Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/171

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165
LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

as skirmishers, with a small reserve as the rallying point, while the cavalry were ordered to guard the train, and make occasional dashes into the side canons. "Up hill and down dale" went the skirmishers, plunging into dark and forbidding defiles, and climbing steep, rocky and difficult acclivities, while the cavalry made frequent sorties from the main body to the distance of several hundred yards. Being without a subaltern, Gen. Carleton had assigned Lieut. Muller, of the First Cavalry California Volunteers, to service with my command. This officer soon after gave sufficient proof of his gallantry and zeal, for which I now gratefully return thanks.

In this manner we progressed through that great stronghold of the Apaches and dangerous defile, until we joined the detachment under Lieut. Thompson, at the stone station house, where we quartered for the remainder of that day. Let it be borne in mind that Capt. Roberts' company of Californian Infantry had marched forty miles without food or water, had fought for six hours with desperation against six times their numbers of splendidly armed Apaches, ensconced behind their own natural ramparts, and with every possible advantage in their favor; had driven that force before them, occupied their defiles, taken their strongholds, and, after only one draught of water and a hasty meal, had made another march of thirty miles, almost absolutely without rest. I doubt much if any record exists to show where infantry have made a march of seventy miles, fought one terrible battle of six hours' duration, and achieved a decided victory under such circumstances.

The shrill fife, the rattling drum and the mellow bugles sounded the reveille before dawn of the next day. The camp-fires were soon throwing up their lively jets of flame and smoke, while the grateful odors of frying