Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/146

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imparted, and especially for the advice given in relation to the Apaches, but the Major rather coolly intimated that he was quite capable of managing his own affairs, and had seen enough of Indian life to put him in possession of all necessary information. I touched my cap and withdrew somewhat mortified. Soon afterward intelligence was received that the Major, Dr. Tappan and three others had been killed at the Cotton-wood Springs, by the Apaches. It seems that soon after entering upon the camp ground, the party broke into small unarmed squads, which went in search of wood and to bring water, when their ever-watchful and tigerish foes seized the opportunity to dash in and massacre all they could. In this miserable manner the lives of two valuable officers and three brave men were sacrificed for the want of a little caution which could have been easily exercised.

Let it be borne in mind at all times that the Apaches have scarcely ever been known to make a fighting attack at night. Under cover of the darkness they will steal into camp and conceal themselves from detection with wondrous skill, in the hope of effecting a robbery; but that is the extent of their night operations, unless they become emboldened by the most reckless and foolhardy carelessness. Their onslaughts are almost invariably made by day, and at such times and places as tend to impart the greatest sense of security. When they mean mischief no marks are to be seen—no traces, no tracks, no "signs" discoverable. The unsuspecting traveler, lulled into, a fatal belief that none of them are near, relaxes his caution, and is caught as surely as the spider meshes the confiding fly. I have seen men, who, being in company with large and well armed parties, had never seen an Apache after a year of wandering in their country, actually doubted the existence of those savages