Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/167

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161
LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

welcome intruders without help, he had dispatched messengers to Cheis, the principal warrior of the Chiricahui Apaches, to assist him in expelling the miners. Cheis was too much occupied by the advancing column of American troops to give heed to this call, and failed to attend. Such want of faith was inexplicable to Mangas, who knew nothing of our approach, and at the head of two hundred warriors he visited Cheis, to inquire the reason for his apparent defection from the Apache cause. In reply Cheis took Mangas to the top of the Chiricahui and showed him the dust made by our advance guard, and told him that it was his first duty to defend himself, and that if Mangas would join in the affair, they could whip the "white eyes," and make themselves masters of the spoil. This arrangement was immediately agreed to by Mangas, and their united forces, amounting to nearly seven hundred warriors, so disposed as to take Roberts by surprise and insure his defeat. But "the best laid plans of men and mice, aft gang aglee," and these finely fixed schemes were doomed to be terribly overthrown.

Roberts, entirely unsuspecting any attack, entered the pass with the ordinary precautions. He had penetrated two-thirds of the way, when from both sides of that battlemented gorge a fearful rain of fire and lead was poured upon his troops, within a range of from thirty to eighty yards. On either hand the rocks afforded natural and almost unassailable defenses. Every tree concealed an armed warrior, and each warrior boasted his rifle, six-shooter and knife. A better armed host could scarcely be imagined. From behind every species of shelter came the angry and hissing missiles, and not a soul to be seen. Quickly, vigorously, and bravely did his men respond, but to what effect? They were expending ammunition to no purpose; their foes were in-