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Category: The Old Santa Fe Trail: The Story Of A Great Highway

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By Colonel Henry Inman

Late Assistant Quartermaster, United States Army
With a Preface by W. F. "BUFFALO BILL" CODY

Original publication date unknown


 

As we look into the open fire for our fancies, so we are apt to study the dim past for the wonderful and sublime, forgetful of the fact that the present is a constant romance, and that the happenings of to-day which we count of little importance are sure to startle somebody in the future, and engage the pen of the historian, philosopher, and poet.

Accustomed as we are to think of the vast steppes of Russia and Siberia as alike strange and boundless, and to deal with the unknown interior of Africa as an impenetrable mystery, we lose sight of a locality in our own country that once surpassed all these in virgin grandeur, in majestic solitude, and in all the attributes of a tremendous wilderness.

The story of the Old Santa Fe Trail, so truthfully recalled by Colonel Henry Inman, ex-officer of the old Regular Army, in these pages, is a most thrilling one. The vast area through which the famous highway ran is still imperfectly known to most people as "The West"; a designation once appropriate, but hardly applicable now; for in these days of easy communication the real trail region is not so far removed from New York as Buffalo was seventy years ago.

At the commencement of the "commerce of the prairies," in the early portion of the century, the Old Trail was the arena of almost constant sanguinary struggles between the wily nomads of the desert and the hardy white pioneers, whose eventful lives made the civilization of the vast interior region of our continent possible. Their daring compelled its development, which has resulted in the genesis of great states and large cities. Their hardships gave birth to the American homestead; their determined will was the factor of possible achievements, the most remarkable and important of modern times.

When the famous highway was established across the great plains as a line of communication to the shores of the blue Pacific, the only method of travel was by the slow freight caravan drawn by patient oxen, or the lumbering stage coach with its complement of four or six mules. There was ever to be feared an attack by those devils of the desert, the Cheyennes, Comanches, and Kiowas. Along its whole route the remains of men, animals, and the wrecks of camps and wagons, told a story of suffering, robbery, and outrage more impressive than any language. Now the tourist or business man makes the journey in palace cars, and there is nothing to remind him of the danger or desolation of Border days; on every hand are the evidences of a powerful and advanced civilization.

It is fortunate that one is left to tell some of its story who was a living actor and had personal knowledge of many of the thrilling scenes that were enacted along the line of the great route. He was familiar with all the famous men, both white and savage, whose lives have made the story of the Trail, his own sojourn on the plains and in the Rocky Mountains extending over a period of nearly forty years. The Old Trail has more than common interest for me, and I gladly record here my endorsement of the faithful record, compiled by a brave soldier, old comrade, and friend. W. F. Cody, "Buffalo Bill." 


 

For more than three centuries, a period extending from 1541 to 1851,
 historians believed, and so announced to the literary world,
 that Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, the celebrated Spanish explorer,
 in his search for the Seven Cities of Cibola and the Kingdom of Quivira,
 was the first European to travel over the intra-continent region
 of North America.  In the last year above referred to, however,
 Buckingham Smith, of Florida, an eminent Spanish scholar, and secretary
 of the American Legation at Madrid, discovered among the archives
 of State the _Narrative of Alvar Nunez Cabeca de Vaca_, where for
 nearly three hundred years it had lain, musty and begrimed with the
 dust of ages, an unread and forgotten story of suffering that has no
 parallel in fiction.  The distinguished antiquarian unearthed the
 valuable manuscript from its grave of oblivion, translated it into
 English, and gave it to the world of letters; conferring honour upon
 whom honour was due, and tearing the laurels from such grand voyageurs
 and discoverers as De Soto, La Salle, and Coronado, upon whose heads
 history had erroneously placed them, through no fault, or arrogance,
 however, of their own.
 
 Cabeca, beyond any question, travelled the Old Santa Fe Trail for
 many miles, crossed it where it intersects the Arkansas River,
 a little east of Fort William or Bent's Fort, and went thence on
 into New Mexico, following the famous highway as far, at least,
 as Las Vegas.  Cabeca's march antedated that of Coronado by five years.
 To this intrepid Spanish voyageur we are indebted for the first
 description of the American bison, or buffalo as the animal is
 erroneously called.  While not so quaint in its language as that
 of Coronado's historian, a lustrum later, the statement cannot be
 perverted into any other reference than to the great shaggy monsters
 of the plains:--
 
           Cattle come as far as this.  I have seen them three times
           and eaten of their meat.  I think they are about the size
           of those of Spain.  They have small horns like the cows
           of Morocco, and the hair very long and flocky, like that
           of the merino; some are light brown, others black.  To my
           judgment the flesh is finer and fatter than that of this
           country.  The Indians make blankets of the hides of those
           not full grown.  They range over a district of more than
           four hundred leagues, and in the whole extent of plain over
           which they run the people that inhabit near there descend
           and live on them and scatter a vast many skins throughout
           the country.
 
 It will be remembered by the student of the early history of
 our country, that when Alvar Nunez Cabeca de Vaca, a follower of the
 unfortunate Panphilo de Narvaez, and who had been long thought dead,
 landed in Spain, he gave such glowing accounts of Florida[1] and the
 neighbouring regions that the whole kingdom was in a ferment,
 and many a heart panted to emigrate to a land where the fruits
 were perennial, and where it was thought flowed the fabled
 fountain of youth.
 
 Three expeditions to that country had already been tried:
 one undertaken in 1512, by Juan Ponce de Leon, formerly a companion
 of Columbus; another in 1520, by Vasquez de Allyon; and another by
 Panphilo de Narvaez.  All of these had signally failed, the bones
 of most of the leaders and their followers having been left to bleach
 upon the soil they had come to conquer.
 
 The unfortunate issue of the former expeditions did not operate as
 a check upon the aspiring mind of De Soto, but made him the more
 anxious to spring as an actor into the arena which had been the scene
 of the discomfiture and death of the hardy chivalry of the kingdom.
 He sought an audience of the emperor, and the latter, after hearing
 De Soto's proposition that, "he could conquer the country known as
 Florida at his own expense," conferred upon him the title of
 "Governor of Cuba and Florida."
 
 On the 6th of April, 1538, De Soto sailed from Spain with an armament
 of ten vessels and a splendidly equipped army of nine hundred chosen men,
 amidst the roar of cannons and the inspiring strains of martial music.
 
 It is not within the province of this work to follow De Soto through
 all his terrible trials on the North American continent; the wonderful
 story may be found in every well-organized library.  It is recorded,
 however, that some time during the year 1542, his decimated army,
 then under the command of Luis de Moscoso, De Soto having died
 the previous May, was camped on the Arkansas River, far upward towards
 what is now Kansas.  It was this command, too, of the unfortunate
 but cruel De Soto, that saw the Rocky Mountains from the east.
 The chronicler of the disastrous journey towards the mountains says:
 "The entire route became a trail of fire and blood," as they
 had many a desperate struggle with the savages of the plains,
 who "were of gigantic stucture, and fought with heavy strong clubs,
 with the desperation of demons.  Such was their tremendous strength,
 that one of these warriors was a match for a Spanish soldier,
 though mounted on a horse, armed with a sword and cased in armour!"
 
 Moscoso was searching for Coronado, and he was one of the most humane
 of all the officers of De Soto's command, for he evidently bent
 every energy to extricate his men from the dreadful environments
 of their situation; despairing of reaching the Gulf by the Mississippi,
 he struck westward, hoping, as Cabeca de Vaca had done, to arrive
 in Mexico overland.
 
 A period of six months was consumed in Moscoso's march towards the
 Rocky Mountains, but he failed to find Coronado, who at that time
 was camped near where Wichita, Kansas, is located; according to his
 historian, "at the junction of the St. Peter and St. Paul" (the Big
 and Little Arkansas?).  That point was the place of separation
 between Coronado and a number of his followers; many returning
 to Mexico, while the undaunted commander, with as many as he could
 induce to accompany him, continued easterly, still in search of
 the mythical Quivira.
 
 How far westward Moscoso travelled cannot be determined accurately,
 but that his route extended up the valley of the Arkansas for more than
 three hundred miles, into what is now Kansas, is proved by the statement
 of his historian, who says: "They saw great chains of mountains and
 forests to the west, which they understood were uninhabited."
 
 Another strong confirmatory fact is, that, in 1884, a group of mounds
 was discovered in McPherson County, Kansas, which were thoroughly
 explored by the professors of Bethany College, Lindsborg, who found,
 among other interesting relics, a piece of chain-mail armour,
 of hard steel; undoubtedly part of the equipment of a Spanish soldier
 either of the command of Cabeca de Vaca, De Soto, or of Coronado.
 The probability is, that it was worn by one of De Soto's unfortunate men,
 as neither Panphilo de Narvaez, De Vaca, or Coronado experienced any
 difficulty with the savages of the great plains, because those leaders
 were humane and treated the Indians kindly, in contradistinction to
 De Soto, who was the most inhuman of all the early Spanish explorers.
 He was of the same school as Pizarro and Cortez; possessing their
 daring valour, their contempt of danger, and their tenacity of purpose,
 as well as their cruelty and avarice.  De Soto made treaties with
 the Indians which he constantly violated, and murdered the misguided
 creatures without mercy.  During the retreat of Moscoso's weakened
 command down the Arkansas River, the Hot Springs of Arkansas
 were discovered.  His historian writes:
 
           And when they saw the foaming fountain, they thought
           it was the long-searched-for "Fountain of Youth," reported
           by fame to exist somewhere in the country, but ten of the
           soldiers dying from excessive drinking, they were soon
           convinced of their error.
 
 After these intrepid explorers the restless Coronado appears on
 the Old Trail.  In the third volume of Hakluyt's _Voyages_, published
 in London, 1600, Coronado's historian thus describes the great plains
 of Kansas and Colorado, the bison, and a tornado:--
 
           From Cicuye they went to Quivira, which after their account
           is almost three hundred leagues distant, through mighty
           plains, and sandy heaths so smooth and wearisome, and bare
           of wood that they made heaps of ox-dung, for want of stones
           and trees, that they might not lose themselves at their
           return: for three horses were lost on that plain, and one
           Spaniard which went from his company on hunting. . . .
           All that way of plains are as full of crooked-back oxen as
           the mountain Serrena in Spain is of sheep, but there is
           no such people as keep those cattle. . . .  They were a
           great succour for the hunger and the want of bread, which
           our party stood in need of. . . .
 
           One day it rained in that plain a great shower of hail,
           as big as oranges, which caused many tears, weakness
           and bowes.
 
           These oxen are of the bigness and colour of our bulls,
           but their bones are not so great.  They have a great bunch
           upon their fore-shoulder, and more hair on their fore part
           than on their hinder part, and it is like wool.  They have
           as it were an horse-mane upon their backbone, and much hair
           and very long from their knees downward.  They have great
           tufts of hair hanging down on their foreheads, and it
           seemeth they have beards because of the great store of hair
           hanging down at their chins and throats.  The males have
           very long tails, and a great knob or flock at the end,
           so that in some respects they resemble the lion, and in some
           other the camel.  They push with their horns, they run,
           they overtake and kill an horse when they are in their
           rage and anger.  Finally it is a foul and fierce beast of
           countenance and form of body.  The horses fled from them,
           either because of their deformed shape, or else because
           they had never before seen them.
 
 "The number," continues the historian, "was incredible."  When the
 soldiers, in their excitement for the chase, began to kill them,
 they rushed together in such masses that hundreds were literally
 crushed to death.  At one place there was a great ravine; they jumped
 into it in their efforts to escape from the hunters, and so terrible
 was the slaughter as they tumbled over the precipice that the
 depression was completely filled up, their carcasses forming a bridge,
 over which the remainder passed with ease.
 
 The next recorded expedition across the plains via the Old Trail
 was also by the Spaniards from Santa Fe, eastwardly, in the year 1716,
 "for the purpose of establishing a Military Post in the Upper
 Mississippi Valley as a barrier to the further encroachments of
 the French in that direction."  An account of this expedition is found
 in _Memoires Historiques sur La Louisiane_, published in Paris in 1858,
 but never translated in its entirety.  The author, Lieutenant Dumont
 of the French army, was one of a party ascending the Arkansas River
 in search of a supposed mass of emeralds.  The narrative relates:
           There was more than half a league to traverse to gain the
           other bank of the river, and our people were no sooner
           arrived than they found there a party of Missouris, sent to
           M. de la Harpe by M. de Bienville, then commandant general
           at Louisiana, to deliver orders to the former.  Consequently
           they gave the signal order, and our other two canoes having
           crossed the river, the savages gave to our commandant the
           letters of M. de Bienville, in which he informed him that
           the Spaniards had sent out a detachment from New Mexico
           to go to the Missouris and to establish a post in that
           country. . . .  The success of this expedition was very
           calamitous to the Spaniards.  Their caravan was composed of
           fifteen hundred people, men, women and soldiers, having
           with them a Jacobin for a chaplain, and bringing also a
           great number of horses and cattle, according to the custom
           of that nation to forget nothing that might be necessary for
           a settlement.  Their design was to destroy the Missouris,
           and to seize upon their country, and with this intention
           they had resolved to go first to the Osages, a neighbouring
           nation, enemies of the Missouris, to form an alliance with
           them, and to engage them in their behalf for the execution
           of their plan.  Perhaps the map which guided them was not
           correct, or they had not exactly followed it, for it chanced
           that instead of going to the Osages whom they sought, they
           fell, without knowing it, into a village of the Missouris,
           where the Spanish commander, presenting himself to the great
           chief and offering him the calumet, made him understand
           through an interpreter, believing himself to be speaking
           to the Osage chief, that they were enemies of the Missouris,
           that they had come to destroy them, to make their women
           and children slaves and to take possession of their country.
           He begged the chief to be willing to form an alliance
           with them, against a nation whom the Osages regarded as
           their enemy, and to second them in this enterprise, promising
           to recompense them liberally for the service rendered,
           and always to be their friend in the future.  Upon this
           discourse the Missouri chief understood perfectly well
           the mistake.  He dissimulated and thanked the Spaniard for
           the confidence he had in his nation; he consented to form
           an alliance with them against the Missouris, and to join
           them with all his forces to destroy them; but he represented
           that his people were not armed, and that they dared not
           expose themselves without arms in such an enterprise.
           Deceived by so favourable a reception, the Spaniards fell
           into the trap laid for them.  They received with due
           ceremony, in the little camp they had formed on their
           arrival, the calumet which the great chief of the Missouris
           presented to the Spanish commander.  The alliance for war
           was sworn to by both parties; they agreed upon a day for
           the execution of the plan which they meditated, and the
           Spaniards furnished the savages with all the munitions which
           they thought were needed.  After the ceremony both parties
           gave themselves up equally to joy and good cheer.  At the
           end of three days two thousand savages were armed and in
           the midst of dances and amusements; each party thought
           nothing but the execution of its design.  It was the evening
           before their departure upon their concerted expedition,
           and the Spaniards had retired to their camps as usual,
           when the great chief of the Missouris, having assembled
           his warriors, declared to them his intentions and exhorted
           them to deal treacherously with these strangers who were come
           to their home only with the design of destroying them.
           At daybreak the savages divided into several bands, fell on
           the Spaniards, who expected nothing of the kind, and in
           less than a quarter of an hour all the caravan were murdered.
           No one escaped from the massacre except the chaplain, whom
           the barbarians saved because of his dress; at the same time
           they took possession of all the merchandise and other
           effects which they found in their camp.  The Spaniards had
           brought with them, as I have said, a certain number of horses,
           and as the savages were ignorant of the use of these animals,
           they took pleasure in making the Jacobin whom they had saved,
           and who had become their slave, mount them.  The priest gave
           them this amusement almost every day for the five or six
           months that he remained with them in their village, without
           any of them daring to imitate him.  Tired at last of his
           slavery, and regarding the lack of daring in these barbarians
           as a means of Providence to regain his liberty, he made
           secretly all the provisions possible for him to make,
           and which he believed necessary to his plan.  At last,
           having chosen the best horse and having mounted him,
           after performing several of his exploits before the savages,
           and while they were all occupied with his manoeuvres,
           he spurred up and disappeared from their sight, taking the
           road to Mexico, where doubtless he arrived.
 
 Charlevoix,[2] who travelled from Quebec to New Orleans in the
 year 1721, says in one of his letters to the Duchess of Lesdiguieres,
 dated at Kaskaskia, July 21, 1721:
 
           About two years ago some Spaniards, coming, as they say,
           from New Mexico, and intending to get into the country of
           the Illinois and drive the French from thence, whom they
           saw with extreme jealousy approach so near the Missouri,
           came down the river and attacked two villages of the
           Octoyas,[3] who are the allies of the Ayouez,[4] and from
           whom it is said also that they are derived.  As the savages
           had no firearms and were surprised, the Spaniards made an
           easy conquest and killed a great many of them.  A third
           village, which was not far off from the other two, being
           informed of what had passed, and not doubting but these
           conquerors would attack them, laid an ambush into which
           the Spaniards heedlessly fell.  Others say that the savages,
           having heard that the enemy were almost all drunk and
           fast asleep, fell upon them in the night.  However it was,
           it is certain the greater part of them were killed.
           There were in the party two almoners; one of them was
           killed directly and the other got away to the Missouris,
           who took him prisoner, but he escaped them very dexterously.
           He had a very fine horse and the Missouris took pleasure
           in seeing him ride it, which he did very skilfully.  He took
           advantage of their curiosity to get out of their hands.
 
           One day as he was prancing and exercising his horse before
           them, he got a little distance from them insensibly; then
           suddenly clapping spurs to his horse he was soon out of sight.
 
 The Missouri Indians once occupied all the territory near the junction
 of the Kaw and Missouri rivers, but they were constantly decimated
 by the continual depredations of their warlike and feudal enemies,
 the Pawnees and Sioux, and at last fell a prey to that dreadful
 scourge, the small-pox, which swept them off by thousands.
 The remnant of the once powerful tribe then found shelter and a home
 with the Otoes, finally becoming merged in that tribe. 


 

The Santa Fe of the purely Mexican occupation, long before the days
 of New Mexico's acquisition by the United States, and the Santa Fe of
 to-day are so widely in contrast that it is difficult to find language
 in which to convey to the reader the story of the phenomenal change.
 To those who are acquainted with the charming place as it is now,
 with its refined and cultured society, I cannot do better, perhaps,
 in attempting to show what it was under the old regime, than to quote
 what some traveller in the early 30's wrote for a New York leading
 newspaper, in regard to it.  As far as my own observation of the
 place is concerned, when I first visited it a great many years ago,
 the writer of the communication whose views I now present was not
 incorrect in his judgment.  He said:--
 
           To dignify such a collection of mud hovels with the name
           of "City," would be a keen irony; not greater, however,
           than is the name with which its Padres have baptized it.
           To call a place with its moral character, a very Sodom
           in iniquity, "Holy Faith," is scarcely a venial sin;
           it deserves Purgatory at least.  Its health is the best
           in the country, which is the first, second and third
           recommendation of New Mexico by its greatest admirers.
           It is a small town of about two thousand inhabitants,
           crowded up against the mountains, at the end of a little
           valley through which runs a mountain stream of the same
           name tributary to the Rio Grande.  It has a public square
           in the centre, a Palace and an Alameda; as all Spanish
           Roman Catholic towns have.  It is true its Plaza, or
           Public Square, is unfenced and uncared for, without trees
           or grass.  The Palace is nothing more than the biggest
           mud-house in the town, and the churches, too, are unsightly
           piles of the same material, and the Alameda[5] is on top of
           a sand hill.  Yet they have in Santa Fe all the parts and
           parcels of a regal city and a Bishopric.  The Bishop has a
           palace also; the only two-storied shingle-roofed house in
           the place.  There is one public house set apart for eating,
           drinking and gambling; for be it known that gambling is here
           authorized by law.  Hence it is as respectable to keep a
           gambling house, as it is to sell rum in New Jersey; it is
           a lawful business, and being lawful, and consequently
           respectable and a man's right, why should not men gamble?
           And gamble they do.  The Generals and the Colonels and
           the Majors and the Captains gamble.  The judges and the
           lawyers and the doctors and the priests gamble; and there
           are gentlemen gamblers by profession!  You will see squads
           of poor peons daily, men, women and boys, sitting on the
           ground around a deck of cards in the Public Square, gambling
           for the smallest stakes.
 
           The stores of the town generally front on the Public Square.
           Of these there are a dozen, more or less, of respectable
           size, and most of them are kept by others than Mexicans.
           The business of the place is considerable, many of the
           merchants here being wholesale dealers for the vast
           territory tributary.  It is supposed that about $750,000
           worth of goods will be brought to this place this year, and
           there may be $250,000 worth imported directly from the
           United States.
 
           In the money market there is nothing less than a five-cent
           piece.  You cannot purchase anything for less than five cents.
           In trade they reckon ten cents the eighth of a dollar.
           If you purchase nominally a dollar's worth of an article,
           you can pay for it in eight ten-cent pieces; and if you
           give a dollar, you receive no change.  In changing a dollar
           for you, you would get but eight ten-cent pieces for it.
 
           Yet, although dirty and unkempt, and swarming with hungry
           dogs, it has the charm of foreign flavour, and like
           San Antonio retains some portion of the grace which long
           lingered about it, if indeed it ever forsakes the spot
           where Spain held rule for centuries, and the soft syllables
           of the Spanish language are yet heard.
 
 Such was a description of the "drowsy old town" of Santa Fe,
 sixty-five years ago.  Fifteen years later Major W. H. Emory, of
 the United States army, writes of it as follows:[6]
 
           The population of Santa Fe is from two to four thousand,
           and the inhabitants are, it is said, the poorest people
           of any town in the Province.  The houses are mud bricks,
           in the Spanish style, generally of one story, and built
           on a square.  The interior of the square is an open court,
           and the principal rooms open into it.  They are forbidding
           in appearance from the outside, but nothing can exceed
           the comfort and convenience of the interior.  The thick
           walls make them cool in summer and warm in winter.
 
           The better class of people are provided with excellent beds,
           but the poorer class sleep on untanned skins.  The women
           here, as in many other parts of the world, appear to be
           much before the men in refinements, intelligence, and
           knowledge of the useful arts.  The higher class dress like
           the American women, except, instead of a bonnet, they wear
           a scarf over their head, called a reboso.  This they wear
           asleep or awake, in the house or abroad.  The dress of the
           lower classes of women is a simple petticoat, with arms and
           shoulders bare, except what may chance to be covered by
           the reboso.
 
           The men who have means to do so dress after our fashion;
           but by far the greater number, when they dress at all,
           wear leather breeches, tight around the hips and open from
           the knee down; shirt and blanket take the place of our
           coat and vest.
 
           The city is dependent on the distant hills for wood, and
           at all hours of the day may be seen jackasses passing laden
           with wood, which is sold at two bits, twenty-five cents,
           the load.  These are the most diminutive animals, and
           usually mounted from behind, after the fashion of leap-frog.
           The jackass is the only animal that can be subsisted in
           this barren neighbourhood without great expense; our horses
           are all sent to a distance of twelve, fifteen, and thirty
           miles for grass.
 
 I have interpolated these two somewhat similar descriptions of
 Santa Fe written in that long ago when New Mexico was almost as
 little known as the topography of the planet Mars, so that the
 intelligent visitor of to-day may appreciate the wonderful changes
 which American thrift, and that powerful civilizer, the locomotive,
 have wrought in a very few years, yet it still, as one of the
 foregoing writers has well said, "has the charm of foreign flavour,
 and the soft syllables of the Spanish language are still heard."
 
 The most positive exception must be taken to the statement of the
 first-quoted writer in relation to the Palace, of which he says
 "It is nothing more than the biggest mud-house in the town."
 Now this "Palacio del Gobernador," as the old building was called
 by the Spanish, was erected at a very early day.  It was the
 long-established seat of power when Penalosa confined the chief
 inquisitor within its walls in 1663, and when the Pueblo authorities
 took possession of it as the citadel of their central authority,
 in 1681.
 
 The old building cannot well be overlooked by the most careless
 visitor to the quaint town; it is a long, low structure, taking up
 the greater part of one side of the Plaza, round which runs a
 colonnade supported by pillars of rough pine.  In this once leaky
 old Palace were kept, or rather neglected, the archives of the
 Territory until the American residents, appreciating the importance
 of preserving precious documents containing so much of interest
 to the student of history and the antiquarian, enlisted themselves
 enthusiastically in the good cause, and have rescued from oblivion
 the annals of a relatively remote civilization, which, but for their
 forethought, would have perished from the face of the earth as
 completely as have the written records of that wonderful region in
 Central America, whose gigantic ruins alone remain to tell us of
 what was a highly cultured order of architecture in past ages,
 and of a people whose intelligence was comparable to the style
 of the dwellings in which they lived.
 
 The old adobe Palace is in itself a volume whose pages are filled
 with pathos and stirring events.  It has been the scene and witness
 of incidents the recital of which would to us to-day seem incredible.
 An old friend, once governor of New Mexico and now dead, thus
 graphically spoke of the venerable building:[7]
 
           In it lived and ruled the Spanish captain general, so remote
           and inaccessible from the viceroyalty at Mexico that he was
           in effect a king, nominally accountable to the viceroy,
           but practically beyond his reach and control and wholly
           irresponsible to the people.  Equally independent for the
           same reason were the Mexican governors.  Here met all the
           provincial, territorial, departmental, and other legislative
           bodies that have ever assembled at the capital of New Mexico.
           Here have been planned all the Indian wars and measures
           for defence against foreign invasion, including, as the
           most noteworthy, the Navajo war of 1823, the Texan invasion
           of 1842, the American of 1846, and the Confederate of 1862.
           Within its walls was imprisoned, in 1809, the American
           explorer Zebulon M. Pike, and innumerable state prisoners
           before and since; and many a sentence of death has been
           pronounced therein and the accused forthwith led away and
           shot at the dictum of the man at the Palace.  It has been
           from time immemorial the government house with all its
           branches annexed.  It was such on the Fourth of July, 1776,
           when the American Congress at Independence Hall in
           Philadelphia proclaimed liberty throughout all the land,
           not then, but now embracing it.  Indeed, this old edifice
           has a history.  And as the history of Santa Fe is the
           history of New Mexico, so is the history of the Palace
           the history of Santa Fe.
 
 The Palace was the only building having glazed windows.  At one end
 was the government printing office, and at the other, the guard-house
 and prison.  Fearful stories were connected with the prison.
 Edwards[8] says that he found, on examining the walls of the
 small rooms, locks of human hair stuffed into holes, with rude
 crosses drawn over them.
 
 Fronting the Palace, on the south side of the Plaza, stood the
 remains of the Capilla de los Soldados, or Military Chapel.
 The real name of the church was "Our Lady of Light."  It was said
 to be the richest church in the Province, but had not been in use
 for a number of years, and the roof had fallen in, allowing the
 elements to complete the work of destruction.  On each side of the
 altar was the remains of fine carving, and a weather-beaten picture
 above gave evidence of having been a beautiful painting.  Over the
 door was a large oblong slab of freestone, elaborately carved,
 representing "Our Lady of Light" rescuing a human being from the
 jaws of Satan.  A large tablet, beautifully executed in relief,
 stood behind the altar, representing various saints, with an
 inscription stating that it was erected by Governor Francisco Antonio
 del Valle and his wife in 1761.
 
 Church services were held in the Parroquia, or Parish church,
 now the Cathedral, which had two towers or steeples, in which hung
 four bells.  The music was furnished by a violin and a triangle.
 The wall back of the altar was covered with innumerable mirrors,
 paintings, and bright-coloured tapestry.
 
 The exact date of the first settlement of Santa Fe is uncertain.
 One authority says:
 
           It was a primeval stronghold before the Spanish Conquest,
           and a town of some importance to the white race when
           Pennsylvania was a wilderness and the first Dutch governor
           of New York was slowly drilling the Knickerbocker ancestry
           in their difficult evolutions around the town-pump.
 
 It is claimed, on what is deemed very authentic data by some, that
 Santa Fe is really the oldest settled town in the United States.
 St. Augustine, Florida, was established in 1565 and was unquestionably
 conceded the honour of antiquity until the acquisition of New Mexico
 by the Guadalupe-Hidalgo treaty.  Then, of course, Santa Fe steps
 into the arena and carries off the laurels.  This claim of precedence
 for Santa Fe is based upon the statement (whether historically correct
 or not is a question) that when the Spaniards first entered the region
 from the southern portion of Mexico, about 1542, they found a very
 large Pueblo town on the present site of Santa Fe, and that its prior
 existence extended far back into the vanished centuries.  This is
 contradicted by other historians, who contend that the claim of
 Santa Fe to be the oldest town in the United States rests entirely
 on imaginary annals of an Indian Pueblo before the Spanish Conquest,
 and that there are but slight indications that the town was built
 on the site of one.[9]
 
 The reader may further satisfy himself on these mooted points by
 consulting the mass of historical literature on New Mexico,
 and the records of its primitive times are not surpassed in interest
 by those of any other part of the continent.  It was there the
 Europeans first made great conquests, and some years prior to the
 landing of the Pilgrims, a history of New Mexico, being the journal
 of Geronimo de Zarate Salmaron, was published by the Church in the
 City of Mexico, early in 1600.  Salmaron was a Franciscan monk;
 a most zealous and indefatigable worker.  During his eight years'
 residence at Jemez, near Santa Fe, he claims to have baptized over
 eight thousand Indians, converts to the Catholic faith.  His journal
 gives a description of the country, its mines, etc., and was made
 public in order that other monks reading it might emulate his
 pious example.
 
 Between 1605 and 1616 was founded the Villa of Santa Fe, or
 San Francisco de la Santa Fe.  "Villa," or village, was an honorary
 title, always authorized and proclaimed by the king.  Bancroft says
 that it was first officially mentioned on the 3d of January, 1617.
 
 The first immigration to New Mexico was under Don Juan de Onate
 about 1597, and in a year afterward, according to some authorities,
 Santa Fe was settled.  The place, as claimed by some historians,
 was then named El Teguayo, a Spanish adaptation of the word "Tegua,"
 the name of the Pueblo nation, which was quite numerous, and occupied
 Santa Fe and the contiguous country.  It very soon, from its central
 position and charming climate, became the leading Spanish town,
 and the capital of the Province.  The Spaniards, who came at first
 into the country as friends, and were apparently eager to obtain
 the good-will of the intelligent natives, shortly began to claim
 superiority, and to insist on the performance of services which were
 originally mere evidences of hospitality and kindness.  Little by
 little they assumed greater power and control over the Indians,
 until in the course of years they had subjected a large portion of
 them to servitude little differing from actual slavery.
 
 The impolitic zeal of the monks gradually invoked the spirit of
 hatred and resulted in a rebellion that drove the Spaniards, in 1680,
 from the country.  The large number of priests who were left in the
 midst of the natives met with horrible fates:
 
           Not one escaped martyrdom.  At Zuni, three Franciscans
           had been stationed, and when the news of the Spanish retreat
           reached the town, the people dragged them from their cells,
           stripped and stoned them, and afterwards compelled the
           servant of one to finish the work by shooting them.  Having
           thus whetted their appetite for cruelty and vengeance,
           the Indians started to carry the news of their independence
           to Moqui, and signalized their arrival by the barbarous
           murder of the two missionaries who were living there.
           Their bodies were left unburied, as a prey for the wild
           beasts.  At Jemez they indulged in every refinement of
           cruelty.  The old priest, Jesus Morador, was seized in
           his bed at night, stripped naked and mounted on a hog,
           and thus paraded through the streets, while the crowd
           shouted and yelled around.  Not satisfied with this,
           they then forced him to carry them as a beast would,
           crawling on his hands and feet, until, from repeated beating
           and the cruel tortures of sharp spurs, he fell dead in
           their midst.  A similar chapter of horrors was enacted
           at Acoma, where three priests were stripped, tied together
           with hair rope, and so driven through the streets, and
           finally stoned to death.  Not a Christian remained free
           within the limits of New Mexico, and those who had been
           dominant a few months before were now wretched and
           half-starved fugitives, huddled together in the rude huts
           of San Lorenzo.
 
           As soon as the Spaniards had retreated from the country,
           the Pueblo Indians gave themselves up for a time to
           rejoicing, and to the destruction of everything which could
           remind them of the Europeans, their religion, and their
           domination.  The army which had besieged Santa Fe quickly
           entered that city, took possession of the Palace as the
           seat of government, and commenced the work of demolition.
           The churches and the monastery of the Franciscans were
           burned with all their contents, amid the almost frantic
           acclamations of the natives.  The gorgeous vestments of
           the priests had been dragged out before the conflagration,
           and now were worn in derision by Indians, who rode through
           the streets at full speed, shouting for joy.  The official
           documents and books in the Palace were brought forth,
           and made fuel for a bonfire in the centre of the Plaza;
           and here also they danced the cachina, with all the
           accompanying religious ceremonies of the olden time.
           Everything imaginable was done to show their detestation
           of the Christian faith and their determination to utterly
           eradicate even its memory.  Those who had been baptized
           were washed with amole in the Rio Chiquito, in order to be
           cleansed from the infection of Christianity.  All baptismal
           names were discarded, marriages celebrated by Christian
           priests were annulled, the very mention of the names Jesus
           and Mary was made an offence, and estuffas were constructed
           to take the place of ruined churches.[10]
 
 For twelve years, although many abortive attempts were made to
 recapture the country, the Pueblos were left in possession.  On the
 16th of October, 1693, the victorious Spaniards at last entered
 Santa Fe, bearing the same banner which had been carried by Onate when
 he entered the city just a century before.  The conqueror this time
 was Don Diego de Vargas Zapata Lujan, whom the viceroy of New Spain
 had appointed governor in the spring of 1692, with the avowed purpose
 of having New Mexico reconquered as speedily as possible.
 
 Thus it will be seen that the quaint old city has been the scene of
 many important historical events, the mere outline of which I have
 recorded here, as this book is not devoted to the historical view
 of the subject.
 
 In contradistinction to the quiet, sleepy old Santa Fe of half
 a century ago, it now presents all the vigour, intelligence, and
 bustling progressiveness of the average American city of to-day,
 yet still smacks of that ancient Spanish regime, which gives it
 a charm that only its blended European and Indian civilization
 could make possible after its amalgamation with the United States.
 
 The tourist will no longer find a drowsy old town, and the Plaza
 is no longer unfenced and uncared for.  A beautiful park of trees
 is surrounded by low palings, and inside the shady enclosure,
 under a group of large cottonwoods, is a cenotaph erected to the
 memory of the Territory's gallant soldiers who fell in the shock of
 battle to save New Mexico to the Union in 1862, and conspicuous among
 the names carved on the enduring native rock is that of Kit Carson--
 prince of frontiersmen, and one of Nature's noblemen.
 
 Around the Plaza one sees the American style of architecture and
 hears the hum of American civilization; but beyond, and outside
 this pretty park, the streets are narrow, crooked, and have an
 ancient appearance.  There the old Santa Fe confronts the stranger;
 odd, foreign-looking, and flavoured with all the peculiarities which
 marked the era of Mexican rule.  And now, where once was heard the
 excited shouts of the idle crowd, of "Los Americanos!" "Los Carros!"
 "La entrada de la Caravana!" as the great freight wagons rolled into
 the streets of the old town from the Missouri, over the Santa Fe Trail,
 the shrill whistle of the locomotive from its trail of steel awakens
 the echoes of the mighty hills.
 
 As may be imagined, great excitement always prevailed whenever a
 caravan of goods arrived in Santa Fe.  Particularly was this the case
 among the feminine portion of the community.  The quaint old town
 turned out its mixed population en masse the moment the shouts went up
 that the train was in sight.  There is nothing there to-day comparable
 to the anxious looks of the masses as they watched the heavily
 freighted wagons rolling into the town, the teamsters dust-begrimed,
 and the mules making the place hideous with their discordant braying
 as they knew that their long journey was ended and rest awaited them.
 The importing merchants were obliged to turn over to the custom house
 officials five hundred dollars for every wagon-load, great or small;
 and no matter what the intrinsic value of the goods might be,
 salt or silk, velvets or sugar, it was all the same.  The nefarious
 duty had to be paid before a penny's worth could be transferred
 to their counters.  Of course, with the end of Mexican rule and
 the acquisition of the Province by the United States, all opposition
 to the traffic of the Old Santa Fe Trail ended, traders were assured
 a profitable market and the people purchased at relatively low prices.
 
 What a wonderful change has taken place in the traffic with New Mexico
 in less than three-quarters of a century!  In 1825 it was all carried
 on with one single annual caravan of prairie-schooners, and now there
 are four railroads running through the Rio Grande Valley, and one
 daily freight train of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe into the
 town unloads more freight than was taken there in a whole year when
 the "commerce of the prairies" was at its height!
 
 Upon the arrival of a caravan in the days of the sleepy regime under
 Mexican control, the people did everything in their power to make
 the time pass pleasantly for every one connected with it during
 their sojourn.  Bailes, or fandangoes, as the dancing parties were
 called by the natives, were given nightly, and many amusing anecdotes
 in regard to them are related by the old-timers.
 
 The New Mexicans, both men and women, had a great fondness for
 jewelry, dress, and amusements; of the latter, the fandango was the
 principal, which was held in the most fashionable place of resort,
 where every belle and beauty in the town presented herself,
 attired in the most costly manner, and displaying her jewelled
 ornaments to the best advantage.  To this place of recreation
 and pleasure, generally a large, capacious saloon or interior court,
 all classes of persons were allowed to come, without charge and
 without invitation.  The festivities usually commenced about nine
 o'clock in the evening, and the tolling of the church bells was
 the signal for the ladies to make their entrance, which they did
 almost simultaneously.
 
 New Mexican ladies were famous for their gaudy dresses, but it must
 be confessed they did not exercise good taste.  Their robes were
 made without bodies; a skirt only, and a long, loose, flowing scarf
 or reboso dexterously thrown about the head and shoulders, so as to
 supersede both the use of dress-bodies and bonnets.
 
 There was very little order maintained at these fandangoes, and still
 less attention paid to the rules of etiquette.  A kind of swinging,
 gallopade waltz was the favourite dance, the cotillion not being
 much in vogue.  Read Byron's graphic description of the waltz,
 and then stretch your imagination to its utmost tension, and you
 will perhaps have some faint conception of the Mexican fandango.
 Such familiarity of position as was indulged in would be repugnant
 to the refined rules of polite society in the eastern cities;
 but with the New Mexicans, in those early times, nothing was
 considered to be a greater accomplishment than that of being able
 to go handsomely through all the mazes of their peculiar dance.
 
 There was one republican feature about the New Mexican fandango;
 it was that all classes, rich and poor alike, met and intermingled,
 as did the Romans at their Saturnalia, upon terms of equality.
 Sumptuous repasts or collations were rarely ever prepared for those
 frolicsome gatherings, but there was always an abundance of
 confectionery, sweetmeats, and native wine.  It cost very little
 for a man to attend one of the fandangoes in Santa Fe, but not to get
 away decently and sober.  In that it resembled the descent of Aeneas
 to Pluto's realms; it was easy enough to get there, but when it came
 to return, "revocare gradum, superasque evadere ad auras, hic labor,
 hoc opus est." 


In the beginning of the trade with New Mexico, the route across

 the great plains was directly west from the Missouri River to the
 mountains, thence south to Santa Fe by the circuitous trail from Taos.
 When the traffic assumed an importance demanding a more easy line
 of way, the road was changed, running along the left bank of the
 Arkansas until that stream turned northwest, at which point it
 crossed the river, and continued southwest to the Raton Pass.
 
 The Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad track substantially
 follows the Trail through the mountains, which here afford the
 wildest and most picturesquely beautiful scenery on the continent.
 
 The Arkansas River at the fording of the Old Trail is not more than
 knee-deep at an ordinary stage of water, and its bottom is well paved
 with rounded pebbles of the primitive rock.
 
 The overland trade between the United States and the northern
 provinces of Mexico seems to have had no very definite origin;
 having been rather the result of an accident than of any organized
 plan of commercial establishment.
 
 According to the best authorities, a French creole, named La Lande,
 an agent of a merchant of Kaskaskia, Illinois, was the first American
 adventurer to enter into the uncertain channels of trade with the
 people of the ultramontane region of the centre of the continent.
 He began his adventurous journey across the vast wilderness,
 with no companions but the savages of the debatable land, in 1804;
 and following him the next year, James Pursley undertook the same
 pilgrimage.  Neither of these pioneers in the "commerce of the
 prairies" returned to relate what incidents marked the passage of
 their marvellous expeditions.  Pursley was so infatuated with the
 strange country he had travelled so far to reach, that he took up
 his abode in the quaint old town of Santa Fe where his subsequent
 life is lost sight of.  La Lande, of a different mould, forgot to
 render an account of his mission to the merchant who had sent him
 there, and became a prosperous and wealthy man by means of money
 to which he had no right.
 
 To Captain Zebulon Pike, who afterwards was made a general, is due
 the impetus which the trade with Santa Fe received shortly after
 his return to the United States.  The student of American history
 will remember that the expedition commanded by this soldier was
 inaugurated in 1806; his report of the route he had taken was the
 incentive for commercial speculation in the direction of trade with
 New Mexico, but it was so handicapped by restrictions imposed by the
 Mexican government, that the adventurers into the precarious traffic
 were not only subject to a complete confiscation of their wares,
 but frequently imprisoned for months as spies.  Under such a condition
 of affairs, many of the earlier expeditions, prior to 1822, resulted
 in disaster, and only a limited number met with an indifferent success.
 
 It will not be inconsistent with my text if I herewith interpolate
 an incident connected with Pursley, the second American to cross
 the desert, for the purpose of trade with New Mexico, which I find in
 the _Magazine of American History_:
 
           When Zebulon M. Pike was in Mexico, in 1807, he met,
           at Santa Fe, a carpenter, Pursley by name, from Bardstown,
           Kentucky, who was working at his trade.  He had in a
           previous year, while out hunting on the Plains, met with
           a series of misfortunes, and found himself near the
           mountains.  The hostile Sioux drove the party into the
           high ground in the rear of Pike's Peak.  Near the headwaters
           of the Platte River, Pursley found some gold, which he
           carried in his shot-pouch for months.  He was finally sent
           by his companions to Santa Fe, to see if they could trade
           with the Mexicans, but he chose to remain in Santa Fe
           in preference to returning to his comrades.  He told the
           Mexicans about the gold he had found, and they tried hard
           to persuade him to show them the place.  They even offered
           to take along a strong force of cavalry.  But Pursley
           refused, and his patriotic reason was that he thought the
           land belonged to the United States.  He told Captain Pike
           that he feared they would not allow him to leave Santa Fe,
           as they still hoped to learn from him where the gold was
           to be found.  These facts were published by Captain Pike
           soon after his return east; but no one took the hint,
           or the risk was too great, and thus more than a half
           a century passed before those same rich fields of gold
           were found and opened to the world.  If Pursley had been
           somewhat less patriotic, and had guided the Mexicans to
           the treasures, the whole history and condition of the
           western part of our continent might have been entirely
           different from what it now is.  That region would still
           have been a part of Mexico, or Spain might have been
           in possession of it, owning California; and, with the gold
           that would have been poured into her coffers, would have
           been the leading nation of European affairs to-day.
           We can easily see how American and European history in
           the nineteenth century might have been changed, if that
           adventurer from Kentucky had not been a true lover of his
           native country.
 
 The adventures of Captain Ezekiel Williams along the Old Trail,
 in the early days of the century, tell a story of wonderful courage,
 endurance, and persistency.  Williams was a man of great perseverance,
 patience, and determination of character.  He set out from St. Louis
 in the late spring of 1807, to trap on the Upper Missouri and the
 waters of the Yellowstone, with a party of twenty men who had chosen
 him as their leader.  After various exciting incidents and thrilling
 adventures, all of the original party, except Williams and two others,
 were killed by the Indians somewhere in the vicinity of the Upper
 Arkansas.  The three survivors, not knowing where they were, separated,
 and Captain Williams determined to take to the stream by canoe, and
 trap on his way toward the settlements, while his last two companions
 started for the Spanish country--that is, for the region of Santa Fe.
 The journal of Williams, from which I shall quote freely, is to be
 found in _The Lost Trappers_, a work long out of print.[11]  As the
 country was an unexplored region, he might be on a river that flowed
 into the Pacific, or he might be drifting down a stream that was
 an affluent to the Gulf of Mexico.  He was inclined to believe
 that he was on the sources of the Red River.  He therefore resolved
 to launch his canoe, and go wherever the stream might convey him,
 trapping on his descent, when beaver might be plenty.
 
 The first canoe he used he made of buffalo-skins.  As this kind
 of water conveyance soon begins to leak and rot, he made another
 of cottonwood, as soon as he came to timber sufficiently large,
 in which he embarked for a port, he knew not where.
 
 Most of his journeyings Captain Williams performed during the hours
 of night, excepting when he felt it perfectly safe to travel in
 daylight.  His usual plan was to glide along down the stream, until
 he came to a place where beaver signs were abundant.  There he would
 push his little bark among the willows, where he remained concealed,
 excepting when he was setting his traps or visiting them in the
 morning.  When he had taken all the beaver in one neighbourhood,
 he would untie his little conveyance, and glide onward and downward
 to try his luck in another place.
 
 Thus for hundreds of miles did this solitary trapper float down this
 unknown river, through an unknown country, here and there lashing
 his canoe to the willows and planting his traps in the little
 tributaries around.  The upper part of the Arkansas, for this
 proved to be the river he was on,[12] is very destitute of timber,
 and the prairie frequently begins at the bank of the river and
 expands on either side as far as the eye can reach.  He saw vast
 herds of buffalo, and as it was the rutting season, the bulls were
 making a wonderful ado; the prairie resounded with their low, deep
 grunting or bellowing, as they tore up the earth with their feet
 and horns, whisking their tails, and defying their rivals to battle.
 Large gangs of wild horses could be seen grazing on the plains and
 hillsides, and the neighing and squealing of stallions might be heard
 at all times of the night.
 
 Captain Williams never used his rifle to procure meat, except when
 it was absolutely necessary, or could be done with perfect safety.
 On occasions when he had no beaver, upon which he generally subsisted,
 he ventured to kill a deer, and after refreshing his empty stomach
 with a portion of the flesh, he placed the carcass in one end of the
 canoe.  It was his invariable custom to sleep in his canoe at night,
 moored to the shore, and once when he had laid in a supply of venison
 he was startled in his sleep by the tramping of something in the
 bushes on the bank.  Tramp! tramp! tramp! went the footsteps,
 as they approached the canoe.  He thought at first it might be an
 Indian that had found out his locality, but he knew that it could
 not be; a savage would not approach him in that careless manner.
 Although there was beautiful starlight, yet the trees and the dense
 undergrowth made it very dark on the bank of the river, close to which
 he lay.  He always adopted the precaution of tying his canoe with
 a piece of rawhide about twenty feet long, which allowed it to swing
 from the bank at that distance; he did this so that in case of an
 emergency he might cut the string, and glide off without making
 any noise.  As the sound of the footsteps grew more distinct,
 he presently observed a huge grizzly bear coming down to the water
 and swimming for the canoe.  The great animal held his head up as if
 scenting the venison.  The captain snatched his axe as the most
 available means to defend himself in such a scrape, and stood with
 it uplifted, ready to drive it into the brains of the monster.
 The bear reached the canoe, and immediately put his fore paws upon
 the hind end of it, nearly turning it over.  The captain struck one
 of the brute's feet with the edge of the axe, which made him let go
 with that foot, but he held on with the other, and he received
 this time a terrific blow on the head, that caused him to drop away
 from the canoe entirely.  Nothing more was seen of the bear,
 and the captain thought he must have sunk in the stream and drowned.
 He was evidently after the fresh meat, which he scented from a great
 distance.  In the canoe the next morning there were two of the bear's
 claws, which had been cut off by the well-directed blow of the axe.
 These were carefully preserved by Williams for many years as a trophy
 which he was fond of exhibiting, and the history of which he always
 delighted to tell.
 
 As he was descending the river with his peltries, which consisted of
 one hundred and twenty-five beaver-skins, besides some of the otter
 and other smaller animals, he overtook three Kansas Indians, who were
 also in a canoe going down the river, as he learned from them,
 to some post to trade with the whites.  They manifested a very
 friendly disposition towards the old trapper, and expressed a wish
 to accompany him.  He also learned from them, to his great delight,
 that he was on the Big Arkansas, and not more than five hundred miles
 from the white settlements.  He was well enough versed in the
 treachery of the Indian character to know just how much he could
 repose in their confidence.  He was aware that they would not allow
 a solitary trapper to pass through their country with a valuable
 collection of furs, without, at least, making an effort to rob him.
 He knew that their plan would be to get him into a friendly
 intercourse, and then, at the first opportunity, strip him of
 everything he possessed; consequently he was determined to get rid
 of them as soon as possible, and to effect this, he plied his oars
 with all diligence.  The Indians, like most North American savages,
 were lazy, and had no disposition to labour in that way, but took it
 quite leisurely, satisfied with being carried down by the current.
 Williams soon left them in the rear, and, as he supposed, far
 behind him.  When night came on, however, as he had worked all day,
 and slept none the night before, he resolved to turn aside into a
 bunch of willows to take a few hours' rest.  But he had not stopped
 more than forty minutes when he heard some Indians pull to the shore
 just above him on the same side of the river.  He immediately
 loosened his canoe from its moorings, and glided silently away.
 He rowed hard for two or three hours, when he again pulled to the
 bank and tied up.
 
 Only a short time after he had landed, he heard Indians again going
 on shore on the same side of the stream as himself.  A second time
 he repeated his tactics, slipped out of his place of concealment,
 and stole softly away.  He pulled on vigorously until some time after
 midnight, when he supposed he could with safety stop and snatch a
 little sleep.  He felt apprehensive that he was in a dangerous region,
 and his anxiety kept him wide awake.  It was very lucky that he
 did not close his eyes; for as he was lying in the bottom of his canoe
 he heard for the third time a canoe land as before.  He was now
 perfectly satisfied that he was dogged by the Kansans whom he had
 passed the preceding day, and in no very good humour, therefore,
 he picked up his rifle, and walked up to the bank where he had heard
 the Indians land.  As he suspected, there were the three savages.
 When they saw the captain, they immediately renewed their expressions
 of friendship, and invited him to partake of their hospitality.
 He stood aloof from them, and shook his head in a rage, charging
 them with their villanous purposes.  In the short, sententious manner
 of the Indians, he said to them: "You now follow me three times;
 if you follow me again, I kill you!" and wheeling around abruptly,
 returned to his canoe.  A third time the solitary trapper pushed
 his little craft from the shore and set off down stream, to get away
 from a region where to sleep would be hazardous.  He plied his oars
 the remainder of the night, and solaced himself with the thought
 that no evil had befallen him, except the loss of a few hours' sleep.
 
 While he was escaping from his villanous pursuers, he was running
 into new dangers and difficulties.  The following day he overtook
 a large band of the same tribe, under the leadership of a chief,
 who were also descending the river.  Into the hands of these savages
 he fell a prisoner, and was conducted to one of their villages.
 The principal chief there took all of his furs, traps, and other
 belongings.  A very short time after his capture, the Kansans went
 to war with the Pawnees, and carried Captain Williams with them.
 In a terrible battle in which the Kansans gained a most decided
 victory, the old trapper bore a conspicuous part, killing a great
 number of the enemy, and by his excellent strategy brought about
 the success of his captors.  When they returned to the village,
 Williams, who had ever been treated with kindness by the inhabitants,
 was now thought to be a wonderful warrior, and could have been
 advanced to all the savage honours; he might even have been made
 one of their principal chiefs.  The tribe gave him his liberty for
 the great service he had rendered it in its difficulty with an
 inveterate foe, but declining all proffered promotions, he decided
 to return to the white settlements on the Missouri, at the mouth
 of the Kaw, the covetous old chief retaining all his furs, and indeed
 everything he possessed excepting his rifle, with as many rounds
 of ammunition as would be necessary to secure him provisions in the
 shape of game on his route.  The veteran trapper had learned from
 the Indians while with them that they expected to go to Fort Osage
 on the Missouri River to receive some annuities from the government,
 and he felt certain that his furs would be there at the same time.
 
 After leaving the Kansans he travelled on toward the Missouri,
 and soon struck the beginning of the sparse settlements.  Just as
 evening was coming on, he arrived at a cluster of three little
 log-cabins, and was received with genuine backwoods hospitality by
 the proprietor, who had married an Osage squaw.  Williams was not only
 very hungry, but very tired; and, after enjoying an abundant supper,
 he became stupid and sleepy, and expressed a wish to lie down.
 The generous trapper accordingly conducted him to one of the cabins,
 in which there were two beds, standing in opposite corners of
 the room.  He immediately threw himself upon one, and was soon in
 a very deep sleep.  About midnight his slumbers were disturbed by
 a singular and very frightful kind of noise, accompanied by struggling
 on the other bed.  What it was, Williams was entirely at a loss to
 understand.  There were no windows in the cabin, the door was shut,
 and it was as dark as Egypt.  A fierce contest seemed to be going on.
 There were deep groanings and hard breathings; and the snapping of
 teeth appeared almost constant.  For a moment the noise would subside,
 then again the struggles woud be renewed accompanied as before
 with groaning, deep sighing, and grinding of teeth.
 
 The captain's bed-clothes consisted of a couple of blankets and a
 buffalo-robe, and as the terrible struggles continued he raised
 himself up in the bed, and threw the robe around him for protection,
 his rifle having been left in the cabin where his host slept, while
 his knife was attached to his coat, which he had hung on the corner
 post of the other bedstead from which the horrid struggles emanated.
 In an instant the robe was pulled off, and he was left uncovered and
 unprotected; in another moment a violent snatch carried away the
 blanket upon which he was sitting, and he was nearly tumbled off the
 bed with it.  As the next thing might be a blow in the dark, he felt
 that it was high time to shift his quarters; so he made a desperate
 leap from the bed, and alighted on the opposite side of the room,
 calling for his host, who immediately came to his relief by opening
 the door.  Williams then told him that the devil--or something
 as bad, he believed--was in the room, and he wanted a light.
 The accommodating trapper hurried away, and in a moment was back
 with a candle, the light of which soon revealed the awful mystery.
 It was an Indian, who at the time was struggling in convulsions,
 which he was subject to.  He was a superannuated chief, a relative of
 the wife of the hospitable trapper, and generally made his home there.
 Absent when Captain Williams arrived, he came into the room at a
 very late hour, and went to the bed he usually occupied.  No one
 on the claim knew of his being there until he was discovered,
 in a dreadfully mangled condition.  He was removed to other quarters,
 and Williams, who was not to be frightened out of a night's rest,
 soon sunk into sound repose.
 
 Williams reached the agency by the time the Kansas Indians arrived
 there, and, as he suspected, found that the wily old chief had brought
 all his belongings, which he claimed, and the agent made the savages
 give up the stolen property before he would pay them a cent of their
 annuities.  He took his furs down to St. Louis, sold them there
 at a good price, and then started back to the Rocky Mountains on
 another trapping tour. 


 

EARLY TRADERS.
 
 
 
 In 1812 a Captain Becknell, who had been on a trading expedition
 to the country of the Comanches in the summer of 1811, and had done
 remarkably well, determined the next season to change his objective
 point to Santa Fe, and instead of the tedious process of bartering
 with the Indians, to sell out his stock to the New Mexicans.
 Successful in this, his first venture, he returned to the Missouri
 River with a well-filled purse, and intensely enthusiastic over the
 result of his excursion to the newly found market.
 
 Excited listeners to his tales of enormous profits were not lacking,
 who, inspired by the inducement he held out to them, cheerfully
 invested five thousand dollars in merchandise suited to the demands
 of the trade, and were eager to attempt with him the passage of
 the great plains.  In this expedition there were thirty men, and
 the amount of money in the undertaking was the largest that had yet
 been ventured.  The progress of the little caravan was without
 extraordinary incident, until it arrived at "The Caches" on the
 Upper Arkansas.  There Becknell, who was in reality a man of the
 then "Frontier," bold, plucky, and endowed with excellent sense,
 conceived the ridiculous idea of striking directly across the country
 for Santa Fe through a region absolutely unexplored; his excuse
 for this rash movement being that he desired to avoid the rough and
 circuitous mountain route he had travelled on his first trip to Taos.
 
 His temerity in abandoning the known for the unknown was severely
 punished, and his brave men suffered untold misery, barely escaping
 with their lives from the terrible straits to which they were reduced.
 Not having the remotest conception of the region through which their
 new trail was to lead them, and naturally supposing that water would
 be found in streams or springs, when they left the Arkansas they
 neglected to supply themselves with more than enough of the precious
 fluid to last a couple of days.  At the end of that time they learned,
 too late, that they were in the midst of a desert, with all the
 tortures of thirst threatening them.
 
 Without a tree or a path to guide them, they took an irregular course
 by observations of the North Star, and the unreliable needle of an
 azimuth pocket-compass.  There was a total absence of water, and when
 what they had brought with them in their canteens from the river was
 exhausted, thirst began its horrible office.  In a short time both men
 and animals were in a mental condition bordering on distraction.
 To alleviate their acute torment, the dogs of the train were killed,
 and their blood, hot and sickening, eagerly swallowed; then the ears
 of the mules were cut off for the same purpose, but such a substitute
 for water only added to their sufferings.  They would have perished
 had not a superannuated buffalo bull that had just come from the
 Cimarron River, where he had gone to quench his thirst, suddenly
 appeared, to be immediately killed and the contents of his stomach
 swallowed with avidity.  It is recorded that one of those who partook
 of the nauseous liquid said afterward, "nothing had ever passed
 his lips which gave him such exquisite delight as his first draught
 of that filthy beverage."
 
 Although they were near the Cimarron, where there was plenty of water,
 which but for the affair of the buffalo they never would have suspected,
 they decided to retrace their steps to the Arkansas.
 
 Before they started on their retreat, however, some of the strongest
 of the party followed the trail of the animal that had saved their
 lives to the river, where, filling all the canteens with pure water,
 they returned to their comrades, who were, after drinking, able to
 march slowly toward the Arkansas.
 
 Following that stream, they at last arrived at Taos, having experienced
 no further trouble, but missed the trail to Santa Fe, and had their
 journey greatly prolonged by the foolish endeavour of the leader
 to make a short cut thither.
 
 As early as 1815, Auguste P. Chouteau and his partner, with a large
 number of trappers and hunters, went out to the valley of the
 Upper Arkansas for the purpose of trading with Indians, and trapping
 on the numerous streams of the contiguous region.
 
 The island on which Chouteau established his trading-post, and which
 bears his name even to this day, is in the Arkansas River on the
 boundary line of the United States and Mexico.  It was a beautiful
 spot, with a rich carpet of grass and delightful groves, and on
 the American side was a heavily timbered bottom.
 
 While occupying the island, Chouteau and his old hunters and trappers
 were attacked by about three hundred Pawnees, whom they repulsed
 with the loss of thirty killed and wounded.  These Indians afterward
 declared that it was the most fatal affair in which they were ever
 engaged.  It was their first acquaintance with American guns.
 
 The general character of the early trade with New Mexico was founded
 on the system of the caravan.  She depended upon the remote ports
 of old Mexico, whence was transported, on the backs of the patient
 burro and mule, all that was required by the primitive tastes of the
 primitive people; a very tedious and slow process, as may be inferred,
 and the limited traffic westwardly across the great plains was
 confined to this fashion.  At the date of the legitimate and
 substantial commerce with New Mexico, in 1824, wheeled vehicles were
 introduced, and traffic assumed an importance it could never have
 otherwise attained, and which now, under the vast system of railroads,
 has increased to dimensions little dreamed of by its originators
 nearly three-quarters of a century ago.
 
 It was eight years after Pursley's pilgrimage before the trade with
 New Mexico attracted the attention of speculators and adventurers.
 Messrs. McKnight,[13] Beard, and Chambers, with about a dozen comrades,
 started with a supply of goods across the unknown plains, and by
 good luck arrived safely at Santa Fe.  Once under the jurisdiction
 of the Mexicans, however, their trouble began.  All the party were
 arrested as spies, their wares confiscated, and themselves
 incarcerated at Chihuahua, where the majority of them were kept for
 almost a decade.  Beard and Chambers, having by some means escaped,
 returned to St. Louis in 1822, and, notwithstanding their dreadful
 experience, told of the prospects of the trade with the Mexicans
 in such glowing colours that they induced some individuals of small
 capital to fit out another expedition, with which they again set out
 for Santa Fe.
 
 It was really too late in the season; they succeeded, however,
 in reaching the crossing of the Arkansas without any difficulty,
 but there a violent snowstorm overtook them and they were compelled
 to halt, as it was impossible to proceed in the face of the blinding
 blizzard.  On an island[14] not far from where the town of Cimarron,
 on the Santa Fe Railroad, is now situated, they were obliged to
 remain for more than three months, during which time most of their
 animals died for want of food and from the severe cold.  When the
 weather had moderated sufficiently to allow them to proceed on
 their journey, they had no transportation for their goods and were
 compelled to hide them in pits dug in the earth, after the manner
 of the old French voyageurs in the early settlement of the continent.
 This method of secreting furs and valuables of every character
 is called caching, from the French word "to hide."  Gregg thus
 describes it:
 
           The cache is made by digging a hole in the ground, somewhat
           in the shape of a jug, which is lined with dry sticks,
           grass, or anything else that will protect its contents
           from the dampness of the earth.  In this place the goods
           to be concealed are carefully stowed away; and the aperture
           is then so effectually closed as to protect them from
           the rains.  In caching, a great deal of skill is often
           required to leave no sign whereby the cunning savage may
           discover the place of deposit.  To this end, the excavated
           earth is carried some distance and carefully concealed,
           or thrown into a stream, if one be at hand.  The place
           selected for a cache is usually some rolling point,
           sufficiently elevated to be secure from inundations.
           If it be well set with grass, a solid piece of turf is
           cut out large enough for the entrance.  The turf is
           afterward laid back, and, taking root, in a short time
           no signs remain of its ever having been molested.
           However, as every locality does not afford a turfy site,
           the camp-fire is sometimes built upon the place, or the
           animals are penned over it, which effectually destroys
           all traces.
 
 Father Hennepin[15] thus describes, in his quaint style, how he built
 a cache on the bank of the Mississippi, in 1680:
 
           We took up the green sodd, and laid it by, and digg'd a hole
           in the Earth where we put our Goods, and cover'd them with
           pieces of Timber and Earth, and then put in again the green
           Turf; so that 'twas impossible to suspect that any Hole had
           been digg'd under it, for we flung the Earth into the River.
 
 After caching their goods, Beard and the party went on to Taos,
 where they bought mules, and returning to their caches transported
 their contents to their market.
 
 The word "cache" still lingers among the "old-timers" of the mountains
 and plains, and has become a provincialism with their descendants;
 one of these will tell you that he cached his vegetables in the side
 of the hill; or if he is out hunting and desires to secrete himself
 from approaching game, he will say, "I am going to cache behind
 that rock," etc.
 
 The place where Beard's little expedition wintered was called
 "The Caches" for years, and the name has only fallen into disuse
 within the last two decades.  I remember the great holes in the
 ground when I first crossed the plains, a third of a century ago.
 
 The immense profit upon merchandise transported across the dangerous
 Trail of the mid-continent to the capital of New Mexico soon excited
 the cupidity of other merchants east of the Missouri.  When the
 commonest domestic cloth, manufactured wholly from cotton, brought
 from two to three dollars a yard at Santa Fe, and other articles at
 the same ratio to cost, no wonder the commerce with the far-off market
 appeared to those who desired to send goods there a veritable Golconda.
 
 The importance of internal trade with New Mexico, and the possibilities
 of its growth, were first recognized by the United States in 1824,
 the originator of the movement being Mr. Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri,
 who frequently, from his place in the Senate, prophesied the coming
 greatness of the West.  He introduced a bill which authorized the
 President to appoint a commission to survey a road from the Missouri
 River to the boundary line of New Mexico, and from thence on Mexican
 territory with the consent of the Mexican government.  The signing of
 this bill was one of the last acts of Mr. Monroe's official life,
 and it was carried into effect by his successor, Mr. John Quincy Adams,
 but unfortunately a mistake was made in supposing that the Osage
 Indians alone controlled the course of the proposed route.  It was
 partially marked out as far as the Arkansas, by raised mounds;
 but travellers continued to use the old wagon trail, and as no
 negotiations had been entered into with the Comanches, Cheyennes,
 Pawnees, or Kiowas, these warlike tribes continued to harass the
 caravans when these arrived in the broad valley of the Arkansas.
 
 The American fur trade was at its height at the time when the Santa Fe
 trade was just beginning to assume proportions worthy of notice;
 the difference between the two enterprises being very marked.  The fur
 trade was in the hands of immensely wealthy companies, while that to
 Santa Fe was carried on by individuals with limited capital, who,
 purchasing goods in the Eastern markets, had them transported to
 the Missouri River, where, until the trade to New Mexico became a
 fixed business, everything was packed on mules.  As soon, however,
 as leading merchants invested their capital, about 1824, the trade
 grew into vast proportions, and wagons took the place of the patient
 mule.  Later, oxen were substituted for mules, it having been
 discovered that they possessed many advantages over the former,
 particularly in being able to draw heavier loads than an equal number
 of mules, especially through sandy or muddy places.
 
 For a long time, the traders were in the habit of purchasing their
 mules in Santa Fe and driving them to the Missouri; but as soon as
 that useful animal was raised in sufficient numbers in the Southern
 States to supply the demand, the importation from New Mexico ceased,
 for the reason that the American mule was in all respects an immensely
 superior animal.
 
 Once mules were an important object of the trade, and those who dealt
 in them and drove them across to the river on the Trail met with
 many mishaps; frequently whole droves, containing from three to
 five hundred, were stolen by the savages en route.  The latter soon
 learned that it was a very easy thing to stampede a caravan of mules,
 for, once panic-stricken, it is impossible to restrain them, and
 the Indians having started them kept them in a state of rampant
 excitement by their blood-curdling yells, until they had driven them
 miles beyond the Trail.
 
 A story is told of a small band of twelve men, who, while encamped
 on the Cimarron River, in 1826, with but four serviceable guns among
 them, were visited by a party of Indians, believed to be Arapahoes,
 who made at first strong demonstrations of friendship and good-will.
 Observing the defenceless condition of the traders, they went away,
 but soon returned about thirty strong, each provided with a lasso,
 and all on foot.  The chief then began by informing the Americans
 that his men were tired of walking, and must have horses.  Thinking
 it folly to offer any resistance, the terrified traders told them
 if one animal apiece would satisfy them, to go and catch them.
 This they soon did; but finding their request so easily complied with,
 the Indians held a little parley together, which resulted in a new
 demand for more--they must have two apiece!  "Well, catch them!"
 was the acquiescent reply of the unfortunate band; upon which the
 savages mounted those they had already secured, and, swinging their
 lassos over their heads, plunged among the stock with a furious yell,
 and drove off the entire caballada of nearly five hundred head of
 horses, mules, and asses.
 
 In 1829 the Indians of the plains became such a terror to the caravans
 crossing to Santa Fe, that the United States government, upon petition
 of the traders, ordered three companies of infantry and one of riflemen,
 under command of Major Bennet Riley, to escort the annual caravan,
 which that year started from the town of Franklin, Missouri, then the
 eastern terminus of the Santa Fe trade, as far as Chouteau's Island,
 on the Arkansas, which marked the boundary between the United States
 and Mexico.[16]  The caravan started from the island across the dreary
 route unaccompanied by any troops, but had progressed only a few miles
 when it was attacked by a band of Kiowas, then one of the most cruel
 and bloodthirsty tribes on the plains.[17]
 
 This escort, commanded by Major Riley, and another under Captain
 Wharton, composed of only sixty dragoons, five years later, were the
 sole protection ever given by the government until 1843, when Captain
 Philip St. George Cooke again accompanied two large caravans to the
 same point on the Arkansas as did Major Riley fourteen years before.
 
 As the trade increased, the Comanches, Pawnees, and Arapahoes
 continued to commit their depredations, and it was firmly believed
 by many of the freighters that these Indians were incited to their
 devilish acts by the Mexicans, who were always jealous of
 "Los Americanos."
 
 It was very rarely that a caravan, great or small, or even a detachment
 of troops, no matter how large, escaped the raids of these bandits of
 the Trail.  If the list of those who were killed outright and scalped,
 and those more unfortunate who were taken captive only to be tortured
 and their bodies horribly mutilated, could be collected from the
 opening of the traffic with New Mexico until the years 1868-69, when
 General Sheridan inaugurated his memorable "winter campaign" against
 the allied plains tribes, and completely demoralized, cowed, and
 forced them on their reservations, about the time of the advent of the
 railroad, it would present an appalling picture; and the number of
 horses, mules, and oxen stampeded and stolen during the same period
 would amount to thousands.
 
 As the excellent narrative of Captain Pike is not read as it should be
 by the average American, a brief reference to it may not be considered
 supererogatory.  The celebrated officer, who was afterward promoted
 to the rank of major-general, and died in the achievement of the
 victory of York, Upper Canada, in 1813, was sent in 1806 on an
 exploring expedition up the Arkansas River, with instructions to pass
 the sources of Red River, for which those of the Canadian were then
 mistaken; he, however, even went around the head of the latter,
 and crossing the mountains with an almost incredible degree of peril
 and suffering, descended upon the Rio del Norte with his little party,
 then but fifteen in number.
 
 Believing himself now on Red River, within the then assumed limits
 of the United States, he built a small fortification for his company,
 until the opening of the spring of 1807 should enable him to continue
 his descent to Natchitoches.  As he was really within Mexican
 territory, and only about eighty miles from the northern settlements,
 his position was soon discovered, and a force sent to take him to
 Santa Fe, which by treachery was effected without opposition.
 The Spanish officer assured him that the governor, learning that
 he had mistaken his way, had sent animals and an escort to convey
 his men and baggage to a navigable point on Red River (Rio Colorado),
 and that His Excellency desired very much to see him at Santa Fe,
 which might be taken on their way.
 
 As soon, however, as the governor had the too confiding captain
 in his power, he sent him with his men to the commandant general
 at Chihuahua, where most of his papers were seized, and he and
 his party were sent under an escort, via San Antonio de Bexar,
 to the United States.
 
 Many citizens of the remote Eastern States, who were contemporary
 with Pike, declared that his expedition was in some way connected
 with the treasonable attempt of Aaron Burr.  The idea is simply
 preposterous; Pike's whole line of conduct shows him to have been
 of the most patriotic character; never would he for a moment have
 countenanced a proposition from Aaron Burr!
 
 After Captain Pike's report had been published to the world,
 the adventurers who were inspired by its glowing description of
 the country he had been so far to explore were destined to experience
 trials and disappointments of which they had formed no conception.
 
 Among them was a certain Captain Sublette, a famous old trapper
 in the era of the great fur companies, and with him a Captain Smith,
 who, although veteran pioneers of the Rocky Mountains, were mere
 novices in the many complications of the Trail; but having been in
 the fastnesses of the great divide of the continent, they thought
 that when they got down on the plains they could go anywhere.
 They started with twenty wagons, and left the Missouri without
 a single one of the party being competent to guide the little caravan
 on the dangerous route.
 
 From the Missouri the Trail was broad and plain enough for a child
 to follow, but when they arrived at the Cimarron crossing of
 the Arkansas, not a trace of former caravans was visible; nothing but
 the innumerable buffalo-trails leading from everywhere to the river.
 
 When the party entered the desert, or Dry Route, as it was years
 afterward always, and very properly, called in certain seasons
 of drought, the brave but too confident men discovered that the
 whole region was burnt up.  They wandered on for several days,
 the horrors of death by thirst constantly confronting them.
 Water must be had or they would all perish!  At last Smith, in his
 desperation, determined to follow one of the numerous buffalo-trails,
 believing that it would conduct him to water of some character--
 a lake or pool or even wallow.  He left the train alone; asked for
 no one to accompany him; for he was the very impersonation of courage,
 one of the most fearless men that ever trapped in the mountains.
 
 He walked on and on for miles, when, on ascending a little divide,
 he saw a stream in the valley beneath him.  It was the Cimarron,
 and he hurried toward it to quench his intolerable thirst.  When he
 arrived at its bank, to his disappointment it was nothing but a bed
 of sand; the sometime clear running river was perfectly dry.
 
 Only for a moment was he staggered; he knew the character of many
 streams in the West; that often their waters run under the ground
 at a short distance from the surface, and in a moment he was on
 his knees digging vigorously in the soft sand.  Soon the coveted
 fluid began to filter upwards into the little excavation he had made.
 He stooped to drink, and in the next second a dozen arrows from an
 ambushed band of Comanches entered his body.  He did not die at once,
 however; it is related by the Indians themselves that he killed two
 of their number before death laid him low.
 
 Captain Sublette and Smith's other comrades did not know what had
 become of him until some Mexican traders told them, having got the
 report from the very savages who committed the cold-blooded murder.
 
 Gregg, in his report of this little expedition, says:
           Every kind of fatality seems to have attended this small
           caravan.  Among other casualties, a clerk in their company,
           named Minter, was killed by a band of Pawnees, before they
           crossed the Arkansas.  This, I believe, is the only instance
           of loss of life among the traders while engaged in hunting,
           although the scarcity of accidents can hardly be said to be
           the result of prudence.  There is not a day that hunters
           do not commit some indescretion; such as straying at
           a distance of five and even ten miles from the caravan,
           frequently alone, and seldom in bands of more than two or
           three together.  In this state, they must frequently be
           spied by prowling savages; so that frequency of escape,
           under such circumstances, must be partly attributed to
           the cowardice of the Indians; indeed, generally speaking,
           the latter are very loth to charge upon even a single
           armed man, unless they can take him at a decided advantage.
 
           Not long after, this band of Captain Sublette's very
           narrowly escaped total destruction.  They had fallen in
           with an immense horde of Blackfeet and Gros Ventres, and,
           as the traders were literally but a handful among thousands
           of savages, they fancied themselves for a while in imminent
           peril of being virtually "eated up."  But as Captain
           Sublette possessed considerable experience, he was at
           no loss how to deal with these treacherous savages; so that
           although the latter assumed a threatening attitude,
           he passed them without any serious molestation, and finally
           arrived at Santa Fe in safety.
 
 The virtual commencement of the Santa Fe trade dates from 1822,
 and one of the most remarkable events in its history was the first
 attempt to introduce wagons in the expeditions.  This was made in 1824
 by a company of traders, about eighty in number, among whom were
 several gentlemen of intelligence from Missouri, who contributed
 by their superior skill and undaunted energy to render the enterprise
 completely successful.  A portion of this company employed pack-mules;
 among the rest were owned twenty-five wheeled vehicles, of which
 one or two were stout road-wagons, two were carts, and the rest
 Dearborn carriages, the whole conveying some twenty-five or thirty
 thousand dollars' worth of merchandise.  Colonel Marmaduke,
 of Missouri, was one of the party.  This caravan arrived at Santa Fe
 safely, experiencing much less difficulty than they anticipated
 from a first attempt with wheeled vehicles.
 
 Gregg continues:
           The early voyageurs, having but seldom experienced any
           molestation from the Indians, generally crossed the plains
           in detached bands, each individual rarely carrying more than
           two or three hundred dollars' worth of stock.  This peaceful
           season, however, did not last very long; and it is greatly
           to be feared that the traders were not always innocent of
           having instigated the savage hostilities that ensued in
           after years.  Many seemed to forget the wholesome precept,
           that they should not be savages themselves because they
           dealt with savages.  Instead of cultivating friendly
           feelings with those few who remained peaceful and honest,
           there was an occasional one always disposed to kill,
           even in cold blood, every Indian that fell into their power,
           merely because some of the tribe had committed an outrage
           either against themselves or friends.
 
 As an instance of this, he relates the following:
           In 1826 two young men named McNess and Monroe, having
           carelessly lain down to sleep on the bank of a certain
           stream, since known as McNess Creek,[18] were barbarously
           shot, with their own guns, as it was supposed, in the very
           sight of the caravan.  When their comrades came up,
           they found McNess lifeless, and the other almost expiring.
           In this state the latter was carried nearly forty miles to
           the Cimarron River, where he died, and was buried according
           to the custom of the prairies, a very summary proceeding,
           necessarily.  The corpse, wrapped in a blanket, its shroud
           the clothes it wore, is interred in a hole varying in depth
           according to the nature of the soil, and upon the grave is
           piled stones, if any are convenient, to prevent the wolves
           from digging it up.  Just as McNess's funeral ceremonies
           were about to be concluded, six or seven Indians appeared
           on the opposite side of the Cimarron.  Some of the party
           proposed inviting them to a parley, while the rest, burning
           for revenge, evinced a desire to fire upon them at once.
           It is more than probable, however, that the Indians were not
           only innocent but ignorant of the outrage that had been
           committed, or they would hardly have ventured to approach
           the caravan.  Being quick of perception, they very soon saw
           the belligerent attitude assumed by the company, and
           therefore wheeled round and attempted to escape.  One shot
           was fired, which brought an Indian to the ground, when he
           was instantly riddled with balls.  Almost simultaneously
           another discharge of several guns followed, by which all
           the rest were either killed or mortally wounded, except one,
           who escaped to bear the news to his tribe.
 
           These wanton cruelties had a most disastrous effect upon the
           prospects of the trade; for the exasperated children of
           the desert became more and more hostile to the "pale-faces,"
           against whom they continued to wage a cruel war for many
           successive years.  In fact this party suffered very severely
           a few days afterward.  They were pursued by the enraged
           comrades of the slain savages to the Arkansas River, where
           they were robbed of nearly a thousand horses and mules.
 
 The author of this book, although having but little compassion for
 the Indians, must admit that, during more than a third of a century
 passed on the plains and in the mountains, he has never known of
 a war with the hostile tribes that was not caused by broken faith
 on the part of the United States or its agents.  I will refer to
 two prominent instances: that of the outbreak of the Nez Perces, and
 that of the allied plains tribes.  With the former a solemn treaty
 was made in 1856, guaranteeing to them occupancy of the Wallola valley
 forever.  I. I. Stevens, who was governor of Washington Territory
 at the time, and ex-officio superintendent of Indian affairs in
 the region, met the Nez Perces, whose chief, "Wish-la-no-she,"
 an octogenarian, when grasping the hand of the governor at the council
 said: "I put out my hand to the white man when Lewis and Clark
 crossed the continent, in 1805, and have never taken it back since."
 The tribe kept its word until the white men took forcible possession
 of the valley promised to the Indians, when the latter broke out,
 and a prolonged war was the consequence.  In 1867 Congress appointed
 a commission to treat with the Cheyennes, Kiowas, and Arapahoes,
 appropriating four hundred thousand dollars for the expenses of
 the commission.  It met at Medicine Lodge in August of the year
 mentioned, and made a solemn treaty, which the members of the
 commission, on the part of the United States, and the principal
 chiefs of the three tribes signed.  Congress failed to make any
 appropriation to carry out the provisions of the treaty, and the
 Indians, after waiting a reasonable time, broke out, devastated
 the settlements from the Platte to the Rio Grande, destroying
 millions of dollars' worth of property, and sacrificing hundreds
 of men, women, and children.  Another war was the result, which
 cost more millions, and under General Sheridan the hostile savages
 were whipped into a peace, which they have been compelled to keep. 


 

TRAINS AND PACKERS.
 
 
 
 As has been stated, until the year 1824 transportation across the
 plains was done by means of pack-mules, the art of properly loading
 which seems to be an intuitive attribute of the native Mexican.
 The American, of course, soon became as expert, for nothing that
 the genus homo is capable of doing is impossible to him; but his
 teacher was the dark-visaged, superstitious, and profanity-expending
 Mexican arriero.
 
 A description of the equipment of a mule-train and the method of
 packing, together with some of the curious facts connected with
 its movements, may not be uninteresting, particularly as the
 whole thing, with rare exceptions in the regular army at remote
 frontier posts, has been relegated to the past, along with the caravan
 of the prairie and the overland coach.  To this generation, barring
 a few officers who have served against the Indians on the plains
 and in the mountains, a pack-mule train would be as great a curiosity
 as the hairy mammoth.  In the following particulars I have taken
 as a model the genuine Mexican pack-train or atajo, as it was called
 in their Spanish dialect, always used in the early days of the
 Santa Fe trade.  The Americans made many modifications, but the basis
 was purely Mexican in its origin.  A pack-mule was termed a mula
 de carga, and his equipment consisted of several parts; first,
 the saddle, or aparejo, a nearly square pad of leather stuffed
 with hay, which covered the animal's back on both sides equally.
 The best idea of its shape will be formed by opening a book in
 the middle and placing it saddle-fashion on the back of a chair.
 Each half then forms a flap of the contrivance.  Before the aparejo
 was adjusted to the mule, a salea, or raw sheep-skin, made soft
 by rubbing, was put on the animal's back, to prevent chafing,
 and over it the saddle-cloth, or xerga.  On top of both was placed
 the aparejo, which was cinched by a wide grass-bandage.  This band
 was drawn as tightly as possible, to such an extent that the poor
 brute grunted and groaned under the apparently painful operation,
 and when fastened he seemed to be cut in two.  This always appeared
 to be the very acme of cruelty to the uninitiated, but it is the
 secret of successful packing; the firmer the saddle, the more
 comfortably the mule can travel, with less risk of being chafed
 and bruised.  The aparejo is furnished with a huge crupper, and
 this appendage is really the most cruel of all, for it is almost
 sure to lacerate the tail.  Hardly a Mexican mule in the old days
 of the trade could be found which did not bear the scar of this
 rude supplement to the immense saddle.
 
 The load, which is termed a carga, was generally three hundred pounds.
 Two arrieros, or packers, place the goods on the mule's back,
 one, the cargador, standing on the near side, his assistant on
 the other.  The carga is then hoisted on top of the saddle if it
 is a single package; or if there are two of equal size and weight,
 one on each side, coupled by a rope, which balances them on the
 animal.  Another stout rope is then thrown over all, drawn as tightly
 as possible under the belly, and laced round the packs, securing
 them firmly in their place.  Over the load, to protect it from rain,
 is thrown a square piece of matting called a petate.  Sometimes,
 when a mule is a little refractory, he is blindfolded by a thin
 piece of leather, generally embroidered, termed the tapojos, and
 he remains perfectly quiet while the process of packing is going on.
 When the load is securely fastened in its place, the blinder is
 removed.  The man on the near side, with his knee against the mule
 for a purchase, as soon as the rope is hauled taut, cries out "Adios,"
 and his assistant answers "Vaya!"  Then the first says again, "Anda!"
 upon which the mule trots off to its companions, all of which feed
 around until the animals of the whole train are packed.  It seldom
 requires more than five minutes for the two men to complete the
 packing of the animal, and in that time is included the fastening
 of the aperejo.  It is surprising to note the degree of skill
 exercised by an experienced packer, and his apparently abnormal
 strength in handling the immense bundles that are sometimes
 transported.  By the aid of his knees used as a fulcrum, he lifts
 a package and tosses it on the mule's back without any apparent
 effort, the dead weight of which he could not move from the ground.
 
 An old-time atajo or caravan of pack-mules generally numbered from
 fifty to two hundred, and it travelled a jornado, or day's march of
 about twelve or fifteen miles.  This day's journey was made without
 any stopping at noon, because if a pack-mule is allowed to rest,
 he generally tries to lie down, and with his heavy load it is
 difficult for him to get on his feet again.  Sometimes he is badly
 strained in so doing, perhaps ruined forever.  When the train starts
 out on the trail, the mules are so tightly bound with the ropes
 which confine the load that they move with great difficulty;
 but the saddle soon settles itself and the ropes become loosened
 so that they have frequently to be tightened.  On the march the
 arriero is kept busy nearly all the time; the packs are constantly
 changing their position, frequently losing their balance and
 falling off; sometimes saddle, pack, and all swing under the
 animal's belly, and he must be unloaded and repacked again.
 
 On arriving at the camping-ground the pack-saddles with their loads
 are ranged in regular order, their freight being between the saddles,
 covered with the petates to protect it from the rain, and generally
 a ditch is dug around to carry off the water, if the weather is stormy.
 After two or three days' travel each mule knows its own pack and
 saddle, and comes up to it at the proper moment with an intelligence
 that is astonishing.  If an animal should come whose pack is
 somewhere else, he is soundly kicked in the ribs by the rightful mule,
 and sent bruised and battered to his place.  He rarely makes a mistake
 in relation to the position of his own pack the second time.
 
 This method of transportation was so cheap, because of the low rate
 of wages, that wagon-freighting, even in the most level region,
 could not compete with it.  Five dollars a month was the amount paid
 to the muleteers, but it was oftener five with rations, costing
 almost nothing, of corn and beans.  Meat, if used at all, was found
 by the arrieros themselves.
 
 On the trail the mule-train is under a system of discipline almost
 as severe as that on board of a man-of-war.  Every individual
 employed is assigned to his place and has certain duties to perform.
 There is a night-herder, called the savanero, whose duty it is
 to keep the animals from straying too far away, as they are all
 turned loose to shift for themselves, depending upon the grass alone
 for their subsistence.  Each herd has a mulera, or bell-mare,
 which wears a bell hanging to a strap around her neck, and is kept
 in view of the other animals, who will never leave her.  If the mare
 is taken away from the herd, every mule becomes really melancholy
 and is at a loss what to do or where to go.  The cook of the party,
 or madre (mother) as he is called, besides his duty in preparing
 the food, must lead the bell-mule ahead of the train while travelling,
 the pack-animals following her with a devotion that is remarkable.
 
 Sometimes in traversing the narrow ledges cut around the sides of
 a precipitous trail, or crossing a narrow natural bridge spanning
 the frightful gorges found everywhere in the mountains, a mule
 will be incontinently thrown off the slippery path, and fall hundreds
 of feet into the yawning canyon below.  Generally instant death
 is their portion, though I recall an instance, while on an expedition
 against the hostile Indians thirty years ago, where a number of mules
 of our pack-train, loaded with ammunition, tumbled nearly five hundred
 feet down an almost perpendicular chasm, and yet some of them got
 on their feet again, and soon rejoined their companions, without
 having suffered any serious injury.
 
 The wagons so long employed in this trade, after their first
 introduction in 1824, were manufactured in Pittsburgh, their capacity
 being about a ton and a half, and they were drawn by eight mules
 or the same number of oxen.  Later much larger wagons were employed
 with nearly double the capacity of the first, hauled by ten and
 twelve mules or oxen.  These latter were soon called prairie-schooners,
 which name continued to linger until transportation across the plains
 by wagons was completely extinguished by the railroads.
 
 Under Mexican rule excessive tariff imposts were instituted,
 amounting to about a hundred per cent upon goods brought from the
 United States, and for some years, during the administration of
 Governor Manuel Armijo, a purely arbitrary duty was demanded of
 five hundred dollars for every wagon-load of merchandise brought
 into the Province, whether great or small, and regardless of its
 intrinsic value.  As gold and silver were paid for the articles
 brought by the traders, they were also required to pay a heavy duty
 on the precious metals they took out of the country.  Yankee ingenuity,
 however, evaded much of these unjust taxes.  When the caravan
 approached Santa Fe, the freight of three wagons was transferred
 to one, and the empty vehicles destroyed by fire; while to avoid
 paying the export duty on gold and silver, they had large false
 axletrees to some of the wagons, in which the money was concealed,
 and the examining officer of the customs, perfectly unconscious of
 the artifice, passed them.
 
 The army, in its expeditions against the hostile Indian tribes,
 always employed wagons in transporting its provisions and munitions
 of war, except in the mountains, where the faithful pack-mule was
 substituted.  The American freighters, since the occupation of
 New Mexico by the United States, until the transcontinental railroad
 usurped their vocation, used wagons only; the Mexican nomenclature
 was soon dropped and simple English terms adopted: caravan became
 train, and majordomo, the person in charge, wagon-master.  The latter
 was supreme.  Upon him rested all the responsibility, and to him
 the teamsters rendered absolute obedience.  He was necessarily a man
 of quick perception, always fertile in expedients in times of
 emergency, and something of an engineer; for to know how properly
 to cross a raging stream or a marshy slough with an outfit of fifty
 or sixty wagons required more than ordinary intelligence.  Then in
 the case of a stampede, great clear-headedness and coolness were
 needed to prevent loss of life.
 
 Stampedes were frequently very serious affairs, particularly with
 a large mule-train.  Notwithstanding the willingness and patient
 qualities of that animal, he can act as absurdly as a Texas steer,
 and is as easily frightened at nothing.  Sometimes as insignificant
 a circumstance as a prairie-dog barking at the entrance to his burrow,
 a figure in the distance, or even the shadow of a passing cloud
 will start every animal in the train, and away they go, rushing into
 each other, and becoming entangled in such a manner that both drivers
 and mules have often been crushed to death.  It not infrequently
 happened that five or six of the teams would dash off and never
 could be found.  I remember one instance that occurred on the trail
 between Fort Hays and Fort Dodge, during General Sheridan's
 winter campaign against the allied plains tribes in 1868.  Three of
 the wagons were dragged away by the mules, in a few moments were
 out of sight, and were never recovered, although diligent search
 was made for them for some days.  Ten years afterward a farmer,
 who had taken up a claim in what is now Rush County, Kansas,
 discovered in a ravine on his place the bones of some animals,
 decayed parts of harness, and the remains of three army-wagons,
 which with other evidence proved them to be the identical ones
 lost from the train so many years before.
 
 The largest six-mule wagon-train that was ever strung out on the
 plains transported the supplies for General Custer's command during
 the winter above referred to.  It comprised over eight hundred
 army-wagons, and was four miles in length in one column, or one mile
 when in four lines--the usual formation when in the field.
 
 The animals of the train were either hobbled or herded at night,
 according to the locality; if in an Indian country, always hobbled
 or, preferably, tied up to the tongue of the wagon to which they
 belonged.  The hobble is simply a strip of rawhide, with two slides
 of the same material.  Placed on the front legs of the mule just
 at the fetlock, the slides pushed close to the limb, the animal
 could move around freely enough to graze, but was not able to travel
 very fast in the event of a stampede.  In the Indian country, it was
 usual at night, or in the daytime when halting to feed, to form
 a corral of the wagons, by placing them in a circle, the wheels
 interlocked and the tongues run under the axles, into which circle
 the mules, on the appearance of the savages, were driven, and which
 also made a sort of fortress behind which the teamsters could more
 effectually repel an attack.
 
 In the earlier trading expeditions to Santa Fe, the formation and
 march of the caravan differed materially from that of the army-train
 in later years.  I here quote Gregg, whose authority on the subject
 has never been questioned.  When all was ready to move out on the
 broad sea of prairie, he said:
 
           We held a council, at which the respective claims of the
           different aspirants for office were considered, leaders
           selected, and a system of government agreed upon--as is
           the standing custom of these promiscuous caravans.
           A captain was proclaimed elected, but his powers were not
           defined by any constitutional provision; consequently,
           they were very vague and uncertain.  Orders being only
           viewed as mere requests, they are often obeyed or neglected
           at the caprice of the subordinates.  It is necessary to
           observe, however, that the captain is expected to direct
           the order of travel during the day and to designate the
           camping-ground at night, with many other functions of
           general character, in the exercise of which the company
           find it convenient to acquiesce.
 
           After this comes the task of organizing.  The proprietors
           are first notified by proclamation to furnish a list of
           their men and wagons.  The latter are generally apportioned
           into four divisions, particularly when the company is large.
           To each of these divisions, a lieutenant is appointed,
           whose duty it is to inspect every ravine and creek on the
           route, select the best crossings, and superintend what is
           called in prairie parlance the forming of each encampment.
 
           There is nothing so much dreaded by inexperienced travellers
           as the ordeal of guard duty.  But no matter what the
           condition or employment of the individual may be, no one
           has the slightest chance of evading the common law of
           the prairies.  The amateur tourist and the listless loafer
           are precisely in the same wholesome predicament--they must
           all take their regular turn at the watch.  There is usually
           a set of genteel idlers attached to every caravan, whose
           wits are forever at work in devising schemes for whiling
           away their irksome hours at the expense of others.
           By embarking in these trips of pleasure, they are enabled
           to live without expense; for the hospitable traders seldom
           refuse to accommodate even a loafing companion with a berth
           at their mess without charge.  But these lounging attaches
           are expected at least to do good service by way of guard
           duty.  None are ever permitted to furnish a substitute,
           as is frequently done in military expeditions; for he that
           would undertake to stand the tour of another besides
           his own would scarcely be watchful enough for dangers
           of the prairies.  Even the invalid must be able to produce
           unequivocal proofs of his inability, or it is a chance
           if the plea is admitted.
 
           The usual number of watchers is eight, each standing a
           fourth of every alternate night.  When the party is small,
           the number is generally reduced, while in the case of
           very small bands, they are sometimes compelled for safety's
           sake to keep watch on duty half the night.  With large
           caravans the captain usually appoints eight sergeants
           of the guard, each of whom takes an equal portion of men
           under his command.
 
           The wild and motley aspect of the caravan can be but
           imperfectly conceived without an idea of the costumes of
           its various members.  The most fashionable prairie dress
           is the fustian frock of the city-bred merchant, furnished
           with a multitude of pockets capable of accommodating a
           variety of extra tackling.  Then there is the backwoodsman
           with his linsey or leather hunting-shirt--the farmer with
           his blue jean coat--the wagoner with his flannel sleeve
           vest--besides an assortment of other costumes which go
           to fill up the picture.
 
           In the article of firearms there is also an equally
           interesting medley.  The frontier hunter sticks to his
           rifle, as nothing could induce him to carry what he terms
           in derision "the scatter-gun."  The sportsman from the
           interior flourishes his double-barrelled fowling-piece
           with equal confidence in its superiority.  A great many
           were furnished beside with a bountiful supply of pistols
           and knives of every description, so that the party made
           altogether a very brigand-like appearance.
 
           "Catch up!  Catch up!" is now sounded from the captain's
           camp and echoed from every division and scattered group
           along the valley.  The woods and dales resound with the
           gleeful yells of the light-hearted wagoners who, weary of
           inaction and filled with joy at the prospect of getting
           under way, become clamorous in the extreme.  Each teamster
           vies with his fellow who shall be soonest ready; and it
           is a matter of boastful pride to be the first to cry out,
           "All's set."
 
           The uproarious bustle which follows, the hallooing of those
           in pursuit of animals, the exclamations which the unruly
           brutes call forth from their wrathful drivers, together
           with the clatter of bells, the rattle of yokes and harness,
           the jingle of chains, all conspire to produce an uproarious
           confusion.  It is sometimes amusing to observe the athletic
           wagoner hurrying an animal to its post--to see him heave
           upon the halter of a stubborn mule, while the brute as
           obstinately sets back, determined not to move a peg till
           his own good pleasure thinks it proper to do so--his whole
           manner seeming to say, "Wait till your hurry's over."
           I have more than once seen a driver hitch a harnessed animal
           to the halter, and by that process haul his mulishness
           forward, while each of his four projected feet would leave
           a furrow behind.
 
           "All's set!" is finally heard from some teamster--
           "All's set," is directly responded from every quarter.
           "Stretch out!" immediately vociferates the captain.
           Then the "heps!" to the drivers, the cracking of whips,
           the trampling of feet, the occasional creak of wheels,
           the rumbling of the wagons, while "Fall in" is heard from
           head-quarters, and the train is strung out and in a few
           moments has started on its long journey.
 
 With an army-train the discipline was as perfect as that of a garrison.
 The wagon-master was under the orders of the commander of the troops
 which escorted the caravan, the camps were formed with regard to
 strategic principles, sentries walked their beats and were visited
 by an officer of the day, as if stationed at a military post.
 
 Unquestionably the most expert packer I have known is Chris. Gilson,
 of Kansas.  In nearly all the expeditions on the great plains and
 in the mountains he has been the master-spirit of the pack-trains.
 General Sheridan, who knew Gilson long before the war, in Oregon
 and Washington, regarded the celebrated packer with more than
 ordinary friendship.  For many years he was employed by the government
 at the suggestion of General Sheridan, to teach the art of packing
 to the officers and enlisted men at several military posts in the West.
 He received a large salary, and for a long period was stationed at
 the immense cavalry depot of Fort Riley, in Kansas.  Gilson was also
 employed by the British army during the Zulu war in Africa,
 as chief packer, at a salary of twenty dollars a day.  Now, however,
 since the railroads have penetrated the once considered impenetrable
 fastnesses of the mountains, packing will be relegated to the lost arts. 


 

FIGHT WITH COMANCHE'S.
 
 
 
 Early in the spring of 1828, a company of young men residing in the
 vicinity of Franklin, Missouri, having heard related by a neighbour
 who had recently returned the wonderful story of a passage across
 the great plains, and the strange things to be seen in the land of
 the Greasers, determined to explore the region for themselves;
 making the trip in wagons, an innovation of a startling character,
 as heretofore only pack-animals had been employed in the limited trade
 with far-off Santa Fe.  The story of their journey can best be told
 in the words of one of the party:[19]--
 
           We had about one thousand miles to travel, and as there was
           no wagon-road in those early days across the plains to the
           mountains, we were compelled to take our chances through
           the vast wilderness, seeking the best route we could.
 
           No signs of life were visible except the innumerable buffalo
           and antelope that were constantly crossing our trail.
           We moved on slowly from day to day without any incident
           worth recording and arrived at the Arkansas; made the
           passage and entered the Great American Desert lying beyond,
           as listless, lonesome, and noiseless as a sleeping sea.
           Having neglected to carry any water with us, we were obliged
           to go withot a drop for two days and nights after leaving
           the river.  At last we reached the Cimarron, a cool,
           sparkling stream, ourselves and our animals on the point
           of perishing.  Our joy at discovering it, however, was
           short-lived.  We had scarcely quenched our thirst when
           we saw, to our dismay, a large band of Indians camped on
           its banks.  Their furtive glances at us, and significant
           looks at each other, aroused our worst suspicions, and
           we instinctively felt we were not to get away without
           serious trouble.  Contrary to our expectations, however,
           they did not offer to molest us, and we at once made up
           our minds they preferred to wait for our return, as we
           believed they had somehow learned of our intention to bring
           back from New Mexico a large herd of mules and ponies.
 
           We arrived in Santa Fe on the 20th of July, without further
           adventure, and after having our stock of goods passed
           through the custom house, were granted the privilege of
           selling them.  The majority of the party sold out in a
           very short time and started on their road to the States,
           leaving twenty-one of us behind to return later.
 
           On the first day of September, those of us who had remained
           in Santa Fe commenced our homeward journey.  We started
           with one hundred and fifty mules and horses, four wagons,
           and a large amount of silver coin.  Nothing of an eventful
           character occurred until we arrived at the Upper Cimarron
           Springs, where we intended to encamp for the night.
           But our anticipations of peaceable repose were rudely
           dispelled; for when we rode up on the summit of the hill,
           the sight that met our eyes was appalling enough to excite
           the gravest apprehensions.  It was a large camp of
           Comanches, evidently there for the purpose of robbery
           and murder.  We could neither turn back nor go on either
           side of them on account of the mountainous character of
           the country, and we realized, when too late, that we were
           in a trap.
 
           There was only one road open to us; that right through
           the camp.  Assuming the bravest look possible, and keeping
           our rifles in position for immediate action, we started
           on the perilous venture.  The chief met us with a smile
           of welcome, and said, in Spanish: "You must stay with us
           to-night.  Our young men will guard your stock, and we have
           plenty of buffalo meat."
 
           Realizing the danger of our situation, we took advantage
           of every moment of time to hurry through their camp.
           Captain Means, Ellison, and myself were a little distance
           behind the wagons, on horseback; observing that the balance
           of our men were evading them, the blood-thirsty savages
           at once threw off their masks of dissimulation and in an
           instant we knew the time for a struggle had arrived.
 
           The Indians, as we rode on, seized our bridle-reins and
           began to fire upon us.  Ellison and I put spurs to our
           horses and got away, but Captain Means, a brave man,
           was ruthlessly shot and cruelly scalped while the life-blood
           was pouring from his ghastly wounds.
 
           We succeeded in fighting them off until we had left their
           camp half a mile behind, and as darkness had settled down
           on us, we decided to go into camp ourselves.  We tied our
           gray bell-mare to a stake, and went out and jingled the
           bell, whenever any of us could do so, thus keeping the
           animals from stampeding.  We corralled our wagons for
           better protection, and the Indians kept us busy all night
           resisting their furious charges.  We all knew that death
           at our posts would be infinitely preferable to falling
           into their hands; so we resolved to sell our lives as
           dearly as possible.
 
           The next day we made but five miles; it was a continuous
           fight, and a very difficult matter to prevent their
           capturing us.  This annoyance was kept up for four days;
           they would surround us, then let up as if taking time to
           renew their strength, to suddenly charge upon us again,
           and they continued thus to harass us until we were almost
           exhausted from loss of sleep.
 
           After leaving the Cimarron, we once more emerged on the
           open plains and flattered ourselves we were well rid of
           the savages; but about twelve o'clock they came down on us
           again, uttering their demoniacal yells, which frightened
           our horses and mules so terribly, that we lost every hoof.
           A member of our party, named Hitt, in endeavouring to
           recapture some of the stolen stock, was taken by the
           savages, but luckily escaped from their clutches, after
           having been wounded in sixteen parts of his body;
           he was shot, tomahawked, and speared.  When the painted
           demons saw that one of their number had been killed by us,
           they left the field for a time, while we, taking advantage
           of the temporary lull, went back to our wagons and built
           breastworks of them, the harness, and saddles.  From noon
           until two hours in the night, when the moon went down,
           the savages were apparently confident we would soon fall
           a prey to them, and they made charge after charge upon
           our rude fortifications.
 
           Darkness was now upon us.  There were two alternatives
           before us: should we resolve to die where we were, or
           attempt to escape in the black hours of the night?
           It was a desperate situation.  Our little band looked
           the matter squarely in the face, and, after a council
           of war had been held, we determined to escape, if possible.
 
           In order to carry out our resolve, it was necessary to
           abandon the wagons, together with a large amount of silver
           coin, as it would be impossible to take all of the precious
           stuff with us in our flight; so we packed up as much of it
           as we could carry, and, bidding our hard-earned wealth
           a reluctant farewell, stepped out in the darkness like
           spectres and hurried away from the scene of death.
 
           Our proper course was easterly, but we went in a northerly
           direction in order to avoid the Indians.  We travelled
           all that night, the next day, and a portion of its night
           until we reached the Arkansas River, and, having eaten
           nothing during that whole time excepting a few prickly-pears,
           were beginning to feel weak from the weight of our burdens
           and exhaustion.  At this point we decided to lighten
           our loads by burying all of the money we had carried
           thus far, keeping only a small sum for each man.
           Proceeding to a small island in the river, our treasure,
           amounting to over ten thousand silver dollars, was cached
           in the ground between two cottonwood trees.
 
           Believing now that we were out of the usual range of
           the predatory Indians, we shot a buffalo and an antelope
           which we cooked and ate without salt or bread; but no meal
           has ever tasted better to me than that one.
 
           We continued our journey northward for three or four days
           more, when, reaching Pawnee Fork, we travelled down it for
           more than a week, arriving again on the Old Santa Fe Trail.
           Following the Trail three days, we arrived at Walnut Creek,
           then left the river again and went eastwardly to Cow Creek.
           When we reached that point, we had become so completely
           exhausted and worn out from subsisting on buffalo meat
           alone, that it seemed as if there was nothing left for
           us to do but lie down and die.  Finally it was determined
           to send five of the best-preserved men on ahead to
           Independence, two hundred miles, for the purpose of
           procuring assistance; the other fifteen to get along
           as well as they could until succour reached them.
 
           I was one of the five selected to go on in advance, and
           I shall never forget the terrible suffering we endured.
           We had no blankets, and it was getting late in the fall.
           Some of us were entirely barefooted, and our feet so sore
           that we left stains of blood at every step.  Deafness, too,
           seized upon us so intensely, occasioned by our weak
           condition, that we coud not hear the report of a gun fired
           at a distance of only a few feet.
 
           At one place two of our men laid down their arms, declaring
           they could carry them no farther, and would die if they
           did not get water.  We left them and went in search of some.
           After following a dry branch several miles, we found
           a muddy puddle from which we succeeded in getting half
           a bucket full, and, although black and thick, it was life
           for us and we guarded it with jealous eyes.  We returned
           to our comrades about daylight, and the water so refreshed
           them they were able to resume the weary march.  We travelled
           on until we arrived at the Big Blue River, in Missouri,
           on the bank of which we discovered a cabin about fifteen
           miles from Independence.  The occupants of the rude shanty
           were women, seemingly very poor, but they freely offered us
           a pot of pumpkin they were stewing.  When they first saw us,
           they were terribly frightened, because we looked more like
           skeletons than living beings.  They jumped on the bed while
           we were greedily devouring the pumpkin, but we had to
           refuse some salt meat which they had also proffered,
           as our teeth were too sore to eat it.  In a short time
           two men came to the cabin and took three of our men
           home with them.  We had subsisted for eleven days on
           one turkey, a coon, a crow, and some elm bark, with an
           occasional bunch of wild grapes, and the pictures we
           presented to these good people they will never, probably,
           forget; we had not tasted bread or salt for thirty-two days.
 
           The next day our newly found friends secured horses and
           guided us to Independence, all riding without saddles.
           One of the party had gone on to notify the citizens of
           our safety, and when we arrived general muster was going on,
           the town was crowded, and when the people looked upon us
           the most intense excitement prevailed.  All business was
           suspended; the entire population flocked around us to hear
           the remarkable story of our adventures, and to render us
           the assistance we so much needed.  We were half-naked,
           foot-sore, and haggard, presenting such a pitiable picture
           that the greatest sympathy was immediately aroused in
           our behalf.
 
           We then said that behind us on the Trail somewhere, fifteen
           comrades were struggling toward Independence, or were
           already dead from their sufferings.  In a very few minutes
           seven men with fifteen horses started out to rescue them.
 
           They were gone from Independence several days, but had the
           good fortune to find all the men just in time to save them
           from starvation and exhaustion.  Two were discovered
           a hundred miles from Independence, and the remainder
           scattered along the Trail fifty miles further in their rear.
           Not more than two of the unfortunate party were together.
           The humane rescuers seemingly brought back nothing but
           living skeletons wrapped in rags; but the good people of
           the place vied with each other in their attentions, and
           under their watchful care the sufferers rapidly recuperated.
 
           One would suppose that we had had enough of the great plains
           after our first trip; not so, however, for in the spring
           we started again on the same journey.  Major Riley, with
           four companies of regular soldiers, was detailed to escort
           the Santa Fe traders' caravans to the boundary line between
           the United States and Mexico, and we went along to recover
           the money we had buried, the command having been ordered to
           remain in camp to await our return until the 20th of October.
 
           We left Fort Leavenworth about the 10th of May, and were
           soon again on the plains.  Many of the troops had never
           seen any buffalo before, and found great sport in wantonly
           slaughtering them.  At Walnut Creek we halted to secure
           a cannon which had been thrown into that stream two seasons
           previously, and succeeded in dragging it out.  With a seine
           made of brush and grape vine, we caught more fine fish than
           we could possibly dispose of.  One morning the camp was
           thrown into the greatest state of excitement by a band of
           Indians running an enormous herd of buffalo right into us.
           The troops fired at them by platoons, killing hundreds
           of them.
 
           We marched in two columns, and formed a hollow square
           at night when we camped, in which all slept excepting
           those on guard duty.  Frequently some one would discover
           a rattlesnake or a horned toad in bed with him, and it
           did not take him a very long time to crawl out of his
           blankets!
 
           On the 10th of July, we arrived at the dividing line
           separating the two countries, and went into camp.  The next
           day Major Riley sent a squad of soldiers to escort myself
           and another of our old party, who had helped bury the
           ten thousand dollars, to find it.  It was a few miles
           further up the Arkansas than our camp, in the Mexican
           limits, and when we reached the memorable spot on the
           island,[20] we found the coin safe, but the water had
           washed the earth away, and the silver was exposed to view
           to excite the cupidity of any one passing that way;
           there were not many travellers on that lonely route in
           those days, however, and it would have been just as secure,
           probably, had we simply poured it on the ground.
 
           We put the money in sacks and deposited it with Major Riley,
           and, leaving the camp, started for Santa Fe with Captain
           Bent as leader of the traders.  We had not proceeded far
           when our advanced guard met Indians.  They turned, and when
           within two hundred yards of us, one man named Samuel Lamme
           was killed, his body being completely riddled with arrows.
           His head was cut off, and all his clothes stripped from
           his body.  We had a cannon, but the Mexicans who hauled it
           had tied it up in such a way that it could not be utilized
           in time to effect anything in the first assault; but when
           at last it was turned loose upon the Indians, they fled
           in dismay at the terrible noise.
 
           The troops at the crossing of the Arkansas, hearing the
           firing, came to our assistance.  The next morning the
           hills were covered by fully two thousand Indians, who had
           evidently congregated there for the purpose of annihilating
           us, and the coming of the soldiers was indeed fortunate;
           for as soon as the cowardly savages discovered them
           they fled.  Major Riley accompanied us on our march for
           a few days, and, seeing no more Indians, he returned to
           his camp.
 
           We travelled on for a week, then met a hundred Mexicans
           who were out on the plains hunting buffalo.  They had
           killed a great many and were drying the meat.  We waited
           until they were ready to return and then all started for
           Santa Fe together.
 
           At Rabbit-Ear Mountain the Indians had constructed
           breastworks in the brush, intending to fight it out there.
           The Mexicans were in the advance and had one of their
           number killed before discovering the enemy.  We passed
           Point of Rocks and camped on the river.  One of the
           Mexicans went out hunting and shot a huge panther;
           next morning he asked a companion to go with him and help
           skin the animal.  They saw the Indians in the brush, and
           the one who had killed the panther said to the other,
           "Now for the mountains"; but his comrade retreated,
           and was despatched by the savages almost within reach
           of the column.
 
           We now decided to change our destination, intending to go
           to Taos instead of Santa Fe, but the governor of the
           Province sent out troops to stop us, as Taos was not a
           place of entry.  The soldiers remained with us a whole week,
           until we arrived at Santa Fe, where we disposed of our goods
           and soon began to make preparations for our return trip.
 
           When we were ready to start back, seven priests and a
           number of wealthy families, comfortably fixed in carriages,
           accompanied us.  The Mexican government ordered Colonel
           Viscarra of the army, with five troops of cavalry,
           to guard us to the camp of Major Riley.
 
           We experienced no trouble until we arrived at the
           Cimarron River.  About sunset, just as we were preparing
           to camp for the night, the sentinels saw a body of a
           hundred Indians approaching; they fired at them and ran
           to camp.  Knowing they had been discovered, the Indians
           came on and made friendly overtures; but the Pueblos who
           who were with the command of Colonel Viscarra wanted to
           fight them at once, saying the fellows meant mischief.
           We declined to camp with them unless they would agree to
           give up their arms; they pretended they were willing to
           do so, when one of them put his gun at the breast of our
           interpreter and pulled the trigger.  In an instant a bloody
           scene ensued; several of Viscarra's men were killed,
           together with a number of mules.  Finally the Indians
           were whipped and tried to get away, but we chased them
           some distance and killed thirty-five.  Our friendly Pueblos
           were delighted, and proceeded to scalp the savages,
           hanging the bloody trophies on the points of their spears.
           That night they indulged in a war-dance which lasted
           until nearly morning.
 
           We were delighted to see a beautiful sunshiny day after
           the horrors of the preceding night, and continued our march
           without farther interruption, safely arriving at the camp
           on the boundary line, where Major Riley was waiting for us,
           as we supposed; but his time having expired the day before,
           he had left for Fort Leavenworth.  A courier was despatched
           to him, however, as Colonel Viscarra desired to meet the
           American commander and see his troops.  The courier overtook
           Major Riley a short distance away, and he halted for us
           to come up.  Both commands then went into camp, and spent
           several days comparing the discipline of the armies of
           the two nations, and having a general good time.
           Colonel Viscarra greatly admired our small arms, and
           took his leave in a very courteous manner.
 
           We arrived at Fort Leavenworth late in the season, and
           from there we all scattered.  I received my share of the
           money we had cached on the island, and bade my comrades
           farewell, only a few of whom I have ever seen since.
 
 Mr. Hitt in his notes of this same perilous trip says:
           When the grass had sufficiently started to insure the
           subsistence of our teams, our wagons were loaded with
           a miscellaneous assortment of merchandise and the first
           trader's caravan of wagons that ever crossed the plains
           left Independence.  Before we had travelled three weeks
           on our journey, we were one evening confronted with the
           novel fact of camping in a country where not a stick of
           wood could be found.  The grass was too green to burn,
           and we were wondering how our fire could be started
           with which to boil our coffee, or cook our bread.  One of
           our number, however, while diligently searching for
           something to utilize, suddenly discovered scattered all
           around him a large quantity of buffalo-chips, and he soon
           had an excellent fire under way, his coffee boiling and
           his bacon sizzling over the glowing coals.
 
           We arrived in Santa Fe without incident, and as ours
           was the first train of wagons that ever traversed the
           narrow streets of the quaint old town, it was, of course,
           a great curiosity to the natives.
 
           After a few days' rest, sight-seeing, and purchasing stock
           to replace our own jaded animals, preparations were made
           for the return trip.  All the money we had received for
           our goods was in gold and silver, principally the latter,
           in consequence of which, each member of the company had
           about as much as he could conveniently manage, and,
           as events turned out, much more than he could take care of.
 
           On the morning of the third day out, when we were not
           looking for the least trouble, our entire herd was
           stampeded, and we were left upon the prairie without
           as much as a single mule to pursue the fast-fleeing
           thieves.  The Mexicans and Indians had come so suddenly
           upon us, and had made such an effective dash, that we
           stood like children who had broken their toys on a stone
           at their feet.  We were so unprepared for such a stampede
           that the thieves did not approach within rifle-shot range
           of the camp to accomplish their object; few of them
           coming within sight, even.
 
           After the excitement had somewhat subsided and we began
           to realize what had been done, it was decided that while
           some should remain to guard the camp, others must go to
           Santa Fe to see if they could not recover the stock.
           The party that went to Santa Fe had no difficulty in
           recognizing the stolen animals; but when they claimed them,
           they were laughed at by the officials of the place.
           They experienced no difficulty, however, in purchasing
           the same stock for a small sum, which they at once did,
           and hurried back to camp.  By this unpleasant episode
           we learned of the stealth and treachery of the miserable
           people in whose country we were.  We, therefore, took every
           precaution to prevent a repetition of the affair, and
           kept up a vigilant guard night and day.
 
           Matters progressed very well, and when we had travelled
           some three hundred miles eastwardly, thinking we were
           out of range of any predatory bands, as we had seen no
           sign of any living thing, we relaxed our vigilance somewhat.
           One morning, just before dawn, the whole earth seemed to
           resound with the most horrible noises that ever greeted
           human ears; every blade of grass appeared to re-echo
           the horrid din.  In a few moments every man was at his post,
           rifle in hand, ready for any emergency, and almost
           immediately a large band of Indians made their appearance,
           riding within rifle-shot of the wagons.  A continuous
           battle raged for several hours, the savages discharging
           a shot, then scampering off out of range as fast as
           their ponies could carry them.  Some, more brave than
           others would venture closer to the corral, and one of these
           got the contents of an old-fashioned flint-lock musket
           in his bowels.
 
           We were careful not all to fire at the same time, and
           several of our party, who were watching the effects of
           our shots declared they could see the dust fly out of
           the robes of the Indians as the bullets struck them.
           It was learned afterward that a number of the savages
           were wounded, and that several had died.  Many were armed
           with bows and arrows only, and in order to do any execution
           were obliged to come near the corral.  The Indians soon
           discovered they were getting the worst of the fight, and,
           having run off all the stock, abandoned the conflict,
           leaving us in possession of the camp, but it can hardly
           be said masters of the situation.
 
           There we were; thirty-five pioneers upon the wild prairie,
           surrounded by a wily and terribly cruel foe, without
           transportation of any character but our own legs, and with
           five hundred miles of dangerous, trackless waste between
           us and the settlements.  We had an abundance of money,
           but the stuff was absolutely worthless for the present,
           as there was nothing we could buy with it.
 
           After the last savage had ridden away into the sand hills
           on the opposite side of the river, each one of us had a
           thrilling story to relate of his individual narrow escapes.
           Though none was killed, many received wounds, the scars
           of which they carried through life.  I was wounded six
           times.  Once was in the thigh by an arrow, and once while
           loading my rifle I had my ramrod shot off close to the
           muzzle of my piece, the ball just grazing my shoulder,
           tearing away a small portion of the skin.  Others had
           equally curious experiences, but none were seriously injured.
 
           After the excitement incident to the battle had subsided,
           the realization of our condition fully dawned upon us.
           When we were first robbed, we were only a short distance
           from Santa Fe, where our money easily procured other stock;
           now there were three hundred miles behind us to that place,
           and the picture was anything but pleasant to contemplate.
           To transport supplies for thirty-five men seemed impossible.
           Our money was now a burden greater than we could bear;
           what was to be done with it?  We would have no use for it
           on our way to the settlements, yet the idea of abandoning
           it seemed hard to accept.  A vigilant guard was kept up
           that day and night, during which time we all remained
           in camp, fearing a renewal of the attack.
 
           The next morning, as there were no apparent signs of
           the Indians, it was decided to reconnoitre the surrounding
           country in the hope of recovering a portion, at least,
           of our lost stock, which we thought might have become
           separated from the main herd.  Three men were detailed
           to stay in the old camp to guard it while the remainder,
           in squads, scoured the hills and ravines.  Not a horse
           or mule was visible anywhere; the stampede had been
           complete--not even the direction the animals had taken
           could be discovered.
 
           It was late in the afternoon when I, having left my
           companions to continue the search and returning to camp
           alone, had gotten within a mile of it, that I thought I saw
           a horse feeding upon an adjoining hill.  I at once turned
           my steps in that direction, and had proceeded but a short
           distance when three Indians jumped from their ambush in
           the grass between me and the wagons and ran after me.
           The men in camp had been watching my every movement,
           and as soon as they saw the savages were chasing me,
           they started in pursuit, running at their greatest speed
           to my rescue.
 
           The savages soon overtook me, and the first one that
           came up tackled me, but in an instant found himself flat
           on the ground.  Before he could get up, the second one
           shared the same fate.  By this time the third one arrived,
           and the two I had thrown grabbed me by the legs so that
           I could no longer handle myself, while the third one had
           a comparatively easy task in pushing me over.  Fortunately,
           my head fell toward the camp and my fast-approaching
           comrades.  The two Indians held my legs to prevent my
           rising, while the third one, who was standing over me,
           drew from his belt a tomahawk, and shrugging his head
           in his blanket, at the same time looking over his shoulder
           at my friends, with a tremendous effort and that peculiar
           grunt of all savages, plunged his hatchet, as he supposed,
           into my head, but instead of scuffling to free myself
           and rise to my feet, I merely turned my head to one side
           and the wicked weapon was buried in the ground, just
           grazing my ear.
 
           The Indian, seeing that he had missed, raised his hatchet
           and once more shrugging his head in his blanket, and
           turning to look over his other shoulder, attempted to
           strike again, but the blow was evaded by a sudden toss
           of his intended victim's head.  Not satisfied with two
           abortive trials, the third attempt must be made to brain me,
           and repeating the same motions, with a great "Ugh!" he
           seemed to put all his strength into the blow, which, like
           the others, missed, and spent its force in the earth.
           By this time the rescuing party had come near enough to
           prevent the savage from risking another effort, and he then
           addressed the other Indians in Spanish, which I understood,
           saying, "We must run or the Americans will kill us!"
           and loosening his grasp, he scampered off with his
           companions as fast as his legs could take him, hurried on
           by several pieces of lead fired from the old flintlocks
           of the traders.
 
           By sundown every man had returned to the forlorn camp,
           but not an animal had been recovered.  Then, with tired
           limbs and weary hearts, we took turns at guarding the
           wagons through the long night.  The next morning each man
           shouldered his rifle, and having had his proportion of
           the provisions and cooking utensils assigned him,
           we broke camp, and again turned to take a last look at
           the country behind us, in which we had experienced so much
           misfortune, and started on foot for our long march through
           the dangerous region ahead of us.
 
           Scarcely had we gotten out of sight of our abandoned camp,
           when one of the party, happening to turn his eyes in that
           direction, saw a large volume of smoke rising in the
           vicinity; then we knew that all of our wagons, and
           everything we had been forced to leave, were burning up.
           This proved that, although we had been unable to discover
           any signs of Indians, they had been lurking around us
           all the time, and this fact warned us to exercise the
           utmost vigilance in guarding our persons.
 
           Though our burdens were very heavy, the first few days
           were passed without anything to relieve the dreadful
           monotony of our wearisome march; but each succeeding
           twenty-four hours our loads became visibly lighter,
           as our supplies were rapidly diminishing.  It had already
           become apparent that even in the exercise of the greatest
           frugality, our stock of provisions would not last until
           we could reach the settlements, so some of the most expert
           shots were selected to hunt for game; but even in this
           they were not successful, the very birds seeming to have
           abandoned the country in its extreme desolation.
 
           After eight days' travel, despite our most rigid economy,
           an inventory showed that there was less than one hundred
           pounds of flour left.  Day after day the hunters repeated
           the same old story: "No game!"  For two weeks the allowance
           of flour to each individual was but a spoonful, stirred
           in water and taken three times a day.
 
           One afternoon, however, fortune smiled upon the weary party;
           one of the hunters returned to camp with a turkey he had
           killed.  It was soon broiling over a fire which willing
           hands had kindled, and our drooping spirits were revived
           for a while.  While the turkey was cooking, a crow flew
           over the camp, and one of the company, seizing a gun,
           despatched it, and in a few moments it, too, was sizzling
           along with the other bird.
 
           Now, in addition to the pangs of hunger, a scarcity of
           water confronted us, and one day we were compelled to
           resort to a buffalo-wallow and suck the moist clay where
           the huge animals had been stamping in the mud.  We were
           much reduced in strength, yet each day added new
           difficulties to our forlorn situation.  Some became so weak
           and exhausted that it was with the greatest effort they
           could travel at all.  To divide the company and leave
           the more feeble behind to starve, or to be murdered by
           the merciless savages, was not considered for a moment;
           but one alternative remained, and that was speedily accepted.
           As soon as a convenient camping-ground could be found,
           a halt was made, shelter established, and things made as
           comfortable as possible.  Here the weakest remained to rest,
           while some of the strongest scoured the surrounding country
           in search of game.  During this temporary halt the hunters
           were more successful than before, having killed two
           buffaloes, besides some smaller animals, in one morning.
           Again the natural dry fuel of the prairies was called
           into requisition, and juicy steak was once more broiling
           over the fire.
 
           With an abundance to eat and a few days' rest, the whole
           company revived and were enabled to renew their march
           homeward.  We were now in the buffalo range, and every day
           the hunters were fortunate enough to kill one or more of
           the immense animals, thus keeping our larder in excellent
           condition, and starvation averted.
 
           Doubting whether our good fortune in relation to food
           would continue for the remainder of our march, and our
           money becoming very cumbersome, it was decided by a majority
           that at the first good place we came to we would bury it
           and risk its being stolen by our enemies.  When not more
           than half of our journey had been accomplished, we came
           to an island in the river to which we waded, and there,
           between two large trees, dug a hole and deposited our
           treasure.  We replaced the sod over the spot, taking the
           utmost precaution to conceal every sign of having disturbed
           the ground.  Though no Indians had been seen for several
           days, a sharp lookout was kept in all directions for fear
           that some lurking savage might have been watching our
           movements.  This task finished, with much lighter burdens,
           but more anxious than ever, we again took up our march
           eastwardly, and, thus relieved, were able to carry a
           greater quantity of provisions.
 
           Having journeyed until we supposed we were within a few
           miles of the settlements, some of our number, scarcely able
           to travel, thought the best course to pursue would be to
           divide the company; one portion to press on, the weaker
           ones to proceed by easier stages, and when the advance
           arrived at the settlements, they were to send back a relief
           for those plodding on wearily behind them.  Soon a few
           who were stronger than the others reached Independence,
           Missouri, and immediately sent a party with horses to
           bring in their comrades; so, at last, all got safely to
           their homes.
 
 In the spring of 1829, Major Bennett Riley of the United States army
 was ordered with four companies of the Sixth Regular Infantry to
 march out on the Trail as the first military escort ever sent for
 the protection of the caravans of traders going and returning between
 Western Missouri and Santa Fe.  Captain Philip St. George Cooke,
 of the Dragoons, accompanied the command, and kept a faithful journal
 of the trip, from which, and the official report of Major Riley to
 the Secretary of War, I have interpolated here copious extracts.
 
 The journal of Captain Cooke states that the battalion marched
 from Fort Leavenworth, which was then called a cantonment, and,
 strange to say, had been abandoned by the Third Infantry on account
 of its unhealthiness.  It was the 5th of June that Riley crossed
 the Missouri at the cantonment, and recrossed the river again at
 a point a little above Independence, in order to avoid the Kaw,
 or Kansas, which had no ferry.
 
 After five days' marching, the command arrived at Round Grove, where
 the caravan had been ordered to rendezvous and wait for the escort.
 The number of traders aggregated about seventy-nine men, and their
 train consisted of thirty-eight wagons drawn by mules and horses,
 the former preponderating.  Five days' marching, at an average of
 fifteen miles a day, brought them to Council Grove.  Leaving the
 Grove, in a short time Cow Creek was reached, which at that date
 abounded in fish; many of which, says the journal, "weighed several
 pounds, and were caught as fast as the line could be handled."
 The captain does not describe the variety to which he refers;
 probably they were the buffalo--a species of sucker, to be found
 to-day in every considerable stream in Kansas.
 
 Having reached the Upper Valley,[21] bordered by high sand hills,
 the journal continues:
 
           From the tops of the hills, we saw far away, in almost
           every direction, mile after mile of prairie, blackened
           with buffalo.  One morning, when our march was along the
           natural meadows by the river, we passed through them for
           miles; they opened in front and closed continually in
           the rear, preserving a distance scarcely over three hundred
           paces.  On one occasion, a bull had approached within
           two hundred yards without seeing us, until he ascended
           the river bank; he stood a moment shaking his head, and
           then made a charge at the column.  Several officers
           stepped out and fired at him, two or three dogs also rushed
           to meet him; but right onward he came, snorting blood
           from mouth and nostril at every leap, and, with the speed
           of a horse and the momentum of a locomotive, dashed
           between two wagons, which the frightened oxen nearly upset;
           the dogs were at his heels and soon he came to bay, and,
           with tail erect, kicked violently for a moment, and then
           sank in death--the muscles retaining the dying rigidity
           of tension.
 
 About the middle of July, the command arrived at its destination--
 Chouteau's Island, then on the boundary line between the United States
 and New Mexico.
 
           Our orders were to march no further; and, as a protection
           to the trade, it was like the establishment of a ferry
           to the mid-channel of a river.
 
           Up to this time, traders had always used mules or horses.
           Our oxen were an experiment, and it succeeded admirably;
           they even did better when water was very scarce, which is
           an important consideration.
 
           A few hours after the departure of the trading company,
           as we enjoyed a quiet rest on a hot afternoon, we saw
           beyond the river a number of horsemen riding furiously
           toward our camp.  We all flocked out of the tents to hear
           the news, for they were soon recognized as traders.
           They stated that the caravan had been attacked, about
           six miles off in the sand hills, by an innumerable host
           of Indians; that some of their companions had been killed;
           and they had run, of course, for help.  There was not a
           moment's hesitation; the word was given, and the tents
           vanished as if by magic.  The oxen which were grazing
           near by were speedily yoked to the wagons, and into the
           river we marched.  Then I deemed myself the most unlucky
           of men; a day or two before, while eating my breakfast,
           with my coffee in a tin cup--notorious among chemists and
           campaigners for keeping it hot--it was upset into my shoe,
           and on pulling off the stocking, it so happened that the
           skin came with it.  Being thus hors de combat, I sought to
           enter the combat on a horse, which was allowed; but I was
           put in command of the rear guard to bring up the baggage
           train.  It grew late, and the wagons crossed slowly;
           for the river unluckily took that particular time to
           rise fast, and, before all were over, we had to swim it,
           and by moonlight.  We reached the encampment at one o'clock
           at night.  All was quiet, and remained so until dawn,
           when, at the sound of our bugles, the pickets reported
           they saw a number of Indians moving off.  On looking
           around us, we perceived ourselves and the caravan in the
           most unfavorable defenceless situation possible--in the
           area of a natural amphitheatre of sand hills, about fifty
           feet high, and within gun-shot all around.  There was
           the narrowest practicable entrance and outlet.
 
           We ascertained that some mounted traders, in spite of all
           remonstrance and command, had ridden on in advance, and
           when in the narrow pass beyond this spot, had been suddenly
           beset by about fifty Indians; all fled and escaped save one,
           who, mounted on a mule, was abandoned by his companions,
           overtaken, and slain.  The Indians, perhaps, equalled the
           traders in number, but notwithstanding their extraordinary
           advantage of ground, dared not attack them when they
           made a stand among their wagons; and the latter, all well
           armed, were afraid to make a single charge, which would
           have scattered their enemies like sheep.
 
           Having buried the poor fellow's body, and killed an ox for
           breakfast, we left this sand hollow, which would soon have
           been roasting hot, and advancing through the defile--of
           which we took care to occupy the commanding ground--
           proceeded to escort the traders at least one day's march
           further.
 
           When the next morning broke clear and cloudless, the command
           was confronted by one of those terrible hot winds, still
           frequent on the plains.  The oxen with lolling tongues
           were incapable of going on; the train was halted, and the
           suffering animals unyoked, but they stood motionless,
           making no attempt to graze.  Late that afternoon, the
           caravan pushed on for about ten miles, where was the
           sandy bed of a dry creek, and fortunately, not far from
           the Trail, up the stream, a pool of water and an acre
           or two of grass was discovered.  On the surface of the
           water floated thick the dead bodies of small fish, which
           the intense heat of the sun that day had killed.
 
           Arriving at this point, it was determined to march no
           further into the Mexican territory.  At the first light
           next day we were in motion to return to the river and
           the American line, and no further adventure befell us.
 
 While permanently encamped at Chouteau's Island, which is situated
 in the Arkansas River, the term of enlistment of four of the soldiers
 of Captain Cooke's command expired, and they were discharged.
 In his journal he says:
 
           Contrary to all advice they determined to return to
           Missouri.  After having marched several hundred miles
           over a prairie country, being often on high hills
           commanding a vast prospect, without seeing a human being
           or a sign of one, and, save the trail we followed, not
           the slightest indication that the country had ever been
           visited by man, it was exceedingly difficult to credit
           that lurking foes were around us, and spying our motions.
           It was so with these men; and being armed, they set out
           on the first of August on foot for the settlements.
           That same night three of the four returned.  They reported
           that, after walking about fifteen miles, they were
           surrounded by thirty mounted Indians.  A wary old soldier
           of their number succeeded in extricating them before any
           hostile act had been committed; but one of them, highly
           elated and pleased at their forbearance, insisted on
           returning among them to give them tobacco and shake hands.
           In this friendly act he was shot down.  The Indians
           stripped him in an incredibly short time, and as quickly
           dispersed to avoid a shot; and the old soldier, after
           cautioning the others to reserve their fire, fired among
           them, and probably with some effect.  Had the others done
           the same, the Indians would have rushed upon them before
           they could have reloaded.  They managed to make good
           their retreat in safety to our camp.
 
           We were instructed to wait here for the return of the
           caravan, which was expected early in October.
           Our provisions consisted of salt and half rations of flour,
           besides a reserve of fifteen days' full rations--as to the
           rest, we were dependent upon hunting.  When the buffalo
           became scarce, or the grass bad, we marched to other
           ground, thus roving up and down the river for eighty
           miles.  The first thing we did after camping was to dig
           and construct, with flour barrels, a well in front of
           each company; water was always found at the depth of
           from two to four feet varying with the corresponding
           height of the river, but clear and cool.  Next we would
           build sod fire-places; these, with network platforms of
           buffalo hide, used for smoking and drying meat, formed a
           tolerable additional defence, at least against mounted men.
 
           Hunting was a military duty, done by detail, parties of
           fifteen or twenty going out with a wagon.  Completely
           isolated, and beyond support or even communication,
           in the midst of many thousands of Indians, the utmost
           vigilance was maintained.  Officer of the guard every
           fourth night; I was always awake and generally in motion
           the whole time of duty.  Night alarms were frequent; when,
           as we all slept in our clothes, we were accustomed to
           assemble instantly, and with scarcely a word spoken,
           take our places in the grass in front of each face of
           the camp, where, however wet, we sometimes lay for hours.
 
           While encamped a few miles below Chouteau's Island, on the
           eleventh of August, an alarm was given, and we were under
           arms for an hour until daylight.  During the morning,
           Indians were seen a mile or two off, leading their horses
           through the ravines.  A captain, however, with eighteen
           men was sent across the river after buffalo, which we saw
           half a mile distant.  In his absence, a large body of
           Indians came galloping down the river, as if to charge
           the camp, but the cattle were secured in good time.
           A company, of which I was lieutenant, was ordered to
           cross the river and support the first.  We waded in some
           disorder through the quicksands and current, and just
           as we neared a dry sandbar in the middle, a volley was
           fired at us by a band of Indians, who that moment rode
           to the water's edge.  The balls whistled very near,
           but without damage; I felt an involuntary twitch of
           the neck, and wishing to return the compliment instantly,
           I stooped down, and the company fired over my head,
           with what execution was not perceived, as the Indians
           immediately retired out of our view.  This had passed
           in half a minute, and we were astonished to see, a little
           above, among some bushes on the same bar, the party we had
           been sent to support, and we heard that they had abandoned
           one of the hunters, who had been killed.  We then saw,
           on the bank we had just left, a formidable body of the
           enemy in close order, and hoping to surprise them,
           we ascended the bed of the river.  In crossing the channel
           we were up to the arm-pits, but when we emerged on the
           bank, we found that the Indians had detected the movement,
           and retreated.  Casting eyes beyond the river, I saw a
           number of the Indians riding on both sides of a wagon
           and team which had been deserted, urging the animals
           rapidly toward the hills.  At this juncture the adjutant
           sent an order to cross and recover the body of the slain
           hunter, who was an old soldier and a favourite.  He was
           brought in with an arrow still transfixing his breast,
           but his scalp was gone.
 
           On the fourteenth of October, we again marched on our
           return.  Soon after, we saw smokes arise over the distant
           hills; evidently signals, indicating to different parties
           of Indians our separation and march, but whether preparatory
           to an attack upon the Mexicans or ourselves, or rather
           our immense drove of animals, we could only guess.
 
           Our march was constantly attended by great collections
           of buffalo, which seemed to have a general muster, perhaps
           for migration.  Sometimes a hundred or two--a fragment
           from the multitude--would approach within two or three
           hundred yards of the column, and threaten a charge which
           would have proved disastrous to the mules and their drivers.
 
           Under the friendly cover of the shades of evening, on the
           eighth of November, our tatterdemalion veterans marched
           into Fort Leavenworth, and took quiet possession of the
           miserable huts and sheds left by the Third Infantry in
           the preceding May. 


 

A ROMANTIC TRAGEDY.
 
 
 
 As early as November, 1842, a rumour was current in Santa Fe, and
 along the line of the Trail, that parties of Texans had left the
 Republic for the purpose of attacking and robbing the caravans to
 the United States which were owned wholly by Mexicans.  In consequence
 of this, several Americans were accused of being spies and acting
 in collusion with the Texans; many were arrested and carried to
 Santa Fe, but nothing could be proved against them, and the rumours
 of the intended purposes of the Texans died out.
 
 Very early in May, however, of the following year, 1843, a certain
 Colonel Snively did organize a small force, comprising about two
 hundred men, which he led from Northern Texas, his home, to the
 line of the Trail, with the intention of attacking and robbing the
 Mexican caravans which were expected to cross the plains that month
 and in June.
 
 When he arrived at the Arkansas River, he was there reinforced by
 another Texan colonel, named Warfield with another small command.
 Gregg says:
 
           This officer, with about twenty men, had some time
           previously attacked the village of Mora, on the Mexican
           frontier, killing five men, and driving off a number
           of horses.  They were afterward followed by a party of
           Mexicans, however, who stampeded and carried away, not only
           their own horses, but those of the Texans.  Being left
           afoot, the latter burned their saddles, and walked to
           Bent's Fort, where they were disbanded; whence Warfield
           passed to Snively's camp, as before mentioned.
 
           The Texans now advanced along the Santa Fe Trail, beyond
           the sand hills south of the Arkansas, when they discovered
           that a party of Mexicans had passed toward the river.
           They soon came upon them, and a skirmish ensuing, eighteen
           Mexicans were killed, and as many wounded, five of whom
           afterward died.  The Texans suffered no injury, though
           the Mexicans were a hundred in number.  The rest were all
           taken prisoners except two, who escaped and bore the news
           to General Armijo, who was encamped with a large force
           at Cold Spring, one hundred and forty miles beyond.
 
 Kit Carson figured conspicuously in this fight, or, rather, immediately
 afterward.  His recital differs somewhat from Gregg's account,
 but the stories substantially agree.  Kit said that in April,
 previously to the assault upon Armijo's caravan, he had hired out
 as hunter to Bent's and Colonel St. Vrain's train caravan, which was
 then making its annual tour eastwardly.  When he arrived at the
 crossing of Walnut Creek,[22] he found the encampment of Captain
 Philip St. George Cooke, of the United States army, who had been
 detailed with his command to escort the caravans to the New Mexican
 boundary.  His force consisted of four troops of dragoons.
 The captain informed Carson that coming on behind him from the States
 was a caravan belonging to a very wealthy Mexican.
 
 It was a richly loaded train, and in order to insure its better
 protection while passing through that portion of the country infested
 by the blood-thirsty Comanches and Apaches, the majordomo in charge
 had hired one hundred Mexicans as a guard.  The teamsters and others
 belonging to the caravan had heard that a large body of Texans were
 lying in wait for them, and intended to murder and plunder them in
 retaliation for the way Armijo had treated some Texan prisoners
 he had got in his power at Santa Fe some time before.  Of course,
 it was the duty of the United States troops to escort this caravan
 to the New Mexico line, but there their duty would end, as they
 had no authority to cross the border.  The Mexicans belonging to
 the caravan were afraid they would be at the mercy of the Texans
 after they had parted company with the soldiers, and when Kit Carson
 met them, they, knowing the famous trapper and mountaineer well,
 asked him to take a letter to Armijo, who was then governor of
 New Mexico, and resided in Santa Fe, for which service they would
 give him three hundred dollars in advance.  The letter contained
 a statement of the fears they entertained, and requested the general
 to send Mexican troops at once to meet them.
 
 Carson, who was then not blessed with much money, eagerly accepted
 the task, and immediately started on the trail for Bent's Fort,
 in company with another old mountaineer and bosom friend named Owens.
 In a short time they arrived at the Fort, where Owens decided not
 to go any further, because they were informed by the men at Bent's
 that the Utes had broken out, and were scattered along the Trail
 at the most dangerous points, and he was fearful that his life
 would be endangered if he attempted to make Santa Fe.
 
 Kit, however, nothing daunted, and determined to do the duty for
 which he had been rewarded so munificently, started out alone on
 his perilous trip.  Mr. Bent kindly furnished him with the best and
 fastest horse he had in his stables, but Kit, realizing the dangers
 to which he would be exposed, walked, leading his animal, ready to
 mount him at a moment's notice; thus keeping him in a condition that
 would enable Carson to fly and make his escape if the savages tried
 to capture him.  His knowledge of the Indian character, and wonderful
 alertness in moments of peril, served him well; for he reached the
 village of the hostile Indians without their discovering his proximity.
 Hiding himself in a rocky, bush-covered canyon, he stayed there until
 night came on, when he continued his journey in the darkness.
 
 He took the trail to Taos, where he arrived in two or three days,
 and presented his letter to the alcalde, to be sent on to Santa Fe
 by special messenger.
 
 He was to remain at Taos until an answer from the governor arrived,
 and then return with it as rapidly as possible to the train.
 While at Taos, he was informed that Armijo had already sent out
 a company of one hundred soldiers to meet the caravan, and was to
 follow in person, with a thousand more.
 
 This first hundred were those attacked by Colonel Snively, as related
 by Gregg, who says that two survived, who carried the news of the
 disaster to Armijo at Cold Spring; but Carson told me that only one
 got away, by successfully catching, during the heat of the fight,
 a Texan pony already saddled, that was grazing around loose.
 With him he made Armijo's camp and related to the Mexican general
 the details of the terribly unequal battle.  Armijo, upon receipt
 of the news, "turned tail," and retreated to Santa Fe.
 
 Before Armijo left Santa Fe with his command, he had received the
 letter which Carson had brought from the caravan, and immediately
 sent one in reply for Carson to carry back, thinking that the old
 mountaineer might reach the wagons before he did.  Carson, with his
 usual promptness, started on the Trail for the caravan, and came up
 with it while it was escorted by the dragoons, thus saving it from
 the fate that the Texans intended for it, as they dared not attempt
 any interference in the presence of the United States troops.
 
 The rumour current in Santa Fe in relation to a probable raid of
 parties of Texans along the line of the Trail, for the purpose of
 attacking and robbing the caravans of the wealthy Mexican traders,
 was received with so little credence by the prominent citizens of
 the country, that several native trains left for the Missouri River
 without their proprietors having the slightest apprehension that
 they would not reach their destination, and make the return trip
 in safety.
 
 Among those who had no fear of marauders was Don Antonio Jose Chavez,
 who, in February, 1843, left Santa Fe for Independence with an outfit
 consisting of a number of wagons, his private coach, several servants
 and other retainers.  Don Antonio was a very wealthy Mexican engaged
 in a general mercantile business on a large scale in Albuquerque,
 who made all his purchases of goods in St. Louis, which was then
 the depot of supplies for the whole mountain region.  He necessarily
 carried with him on these journeys a large amount of money, in silver,
 which was the legal currency of the country, and made but one trip
 yearly to replenish the stock of goods required in his extensive
 trade in all parts of Mexico.
 
 Upon his arrival at Westport Landing, as Kansas City was then called,
 he would take the steamboat for St. Louis, leaving his coach, wagons,
 servants, and other appointments of his caravan behind him in the
 village of Westport, a few miles from the Landing.
 
 Westport was at that time, like all steamboat towns in the era of
 water navigation, the harbor of as great a lot of ruffians as ever
 escaped the gallows.  There was especially a noted gang of land pirates,
 the members of which had long indulged in speculations regarding the
 probable wealth of the Mexican Don, and how much coin he generally
 carried with him.  They knew that it must be considerable from the
 quantity of goods that always came by boat with him from St. Louis.
 
 At last a devilish plot was arranged to get hold of the rich trader's
 money.  Nine men were concerned in the robbery, nearly all of whom
 were residents of the vicinity of Westport; their leader was one
 John McDaniel, recently from Texas, from which government he claimed
 to hold a captain's commission, and one of their number was a doctor.
 It was evidently the intention of this band to join Warfield's party
 on the Arkansas, and engage in a general robbery of the freight
 caravans of the Santa Fe Trail belonging to the Mexicans; but they
 had determined that Chavez should be their first victim, and in order
 to learn when he intended to leave Santa Fe on his next trip east,
 they sent their spies out on the great highway.
 
 They did not dare attempt their contemplated robbery, and murder
 if necessary, in the State of Missouri, for there were too many
 citizens of the border who would never have permitted such a thing
 to go unpunished; so they knew that their only chance was to effect it
 in the Indian country of Kansas, where there was little or no law.
 
 Cow Creek, which debouches into the Arkansas at Hutchinson, where
 the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad crosses the historic
 little stream,[23] was, like Big and Little Coon creeks, a most
 dangerous point in the transcontinental passage of freight caravans
 and overland coaches, in the days of the commerce of the prairies.
 It was on this purling little prairie brook that McDaniel's band
 lay in wait for the arrival of the ill-fated Don Antonio, whose
 imposing equipage came along, intending to encamp on the bank,
 one of the usual stopping-places on the route.
 
 The Don was taken a few miles south of the Trail, and his baggage
 rifled.  All of his party were immediately murdered, but the wealthy
 owner of the caravan was spared for a few moments in order to make
 a confession of where his money was concealed, after which he was
 shot down in cold blood, and his body thrown into a ravine.
 
 It appears, however, that the ruffians had not completed their
 bloody work so effectually as they thought; for one of the Mexican's
 teamsters escaped, and, making his way to Leavenworth, reported
 the crime, and was soon on his way back to the Trail, guiding a
 detachment of United States troops in pursuit of the murderers.
 
 John Hobbs, scout, trapper, and veteran plainsman, happened to be
 hunting buffalo on Pawnee Fork, on the ground where Larned is now
 situated, with a party from Bent's Fort.  They were just on the point
 of crossing the Trail at the mouth of the Pawnee when the soldiers
 from Fort Leavenworth came along, and from them Hobbs and his
 companions first learned of the murder of Chavez on Cow Creek.
 As the men who were out hunting were all familiar with every foot
 of the region they were then in, the commanding officer of the troops
 induced them to accompany him in his search for the murderers.
 
 Hobbs and his men cheerfully accepted the invitation, and in about
 four days met the band of cut-throats on the broad Trail, they little
 dreaming that the government had taken a hand in the matter.
 The band tried to escape by flight, but Hobbs shot the doctor's horse
 from under him, and a soldier killed another member of the band,
 when the remainder surrendered.
 
 The money, about twelve or fifteen thousand dollars,[24] was all
 recovered, and the murderers taken to St. Louis, where some were hung
 and some imprisoned, the doctor escaping the death penalty by turning
 state's evidence.  His sentence was incarceration in the penitentiary,
 from which he was pardoned after remaining there two years.
 Hobbs met the doctor some years after in San Francisco.  He was then
 leading an honest life, publishing a newspaper, and begged his captor
 not to expose him.
 
 The money taken from the robbers was placed in charge of Colonel Owens,
 a friend of the Chavez family and a leading Santa Fe trader.
 He continued on to the river, purchased a stock of goods, and
 sent back the caravan to Santa Fe in charge of Doctor Conley of
 Boonville, Missouri.
 
 Arriving at his destination, the widow of the deceased Chavez
 employed the good doctor to sell the goods and take the sole
 supervision of her immense business interests, and there is a touch
 of romance attached to the terrible Kansas tragedy, which lies in
 the fact that the doctor in about two years married the rich widow,
 and lived very happily for about a decade, dying then on one of the
 large estates in New Mexico, which he had acquired by his fortunate
 union with the amiable Mexican lady. 


 

MEXICO DECLARES WAR.
 
 
 
 Mexico declared war against the United States in April, 1846.  In the
 following May, Congress passed an act authorizing the President to
 call into the field fifty thousand volunteers, designed to operate
 against Mexico at three distinct points, and consisting of the
 Southern Wing, or the Army of Occupation, the Army of the Centre,
 and the Army of the West, the latter to direct its march upon the
 city of Santa Fe.  The original plan was, however, somewhat changed,
 and General Kearney, who commanded the Army of the West, divided his
 forces into three separate commands.  The first he led in person
 to the Pacific coast.  One thousand volunteers, under command of
 Colonel A. W. Doniphan, were to make a descent upon the State of
 Chihuahua, while the remainder and greater part of the forces, under
 Colonel Sterling Price, were to garrison Santa Fe after its capture.
 
 There is a pretty fiction told of the breaking out of the war
 between Mexico and the United States.  Early in the spring of 1846,
 before it was known or even conjectured that a state of war would be
 declared to exist between this government and Mexico, a caravan
 of twenty-nine traders, on their way from Independence to Santa Fe,
 beheld, just after a storm and a little before sunset, a perfectly
 distinct image of the Bird of Liberty, the American eagle, on the
 disc of the sun.  When they saw it they simultaneously and almost
 involuntarily exclaimed that in less than twelve months the Eagle
 of Liberty would spread his broad plumes over the plains of the West,
 and that the flag of our country would wave over the cities of
 New Mexico and Chihuahua.  The student of the classics will remember
 that just before the assassination of Julius Caesar, both Brutus
 and Cassius, while in their places in the Roman Senate, saw chariots
 of fire in the sky.  One story is as true, probably, as the other,
 though separated by centuries of time.
 
 The Army of the West, under General Stephen W. Kearney, consisted of
 two batteries of artillery, commanded by Major Clark; three squadrons
 of the First United States Dragoons, commanded by Major Sumner;
 the First Regiment of Missouri Cavalry, commanded by Colonel Doniphan,
 and two companies of infantry, commanded by Captain Aubrey.
 This force marched in detached columns from Fort Leavenworth, and
 on the 1st of August, 1846, concentrated in camp on the Santa Fe
 Trail, nine miles below Bent's Fort.
 
 Accompanying the expedition was a party of the United States
 topographical engineers, under command of Lieutenant W. H. Emory.[25]
 In writing of this expedition, so far as its march relates to the
 Old Santa Fe Trail, I shall quote freely from Emory's report and
 Doniphan's historian.[26]
 
 The practicability of marching a large army over the waste,
 uncultivated, uninhabited prairie regions of the West was universally
 regarded as problematical, but the expedition proved completely
 successful.  Provisions were conveyed in wagons, and beef-cattle
 driven along for the use of the men.  These animals subsisted
 entirely by grazing.  To secure them from straying off at night,
 they were driven into corrals formed of the wagons, or tethered to
 an iron picket-pin driven into the ground about fifteen inches.
 At the outset of the expedition many laughable scenes took place.
 Our horses were generally wild, fiery, and unused to military
 trappings and equipments.  Amidst the fluttering of banners,
 the sounding of bugles, the rattling of artillery, the clattering
 of sabres and also of cooking utensils, some of them took fright
 and scampered pell-mell over the wide prairie.  Rider, arms and
 accoutrements, saddles, saddle-bags, tin cups, and coffee-pots,
 were frequently left far behind in the chase.  No very serious or
 fatal accident, however, occurred from this cause, and all was
 right as soon as the affrighted animals were recovered.
 
 The Army of the West was, perhaps, composed of as fine material as
 any other body of troops then in the field.  The volunteer corps
 consisted almost entirely of young men of the country.
 
 On the 9th of July, a separate detachment of the troops arrived at
 the Little Arkansas, where the Santa Fe Trail crosses that stream--
 now in McPherson County, Kansas.  The mosquitoes, gnats, and black
 flies swarmed in that locality and nearly drove the men and animals
 frantic.  While resting there, a courier came from the commands
 of General Kearney and Colonel Doniphan, stating that their men
 were in a starving condition, and asking for such provisions as
 could be spared.  Lieutenant-Colonel Ruff of Doniphan's regiment,
 in command of the troops now camped on the Little Arkansas, was
 almost destitute himself.  He had sent couriers forward to Pawnee Fork
 to stop a train of provisions at that point and have it wait there
 until he came up with his force, and he now directed the courier from
 Kearney to proceed to the same place and halt as many wagons loaded
 with supplies, as would suffice to furnish the three detachments
 with rations.  One of the couriers, in attempting to ford the fork
 of the Pawnee, which was bank-full, was drowned.  His body was found
 and given a military funeral; he was the first man lost on the
 expedition after it had reached the great plains, one having been
 drowned in the Missouri, at Fort Leavenworth, before the troops left.
 
 The author of _Doniphan's Expedition_ says:
           In approaching the Arkansas, a landscape of the most
           imposing and picturesque nature makes its appearance.
           While the green, glossy undulations of the prairie to
           the right seem to spread out in infinite succession,
           like waves subsiding after a storm, and covered with
           herds of gambolling buffalo, on the left, towering to
           the height of seventy-five to a hundred feet, rise the
           sun-gilt summits of the sand hills, along the base of
           which winds the broad, majestic river, bespeckled with
           verdant islets, thickly beset with cottonwood timber,
           the sand hills resembling heaps of driven snow.
 I refer to this statement to show how wonderfully the settlement
 of the region has changed the physical aspect of that portion
 bordering the Arkansas River.  Now those sand hills are covered
 with verdure, and this metamorphosis has taken place within the
 last thirty years; for the author of this work well remembers how
 the great sand dunes used to shine in the sunlight, when he first
 saw them a third of a century ago.  In coming from Fort Leavenworth
 up the Smoky Hill route to the Santa Fe Trail, where the former
 joined the latter at Pawnee Rock, the contour of the Arkansas
 could be easily traced by the white sand hills referred to,
 long before it was reached.
 
 On the 15th of July the combined forces formed a junction at
 Pawnee Fork, now within the city limits of Larned, Kansas.  The river
 was impassable, but General Kearney, with the characteristic energy
 of his family, determined not to be delayed, and to that end caused
 great trees to be cut down and their trunks thrown across the stream,
 over which the army passed, carrying in their arms the sick, the
 baggage, tents, and other paraphernalia; the animals being forced
 to swim.  The empty bodies of the wagons, fastened to their running
 gear, were floated across by means of ropes, and hauled up the
 slippery bank by the troops.  This required two whole days; and on
 the morning of the 17th, not an accident having occurred, the entire
 column was en route again, the infantry, as is declared in the
 official reports, keeping pace with the cavalry right along.
 Their feet, however, became terribly blistered, and, like the
 Continentals at Valley Forge, their tracks were marked with blood.
 
 In a day or two after the command had left Pawnee Fork, while camping
 in a beautiful spot on the bank of the Arkansas, an officer, Major
 Howard, who had been sent forward to Santa Fe some time previously
 by the general to learn something of the feeling of the people
 in relation to submitting to the government of the United States,
 returned and reported
 
           that the common people, or plebeians, were inclined to
           favour the conditions of peace proposed by General Kearney;
           viz. that if they would lay down their arms and take the
           oath of allegiance to the government of the United States,
           they should, to all intents and purposes, become citizens
           of the same republic, receiving the protection and enjoying
           the liberties guaranteed to other American citizens; but
           that the patricians who held the offices and ruled the
           country were hostile, and were making warlike preparations.
           He added, further, that two thousand three hundred men
           were already armed for the defence of the capital, and
           that others were assembling at Taos.
 This intelligence created quite a sensation in camp, and it was
 believed, and earnestly hoped, that the entrance of the troops
 into Santa Fe would be desperately opposed; such is the pugnacious
 character of the average American the moment he dons the uniform
 of a soldier.
 
 The army arrived at the Cimarron crossing of the Arkansas on the 20th,
 and during the march of nearly thirty miles from their last camp,
 a herd of about four hundred buffalo suddenly emerged from the
 Arkansas, and broke through the long column.  In an instant the
 troops charged upon the surprised animals with guns, pistols, and
 even drawn sabres, and many of the huge beasts were slaughtered
 as they went dashing and thundering among the excited troopers and
 infantrymen.
 
 On the 29th an express from Bent's Fort brought news to General
 Kearney from Santa Fe that Governor Armijo had called the chief men
 together to deliberate on the best means of defending the city;
 that hostile preparations were rapidly going on in all parts of
 New Mexico; and that the American advance would be vigorously opposed.
 Some Mexican prisoners were taken near Bent's Fort, with blank letters
 on their persons addressed to the general; it was supposed this piece
 of ingenuity was resorted to to deceive the American residents at
 the fort.  These men were thought to be spies sent out from Santa Fe
 to get an idea of the strength of the army; so they were shown
 everything in and around camp, and then allowed to depart in peace
 for Santa Fe, to report what they had seen.
 
 On the same date, the Army of the West crossed the Arkansas and camped
 on Mexican soil about eight miles below Bent's Fort, and now the
 utmost vigilance was exercised; for the troops had not only to keep
 a sharp lookout for the Mexicans, but for the wily Comanches, in whose
 country their camp was located.  Strong picket and camp guards were
 posted, and the animals turned loose to graze, guarded by a large
 force.  Notwithstanding the care taken to confine them within certain
 limits, a pack of wolves rushed through the herd, and in an instant
 it was stampeded, and there ensued a scene of the wildest confusion.
 More than a thousand horses were dashing madly over the prairie,
 their rage and fright increased at every jump by the lariats and
 picket-pins which they had pulled up, and which lashed them like
 so many whips.  After desperate exertions by the troops, the majority
 were recovered from thirty to fifty miles distant; nearly a hundred,
 however, were absolutely lost and never seen again.
 
 At this camp the troops were visited by the war chief of the Arapahoes,
 who manifested great surprise at the big guns, and declared that
 the Mexicans would not stand a moment before such terrible instruments
 of death, but would escape to the mountains with the utmost despatch.
 
 On the 1st of August a new camp near Bent's Fort was established,
 from whence twenty men under Lieutenant de Courcy, with orders to
 proceed through the mountains to the valley of Taos, to learn
 something of the disposition and intentions of the people, and to
 rejoin General Kearney on the road to Santa Fe.  Lieutenant de Courcy,
 in his official itinerary, relates the following anecdote:
           We took three pack-mules laden with provisions, and as
           we did not expect to be long absent, the men took no extra
           clothing.  Three days after we left the column our mules
           fell down, and neither gentle means nor the points of our
           sabres had the least effect in inducing them to rise.
           Their term of service with Uncle Sam was out.  "What's to
           be done?" said the sergeant.  "Dismount!" said I.
           "Off with your shirts and drawers, men! tie up the sleeves
           and legs, and each man bag one-twentieth part of the flour!"
           Having done this, the bacon was distributed to the men also,
           and tied to the cruppers of their saddles.  Thus loaded,
           we pushed on, without the slightest fear of our provision
           train being cut off.
 
           The march upon Santa Fe was resumed on the 2d of August.
           As we passed Bent's Fort the American flag was raised,
           in compliment to our troops, and, like our own, streamed
           most animatingly in the gale that swept from the desert,
           while the tops of the houses were crowded with Mexican girls
           and Indian squaws, intently beholding the American army.
 
 On the 15th of the month, the army neared Las Vegas; when two spies
 who had been sent on in advance to see how matters stood returned
 and reported that two thousand Mexicans were camped at the pass
 a few miles beyond the village, where they intended to offer battle.
 
 Upon receipt of this news, the general immediately formed a line
 of battle.  The United States dragoons with the St. Louis mounted
 volunteers were stationed in front, Major Clark with the battalion
 of volunteer light artillery in the centre, and Colonel Doniphan's
 regiment in the rear.  The companies of volunteer infantry were
 deployed on each side of the line of march as flankers.  The supply
 trains were next in order, with Captain Walton's mounted company
 as rear guard.  There was also a strong advance guard.  The cartridges
 were hastily distributed; the cannon swabbed and rigged; the
 port-fires burning, and every rifle loaded.
 
 In passing through the streets of the curious-looking village of
 Las Vegas, the army was halted, and from the roof of a large house
 General Kearney administered to the chief officers of the place
 the oath of allegiance to the United States, using the sacred cross
 instead of the Bible.  This act completed, on marched the exultant
 troops toward the canyon where it had been promised them that they
 should meet the enemy.
 
 On the night of the 16th, while encamped on the Pecos River, near
 the village of San Jose, the pickets captured a son of the Mexican
 General Salezar, who was acting the rôle of a spy, and two other
 soldiers of the Mexican army.  Salezar was kept a close prisoner;
 but the two privates were by order of General Kearney escorted
 through the camp and shown the cannon, after which they were allowed
 to depart, so that they might tell what they had seen.  It was
 learned afterward that they represented the American army as composed
 of five thousand troops, and possessing so many cannons that they
 were not able to count them.
 
 When Armijo was certain that the Army of the West was really
 approaching Santa Fe, he assembled seven thousand troops, part of them
 well armed, and the remainder indifferently so.  The Mexican general
 had written a note to General Kearney the day before the capture
 of the spies, saying that he would meet him on the following day.
 
 General Kearney, at this, hastened on, arriving at the mouth of
 the Apache canyon at noon, with his whole force ready and anxious
 to try the mettle of the Mexicans in battle.  Emory in his
 _Reconnoissance_ says:
 
           The sun shone with dazzling brightness; the guidons and
           colours of each squadron, regiment, and battalion were
           for the first time unfurled.  The drooping horses seemed
           to take courage from the gay array.  The trumpeters
           sounded "to horse" with spirit, and the hills multiplied
           and re-echoed the call.  All wore the aspect of a gala day.
           About the middle of the day's march the two Pueblo Indians,
           previously sent to sound the chief men of that formidable
           tribe, were seen in the distance, at full speed, with arms
           and legs both thumping the sides of their mules at every
           stride.  Something was now surely in the wind.  The smaller
           and foremost of the two dashed up to the general, his face
           radiant with joy, and exclaimed:
 
           "They are in the canyon, my brave; pluck up your courage
           and push them out."  As soon as his extravagant delight at
           the prospect of a fight, and the pleasure of communicating
           the news, had subsided, he gave a pretty accurate idea
           of Armijo's force and position.
 
           Shortly afterwards a rumour reached the camp that the
           two thousand Mexicans assembled in the canyon to oppose us,
           have quarrelled among themselves; and that Armijo, taking
           advantage of the dissensions, has fled with his dragoons
           and artillery to the south.  It is well known that he has
           been averse to a battle, but some of his people threatened
           his life if he refused to fight.  He had been, for some
           days, more in fear of his own people than of the American
           army, having seen what they are blind to--the hopelessness
           of resistance.
 
           As we approached the ancient town of Pecos, a large fat
           fellow, mounted on a mule, came toward us at full speed,
           and, extending his hand to the general, congratulated him
           on the arrival of himself and army.  He said with a roar
           of laughter, "Armijo and his troops have gone to h---ll,
           and the canyon is all clear."
 
 On reaching the canyon, it was found to be true that the Mexican
 troops had dispersed and fled to the mountains, just as the old
 Arapahoe chief had said they would.  There, however, they commenced
 to fortify, by chopping away the timber so that their artillery
 could play to better advantage upon the American lines, and by
 throwing up temporary breastworks.  It was ascertained afterward,
 on undoubted authority, that Armijo had an army of nearly seven
 thousand Mexicans, with six pieces of artillery, and the advantage
 of ground, yet he allowed General Kearney, with a force of less than
 two thousand, to march through the almost impregnable gorge, and on
 to the capital of the Province, without any attempt to oppose him.
 
 Thus was New Mexico conquered with but little loss relatively.
 For the further details of the movements of the Army of the West,
 the reader is referred to general history, as this book, necessarily,
 treats only of that portion of its march and the incidents connected
 with it while travelling the Santa Fe Trail. 


 

THE VALLEY OF TAOS.
 
 
 
 The principal settlement in New Mexico, immediately after it was
 reconquered from the Indians by the Spaniards, was, of course,
 Santa Fe, and ranking second to it, that of the beautiful Valle de Taos,
 which derived its name from the Taosa Indians, a few of whose direct
 descendants are still occupying a portion of the region.  As the
 pioneers in the trade with Santa Fe made their first journeys to
 the capital of the Province by the circuitous route of the Taos
 valley, and the initial consignments of goods from the Missouri
 were disposed of in the little villages scattered along the road,
 the story of the Trail would be deficient in its integrity were the
 thrilling historical facts connected with the romantic region omitted.
 
 The reader will find on all maps, from the earliest published to the
 latest issued by the local railroads, a town with the name of Taos,
 which never had an existence.  Fernandez de Taos is the chief city,
 which has been known so long by the title of the valley that perhaps
 the misnomer is excusable after many years' use.
 
 Fernandez, or Taos as it is called, was once famous for its
 distilleries of whiskey, made out of the native wheat, a raw, fiery
 spirit, always known in the days of the Santa Fe trade as "Taos
 lightning," which was the most profitable article of barter with
 the Indians, who exchanged their buffalo robes and other valuable
 furs for a supply of it, at a tremendous sacrifice.
 
 According to the statement of Gregg, the first white settler of the
 fertile and picturesque valley was a Spaniard named Pando, who
 established himself there about 1745.  This primitive pioneer of
 the northern part of the Province was constantly exposed to the raids
 of the powerful Comanches, but succeeded in creating a temporary
 friendship with the tribe by promising his daughter, then a young
 and beautiful infant, to the chief in marriage when she arrived
 at a suitable age.  At the time for the ratification of her father's
 covenant with the Indians, however, the maiden stubbornly refused
 to fulfil her part.  The savages, enraged at the broken faith of
 the Spaniard, immediately swept down upon the little settlement and
 murdered everybody there except the betrothed girl, whom they
 carried off into captivity.  She was forced to live with the chief
 as his wife, but he soon became tired of her and traded her for
 another woman with the Pawnees, who, in turn, sold her to a Frenchman,
 a resident of St. Louis.  It is said that some of the most respectable
 families of that city are descended from her, and fifty years ago
 there were many people living who remembered the old lady, and her
 pathetic story of trials and sufferings when with the Indians.
 
 The most tragic event in the history of the valley was the massacre
 of the provisional governor of the Territory of New Mexico, with
 a number of other Americans, shortly after its occupation by the
 United States.
 
 Upon General Kearney's taking possession of Santa Fe, acting under
 the authority of the President, he established a civil government
 and put it into operation.  Charles Bent was appointed governor,
 and the other offices filled by Americans and Mexicans who were
 rigidly loyal to the political change.  At this time the command
 of the troops devolved upon Colonel Sterling Price, Colonel Doniphan,
 who ranked him, having departed from Santa Fe on an expedition
 against the Navajoes.  Notwithstanding the apparent submission of
 the natives of New Mexico, there were many malcontents among them
 and the Pueblo Indians, and early in December, some of the leaders,
 dissatisfied with the change in the order of things, held secret
 meetings and formulated plots to overthrow the existing government.
 
 Midnight of the 24th of December was the time appointed for the
 commencement of their revolutionary work, which was to be simultaneous
 all over the country.  The profoundest secrecy was to be preserved,
 and the most influential men, whose ambition induced them to seek
 preferment, were alone to be made acquainted with the plot.  No woman
 was to be privy to it, lest it should be divulged.  The sound of
 the church bell was to be the signal, and at midnight all were to
 enter the Plaza at the same moment, seize the pieces of artillery,
 and point them into the streets.
 
 The time chosen for the assault was Christmas-eve, when the soldiers
 and garrison would be indulging in wine and feasting, and scattered
 about through the city at the fandangoes, not having their arms in
 their hands.  All the Americans, without distinction, throughout
 the State, and such New Mexicans as had favoured the American
 government and accepted office by appointment of General Kearney,
 were to be massacred or driven from the country, and the conspirators
 were to seize upon and occupy the government.
 
 The conspiracy was detected in the following manner: a mulatto girl,
 residing in Santa Fe, had married one of the conspirators, and had by
 degrees obtained a knowledge of their movements and secret meetings.
 To prevent the effusion of blood, which would inevitably be the result
 of a revolution, she communicated to Colonel Price all the facts
 of which she was in possession, and warned him to use the utmost
 vigilance.  The rebellion was immediately suppressed, but the
 restless and unsatisfied ambition of the leaders of the conspiracy
 did not long permit them to remain inactive.  A second and still more
 dangerous conspiracy was formed.  The most powerful and influential
 men in the State favoured the design, and even the officers of State
 and the priests gave their aid and counsel.  The people everywhere,
 in the towns, villages, and settlements, were exhorted to arm and
 equip themselves; to strike for their faith, their religion, and
 their altars; and drive the "heretics," the "unjust invaders of
 the country," from their soil, and with fire and sword pursue them
 to annihilation.  On the 18th of January this rebellion broke out
 in every part of the State simultaneously.
 
 On the 14th of January, Governor Bent, believing the conspiracy
 completely crushed, with an escort of five persons--among whom were
 the sheriff and circuit attorney--had left Santa Fe to visit his
 family, who resided at Fernandez.
 
 On the 19th, he was early roused from sleep by the populace, who,
 with the aid of the Pueblos of Taos, were collected in front of his
 dwelling striving to gain admittance.  While they were effecting
 an entrance, he, with an axe, cut through an adobe wall into another
 house; and the Mexican wife of the occupant, a clever though shiftless
 Canadian, hearing him, with all her strength rendered him assistance.
 He retreated to a room, but, seeing no way of escaping from the
 infuriated assailants, who fired upon him from a window, he spoke
 to his weeping wife and trembling children, and, taking paper
 from his pocket, endeavoured to write; but fast losing strength,
 he commended them to God and his brothers and fell, pierced by a
 ball from a Pueblo.  Then rushing in and tearing off his gray-haired
 scalp, the Indians bore it away in triumph.
 
 The circuit attorney, T. W. Leal, was scalped alive and dragged
 through the streets, his relentless persecutors pricking him with
 lances.  After hours of suffering, they threw him aside in the
 inclement weather, he imploring them earnestly to kill him to end
 his misery.  A compassionate Mexican at last closed the tragic scene
 by shooting him.  Stephen Lee, brother to the general, was killed
 on his own housetop.  Narcisse Beaubien, son of the presiding judge
 of the district, hid in an outhouse with his Indian slave, at the
 commencement of the massacre, under a straw-covered trough.
 The insurgents on the search, thinking that they had escaped,
 were leaving, but a woman servant of the family, going to the
 housetop, called to them, "Kill the young ones, and they will never
 be men to trouble us."  They swarmed back and, by cruelly putting
 to death and scalping him and his slave, added two more to the list
 of unfortunate victims.
 
 The Pueblos and Mexicans, after their cruelties at Fernandez de Taos,
 attacked and destroyed Turley's Ranch on the Arroyo Hondo[27] twelve
 miles from Fernandez, or Taos.  Arroyo Hondo runs along the base
 of a ridge of a mountain of moderate elevation, which divides the
 valley of Taos from that of the Rio Colorado, or Red River, both
 flowing into the Del Norte.  The trail from one place to the other
 passes over the mountain, which is covered with pine, cedar, and
 a species of dwarf oak; and numerous little streams run through
 the many canyons.
 
 On the bank of one of the creeks was a mill and distillery belonging
 to an American named Turley, who did a thriving business.  He possessed
 herds of goats, and hogs innumerable; his barns were filled with
 grain, his mill with flour, and his cellars with whiskey.  He had
 a Mexican wife and several children, and he bore the reputation of
 being one of the most generous and kind-hearted of men.  In times of
 scarcity, no one ever sought his aid to be turned away empty-handed;
 his granaries were always open to the hungry, and his purse to
 the poor.
 
 When on their road to Turley's, the Pueblos murdered two men, named
 Harwood and Markhead.  Markhead was one of the most successful
 trappers and daring men among the old mountaineers.  They were on
 their way to Taos with their pack-animals laden with furs, when the
 savages, meeting them, after stripping them of their goods, and
 securing their arms by treachery, made them mount their mules under
 pretence of conducting them to Taos, where they were to be given up
 to the leaders of the insurrection.  They had hardly proceeded
 a mile when a Mexican rode up behind Harwood and discharged his gun
 into his back; he called out to Markhead that he was murdered, and
 fell to the ground dead.
 
 Markhead, seeing that his own fate was sealed, made no struggle,
 and was likewise shot in the back with several bullets.  Both men
 were then stripped naked, scalped, and horribly mutilated; their
 bodies thrown into the brush to be devoured by the wolves.
 
 These trappers were remarkable men; Markhead, particularly, was
 celebrated in the mountains for his courage, reckless daring, and
 many almost miraculous escapes when in the very hands of the Indians.
 When some years previously he had accompanied Sir William Drummond
 Stewart on one of his expeditions across the Rockies, it happened
 that a half-breed Indian employed by Sir William absconded one night
 with some animals, which circumstance annoyed the nobleman so much,
 as it disturbed all his plans, that he hastily offered, never dreaming
 that he would be taken up, to give five hundred dollars for the scalp
 of the thief.  The very next evening Markhead rode into camp with the
 hair of the luckless horse-thief dangling at the muzzle of his rifle.
 
 The wild crowd of rebels rode on to Turley's mill.  Turley had been
 warned of the impending uprising, but had treated the report with
 indifference, until one morning a man in his employ, who had been
 despatched to Santa Fe with several mule-loads of whiskey a few days
 before, made his appearance at the gate on horseback, and hastily
 informing the inmates of the mill that the New Mexicans had risen and
 massacred Governor Bent and other Americans, galloped off.  Even then
 Turley felt assured that he would not be molested; but at the
 solicitation of his men, he agreed to close the gate of the yard
 around which were the buildings of the mill and distillery, and make
 preparations for defence.
 
 A few hours afterward a large crowd of Mexicans and Pueblo Indians
 made their appearance, all armed with guns and bows and arrows, and,
 advancing with a white flag, summoned Turley to surrender his house
 and the Americans in it, guaranteeing that his own life should be
 saved, but that every other American in the valley must be destroyed;
 that the governor and all the Americans at Fernandez had been killed,
 and that not one was to be left alive in all New Mexico.
 
 To this summons Turley answered that he would never surrender his
 house nor his men, and that if they wanted it or them, they must
 take them.
 
 The enemy then drew off, and, after a short consultation, commenced
 the attack.  The first day they numbered about five hundred, but were
 hourly reinforced by the arrival of parties of Indians from the more
 distant Pueblos, and New Mexicans from Fernandez, La Canada, and
 other places.
 
 The building lay at the foot of a gradual slope in the sierra, which
 was covered with cedar bushes.  In front ran the stream of the
 Arroyo Hondo, about twenty yards from one side of the square, and
 the other side was broken ground which rose abruptly and formed
 the bank of the ravine.  In the rear and behind the still-house was
 some garden ground enclosed by a small fence, into which a small
 wicket-gate opened from the corral.
 
 As soon as the attack was determined upon, the assailants scattered
 and concealed themselves under cover of the rocks and bushes which
 surrounded the house.  From these they kept up an incessant fire upon
 every exposed portion of the building where they saw preparations
 for defence.
 
 The Americans, on their part, were not idle; not a man but was an old
 mountaineer, and each had his trusty rifle, with a good store of
 ammunition.  Whenever one of the besiegers exposed a hand's-breadth
 of his person, a ball from an unerring barrel whistled.  The windows
 had been blockaded, loopholes having been left, and through these
 a lively fire was maintained.  Already several of the enemy had
 bitten the dust, and parties were seen bearing off the wounded up
 the banks of the Canada.  Darkness came on, and during the night
 a continual fire was kept up on the mill, whilst its defenders,
 reserving their ammunition, kept their posts with stern and silent
 determination.  The night was spent in casting balls, cutting patches,
 and completing the defences of the building.  In the morning the fight
 was renewed, and it was found that the Mexicans had effected a
 lodgment in a part of the stables, which were separated from the
 other portions of the building by an open space of a few feet.
 The assailants, during the night, had sought to break down the wall,
 and thus enter the main building, but the strength of the adobe and
 logs of which it was composed resisted effectually all their attempts.
 
 Those in the stable seemed anxious to regain the outside, for their
 position was unavailable as a means of annoyance to the besieged, and
 several had darted across the narrow space which divided it from the
 other part of the building, which slightly projected, and behind
 which they were out of the line of fire.  As soon, however, as the
 attention of the defenders was called to this point, the first man
 who attempted to cross, who happened to be a Pueblo chief, was dropped
 on the instant, and fell dead in the centre of the intervening space.
 It appeared to be an object to recover the body, for an Indian
 immediately dashed out to the fallen chief, and attempted to drag him
 within the shelter of the wall.  The rifle which covered the spot
 again poured forth its deadly contents, and the Indian, springing
 into the air, fell over the body of his chief.  Another and another
 met with a similar fate, and at last three rushed to the spot, and,
 seizing the body by the legs and head, had already lifted it from the
 ground, when three puffs of smoke blew from the barricaded windows,
 followed by the sharp cracks of as many rifles, and the three daring
 Indians were added to the pile of corpses which now covered the body
 of the dead chief.
 
 As yet the besieged had met with no casualties; but after the fall
 of the seven Indians, the whole body of the assailants, with a shout
 of rage, poured in a rattling volley, and two of the defenders fell
 mortally wounded.  One, shot through the loins, suffered great agony,
 and was removed to the still-house, where he was laid on a large
 pile of grain, as being the softest bed that could be found.
 
 In the middle of the day the attack was renewed more fiercely than
 before.  The little garrison bravely stood to the defence of the mill,
 never throwing away a shot, but firing coolly, and only when a fair
 mark was presented to their unerring aim.  Their ammunition, however,
 was fast failing, and to add to the danger of their situation,
 the enemy set fire to the mill, which blazed fiercely, and threatened
 destruction to the whole building.  Twice they succeeded in overcoming
 the flames, and, while they were thus occupied, the Mexicans and
 Indians charged into the corral, which was full of hogs and sheep,
 and vented their cowardly rage upon the animals, spearing and shooting
 all that came in their way.  No sooner were the flames extinguished
 in one place than they broke out more fiercely in another; and
 as a successful defence was perfectly hopeless, and the numbers of
 the assailants increased every moment, a council of war was held by
 the survivors of the little garrison, when it was determined,
 as soon as night approached, that every one should attempt to escape
 as best he could.
 
 Just at dusk a man named John Albert and another ran to the
 wicket-gate which opened into a kind of enclosed space, in which were
 a number of armed Mexicans.  They both rushed out at the same moment,
 discharging their rifles full in the face of the crowd.  Albert,
 in the confusion, threw himself under the fence, whence he saw his
 companion shot down immediately, and heard his cries for mercy as
 the cowards pierced him with knives and lances.  He lay without motion
 under the fence, and as soon as it was quite dark he crept over
 the logs and ran up the mountain, travelled by day and night, and,
 scarcely stopping or resting, reached the Greenhorn, almost dead
 with hunger and fatigue.  Turley himself succeeded in escaping from
 the mill and in reaching the mountain unseen.  Here he met a Mexican
 mounted on a horse, who had been a most intimate friend of his for
 many years.  To this man Turley offered his watch for the use of the
 horse, which was ten times more than it was worth, but was refused.
 The inhuman wretch, however, affected pity and consideration for the
 fugitive, and advised him to go to a certain place, where he would
 bring or send him assistance; but on reaching the mill, which was
 a mass of fire, he immediately informed the Mexicans of Turley's
 place of concealment, whither a large party instantly proceeded and
 shot him to death.
 
 Two others escaped and reached Santa Fe in safety.  The mill and
 Turley's house were sacked and gutted, and all his hard-earned savings,
 which were concealed in gold about the house, were discovered, and,
 of course, seized upon by the victorious Mexicans.
 
 The following account is taken from Governor Prince's chapter on the
 fight at Taos, in his excellent and authentic _History of New Mexico_:--
 
           The startling news of the assassination of the governor was
           swiftly carried to Santa Fe, and reached Colonel Price the
           next day.  Simultaneously, letters were discovered calling
           on the people of the Rio Abajo to secure Albuquerque and
           march northward to aid the other insurgents; and news
           speedily followed that a united Mexican and Pueblo force of
           large magnitude was marching down the Rio Grande valley
           toward the capital, flushed with the success of the revolt
           at Taos.  Very few troops were in Santa Fe; in fact, the
           number remaining in the whole territory was very small,
           and these were scattered at Albuquerque, Las Vegas, and
           other distant points.  At the first-named town were Major
           Edmonson and Captain Burgwin; the former in command of the
           town, and the latter with a company of the First Dragoons.
 
           Colonel Price lost no time in taking such measures as his
           limited resources permitted.  Edmonson was directed to come
           immediately to Santa Fe to take command of the capital; and
           Burgwin to follow Price as fast as possible to the scene
           of hostilities.  The colonel himself collected the few
           troops at Santa Fe, which were all on foot, but fortunately
           included the little battalion which under Captain Aubrey
           had made such extraordinary marches on the journey across
           the plains as to almost outwalk the cavalry.  With these
           was a volunteer company formed of nearly all of the American
           inhabitants of the city, under the command of Colonel Ceran
           St. Vrain, who happened to be in Santa Fe, together with
           Judge Beaubien, at the time of the rising at Taos.
           With this little force, amounting in all to three hundred
           and ten men, Colonel Price started to march to Taos, or at
           all events to meet the army which was coming toward the
           capital from the north and which grew as it marched by
           constant accessions from the surrounding country.
           The city of Santa Fe was left in charge of a garrison under
           Lieutenant-Colonel Willock.  While the force was small
           and the volunteers without experience in regular warfare,
           yet all were nerved to desperation by the belief, since
           the Taos murders, that the only alternative was victory
           or annihilation.
 
           The expedition set out on January 23d, and the next day
           the Mexican army, under command of General Montoya as
           commander-in-chief, aided by Generals Tafoya and Chavez,
           was found occupying the heights commanding the road near
           La Canada (Santa Cruz), with detachments in some strong
           adobe houses near the river banks.  The advance had been
           seen shortly before at the rocky pass, on the road from
           Pojuaque; and near there and before reaching the river, the
           San Juan Pueblo Indians, who had joined the revolutionists
           reluctantly and under a kind of compulsion, surrendered and
           were disarmed by removing the locks from their guns.
           On arriving at the Canada, Price ordered his howitzers to
           the front and opened fire; and after a sharp cannonade,
           directed an assault on the nearest houses by Aubrey's
           battalion.  Meanwhile an attempt by a Mexican detachment
           to cut off the American baggage-wagons, which had not yet
           come up, was frustrated by the activity of St. Vrain's
           volunteers.  A charge all along the line was then ordered
           and handsomely executed; the houses, which, being of adobe,
           had been practically so many ready-made forts, were
           successively carried, and St. Vrain started in advance to
           gain the Mexican rear.  Seeing this manoeuvre, and fearing
           its effects, the Mexicans retreated, leaving thirty-six
           dead on the field.  Among those killed was General Tafoya,
           who bravely remained on the field after the remainder had
           abandoned it, and was shot.
 
           Colonel Price pressed on up the river as fast as possible,
           passing San Juan, and at Los Luceros, on the 28th, his
           little army was rejoiced at the arrival of reinforcements,
           consisting of a mounted company of cavalry, Captain Burgwin's
           company, which had been pushed up by forced marches on foot
           from Albuquerque, and a six-pounder brought by Lieutenant
           Wilson.  Thus enlarged, the American force consisted of
           four hundred and eighty men, and continued its advance up
           the valley to La Joya, which was as far as the river road at
           that time extended.  Meanwhile the Mexicans had established
           themselves in a narrow pass near Embudo, where the forest
           was dense, and the road impracticable for wagons or cannon,
           the troops occupying the sides of the mountains on both
           sides of the canyon.  Burgwin was sent with three companies
           to dislodge them and open a passage--no easy task.
           But St. Vrain's company took the west slope, and another
           the right, while Burgwin himself marched through the gorge
           between.  The sharp-shooting of these troops did such
           terrible execution that the pass was soon cleared, though
           not without the display of great heroism, and some loss;
           and the Americans entered Embudo without further opposition.
           The difficulties of this campaign were greatly increased by
           the severity of the weather, the mountains being thickly
           covered with snow, and the cold so intense that a number
           of men were frost-bitten and disabled.  The next day Burgwin
           reached Las Trampas, where Price arrived with the remainder
           of the American army on the last day of January, and all
           together they marched into Chamisal.
 
           Notwithstanding the cold and snow they pressed on over the
           mountain, and on the 3d of February reached the town of
           Fernandez de Taos, only to find that the Mexican and Pueblo
           force had fortified itself in the celebrated Pueblo of Taos,
           about three miles distant.  That force had diminished
           considerably during the retreat from La Canada, many of the
           Mexicans returning to their homes, and its greater part
           now consisting of Pueblo Indians.  The American troops were
           worn out with fatigue and exposure, and in most urgent need
           of rest; but their intrepid commander, desiring to give his
           opponents no more time to strengthen their works, and full
           of zeal and energy, if not of prudence, determined to
           commence an immediate attack.
 
           The two great buildings at this Pueblo, certainly the most
           interesting and extraordinary inhabited structures in
           America, are well known from descriptions and engravings.
           They are five stories high and irregularly pyramidal in
           shape, each story being smaller than the one below, in order
           to allow ingress to the outer rooms of each tier from the
           roofs.  Before the advent of artillery these buildings were
           practically impregnable, as, when the exterior ladders were
           drawn up, there were no means of ingress, the side walls
           being solid without openings, and of immense thickness.
           Between these great buildings, each of which can accommodate
           a multitude of men, runs the clear water of the Taos Creek;
           and to the west of the northerly building stood the old
           church, with walls of adobe from three to seven and a half
           feet in thickness.  Outside of all, and having its northwest
           corner just beyond the church, ran an adobe wall, built for
           protection against hostile Indians and which now answered
           for an outer earthwork.  The church was turned into a
           fortification, and was the point where the insurgents
           concentrated their strength; and against this Colonel Price
           directed his principal attack.  The six-pounder and the
           howitzer were brought into position without delay, under
           the command of Lieutenant Dyer, then a young graduate of
           West Point, and since then chief of ordnance of the
           United States army, and opened a fire on the thick adobe
           walls.  But cannon-balls made little impression on the
           massive banks of earth, in which they embedded themselves
           without doing damage; and after a fire of two hours,
           the battery was withdrawn, and the troops allowed to return
           to the town of Taos for their much-needed rest.
 
           Early the next morning, the troops, now refreshed and ready
           for the combat, advanced again to the Pueblo, but found
           those within equally prepared.  The story of the attack and
           capture of this place is so interesting, both on account
           of the meeting here of old and new systems of warfare--of
           modern artillery with an aboriginal stronghold--and because
           the precise localities can be distinguished by the modern
           tourist from the description, that it seems best to insert
           the official report as presented by Colonel Price.
           Nothing could show more plainly how superior strong
           earthworks are to many more ambitious structures of defence,
           or more forcibly display the courage and heroism of those
           who took part in the battle, or the signal bravery of the
           accomplished Captain Burgwin which led to his untimely death.
           Colonel Price writes:
 
           "Posting the dragoons under Captain Burgwin about two
           hundred and sixty yards from the western flank of the church,
           I ordered the mounted men under Captains St. Vrain and Slack
           to a position on the opposite side of the town, whence they
           could discover and intercept any fugitives who might attempt
           to escape toward the mountains, or in the direction of
           San Fernando.  The residue of the troops took ground about
           three hundred yards from the north wall.  Here, too,
           Lieutenant Dyer established himself with the six-pounder
           and two howitzers, while Lieutenant Hassendaubel, of Major
           Clark's battalion, light artillery, remained with Captain
           Burgwin, in command of two howitzers.  By this arrangement
           a cross-fire was obtained, sweeping the front and eastern
           flank of the church.  All these arrangements being made,
           the batteries opened upon the town at nine o'clock A.M.
           At eleven o'clock, finding it impossible to breach the
           walls of the church with the six-pounder and howitzers,
           I determined to storm the building.  At a signal, Captain
           Burgwin, at the head of his own company and that of Captain
           McMillin, charged the western flank of the church, while
           Captain Aubrey, infantry battalion, and Captain Barber and
           Lieutenant Boon, Second Missouri Mounted Volunteers, charged
           the northern wall.  As soon as the troops above mentioned
           had established themselves under the western wall of the
           church, axes were used in the attempt to breach it, and a
           temporary ladder having been made, the roof was fired.
           About this time, Captain Burgwin, at the head of a small
           party, left the cover afforded by the flank of the church,
           and penetrating into the corral in front of that building,
           endeavoured to force the door.  In this exposed situation,
           Captain Burgwin received a severe wound, which deprived me
           of his valuable services, and of which he died on the
           7th instant.  Lieutenants McIlvaine, First United States
           Dragoons, and Royall and Lackland, Second Regiment
           Volunteers, accompanied Captain Burgwin into the corral,
           but the attempt on the church door proved fruitless, and
           they were compelled to retire behind the wall.  In the
           meantime, small holes had been cut in the western wall, and
           shells were thrown in by hand, doing good execution.
           The six-pounder was now brought around by Lieutenant Wilson,
           who, at the distance of two hundred yards, poured a heavy
           fire of grape into the town.  The enemy, during all of
           this time, kept up a destructive fire upon our troops.
           About half-past three o'clock, the six-pounder was run up
           within sixty yards of the church, and after ten rounds,
           one of the holes which had been cut with the axes was
           widened into a practicable breach.  The storming party,
           among whom were Lieutenant Dyer, of the ordnance, and
           Lieutenant Wilson and Taylor, First Dragoons, entered and
           took possession of the church without opposition.
           The interior was filled with dense smoke, but for which
           circumstance our storming party would have suffered great
           loss.  A few of the enemy were seen in the gallery,
           where an open door admitted the air, but they retired
           without firing a gun.  The troops left to support the
           battery on the north side were now ordered to charge on
           that side.
 
           "The enemy then abandoned the western part of the town.
           Many took refuge in the large houses on the east, while
           others endeavoured to escape toward the mountains.
           These latter were pursued by the mounted men under Captains
           Slack and St. Vrain, who killed fifty-one of them, only two
           or three men escaping.  It was now night, and our troops
           were quietly quartered in the house which the enemy had
           abandoned.  On the next morning the enemy sued for peace,
           and thinking the severe loss they had sustained would prove
           a salutary lesson, I granted their supplication, on the
           condition that they should deliver up to me Tomas, one of
           their principal men, who had instigated and been actively
           engaged in the murder of Governor Bent and others.
           The number of the enemy at the battle of Pueblo de Taos
           was between six and seven hundred, and of these one hundred
           and fifty were killed, wounded not known.  Our own loss was
           seven killed and forty-five wounded; many of the wounded
           have since died."
 
           The capture of the Taos Pueblo practically ended the main
           attempt to expel the Americans from the Territory.
           Governor Montoya, who was a very influential man in the
           conspiracy and styled himself the "Santa Ana of the North,"
           was tried by court-martial, convicted, and executed on
           February 7th, in the presence of the army.  Fourteen others
           were tried for participating in the murder of Governor Bent
           and the others who were killed on the 19th of January, and
           were convicted and executed.  Thus, fifteen in all were
           hung, being an equal number to those murdered at Taos, the
           Arroyo Hondo, and Rio Colorado.  Of these, eight were
           Mexicans and seven were Pueblo Indians.  Several more were
           sentenced to be hung for treason, but the President very
           properly pardoned them, on the ground that treason against
           the United States was not a crime of which a Mexican
           citizen could be found guilty, while his country was
           actually at war with the United States.
 
 There are several thrilling, as well as laughable, incidents connected
 with the Taos massacre, and the succeeding trial of the insurrectionists;
 in regard to which I shall quote freely from _Wah-to-yah_, whose
 author, Mr. Lewis H. Garrard, accompanied Colonel St. Vrain across
 the plains in 1846, and was present at the trial and execution of
 the convicted participants.
 
 One Fitzgerald, who was a private in Captain Burgwin's company of
 Dragoons, in the fight at the Pueblo de Taos, killed three Mexicans
 with his own hand, and performed heroic work with the bombs that were
 thrown into that strong Indian fortress.  He was a man of good feeling,
 but his brother having been killed, or rather murdered by Salazar,
 while a prisoner in the Texan expedition against Santa Fe, he swore
 vengeance, and entered the service with the hope of accomplishing it.
 The day following the fight at the Pueblo, he walked up to the
 alcalde, and deliberately shot him down.  For this act he was confined
 to await a trial for murder.
 
 One raw night, complaining of cold to his guard, wood was brought,
 which he piled up in the middle of the room.  Then mounting that,
 and succeeding in breaking through the roof, he noiselessly crept
 to the eaves, below which a sentinel, wrapped in a heavy cloak, paced
 to and fro, to prevent his escape.  He watched until the guard's back
 was turned, then swung himself from the wall, and with as much ease
 as possible, walked to a mess-fire, where his friends in waiting
 supplied him with a pistol and clothing.  When day broke, the town
 of Fernandez lay far beneath him in the valley, and two days after
 he was safe in our camp.
 
 Many a hand-to-hand encounter ensued during the fight at Taos,
 one of which was by Colonel Ceran St. Vrain, whom I knew intimately;
 a grand old gentleman, now sleeping peacefully in the quaint little
 graveyard at Mora, New Mexico, where he resided for many years.
 The gallant colonel, while riding along, noticed an Indian with whom
 he was well acquainted lying stretched out on the ground as if dead.
 Confident that this particular red devil had been especially prominent
 in the hellish acts of the massacre, the colonel dismounted from
 his pony to satisfy himself whether the savage was really dead or
 only shamming.  He was far from being a corpse, for the colonel had
 scarcely reached the spot, when the Indian jumped to his feet and
 attempted to run a long, steel-pointed lance through the officer's
 shoulder.  Colonel St. Vrain was a large, powerfully built man;
 so was the Indian, I have been told.  As each of the struggling
 combatants endeavoured to get the better of the other, with the
 savage having a little the advantage, perhaps, it appears that
 "Uncle Dick" Wooton, who was in the chase after the rebels, happened
 to arrive on the scene, and hitting the Indian a terrific blow on
 the head with his axe, settled the question as to his being a corpse.
 
 Court for the trial of the insurrectionists assembled at nine o'clock.
 On entering the room, Judges Beaubien and Houghton were occupying
 their official positions.  After many dry preliminaries, six prisoners
 were brought in--ill-favoured, half-scared, sullen fellows; and the
 jury of Mexicans and Americans having been empanelled, the trial
 commenced.  It certainly did appear to be a great assumption on the
 part of the Americans to conquer a country, and then arraign the
 revolting inhabitants for treason.  American judges sat on the bench.
 New Mexicans and Americans filled the jury-box, and American soldiery
 guarded the halls.  It was a strange mixture of violence and justice--
 a middle ground between the martial and common law.
 
 After an absence of a few minutes, the jury returned with a verdict
 of "guilty in the first degree"--five for murder, one for treason.
 Treason, indeed!  What did the poor devil know about his new
 allegiance?  But so it was; and as the jail was overstocked with
 others awaiting trial, it was deemed expedient to hasten the execution,
 and the culprits were sentenced to be hung on the following Friday--
 hangman's day.
 
 Court was daily in session; five more Indians and four Mexicans
 were sentenced to be hung on the 30th of April.  In the court room,
 on the occasion of the trial of these nine prisoners, were Senora Bent
 the late governor's wife, and Senora Boggs, giving their evidence in
 regard to the massacre, of which they were eye-witnesses.  Mrs. Bent
 was quite handsome; a few years previously she must have been a
 beautiful woman.  The wife of the renowned Kit Carson also was in
 attendance.  Her style of beauty was of the haughty, heart-breaking
 kind--such as would lead a man, with a glance of the eye, to risk
 his life for one smile.
 
 The court room was a small, oblong apartment, dimly lighted by two
 narrow windows; a thin railing keeping the bystanders from contact
 with the functionaries.  The prisoners faced the judges, and the
 three witnesses--Senoras Bent, Boggs, and Carson--were close to them
 on a bench by the wall.  When Mrs. Bent gave her testimony, the eyes
 of the culprits were fixed sternly upon her; when she pointed out
 the Indian who had killed the governor, not a muscle of the chief's
 face twitched or betrayed agitation, though he was aware her evidence
 settled his death warrant; he sat with lips gently closed, eyes
 earnestly fixed on her, without a show of malice or hatred--a spectacle
 of Indian fortitude, and of the severe mastery to which the emotions
 can be subjected.
 
 Among the jurors was a trapper named Baptiste Brown, a Frenchman,
 as were the majority of the trappers in the early days of the border.
 He was an exceptionally kind-hearted man when he first came to the
 mountains, and seriously inclined to regard the Indians with that
 mistaken sentimentality characterizing the average New England
 philanthropist, who has never seen the untutored savage on his native
 heath.  His ideas, however, underwent a marked change as the years
 rolled on and he became more familiar with the attributes of the
 noble red man.  He was with Kit Carson in the Blackfeet country
 many years before the Taos massacre, when his convictions were thus
 modified, and it was from the famous frontiersman himself I learned
 the story of Baptiste's conversion.
 
 It was late one night in their camp on one of the many creeks in the
 Blackfoot region, where they had been established for several weeks,
 and Baptiste was on duty, guarding their meat and furs from the
 incursions of a too inquisitive grizzly that had been prowling around,
 and the impertinent investigations of the wolves.  His attention was
 attracted to something high up in a neighbouring tree, that seemed
 restless, changing its position constantly like an animal of prey.
 The Frenchman drew a bead upon it, and there came tumbling down at his
 feet a dead savage, with his war-paint and other Indian paraphernalia
 adorning his body.  Baptiste was terribly hurt over the circumstance
 of having killed an Indian, and it grieved him for a long time.
 One day, a month after the incident, he was riding alone far away
 from our party, and out of sound of their rifles as well, when a band
 of Blackfeet discovered him and started for his scalp.  He had no
 possible chance for escape except by the endurance of his horse;
 so a race for life began.  He experienced no trouble in keeping out
 of the way of their arrows--the Indians had no guns then--and hoped
 to make camp before they could possibly wear out his horse.  Just as
 he was congratulating himself on his luck, right in front of him
 there suddenly appeared a great gorge, and not daring to stop or to
 turn to the right or left, the only thing to do was to make his animal
 jump it.  It was his only chance; it was death if he missed it, and
 death by the most horrible torture if the Indians captured him.
 So he drove his heels into his horse's sides, and essayed the
 awful leap.  His willing animal made a desperate effort to carry out
 the desire of his daring rider, but the dizzy chasm was too wide,
 and the pursuing savages saw both horse and the coveted white man
 dash to the bottom of the frightful canyon together.  Believing that
 their hated enemy had eluded them forever, they rode back on their
 trail, disgusted and chagrined, without even taking the trouble of
 looking over the precipice to learn the fate of Baptiste.
 
 The horse was instantly killed, and the Frenchman had both of his legs
 badly broken.  Far from camp, with the Indians in close proximity,
 he did not dare discharge his rifle--the usual signal when a trapper
 is lost or in danger--or to make any demonstration, so he was
 compelled to lie there and suffer, hoping that his comrades,
 missing him, would start out to search for him.  They did so,
 but more than twenty-four hours had elapsed before they found him,
 as the bottom of the canyon was the last place they thought of.
 
 Doctors, in the wild region where their camp was located, were as
 impossible as angels; so his companions set his broken bones as well
 as they could, while Baptiste suffered excruciating torture.
 When they had completed their crude surgery, they improvised a litter
 of poles, and rigged it on a couple of pack-mules, and thus carried
 him around with them from camp to camp until he recovered--a period
 extending over three months.
 
 This affair completely cured Baptiste of his original sentimentality
 in relation to the Indian, and he became one of their worst haters.
 
 When acting as a juror in the trials of rebel Mexicans and Indians,
 he was asleep half the time, and never heard much of the evidence,
 and that portion which he did was so much Greek to him.  In the last
 nine cases, in which the Indian who had murdered Governor Bent
 was tried, Baptiste, as soon as the jury room was closed, sang out:
 "Hang 'em, hang 'em, sacre enfans des garces, dey dam gran rascale!"
 "But wait," suggested one of the cooler members; "let's look at the
 evidence and find out whether they are really guilty."  Upon this
 wise caution, Baptiste got greatly excited, paced the floor, and
 cried out: "Hang de Indian anyhow; he may not be guilty now--mais he
 vare soon will be.  Hang 'em all, parceque dey kill Monsieur Charles;
 dey take son topknot, vot you call im--scalp.  Hang 'em, hang 'em--
 sa-a-cre-e!"
 
 On Friday the 9th, the day for the execution, the sky was unspotted,
 save by hastily fleeting clouds; and as the rising sun loomed over
 the Taos Mountain, the bright rays, shining on the yellow and white
 mud-houses, reflected cheerful hues, while the shades of the toppling
 peaks, receding from the plain beneath, drew within themselves.
 The humble valley wore an air of calm repose.  The Plaza was deserted;
 woe-begone burros drawled forth sacrilegious brays, as the warm
 sunbeams roused them from hard, grassless ground, to scent their
 breakfast among straw and bones.
 
 Poor Mexicans hurried to and fro, casting suspicious glances around;
 los Yankees at El casa Americano drank their juleps, and puffed their
 cigarettes in silence.
 
 The sheriff, Metcalf, formerly a mountaineer, was in want of the
 wherewithal to hang the condemned criminals, so he borrowed some
 rawhide lariats and picket-ropes of a teamster.
 
 "Hello, Met," said one of the party present, "these reatas are mighty
 stiff--won't fit; eh, old feller?"
 
 "I've got something to make 'em fit--good 'intment--don't emit very
 sweet perfume; but good enough for Greasers," said the sheriff,
 producing a dollar's worth of Mexican soft soap.  "This'll make 'em
 slip easy--a long ways too easy for them, I 'spect."
 
 The prison apartment was a long chilly room, badly ventilated by
 one small window and the open door, through which the sun lit up the
 earth floor, and through which the poor prisoners wistfully gazed.
 Two muscular Mexicans basked in its genial warmth, a tattered serape
 interposing between them and the ground.  The ends, once fringed but
 now clear of pristine ornament, were partly drawn over their breasts,
 disclosing in the openings of their fancifully colored shirts
 --now glazed with filth and faded with perspiration--the bare skin,
 covered with straight black hair.  With hands under their heads,
 in the mass of stringy locks rusty-brown from neglect, they returned
 the looks of their executioners with an unmeaning stare, and
 unheedingly received the salutation of--"Como le va!"
 
 Along the sides of the room, leaning against the walls, were crowded
 the poor wretches, miserable in dress, miserable in features,
 miserable in feelings--a more disgusting collection of ragged, greasy,
 unwashed prisoners were, probably, never before congregated within
 so small a space as the jail of Taos.
 
 About nine o'clock, active preparations were made for the execution,
 and the soldiery mustered.  Reverend padres in long black gowns,
 with meek countenances, passed the sentinels, intent on spiritual
 consolation, or the administration of the Blessed Sacrament.
 
 Lieutenant-Colonel Willock, commanding the military, ordered every
 American under arms.  The prison was at the edge of the town;
 no houses intervened between it and the fields to the north.
 One hundred and fifty yards distant, a gallows was erected.
 
 The word was passed, at last, that the criminals were coming.
 Eighteen soldiers received them at the gate, with their muskets at
 "port arms"; the six abreast, with the sheriff on the right--
 nine soldiers on each side.
 
 The poor prisoners marched slowly, with downcast eyes, arms tied
 behind, and bare heads, with the exception of white cotton caps
 stuck on the back, to be pulled over the face as the last ceremony.
 
 The roofs of the houses in the vicinity were covered with women and
 children, to witness the first execution by hanging in the valley
 of Taos, save that of Montojo, the insurgent leader.  No men were
 near; a few stood afar off, moodily looking on.
 
 On the flat jail roof was placed a mountain howitzer, loaded and
 ranging the gallows.  Near was the complement of men to serve it,
 one holding in his hand a lighted match.  The two hundred and thirty
 soldiers, less the eighteen forming the guard, were paraded in front
 of the jail, and in sight of the gibbet, so as to secure the prisoners
 awaiting trial.  Lieutenant-Colonel Willock, on a handsome charger,
 commanded a view of the whole.
 
 When within fifteen paces of the gallows, the side-guard, filing off
 to the right, formed, at regular distances from each other, three
 sides of a hollow square; the mountaineers composed the fourth and
 front side, in full view of the trembling prisoners, who marched up to
 the tree under which was a government wagon, with two mules attached.
 The driver and sheriff assisted them in, ranging them on a board,
 placed across the hinder end, which maintained its balance, as they
 were six--an even number--two on each extremity, and two in the middle.
 The gallows was so narrow that they touched.  The ropes, by reason
 of their size and stiffness, despite the soaping given them, were
 adjusted with difficulty; but through the indefatigable efforts
 of the sheriff and a lieutenant who had accompanied him, all
 preliminaries were arranged, although the blue uniform looked sadly
 out of place on a hangman.
 
 With rifles at a "shoulder," the military awaited the consummation
 of the tragedy.  There was no crowd around to disturb; a death-like
 stillness prevailed.  The spectators on the roofs seemed scarcely
 to move--their eyes were directed to the doomed wretches, with harsh
 halters now encircling their necks.
 
 The sheriff and his assistant sat down; after a few moments of
 intense expectation, the heart-wrung victims said a few words to
 their people.  Only one of them admitted he had committed murder
 and deserved death.  In their brief but earnest appeals, the words
 "mi padre, mi madre"--"my father, my mother"--were prominent.
 The one sentenced for treason showed a spirit of patriotism worthy
 of the cause for which he died--the liberty of his country; and
 instead of the cringing recantation of the others, his speech was
 a firm asseveration of his own innocence, the unjustness of his trial,
 and the arbitrary conduct of his murderers.  As the cap was pulled
 over his face, the last words he uttered between his teeth with
 a scowl were "Carajo, los Americanos!"
 
 At a word from the sheriff, the mules were started, and the wagon
 drawn from under the tree.  No fall was given, and their feet remained
 on the board till the ropes drew tight.  The bodies swayed back and
 forth, and while thus swinging, the hands of two came together with
 a firm grasp till the muscles loosened in death.
 
 After forty minutes' suspension, Colonel Willock ordered his command
 to quarters, and the howitzer to be taken from its place on the roof
 of the jail.  The soldiers were called away; the women and population
 in general collecting around the rear guard which the sheriff had
 retained for protection while delivering the dead to their weeping
 relatives.
 
 While cutting a rope from one man's neck--for it was in a hard knot--
 the owner, a government teamster standing by waiting, shouted angrily,
 at the same time stepping forward:
 
 "Hello there! don't cut that rope; I won't have anything to tie
 my mules with."
 
 "Oh! you darned fool," interposed a mountaineer, "the dead men's
 ghosts will be after you if you use them lariats--wagh!  They'll make
 meat of you sartain."
 
 "Well, I don't care if they do.  I'm in government service; and if
 them picket-halters was gone, slap down goes a dollar apiece.
 Money's scarce in these diggin's, and I'm going to save all I kin
 to take home to the old woman and boys." 


 

FIRST OVERLAND MAIL.
 
 
 
 On the summit of one of the highest plateaus bordering the Missouri
 River, surrounded by a rich expanse of foliage, lies Independence,
 the beautiful residence suburb of Kansas City, only ten miles distant.
 
 Tradition tells that early in this century there were a few pioneers
 camping at long distances from each other in the seemingly
 interminable woods; in summer engaged in hunting the deer, elk, and
 bear, and in winter in trapping.  It is a well-known fact that
 the Big Blue was once a favourite resort of the beaver, and that
 even later their presence in great numbers attracted many a veteran
 trapper to its waters.
 
 Before that period the quaint old cities of far-off Mexico were
 forbidden to foreign traders, excepting to the favoured few who were
 successful in obtaining permits from the Spanish government.  In 1821,
 however, the rebellion of Iturbide crushed the power of the mother
 country, and established the freedom of Mexico.  The embargo upon
 foreign trade was at once removed, and the Santa Fe Trail, for untold
 ages only a simple trace across the continent, became the busy highway
 of a relatively great commerce.
 
 In 1817 the navigation of the Mississippi River was begun.  On the 2d
 of August of that year the steamer _General Pike_ arrived at St. Louis.
 The first boat to ascend the Missouri River was the _Independence_;
 she passed Franklin on the 28th of May, 1819, where a dinner was given
 to her officers.  In the same and the following month of that year,
 the steamers _Western Engineer Expedition_ and _R. M. Johnson_ came
 along, carrying Major Long's scientific exploring party, bound for
 the Yellowstone.
 
 The Santa Fe trade having been inaugurated shortly after these
 important events, those engaged in it soon realized the benefits
 of river navigation--for it enabled them to shorten the distance
 which their wagons had to travel in going across the plains--and
 they began to look out for a suitable place as a shipping and
 outfitting point higher up the river than Franklin, which had been
 the initial starting town.
 
 By 1827 trading-posts had been established at Blue Mills, Fort Osage,
 and Independence.  The first-mentioned place, which is situated about
 six miles below Independence, soon became the favourite landing,
 and the exchange from wagons to boats settled and defied all efforts
 to remove the headquarters of the trade from there for several years.
 Independence, however, being the county seat and the larger place,
 succeeded in its claims to be the more suitable locality, and as
 early as 1832 it was recognized as the American headquarters and the
 great outfitting point for the Santa Fe commerce, which it continued
 to be until 1846, when the traffic was temporarily suspended by the
 breaking out of the Mexican War.
 
 Independence was not only the principal outfitting point for the
 Santa Fe traders, but also that of the great fur companies.  That
 powerful association used to send out larger pack-trains than any
 other parties engaged in the traffic to the Rocky Mountains;
 they also employed wagons drawn by mules, and loaded with goods for
 the Indians with whom their agents bartered, which also on their
 return trip transported the skins and pelts of animals procured from
 the savages.  The articles intended for the Indian trade were
 always purchased in St. Louis, and usually shipped to Independence,
 consigned to the firm of Aull and Company, who outfitted the traders
 with mules and provisions, and in fact anything else required by them.
 
 Several individual traders would frequently form joint caravans,
 and travel in company for mutual protection from the Indians.  After
 having reached a fifty-mile limit from the State line, each trader
 had control of his own men; each took care of a certain number of
 the pack-animals, loaded and unloaded them in camp, and had general
 supervision of them.
 
 Frequently there would be three hundred mules in a single caravan,
 carrying three hundred pounds apiece, and very large animals more.
 Thousands of wagons were also sent out from Independence annually,
 each drawn by twelve mules or six yoke of oxen, and loaded with
 general merchandise.
 
 There were no packing houses in those days nearer than St. Louis,
 and the bacon and beef used in the Santa Fe trade were furnished by
 the farmers of the surrounding country, who killed their meat,
 cured it, and transported it to the town where they sold it.
 Their wheat was also ground at the local mills, and they brought
 the flour to market, together with corn, dried fruit, beans, peas,
 and kindred provisions used on the long route across the plains.
 
 Independence very soon became the best market west of St. Louis for
 cattle, mules, and wagons; the trade of which the place was the
 acknowledged headquarters furnishing employment to several thousand
 men, including the teamsters and packers on the Trail.  The wages
 paid varied from twenty-five to fifty dollars a month and rations.
 The price charged for hauling freight to Santa Fe was ten dollars
 a hundred pounds, each wagon earning from five to six hundred dollars
 every trip, which was made in eighty or ninety days; some fast
 caravans making quicker time.
 
 The merchants and general traders of Independence in those days
 reaped a grand harvest.  Everything to eat was in constant demand;
 mules and oxen were sold in great numbers every month at excellent
 prices and always for cash; while any good stockman could readily
 make from ten to fifty dollars a day.
 
 One of the largest manufacturers and most enterprising young men in
 Independence at that time was Hiram Young, a coloured man.  Besides
 making hundreds of wagons, he made all the ox-yokes used in the
 entire traffic; fifty thousand annually during the '50's and until
 the breaking out of the war.  The forward yokes were sold at an
 average of one dollar and a quarter, the wheel yokes a dollar higher.
 
 The freight transported by the wagons was always very securely loaded;
 each package had its contents plainly marked on the outside.
 The wagons were heavily covered and tightly closed.  Every man
 belonging to the caravan was thoroughly armed, and ever on the alert
 to repulse an attack by the Indians.
 
 Sometimes at the crossing of the Arkansas the quicksands were so bad
 that it was necessary to get the caravan over in a hurry; then forty
 or fifty yoke of oxen were hitched to one wagon and it was quickly
 yanked through the treacherous ford.  This was not always the case,
 however; it depended upon the stage of water and recent floods.
 
 After the close of the war with Mexico, the freight business across
 the plains increased to a wonderful degree.  The possession of the
 country by the United States gave a fresh impetus to the New Mexico
 trade, and the traffic then began to be divided between Westport
 and Kansas City.  Independence lost control of the overland commerce
 and Kansas City commenced its rapid growth.  Then came the discovery
 of gold in California, and this gave an increased business westward;
 for thousands of men and their families crossed the plains and
 the Rocky Mountains, seeking their fortunes in the new El Dorado.
 The Old Trail was the highway of an enormous pilgrimage, and both
 Independence and Kansas City became the initial point of a wonderful
 emigration.
 
 In Independence may still be seen a few of the old landmarks when
 it was the headquarters of the Santa Fe trade.
 
 An overland mail was started from the busy town as early as 1849.
 In an old copy of the Missouri _Commonwealth_, published there under
 the date of July, 1850, which I found on file in the Kansas State
 Historical Society, there is the following account of the first mail
 stage westward:--
 
           We briefly alluded, some days since, to the Santa Fe line
           of mail stages, which left this city on its first monthly
           journey on the 1st instant.  The stages are got up in
           elegant style, and are each arranged to convey eight
           passengers.  The bodies are beautifully painted, and made
           water-tight, with a view of using them as boats in ferrying
           streams.  The team consists of six mules to each coach.
           The mail is guarded by eight men, armed as follows: Each man
           has at his side, fastened in the stage, one of Colt's
           revolving rifles; in a holster below, one of Colt's long
           revolvers, and in his belt a small Colt's revolver, besides
           a hunting-knife; so that these eight men are ready, in case
           of attack, to discharge one hundred and thirty-six shots
           without having to reload.  This is equal to a small army,
           armed as in the ancient times, and from the looks of this
           escort, ready as they are, either for offensive or defensive
           warfare with the savages, we have no fears for the safety
           of the mails.
 
           The accommodating contractors have established a sort of
           base of refitting at Council Grove, a distance of one
           hundred and fifty miles from this city, and have sent out
           a blacksmith, and a number of men to cut and cure hay, with
           a quantity of animals, grain, and provisions; and we
           understand they intend to make a sort of traveling station
           there, and to commence a farm.  They also, we believe,
           intend to make a similar settlement at Walnut Creek next
           season.  Two of their stages will start from here the
           first of every month.
 
 The old stage-coach days were times of Western romance and adventure,
 and the stories told of that era of the border have a singular
 fascination in this age of annihilation of distance.
 
 Very few, if any, of the famous men who handled the "ribbons" in those
 dangerous days of the slow journey across the great plains are among
 the living; like the clumsy and forgotten coaches they drove,
 they have themselves been mouldering into dust these many years.
 
 In many places on the line of the Trail, where the hard hills have not
 been subjected to the plough, the deep ruts cut by the lumbering
 Concord coaches may yet be distinctly traced.  Particularly are they
 visible from the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe track, as the cars
 thunder rapidly toward the city of Great Bend, in Kansas, three miles
 east of that town.  Let the tourist as he crosses Walnut Creek look
 out of his window toward the east at an angle of about thirty-five
 degrees, and on the flint hills which slope gradually toward the
 railroad, he will observe, very distinctly, the Old Trail, where it
 once drew down from the divide to make the ford at the little stream.
 
 The monthly stages started from each end of the route at the same time;
 later the service was increased to once a week; after a while to
 three times, until in the early '60's daily stages were run from both
 ends of the route, and this was continued until the advent of the
 railroad.
 
 Each coach carried eleven passengers, nine closely stowed inside
 --three on a seat--and two on the outside on the boot with the driver.
 The fare to Santa Fe was two hundred and fifty dollars, the allowance
 of baggage being limited to forty pounds; all in excess of that cost
 half a dollar a pound.  In this now seemingly large sum was included
 the board of the travellers, but they were not catered to in any
 extravagant manner; hardtack, bacon, and coffee usually exhausted
 the menu, save that at times there was an abundance of antelope and
 buffalo.
 
 There was always something exciting in those journeys from the
 Missouri to the mountains in the lumbering Concord coach.  There was
 the constant fear of meeting the wily red man, who persistently
 hankered after the white man's hair.  Then there was the playfulness
 of the sometimes drunken driver, who loved to upset his tenderfoot
 travellers in some arroya, long after the moon had sunk below
 the horizon.
 
 It required about two weeks to make the trip from the Missouri River
 to Santa Fe, unless high water or a fight with the Indians made it
 several days longer.  The animals were changed every twenty miles
 at first, but later, every ten, when faster time was made.  What sleep
 was taken could only be had while sitting bolt upright, because there
 was no laying over; the stage continued on night and day until
 Santa Fe was reached.
 
 After a few years, the company built stations at intervals varying
 from ten miles to fifty or more; and there the animals and drivers
 were changed, and meals furnished to travellers, which were always
 substantial, but never elegant in variety or cleanliness.
 
 Who can ever forget those meals at the "stations," of which you were
 obliged to partake or go hungry: biscuit hard enough to serve as
 "round-shot," and a vile decoction called, through courtesy, coffee
 --but God help the man who disputed it!
 
 Some stations, however, were notable exceptions, particularly in the
 mountains of New Mexico, where, aside from the bread--usually only
 tortillas, made of the blue-flint corn of the country--and coffee
 composed of the saints may know what, the meals were excellent.
 The most delicious brook trout, alternating with venison of the
 black-tailed deer, elk, bear, and all the other varieties of game
 abounding in the region cost you one dollar, but the station-keeper
 a mere trifle; no wonder the old residents and ranchmen on the line
 of the Old Trail lament the good times of the overland stage!
 
 Thirteen years ago I revisited the once well-known Kosloskie's Ranch,
 a picturesque cabin at the foot of the Glorieta Mountains, about half
 a mile from the ruins on the Rio Pecos.  The old Pole was absent,
 but his wife was there; and, although I had not seen her for fifteen
 years, she remembered me well, and at once began to deplore the
 changed condition of the country since the advent of the railroad,
 declaring it had ruined their family with many others.  I could not
 disagree with her view of the matter, as I looked on the debris of
 a former relative greatness all around me.  I recalled the fact that
 once Kosloskie's Ranch was the favourite eating station on the Trail;
 where you were ever sure of a substantial meal--the main feature
 of which was the delicious brook trout, which were caught out of
 the stream which ran near the door while you were washing the dust
 out of your eyes and ears.
 
 The trout have vacated the Pecos; the ranch is a ruin, and stands
 in grim contrast with the old temple and church on the hill; and both
 are monuments of civilizations that will never come again.
 
 Weeds and sunflowers mark the once broad trail to the quaint Aztec
 city, and silence reigns in the beautiful valley, save when broken
 by the passage of "The Flyer" of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe
 railway, as it struggles up the heavy grade of the Glorieta Mountains
 a mile or more distant.
 
 Besides the driver, there was another employee--the conductor or
 messenger, as he was called.  He had charge of the mail and express
 matter, collected the fares, and attended generally to the requirements
 of those committed to his care during the tedious journey; for he
 was not changed like the driver, but stayed with the coach from its
 starting to its destination.  Sometimes fourteen individuals were
 accommodated in case of emergency; but it was terribly crowded and
 uncomfortable riding, with no chance to stretch your limbs, save for
 a few moments at stations where you ate and changed animals.
 
 In starting from Independence, powerful horses were attached to
 the coach--generally four in number; but at the first station they
 were exchanged for mules, and these animals hauled it the remainder
 of the way.  Drivers were changed about eight times in making the trip
 to Santa Fe; and some of them were comical fellows, but full of nerve
 and endurance, for it required a man of nerve to handle eight frisky
 mules through the rugged passes of the mountains, when the snow was
 drifted in immense masses, or when descending the curved, icy
 declivities to the base of the range.  A cool head was highly
 necessary; but frequently accidents occurred and sometimes were
 serious in their results.
 
 A snowstorm in the mountains was a terrible thing to encounter by
 the coach; all that could be done was to wait until it had abated,
 as there was no going on in the face of the blinding sheets of
 intensely cold vapour which the wind hurled against the sides of
 the mountains.  All inside of the coach had to sit still and shake
 with the freezing branches of the tall trees around them.  A summer
 hailstorm was much more to be dreaded, however; for nowhere else on
 the earth do the hailstones shoot from the clouds of greater size or
 with greater velocity than in the Rocky Mountains.  Such an event
 invariably frightened the mules and caused them to stampede; and,
 to escape death from the coach rolling down some frightful abyss,
 one had to jump out, only to be beaten to a jelly by the masses of
 ice unless shelter could be found under some friendly ledge of rock
 or the thick limbs of a tree.
 
 Nothing is more fatiguing than travelling for the first day and night
 in a stage-coach; after that, however, one gets used to it and the
 remainder of the journey is relatively comfortable.
 
 The only way to alleviate the monotony of riding hour after hour
 was to walk; occasionally this was rendered absolutely necessary
 by some accident, such as breaking a wheel or axle, or when an animal
 gave out before a station was reached.  In such cases, however,
 no deduction was made from the fare, that having been collected in
 advance, so it cost you just as much whether you rode or walked.
 You could exercise your will in the matter, but you must not lag
 behind the coach; the savages were always watching for such derelicts,
 and your hair was the forfeit!
 
 In the worst years, when the Indians were most decidedly on the
 war-trail, the government furnished an escort of soldiers from the
 military posts; they generally rode in a six-mule army-wagon, and
 were commanded by a sergeant or corporal; but in the early days,
 before the army had concentrated at the various forts on the great
 plains, the stage had to rely on the courage and fighting qualities
 of its occupants, and the nerve and the good judgment of the driver.
 If the latter understood his duty thoroughly and was familiar with
 the methods of the savages, he always chose the cover of darkness
 in which to travel in localities where the danger from Indians was
 greater than elsewhere; for it is a rare thing in savage warfare
 to attack at night.  The early morning seemed to be their favourite
 hour, when sleep oppresses most heavily; and then it was that the
 utmost vigilance was demanded.
 
 One of the most confusing things to the novice riding over the great
 plains is the idea of distance; mile after mile is travelled on
 the monotonous trail, with a range of hills or a low divide in
 full sight, yet hours roll by and the objects seem no nearer than
 when they were first observed.  The reason for this seems to be that
 every atom of vapour is eliminated from the air, leaving such an
 absolute clearness of atmosphere, such an indescribable transparency
 of space through which distant objects are seen, that they are
 magnified and look nearer than they really are.  Consequently,
 the usual method of calculating distance and areas by the eye is ever
 at fault until custom and familiarity force a new standard of measure.
 
 Mirages, too, were of frequent occurrence on the great plains;
 some of them wonderful examples of the refracting properties of light.
 They assumed all manner of fantastic, curious shapes, sometimes
 ludicrously distorting the landscape; objects, like a herd of buffalo
 for instance, though forty miles away, would seem to be high in air,
 often reversed, and immensely magnified in their proportions.
 
 Violent storms were also frequent incidents of the long ride.
 I well remember one night, about thirty years ago, when the coach
 in which I and one of my clerks were riding to Fort Dodge was
 suddenly brought to a standstill by a terrible gale of wind and hail.
 The mules refused to face it, and quickly turning around nearly
 overturned the stage, while we, with the driver and conductor,
 were obliged to hold on to the wheels with all our combined strength
 to prevent it from blowing down into a stony ravine, on the brink
 of which we were brought to a halt.  Fortunately, these fearful
 blizzards did not last very long; the wind ceased blowing so violently
 in a few moments, but the rain usually continued until morning.
 
 It usually happened that you either at once took a great liking for
 your driver and conductor, or the reverse.  Once, on a trip from
 Kansas City, nearly a third of a century ago, when I and another man
 were the only occupants of the coach, we entertained quite a friendly
 feeling for our driver; he was a good-natured, jolly fellow, full of
 anecdote and stories of the Trail, over which he had made more than
 a hundred sometimes adventurous journeys.
 
 When we arrived at the station at Plum Creek, the coach was a little
 ahead of time, and the driver who was there to relieve ours commenced
 to grumble at the idea of having to start out before the regular hour.
 He found fault because we had come into the station so soon, and
 swore he could drive where our man could not "drag a halter-chain,"
 as he claimed in his boasting.  We at once took a dislike to him,
 and secretly wished that he would come to grief, in order to cure him
 of his boasting.  Sure enough, before we had gone half a mile from the
 station he incontinently tumbled the coach over into a sandy arroya,
 and we were delighted at the accident.  Finding ourselves free from
 any injury, we went to work and assisted him to right the coach--
 no small task; but we took great delight in reminding him several
 times of his ability to drive where our old friend could not "drag
 a halter-chain."  It was very dark; neither moon or star visible,
 the whole heavens covered with an inky blackness of ominous clouds;
 so he was not so much to be blamed after all.
 
 The very next coach was attacked at the crossing of Cow Creek by
 a band of Kiowas.  The savages had followed the stage all that
 afternoon, but remained out of sight until just at dark, when they
 rushed over the low divide, and mounted on their ponies commenced
 to circle around the coach, making the sand dunes resound with echoes
 of their infernal yelling, and shaking their buffalo-robes to stampede
 the mules, at the same time firing their guns at the men who were
 in the coach, all of whom made a bold stand, but were rapidly getting
 the worst of it, when fortunately a company of United States cavalry
 came over the Trail from the west, and drove the savages off.
 Two of the men in the coach were seriously wounded, and one of the
 soldiers killed; but the Indian loss was never determined, as they
 succeeded in carrying off both their dead and wounded.
 
 Mr. W. H. Ryus, a friend of mine now residing in Kansas City, who was
 a driver and messenger thirty-five years, and had many adventures,
 told me the following incidents:
 
           I have crossed the plains sixty-five times by wagon and
           coach.  In July, 1861, I was employed by Barnum, Vickery,
           and Neal to drive over what was known as the Long Route,
           that is, from Fort Larned to Fort Lyon, two hundred and
           forty miles, with no station between.  We drove one set of
           mules the whole distance, camped out, and made the journey,
           in good weather, in four or five days.  In winter we
           generally encountered a great deal of snow, and very cold
           air on the bleak and wind-swept desert of the Upper Arkansas,
           but we employees got used to that; only the passengers did
           any kicking.  We had a way of managing them, however,
           when they got very obstreperous; all we had to do was to
           yell Indians! and that quieted them quicker than forty-rod
           whiskey does a man.
 
           We gathered buffalo-chips, to boil our coffee and cook our
           buffalo and antelope steak, smoked for a while around the
           smouldering fire until the animals were through grazing,
           and then started on our lonely way again.
 
           Sometimes the coach would travel for a hundred miles through
           the buffalo herds, never for a moment getting out of sight
           of them; often we saw fifty thousand to a hundred thousand
           on a single journey out or in.  The Indians used to call
           them their cattle, and claimed to own them.  They did not,
           like the white man, take out only the tongue, or hump, and
           leave all the rest to dry upon the prairie, but ate every
           last morsel, even to the intestines.  They said the whites
           were welcome to all they could eat or haul away, but they
           did not like to see so much meat wasted as was our custom.
 
           The Indians on the plains were not at all hostile in 1861-62;
           we could drive into their villages, where there were tens
           of thousands of them, and they would always treat us to
           music or a war-dance, and set before us the choicest of
           their venison and buffalo.  In July of the last-mentioned
           year, Colonel Leavenworth, Jr., was crossing the Trail in
           my coach.  He desired to see Satanta, the great Kiowa chief.
           The colonel's father[28] was among the Indians a great deal
           while on duty as an army officer, while the young colonel
           was a small boy.  The colonel said he didn't believe that
           old Satanta would know him.
 
           Just before the arrival of the coach in the region of the
           Indian village, the Comanches and the Pawnees had been
           having a battle.  The Comanches had taken some scalps,
           and they were camping on the bank of the Arkansas River,
           where Dodge City is now located.  The Pawnees had killed
           five of their warriors, and the Comanches were engaged in
           an exciting war-dance; I think there were from twenty to
           thirty thousand Indians gathered there, men, women, and
           children of the several tribes--Comanches, Kiowas, Cheyennes,
           Arapahoes, and others.
 
           When we came in sight of their camp, the colonel knew, by
           the terrible noise they were making, that a war-dance was
           going on; but we did not know then whether it was on account
           of troubles among themselves, or because of a fight with
           the whites, but we were determined to find out.  If he could
           get to the old chief, all would be right.  So he and I
           started for the place whence the noise came.  We met a savage
           and the colonel asked him whether Satanta was there, and
           what was going on.  When he told us that they had had
           a fight and it was a scalp-dance, our hair lowered; for we
           knew that if it was in consequence of trouble with the
           whites, we stood in some danger of losing our own scalps.
 
           The Indian took us in, and the situation, too; and conducted
           us into the presence of Satanta, who stood in the middle
           of the great circle, facing the dancers.  It was out on an
           island in the stream; the chief stood very erect, and eyed
           us closely for a few seconds, then the colonel told his
           own name that the Indians had known him by when he was a boy.
           Satanta gave one bound--he was at least ten feet from where
           we were waiting--grasped the colonel's hand and excitedly
           kissed him, then stood back for another instant, gave him
           a second squeeze, offered his hand to me, which I,
           of course, shook heartily, then he gazed at the man he had
           known as a boy so many years ago, with a countenance
           beaming with delight.  I never saw any one, even among
           the white race, manifest so much joy as the old chief did
           over the visit of the colonel to his camp.
 
           He immediately ordered some of his young men to go out and
           herd our mules through the night, which they brought back
           to us at daylight.  He then had the coach hauled to the
           front of his lodge, where we could see all that was going on
           to the best advantage.  We had six travellers with us on
           this journey, and it was a great sight for the tenderfeet.
 
           It was about ten o'clock at night when we arrived at
           Satanta's lodge, and we saw thousands of squaws and bucks
           dancing and mourning for their dead warriors.  At midnight
           the old chief said we must eat something at once.  So he
           ordered a fire built, cooked buffalo and venison, setting
           before us the very best that he had, we furnishing canned
           fruit, coffee, and sugar from our coach mess.  There we sat,
           and talked and ate until morning; then when we were ready
           to start off, Satanta and the other chiefs of the various
           tribes escorted us about eight miles on the Trail, where
           we halted for breakfast, they remaining and eating with us.
 
 Colonel Leavenworth was on his way to assume command of one of the
 military posts in New Mexico; the Indians begged him to come back
 and take his quarters at either Fort Larned or Fort Dodge.  They told
 him they were afraid their agent was stealing their goods and selling
 them back to them; while if the Indians took anything from the whites,
 a war was started.
 
 Colonel A. G. Boone had made a treaty with these same Indians in 1860,
 and it was agreed that he should be their agent.  It was done, and
 the entire savage nations were restful and kindly disposed toward
 the whites during his administration; any one could then cross the
 plains without fear of molestation.  In 1861, however, Judge Wright,
 of Indiana, who was a member of Congress at the time, charged Colonel
 Boone with disloyalty.[29]  He succeeded in having him removed.
 
 Majors Russel and Waddell, the great government freight contractors
 across the plains, gave Colonel Boone fourteen hundred acres of land,
 well improved, with some fine buildings on it, about fifteen miles
 east of Pueblo, Colorado.  It was christened Booneville, and the
 colonel moved there.  In the fall of 1862, fifty influential Indians
 of the various tribes visited Colonel Boone at his new home, and
 begged that he would come back to them and be their agent.  He told
 the chiefs that the President of the United States would not let him.
 Then they offered to sell their horses to raise money for him to go
 to Washington to tell the Great Father what their agent was doing;
 and to have him removed, or there was going to be trouble.
 The Indians told Colonel Boone that many of their warriors would be
 on the plains that fall, and they were declaring they had as much
 right to take something to eat from the trains as their agent had
 to steal goods from them.
 
 Early in the winter of the next year, a small caravan of eight or ten
 wagons travelling to the Missouri River was overhauled at Nine Mile
 Ridge, about fifty miles west of Fort Dodge, by a band of Indians,
 who asked for something to eat.  The teamsters, thinking them to be
 hostile, believed it would be a good thing to kill one of them anyhow;
 so they shot an inoffensive warrior, after which the train moved on
 to its camp and the trouble began.  Every man in the whole outfit,
 with the exception of one teamster, who luckily got to the Arkansas
 River and hid, was murdered, the animals all carried away, and the
 wagons and contents destroyed by fire.
 
 This foolish act by the master of the caravan was the cause of a
 long war, causing hundreds of atrocious murders and the destruction
 of a great deal of property along the whole Western frontier.
 
 That fall, 1863, Mr. Ryus was the messenger or conductor in charge
 of the coach running from Kansas City to Santa Fe.  He said:
           It then required a month to make the round trip, about
           eighteen hundred miles.  On account of the Indian war
           we had to have an escort of soldiers to go through the most
           dangerous portions of the Trail; and the caravans all
           joined forces for mutual safety, besides having an escort.
 
           My coach was attacked several times during that season, and
           we had many close calls for our scalps.  Sometimes the
           Indians would follow us for miles, and we had to halt and
           fight them; but as for myself, I had no desire to kill one
           of the miserable, outraged creatures, who had been swindled
           out of their just rights.
 
           I know of but one occasion when we were engaged in a fight
           with them when our escort killed any of the attacking
           savages; it was about two miles from Little Coon Creek
           Station, where they surrounded the coach and commenced
           hostilities.  In the fight one officer and one enlisted man
           were wounded.  The escort chased the band for several miles,
           killed nine of them, and got their horses. 


 

CHARLES BENT.
 
 
 
 Almost immediately after the ratification of the purchase of
 New Mexico by the United States under the stipulations of the
 "Guadalupe-Hidalgo Treaty," the Utes, one of the most powerful tribes
 of mountain Indians, inaugurated a bloody and relentless war against
 the civilized inhabitants of the Territory.  It was accompanied by
 all the horrible atrocities which mark the tactics of savage hatred
 toward the white race.  It continued for several years with more
 or less severity; its record a chapter of history whose pages are
 deluged with blood, until finally the Indians were subdued by the
 power of the military.
 
 Along the line of the Santa Fe Trail, they were frequently in
 conjunction with the Apaches, and their depredations and atrocities
 were very numerous; they attacked fearlessly freight caravans,
 private expeditions, and overland stage-coaches, robbing and murdering
 indiscriminately.
 
 In January, 1847, the mail and passenger stage left Independence,
 Missouri, for Santa Fe on one of its regular trips across the plains.
 It had its full complement of passengers, among whom were a Mr. White
 and family, consisting of his wife, one child, and a coloured nurse.
 
 Day after day the lumbering Concord coach rolled on, with nothing to
 disturb the monotony of the vast prairies, until it had left them
 far behind and crossed the Range into New Mexico.  Just about dawn,
 as the unsuspecting travellers were entering the "canyon of the
 Canadian,"[30] and probably waking up from their long night's sleep,
 a band of Indians, with blood-curdling yells and their terrific
 war-whoop, rode down upon them.
 
 In that lonely and rock-sheltered gorge a party of the hostile savages,
 led by "White Wolf," a chief of the Apaches, had been awaiting the
 arrival of the coach from the East; the very hour it was due was
 well known to them, and they had secreted themselves there the
 night before so as to be on hand should it reach their chosen ambush
 a little before the schedule time.
 
 Out dashed the savages, gorgeous in their feathered war-bonnets,
 but looking like fiends with their paint-bedaubed faces.  Stopping the
 frightened mules, they pulled open the doors of the coach and,
 mercilessly dragging its helpless and surprised inmates to the ground,
 immediately began their butchery.  They scalped and mutilated the
 dead bodies of their victims in their usual sickening manner, not a
 single individual escaping, apparently, to tell of their fiendish acts.
 
 If the Indians had been possessed of sufficient cunning to cover up
 the tracks of their horrible atrocities, as probably white robbers
 would have done, by dragging the coach from the road and destroying it
 by fire or other means, the story of the murders committed in the
 deep canyon might never have been known; but they left the tell-tale
 remains of the dismantled vehicle just where they had attacked it,
 and the naked corpses of its passengers where they had been ruthlessly
 killed.
 
 At the next stage station the employees were anxiously waiting for
 the arrival of the coach, and wondering what could have caused
 the delay; for it was due there at noon on the day of the massacre.
 Hour after hour passed, and at last they began to suspect that
 something serious had occurred; they sat up all through the night
 listening for the familiar rumbling of wheels, but still no stage.
 At daylight next morning, determined to wait no longer, as they felt
 satisfied that something out of the usual course had happened,
 a party hurriedly mounted their horses and rode down the broad trail
 leading to the canyon.
 
 Upon entering its gloomy mouth after a quick lope of an hour,
 they discovered the ghastly remains of twelve mutilated bodies.
 These were gathered up and buried in one grave, on the top of the
 bluff overlooking the narrow gorge.
 
 They could not be sure of the number of passengers the coach had
 brought until the arrival of the next, as it would have a list of
 those carried by its predecessor; but it would not be due for
 several days.  They naturally supposed, however, that the twelve dead
 lying on the ground were its full complement.
 
 Not waiting for the arrival of the next stage, they despatched a
 messenger to the last station east that the one whose occupants
 had been murdered had passed, and there learned the exact number
 of passengers it had contained.  Now they knew that Mrs. White,
 her child, and the coloured nurse had been carried off into a
 captivity worse than death; for no remains of a woman were found
 with the others lying in the canyon.
 
 The terrible news of the massacre was conveyed to Taos, where were
 stationed several companies of the Second United States Dragoons,
 commanded by Major William Greer; but as the weather had grown
 intensely cold and stormy since the date of the massacre, it took
 nearly a fortnight for the terrible story to reach there.  The Major
 acted promptly when appealed to to go after and punish the savages
 concerned in the outrage, but several days more were lost in getting
 an expedition ready for the field.  It was still stormy while the
 command was preparing for its work; but at last, one bright morning,
 in a piercing cold wind, five troops of the dragoons, commanded by
 Major Greer in person, left their comfortable quarters to attempt
 the rescue of Mrs. White, her child, and nurse.
 
 Kit Carson, "Uncle Dick" Wooten, Joaquin Leroux, and Tom Tobin were
 the principal scouts and guides accompanying the expedition, having
 volunteered their services to Major Greer, which he had gladly accepted.
 
 The massacre having occurred three weeks before the command had
 arrived at the canyon of the Canadian, and snow having fallen almost
 continuously ever since, the ground was deeply covered, making it
 almost impossible to find the trail of the savages leading out of
 the gorge.  No one knew where they had established their winter camp
 --probably hundreds of miles distant on some tributary of the Canadian
 far to the south.
 
 Carson, Wooton, and Leroux, after scanning the ground carefully at
 every point, though the snow was ten inches deep, in a way of which
 only men versed in savage lore are capable, were rewarded by
 discovering certain signs, unintelligible to the ordinary individual[31]
 --that the murderers had gone south out of the canyon immediately
 after completing their bloody work, and that their camp was somewhere
 on the river, but how far off none could tell.
 
 The command followed up the trail discovered by the scouts for nearly
 four hundred miles.  Early one morning when that distance had been
 rounded, and just as the men were about to break camp preparatory
 to the day's march, Carson went out on a little reconnoissance on his
 own account, as he had noticed a flock of ravens hovering in the air
 when he first got out of his blankets at dawn, which was sufficient
 indication to him that an Indian camp was located somewhere in the
 vicinity; for that ominous bird is always to be found in the region
 where the savages take up an abode, feeding upon the carcasses of
 the many varieties of game killed for food.  He had not proceeded
 more than half a mile from the camp when he discovered two Indians
 slowly riding over a low "divide," driving a herd of ponies before
 them.  The famous scout was then certain their village could not
 be very far away.  The savages did not observe him, as he took good
 care they should not; so he returned quickly to where Major Greer
 was standing by his camp-fire and reported the presence of a village
 very close at hand.
 
 The Major having sent for Tom Tobin and Uncle Dick Wooton, requested
 them to go and find the exact location of the savages.  These scouts
 came back in less than half an hour, and reported a large number
 of teepees in a thick grove of timber a mile away.
 
 It was at once determined to surprise the savages in their winter
 quarters by charging right among their lodges without allowing them
 time to mount their ponies, as the gallant Custer rode, at the head
 of his famous troopers of the Seventh Cavalry, into the camp of the
 celebrated chief "Black Kettle" on the Washita, in the dawn of a
 cold November morning twenty years afterward.
 
 The command succeeded in getting within good charging distance of the
 village without its occupants having any knowledge of its proximity;
 but at this moment Major Greer was seized with an idea that he ought
 to have a parley with the Indians before he commenced to fight them,
 and for that purpose he ordered a halt, just as the soldiers were
 eager for the sound of the "Charge!"
 
 Never were a body of men more enraged.  Carson gave vent to his wrath
 in a series of elaborately carved English oaths, for which he was
 noted when young; Leroux, whose naturally hot blood was roused,
 swore at the Major in a curious mixture of bad French and worse
 mountain dialect, and it appeared as if the battle would begin in the
 ranks of the troops instead of those of the savages; for never was
 a body of soldiers so disgusted at the act of any commanding officer.
 
 This delay gave the Indians, who could be seen dodging about among
 their lodges and preparing for a fight that was no longer a surprise,
 time to hide their women and children, mount their ponies, and get
 down into deep ravines, where the soldiers could not follow them.
 While the Major was trying to convince his subordinates that his
 course was the proper one, the Indians opened fire without any parley,
 and it happened that at the first volley a bullet struck him in the
 breast, but a suspender buckle deflected its course and he was not
 seriously wounded.
 
 The change in the countenance of their commanding officer caused by
 the momentary pain was just the incentive the troopers wanted, and
 without waiting for the sound of the trumpet, they spurred their
 horses, dashed in, and charged the thunderstruck savages with the
 shock of a tornado.
 
 In two successful charges of the gallant and impatient troopers more
 than a hundred of the Indians were killed and wounded, but the time
 lost had permitted many to escape, and the pursuit of the stragglers
 would have been unavailing under the circumstances; so the command
 turned back and returned to Taos.  In the village was found the body
 of Mrs. White still warm, with three arrows in her breast.  Had the
 charge been made as originally expected by the troopers, her life
 would have been saved.  No trace of the child or of the coloured
 nurse was ever discovered, and it is probable that they were both
 killed while en route from the canyon to the village, as being
 valueless to keep either as slaves or for other purposes.
 
 The fate of the Apache chief, "White Wolf," who was the leader in
 the outrages in the canyon of the Canadian, was fitting for his
 devilish deeds.  It was Lieutenant David Bell's fortune to avenge
 the murder of Mrs. White and her family, and in an extraordinary
 manner.[32]  The action was really dramatic, or romantic; he was
 on a scout with his company, which was stationed at Fort Union,
 New Mexico, having about thirty men with him, and when near the canyon
 of the Canadian they met about the same number of Indians.  A parley
 was in order at once, probably desired by the savages, who were
 confronted with an equal number of troopers.  Bell had assigned
 the baggage-mules to the care of five or six of his command, and held
 a mounted interview with the chief, who was no other than the infamous
 White Wolf of the Jicarilla Apaches.  As Bell approached, White Wolf
 was standing in front of his Indians, who were on foot, all well armed
 and in perfect line.  Bell was in advance of his troopers, who were
 about twenty paces from the Indians, exactly equal in number and
 extent of line; both parties were prepared to use firearms.
 
 The parley was almost tediously long and the impending duel was
 arranged, White Wolf being very bold and defiant.
 
 At last the leaders exchanged shots, the chief sinking on one knee
 and aiming his gun, Bell throwing his body forward and making his
 horse rear.  Both lines, by command, fired, following the example
 of their superiors, the troopers, however, spurring forward over
 their enemies.  The warriors, or nearly all of them, threw themselves
 on the ground, and several vertical wounds were received by horse
 and rider.  The dragoons turned short about, and again charged through
 and over their enemies, the fire being continuous.  As they turned
 for a third charge, the surviving Indians were seen escaping to a
 deep ravine, which, although only one or two hundred paces off,
 had not previously been noticed.  A number of the savages thus
 escaped, the troopers having to pull up at the brink, but sending
 a volley after the descending fugitives.
 
 In less than fifteen minutes twenty-one of the forty-six actors in
 this strange combat were slain or disabled.  Bell was not hit, but
 four or five of his men were killed or wounded.  He had shot
 White Wolf several times, and so did others after him; but so
 tenacious of life was the Apache that, to finish him, a trooper
 got a great stone and mashed his head.
 
 This was undoubtedly the greatest duel of modern times; certainly
 nothing like it ever occurred on the Santa Fe Trail before or since.
 
 The war chief of the Kiowa nation in the early '50's was Satank,
 a most unmitigated villain; cruel and heartless as any savage that
 ever robbed a stage-coach or wrenched off the hair of a helpless woman.
 After serving a dozen or more years with a record for hellish
 atrocities equalled by few of his compeers, he was deposed for alleged
 cowardice, as his warriors claimed, under the following circumstances:--
 
 The village of his tribe was established in the large bottoms,
 eight miles from the Great Bend of the Arkansas, and about the same
 distance from Fort Zarah.[33]  All the bucks were absent on a hunting
 expedition, excepting Satank and a few superannuated warriors.
 The troops were out from Fort Larned on a grand scout after marauding
 savages, when they suddenly came across the village and completely
 took the Kiowas by surprise.  Seeing the soldiers almost upon them,
 Satank and other warriors jumped on their ponies and made good their
 escape.  Had they remained, all of them would have been killed or
 at least captured; consequently Satank, thinking discretion better
 than valour at that particular juncture, incontinently fled.
 His warriors in council, however, did not agree with him; they thought
 that it was his duty to have remained at the village in defence of
 the women and children, as he had been urged to refrain from going on
 the hunt for that very purpose.
 
 Some time before Satank lost his office of chief, there was living
 on Cow Creek, in a rude adobe building, a man who was ostensibly
 an Indian trader, but whose traffic, in reality, consisted in selling
 whiskey to the Indians, and consequently the United States troops
 were always after him.  He was obliged to cache his liquor in every
 conceivable manner so that the soldiers should not discover it, and,
 of course, he dreaded the incursions of the troops much more than
 he did raids of the Indian marauders that were constantly on the Trail.
 
 Satank and this illicit trader, whose name was Peacock, were great
 chums.  One day while they were indulging in a general good time
 over sundry drinks of most villanous liquor, Satank said to Peacock:
 "Peacock, I want you to write me a letter; a real nice one, that
 I can show to the wagon-bosses on the Trail, and get all the 'chuck'
 I want.  Tell them I am Satank, the great chief of the Kiowas, and
 for them to treat me the best they know how."
 
 "All right, Satank," said Peacock; "I'll do so."  Peacock then sat
 down and wrote the following epistle:--
 
 "The bearer of this is Satank.  He is the biggest liar, beggar, and
 thief on the plains.  What he can't beg of you, he'll steal.  Kick him
 out of camp, for he is a lazy, good-for-nothing Indian."
 
 Satank began at once to make use of the supposed precious document,
 which he really believed would assure him the dignified treatment
 and courtesy due to his exalted rank.  He presented it to several
 caravans during the ensuing week, and, of course, received a very
 cool reception in every instance, or rather a very warm one.
 
 One wagon-master, in fact, black-snaked him out of his camp.
 After these repeated insults he sought another white friend, and
 told of his grievances.  "Look here," said Satank, "I asked Peacock
 to write me a good letter, and he gave me this; but I don't
 understand it!  Every time I hand it to a wagon-boss, he gives me
 the devil!  Read it to me and tell me just what it does say."
 
 His friend read it over, and then translated it literally to Satank.
 The savage assumed a countenance of extreme disgust, and after musing
 for a few moments, said: "Well, I understand it all now.  All right!"
 
 The next morning at daylight, Satank called for some of his braves
 and with them rode out to Peacock's ranch.  Arriving there, he called
 out to Peacock, who had not yet risen: "Peacock, get up, the soldiers
 are coming!"  It was a warning which the illicit trader quickly
 obeyed, and running out of the building with his field-glass in his
 hand, he started for his lookout, but while he was ascending the
 ladder with his back to Satank the latter shot him full of holes,
 saying, as he did so: "There, Peacock, I guess you won't write any
 more letters."
 
 His warriors then entered the building and killed every man in it,
 save one who had been gored by a buffalo bull the day before, and
 who was lying in a room all by himself.  He was saved by the fact
 that the Indian has a holy dread of small-pox, and will never enter
 an apartment where sick men lie, fearing they may have the awful
 disease.
 
 Satanta (White Bear) was the most efficient and dreaded chief of all
 who have ever been at the head of the Kiowa nation.  Ever restlessly
 active in ordering or conducting merciless forays against an exposed
 frontier, he was the very incarnation of deviltry in his determined
 hatred of the whites, and his constant warfare against civilization.
 
 He also possessed wonderful oratorical powers; he could hurl the most
 violent invectives at those whom he argued with, or he could be
 equally pathetic when necessary.  He was justly called "The Orator of
 the Plains," rivalling the historical renown of Tecumseh or Pontiac.
 
 He was a short, bullet-headed Indian, full of courage and well versed
 in strategy.  Ordinarily, when on his visits to the various military
 posts he wore a major-general's full uniform, a suit of that rank
 having been given to him in the summer of 1866 by General Hancock.
 He also owned an ambulance, a team of mules, and a set of harness,
 the last stolen, maybe, from some caravan he had raided on the Trail.
 In that ambulance, with a trained Indian driver, the wily chief
 travelled, wrapped in a savage dignity that was truly laughable.
 In his village, too, he assumed a great deal of style.  He was very
 courteous to his white guests, if at the time his tribe were at all
 friendly with the government; nothing was too good for them.
 He always laid down a carpet on the floor of his lodge in the post
 of honour, on which they were to sit.  He had large boards, twenty
 inches wide and three feet long, ornamented with brass tacks driven
 all around the edges, which he used for tables.  He also had a
 French horn, which he blew vigorously when meals were ready.
 
 His friendship was only dissembling.  During all the time that
 General Sheridan was making his preparations for his intended winter
 campaign against the allied plains tribes, Satanta made frequent
 visits to the military posts, ostensibly to show the officers that
 he was heartily for peace, but really to inform himself of what was
 going on.
 
 At that time I was stationed at Fort Harker, on the Smoky Hill.
 One evening, General Sheridan, who was my guest, was sitting on the
 verandah of my quarters, smoking and chatting with me and some other
 officers who had come to pay him their respects, when one of my men
 rode up and quietly informed me that Satanta had just driven his
 ambulance into the fort, and was getting ready to camp near the mule
 corral.  On receiving this information, I turned to the general and
 suggested the propriety of either killing or capturing the inveterate
 demon.  Personally I believed it would be right to get rid of such
 a character, and I had men under my command who would have been
 delighted to execute an order to that effect.
 
 Sheridan smiled when I told him of Satanta's presence and the
 excellent chance to get rid of him.  But he said: "That would
 never do; the sentimentalists in the Eastern States would raise
 such a howl that the whole country would be horrified!"
 
 Of course, in these "piping times of peace" the reader, in the quiet
 of his own room, will think that my suggestion was brutal, and without
 any palliation; my excuse, however, may be found in General
 Washington's own motto: Exitus acta probat.  If the suggestion had
 been acted upon, many an innocent man and woman would have escaped
 torture, and many a maiden a captivity worse than death.
 
 As a specimen of Satanta's oratory, I offer the following, to show
 the hypocrisy of the subtle old villain, and his power over the minds
 of too sensitive auditors.  Once Congress sent out to the central
 plains a commission from Washington to inquire into the causes of
 the continual warfare raging with the savages on the Kansas border;
 to learn what the grievances of the Indians were; and to find some
 remedy for the wholesale slaughter of men, women, and children along
 the line of the Old Trail.
 
 Satanta was sent for by the commission as the leading spirit of the
 formidable Kiowa nation.  When he entered the building at Fort Dodge
 in which daily sessions were held, he was told by the president to
 speak his mind without any reservation; to withhold nothing, but to
 truthfully relate what his tribe had to complain of on the part of
 the whites.  The old rascal grew very pathetic as he warmed up to
 his subject.  He declared that he had no desire to kill the white
 settlers or emigrants crossing the plains, but that those who came
 and lived on the land of his tribe ruthlessly slaughtered the buffalo,
 allowing their carcasses to rot on the prairie; killing them merely
 for the amusement it afforded them, while the Indian only killed
 when necessity demanded.  He also stated that the white hunters
 set out fires, destroying the grass, and causing the tribe's horses
 to starve to death as well as the buffalo; that they cut down and
 otherwise destroyed the timber on the margins of the streams, making
 large fires of it, while the Indian was satisfied to cook his food
 with a few dry and dead limbs.  "Only the other day," said he,
 "I picked up a little switch on the Trail, and it made my heart bleed
 to think that so small a green branch, ruthlessly torn out of the
 ground and thoughtlessly destroyed by some white man, would in time
 have grown into a stately tree for the use and benefit of my children
 and grandchildren."
 
 After the pow-wow had ended, and Satanta had got a few drinks of
 red liquor into him, his real, savage nature asserted itself, and
 he said to the interpreter at the settler's store: "Now didn't I
 give it to those white men who came from the Great Father?  Didn't I
 do it in fine style?  Why, I drew tears from their eyes!  The switch
 I saw on the Trail made my heart glad instead of sad; for I new there
 was a tenderfoot ahead of me, because an old plainsman or hunter
 would never have carried anything but a good quirt or a pair of spurs.
 So I said to my warriors, 'Come on, boys; we've got him!' and when
 we came in sight, after we had followed him closely on the dead run,
 he threw away his rifle and held tightly on to his hat for fear
 he should lose it!"
 
 Another time when Satanta had remained at Fort Dodge for a very long
 period and had worn out his welcome, so that no one would give him
 anything to drink, he went to the quarters of his old friend,
 Bill Bennett, the overland stage agent, and begged him to give him
 some liquor.  Bill was mixing a bottle of medicine to drench a
 sick mule.  The moment he set the bottle down to do something else,
 Satanta seized it off the ground and drank most of the liquid before
 quitting.  Of course, it made the old savage dreadfully sick as well
 as angry.  He then started for a certain officer's quarters and again
 begged for something to cure him of the effects of the former dose;
 the officer refused, but Satanta persisted in his importunities;
 he would not leave without it.  After a while, the officer went to
 a closet and took a swallow of the most nauseating medicine, placing
 the bottle back on its shelf.  Satanta watched his chance, and,
 as soon as the officer left the room, he snatched the bottle out of
 the closet and drank its contents without stopping to breathe.
 It was, of course, a worse dose than the horse-medicine.  The next
 day, very early in the morning, he assembled a number of his warriors,
 crossed the Arkansas, and went south to his village.  Before leaving,
 however, he burnt all of the government contractor's hay on the bank
 of the river opposite the post.  He then continued on to Crooked Creek,
 where he murdered three wood-choppers, all of which, he said afterward,
 he did in revenge for the attempt to poison him at Fort Dodge.
 
 At the Comanche agency, where several of the government agents were
 assembled to have a talk with chiefs of the various plains tribes,
 Satanta said in his address: "I would willingly take hold of that part
 of the white man's road which is represented by the breech-loading
 rifles; but I don't like the corn rations--they make my teeth hurt!"
 
 Big Tree was another Kiowa chief.  He was the ally and close friend
 of Satanta, and one of the most daring and active of his warriors.
 The sagacity and bravery of these two savages would have been a credit
 to that of the most famous warriors of the old French and Indian Wars.
 Both were at last taken, tried, and sent to the Texas penitentiary
 for life.  Satanta was eventually pardoned; but before he was made
 aware of the efforts that were being taken for his release,
 he attempted to escape, and, in jumping from a window, fell and broke
 his neck.  His pardon arrived the next morning.  Big Tree, through
 the work of the sentimentalists of Washington, was set free and sent
 to the Kiowa Reservation--near Fort Sill in the Indian Territory.
 
 The next most audacious and terrible scourge of the plains was
 "Ta-ne-on-koe" (Kicking Bird).  He was a great warrior of the Kiowas,
 and was the chief actor in some of the bloodiest raids on the Kansas
 frontier in the history of its troublous times.
 
 One of his captures was that of a Miss Morgan and Mrs. White.
 They were finally rescued from the savages by General Custer, under
 the following circumstances: Custer, who was advancing with his
 column of invincible cavalrymen--the famous Seventh United States--
 in search of the two unfortunate women, had arrived near the head
 waters of one of the tributaries of the Washita, and, with only
 his guide and interpreter, was far in advance of the column, when,
 on reaching the summit of an isolated bluff, they suddenly saw a
 village of the Kiowas, which turned out to be that of Kicking Bird,
 whose handsome lodge was easily distinguishable from the rest.
 Without waiting for his command, the general and his guide rode
 boldly to the lodge of the great chief, and both dismounted, holding
 cocked revolvers in their hands; Custer presented his at Kicking
 Bird's head.  In the meantime, Custer's column of troopers, whom
 the Kiowas had good reason to remember for their bravery in many
 a hard-fought battle, came in full view of the astonished village.
 This threw the startled savages into the utmost consternation, but
 the warriors were held in check by signs from Kicking Bird.  As the
 cavalry drew nearer, General Custer demanded the immediate release
 of the white women.  Their presence in the village was at first
 denied by the lying chief, and not until he had been led to the limb
 of a huge cottonwood tree near the lodge, with a rope around his neck,
 did he acknowledge that he held the women and consent to give them up.
 
 This well-known warrior, with a foreknowledge not usually found in the
 savage mind, seeing the beginning of the end of Indian sovereignty
 on the plains, voluntarily came in and surrendered himself to the
 authorities, and stayed on the reservation near Fort Sill.
 
 In June, 1867, a year before the breaking out of the great Indian war
 on the central plains, the whole tribe of Kiowas, led by him,
 assembled at Fort Larned.  He was the cynosure of all eyes, as he
 was without question one of the noblest-looking savages ever seen
 on the plains.  On that occasion he wore the full uniform of a
 major-general of the United States army.  He was as correctly moulded
 as a statue when on horseback, and when mounted on his magnificent
 charger the morning he rode out with General Hancock to visit the
 immense Indian camp a few miles above the fort on Pawnee Fork,
 it would have been a difficult task to have determined which was
 the finer-looking man.
 
 After Kicking Bird had abandoned his wicked career, he was regarded
 by every army officer with whom he had a personal acquaintance as
 a remarkably good Indian; for he really made the most strenuous
 efforts to initiate his tribe into the idea that it was best for it
 to follow the white man's road.  He argued with them that the time
 was very near when there would no longer be any region where the
 Indians could live as they had been doing, depending on the buffalo
 and other game for the sustenance of their families; they must adapt
 themselves to the methods of their conquerors.
 
 In July, 1869, he became greatly offended with the government for
 its enforced removal of his tribe from its natural and hereditary
 hunting-grounds into the reservation allotted to it.  At that time
 many of his warriors, together with the Comanches, made a raid on
 the defenceless settlements of the northern border of Texas, in which
 the savages were disastrously defeated, losing a large number of
 their most beloved warriors.  On the return of the unsuccessful
 expedition, a great council was held, consisting of all the chiefs
 and head men of the two tribes which had suffered so terribly in
 the awful fight, to consider the best means of avenging the loss
 of so many braves and friends.  Kicking Bird was summoned before
 that council and condemned as a coward; they called him a squaw,
 because he had refused to go with the warriors of the combined tribes
 on the raid into Texas.
 
 He told a friend of mine some time afterward that he had intended
 never again to go against the whites; but the emergency of the case,
 and his severe condemnation by the council, demanded that he should
 do something to re-establish himself in the good graces of his tribe.
 He then made one of the most destructive raids into Texas that ever
 occurred in the history of its border warfare, which successfully
 restored him to the respect of his warriors.
 
 In that raid Kicking Bird carried off vast herds of horses and a
 large number of scalps.  Although his tribe fairly worshipped him,
 he was not at all satisfied with himself.  He could look into the
 future as well as any one, and from that time on to his tragic death
 he laboured most zealously and earnestly in connection with the
 Indian agents to bring his people to live on the reservation which
 the government had established for them in the Territory.
 
 At the inauguration of the so-called "Quaker Policy" by President
 Grant, that sect was largely intrusted with the management of Indian
 affairs, particularly in the selection of agents for the various
 tribes.  A Mr. Tatham was appointed agent for the Kiowas in 1869.
 He at once gained the confidence of Kicking Bird, who became very
 valuable to him as an assistant in controlling the savages.  It was
 through that chief's influence that Thomas Batty, another Quaker,
 was allowed to take up his residence with the tribe, the first white
 man ever accorded that privilege.  Batty was permitted to erect
 three tents, which were staked together, converting them into an
 ample schoolhouse.  In that crude, temporary structure he taught
 the Kiowa youth the rudiments of an education.  This very successful
 innovation shows how earnest the former dreaded savage was in his
 efforts to promote the welfare of his people, by trying to induce
 them to "take the white man's road."
 
 Batty succeeded admirably for a year in his office of teacher,
 the chief all the time nobly withstanding the taunts and jeers of
 his warriors and their threats of taking his life, for daring to
 allow a white man within the sacred precincts of their village--
 a thing unparalleled in the annals of the tribe.
 
 At last trouble came; the dissatisfied members of the tribe, the
 ambitious and restless young men, eager for renown, made another
 unsuccessful raid into Texas.  The result was that they lost nearly
 the whole of the band, among which was the favourite son of Lone Wolf,
 a noted chief.[34]  After the death of his son, he declared that he
 must and would have the scalp of a white man in revenge for the
 untimely taking off of the young warrior.  Of course, the most
 available white man at this juncture was Batty, the Quaker teacher,
 and he was chosen by Lone Wolf as the victim of savage revenge.
 Here the noble instincts of Kicking Bird developed themselves.
 He very plainly told Lone Wolf, who was constantly threatening and
 thirsting for blood, that he could not kill Batty until he first
 killed him and all his band.  But Lone Wolf had fully determined
 to have the hair of the innocent Quaker; so Kicking Bird, to avert
 any collision between the two bands of Indians, kidnapped Batty
 and ran him off to the agency, arriving at Fort Sill about an hour
 before Lone Wolf's band of avengers overtook them, and thus the
 Quaker teacher was saved.
 
 One day, long after these occurrences, a friend of mine was in the
 sutler's store at Fort Sill.  In there was a stranger talking to
 Mr. Fox, the agent of the Indians.  Soon Kicking Bird entered the
 establishment, and the stranger asked Mr. Fox who that fine-looking
 Indian was.  He was told, and then he begged the agent to say to him
 that he would like to have a talk with him; for he it was who led
 that famous raid into Texas.  "I never saw better generalship in the
 field in all my experience.  He had three horses killed under him.
 I was the surgeon of the rangers and was, of course, in the fight."[35]
 
 When Kicking Bird was told that the Texas doctor desired to talk with
 him, he replied with great dignity that he did not want to revive
 those troublous times.  "Tell him, though," said Kicking Bird, "that
 was my last raid against the whites; that I am a changed man."
 
 The President of the United States sent for Kicking Bird to come to
 Washington, and to bring with him such other influential Indians as
 he thought might aid in inducing the Kiowas to cease their continual
 raiding on the border of Texas.
 
 In due time Kicking Bird left for the capital, taking with him
 Lone Wolf, Big Bow, and Sun Boy of the Kiowas, together with several
 of the head men of the Comanches.  When the deputation of savages
 arrived in Washington, it was received at the presidential mansion
 by the chief magistrate himself.  So much more attention was given
 to Kicking Bird than to the others, that they became very jealous,
 particularly when the President announced to them the appointment
 of Kicking Bird as the head chief of the tribe.[36]  But Lone Wolf
 would never recognize his authority, constantly urging the young men
 to raid the settlements.  Lone Wolf was a genuine savage, without one
 redeeming trait, and his hatred of the white race was unparalleled
 in its intensity.  He was never known to smile.  No other Indian can
 show such a record of horrible massacres as he is responsible for.
 His orders were rigidly obeyed, for he brooked no disobedience on
 the part of his warriors.
 
 In the summer of 1876, a party of English gentlemen left Fort Harker
 for a buffalo hunt.  They soon exhausted all their rations and started
 a four-mule team back to the post for more.  Some of Lone Wolf's band
 of cut-throats came across the unfortunate teamster, killed him,
 and ran off the team.  After the occurrence, Kicking Bird came into
 the agency at Fort Sill and told Mr. Haworth, the agent, that he had
 given his word to the Great Father at Washington he would do all he
 could to bring in those Indians who had been raiding by order of
 Lone Wolf, particularly the two who had killed the Englishmen's driver.
 
 He succeeded in  bringing in twelve Indians in all, among them the
 murderers of the driver.  They, with Lone Wolf and Satank, were sent
 to the Dry Tortugas for life.  The morning they started on their
 journey Satank talked very feelingly to Kicking Bird, with tears in
 his eyes.  He said that they might look for his bones along the road,
 for he would never go to Florida.  The savages were loaded into
 government wagons.  Satank was inside of one with a soldier on each
 side of him, their legs hanging outside.  Somehow the crafty villain
 managed to slip the handcuffs off his wrists, at the same instant
 seizing the rifle of one of his guards, and then shoved the two men
 out with his feet.  He tried to work the lever of the rifle, but
 could not move it, and one of the soldiers, coming around the wagon
 to where he was still trying to get the gun so as he could use it,
 shot him down, and then threw his body on the Trail.  Thus Satank
 made good his vow that he would never be taken to Florida.  He met
 his death only a mile from the post.
 
 After the departure of the condemned savages, the feeling in the tribe
 against Kicking Bird increased to an alarming extent.  Several times
 the most incensed warriors tried to kill him by shooting at him from
 an ambush.  After he became fully aware that his life was in danger,
 he never left his lodge without his carbine.  He was as brave as a
 lion, fearing none of the members of Lone Wolf's band; but he often
 said it was only a question of a short time when he would be gotten
 rid of; he did not allow the matter, however, to worry him in the
 least, saying that he was conscious he had done his duty by his tribe
 and the Great Father.
 
 In a bend of Cash Creek, about half a mile below the mill, about half
 a dozen of the Kiowas had their lodges, that of their chief being
 among them.  At ten o'clock one Monday in June, 1876, Mr. Haworth,
 the agent, came in haste to the shops, called the master mechanic,
 Mr. Wykes, out, told him to jump into the carriage quickly; that
 Kicking Bird was dead.
 
 When they arrived at the home of the great chief, sure enough he was
 dead, and some of the women were engaged in folding his body in robes.
 Other squaws were cutting themselves in a terrible manner, as is their
 custom when a relative dies, and were also breaking everything
 breakable about the lodge.  Kicking Bird had always been scrupulously
 clean and neat in the care of his home; it was adorned with the most
 beautifully dressed buffalo robes and the finest furs, while the floor
 was covered with matting.
 
 It seems that Kicking Bird, after visiting Mr. Wykes that morning,
 went immediately to his lodge, and sat down to eat something, but
 just as he had finished a cup of coffee, he fell over, dead.  He had
 in his service a Mexican woman, and she had been bribed to poison him.
 
 An expensive coffin was made at the agency for his remains, fashioned
 out of the finest black walnut to be found in the country where that
 timber grows to such a luxuriant extent.  It was eight feet long
 and four feet deep, but even then it did not hold one-half of his
 effects, which were, according to the savage custom, interred with
 his body.
 
 The cries and lamentations of the warriors and women of his band
 were heartrending; such a manifestation of grief was never before
 witnessed at the agency.  A handsome fence was erected around his
 grave, in the cemetery at Fort Sill, and the government ordered
 a beautiful marble monument to be raised over it; but I do not know
 whether it was ever done.
 
 Kicking Bird was only forty years old at the time of his sudden
 taking off, and was very wealthy for an Indian.  He knew the uses
 of money and was a careful saver of it.  A great roll of greenbacks
 was placed in his coffin, and that fact having leaked out, it was
 rumoured that his grave was robbed; but the story may not have been
 true.
 
 One of the greatest terrors of the Old Santa Fe Trail was the
 half-breed Indian desperado Charles Bent.  His mother was a Cheyenne
 squaw, and his father the famous trader, Colonel Bent.  He was born
 at the base of the Rocky Mountains, and at a very early age placed
 in one of the best schools that St. Louis afforded.  His venerable
 sire, with only a limited education himself, was determined that
 his boy should profit by the culture and refinement of civilization,
 so he was not allowed to return to his mountain home at Bent's Fort,
 and the savage conditions under which he was born, until he had
 attained his majority.  He then spoke no language but English.
 His mother died while he was absent at school, and his father
 continued to live at the old fort, where Charles, after he had
 reached the age of twenty-one, joined him.
 
 Some Washington sentimentalist, philosophizing on the Indian character,
 his knowledge being based on Cooper's novels probably, has said:
 "Civilization has very marked effects upon an Indian.  If he once
 learns to speak English, he will soon forget all his native cunning
 and pride of race."  Let us see how this theory worked with Charley Bent.
 
 As soon as the educated half-breed set his foot on his native heath
 he readily found enough ambitious young bucks of his own age who
 were willing to look on him as their leader.  They loved him, too,
 if such a thing were possible, as Fra Diavolo was loved by his wild
 followers.  His band was known as the "Dog-Soldiers"; a sort of a
 semi-military organization, consisting of the most daring,
 blood-thirsty young men of the tribe; and sometimes "squaw-men,"
 that is, renegade white men married to squaws, attached themselves
 to his command of cut-throats.
 
 At the head of this collection of the worst savages, hardly ever
 numbering over a hundred, Charles Bent robbed ranches, attacked
 wagon-trains, overland coaches, and army caravans.  He stole and
 murdered indiscriminately.  The history of his bloody work will
 never be wholly revealed, for dead men have no tongues.
 
 He would visit all alone, in the guise of plainsman, hunter, or
 cattleman, the emigrant trains crossing the continent, always,
 however, those which had only small escorts or none at all.  Feigning
 hunger, while his needs were being kindly furnished, he would glance
 around him to learn what kind of an outfit it was; its value, its
 destination, and how well guarded.  Then he would take his leave with
 many thanks, rejoin his band, and with it dash down on the train and
 kill every human being unfortunate enough not to have escaped before
 he arrived.
 
 He was indefatigable in his efforts to kill off the whole corps of
 army scouts.  He would pass himself off as a fellow-scout, as a
 deserter from some military post, or as an Indian trader, for he was
 a wonderful actor, and would have achieved histrionic honours had
 he chosen the stage as a profession.
 
 He would always time his actions so as to be found apparently asleep
 by a little camp-fire on the bank of Pawnee Fork, Crooked, Mulberry,
 or Walnut creeks, all of which streams intercepted the trails running
 north and south between the several military posts during the Indian
 war, when he would seem delighted and astonished, or else simulate
 suspicion.  Then he would either murder the unsuspecting scout with
 his own hands, or deliver him to the red fiends of his band to be
 tormented.
 
 The government offered a reward of five thousand dollars for Bent's
 capture, dead or alive.  It was reported currently that he was at last
 killed in a battle with some deputy United States marshals, and that
 they received the reward; but the whole thing was manufactured out of
 whole cloth, and if the marshals received the money, Uncle Sam was
 most outrageously swindled.
 
 The facts are that he died of malarial fever superinduced by a wound
 received in a fight with the Kaws, near the mouth of the Walnut and
 not far from Fort Zarah.  His "Dog-Soldiers" were whipped by the Kaws,
 and his band driven off.  Bent lingered for some time and died. 


 

LA GLORIETA.
 
 
 
 New Mexico, at the breaking out of the Civil War, was abandoned by
 the government at Washington, or at least so overlooked that the
 charge of neglect was merited.  In the report of the committee on
 the Conduct of the War, under date of July 15, 1862, Brevet
 Lieutenant-Colonel B. S. Roberts of the regular army, major of the
 Third Cavalry, who was stationed in the Territory in 1861, says:
           It appears to me to be the determination of General Thomas[37]
           not to acknowledge the service of the officers who saved
           the Territory of New Mexico; and the utter neglect of the
           adjutant-general's department for the last year to
           communicate in any way with the commanding officer of the
           department of New Mexico, or to answer his urgent appeals
           for reinforcements, for money and other supplies, in
           connection with his repudiation of the services of all the
           army there, convinces me that he is not gratified at their
           loyalty and their success in saving that Territory to
           the Union.
 
 If space could be given to the story of the carefully prepared plans
 of the leaders of secession for the conquest of all the territory
 south of a line drawn from Maryland directly west to the Pacific
 coast, in which were California, Arizona, and New Mexico, it would
 reveal some startling facts, and prove beyond question that it was
 the intention of Jefferson Davis to precipitate the rebellion a
 decade before it actually occurred.  The basis of the scheme was to
 inaugurate a war between Texas--which, when admitted into the Union,
 claimed all that part of New Mexico east of the Rio Grande--and the
 United States, in which conflict Mississippi and some of the other
 Southern States were to become participants.  The plan fell flat,
 because, in 1851, Mr. Davis failed of a re-election to the governorship
 of Mississippi.
 
 So confident were many of Mr. Davis' allies in regard to the
 contemplated rebellion, that they boasted to their friends of the
 North, upon leaving Washington, that when they met again, it would
 be upon a Southern battle-field.
 
 I have alluded incidentally to what is known as the Texas Santa Fe
 Expedition, inaugurated by the President of what was then the republic
 of Texas, Mirabeau B. Lamar.  It was given out to the world that
 it was merely one of commercial interest--to increase the trade
 between the two countries; but that it was intended for the conquest
 of New Mexico, no one now, in the light of history, doubts.
 It resulted in disaster, and is a story well worthy the examination
 of the student of American politics.[38]
 
 In 1861 General Twiggs commanded the military department of which
 Texas was an important part.  It will be remembered that he surrendered
 to the Confederate government the troops, the munitions of war,
 the forts, or posts as they were properly termed, and everything
 pertaining to the United States army under his control.  It was the
 intention of the Confederacy to use this region as a military base
 from which to continue its conquests westward, and capture the various
 forts in New Mexico.  Particularly they had their eyes upon Fort Union,
 where there was an arsenal, which John B. Floyd, Secretary of War,
 had taken especial care to have well stocked previously to the act
 of secession.
 
 But the conspirators had reckoned without their host; they imagined
 the native Mexicans would eagerly accept their overtures, and readily
 support the Southern Confederacy.  Mr. Davis and his coadjutors had
 evidently forgotten the effect of the Texas Santa Fe Expedition,
 in 1841, upon the people of the Province of New Mexico; but the
 natives themselves had not.  Besides the loyalty of the Mexicans,
 there was a factor which the Confederate leaders had failed to
 consider, which was that the majority of the American pioneers had
 come from loyal States.
 
 Of course, there were many secessionists both in Colorado and
 New Mexico who were watching the progress of rebellion in eager
 anticipation; and it is claimed that in Denver a rebel flag was
 raised--but how true that is I do not know.
 
 John B. Floyd, Secretary of War, was one of the leading spirits of
 the Confederacy.  A year before the Civil War he placed in command
 of the department of New Mexico a North Carolinian, Colonel Loring,
 who was in perfect sympathy with his superior, and willing to carry
 out his well-defined plans.  In 1861 he ordered Colonel G. B. Crittenden
 on an expedition against the Apaches.  This officer at once tried to
 induce his troops to attach themselves to the rebel army in Texas,
 but he was met with an indignant refusal by Colonel Roberts and
 the regular soldiers under him.  The loyal colonel told Crittenden,
 in the most forcible language, that he would resist any such attempt
 on his part, and reported the action of Colonel Crittenden to the
 commander of the department at Santa Fe.  Of course, Colonel Loring
 paid no attention to the complaint of disloyalty, and then Colonel
 Roberts conveyed the tidings to the commanding officers of several
 military posts in the Territory, whom he knew were true to the Union,
 and only one man out of nearly two thousand regular soldiers
 renounced his flag.  Some of the officers stationed at New Mexico
 were of a different mind, and one of them, Major Lynde, commanding
 Fort Filmore, surrendered to a detachment of Texans, who paroled
 the enlisted men, as they firmly refused to join the rebel forces.
 
 Upon the desertion of Colonel Loring to the Southern Confederacy,
 General Edward R. S. Canby was assigned to the command of the
 department; next in rank was the loyal Roberts.  At this perilous
 juncture in New Mexico, there were but a thousand regulars all told,
 but the Territory furnished two regiments of volunteers, commanded by
 officers whose names had been famous on the border for years.
 Among these was Colonel Ceran St. Vrain, who had been conspicuous
 in the suppression of the Mexican insurrection of 1847, fifteen years
 before.  Kit Carson was lieutenant-colonel; J. F. Chaves, major; and
 the most prominent of the line officers Captain Albert H. Pfeiffer,
 with a record as an Indian fighter equal to that of Carson.
 
 At the same time Colorado was girding on her armour for the impending
 conflict.  The governor of the prosperous Territory was William Gilpin,
 an old army officer, who had spent a large part of his life on the
 frontier, and had accompanied Colonel Doniphan, as major of his
 regiment, across the plains, on the expedition to New Mexico in 1846.
 
 Colonel Gilpin at once responded to the pleadings of New Mexico for
 help, by organizing two companies at first, quickly following with
 a full regiment.  This Colorado regiment was composed of as fine
 material as any portion of the United States could furnish.
 John P. Slough, a war Democrat and a lawyer, was its colonel.
 He afterwards became chief justice of New Mexico, and was brutally
 murdered in that Territory.
 
 John M. Chivington, a strict Methodist and a presiding elder of
 that church, was offered the chaplaincy, but firmly declined, and,
 like many others who wore the clerical garb, he quickly doffed it
 and put on the attire of a soldier; so he was made major, and his
 record as a fighter was equal to the best.
 
 The commanding general knew well the plans of the rebels as to their
 intended occupation of New Mexico, and, notwithstanding the weakness
 of his force, determined to frustrate them if within the limits of
 possibility.  To that end he concentrated his little army, comprising
 a thousand regular soldiers, the two regiments of New Mexico
 volunteers, two companies of Colorado troops, and a portion of the
 territorial militia, at Fort Craig, on the Rio Grande, to await
 the approach of the Confederate troops, under the command of
 General H. H. Sibley, an old regular army officer, a native of
 Louisiana, and the inventor of the comfortable tent named after him.
 
 Sibley's brigade comprised some three thousand men, the majority
 of them Texans, and he expected that many more would flock to his
 standard as he moved northward.  On the 19th of February, 1862,
 he crossed the Rio Grande below Fort Craig, not daring to attack
 Canby in his intrenched position.  The Union commander, in order
 to keep the Texas troops from gaining the high points overlooking
 the fort, placed portions of the Fifth, Seventh, and Tenth Regulars,
 together with Carson's and Pino's volunteers, on the other side of
 the river.  No collision occurred that day, but the next afternoon
 Major Duncan, with his cavalry and Captain M'Rae's light battery,
 having been sent across to reinforce the infantry, a heavy artillery
 fire was immediately opened upon them by the Texans.  The men under
 Carson behaved splendidly, but the other volunteer regiments became
 a little demoralized, and the general was compelled to call back
 the force into the fort.  Sibley's force, both men and animals,
 suffered much from thirst, the latter stampeding, and many, wandering
 into our lines, were caught by the scouts of the Union forces.
 The next morning early Colonel Roberts was ordered to proceed about
 seven miles up the river to keep the Texans away from the water at
 a point where it was alone accessible, on account of the steepness
 of the banks everywhere else.
 
 The gallant Roberts, on arriving at the ford, planted a battery there,
 and at once opened fire.  This was the battle of Valverde, the details
 of which, however, do not belong to this book, having been only
 incidentally referred to in order to lead the reader intelligently
 up to that of La Glorieta, Apache Canyon, or Pigeon's Ranch, as it
 is indifferently called.
 
 Valverde was lost to the Union troops, but never did men fight more
 valiantly, with the exception of a few who did not act the part of
 the true soldier.  The brave M'Rae mounted one of the guns of his
 battery, choosing to die rather than surrender.
 
 General Sibley, after his doubtful victory at Valverde, continued
 on to Albuquerque and Santa Fe.  The old city offered no resistance
 to his occupation; in fact, some of the most influential Mexicans
 were pleased, their leaning being strongly toward the Southern
 Confederacy; but the common people were as loyal to the Union as
 those of any of the Northern States, a feeling intensified by their
 hatred for the Texans on account of the expedition of conquest in
 1841, twenty-one years before.  They contributed of their means to
 aid the United States troops, but have never received proper credit
 for their action in those days of trouble in the neglected Territory.
 
 The Confederate general was disappointed at the way in which affairs
 were going, for he had based great hopes upon the defection of the
 native residents; but he determined to march forward to Fort Union,
 where his friend Floyd had placed such stores as were likely to be
 needed in the campaign which he had designed.
 
 From Santa Fe to Fort Union, where the arsenal was located, the road
 runs through the deep, rocky gorge known as Apache Canyon.  It is
 one of the wildest spots in the mountains, the walls on each side
 rising from one to two thousand feet above the Trail, which is within
 the range of ordinary cannon from every point, and in many places
 of point-blank rifle-shot.  Granite rocks and sands abound, and the
 hills are covered with long-leafed pine.  It is a gateway which,
 in the hands of a skilful engineer and one hundred resolute men,
 can be made perfectly impregnable.
 
 The Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway passes directly through
 this picturesque chasm, every foot of which is classic ground, and
 in the season of the mountain freshets constant care is needed to
 keep its bridges in place.
 
 At its eastern entrance is a large residence, known as Pigeon's Ranch,
 from which the battle to be described derives its name, though,
 as stated, it is also known as that of Apache Canyon, and La Glorieta,[39]
 the latter, perhaps, the most classical, from the range of mountains
 enclosing the rent in the mighty hills.
 
 The following detailed account of this battle I have taken from
 the _History of Colorado_,[40] an admirable work:
 
           The sympathizers with and abettors of the Southern
           Confederacy inaugurated their plans by posting handbills
           in all conspicuous places between Denver and the
           mining-camps, designating certain localities where the
           highest prices would be paid for arms of every description,
           and for powder, lead, shot, and percussion caps.
           Simultaneously, a small force was collected and put under
           discipline to co-operate with parties expected from Arkansas
           and Texas who were to take possession, first of Colorado,
           and subsequently of New Mexico, anticipating the easy
           capture of the Federal troops and stores located there.
           Being apprised of the movement, the governor immediately
           decided to enlist a full regiment of volunteers.
           John P. Slough was appointed colonel, Samuel F. Tappan
           lieutenant-colonel, and John J. M. Chivington major.
 
           Without railroads or telegraphs nearer than the Missouri
           River, and wholly dependent upon the overland mail coach
           for communication with the States and the authorities at
           Washington, news was at least a week old when received.
           Thus the troops passed the time in a condition of doubt
           and extreme anxiety, until the 6th of January, 1862, when
           information arrived that an invading force under General
           H. H. Sibley, from San Antonio, Texas, was approaching
           the southern border of New Mexico, and had already captured
           Forts Fillmore and Bliss, making prisoners of their
           garrisons without firing a gun, and securing all their
           stock and supplies.
 
           Immediately upon receipt of this intelligence, efforts
           were made to obtain the consent of, or orders from, General
           Hunter, commanding the department at Fort Leavenworth,
           Kansas, for the regiment to go to the relief of General
           Canby, then in command of the department of New Mexico.
           On the 20th of February, orders came from General Hunter,
           directing Colonel Slough and the First Regiment of Colorado
           Volunteers to proceed with all possible despatch to
           Fort Union, or Santa Fe, New Mexico, and report to General
           Canby for service.
 
           Two days thereafter, the command marched out of Camp Weld
           two miles up the Platte River, and in due time encamped
           at Pueblo, on the Arkansas River.  At this point further
           advices were received from Canby, stating that he had
           encountered the enemy at Valverde, ten miles north of
           Fort Craig, but, owing to the inefficiency of the newly
           raised New Mexican volunteers, was compelled to retire.
           The Texans under Sibley marched on up the Rio Grande,
           levying tribute upon the inhabitants for their support.
           The Colorado troops were urged to the greatest possible
           haste in reaching Fort Union, where they were to unite
           with such regular troops as could be concentrated at that
           post, and thus aid in saving the fort and its supplies
           from falling into Confederate hands.  Early on the
           following morning the order was given to proceed to Union
           by forced marches, and it is doubtful if the same number of
           men ever marched a like distance in the same length of time.
 
           When the summit of Raton Pass was reached, another courier
           from Canby met the command, who informed Colonel Slough
           that the Texans had already captured Albuquerque and
           Santa Fe with all the troops stationed at those places,
           together with the supplies stored there, and that they
           were then marching on Fort Union.
 
           Arriving at Red River about sundown, the regiment was
           drawn up in line and this information imparted to the men.
           The request was then made for all who were willing to
           undertake a forced march at night to step two paces to
           the front, when every man advanced to the new alignment.
           After a hasty supper the march was resumed, and at sunrise
           the next morning they reached Maxwell's Ranch on the
           Cimarron, having made sixty-four miles in less than
           twenty-four hours.  At ten o'clock on the second night
           thereafter, the command entered Fort Union.  It was there
           discovered that Colonel Paul, in charge of the post, had
           mined the fort, giving orders for the removal of the women
           and children, and was preparing to blow up all the supplies
           and march to Fort Garland or some other post to the
           northward, on the first approach of the Confederates.
 
           The troops remained at Union from the 13th to the 22d of
           March, when by order of Colonel Slough they proceeded in
           the direction of Santa Fe.  The command consisted of
           the First Colorado Volunteers; two Light Batteries,
           one commanded by Captain Ritter and the other by Captain
           Claflin; Ford's Company of Colorado Volunteers unattached;
           two companies of the Fifth Regular Infantry; and two
           companies of the Seventh United States Cavalry.
 
           The force encamped at Bernal Springs, where Colonel Slough
           determined to organize a detachment to enter Santa Fe by
           night with the view of surprising the enemy, spiking his
           guns, and after doing what other damage could be accomplished
           without bringing on a general action, falling back on the
           main body.  The detachment chosen comprised sixty men each
           from Companies A, D, and E of the Colorado regiment, with
           Company F of the same mounted, and thirty-seven men each
           from the companies of Captains Ford and Howland, and of
           the Seventh Cavalry, the whole commanded by Major Chivington.
 
           At sundown on the 25th of March it reached Kosloskie's Ranch,
           where Major Chivington was informed that the enemy's pickets
           were in the vicinity.  He went into camp at once, and about
           nine o'clock of the same evening sent out Lieutenant Nelson
           of the First Colorado with thirty men of Company F, who
           captured the Texan pickets while they were engaged in a game
           of cards at Pigeon's Ranch, and before daylight on the
           morning of the 26th, reported at camp with his prisoners.
           After breakfast, the major, being apprised of the enemy's
           whereabouts, proceeded cautiously, keeping his advance
           guard well to the front.  While passing near the summit
           of the hill, the officer in command of the advance met
           the Confederate advance, consisting of a first lieutenant
           and thirty men, captured them without firing a gun, and
           returning met the main body and turned them over to the
           commanding officer.  The Confederate lieutenant declared
           that they had received no intimation of the advance from
           Fort Union, but themselves expected to be there four days
           later.
 
           Descending Apache Canyon for the distance of half a mile,
           Chivington's force observed the approaching Texans, about
           six hundred strong, with three pieces of artillery, who,
           on discovering the Federals, halted, formed line and battery,
           and opened fire.
 
           Chivington drew up his cavalry as a reserve under cover,
           deployed Company D under Captain Downing to the right,
           and Companies A and E under Captains Wynkoop and Anthony
           to the left, directing them to ascend the mountain-side
           until they were above the elevation of the enemy's artillery
           and thus flank him, at the same time directing Captain
           Howland, he being the ranking cavalry officer, to closely
           observe the enemy, and when he retreated, without further
           orders to charge with the cavalry.  This disposition of
           the troops proved wise and successful.  The Texans soon
           broke battery and retreated down the canyon a mile or more,
           but from some cause Captain Howland failed to charge as
           ordered, which enabled the Confederates to take up a new
           and strong position, where they formed battery, threw their
           supports well up the sides of the mountain, and again
           opened fire.
 
           Chivington dismounted Captains Howland and Lord with their
           regulars, leaving their horses in charge of every fourth
           man, and ordered them to join Captain Downing on the left,
           taking orders from him.  Our skirmishers advanced, and,
           flanking the enemy's supports, drove them pell-mell down
           the mountain-side, when Captain Samuel Cook, with Company F,
           First Colorado, having been signalled by the major, made
           as gallant and successful a charge through the canyon,
           through the ranks of the Confederates and back, as was
           ever performed.  Meanwhile, our infantry advanced rapidly;
           when the enemy commenced his retreat a second time, they
           were well ahead of him on the mountain-sides and poured
           a galling fire into him, which thoroughly demoralized and
           broke him up, compelling the entire body to seek shelter
           among the rocks down the canyon and in some cabins that
           stood by the wayside.
 
           After an hour spent in collecting the prisoners, and
           caring for the wounded, both Federal and Confederate,
           the latter having left in killed, wounded, and prisoners
           a number equal to our whole force in the field, the first
           baptism by fire of our volunteers terminated.  The victory
           was decided and complete.  Night intervening, and there
           being no water in the canyon, the little command fell back
           to Pigeon's Ranch, whence a courier was despatched to
           Colonel Slough, advising him of the engagement and its
           result, and requesting him to bring forward the main
           command as rapidly as possible, as the enemy with all his
           forces had moved from Santa Fe toward Fort Union.
 
           After interring the dead and making a comfortable hospital
           for the wounded, on the afternoon of the 27th Chivington
           fell back to the Pecos River at Kosloskie's Ranch and
           encamped.  On receiving the news from Apache Canyon,
           Colonel Slough put his forces in motion, and at eleven
           o'clock at night of the 27th joined Chivington at Kosloskie's.
 
           At daybreak on the 28th, the assembly was sounded, and
           the entire command resumed its march.  Five miles out
           from their encampment Major Chivington, in command of
           a detachment composed of Companies A, B, H, and E of the
           First Colorado, and Captain Ford's Company unattached,
           with Captain Lewis' Company of the Fifth Regular Infantry,
           was ordered to take the Galisteo road, and by a detour
           through the mountains to gain the enemy's rear, if possible,
           at the west end of Apache Canyon, while Slough advanced
           slowly with the main body to gain his front about the
           same time; thus devising an attack in front and rear.
 
           About ten o'clock, while making his way through the scrub
           pine and cedar brush in the mountains, Major Chivington
           and his command heard cannonading to their right, and
           were thereby apprised that Colonel Slough and his men
           had met the enemy.  About twelve o'clock he arrived with
           his men on the summit of the mountain which overlooked
           the enemy's supply wagons, which had been left in the
           charge of a strong guard with one piece of artillery mounted
           on an elevation commanding the camp and mouth of the canyon.
           With great difficulty Chivington descended the precipitous
           mountain, charged, took, and spiked the gun, ran together
           the enemy's supply wagons of commissary, quartermaster,
           and ordnance stores, set them on fire, blew and burnt
           them up, bayoneted his mules in corral, took the guard
           prisoners and reascended the mountain, where about dark
           he was met by Lieutenant Cobb, aide-de-camp on Colonel
           Slough's staff, with the information that Slough and his
           men had been defeated and had fallen back to Kosloskie's.
           Upon the supposition that this information was correct,
           Chivington, under the guidance of a French Catholic priest,
           in the intensest darkness, with great difficulty made
           his way with his command through the mountains without
           a road or trail, and joined Colonel Slough about midnight.
 
           Meanwhile, after Chivington and his detachment had left
           in the morning, Colonel Slough with the main body proceeded
           up the canyon, and arriving at Pigeon's Ranch, gave orders
           for the troops to stack arms in the road and supply their
           canteens with water, as that would be the last opportunity
           before reaching the further end of Apache Canyon.
           While thus supplying themselves with water and visiting
           the wounded in the hospital at Pigeon's Ranch, being
           entirely off their guard, they were suddenly startled by
           a courier from the advance column dashing down the road
           at full speed and informing them that the enemy was close
           at hand.  Orders were immediately given to fall in and
           take arms, but before the order could be obeyed the enemy
           had formed battery and commenced shelling them.
           They formed as quickly as possible, the colonel ordering
           Captain Downing with Company D, First Colorado Volunteers,
           to advance on the left, and Captain Kerber with Company I
           First Colorado, to advance on the right.  In the meantime
           Ritter and Claflin opened a return fire on the enemy with
           their batteries.  Captain Downing advanced and fought
           desperately, meeting a largely superior force in point
           of numbers, until he was almost overpowered and surrounded;
           when, happily, Captain Wilder of Company G of the First
           Colorado, with a detachment of his command, came to his
           relief, and extricated him and that portion of his Company
           not already slaughtered.  While on the opposite side,
           the right, Company I had advanced into an open space,
           feeling the enemy, and ambitious of capturing his battery,
           when they were surprised by a detachment which was concealed
           in an arroya, and which, when Kerber and his men were
           within forty feet of it, opened a galling fire upon them.
           Kerber lost heavily; Lieutenant Baker, being wounded,
           fell back.  In the meantime the enemy masked, and made
           five successive charges on our batteries, determined to
           capture them as they had captured Canby's at Valverde.
           At one time they were within forty yards of Slough's
           batteries, their slouch hats drawn down over their faces,
           and rushing on with deafening yells.  It seemed inevitable
           that they would make the capture, when Captain Claflin
           gave the order to cease firing, and Captain Samuel Robbins
           with his company, K of the First Colorado, arose from the
           ground like ghosts, delivering a galling fire, charged
           bayonets, and on the double-quick put the rebels to flight.
 
           During the whole of this time the cavalry, under Captain
           Howland, were held in reserve, never moving except to
           fall back and keep out of danger, with the exception of
           Captain Cook's men, who dismounted and fought as infantry.
           From the opening of the battle to its close the odds were
           against Colonel Slough and his forces; the enemy being
           greatly superior in numbers, with a better armament of
           artillery and equally well armed otherwise.  But every inch
           of ground was stubbornly contested.  In no instance did
           Slough's forces fall back until they were in danger of
           being flanked and surrounded, and for nine hours, without
           rest or refreshment, the battle raged incessantly.
           At one time Claflin gave orders to double-shot his guns,
           they being nothing but little brass howitzers, and he
           counted, "One, two, three, four," until one of his own
           carriages capsized and fell down into the gulch; from which
           place Captain Samuel Robbins and his company, K, extricated
           it and saved it from falling into the enemy's hands.
 
           Having been compelled to give ground all day, Colonel Slough,
           between five and six o'clock in the afternoon, issued
           orders to retreat.  About the same time General Sibley
           received information from the rear of the destruction of
           his supply trains, and ordered a flag of truce to be sent
           to Colonel Slough, which did not reach him, however, until
           he arrived at Kosloskie's.  A truce was entered into until
           nine o'clock the next morning, which was afterward extended
           to twenty-four hours, and under which Sibley with his
           demoralized forces fell back to Santa Fe, laying that town
           under tribute to supply his forces.
 
           The 29th was spent in burying the dead, as well as those
           of the Confederates which they left on the field, and
           caring for the wounded.  Orders were received from General
           Canby directing Colonel Slough to fall back to Fort Union,
           which so incensed him that while obeying the order he
           forwarded his resignation, and soon after left the command.
 
 Thus ended the battle of La Glorieta. 


 

THE BUFFALO.
 
 
 
 The ancient range of the buffalo, according to history and tradition,
 once extended from the Alleghanies to the Rocky Mountains, embracing
 all that magnificent portion of North America known as the Mississippi
 valley; from the frozen lakes above to the "Tierras Calientes" of
 Mexico, far to the south.
 
 It seems impossible, especially to those who have seen them, as
 numerous, apparently, as the sands of the seashore, feeding on the
 illimitable natural pastures of the great plains, that the buffalo
 should have become almost extinct.
 
 When I look back only twenty-five years, and recall the fact that
 they roamed in immense numbers even then, as far east as Fort Harker,
 in Central Kansas, a little more than two hundred miles from the
 Missouri River, I ask myself, "Have they all disappeared?"
 
 An idea may be formed of how many buffalo were killed from 1868 to
 1881, a period of only thirteen years, during which time they were
 indiscriminately slaughtered for their hides.  In Kansas alone
 there was paid out, between the dates specified, two million five
 hundred thousand dollars for their bones gathered on the prairies,
 to be utilized by the various carbon works of the country, principally
 in St. Louis.  It required about one hundred carcasses to make one
 ton of bones, the price paid averaging eight dollars a ton; so the
 above-quoted enormous sum represented the skeletons of over thirty-one
 millions of buffalo.[42]  These figures may appear preposterous to
 readers not familiar with the great plains a third of a century ago;
 but to those who have seen the prairie black from horizon to horizon
 with the shaggy monsters, they are not so.  In the autumn of 1868
 I rode with Generals Sheridan, Custer, Sully, and others, for three
 consecutive days, through one continuous herd, which must have
 contained millions.  In the spring of 1869 the train on the Kansas
 Pacific Railroad was delayed at a point between Forts Harker and
 Hays, from nine o'clock in the morning until five in the afternoon,
 in consequence of the passage of an immense herd of buffalo across
 the track.  On each side of us, and to the west as far as we could
 see, our vision was only limited by the extended horizon of the flat
 prairie, and the whole vast area was black with the surging mass
 of affrighted buffaloes as they rushed onward to the south.
 
 In 1868 the Union Pacific Railroad and its branch in Kansas was nearly
 completed across the plains to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains,
 the western limit of the buffalo range, and that year witnessed
 the beginning of the wholesale and wanton slaughter of the great
 ruminants, which ended only with their practical extinction seventeen
 years afterward.  The causes of this hecatomb of animals on the
 great plains were the incursion of regular hunters into the region,
 for the hides of the buffalo, and the crowds of tourists who crossed
 the continent for the mere pleasure and novelty of the trip.
 The latter class heartlessly killed for the excitement of the
 new experience as they rode along in the cars at a low rate of speed,
 often never touching a particle of the flesh of their victims,
 or possessing themselves of a single robe.  The former, numbering
 hundreds of old frontiersmen, all expert shots, with thousands of
 novices, the pioneer settlers on the public domain, just opened
 under the various land laws, from beyond the Platte to far south
 of the Arkansas, within transporting distance of two railroads,
 day after day for years made it a lucrative business to kill for
 the robes alone, a market for which had suddenly sprung up all over
 the country.
 
 On either side of the track of the two lines of railroads running
 through Kansas and Nebraska, within a relatively short distance
 and for nearly their whole length, the most conspicuous objects
 in those days were the desiccated carcasses of the noble beasts
 that had been ruthlessly slaughtered by the thoughtless and excited
 passengers on their way across the continent.  On the open prairie,
 too, miles away from the course of legitimate travel, in some places
 one could walk all day on the dead bodies of the buffaloes killed
 by the hide-hunters, without stepping off them to the ground.
 
 The best robes, in their relation to thickness of fur and lustre,
 were those taken during the winter months, particularly February,
 at which period the maximum of density and beauty had been reached.
 Then, notwithstanding the sudden and fitful variations of temperature
 incident to our mid-continent climate, the old hunters were especially
 active, and accepted unusual risks to procure as many of the coveted
 skins as possible.  A temporary camp would be established under
 the friendly shelter of some timbered stream, from which the hunters
 would radiate every morning, and return at night after an arduous
 day's work, to smoke their pipes and relate their varied adventures
 around the fire of blazing logs.
 
 Sometimes when far away from camp a blizzard would come down from
 the north in all its fury without ten minutes' warning, and in a
 few seconds the air, full of blinding snow, precluded the possibility
 of finding their shelter, an attempt at which would only result
 in an aimless circular march on the prairie.  On such occasions,
 to keep from perishing by the intense cold, they would kill a buffalo,
 and, taking out its viscera, creep inside the huge cavity, enough
 animal heat being retained until the storm had sufficiently abated
 for them to proceed with safety to their camp.
 
 Early in March, 1867, a party of my friends, all old buffalo hunters,
 were camped in Paradise valley, then a famous rendezvous of the
 animals they were after.  One day when out on the range stalking,
 and widely separated from each other, a terrible blizzard came up.
 Three of the hunters reached their camp without much difficulty,
 but he who was farthest away was fairly caught in it, and night
 overtaking him, he was compelled to resort to the method described
 in the preceding paragraph.  Luckily, he soon came up with a
 superannuated bull that had been abandoned by the herd; so he killed
 him, took out his viscera and crawled inside the empty carcass, where
 he lay comparatively comfortable until morning broke, when the storm
 had passed over and the sun shone brightly.  But when he attempted
 to get out, he found himself a prisoner, the immense ribs of the
 creature having frozen together, and locked him up as tightly as if
 he were in a cell.  Fortunately, his companions, who were searching
 for him, and firing their rifles from time to time, heard him yell
 in response to the discharge of their pieces, and thus discovered and
 released him from the peculiar predicament into which he had fallen.
 
 At another time, several years before the acquisition of New Mexico
 by the United States, two old trappers were far up on the Arkansas
 near the Trail, in the foot-hills hunting buffalo, and they, as is
 generally the case, became separated.  In an hour or two one of them
 killed a fat young cow, and, leaving his rifle on the ground, went up
 and commenced to skin her.  While busily engaged in his work,
 he suddenly heard right behind him a suppressed snort, and looking
 around he saw to his dismay a monstrous grizzly ambling along in
 that animal's characteristic gait, within a few feet of him.
 
 In front, only a few rods away, there happened to be a clump of
 scrubby pines, and he incontinently made a break for them, climbing
 into the tallest in less time than it takes to tell of it.  The bear
 deliberately ate a hearty meal off the juicy hams of the cow,
 so providentially fallen in his way, and when he had satiated himself,
 instead of going away, he quietly stretched himself alongside of
 the half-devoured carcass, and went to sleep, keeping one eye open,
 however, on the movements of the unlucky hunter whom he had corralled
 in the tree.  In the early evening his partner came to the spot,
 and killed the impudent bear, that, being full of tender buffalo meat,
 was sluggish and unwary, and thus became an easy victim to the
 unerring rifle; when the unwilling prisoner came down from his perch
 in the pine, feeling sheepish enough.  The last time I saw him he
 told me he still had the bear's hide, which he religiously preserved
 as a memento of his foolishness in separating himself from his rifle,
 a thing he has never been guilty of before or since.
 
 Kit Carson, when with Fremont on his first exploring expedition,
 while hunting for the command, at some point on the Arkansas,
 left a buffalo which he had just killed and partly cut up, to pursue
 a large bull that came rushing by him alone.  He chased his game
 for nearly a quarter of a mile, not being able, however, to gain
 on it rapidly, owing to the blown condition of his horse.  Coming up
 at length to the side of the fleeing beast, Carson fired, but at the
 same instant his horse stepped into a prairie-dog hole, fell down
 and threw Kit fully fifteen feet over his head.  The bullet struck
 the buffalo low under the shoulder, which only served to enrage him
 so that the next moment the infuriated animal was pursuing Kit,
 who, fortunately not much hurt, was able to run toward the river.
 It was a race for life now, Carson using his nimble legs to the
 utmost of their capacity, accelerated very much by the thundering,
 bellowing bull bringing up the rear.  For several minutes it was
 nip and tuck which should reach the stream first, but Kit got there
 by a scratch a little ahead.  It was a big bend of the river, and
 the water was deep under the bank, but it was paradise compared
 with the hades plunging at his back; so Kit leaped into the water,
 trusting to Providence that the bull would not follow.  The trust
 was well placed, for the bull did not continue the pursuit, but stood
 on the bank and shook his head vehemently at the struggling hunter
 who had preferred deep waves to the horns of a dilemma on shore.
 
 Kit swam around for some time, carefully guarded by the bull, until
 his position was observed by one of his companions, who attacked
 the belligerent animal successfully with a forty-four slug, and then
 Kit crawled out and--skinned the enemy!
 
 He once killed five buffaloes during a single race, and used but
 four balls, having dismounted and cut the bullet from the wound
 of the fourth, and thus continued the chase.  He it was, too, who
 established his reputation as a famous hunter by shooting a buffalo
 cow during an impetuous race down a steep hill, discharging his rifle
 just as the animal was leaping on one of the low cedars peculiar
 to the region.  The ball struck a vital spot, and the dead cow
 remained in the jagged branches.  The Indians who were with him
 on that hunt looked upon the circumstance as something beyond their
 comprehension, and insisted that Kit should leave the carcass in
 the tree as "Big Medicine."  Katzatoa (Smoked Shield), a celebrated
 chief of the Kiowas many years ago, who was over seven feet tall,
 never mounted a horse when hunting the buffalo; he always ran after
 them on foot and killed them with his lance.
 
 Two Lance, another famous chief, could shoot an arrow entirely
 through a buffalo while hunting on horseback.  He accomplished this
 remarkable feat in the presence of the Grand Duke Alexis of Russia,
 who was under the care of Buffalo Bill, near Fort Hays, Kansas.
 
 During one of Fremont's expeditions, two of his chasseurs, named
 Archambeaux and La Jeunesse,[43] had a curious adventure on a
 buffalo-hunt.  One of them was mounted on a mule, the other on
 a horse; they came in sight of a large band of buffalo feeding upon
 the open prairie about a mile distant.  The mule was not fleet enough,
 and the horse was too much fatigued with the day's journey, to justify
 a race, and they concluded to approach the herd on foot.  Dismounting
 and securing the ends of their lariats in the ground, they made
 a slight detour, to take advantage of the wind, and crept stealthily
 in the direction of the game, approaching unperceived until within
 a few hundred yards.  Some old bulls forming the outer picket guard
 slowly raised their heads and gazed long and dubiously at the strange
 objects, when, discovering that the intruders were not wolves, but two
 hunters, they gave a significant grunt, turned about as though on
 pivots, and in less than no time the whole herd--bulls, cows, and
 calves--were making the gravel fly over the prairie in fine style,
 leaving the hunters to their discomfiture.  They had scarcely
 recovered from their surprise, when, to their great consternation,
 they beheld the whole company of the monsters, numbering several
 thousand, suddenly shape their course to where the riding animals
 were picketed.  The charge of the stampeded buffalo was a magnificent
 one; for the buffalo, mistaking the horse and the mule for two of
 their own species, came down upon them like a tornado.  A small cloud
 of dust arose for a moment over the spot where the hunter's animals
 had been left; the black mass moved on with accelerated speed, and
 in a few seconds the horizon shut them all from view.  The horse
 and mule, with all their trappings, saddles, bridles, and holsters,
 were never seen or heard of afterward.
 
 Buffalo Bill, in less than eighteen months, while employed as hunter
 of the construction company of the Kansas Pacific Railroad, in 1867-68,
 killed nearly five thousand buffalo, which were consumed by the
 twelve hundred men employed in track-laying.  He tells in his
 autobiography of the following remarkable experience he had at one
 time with his favourite horse Brigham, on an impromptu buffalo hunt:--
 
           One day we were pushed for horses to work on our scrapers,
           so I hitched up Brigham, to see how he would work.  He was
           not much used to that kind of labour, and I was about giving
           up the idea of making a work horse of him, when one of the
           men called to me that there were some buffaloes coming over
           the hill.  As there had been no buffaloes seen anywhere
           in the vicinity of the camp for several days, we had become
           rather short of meat.  I immediately told one of our men
           to hitch his horses to a wagon and follow me, as I was going
           out after the herd, and we would bring back some fresh meat
           for supper.  I had no saddle, as mine had been left at camp
           a mile distant, so taking the harness from Brigham I mounted
           him bareback, and started out after the game, being armed
           with my celebrated buffalo killer Lucretia Borgia--a newly
           improved breech-loading needle-gun, which I had obtained
           from the government.
 
           While I was riding toward the buffaloes, I observed five
           horsemen coming out from the fort, who had evidently seen
           the buffaloes from the post, and were going out for a chase.
           They proved to be some newly arrived officers in that part
           of the country, and when they came up closer I could see
           by the shoulder-straps that the senior was a captain,
           while the others were lieutenants.
 
           "Hello! my friend," sang out the captain; "I see you are
           after the same game we are."
 
           "Yes, sir; I saw those buffaloes coming over the hill,
           and as we were about out of fresh meat I thought I would
           go and get some," said I.
 
           They scanned my cheap-looking outfit pretty closely, and
           as my horse was not very prepossessing in appearance, having
           on only a blind bridle, and otherwise looking like a work
           horse, they evidently considered me a green hand at hunting.
 
           "Do you expect to catch those buffaloes on that Gothic
           steed?" laughingly asked the captain.
 
           "I hope so, by pushing on the reins hard enough," was
           my reply.
 
           "You'll never catch them in the world, my fine fellow,"
           said the captain.  "It requires a fast horse to overtake
           the animals on the prairie."
 
           "Does it?" asked I, as if I didn't know it.
 
           "Yes; but come along with us, as we are going to kill them
           more for pleasure than anything else.  All we want are the
           tongues and a piece of tenderloin, and you may have all
           that is left," said the generous man.
 
           "I am much obliged to you, captain, and will follow you,"
           I replied.
 
           There were eleven buffaloes in the herd, and they were not
           more than a mile ahead of us.  The officers dashed on as if
           they had a sure thing on killing them all before I could
           come up with them; but I had noticed that the herd was
           making toward the creek for water, and as I knew buffalo
           nature, I was perfectly aware that it would be difficult
           to turn them from their direct course.  Thereupon, I started
           toward the creek to head them off, while the officers
           came up in the rear and gave chase.
 
           The buffaloes came rushing past me not a hundred yards
           distant, with the officers about three hundred yards in
           the rear.  Now, thought I, is the time to "get my work in,"
           as they say; and I pulled off the blind bridle from my
           horse, who knew as well as I did that we were out after
           buffaloes, as he was a trained hunter.  The moment the
           bridle was off he started at the top of his speed, running
           in ahead of the officers, and with a few jumps he brought me
           alongside the rear buffalo.  Raising old Lucretia Borgia
           to my shoulder, I fired, and killed the animal at the
           first shot.  My horse then carried me alongside the next
           one, not ten feet away, and I dropped him at the next fire.
 
           As soon as one of the buffalo would fall, Brigham would
           take me so close to the next that I could almost touch it
           with my gun.  In this manner I killed the eleven buffaloes
           with twelve shots; and as the last animal dropped, my horse
           stopped.  I jumped off to the ground, knowing that he would
           not leave me--it must be remembered that I had been riding
           him without bridle, reins, or saddle--and, turning around
           as the party of astonished officers rode up, I said to them:--
 
           "Now, gentlemen, allow me to present to you all the tongues
           and tenderloins you wish from these buffaloes."
 
           Captain Graham, for such I soon learned was his name,
           replied: "Well, I never saw the like before.  Who under
           the sun are you, anyhow?"
 
           "My name is Cody," said I.
 
           Captain Graham, who was considerable of a horseman,
           greatly admired Brigham, and said: "That horse of yours
           has running points."
 
           "Yes, sir; he has not only got the points, he is a runner
           and knows how to use the points," said I.
 
           "So I noticed," said the captain.
 
           They all finally dismounted, and we continued chatting
           for some little time upon the different subjects of horses,
           buffaloes, hunting, and Indians.  They felt a little sore
           at not getting a single shot at the buffaloes; but the way
           I had killed them, they said, amply repaid them for their
           disappointment.  They had read of such feats in books,
           but this was the first time they had ever seen anything
           of the kind with their own eyes.  It was the first time,
           also, that they had ever witnessed or heard of a white man
           running buffaloes on horseback without a saddle or bridle.
 
           I told them that Brigham knew nearly as much about the
           business as I did, and if I had twenty bridles they would
           have been of no use to me, as he understood everything,
           and all that he expected of me was to do the shooting.
           It is a fact that Brigham would stop if a buffalo did not
           fall at the first fire, so as to give me a second chance;
           but if I did not kill the animal then, he would go on, as
           if to say, "You are no good, and I will not fool away my
           time by giving you more than two shots."  Brigham was the
           best horse I ever saw or owned for buffalo chasing.
 
 At one time an old, experienced buffalo hunter was following at the
 heels of a small herd with that reckless rush to which in the
 excitement of the chase men abandon themselves, when a great bull
 just in front of him tumbled into a ravine.  The rider's horse fell
 also, throwing the old hunter over his head sprawling, but with
 strange accuracy right between the bull's horns!  The first to
 recover from the terrible shock and to regain his legs was the horse,
 which ran off with wonderful alacrity several miles before he stopped.
 Next the bull rose, and shook himself with an astonished air, as if
 he would like to know "how that was done?"  The hunter was on the
 great brute's back, who, perhaps, took the affair as a good practical
 joke; but he was soon pitched to the ground, as the buffalo commenced
 to jump "stiff-legged," and the latter, giving the hunter one
 lingering look, which he long remembered, with remarkable good nature
 ran off to join his companions.  Had the bull been wounded, the rider
 would have been killed, as the then enraged animal would have gored
 and trampled him to death.
 
 An officer of the old regular army told me many years ago that in
 crossing the plains a herd of buffalo were fired at by a twelve-pound
 howitzer, the ball of which wounded and stunned an immense bull.
 Nevertheless, heedless of a hundred shots that had been fired at him,
 and of a bulldog belonging to one of the officers, which had fastened
 himself to his lips, the enraged beast charged upon the whole troop
 of dragoons, and tossed one of the horses like a feather.  Bull,
 horse, and rider all fell in a heap.  Before the dust cleared away,
 the trooper, who had hung for a moment to one of the bull's horns
 by his waistband, crawled out safe, while the horse got a ball from
 a rifle through his neck while in the air and two great rips in his
 flank from the bull.
 
 In 1839 Kit Carson and Hobbs were trapping with a party on the
 Arkansas River, not far from Bent's Fort.  Among the trappers was
 a green Irishman, named O'Neil, who was quite anxious to become
 proficient in hunting, and it was not long before he received his
 first lesson.  Every man who went out of camp after game was expected
 to bring in "meat" of some kind.  O'Neil said that he would agree
 to the terms, and was ready one evening to start out on his first
 hunt alone.  He picked up his rifle and stalked after a small herd
 of buffalo in plain sight on the prairie not more than five or six
 hundred yards from camp.
 
 All the trappers who were not engaged in setting their traps or
 cooking supper were watching O'Neil.  Presently they heard the report
 of his rifle, and shortly after he came running into camp, bareheaded,
 without his gun, and with a buffalo bull close upon his heels;
 both going at full speed, and the Irishman shouting like a madman,--
 
 "Here we come, by jabers.  Stop us!  For the love of God, stop us!"
 
 Just as they came in among the tents, with the bull not more than
 six feet in the rear of O'Neil, who was frightened out of his wits
 and puffing like a locomotive, his foot caught in a tent-rope, and
 over he went into a puddle of water head foremost, and in his fall
 capsized several camp-kettles, some of which contained the trappers'
 supper.  But the buffalo did not escape so easily; for Hobbs and
 Kit Carson jumped for their rifles, and dropped the animal before
 he had done any further damage.
 
 The whole outfit laughed heartily at O'Neil when he got up out of
 the water, for a party of old trappers would show no mercy to any
 of their companions who met with a mishap of that character; but
 as he stood there with dripping clothes and face covered with mud,
 his mother-wit came to his relief and he declared he had accomplished
 the hunter's task: "For sure," said he, "haven't I fetched the mate
 into camp? and there was no bargain whether it should be dead or alive!"
 
 Upon Kit's asking O'Neil where his gun was,--
 
 "Sure," said he, "that's more than I can tell you."
 
 Next morning Carson and Hobbs took up O'Neil's tracks and the
 buffalo's, and after hunting an hour or so found the Irishman's rifle,
 though he had little use for it afterward, as he preferred to cook
 and help around camp rather than expose his precious life fighting
 buffaloes.
 
 A great herd of buffaloes on the plains in the early days, when one
 could approach near enough without disturbing it to quietly watch
 its organization and the apparent discipline which its leaders seemed
 to exact, was a very curious sight.  Among the striking features
 of the spectacle was the apparently uniform manner in which the
 immense mass of shaggy animals moved; there was constancy of action
 indicating a degree of intelligence to be found only in the most
 intelligent of the brute creation.  Frequently the single herd was
 broken up into many smaller ones, that travelled relatively close
 together, each led by an independent master.  Perhaps a few rods
 only marked the dividing-line between them, but it was always
 unmistakably plain, and each moved synchronously in the direction
 in which all were going.
 
 The leadership of a herd was attained only by hard struggles for the
 place; once reached, however, the victor was immediately recognized,
 and kept his authority until some new aspirant overcame him, or he
 became superannuated and was driven out of the herd to meet his
 inevitable fate, a prey to those ghouls of the desert, the gray wolves.
 
 In the event of a stampede, every animal of the separate, yet
 consolidated, herds rushed off together, as if they had all gone mad
 at once; for the buffalo, like the Texas steer, mule, or domestic
 horse, stampedes on the slightest provocation; frequently without
 any assignable cause.  The simplest affair, sometimes, will start
 the whole herd; a prairie-dog barking at the entrance to his burrow,
 a shadow of one of themselves or that of a passing cloud, is
 sufficient to make them run for miles as if a real and dangerous
 enemy were at their heels.
 
 Like an army, a herd of buffaloes put out vedettes to give the alarm
 in case anything beyond the ordinary occurred.  These sentinels were
 always to be seen in groups of four, five, or even six, at some
 distance from the main body.  When they perceived something approaching
 that the herd should beware of or get away from, they started on
 a run directly for the centre of the great mass of their peacefully
 grazing congeners.  Meanwhile, the young bulls were on duty as
 sentinels on the edge of the main herd watching the vedettes;
 the moment the latter made for the centre, the former raised their
 heads, and in the peculiar manner of their species gazed all around
 and sniffed the air as if they could smell both the direction and
 source of the impending danger.  Should there be something which their
 instinct told them to guard against, the leader took his position
 in front, the cows and calves crowded in the centre, while the rest
 of the males gathered on the flanks and in the rear, indicating
 a gallantry that might be emulated at times by the genus homo.
 
 Generally buffalo went to their drinking-places but once a day, and
 that late in the afternoon.  Then they ambled along, following each
 other in single file, which accounts for the many trails on the
 plains, always ending at some stream or lake.  They frequently
 travelled twenty or thirty miles for water, so the trails leading
 to it were often worn to the depth of a foot or more.
 
 That curious depression so frequently seen on the great plains,
 called a buffalo-wallow, is caused in this wise: The huge animals
 paw and lick the salty, alkaline earth, and when once the sod is
 broken the loose dirt drifts away under the constant action of
 the wind.  Then, year after year, through more pawing, licking,
 rolling, and wallowing by the animals, the wind wafts more of the
 soil away, and soon there is a considerable hole in the prairie.
 
 Many an old trapper and hunter's life has been saved by following
 a buffalo-trail when he was suffering from thirst.  The buffalo-wallows
 retain usually a great quantity of water, and they have often saved
 the lives of whole companies of cavalry, both men and horses.
 
 There was, however, a stranger and more wonderful spectacle to be seen
 every recurring spring during the reign of the buffalo, soon after
 the grass had started.  There were circles trodden bare on the plains,
 thousands, yes, millions of them, which the early travellers, who did
 not divine their cause, called fairy-rings.  From the first of April
 until the middle of May was the wet season; you could depend upon its
 recurrence almost as certainly as on the sun and moon rising at their
 proper time.  This was also the calving period of the buffalo, as
 they, unlike our domestic cattle, only rutted during a single month;
 consequently, the cows all calved during a certain time; this was the
 wet month, and as there were a great many gray wolves that roamed
 singly and in immense packs over the whole prairie region, the bulls,
 in their regular beats, kept guard over the cows while in the act
 of parturition, and drove the wolves away, walking in a ring around
 the females at a short distance, and thus forming the curious circles.
 
 In every herd at each recurring season there were always ambitious
 young bulls that came to their majority, so to speak, and these were
 ever ready to test their claims for the leadership, so that it may
 be safely stated that a month rarely passed without a bloody battle
 between them for the supremacy; though, strangely enough, the struggle
 scarcely ever resulted in the death of either combatant.
 
 Perhaps there is no animal in which maternal love is so wonderfully
 developed as the buffalo cow; she is as dangerous with a calf by
 her side as a she-grizzly with cubs, as all old mountaineers know.
 
 The buffalo bull that has outlived his usefulness is one of the most
 pitiable objects in the whole range of natural history.  Old age
 has probably been decided in the economy of buffalo life as the
 unpardonable sin.  Abandoned to his fate, he may be discovered,
 in his dreary isolation, near some stream or lake, where it does not
 tax him too severely to find good grass; for he is now feeble, and
 exertion an impossibility.  In this new stage of his existence he
 seems to have completely lost his courage.  Frightened at his own
 shadow, or the rustling of a leaf, he is the very incarnation of
 nervousness and suspicion.  Gregarious in his habits from birth,
 solitude, foreign to his whole nature, has changed him into a new
 creature; and his inherent terror of the most trivial things is
 intensified to such a degree that if a man were compelled to undergo
 such constant alarm, it would probably drive him insane in less than
 a week.  Nobody ever saw one of these miserable and helplessly
 forlorn creatures dying a natural death, or ever heard of such an
 occurrence.  The cowardly coyote and the gray wolf had already
 marked him for their own; and they rarely missed their calculations.
 
 Riding suddenly to the top of a divide once with a party of friends
 in 1866, we saw standing below us in the valley an old buffalo bull,
 the very picture of despair.  Surrounding him were seven gray wolves
 in the act of challenging him to mortal combat.  The poor beast,
 undoubtedly realizing the utter hopelessness of his situation,
 had determined to die game.  His great shaggy head, filled with burrs,
 was lowered to the ground as he confronted his would-be executioners;
 his tongue, black and parched, lolled out of his mouth, and he gave
 utterance at intervals to a suppressed roar.
 
 The wolves were sitting on their haunches in a semi-circle immediately
 in front of the tortured beast, and every time that the fear-stricken
 buffalo would give vent to his hoarsely modulated groan, the wolves
 howled in concert in most mournful cadence.
 
 After contemplating his antagonists for a few moments, the bull made
 a dash at the nearest wolf, tumbling him howling over the silent
 prairie; but while this diversion was going on in front, the remainder
 of the pack started for his hind legs, to hamstring him.  Upon this
 the poor brute turned to the point of attack only to receive a
 repetition of it in the same vulnerable place by the wolves, who had
 as quickly turned also and fastened themselves on his heels again.
 His hind quarters now streamed with blood and he began to show signs
 of great physical weakness.  He did not dare to lie down; that would
 have been instantly fatal.  By this time he had killed three of the
 wolves or so maimed them that they were entirely out of the fight.
 
 At this juncture the suffering animal was mercifully shot, and the
 wolves allowed to batten on his thin and tough carcass.
 
 Often there are serious results growing out of a stampede, either by
 mules or a herd of buffalo.  A portion of the Fifth United States
 Infantry had a narrow escape from a buffalo stampede on the Old Trail,
 in the early summer of 1866.  General George A. Sykes, who commanded
 the Division of Regulars in the Army of the Potomac during the
 Civil War, was ordered to join his regiment, stationed in New Mexico,
 and was conducting a body of recruits, with their complement of
 officers, to fill up the decimated ranks of the army stationed at
 the various military posts, in far-off Greaser Land.
 
 The command numbered nearly eight hundred, including the subaltern
 officers.  These recruits, or the majority of them at least, were
 recruits in name only; they had seen service in many a hard campaign
 of the Rebellion.  Some, of course, were beardless youths just out
 of their teens, full of that martial ardour which induced so many
 young men of the nation to follow the drum on the remote plains and
 in the fastnesses of the Rocky Mountains, where the wily savages
 still held almost undisputed sway, and were a constant menace to
 the pioneer settlers.
 
 One morning, when the command had just settled itself in careless
 repose on the short grass of the apparently interminable prairie
 at the first halt of the day's march, a short distance beyond
 Fort Larned, a strange noise, like the low muttering of thunder
 below the horizon, greeted the ears of the little army.
 
 All were startled by the ominous sound, unlike anything they had
 heard before on their dreary tour.  The general ordered his scouts
 out to learn the cause; could it be Indians?  Every eye was strained
 for something out of the ordinary.  Even the horses of the officers
 and the mules of the supply-train were infected by something that
 seemed impending; they grew restless, stamped the earth, and vainly
 essayed to stampede, but were prevented by their hobbles and
 picket-pins.
 
 Presently one of the scouts returned from over the divide, and
 reported to the general that an immense herd of buffalo was tearing
 down toward the Trail, and from the great clouds of dust they raised,
 which obscured the horizon, there must have been ten thousand of them.
 The roar wafted to the command, and which seemed so mysterious,
 was made by their hoofs as they rattled over the dry prairie.
 
 The sound increased in volume rapidly, and soon a black, surging mass
 was discovered bearing right down on the Trail.  Behind it could be
 seen a cavalcade of about five hundred Cheyennes, Comanches, and
 Kiowas, who had maddened the shaggy brutes, hoping to capture the
 train without an attack by forcing the frightened animals to overrun
 the command.
 
 Luckily, something caused the herd to open before it reached the
 foot of the divide, and it passed in two masses, leaving the command
 between, not two hundred feet from either division of the infuriated
 beasts.
 
 The rage of the savages was evident when they saw that their attempt
 to annihilate the troops had failed, and they rode off sullenly into
 the sand hills, as the number of soldiers was too great for them
 to think of charging.
 
 Cody tells of a buffalo stampede which he witnessed in his youth
 on the plains, when he was a wagon-master.  The caravan was on its
 way with government stores for the military posts in the mountains,
 and the wagons were hauled by oxen.
 
 He says:
           The country was alive with buffalo, and besides killing
           quite a number we had a rare day for sport.  One morning
           we pulled out of camp, and the train was strung out to a
           considerable length along the Trail, which ran near the foot
           of the sand hills, two miles from the river.  Between the
           road and the river we saw a large herd of buffalo grazing
           quietly, they having been down to the stream to drink.
           Just at this time we observed a party of returning
           Californians coming from the west.  They, too, noticed
           the buffalo herd, and in another moment they were dashing
           down upon them, urging their horses to their greatest speed.
           The buffalo herd stampeded at once, and broke down the sides
           of the hills; so hotly were they pursued by the hunters
           that about five hundred of them rushed pell-mell through
           our caravan, frightening both men and oxen.  Some of the
           wagons were turned clear around and many of the terrified
           oxen attempted to run to the hills with the heavy wagons
           attached to them.  Others were turned around so short
           that they broke the tongues off.  Nearly all the teams
           got entangled in their gearing and became wild and unruly,
           so that the perplexed drivers were unable to manage them.
 
           The buffalo, the cattle, and the men were soon running
           in every direction, and the excitement upset everybody
           and everything.  Many of the oxen broke their yokes and
           stampeded.  One big buffalo bull became entangled in one
           of the heavy wagon-chains, and it is a fact that in his
           desperate efforts to free himself, he not only snapped
           the strong chain in two, but broke the ox-yoke to which
           it was attached, and the last seen of him he was running
           toward the hills with it hanging from his horns.
 
 Stampedes were a great source of profit to the Indians of the plains.
 The Comanches were particularly expert and daring in this kind of
 robbery.  They even trained their horses to run from one point to
 another in expectation of the coming of the trains.  When a camp
 was made that was nearly in range, they turned their trained animals
 loose, which at once flew across the prairie, passing through the
 herd and penetrating the very corrals of their victims.  All of the
 picketed horses and mules would endeavour to follow these decoys,
 and were invariably led right into the haunts of the Indians,
 who easily secured them.  Young horses and mules were easily
 frightened; and, in the confusion which generally ensued, great
 injury was frequently done to the runaways themselves.
 
 At times when the herd was very large, the horses scattered over
 the prairie and were irrevocably lost; and such as did not become
 wild fell a prey to the wolves.  That fate was very frequently the
 lot of stampeded horses bred in the States, they not having been
 trained by a prairie life to take care of themselves.  Instead of
 stopping and bravely fighting off the blood-thirsty beasts, they
 would run.  Then the whole pack were sure to leave the bolder animals
 and make for the runaways, which they seldom failed to overtake
 and despatch.
 
 On the Old Trail some years ago one of these stampedes occurred of
 a band of government horses, in which were several valuable animals.
 It was attended, however, with very little loss, through the courage
 and great exertion of the men who had them in charge; many were
 recovered, but none without having sustained injuries.
 
 Hon. R. M. Wright, of Dodge City, Kansas, one of the pioneers in
 the days of the Santa Fe trade, and in the settlement of the State,
 has had many exciting experiences both with the savages of the great
 plains, and the buffalo.  In relation to the habits of the latter,
 no man is better qualified to speak.
 
 He was once owner of Fort Aubrey, a celebrated point on the Trail,
 but was compelled to abandon it on account of constant persecution
 by the Indians, or rather he was ordered to do so by the military
 authorities.  While occupying the once famous landmark, in connection
 with others, had a contract to furnish hay to the government at
 Fort Lyon, seventy-five miles further west.  His journal, which he
 kindly placed at my disposal, says:
 
           While we were preparing to commence the work, a vast herd
           of buffalo stampeded through our range one night, and
           took off with them about half of our work cattle.  The next
           day a stage-driver and conductor on the Overland Route told
           us they had seen a number of our oxen twenty-five miles east
           of Aubrey, and this information gave me an idea in which
           direction to hunt for the missing beasts.  I immediately
           started after them, while my partner took those that
           remained and a few wagons and left with them for Fort Lyon.
 
           Let me explain here that while the Indians were supposed to
           be peaceable, small war-parties of young men, who could not
           be controlled by their chiefs, were continually committing
           depredations, and the main body of savages themselves were
           very uneasy, and might be expected to break out any day.
           In consequence of this unsettled state of affairs, there
           had been a brisk movement among the United States troops
           stationed at the various military posts, a large number of
           whom were believed to be on the road from Denver to Fort Lyon.
 
           I filled my saddle-bags with jerked buffalo, hardtack and
           ground coffee, and took with me a belt of cartridges,
           my rifle and six-shooter, a field-glass and my blankets,
           prepared for any emergency.  The first day out, I found a
           few of the lost cattle, and placed them on the river-bottom,
           which I continued to do as fast as I recovered them, for a
           distance of about eighty-five miles down the Arkansas.
           There I met a wagon-train, the drivers of which told me
           that I would find several more of my oxen with a train
           that had arrived at the Cimarron crossing the day before.
           I came up with this train in eight or ten hours' travel
           south of the river, got my cattle, and started next morning
           for home.
 
           I picked up those I had left on the Arkansas as I went
           along, and after having made a very hard day's travel,
           about sundown I concluded I would go into camp.  I had
           only fairly halted when the oxen began to drop down,
           so completely tired out were they, as I believed.  Just as
           it was growing dark, I happened to look toward the west,
           and I saw several fires on a big island, near what was
           called "The Lone Tree," about a mile from where I had
           determined to remain for the night.
 
           Thinking the fires were those of the soldiers that I had
           heard were on the road from Denver, and anticipating and
           longing for a cup of good coffee, as I had had none for
           five days, knowing, too, that the troops would be full of
           news, I felt good and determined to go over to their camp.
 
           The Arkansas was low, but the banks steep, with high,
           rank grass growing to the very water's edge.  I found
           a buffalo-trail cut through the deep bank, narrow and
           precipitous, and down this I went, arriving in a short time
           within a little distance of my supposed soldiers' camp.
           When I had reached the middle of another deep cut in the
           bank, I looked across to the island, and, great Caesar!
           saw a hundred little fires, around which an aggregation
           of a thousand Indians were huddled!
 
           I slid backwards off my horse, and by dint of great exertion,
           worked him up the river-bank as quietly and quickly as
           possible, then led him gently away out on the prairie.
           My first impulse was not to go back to the cattle; but as
           we needed them very badly, I concluded to return, put them
           all on their feet, and light out mighty lively, without
           making any noise.  I started them, and, oh dear!  I was
           afraid to tread upon a weed, lest it would snap and bring
           the Indians down on my trail.  Until I had put several
           miles between them and me, I could not rest easy for
           a moment.  Tired as I was, tired as were both my horse
           and the cattle, I drove them twenty-five miles before
           I halted.  Then daylight was upon me.  I was at what is
           known as Chouteau's Island, a once famous place in the
           days of the Old Santa Fe Trail.
 
           Of course, I had to let the oxen and my horse rest and fill
           themselves until the afternoon, and I lay down, and fell
           asleep, but did not sleep long, as I thought it dangerous
           to remain too near the cattle.  I rose and walked up a big,
           dry sand creek that opened into the river, and after I had
           ascended it for a couple of miles, found the banks very
           steep; in fact, they rose to a height of eighteen or twenty
           feet, and were sharply cut up by narrow trails made by
           the buffalo.
 
           The whole face of the earth was covered by buffalo, and
           they were slowly grazing toward the Arkansas.  All at once
           they became frightened at something, and stampeded pell-mell
           toward the very spot on which I stood.  I quickly ran into
           one of the precipitous little paths and up on the prairie,
           to see what had scared them.  They were making the ground
           fairly tremble as their mighty multitude came rushing on
           at full speed, the sound of their hoofs resembling thunder,
           but in a continuous peal.  It appeared to me that they must
           sweep everything in their path, and for my own preservation
           I rushed under the creek-bank, but on they came like a
           tornado, with one old bull in the lead.  He held up a second
           to descend the narrow trail, and when he had got about
           halfway down I let him have it; I was only a few steps from
           him and over he tumbled.  I don't know why I killed him;
           out of pure wantonness, I expect, or perhaps I thought
           it would frighten the others back.  Not so, however;
           they only quickened their pace, and came dashing down in
           great numbers.  Dozens of them stumbled and fell over the
           dead bull; others fell over them.  The top of the bank
           was fairly swarming with them; they leaped, pitched, and
           rolled down.  I crouched as close to the bank as possible,
           but many of them just grazed my head, knocking the sand
           and gravel in great streams down my neck; indeed I was
           half buried before the herd had passed over.  That old bull
           was the last buffalo I ever shot wantonly, excepting once,
           from an ambulance while riding on the Old Trail, to please
           a distinguished Englishman, who had never seen one shot;
           then I did it only after his most earnest persuasion.
 
           One day a stage-driver named Frank Harris and myself started
           out after buffalo; they were scarce, for a wonder, and
           we were very hungry for fresh meat.  The day was fine and
           we rode a long way, expecting sooner or later a bunch would
           jump up, but in the afternoon, having seen none, we gave
           it up and started for the ranch.  Of course, we didn't
           care to save our ammunition, so shot it away at everything
           in sight, skunks, rattlesnakes, prairie-dogs, and gophers,
           until we had only a few loads left.  Suddenly an old bull
           jumped up that had been lying down in one of those
           sugar-loaf-shaped sand hills, whose tops are hollowed out
           by the action of the wind.  Harris emptied his revolver
           into him, and so did I; but the old fellow sullenly stood
           still there on top of the sand hill, bleeding profusely
           at the nose, and yet absolutely refusing to die, although
           he would repeatedly stagger and nearly tumble over.
 
           It was getting late and we couldn't wait on him, so Harris
           said: "I will dismount, creep up behind him, and cut his
           hamstrings with my butcher-knife."  The bull having now
           lain down, Harris commenced operations, but his movement
           seemed to infuse new life into the old fellow; he jumped
           to his feet, his head lowered in the attitude of fight,
           and away he went around the outside of the top of the
           sand hill!  It was a perfect circus with one ring; Harris,
           who was a tall, lanky fellow, took hold of the enraged
           animal's tail as he rose to his feet, and in a moment his
           legs were flying higher than his head, but he did not dare
           let go of his hold on the bull's tail, and around and
           around they went; it was his only show for life.  I could
           not assist him a particle, but had to sit and hold his horse,
           and be judge of the fight.  I really thought that old bull
           would never weaken.  Finally, however, the "ring" performance
           began to show symptoms of fatigue; slower and slower the
           actions of the bull grew, and at last Harris succeeded
           in cutting his hamstrings and the poor beast went down.
           Harris said afterward, when the danger was all over, that
           the only thing he feared was that perhaps the bull's tail
           would pull out, and if it did, he was well aware that he
           was a goner.  We brought his tongue, hump, and a hindquarter
           to the ranch with us, and had a glorious feast and a big
           laugh that night with the boys over the ridiculous adventure.
 
 General Richard Irving Dodge, United States army, in his work on
 the big game of America, says:
 
           It is almost impossible for a civilized being to realize
           the value to the plains Indian of the buffalo.  It furnished
           him with home, food, clothing, bedding, horse equipment--
           almost everything.
 
           From 1869 to 1873 I was stationed at various posts along
           the Arkansas River.  Early in spring, as soon as the dry
           and apparently desert prairie had begun to change its coat
           of dingy brown to one of palest green, the horizon would
           begin to be dotted with buffalo, single or in groups of two
           or three, forerunners of the coming herd.  Thick and thicker,
           and in large groups they come, until by the time the grass
           is well up, the whole vast landscape appears a mass of
           buffalo, some individuals feeding, others lying down, but
           the herd slowly moving to the northward; of their number,
           it was impossible to form a conjecture.
 
           Determined as they are to pursue their journey northward,
           yet they are exceedingly cautious and timid about it,
           and on any alarm rush to the southward with all speed,
           until that alarm is dissipated.  Especially is this the case
           when any unusual object appears in their rear, and so
           utterly regardless of consequences are they, that an old
           plainsman will not risk a wagon-train in such a herd,
           where rising ground will permit those in front to get
           a good view of their rear.
 
           In May, 1871, I drove in a buggy from old Fort Zarah
           to Fort Larned, on the Arkansas River.  The distance is
           thirty-four miles.  At least twenty-five miles of that
           distance was through an immense herd.  The whole country
           was one mass of buffalo, apparently, and it was only when
           actually among them, that the seemingly solid body was
           seen to be an agglomeration of countless herds of from
           fifty to two hundred animals, separated from the surrounding
           herds by a greater or less space, but still separated.
 
           The road ran along the broad valley of the Arkansas.
           Some miles from Zarah a low line of hills rises from the
           plain on the right, gradually increasing in height and
           approaching road and river, until they culminate in
           Pawnee Rock.
 
           So long as I was in the broad, level valley, the herds
           sullenly got out of my way, and, turning, stared stupidly
           at me, some within thirty or forty yards.  When, however,
           I had reached a point where the hills were no more than
           a mile from the road, the buffalo on the crests, seeing an
           unusual object in their rear, turned, stared an instant,
           then started at full speed toward me, stampeding and
           bringing with them the numberless herds through which
           they passed, and pouring down on me, no longer separated
           but compacted into one immense mass of plunging animals,
           mad with fright, irresistible as an avalanche.
 
           The situation was by no means pleasant.  There was but
           one hope of escape.  My horse was, fortunately, a quiet
           old beast, that had rushed with me into many a herd, and
           been in at the death of many a buffalo.  Reining him up,
           I waited until the front of the mass was within fifty yards,
           then, with a few well-directed shots, dropped some of
           the leaders, split the herd and sent it off in two streams
           to my right and left.  When all had passed me, they stopped,
           apparently satisfied, though thousands were yet within
           reach of my rifle.  After my servant had cut out the
           tongues of the fallen, I proceeded on my journey, only to
           have a similar experience within a mile or two, and this
           occurred so often that I reached Fort Larned with twenty-six
           tongues, representing the greatest number of buffalo that
           I can blame myself with having murdered in one day.
 
           Some years, as in 1871, the buffalo appeared to move
           northward in one immense column, oftentimes from twenty
           to fifty miles in width, and of unknown depth from front
           to rear.  Other years the northward journey was made
           in several parallel columns moving at the same rate and
           with their numerous flankers covering a width of a hundred
           or more miles.
 
           When the food in one locality fails, they go to another,
           and toward fall, when the grass of the high prairies
           becomes parched by the heat and drought, they gradually
           work their way back to the south, concentrating on the
           rich pastures of Texas and the Indian Territory, whence,
           the same instinct acting on all, they are ready to start
           together again on their northward march as soon as spring
           starts the grass.
 
           Old plainsmen and the Indians aver that the buffalo never
           return south; that each year's herd was composed of animals
           which had never made the journey before, and would never
           make it again.  All admit the northern migration, that
           being too pronounced for any one to dispute, but refuse
           to admit the southern migration.  Thousands of young calves
           were caught and killed every spring that were produced
           during this migration, and accompanied the herd northward;
           but because the buffalo did not return south in one vast
           body as they went north, it was stoutly maintained that
           they did not go south at all.  The plainsman could give
           no reasonable hypothesis of his "No-return theory" on which
           to base the origin of the vast herds which yearly made
           their march northward.  The Indian was, however, equal
           to the occasion.  Every plains Indian firmly believed that
           the buffalo were produced in countless numbers in a country
           under ground; that every spring the surplus swarmed,
           like bees from a hive, out of the immense cave-like opening
           in the region of the great Llano Estacado, or Staked Plain
           of Texas.  In 1879 Stone Calf, a celebrated chief, assured
           me that he knew exactly where the caves were, though he had
           never seen them; that the good God had provided this
           means for the constant supply of food for the Indian, and
           however recklessly the white men might slaughter, they could
           never exterminate them.  When last I saw him, the old man
           was beginning to waver in this belief, and feared that
           the "Bad God" had shut the entrances, and that his tribe
           must starve.
 
 The old trappers and plainsmen themselves, even as early as the
 beginning of the Santa Fe trade, noticed the gradual disappearance
 of the buffalo, while they still existed in countless numbers.
 One veteran French Canadian, an employee of the American Fur Company,
 way back in the early '30's, used to mourn thus: "Mais, sacre!
 les Amarican, dey go to de Missouri frontier, de buffalo he ron to
 de montaigne; de trappaire wid his fusil, he follow to de Bayou
 Salade, he ron again.  Dans les Montaignes Espagnol, bang! bang!
 toute la journee, toute la journee, go de sacre voleurs.  De bison he
 leave, parceque les fusils scare im vara moche, ici là de sem-sacré!" 

 

 

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