I MARRIED A SOLDIER (part 3)

Whether it was camping on the Rio Grande or the days we spent in the wet room at Craig, I do not know, but I succumbed, while in camp, to an attack of chills and fever. One night, I remember, my husband had to bring the doctor from the fort to see me. During his absence fever came on, and while lying looking up at the tent I saw a centipede five or six inches long, crawling just over my head. I watched it so intently that by the time he and the doctor came the thing had grown as large as an elephant to my fevered imagination, and I could only point to it in terror. It was quickly put out of the way.

When I was able to move we broke camp and be­ gan our travels toward Santa Fe, arriving October 9. Santa Fe, at that time, had but a small American population outside of army officers and their families. Mexicans and adobe houses were everywhere, and our surroundings could hardly have been more novel had we been dropped into Spain. We were most delightfully entertained while in the old city by Cap­ tain and Mrs. Nicholls. She was a daughter of General De Russy, U.S. Army.

Our station was to be Cantonment Burgwin, four days’ march from Santa Fe, over a frightful road, if it could be called “a road.”• You may go to the foot of any mountain in your neighborhood, start up at any point regardless of stones, holes, or other impediments, and you will have an idea of” the road” to Burgwin. In some places the wagons had to be let down with ropes, and nothing was thought of a drop of two or three feet, from one rock to another. Consequently, we were well shaken up and bruised and battered when the post was reached.

 

When I was able to move we broke camp and be­ gan our travels toward Santa Fe, arriving October 9. Santa Fe, at that time, had but a small American population outside of army officers and their families. Mexicans and adobe houses were everywhere, and our surroundings could hardly have been more novel had we been dropped into Spain. We were most delightfully entertained while in the old city by Cap­ tain and Mrs. Nicholls. She was a daughter of General De Russy, U.S. Army.

Our station was to be Cantonment Burgwin, four days’ march from Santa Fe, over a frightful road, if it could be called “a road.”• You may go to the foot of any mountain in your neighborhood, start up at any point regardless of stones, holes, or other impediments, and you will have an idea of” the road” to Burgwin.  In some places the wagons had to be let down with ropes, and nothing was thought of a drop of two or three feet, from one rock to another. Consequently, we were well shaken up and bruised and battered when the post was reached.

The scenery was magnificent, but we could not enjoy it, owing to the roughness of the road. Did we allow our eyes to wander for a moment to the lofty mountains around us, we were forcibly reminded of the rocks and pitfalls in our path by a jerk or a wrench which dispelled our dreams and brought us rudely back to the immediate surroundings.

We stayed at night in Mexican houses, using our own beds, however. Even then, as soon as the light was out we were nearly devoured by bugs, but that was a trifle compared to sleeping in a tent that cold weather. One night a little puppy got into our room, and made so much noise husband picked him up to put him out of doors.

Puppy disliked this treatment, for he seized the thumb of the hand that held him and bit it. For years afterwards the skin peeled off the end of that thumb about the same month, whether in consequence of the bite I do not know, but such was the case.

On the fourth day from Santa Fe we arrived at Burgwin, a very small post, most beautifully situated, being surrounded by high mountains. It was nine miles from Taos, New Mexico. We could stand at our door and talk to our opposite neighbor across the parade-ground without raising our voices. The quarters, though old and out of repair, were comfortable ; they were built of rough pine logs ; an entry, with rooms on each side.

We added a small Mexican girl to our corps of by no means efficient servants. Our efforts in the conversation were necessarily strained, I was not speaking Spanish, nor she English ; but we soon learned to understand each other with many gestures and a word here and there. It was her business to amuse the baby and wheel the little wagon, which she set up occasionally; consequently the poor child’s small turned-up nose seldom had any skin on it while the senorita was a nurse, which was not long. Our garrison was a small one,-Major· McCrea, with his wife and daughter, Lieutenant Alexander McD. McCook, Lieutenant Alexander McCrea, and ourselves were all the officers and ladies at Burgwin, except a contract doctor, who was drunk half the time, and not of much service. Fortunately it was a healthy place, and he had little to do.

Husband had occasion to go to him for advice one morning, after suffering all night. The doctor looked seriously at him for some time, then said, in solemn tones, ” Lane, the best thing you can do is to go home and to bed, until you are sober!” He had been on a spree himself, and imagined it was the other fellow. We had only been settled in our quarters a few days when we heard of the arrival •at Fort Union, New Mexico, of a large number of officers and their families, who had just crossed the Plains from Fort Leavenworth with recruits for the various regiments in the Territory. Among the officers was Captain Washington L. Elliott, who had recently married my sister, who was with him.

Of course the next thing to be done was for husband to go to Fort Union and bring her to Burgwin. She might hear the road was bad, but I knew she could have no conception of what it was like until she tried it, and then it would be too late to turn back. While I was alone at Burgwin, after my husband had left for Fort Union, I had rather a disagreeable experience.

In garrison people hardly ever lock their doors, and even when they want to they find the

locks broken or keys lost. I could fasten my bedroom door, for which I was thankful. I do not believe there was another lock in the house in order.

One night I was awakened by a knock on my door, which was repeated. I asked who was there. The answer was a request that “the lady would please open the door” and show a man the way out; that he was drunk, had come in, and had lost himself; that he would do the lady no harm if she would only open the door for him. Needless to say, the lady remained in her fortress, ordering him to leave immediately, or she would call the guard, which she could not have done, as the guard-house was some distance away. After stumbling around in the entry for a while, he left, but returned, later on, though he did not knock again.

The man had sense enough to know he had been in an officer’s house, but he could not tell, so he informed the sentinel. That was the only time I was ever molested by a soldier in all my army experience. I had always found them most polite and respectful. He was a good man, too, but had taken too much whiskey, which was not his habit.

When Captain and Mrs. Elliott arrived it was decided that “the lieutenant” should exchange from Captain Duncan’s company to Captain Elliott’s, leave Burgwin, and go to Hatch’s ranch for the winter, and it was done. We packed up again and left, after a stay of only three weeks at Burgwin.

I would like to tell of some of Lieutenant McCook’s pranks at the little cantonment, but he is so very sedate now I would be afraid to do it. He was always happy and good-natured, and was known and liked by Mexicans as well as Americans. Poor Lieu­ tenant McCrea was killed at the battle of Valverde, not far from Fort Craig, New Mexico, iri the late war. On the 4th of November we left, taking the road to Fort Union, which was as bad as the one from Santa Fe; it could not be worse.

We were obliged to remain one day at Union, I being quite indisposed, from exposure on the mountains. When we reached the ranch, on the 9th, we found Captain Elliott’s company of Mounted Rifles already in quarters, with

Lieutenant John Edson in command.

IX

When we saw the ranch we felt somewhat melancholy at the prospect of spending the winter in such an isolated spot, so far from everywhere. It stood alone, on slightly rising ground,-a long, low, adobe house, with a high wall all around it, except in front. Mr. Hatch and his wife lived in one part of the building, and, with the exception of our own little party, were the only white people to be seen.

We had just enough room to be comfortable; but it was well we were one family, for we were very close together, and to have had strangers in the house would have been unbearable. There was no doctor nearer than seventy-five or eighty miles, so we tried to keep well. A Mexican man and his wife went about sometimes to officiate in particular cases. I had the luck to be present on one occasion. I think their performances would have made the scientific physicians of the present day open their eyes. Lieutenant Edson went on leave shortly after our arrival, and when we met again he had married lovely Fannie Clark.

We passed a very quiet, though pleasant, winter; but we were by no means sorry when the company was ordered to Fort Union in the spring. The post seemed very gay to us, with the band and so many people. We had seen no one but each other for such a long time, we were quite bewildered with all the stir and bustle about us. The quarters being large enough to accommodate us all, we remained with Captain and Mrs. Elliott.

In July I decided to take a leave and go East with the baby. Colonel Benjamin Roberts and family, with some discharged soldiers as escort, were taking advantage of an empty train of Mexican wagons, leaving New Mexico for Kansas City, to bring back a load of goods for all parts of the Territory. I joined the party. We were to have a great big ten­ mule wagon in which we were to travel and sleep. Husband had a spring-bottom made for the floor, on which a mattress was laid, and we lived in the wagon for about four weeks. Colonel Roberts had two wagons for his family. We messed with them, some of the discharged soldiers cooking for us.

Husband traveled with us for a few days, to see that we were entirely comfortable, and then returned to Fort Union. The wagon-train was in charge of a Mexican wagon-master, and he alone decided where we were to camp and when to travel. It seemed to make no difference to him where he halted, nor whether wood and water were convenient or not. Sometimes, late in the afternoon, the wagons were driven off the road, corralled, and the mules sent to graze. We felt confident then we would stay there until morning. Our supper would be cooked and eaten with good, healthy appetites, though it usually consisted only of hot biscuit, fried bacon, coffee, and buffalo meat or other game, killed by the teamsters.

At a very early hour we were quite ready for bed, and we would crawl into our wagons, have the covers well secured, and hope for a quiet night. Often just as had fallen into a good sleep I was roused by a stir in the camp, the distant sound of the mules galloping towards the wagons, and the clatter of the bell on the neck of the herd-leader, a forlorn old gray mule with both ears cut off close to his head. When it rained the bell kept up a constant tinkle as the water fell into the holes which naturally should have been covered, and annoyed the poor creature very much, so that he wagged his head continually. I believe he had been captured from the Indians, who probably cut off his ears and ate them, to show how they loved him. The more agony the wretched beast suffered, the more his tormentors enjoyed it, only sorry he was not human.

The noise made by the mules and the teamsters put an end to sleep. How they ever knew one mule from another in the darkness was a mystery to me; but they seemed to, and in a shorter time than it takes to write it, each driver had his team harnessed, hitched to the wagon, and we were off for an all­ night ride. Possibly by eight or nine o’clock next morning we would halt long enough to rest the mules and get breakfast, then start again.

I never slept when we traveled at night; the wagon was rough, notwithstanding the spring bottom. As a rule the road was fine; but I do not suppose the tired and sleepy driver was very careful to keep in it, so that we had many unnecessary jolts.

One night we were traveling slowly, when it began to rain; I was wide awake, listening to the patter of the drops on the wagon-sheet. I felt more lonely and helpless, for, by some mistake, there was a wagon between mine and the one occupied by Colonel Roberts’s family; so that, if I needed assistance, I could not be heard by them, so I called as loud as I could. Suddenly I was conscious that someone was untying the cover, which was always fastened down securely after I got into the wagon at night. Then by the dim light I could make out the figure of a man creeping in, and he sat down just at my feet. I did not make a sound, but quietly reached out my hand to a basket by my mattress, and took out a big butcher-knife, which I always kept there,-not for defensive purposes, however.

The man sat perfectly quiet; but I thought he might murder us for the little we had, take a mule from the team, and escape. I certainly would have used my knife had he molested me, and I never took my eyes off him all night. When day dawned the man retired as noiselessly as he came, and proved to be the Mexican who drove my wagon. I lost no time in telling Colonel Roberts of my night’s alarm, and another teamster was sent to take the place of my too friendly driver, who. told the wagon-master he only wanted to get out of the rain. The mules had taken care of themselves all night, following the wagon ahead of them.

In those days the whole country was covered with immense herds of buffalo ; there were thousands and thousands of them ; yes, a million. They never molested the trains crossing the Plains, though sometimes a great drove of them came thundering down to the road, and the wagons were obliged to halt until they passed. There was no difficulty in killing one when fresh meat was needed; but the wary hunter seldom wandered far away, as there were plenty of Indians abroad as well as buffalo. A man strayed off one day, and we knew nothing of him until night, when he;! came into camp, naked. Indians had caught him while hunting, taken all his clothes, even his shoes, and then turned him adrift. He kept at a respectful distance from the wagons until darkness covered him,-the only mantle he had,­ and then came into camp. He did not care much for hunting during the rest of his travels.

We saw a man shoot a buffalo one day, and as the great beast fell when the bullet struck him, we all thought he was dead, and so did the hunter, until he ran up close to him to cut his throat, when the creature rose up and made a spring, which scared the man dreadfully, being entirely unexpected. He ran for dear life, with the wounded buffalo in hot pursuit. Fortunately there was a saddled horse not far off, which the bold hunter succeeded in mounting, and was soon far away. Like a predecessor, “he never looked behind him.” The hunts were very exciting, and usually took place quite near the wagons, so that we could see all that went on.

We needed something to vary the wearisome march. One variation I did not like at all, and that was the vicinity of so many Indians, who often rode close beside our wagon staring in at the baby, who with her light curly hair and blue eyes seemed to interest them amazingly. I tried to keep her out of sight, but she never was one easy to suppress, and kept me in an agony by evidently enjoying the admiration he excited. They never interfered with us, however, our party being too large for them to feel certain of victory if they made the fight. I was truly rejoiced when we got away from their haunts and hunting-grounds. They roamed the plains in the summer season, killing the buffalo, curing meat, and dressing the hides for their winter supplies.

I used to watch the Mexican teamsters drying buffalo meat, or “jerking” it, with much interest It was cut into thin, narrow strips, and hung up in the sun on ropes stretched across the camp from wagon to wagon. When we were ready to leave the meat was taken down, packed in “gunny-sacks,” and tramped and stamped upon to make it less bulky. Then it was stowed away in the wagons and taken out and sunned at every camp. No salt is used in jerking the meat, and to me it is horrible; but I suppose if brought to the verge of starvation I might be able to relish it-hardly otherwise.

We traveled rapidly from Fort Union to Kansas City, making the distance of six hundred miles in twenty-four days. We stopped at the principal hotel in the town, being driven to it in our ten-mule wagons. What a sensation we would make now, by arriving in that style I Then no one gave us a second look. Such sights were of daily occurrence. Before railroads were built trains of wagons were always to be seen going to and coming from the Territories.

X

The journey from Kansas City to St. Louis, and from there to Carlisle, Pa., took a good deal of time. We traveled from St. Louis alone, but many a kind hand was stretched out to help us when we needed assistance.

How delightful it was to be at home once more! Of course the first grandchild was an important person, and came in for a large share of attention and admiration, which she received with all the coolness and matter-of-course air of one who had seen much of the world and was accustomed to it. I had been gone nearly three years, and many changes had taken place in that time,-marriages, births, and deaths among my relatives.

I had been so long deprived of everything but the bare necessities of life, it seemed to me my friends lived luxuriously, and I enjoyed my visit to the fullest extent.

The greatest drawback to my happiness, while at home, was the time required for letters to come from and go to New Mexico,-a whole month between mails, which were carried on a stage, running between Independence, Missouri, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. The mail stations on the plains were few and far apart, where there were only enough hardy, determined men to look after the mules required for the stage. These stations were almost fortresses on a small scale, built of stone, with a high wall around them to protect the stock from Indians. The stage­ drivers were experienced frontiersmen, who knew well the risks they d n, and those who traveled with them have told me there was no time lost between stations, going at a full gallop most of the way. Often wild and unbroken animals were harnessed to the stage, and at the first crack of the whip they were off with a bound, and kept at a run or gallop, never slowing up until the house was in sight.

I remained at home for almost a year. In the meantime, Captain Elliott’s company had been moved to Fort Stanton, New Mexico, and husband had gone with it. At the end of my leave, as several officers and their families were going to Fort Leavenworth from Carlisle Barracks, we joined them. From Fort Leavenworth we were to cross the Plains with a large number of officers and recruits for the regiments in New Mexico, and were to travel with Colonel Charles Ruff and family, who were to be of the party, camping near and messing with them. We had our own ambulance and tent, and were quite independent. I had taken a young black child from home as a playmate for our little girl, and she was in a constant state of excitement at the novelty of her situation, causing much amusement by her comments on matters in general.

Colonel Ruff remained at Leavenworth a day after the command left; but as Lieutenant Edson and wife were among those starting out, we went with them. At the first camp there was always a good deal of confusion, as things were put into the wagon’s helter-skelter, and some time was required to find tents, pins, ropes, axes, etc., and the recruits were rather new at the business of pitching tents. All was ready at last, beds were made, and everything was comfortable for the night, when one of those awful Kansas storms burst upon us almost without warning. The wind (now called a cyclone) was terrific, and the lightning and thunder a fit accompaniment to such a gale. Many of the tents, not being pitched to withstand as fierce a battle, went down all over the camp. Ours rocked and shook, and the roar of the thunder and the rain beating on the canvas was deafening.

Lieutenant Edson, seeing my tent was not secure, came, in the midst of the downpour, and took us to his, which was better pitched, and we were hardly out of ours before it collapsed. With my party added to Mrs. Edson and servants were full, and Lieutenant Edson went elsewhere for shelter. The storm raged on ; by degrees the tent-cords loosened, the walls were blown in and out with the wind, and we expected every moment to see it share the fate of many others, but the few pins left and the guy-ropes held it up. The water rushed in a torrent through the tent, and the only way to keep out of it was to sit on the bed, which we did until morning. An old sow, with her large family, tried to take shelter under the canvas wall also, and it was extremely difficult to keep her out: she did not like the warring elements for her babies any more than we did.

The camp was a dismal sight the next day,-everything and everybody were soaking wet and felt as dreary as they looked. Bedding and clothing were spread in every available spot to dry, and the tents are-pitched, as we could not well move in such a plight to another camp. All had a tale to tell of the awful night. One tent blew down in which was a child asleep on a cot. The wind gathered them up, but the child was seen, fortunately, and dragged off by some one as the bed went sailing over a fence. The flagstaff at Fort Leavenworth, seven miles away, was struck by lightning the same night.

We took up our line of march the next day, although our belongings were still in a wet and forlorn condition. The storms followed us, and I never beheld such lightning nor heard such thunder. When I saw one coming we went into the tent and had it well pinned down and the opening closed securely. Through all its fury I had to look as if I liked it, not daring to show fear before the children, and I am sure I must have been fairly green with fright sometimes. But we played, told stories, and sang one song, the howling wind and crashing thunder joining in the chorus, and by controlling myself before the children I lost much of my own terror. But I must say I was delighted to get out of the storm region.

We passed through several villages of half-civilized Indians in Kansas, and the sight of them filled Kit, the black child, with horror. A man came and stood by the tent one day, watching her attentively; he seemed to be trying to work out an idea. At last his curiosity got the better of him and I found out what the trouble was. He said to me, looking at Kit, ” Dat you pappoose ?” Before I could answer, she spoke, from her safe place behind the bed,” No, sir; I am Mr. Hawkins’s girl, of Carlisle,” which information was received with a grunt; he could not understand a white squaw having a black papoose, and wanted to be certain about it.

The rivers in Kansas were deep, and hard to ford. No one knew just where the proper crossings were to be found, and much time was lost looking for them. There did not seem to be any one with the command whose business it was to find out about such matters, and we had to get information from any one whom we happened to meet on the road. Being impatient to go on, I may have imagined there was mismanagement.

However, this much I know, that frequently, when hunting a ford, the command was directed to a certain point; when it was reached there was not a place where.we could cross, and we had to retrace our steps, going possibly just as far the other way, to find· the stream over the tops of the wagons. Delay seemed to be the order of the day. One morning, after everything was ready for the usual early start, breakfast over, tents down, and wagons loaded, the news was brought in that every mule belonging to the wagon-train had gone, and not a man knew how nor when they left. Of course some one was to blame for gross negligence; but that did not help matters in the least.

Nothing could be done but unpack the wagons, re-pitch tents, and remain on Cow Creek until something was found to haul us away. Parties were sent to look for the mules, but to this day nothing has been heard of them,-a remarkable truth.

For a week we remained in camp waiting for transportation, when at the end of that time some one saw, as did “Sister Anne” in the story of BlueBeard, a little cloud of dust in the west It proved to be from an empty ox-train which was coming to the States, and it meant relief for us. The oxen were put to our wagons, their heads turned towards New Mexico, and we were again on the road.

Fortunately, none of the ambulance mules had departed when those belonging to the train left it so mysteriously.

As we could travel only short distances with the oxen every day, the time seemed long and exceedingly tedious. Two months passed before we reached Fort Union, a journey of six ‘hundred miles. There I heard of a campaign against the Navajo Indians, and that husband had gone with Captain Elliott and company from Fort Stanton, to join other troops sent out to Fort Defiance, in the Navajo country. This was indeed bad news for me, as I had expected to find him waiting for us at Fort Union, instead of which he had gone to fight Indians, and might be away all winter. There was nothing for me to do but to make my way to my sister, Mrs. Elliott, at Fort Stanton, which was a great way off, and not an easy place to reach. Besides, I could not always get an escort from post to post, so I made slow progress.

We remained some days at Fort Union with Captain and Mrs. Shoemaker, who were always glad of an opportunity to take the weary, traveled under their most hospitable roof and cared for him.

From Fort Union we went to Santa Fe, in October, rested a few days, and then left for Albuquerque, where we arrived after three days’ travel, and were the guests of Colonel and Mrs. Ruff, who had just gone to housekeeping in the old Mexican town, after having recently crossed the Plains. Colonel Ruff and Major Rucker, with their families, occupied a large adobe building; each had a part of it, entirely independent of the other. At that time Irene Rucker was a little child playing about in her blue check aprons, little dreaming she was destined to be the wife of the gallant General Sheridan.

XI

ON the first of November Colonel I. V. D. Reeve left Albuquerque for Fort Stanton, and we gladly accepted his escort. We had been traveling since the beginning of July, and I was tired and wanted to settle down. Six days were required to make the distance between the two points, with a house to stay in two or three nights out of the five or six. The weather was cold, and I much preferred to stay in a house where there was fire than in a tent with none.

One night, when in camp, it rained hard, then snowed. The tents froze stiff, and it was with diffi­ culty they could be made small enough to be packed in the wagon next morning. We had a bitter cold ride all that day, and when we camped, at night, it was in the frozen tents on top of ice and snow, which had to be cut away to make a place for the mattress. Minnie and Kit did not seem at all disturbed at going to bed on top of the snow. We slept in all of our clothes, rolling our heads in shawls; but it was so cold and uncomfortable we were glad there was but one night of it.

It was with grateful hearts we reached the cosey

quarters at Fort Stanton at last, and were soon entirely at home at my sister’s house, where we remained until the husbands returned from the Navajo war, when we occupied our own quarters. Fort Stanton was a beautiful post, with the best quarters in the army at that time, but it was like being buried alive to stay there. Nothing ever passed that way, and it was seldom a stranger came among us, There was but one mail a month, and on the day it was expected we dropped all work and fixed our eyes on a certain hill, round which the man with the mail, carried ‘on a mule, was bound to ap­ pear, after a while, if the Indians had not caught him. Whoever first spied him spread the news that the mail was coming. Then all was excited until the post-office was opened and each had his own letters and papers in his hands. Although the papers were old, we enjoyed their contents as much as we do our ” daily” of to-day.

An officer’s wife told me she gave her husband only one paper at a time, and laid it by his plate, on the breakfast-table, every morning, as long as they lasted, hoping he would try to imagine he was reading “news.” We wanted ours all at once, even if we did have to wait a month for a fresh supply.

We were fortunate in having a pleasant garrison at Fort Stanton, and our relations with the officers and their wives were most sociable and friendly. There were no formal visits then, nor did we have occasion to dress up to call on our neighbors. To show you of how little use a bonnet was to any of us, sweet little Mrs. Lawrence Baker had forgotten hers entirely, until, one day, when looking over her possessions, she found it occupied by a hen, setting on a number of eggs. The style of bonnet at that time made a very comfortable nest, quite different from those of to-day. ‘

My sister had a piano, which was an unbounded source of pleasure to us. With Colonel Reeve’s assistance we made quite good music; at least our friends, who, possibly, were not too critical,’ said so. Kind, good Colonel Reeve, always anxious and ready to be of service when we needed it. (He died January, 1891, in New York.)

The Mescalero Apaches were in camp that winter near the post, and came and went as they pleased, walking into our houses and sitting on our porches without the least hesitation. I found a young fellow in front of our quarters with a child’s colored picture­ book in his hands, chuckling and muttering with great delight. Coming closer, I saw he was holding it upside down, and turned it for him. He was very pleased and sm:prised when he was able to understand the pictures, and laughed and talked quietly to himself. I do not suppose he had ever seen a book before.

I never could become accustomed to the Indians staring at me through the window when I was sewing or reading. Often while sitting beside it a shadow would come between me and the light, and on looking up I would find two or three hideous creatures, with noses painted every color flattened against the glass. I would move away at once, out of range of their wandering eyes. I could not endure being watched so curiously. Sometimes a slight noise made me turn round, and there would be one or two Indians standing in my room. I did not use much ceremony in putting them out and locking the door behind them. They delighted in going to the hospital to get a dose of medicine from the doctor; and no matter what kind of stuff he mixed them with, they took it with apparent enjoyment. I do not know that a dose of medicine, taken when there was no necessity for it, was worse than (or as bad as) eating a mule with a sore back, that had died in the corral. They cut him in pieces, carried the meat to their camp, and ate it all up, everything but bones and hoofs. A dead mule is not to be despised when one is starving.

My sister and I found an Indian woman sitting on the ground by our house, one cold winter’s day, and leaning against her was a board, on which was strapped a new-born baby, which we learned after­ wards was about two hours old ! The woman was intimidated, she was hungry and we gave her food, when she picked up her baby and walked three miles to camp. Before we saw her, she and her baby had taken a swim in the little river that flowed close by ; the water was frozen hard, and she broke the ice to make a place large enough for her purpose. I do not know whether all new-born Apache babies were treated to an ice-cold bath ; it must have been disagreeable.

While at Stanton we saw the yearly distribution of presents to the Apaches. The men and women sat or lay on the ground in a circle, inside of which stood some of the officers and ladies of the post, to witness this rather novel sight, to many of us at least. I had only been there a little while until I wished myself anywhere else. As each article was handed round, the Indians became more and more excited; and when the butcher-knives were brought out, deep guttural sounds from the men and screams of delight from the women were heard on all sides. I felt as if we were going to be scalped, and I am sure the recipients of these treasures would not have been at all averse to trying them, bright, new, and sharp, on us, if it could have been done with safety to themselves. I never wanted to see another distribution of presents to Indians, nor to be in the vicinity when hatchets and knives were passed around.

In May orders were received for Captain Elliott’s company to take station at Fort Bliss, Texas, and we were charmed at the prospect of going where we would see more people and have a good market. There was never anything to buy at Fort Stanton but an occasional piece of venison, or a wild turkey, from a Mexican or Indian. The game was very good of its kind, but we wanted a wider range, which we were sure to have at Fort Bliss.

By the 19th of May we were packed and ready to leave Stanton. Our only regret was parting with our friends. We traveled over some beautiful country, camping every night. The weather was good, though extremely hot in the middle of the day. We passed several mounds of pure white, silver sand, on the road, which in the distance looked like snow; their presence in such a place was curious, and has never been explained to me.

May 25 found us at the most delightful station we ever had,-Fort Bliss,-the old and first Fort Bliss, far more pleasant than those of the same name which have succeeded it, though the present post is more pretentious in every way, having two railroads running across the parade-ground.

Our quarters of three rooms were of adobe, with thatched roof and dirt floors; it sounds worse than it was, for the floor was as hard as stone, almost; and with canvas nailed down first, and a carpet over that, we were well fixed. Some of the other quarters were more roomy and pleasant than ours; but we did not require anything better, and, as we still messed with Captain and Mrs. Elliott, they answered very well.

The garrison at Fort Bliss was very small, but there were some very pleasant people (citizens) living at and not very far from the post. There was a good deal of social visiting among us all, and an occasional formal entertainment, to which everybody was invited.

Colonel Magoffin, the sutler, had a large house, and several pretty, well-educated daughters. Mrs. Magoffin was a Spanish woman, from whom the daughters inherited much grace and beauty. Of course they were great belles, and their home was very attractive.

At that time Fort Bliss was built on three sides of a square; a road in front of the quarters separated them from the parade-ground, which was enclosed by an adobe wall. There were some tall cottonwood­ trees on the parade, which was covered by a luxuriant growth of alfalfa, or Mexican clover. Perhaps there was a flag-staff, too, but I forget.

Almost at our doors flowed the red, muddy waters of the Rio Grande, which were ever encroaching on the banks and endangering those quarters that were near.

Three miles away was the little town of Franklin, now El Paso, where we made frequent visits to buy our marketing and lay in supplies of delicious fresh fruits, furnished by the Mexicans, who interested us very much. Besides the market were several stores,•where everything imaginable was sold, not always just what we wanted, however; but we frequently had to take what we could get. Once, when passing through that region, my shoes gave out entirely, and I was obliged to have some at once. The only thing I could find that fitted me at all was a pair of light blue kid slippers, not exactly suitable for traveling and camping, but alt that were to be had.

XII

BY crossing the Rio Grande we were in a foreign country,-Mexico,-where everything was so quaint and strange we could scarcely believe only a narrow river separated us from our homes.

We went over once to visit the old cathedral, where the most striking things we saw were some ghastly wax figures, large as life, and very precious in. the sight of the numerous worshippers. On a table in the center of the church was laid what we supposed was another wax image; but on closer inspection we found it was a poor little dead baby, gaily dressed, and awaiting burial.

No one seemed to be watching, and the tiny thing looked lonely in the big church. I was told it was customary, both in Old and New Mexico, to dress up a dead child in bright clothes, crown the head with flowers, and carry it around the turn, with a band of music playing the liveliest airs. .

Even those who had died of small-pox were exhibited, and, of course, the disease was spread-in this way, very few of the natives being vaccinated. There was always more or less small-pox in Mexican towns, but, as it seldom attacked Americans, we had little fear of it, though, when going to a station close to a Mexican settlement, we took the precaution to be vaccinated.

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