Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/119

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113
LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

branches across each other, in every direction, and the fire as nearly to the center as possible. So soon as those sticks had burned through so as to leave an effective club at each end, a single sharp cry gave the signal, upon which each Yuma present, probably a hundred, seized his burning brand, and commenced the work of death, dealing blows to the nearest American, while an other large party rushed fully armed upon the scene, and quickly dispatched their unprepared and unsuspecting visitors. The Americans fought with desperation, discharging their six-shooters and using their knives with bloody effect, but were soon overcome by resistless numbers, and slain to a man. It was during this contest, which engaged the whole attention of the Yumas, that our two guests managed to effect their escape. They had traveled for four days without food, hiding themselves from morning till night, and prosecuting their way only after dark. Seeing a small party of Americans, whom they knew were always friendly to their tribe, and incited by the double motives of obtaining food and warning us of our danger, they had sought our camp.

Our danger was indeed imminent. Our party consisted only of seven Americans and three Mexicans, and our ammunition had been reduced to forty rounds for each weapon. A party of well armed men, more than three times our number, had been massacred only a few days before by a hostile tribe of Indians, through the heart of whose country we would be compelled to make our way, if we continued. The enemy had driven off the miserably small garrison, and were flushed with the success of their last great robbery and murder. The Colorado river was impassable without a launch, and that was in possession of the Indians. We were in a "regular fix," and a council of war was immediately