Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/172

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bacon and browning flap-jacks saluted the appreciative nostrils of the hungry troops. But we had no water, and without water we could have no coffee, that most coveted of all rations. There was reason to believe that the Apaches intended to put our metal to another trial. They had again occupied the heights above the springs, and also the water sources, which were thickly sheltered by trees and willow underbrush. Roberts again made preparations to dislodge the savages, and ordered his howitzers into the most favorable positions. Just then I saluted him, and said, "Captain, you have done your share of this fight; I now respectfully ask for my chance. If you will throw your shells on the heights above the springs, I will charge the latter with my men, and clean out the Apaches in a very few moments. I certainly think this concession due me."

Roberts reflected a few moments, and replied—"I am truly sorry that your wish cannot be granted. Yours is the only cavalry I have, and their safety is indispensable to ours. We are going to the San Simon river, where I am ordered to establish a depot and await the arrival of other troops with supplies. You are to take back this train for those supplies, and you will have enough to do in your proper turn. I cannot, under the circumstances, grant your request."

To this I replied: "Your objections appear cogent; but I cannot perceive why all these things cannot be accomplished, and still permit my men, who are burning with anxiety, to charge those springs and disperse that wretched horde of savages. They are already cowed, and will immediately flee before a vigorous assault."

Capt. Roberts replied: "You have had my answer, Captain, and it should be enough. I do not intend to jeopard my own men, but will shell the heights and