Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/181

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175
LIFE AMONG THE APACHES.

travelers would be somewhat off their guard in an open plain, apparently without place of concealment, and awaited the approach of their victims. The scheme proved eminently successful. Wholly unapprehensive of a danger they could not see and had no reason to suspect, the hardy miners rode forward with their rifles resting in the slings across their saddle bows, their pistols in scabbards, and their whole attention absorbed in the pass they were about to enter. When they had arrived within forty yards of the gully or ditch, a terrific and simultaneous fire was opened upon them by the concealed Indians, which killed one-half their number outright, and sent the remainder wounded and panic stricken to seek safety in flight. They were immediately pursued and massacred to a man. Theirs were the bodies discovered by us soon after emerging from Apache Pass, and although we grieved over their death, as brave men grieve for each other, the circumstance taught us another and most instructive lesson in Apache character, and the wondrously shrewd calculations made by those people when determined to effect a desired object.

I subsequently learned that the victims had with them a considerable sum in gold dust, nearly fifty thousand dollars' worth, all of which fell into the hands of their slayers, who had become well acquainted with its value. Their bodies were as decently interred as circumstances would permit, after which we moved forward toward the Cienega, in mournful and somewhat vindictive mood.

Mangas Colorado returned with his diminished band to the Pino Alto country after his disastrous defeat in Apache Pass, but he returned with a carbine ball in his chest, fired by John Teal, whose gallant conduct has already been described. It was owing to this chance shot that the Apaches abandoned their attack upon Teal, in