Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/135

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CHAPTER XI.


Letter from Senator Clemens.—Resign from the Boundary Commission.—Departure of the Commission.—New Expedition.—Ride up the Gila.—Terrible Conflict with Apaches.—Desperate Personal Encounter.—Defeat of the Savages.—Return of the Expedition.—Long for a Quiet Life.—San Francisco.—Cogitations on Indian Character.—Advice Given and Disdained.—The Fatal Results.—Necessity for Constant Caution.—Extent of Apache Country.—Numerical Strength of the Apaches.—Female Warriors.—False Impressions of Indian Character.


A week after our safe arrival in San Diego, worn-out and suffering from nearly two years' wandering upon the uninhabited deserts of Texas, Arizona, northern Sonora, and a portion of New Mexico, I received a warm, cordial and brotherly letter from the Hon. Jere Clemens, Senator from Alabama, who had been my Lieutenant-Colonel during a portion of the Mexican war, after the death of Col. Ransom, and the capture of Chapultepec, which letter informed me that although the appropriation for the Boundary Commission had passed Congress, yet John B. Weller, Senator from California, had managed to have inserted in it a proviso which would have the effect of rendering that appropriation unavailable, and that the probabilities were we would be disbanded in the deserts, without money, or the means of return to our friends and home at the East. He also advised me to leave the Commission, as we had arrived within the precincts of civilization, and pursue some other avocation. The advice and arguments of my former superior, whose kindness and remembrance had followed me throughout our toilsome and dangerous career, convinced my mind