "that was only conjecture by the man that told me; but, two days later, when this man saw Kate, John, the old woman and the old man in that same wagon, drawn by that same team, that was found tied to the blackjack tree at Thayer; met them in the early morning eighteen miles from where they committed their murders, and west of the Verdigris river, going southwest with trunks and rolls of bedding in the wagon, his suspicions were thoroughly aroused, and he put in a good portion of the day gathering a party to follow and overtake them, to bring them back for a full investigation; that fifteen men did follow and overtook them about nine o'clock at night; that they were all more or less intoxicated; that they, the Benders, were encamped by the side of a large sycamore log on the bank of the Verdigris river; that when the party told them they had come to take them back, John Bender started on a run for a brush thicket close by, when they shot him. Kate grabbed up a butcher-knife, and, screaming like a maniac, started to slashing at them, and did give one man quite a bad gash in the hand. And they had to shoot her to save themselves. Then they made a clean job of it and killed the old man and the old woman, after which they sunk all the dead bodies in the Verdigris river; then they each drank considerable liquor; swore themselves to secrecy; searched the contents of the wagon; found $800 in money in the wagon; $130 was in the old man's pocket, and there was $30 in John's pockets. These men divided the money equally between themselves. They burned up most of the things in the wagon; then entered into a contract with one of their party to take the team back to Thayer and leave it where it was found. As it was not their intention at first to kill the Benders, they each and all entered into a solemn compact not to divulge the secret. And each having his share of the money, even after the graves in the Bender garden gave up their dead, they thought best to remain silent still."

I asked him, "When did you hear all this?"

He replied: "Two years ago, up in the Panhandle. The man who told me was drinking at the time. And as the old saying goes, little children and drunken men sometimes tell the truth."

The next morning he came to me and asked me not to say anything about it. I promised him if I did I would not mention his name. I asked him: "Did you know anything of the man who told you that story?"

"Yes; his word to me is as good as any man's on the range; if he had been a man whose word I doubted I would tell you who it was."

The above is the story of what became of the Benders, as told to me that night.

About noon of the 20th of July our camp guard from his lookout notified us that he saw a column of soldiers to the southeast, heading for the Bull Creek Mountain. Their course would take them east of where we were camped. Harvey ordered James Foley, an ex-regular soldier, to intercept them and find out what their mission was.

We were now all agog. Every man who had field-glasses was up on the lookout. It was a level plain, where Foley had intercepted the soldiers. We could see the column halt and dismount; could plainly see two men and Foley a few steps in front of the soldiers. Soon we saw them remount their horses. Then they turned, and started straight toward our camp. When they arrived it proved to be Captain Nicholas Nolan and Lieutenant Charles Cooper with Company A, Tenth U. S. Cavalry. The Tenth was a colored regiment; the Indians called them "buffano" (buffalo) soldiers, on account of their color being dark, like the buffaloes. The company went into camp on the opposite side of the little branch from us, and facing us. They had a twenty-mule pack train. After their camp was in order, and the captain had eaten his dinner, he crossed the little branch to our camp and asked, "Who is in command of you hunters?" James Harvey stepped toward him, but before he could speak the Captain spoke, saying, "Well, the saints deliver us! Jim Harvey! And are you with this Forlorn Hope?" The two men were well acquainted, having campaigned together during the 1868 Indian war.

When the captain learned that Harvey was our leader, he asked him how many men he had. After being told, he looked the crowd over, his eyes going from man to man. He would look us over, look us individually up and down.

"Where are your other two men? I see but 22 here."

"They are out on a scout; I keep two men out all the time," said Harvey.

The custom and force of habit brought the military rules to the front, and poor old Nick Nolan forgot for the moment that he was in the presence of twenty-two American citizens that were under no obligations to obey military orders. Turning to Harvey he addressed him, saying:

"Captain Harvey, order your men into line, while I read my orders from General Ord."

We were standing and lounging in a group all close enough to hear distinctly.

Harvey evaded the order by saying: "Captain, the men will all pay strict attention to the reading of the orders."

Captain Nolan had taken the orders from his pocket and stood waiting a moment. Seeing that we made no movement whatever, he said:

"Oh, I see; that's all right, men; I have been twenty-five years in the regular army and am used to discipline. I forgot for the instant that I was in the presence of civilians."

At that we all arose to our feet and formed a semi-circle near him. His orders were in substance that he would ration his company for a sixty-day campaign and proceed from Fort Concho to the region in the Staked Plains; find the hostile renegade Indians, and make his report. If possible, find the hunters who are out against the Indians; render them any assistance they may need in the way of supplies, medicine, etc.; and to form a junction with them if agreeable to them.

After reading his orders, he said:

"Now, men, perhaps I have a bit of news for you. The Governor of this State was on the point of sending the frontier battalion of rangers out here to disperse you on account of your not being a legalized body of armed men. But better counsel prevailed, and from higher authority than from the State of Texas, you are now recognized as being within your rights. Congress ought to pass a memorial in your behalf, for you are making future Indian wars an impossibility by the destruction of the buffaloes; and if you will show me those Indians, that is all I ask. I do not want you to help fight them. In fact, I should prefer that you would be merely spectators, and for the following reason: Three years ago, north of here in the Red river country, I was unfortunate enough to be placed in a position to have to stand a court-martial trial for cowardice; and, nothing but my record during the war of our Rebellion saved me from disgrace and the loss of my commission. Colonel Shafter caused me my trouble. The facts in my case were that three years ago I had a company of fresh, new, raw recruits, just from Virginia. They had never been under fire, were not drilled in horsemanship, scarcely knew the manual of arms, and I could not get my men to go against Satanta and his warriors, which were some four to one. But now I have a company of fighters. And I wish to vindicate myself by going against the Indians you are hunting. Captain Lee has left Fort Griffin under orders the same as mine. Now, will you agree to take me to water once every twenty-four hours, and assist me to locate the Quohadas?"

Harvey told him the story of our travels in detail; described all of the watering-places, and closed by saying that we believed the Indians' headquarters were in the Blue sand-hills, about fifty miles west of the Double Lakes, and that we would take him to water every twenty-four hours if we could do so without jeopardizing our common interest, which was to find the Indians for him and to recover our stock that they had taken. These conditions were perfectly understood, regardless of Captain Nolan's report to the Secretary of War afterward.

I wish that I could write the story of the happenings of the next few days, as we all hoped and planned that the results might be. But as this book is written by an actual participant in the events and incidents already related and those yet to come, I will write them as they occurred from my personal observation, and from witnesses present.

Early on the morning of the 24th, Hosea and Hudson, who had gone on a scout the day before, came in and reported the finding of a trail going from the north prong of the Colorado in the direction of a chain of surface lakes that were between the Double Lakes and the Casa Amarilla. There had been a cloud-burst in that region the latter part of June, and so tremendous an amount of water fell in an amazing short time that it had filled the depressions to overflowing, and the waters had spread over a large area at first; and when we found this place early in July, we could see the outside water-line by the buffalo-chips and grass-blades that made a drift-line around the flood margin; but absorption and evaporation had caused the waters to recede until they were confined in the lower basins. One of these yet had a surface of about ten acres when we found it.

After the scouts had reported, the captain ordered his bugler to sound "boots and saddles." We were soon _en route_ for the head of the extreme north prong of the Colorado. Here we lay in camp all of the 22d. At night we marched to the Double Lakes; lay over next day at that place; and after night we marched to the chain of surface lakes, but found no Indians. This day, the 23d, we lay over at the largest of these lakes until evening, when we took up the Indian trail for Laguna Sabinas, following a plain fresh trail. This surface lake, whose waters were from the June waterspout or cloud-burst, now covered a surface of about five acres of ground. Lieutenant Cooper's measurement in the center of the basin showed a depth of thirty-three inches.

Here we witnessed a remarkable sight: At one time during the day could be seen horses, mules, buffaloes, antelopes, coyotes, wolves, a sand-hill crane, negro soldiers, white men, our part-Cherokee Indian and the Mexican guide, all drinking and bathing at one and the same time from this lake. Lieutenant Cooper first called attention to the fact; and remarked that outside of a tented circus, it was one of the greatest aggregations of the animal kingdom ever witnessed on as small a space of land and water.

One can imagine what kind of water this must have been when taking into account that nearly a month previous it had suddenly fallen from the clouds upon a dry, sun-parched soil, with a hard-pan bottom; and being exposed to a broiling hot sun about sixteen hours of every twenty-four, while the thermometer in midday was far above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, an occasional herd of buffalo standing and wallowing in it, the ever-coming and going antelope, the wolves, snipes, curlews, cranes, the wild mustang, all of which frequented the place for many miles around. And yet we mixed bread, made coffee, and filled our canteens from it. And yet again there were men in our party who in six more days, like Esau, would have sold their birthright for the privilege of drinking and bathing in this same decoction.

We arrived at Laguna Sabinas at midnight, secreting ourselves in a gully at the north end of the lake.

About 7 A. M. we saw a signal-smoke at the south end of the lake, six miles away. We had been seen, and their spies were sending the word, how far away we knew not; then back toward the Double Lakes up went a signal. We had been deceived nearly a month before by the high ascending spiral whirlwinds that the Llano Estacado was noted for, but these signs were unmistakable.

"_Indios! Indios! yo les veo!_" (Indians! Indians! I see them!) said Hosea; and riding out of a draw of the lake nearly three miles away, going east toward the head of the Red Fork of the Colorado, were thirty-odd Quohadas.

At Captain Nolan's command the darky bugler's blast for boots and saddles sent its vibrations down the lake; and away he ran for his horse, blowing as he ran.

Harvey ordered Carr and me to get out and keep in sight of the Indians. We were two miles from the lake when the troops got in motion with their pack train. The Indians turned south when Carr and I got within a mile of them, and away they went as fast as they could go. Carr and I followed on about two miles farther, and looking back saw that our party had stopped and were signaling to us. We rode back to learn that Nolan and Harry believed that when the Indians turned south it was a ruse, and that they believed the camp was on the Red Fork of the Colorado, and there is where we went, Nolan arguing that the camp was trying to get back to Fort Sill, being tired of being hounded around by both the soldiers and hunters, and that the devils were trying to mislead us as to their real intent. He said if he was mistaken, when we got to the Colorado he would go anywhere we said afterwards. Hosea insisted that the Indian camp must be in the Blue sand-hills; but we went with Nolan.

The next morning, the 25th, about 8 A. M., our out-guards sent in word that five or six Indians were coming straight for camp from the south, bearing a white flag. When they arrived at our camp it proved to be Quinnie or Quana, a half-breed Comanche, two oldish bucks and two squaws. Quinnie handed Nolan a large official envelope, which contained a commission from Gen. McKenzie, post commander at Fort Sill, to Quinnie to hunt up the Indians and bring them in.

The document was on heavy crisp paper, and was addressed to whom it might concern. It stated that the Indians wanted to give themselves up to him at Fort Sill, but they did not want to fall into the hands of the Texas authorities. The document cautioned people against molesting Quinnie in his mission. Captain Nolan swore as only a regular army officer of those days could. "Here," he said, "I had orders from my department commander to find them blanketed, breech-clouted devils, and make my own report; which practically means, by reading between the lines, to annihilate them if I want to. Then here comes a paper from a garrison commandant, delegating a half-breed tribesman to come out here and bring the renegades in; then winds up with a covert threat if they are molested."

Quinnie passed on down the edge of the plains, going south, intimating that he was going to the Mustang Springs country.

At noon we saddled up and went to the Double Lakes, northwest, arriving there after midnight. Hosea and Cornett were sent on six miles toward Laguna Rica, where they could have an early morning observation of the plains westward. Cornett came running into camp while we were eating breakfast, saying they had seen a large band of warriors going northwest from Laguna Rica, heading toward the Casa Amarilla. Boots and saddles again came the clear notes from the bugle; and away we went.

Every soldier had a canteen; every citizen had a canteen or a six-pound powder-can covered with blanketing, and a strap to sling over the shoulder; but the fact developed that some of these soldiers left this camp with empty canteens. I myself came near doing so. Many left with partially filled canteens. I was ordered to hurry to Hosea, who was following the Indians, to keep in good field-glass sight of them. I was told to have him wait until we all caught up with him. When I overtook him he was three miles northwest of Laguna Rica. The command came to us on a cut-off, missing the lake. It was 10 A. M. on the 27th, and furiously hot. The soldiers were out of water, and our boys dividing with them. We followed the trail until the middle of the afternoon, when it turned sharply to the southwest, and as we followed it along its size increased by trails coming into it from the east and southeast. It was now so plain that it could be seen some distance ahead. We lost sight of the Indians before the trail turned to the southwest. When darkness set in we dismounted, but made no pretensions for camping; not a drop of water in the party. The horses were not unsaddled, neither were the packs removed. At break of day we were following the trail; at 9 A. M. it turned west; at noon it turned northwest; by 3 P. M. it had turned to the west. They were giving us a dry trail; they would finish us with thirst. The darky soldiers commenced dropping out one by one and dismounting; one fell from his horse, and soon another; a detail was put behind to goad on the stragglers; the head of the column marched on, and more soldiers were falling out of line to lie prostrate. A stronger man was left with each prostrate one; and so it went on until near five o'clock.

I was ahead on the trail with Hosea; we were both suffering physical torture. My system rejected tobacco; the saliva in my throat and mouth had dried up; my jaws would not stay closed. We looked back; the column was halted. A negro soldier was coming toward us; we waited for him to come up. "The captain wishes you to wait for the command," he said. We dismounted. The soldier said he was afraid some of the troops would get ugly; they were complaining, bitterly about the thirst and heat. The command came on, but it was demoralized. The Blue sand-hills were in plain view. We could see the outlines of them with the scattered shrubbery along their slopes.

We had been traveling along north of these hills for several miles. The trail was turning southwest again. Captain Nolan told me to ask Hosea if he could find the Laguna Plata. Hosea said he could. Ask him when he could get back from there by going now. Hosea studied a moment and counted on his fingers. His answer was, "midnight." Then Hosea asked what the captain meant.

"Captain Nolan," said Harvey, "I will pick out ten of my strongest men and take all the canteens and start them for Laguna Plata for water. We will follow the course for there to-night, and they, returning with water, will meet us and end this horrible feeling that we all have. When the sun goes down those prostrate men in the rear will revive. I can then get them together. I'll send my best horses with the men and they will bring us water in the night. Otherwise we will all perish. Will you send the guide with my men?"

Harvey was resting in what little shade his horse could furnish him. He called me to him. He said: "What do you think of it?"

I said Hosea told me we could get plenty of water in the sand-hills not over eight miles from here.

Harvey straightened up, and, addressing Nolan, said: "Hosea has never disappointed us. He says that eight miles from here in the sand-hills is plenty of water. We may have to fight the Indians first for it, but we will shoot them away from the water."

"Look," said Nolan, "I have twenty-five men prostrated. Look at your own men, suffering the tortures of the d——d. We are all suffering this minute, and if this keeps up much longer we will each be dethroned of his reason, and be a wandering lot of maniacs until a merciful death relieves us."

Tears were coursing down his cheeks. He was nearly sixty-five years of age, and was ready for the retired list. He had crossed the plains to Utah in 1857, being a sergeant in the First United States Dragoons, that were sent to Salt Lake during the Mormon troubles; had been in twenty-two fights and battles during the Rebellion, and had campaigned on the Indian frontier ever since. He was now too old for such arduous duty. He captured our sympathy at once, Union and Confederate ex-soldiers alike, and for the fraternal, soldierly feeling we gave way, and consented to his plan, thereby doing him and ourselves an injustice, and adding more horrors to our Forlorn Hope.

The soldiers detailed, and were placed in charge of a mulatto sergeant, and they, together with a boy, a citizen of Boston, Mass., who was on a visit to Fort Concho and who had accompanied Nolan, filed out toward the Laguna Plata, taking a northeast course.

In looking over my own party, I missed Samuel Carr and Al. Waite. Upon inquiry I was informed that Carr had become prostrated about a mile back from where we were, and Waite was staying with him until he revived. Each soldier who had been overcome along our trail had been left with a comrade to watch and care for him.

As the sun was sinking, the order to mount came. All those who could or did obey the order started toward Laguna Plata, thus reversing the direction we had traveled for a long way, southwest to northeast. I rode back to Carr and Waite and told them of the plan for the future, and by vigorous fanning and coaxing we managed to get him on his horse, Prince, which he was now riding.

Then we started north toward the command, cutting off the angle. After going a mile or so, Carr feebly dismounted, and said he could go no farther. He was inclined to stoutness, and was the only fleshy man in our party. Waite and I were slim as greyhounds. We waited this time fully an hour before we could get Carr on his horse again. But this time we came up to where the command was, being the last of the stragglers to come in.

We were now all together. Captain Nolan was lying upon the ground, and said that he was too much exhausted to proceed any farther until he could get some sleep. It was every fellow for himself. We were all lying around on the plain, without any semblance of order, not even a guard out. I was lying on the eastern outskirts of the entire party, where I noticed several pack-mules pass me. I called out to the soldiers that their pack train was wandering off.

Men were snoring. Some were talking in low tones. Jim Harvey and Dick Wilkinson were nearest to me. My horse was reined up so that he could not get his head to the ground, and I was lying on the coil of the lariat, the end tied around the horse's neck. I fell asleep, and slept soundly until long after midnight, when we were awakened by the firing of guns. First a shot, then pop! pop! pop! and soon fully 100 shots had been fired. The muzzles of the guns were pointed upward.

Everyone was soon awake, and speculation was rife, the prevailing opinion being that Hosea and the soldiers were returning with water from the Laguna. But we waited and waited. Dick Wilkinson was missing, and did not answer our call. It was now the darkest part of the night. Objects could not be distinguished at 100 feet. The sky was somewhat overcast with a film of cloud, and all we could do was to await the coming of day.

When daylight came on, and the water party was nowhere in sight, Nolan told his lieutenant to set his compass for the Double Lakes. Now we knew that they must be at least fifty miles to the southeast. We insisted that if we kept on the northeast course we would all get water that day. He was lying on the ground with a talma over him, when I said, "Yes, captain, follow us now and we will lead you to water."

He threw the talma to one side, and, getting upon his feet, said: "If you men are thinking of going to the Laguna Plata, you are going to your destruction. You don't know where it is, nor how far. If it were within my authority I would prevent your going, only with me."

At that we parted company—we hunters for the Laguna Plata, the soldiers for the Double Lakes. We went northeast, and they east by south ten degrees.

Jim Harvey, Frank Perry, and Williams had lost their horses, as they had wandered off during the previous night, and were nowhere to be seen. Besides this, Dick Wilkerson had wandered away and he could not be seen. Carr had revived and seemed hopeful. We all started, and after going about two miles, Benson said, "Boys, I would like to go and stay with the soldiers." And he turned southeast and started to rejoin them. We resumed our journey, and after going a short distance we halted again. Thanks to the elements, the sun was obscured, and we thought we would not have to contend with the oppressive heat of the two preceding days. At this halt the boys who were afoot requested us to go ahead, and if we found water to return. Pint and quart cups were the only vessels we had to bring the water back in. We bade them good-by, promising to return as soon as possible. We saw Benson reach the Government troops, and on we went, some four miles, without a stop, when the sun burst out with its intense heat, and we were in a deplorable condition. Our pack train with two exceptions, had wandered off in the night.

At this halt Rees said, "Boys, we have our medicine kit on the black mule, and if you will let me have my way about it I will help you all go ahead."

"We will do anything to get rid of this horrible feeling," said Squirrel-eye. At this stage of our suffering our eyes had sunken back in their sockets; the saliva had dried in our mouths and throats; we were physically weak, and rapidly growing weaker.

Rees opened the pack on the black mule and took from it a quart bottle of high-proof brandy. He opened the bottle (we had two of them), cut a piece out of his shirt-sleeve, saturated the rag with brandy, moistened each man's lips, and had him inhale it through his nostrils. It acted like magic for a short time. It inspirited us, and, while we were in this condition, we got over as much ground as possible until the exhausted feeling returned again. Then Rees repeated the operation.

At the halt where the brandy was first used the second bottle was left. Two gun-wiping sticks were stuck in the ground on our trail that our four footmen said they would follow. A blanket was fastened to the wiping-rods, and Rees wrote out directions how to use the bottle of brandy, adding, "For God's sake, boys, don't drink it." He left another piece of his shirt-sleeve, tying it and the directions around the neck of the bottle. About 12 o'clock we had used up all the contents of our bottle, and the heat was more intense than it had been at any time during that summer. Rees told Waite and me to ride on ahead and signal back when we saw any favorable signs that we were nearing water.

We told the boys that we would shoot four times in quick succession if we had good news for them; Al. saying, "That will be encouraging; then we will go on, get a drink, water our horses and return to you with the truth that we have found water and that we know where it is."

This being understood and assented to, we went on. Our horses, which had been touchy and very spirited animals, would barely raise a trot by our using the quirt pretty sharply. We kept moving steadily. While our party would make short moves and halt, some would dismount and try to get a little shade from their horses.

About three o'clock in the afternoon, when we were about two miles in advance, I said, "There, Al, are the breaks of the Casa Amarilla, straight ahead of us."

"Yes," he said, "I believe you are right."

Looking back toward our party we saw they had halted and some were yet back of them. Going on a little farther, to satisfy ourselves that we were nearing the Casa Amarilla, we halted again, and looking again we saw three men leave the advance, going nearly east. I unfastened my gun from the scabbard and fired the four shots. We noticed the three men turn toward us, and the others start on. We now rode on a half-mile or more, when Waite said: "John, I have my doubts about that being the Casa country."