Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
 

Article Index

 

A DESPERATE RIDE.
 
 
 
 In the Rocky Mountains and on the great plains along the line of the
 Old Trail are many rude and widely separated graves.  The sequestered
 little valleys, the lonely gulches, and the broad prairies through
 which the highway to New Mexico wound its course, hide the bones of
 hundreds of whom the world will never have any more knowledge.
 The number of these solitary, and almost obliterated mounds is small
 when compared with the vast multitude in the cemeteries of our towns,
 though if the host of those whose bones are mouldering under the
 short buffalo-grass and tall blue-stem of the prairies between the
 Missouri and the mountains were tabulated, the list would be appalling.
 Their aggregate will never be known; for the once remote region of
 the mid-continent, like the ocean, rarely gave up its victims.
 Lives went out there as goes an expiring candle, suddenly, swiftly,
 and silently; no record was kept of time or place.  All those who
 thus died are graveless and monumentless, the great circle of the
 heavens is the dome of their sepulchre, and the recurring blossoms
 of springtime their only epitaph.
 
 Sometimes the traveller over the Old Trail will suddenly, in the most
 unexpected places, come across a little mound, perhaps covered with
 stones, under which lie the mouldering bones of some unfortunate
 adventurer.  Above, now on a rude board, then on a detached rock, or
 maybe on the wall of a beetling canyon, he may frequently read, in crude
 pencilling or rougher carving, the legend of the dead man's ending.
 
 The line of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad, which
 practically runs over the Old Trail for nearly its whole length to
 the mountains, is a fertile field of isolated graves.  The savage
 and soldier, the teamster and scout, the solitary trapper or hunter,
 and many others who have gone down to their death fighting with the
 relentless nomad of the plains, or have been otherwise ruthlessly
 cut off, mark with their last resting-places that well-worn pathway
 across the continent.
 
 The tourist, looking from his car-window as he is whirled with the
 speed of a tornado toward the snow-capped peaks of the "Great Divide,"
 may see as he approaches Walnut Creek, three miles east of the town
 of Great Bend in Kansas, on the beautiful ranch of Hon. D. Heizer,
 not far from the stream, and close to the house, a series of graves,
 numbering, perhaps, a score.  These have been most religiously
 cared for by the patriotic proprietor of the place during all the
 long years since 1864, as he believes them to be the last resting-place
 of soldiers who were once a portion of the garrison of Fort Zarah,
 the ruins of which (now a mere hole in the earth) are but a few
 hundred yards away, on the opposite side of the railroad track,
 plainly visible from the train.
 
 The Walnut debouches into the Arkansas a short distance from where
 the railroad crosses the creek, and at this point, too, the trail
 from Fort Leavenworth merges into the Old Santa Fe.  The broad pathway
 is very easily recognized here; for it runs over a hard, flinty,
 low divide, that has never been disturbed by the plough, and the
 traveller has only to cast his eyes in a northeasterly direction
 in order to see it plainly.
 
 The creek is fairly well timbered to-day, as it has been ever since
 the first caravan crossed the clear water of the little stream.
 It was always a favourite place of ambush by the Indians, and many
 a conflict has occurred in the beautiful bottom bounded by a margin
 of trees on two sides, between the traders, trappers, troops, and
 the Indians, and also between the several tribes that were hereditary
 enemies, particularly the Pawnees and the Cheyennes.  It is only
 about sixteen miles east of Pawnee Rock, and included in that region
 of debatable ground where no band of Indians dared establish a
 permanent village; for it was claimed by all the tribes, but really
 owned by none.
 
 In 1864 the commerce of the great plains had reached enormous
 proportions, and immense caravans rolled day after day toward the
 blue hills which guard the portals of New Mexico, and the precious
 freight constantly tempted the wily savages to plunder.
 
 To protect the caravans on their monotonous route through the "Desert,"
 as this portion of the plains was then termed, troops were stationed,
 a mere handful relatively, at intervals on the Trail, to escort the
 freighters and mail coaches over the most exposed and dangerous
 portions of the way.
 
 On the bank of the Walnut, at this time, were stationed three hundred
 unassigned recruits of the Third Wisconsin Cavalry, under the command
 of Captain Conkey.  This point was rightly regarded as one of the
 most important on the whole overland route; for near it passed the
 favourite highway of the Indians on their yearly migrations north
 and south, in the wake of the strange elliptical march of the buffalo
 far beyond the Platte, and back to the sunny knolls of the Canadian.
 
 This primitive cantonment which grew rapidly in strategical importance,
 was two years later made quite formidable defensively, and named
 Fort Zarah, in memory of the youngest son of Major General Curtis,
 who was killed by guerillas somewhere south of Fort Scott, Kansas,
 while escorting General James G. Blunt, of frontier fame during
 the Civil War.
 
 Captain Henry Booth, during the year above mentioned, was chief of
 cavalry and inspecting officer of the military district of the Upper
 Arkansas, the western geographical limits of which extended to the
 foot-hills of the mountains.
 
 One day he received an order from the head-quarters of the department
 to make a special inspection of all the outposts on the Santa Fe Trail.
 He was stationed at Fort Riley at the time, and the evening the order
 arrived, active preparations were immediately commenced for his
 extended and hazardous trip across the plains.  Lieutenant Hallowell,
 of the Ninth Wisconsin Battery, was to accompany him, and both
 officers went at once to their quarters, took down from the walls,
 where they had been hanging idly for weeks, their rifles and pistols,
 and carefully examined and brushed them up for possible service in
 the dreary Arkansas bottom.  Camp-kettles, until late in the night,
 sizzled and sputtered over crackling log-fires; for their proposed
 ride beyond the settlements demanded cooked rations for many a
 weary day.  All the preliminaries arranged, the question of the means
 of transportation was determined, and, curiously enough, it saved
 the lives of the two officers in the terrible gauntlet they were
 destined to run.
 
 Hallowell was a famous whip, and prided himself upon the exceptionally
 fine turnout which he daily drove among the picturesque hills around
 the fort.
 
 "Booth," said he in the evening, "let's not take a great lumbering
 ambulance on this trip; if you will get a good way-up team of mules
 from the quartermaster, we'll use my light rig, and we'll do our
 own driving."
 
 To this proposition Booth readily assented, procured the mules, and,
 as it turned out, they were a "good way-up team."
 
 Hallowell had a set of bows fitted to his light wagon, over which
 was thrown an army-wagon-sheet, drawn up behind with a cord, similar
 to those of the ordinary emigrant outfit to be seen daily on the
 roads of the Western prairies.  A round hole was necessarily left
 in the rear end, serving the purpose of a lookout.
 
 Two grip-sacks, containing their dress uniforms, a box of crackers
 and cheese, meat and sardines, together with a bottle of anti-snake
 bite, made up the principal freight for the long journey, and in the
 clear cold of the early morning they rolled out of the gates of the
 fort, escorted by Company L, of the Eleventh Kansas, commanded by
 Lieutenant Van Antwerp.
 
 The company of one hundred mounted men acting as escort was too
 formidable a number for the Indians, and not a sign of one was seen
 as the dangerous flats of Plum Creek and the rolling country beyond
 were successively passed, and early in the afternoon the cantonment
 on Walnut Creek was reached.  At this important outpost Captain
 Conkey's command was living in a rude but comfortable sort of a way,
 in the simplest of dugouts, constructed along the right bank of the
 stream; the officers, a little more in accordance with military
 dignity, in tents a few rods in rear of the line of huts.
 
 A stockade stable had been built, with a capacity for two hundred
 and fifty horses, and sufficient hay had been put up by the men in
 the fall to carry the animals through the winter.
 
 Captain Conkey was a brusque but kind-hearted man, and with him were
 stationed other officers, one of whom was a son of Admiral Goldsborough.
 The morning after the arrival of the inspecting officers a rigid
 examination of all the appointments and belongings of the place was
 made, and, as an immense amount of property had accumulated for
 condemnation, when evening came the books and papers were still
 untouched; so that branch of the inspection had to be postponed
 until the next morning.
 
 After dark, while sitting around the camp-fire, discussing the war,
 telling stories, etc., Captain Conkey said to Booth: "Captain,
 it won't require more than half an hour in the morning to inspect
 the papers and finish up what you have to do; why don't you start
 your escort out very early, so it won't be obliged to trot after
 the ambulance, or you to poke along with it?  You can then move out
 briskly and make time."
 
 Booth, acting upon what he thought at the time an excellent suggestion,
 in a few moments went over the creek to Lieutenant Van Antwerp's camp,
 to tell him that he need not wait for the wagon in the morning, but
 to start out early, at half-past six, in advance.
 
 According to instructions, the escort marched out of camp at daylight
 next morning, while Booth and Hallowell remained to finish their
 inspection.  It was soon discovered, however, that either Captain
 Conkey had underrated the amount of work to be done, or misjudged
 the inspecting officers' ability to complete it in a certain time;
 so almost three hours elapsed after the cavalry had departed before
 the task ended.
 
 At last everything was closed up, much to Hallowell's satisfaction,
 who had been chafing under the vexatious delay ever since the escort
 left.  When all was in readiness, the little wagon drawn up in front
 of the commanding officer's quarters, and farewells said, Hallowell
 suggested to Booth the propriety of taking a few of the troops
 stationed there to go with them until they overtook their own escort,
 which must now be several miles on the Trail to Fort Larned.
 Booth asked Captain Conkey what he thought of Hallowell's suggestion.
 Captain Conkey replied: "Oh! there's not the slightest danger;
 there hasn't been an Indian seen around here for over ten days."
 
 If either Booth or Hallowell had been as well acquainted with the
 methods and character of the plains Indians then as they afterward
 became, they would have insisted upon an escort; but both were
 satisfied that Captain Conkey knew what he was talking about,
 so they concluded to push on.
 
 Jumping into their wagon, Lieutenant Hallowell took the reins and
 away they went rattling over the old log bridge that used to span
 the Walnut at the crossing of the Old Santa Fe Trail, as light of
 heart as if riding to a dance.
 
 The morning was bright and clear with a stiff breeze blowing from
 the northwest, and the Trail was frozen hard in places, which made
 it very rough, as it had been cut up by the travel of the heavily
 laden caravans when it was wet.  Booth sat on the left side of
 Hallowell with the whip in his hand, now and then striking the mules,
 to keep up their speed.  Hallowell started up a tune--he was a good
 singer--and Booth joined in as they rolled along, as oblivious of any
 danger as though they were in their quarters at Fort Riley.
 
 After they had proceeded some distance, Hallowell remarked to Booth:
 "The buffalo are grazing a long way from the road to-day; a circumstance
 that I think bodes no good."  He had been on the plains the summer
 before, and was better acquainted with the Indians and their
 peculiarities than Captain Booth; but the latter replied that he
 thought it was because their escort had gone on ahead, and had
 probably frightened them off.
 
 The next mile or two was passed, and still they saw no buffalo between
 the Trail and the Arkansas, though nothing more was said by either
 regarding the suspicious circumstance, and they rode rapidly on.
 
 When they had gone about five or six miles from the Walnut, Booth,
 happening to glance toward the river, saw something that looked
 strangely like a flock of turkeys.  He watched them intently for a
 moment, when the objects rose up and he discovered they were horsemen.
 He grasped Hallowell by the arm, directing his attention to them, and
 said, "What are they?"  Hallowell gave a hasty look toward the point
 indicated, and replied, "Indians! by George!" and immediately turning
 the mules around on the Trail, started them back toward the cantonment
 on the Walnut at a full gallop.[68]
 
 "Hold on!" said Booth to Hallowell when he understood the latter's
 movement; "maybe it's part of our escort."
 
 "No! no!" replied Hallowell.  "I know they are Indians; I've seen
 too many of them to be mistaken."
 
 "Well," rejoined Booth, "I'm going to know for certain"; so, stepping
 out on the foot-board, and with one hand holding on to the front bow,
 he looked back over the top of the wagon-sheet.  They were Indians,
 sure enough; they had fully emerged from the ravine in which they had
 hidden, and while he was looking at them they were slipping off their
 buffalo robes from their shoulders, taking arrows out of their quivers,
 drawing up their spears, and making ready generally for a red-hot time.
 
 While Booth was intently regarding the movements of the savages,
 Hallowell inquired of him: "They're Indians, aren't they, Booth?"
 
 "Yes," was Booth's answer, "and they're coming down on us like a
 whirlwind."
 
 "Then I shall never see poor Lizzie again!" said Hallowell.  He had
 been married only a few weeks before starting out on this trip, and
 his young wife's name came to his lips.
 
 "Never mind Lizzie," responded Booth; "let's get out of here!"  He was
 as badly frightened as Hallowell, but had no bride at Riley, and,
 as he tells it, "was selfishly thinking of himself only, and escape."
 
 In answer to Booth's remark, Hallowell, in a firm, clear voice, said:
 "All right!  You do the shooting, and I'll do the driving," and
 suiting the action to the words, he snatched the whip out of Booth's
 hand, slipped from the seat to the front of the wagon, and commenced
 lashing the mules furiously.
 
 Booth then crawled back, pulled out one of his revolvers, crept, or
 rather fell, over the "lazy-back" of the seat, and reaching the hole
 made by puckering the wagon-sheet, looked out of it, and counted
 the Indians; thirty-four feather-bedecked, paint-bedaubed savages,
 as vicious a set as ever scalped a white man, swooping down on them
 like a hawk upon a chicken.
 
 Hallowell, between his yells at the mules, cried out, "How far are
 they off now, Booth?" for of course he could see nothing of what
 was going on in his rear.
 
 Booth replied as well as he could judge of the distance, while
 Hallowell renewed his yelling at the animals and redoubled his
 efforts with the lash.
 
 Noiselessly the Indians gained on the little wagon, for they had not
 as yet uttered a whoop, and the determined driver, anxious to know
 how far the red devils were from him, again asked Booth.  The latter
 told him how near they were, guessing at the distance, from which
 Hallowell gathered inspiration for fresh cries and still more vigorous
 blows with his whip.
 
 Booth, all this time, was sitting on the box containing the crackers
 and sardines, watching the rapid approach of the cut-throats, and
 seeing with fear and trembling the ease with which they gained upon
 the little mules.
 
 Once more Hallowell made his stereotyped inquiry of Booth; but before
 the latter could reply, two shots were fired from the rifles of the
 Indians, accompanied by a yell that was demoniacal enough to cause
 the blood to curdle in one's veins.  Hallowell yelled at the mules,
 and Booth yelled too; for what reason he could not tell, unless to
 keep company with his comrade, who plied the whip more mercilessly
 than ever upon the poor animals' backs, and the wagon flew over
 the rough road, nearly upsetting at every jump.
 
 In another moment the bullets from two of the Indians' rifles passed
 between Booth and Hallowell, doing no damage, and almost instantly
 the savages charged upon them, at the same time dividing into two
 parties, one going on one side and one on the other, both delivering
 a volley of arrows into the wagon as they rode by.
 
 Just as the savages rushed past the wagon, Hallowell cried out to
 Booth, "Cap, I'm hit!" and turning around to look, Booth saw an arrow
 sticking in Hallowell's head above his right ear.  His arm was still
 plying the whip, which was going on unceasingly as the sails of a
 windmill, and his howling at the mules only stopped long enough to
 answer, "Not much!" in response to Booth's inquiry of "Does it hurt?"
 as he grabbed the arrow and pulled it out of his head.
 
 The Indians had by this time passed on, and then, circling back,
 prepared for another charge.  Down they came, again dividing as before
 into two bands, and delivering another shower of arrows.  Hallowell
 ceased his yelling long enough to cry out, "I'm hit once more, Cap!"
 Looking at the plucky driver, Booth saw this time an arrow sticking
 over his left ear, and hanging down his back.  He snatched it out,
 inquiring if it hurt, but received the same answer: "No, not much."
 
 Both men were now yelling at the top of their voices; and the mules
 were jerking the wagon along the rough trail at a fearful rate,
 frightened nearly out of their wits at the sight of the Indians and
 the terrible shouting and whipping of the driver.
 
 Booth crawled to the back end of the wagon again, looked out of the
 hole in the cover, and saw the Indians moving across the Trail,
 preparing for another charge.  One old fellow, mounted on a black
 pony, was jogging along in the centre of the road behind them, but
 near enough and evidently determined to send an arrow through the
 puckered hole of the sheet.  In a moment the savage stopped his pony
 and let fly.  Booth dodged sideways--the arrow sped on its course, and
 whizzing through the opening, struck the black-walnut "lazy-back"
 of the seat, the head sticking out on the other side, and the sudden
 check causing the feathered end to vibrate rapidly with a vro-o-o-ing
 sound.  With a quick blow Booth struck it, and broke the shaft from
 the head, leaving the latter embedded in the wood.
 
 As quickly as possible, Booth rushed to the hole and fired his
 revolver at the old devil, but failed to hit him.  While he was
 trying to get in another shot, an arrow came flying through from
 the left side of the Trail, and striking him on the inside of the
 elbow, or "crazy-bone," so completely benumbed his hand that he
 could not hold on to the pistol, and it dropped into the road with
 one load still in its chamber.  Just then the mules gave an
 extraordinary jump to one side, which jerked the wagon nearly from
 under him, and he fell sprawling on the end-gate, evenly balanced,
 with his hands on the outside, attempting to clutch at something to
 save himself!  Seeing his predicament, the Indians thought they had
 him sure, so they gave a yell of exultation, supposing he must
 tumble out, but he didn't; he fortunately succeeded in grabbing
 one of the wagon-bows with his right hand and pulled himself in;
 but it was a close call.
 
 While all this was going on, Hallowell had not been neglected by
 the Indians; about a dozen of them had devoted their time to him,
 but he never flinched.  Just as Booth had regained his equilibrium
 and drawn his second revolver from its holster, Hallowell yelled
 to him: "Right off to your right, Cap, quick!"
 
 Booth tumbled over the back of the seat, and, clutching at a wagon-bow
 to steady himself, he saw, "off to the right," an Indian who was in
 the act of letting an arrow drive at Hallowell; it struck the side of
 the box, and at the same instant Booth fired, scaring the red devil badly.
 
 Back over the seat again he rushed to guard the rear, only to find
 a young buck riding close to the side of the wagon, his pony running
 in the deep path made by the ox-drivers in walking alongside of their
 teams.  Putting his left arm around one of the wagon-bows to prevent
 his being jerked out, Booth quietly stuck his revolver through the
 hole in the sheet; but before he could pull the trigger, the Indian
 flopped over on the off side of his pony, and nothing could be seen
 of him excepting one arm around his animal's neck and from the knee
 to the toes of one leg.  Booth did not wait for him to ride up;
 he could almost hit the pony's head with his hand, so close was he
 to the wagon.  Booth struck at the beast several times, but the
 Indian kept him right up in his place by whipping him on the opposite
 of his neck.  Presently the plucky savage's arm began to move.
 Booth watched him intently, and saw that he had fixed an arrow in
 his bow under the pony's shoulder; just as he was on the point of
 letting go the bowstring, with the head of the arrow not three feet
 from Booth's breast as he leaned out of the hole, the latter struck
 frantically at the weapon, dodged back into the wagon, and up came
 the Indian.  Whenever Booth looked out, down went the Indian on
 the other side of his pony, to rise again in a moment, and Booth,
 afraid to risk himself with his head and breast exposed at this game
 of hide and seek, drew suddenly back as the Indian went down the
 third time, and in a second came up; but this was once too often.
 Booth had not dodged completely into the wagon, nor dropped his
 revolver, and as the Indian rose he fired.
 
 The savage was naked to the waist; the ball struck him in the left
 nipple, the blood spirted out of the wound, his bow and arrows and
 lariat, with himself, rolled off the pony, falling heavily on the
 ground, and with one convulsive contraction of his legs and an "Ugh!"
 he was as dead as a stone.
 
 "I've killed one of 'em!" called out Booth to Hallowell, as he saw
 his victim tumble from his pony.
 
 "Bully for you, Cap!" came Hallowell's response as he continued his
 shouting, and the blows of that tireless whip fell incessantly on
 the backs of the poor mules.
 
 After he had killed the warrior, Booth kept his seat on the cracker box,
 watching to see what the Indians were going to do next, when he was
 suddenly interrupted by Hallowell's crying out to him: "Off to the
 right again, Cap, quick!" and, whirling around instantly, he saw an
 Indian within three feet of the wagon, with his bow and arrow almost
 ready to shoot; there was no time to get over the seat, and as he
 could not fire so close to Hallowell, he cried to the latter:
 "Hit him with the whip!  Hit him with the whip!"  The lieutenant
 diverted one of the blows intended for the mules, and struck the
 savage fairly across the face.  The whip had a knot in the end of it
 to prevent its unravelling, and this knot must have hit the Indian
 squarely in the eye; for he dropped his bow, put both hands up to
 his face, rubbed his eyes, and digging his heels into his pony's
 sides was soon out of range of a revolver; but, nevertheless, he was
 given a parting shot as a sort of salute.
 
 A terrific yell from the rear at this moment caused both Booth and
 Hallowell to look around, and the latter to inquire: "What's the
 matter now, Booth?"  "They are coming down on us like lightning,"
 said he; and, sure enough, those who had been prancing around their
 dead comrade were tearing along the Trail toward the wagon with a
 more hideous noise than when they began.
 
 Hallowell yelled louder than ever and lashed the mules more furiously
 still, but the Indians gained upon them as easily as a blooded racer
 on a common farm plug.  Separating as before, and passing on each
 side of the wagon, they delivered another volley of bullets and
 arrows as they rushed on.
 
 When this charge was made, Booth drew away from the hole in the rear
 and turned toward the Indians, but forgot that as he was sitting,
 with his back pressed against the sheet, his body was plainly outlined
 on the canvas.
 
 When the Indians dashed by Hallowell cried out, "I'm hit again, Cap!"
 and Booth, in turning around to go to his relief, felt something
 pulling at him; and glancing over his left shoulder he discovered
 an arrow sticking into him and out through the wagon-sheet.  With a
 jerk of his body, he tore himself loose, and going to Hallowell,
 asked him where he was hit.  "In the back," was the reply; where
 Booth saw an arrow extending under the "lazy-back" of the seat.
 Taking hold of it, Booth gave a pull, but Hallowell squirmed so that
 he desisted.  "Pull it out!" cried the plucky driver.  Booth thereupon
 took hold of it again, and giving a jerk or two, out it came.  He was
 thoroughly frightened as he saw it leave the lieutenant's body;
 it seemed to have entered at least six inches, and the wound appeared
 to be a dangerous one.  Hallowell, however, did not cease for a moment
 belabouring the mules, and his yells rang out as clear and defiant
 as before.
 
 After extracting the arrow from Hallowell's back, Booth turned again
 to the opening in the rear of the wagon to see what new tricks the
 devils were up to, when Hallowell again called out, "Off to the left,
 Cap, quick!"
 
 Rushing to the front as soon as possible, Booth saw one of the savages
 in the very act of shooting at Hallowell from the left side of the
 wagon, not ten feet away.  The last revolver was empty, but something
 had to be done at once; so, levelling the weapon at him, Booth shouted
 "Bang! you son-of-a-gun!"  Down the Indian ducked his head; rap, rap,
 went his knees against his pony's sides, and away he flew over
 the prairie!
 
 Back to his old place in the rear tumbled Booth, to load his revolver.
 The cartridges they used in the army in those days were the
 old-fashioned kind made of paper.  Biting off one end, he endeavoured
 to pour the powder into the chamber of the pistol; but as the wagon
 was tumbling from side to side, and jumping up and down, as it fairly
 flew over the rough Trail, more fell into the bottom of the wagon
 than into the revolver.  Just as he was inserting a ball, Hallowell
 yelled, "To the left, Cap, quick!"
 
 Over the seat Booth piled once more, and there was another Indian
 with his bow and arrow all ready to pinion the brave lieutenant.
 Pointing his revolver at him, Booth yelled as he had at the other,
 but this savage had evidently noticed the first failure, and concluded
 there were no more loads left; so, instead of taking a hasty departure,
 he grinned demoniacally and endeavoured to fix the arrow in his bow.
 Booth rose up in the wagon, and grasping hold of one of its bows
 with his left hand, seized the revolver by the muzzle, and with all
 the force he could muster hurled it at the impudent brute.  It was
 a Remington, its barrel octagon-shaped, with sharp corners, and when
 it was thrown, it turned in the air, and striking the Indian
 muzzle-first on the ribs, cut a long gash.
 
 "Ugh!" he grunted, as, dropping his bow and spear, he flung himself
 over the side of his pony, and away he went across the prairie.
 
 Only one revolver remaining now, and that empty, with the savages
 still howling around the apparently doomed men like so many demons!
 Booth fell over the seat, as was his usual fate whenever he attempted
 to get to the back of the wagon, picked up the empty revolver, and
 tried to load it; but before he could bite the end of a cartridge,
  Hallowell yelled, "Cap, I'm hit again!"
 
 "Where this time?" inquired Booth, anxiously.  "In the hand," replied
 Hallowell; and, looking around, Booth noticed that although his right
 arm was still thrashing at the now lagging mules with as much energy
 as ever, through the fleshy part of the thumb was an arrow, which was
 flopping up and down as he raised and lowered his hand in ceaseless
 efforts to keep up the speed of the almost exhausted animals.
 
 "Let me pull it out," said Booth, as he came forward to do so.
 
 "No, never mind," replied Hallowell; "can't stop! can't stop!" and up
 and down went the arm, and flip, flap, went the arrow with it, until
 finally it tore through the flesh and fell to the ground.
 
 Along they bowled, the Indians yelling, and the occupants of the
 little wagon defiantly answering them, while Booth continued to
 struggle desperately with that empty pistol, in his vain efforts
 to load it.  In another moment Hallowell shouted, "Booth, they are
 trying to crowd the mules into the sunflowers!"
 
 Alongside of the Trail huge sunflowers had grown the previous summer,
 and now their dry stalks stood as thick as a cane-brake; if the wagon
 once got among them, it would be impossible for the mules to keep up
 their gallop.  The savages seemed to realize this; for one huge old
 fellow kept riding alongside the off mule, throwing his spear at him
 and then jerking it back with the thong, one end of which was fastened
 to his wrist.  The near mule was constantly pushed further and further
 from the Trail by his mate, which was jumping frantically, scared out
 of his senses by the Indian.
 
 At this perilous juncture, Booth stepped out on the foot-board of
 the wagon, and, holding on by a bow, commenced to kick the frightened
 mule vigorously, while Hallowell pulled on one line, whipping and
 yelling at the same time; so together they succeeded in forcing the
 animals back into the Trail.
 
 The Indians kept close to the mules in their efforts to force them
 into the sunflowers, and Booth made several attempts to scare the
 old fellow that was nearest by pointing his empty revolver at him,
 but he would not scare; so in his desperation Booth threw it at him.
 He missed the old brute, but hit his pony just behind its rider's leg,
 which started the animal into a sort of a stampede; his ugly master
 could not control him, and thus the immediate peril from the
 persistent cuss was delayed.
 
 Now the pair were absolutely without firearms of any kind, with
 nothing left except their sabres and valises, and the savages came
 closer and closer.  In turn the two swords were thrown at them as they
 came almost within striking distance; then followed the scabbards,
 as the howling fiends surrounded the wagon and attempted to spear
 the mules.  Fortunately their arrows were exhausted.
 
 The cantonment on the Walnut was still a mile and a half away, and
 there was nothing for our luckless travellers to do but whip and kick,
 both of which they did most vigorously.  Hallowell sat as immovable
 as the Sphinx, excepting his right arm, which from the moment they
 had started on the back trail had not once ceased its incessant motion.
 
 Happening to cast his eyes back on the Trail, Booth saw to his dismay
 twelve or fifteen of the savages coming up on the run with fresh
 energy, their spears poised ready for action, and he felt that
 something must be done very speedily to divert them; for if these
 added their number to those already surrounding the wagon, the chances
 were they would succeed in forcing the mules into the sunflowers,
 and his scalp and Hallowell's would dangle at the belt of the leader.
 
 Glancing around in the bottom of the wagon for some kind of weapon,
 his eye fell on the two valises containing the dress-suits.
 He snatched up his own, and threw it out while the pursuers were yet
 five or six rods in the rear.  The Indians noticed this new trick
 with a great yell of satisfaction, and the moment they arrived at
 the spot where the valise lay, all dismounted; one of them, seizing
 it by the two handles, pulled with all his strength to open it, and
 when he failed, another drew a long knife from under his blanket and
 ripped it apart.  He then put his hand in, pulling out a sash, which
 he began to wind around his head, like a negress with a bandanna,
 letting the tassels hang down his back.  While he was thus amusing
 himself, one of the others had taken out a dress-coat, a third a pair
 of drawers, and still another a shirt, which they proceeded to put on,
 meanwhile dancing around and howling.
 
 Booth told Hallowell of the sacrifice of the valise, and said,
 "I'm going to throw out yours."  "All right," replied Hallowell;
 "all we want is time."  So out it went on the Trail, and shared
 the same fate as the other.
 
 The lull in hostilities caused by their outstripping their pursuers
 gave the almost despairing men time to talk over their situation.
 Hallowell said he did not propose to be captured and then butchered
 or burned at the pleasure of the Indians.  He said to Booth: "If they
 kill one of the mules, and so stop us, let's kick, strike, throw dirt
 or anything, and compel them to kill us on the spot."  So it was agreed,
 if the worst came to the worst, to stand back to back and fight.
 
 During this discussion the arm of Hallowell still plied the effective
 lash, and they drew perceptibly nearer the camp, and as they caught
 the first glimpse of its tents and dugouts, hope sprang up within them.
 The mules were panting like a hound after a deer; wherever the
 harness touched them, it was white with lather, and it was evident
 they could keep on their feet but a short time longer.  Would they
 hold out until the bridge was reached?  The whipping and the kicking
 had but little effect on them now.  They still continued their gallop,
 but it was slower and more laboured than before.
 
 The Indians who had torn open the valises had not returned to the
 chase, and although there were still a sufficient number of the
 fiends pursuing to make it interesting, they did not succeed in
 spearing the mules, as at every attempt the plucky animals would
 jump sideways or forward and evade the impending blow.
 
 The little log bridge was reached; the savages had all retreated,
 but the valorous Hallowell kept the mules at their fastest pace.
 The bridge was constructed of half-round logs, and of course was
 extremely rough; the wagon bounded up and down enough to shake the
 teeth out of one's head as the little animals went flying over it.
 Booth called out to Hallowell, "No need to drive so fast now,
 the Indians have all left us"; but he replied, "I ain't going to stop
 until I get across"; and down came the whip, on sped the mules,
 not breaking their short gallop until they were pulled up in front
 of Captain Conkey's quarters.
 
 The rattling of the wagon on the bridge was the first intimation
 the garrison had of its return.
 
 The officers came running out of their tents, the enlisted men poured
 out of their dugouts like a lot of ants, and Booth and Hallowell were
 surrounded by their friends in a moment.  Captain Conkey ordered his
 bugler to sound "Boots and Saddles," and in less than ten minutes
 ninety troopers were mounted, and with the captain at their head
 started after the Indians.
 
 When Hallowell tried to rise from his seat so as to get out every
 effort only resulted in his falling back.  Some one stepped around
 to the other side to assist him, when it was discovered that the
 skirt of his overcoat had worked outside of the wagon-sheet and
 hung over the edge, and that three or four of the arrows fired at him
 by the savages had struck the side of the wagon, and, passing through
 the flap of his coat, had pinned him down.  Booth pulled the arrows
 out and helped him up; he was pretty stiff from sitting in his cramped
 position so long, and his right arm dropped by his side as if paralysed.
 
 Booth stood looking on while his comrade's wounds were being dressed,
 when the adjutant asked him: "What makes you shrug your shoulder so?"
 He answered, "I don't know; something makes it smart."  The officer
 looked at him and said, "Well, I don't wonder; I should think it
 would smart; here's an arrow-head sticking into you," and he tried
 to pull it out, but it would not come.  Captain Goldsborough then
 attempted it, but was not any more successful.  The doctor then told
 them to let it alone, and he would attend to Booth after he had done
 with Hallowell.  When he examined Booth's shoulder, he found that
 the arrow-head had struck the thick portion of the shoulder-blade,
 and had made two complete turns, wrapping itself around the muscles,
 which had to be cut apart before the sharp point could be withdrawn.
 
 Booth was not seriously hurt.  Hallowell, however, had received two
 severe wounds; the arrow that had lodged in his back had penetrated
 almost to his kidneys, and the wound in his thumb was very painful,
 not so much from the simple impact of the arrow as from the tearing
 away of the muscle by the shaft while he was whipping his mules;
 his right arm, too, was swollen terribly, and so stiff from the
 incessant use of it during the drive that for more than a month
 he required assistance in dressing and undressing.
 
 The mules who had saved their lives were of small account after
 their memorable trip; they remained stiff and sore from the rough
 road and their continued forced speed.  Booth and Hallowell went out
 to look at them the next morning, as they hobbled around the corral,
 and from the bottom of their hearts wished them well.
 
 Captain Conkey's command returned to the cantonment about midnight.
 But one Indian had been seen, and he was south of the Arkansas in
 the sand hills.
 
 The next morning a scouting-party of forty men, under command of a
 sergeant, started out to scour the country toward Cow Creek,
 northeast from the Walnut.
 
 As I have stated, the troopers stationed at the cantonment on the
 Walnut were mostly recruits.  Now the cavalry recruit of the old
 regular army on the frontier, thirty or forty years ago, mounted on
 a great big American horse and sent out with well-trained comrades
 on a scout after the hostile savages of the plains, was the most
 helpless individual imaginable.  Coming fresh from some large city
 probably, as soon as he arrived at his station he was placed on the
 back of an animal of whose habits he knew as little as he did of the
 differential calculus; loaded down with a carbine, the muzzle of which
 he could hardly distinguish from the breech; a sabre buckled around
 his waist; a couple of enormous pistols stuck in his holsters;
 his blankets strapped to the cantle of his saddle, and, to complete
 the hopelessness of his condition in a possible encounter with a
 savage enemy who was ever on the alert, he was often handicapped by
 a camp-kettle or two, a frying-pan, and ten days' rations.  No wonder
 this doughty representative of Uncle Sam's power was an easy prey for
 "Poor Lo," who, when he caught the unfortunate soldier away from his
 command and started after him, must have laughed at the ridiculous
 appearance of his enemy, with both hands glued to the pommel of his
 saddle, his hair on end, his sabre flying and striking his horse at
 every jump as the animal tore down the trail toward camp, while the
 Indian, rapidly gaining, in a few minutes had the scalp of the hapless
 rider dangling at his belt, and another of the "boys in blue" had
 joined the majority.
 
 The scouting-party had proceeded about four or five miles, when one
 of the corporals asked permission for himself and a recruit to go
 over to the Upper Walnut to find out whether they could discover
 any signs of Indians.
 
 While they were carelessly riding along the big curve which the
 northern branch of the Walnut makes at that point, there suddenly
 sprang from their ambush in the timber on the margin of the stream
 about three hundred Indians, whooping and yelling.  The two troopers
 of course, immediately whirled their horses and started down the
 creek toward the camp, hotly pursued by the howling savages.
 
 The corporal was an excellent rider; a well-trained and disciplined
 soldier, having seen much service on the plains.  He led in the flight,
 closely followed by the unfortunate recruit, who had been enlisted
 but a short time.  Not more than an eighth of a mile had been covered,
 when the corporal heard his companion exclaim,--
 
 "Don't leave me!  Don't leave me!"
 
 Looking back, the corporal saw that the poor recruit was losing ground
 rapidly; his horse was rearing and plunging, making very little
 headway, while his rider was jerking and pulling on the bit, a curb
 of the severest kind.  Perceiving the strait his comrade was in,
 the corporal reined up for a moment and called out,--
 
 "Let him go!  Let him go!  Don't jerk on the bit so!"
 
 The Indians were gaining ground rapidly, and in another moment the
 corporal heard the recruit again cry out,--
 
 "Oh!  Don't--"
 
 Realizing that it would be fatal to delay, and that he could be of
 no assistance to his companion, already killed and scalped, he leaned
 forward on his horse, and sinking his spurs deep in the animal's
 flanks fairly flew down the valley, with the three hundred savages
 close in his wake.
 
 The officers at the camp were sitting in their tents when the sentinel
 on post No. 1 fired his piece, upon which all rushed out to learn
 the cause of the alarm; for there was no random shooting in those
 days allowed around camp or in garrison.  Looking up the valley of
 the Walnut, they could see the lucky corporal, with his long hair
 streaming in the wind, and his heels rapping his horse's sides, as he
 dashed over the brown sod of the winter prairie.
 
 The corporal now slackened his pace, rode up to the commanding
 officer's tent, reported the affair, and then was allowed to go to
 his own quarters for the rest he so much needed.
 
 Captain Conkey immediately ordered a mounted squad, accompanied by an
 ambulance, to go up the creek to recover the body of the unfortunate
 recruit.  The party were absent a little over an hour, and brought
 back with them the remains of the dead soldier.  He had been shot
 with an arrow, the point of which was still sticking out through his
 breast-bone.  His scalp had been torn completely off, and the lapels
 of his coat and the legs of his trousers carried away by the savages.
 He was buried the next morning with military honours, in the little
 graveyard on the bank of the Walnut, where his body still rests in
 the dooryard of the ranch.