Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/260

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horsemanship occurred during this conflict which were admirable to behold.

In January, 1864, the weather at Fort Sumner was very cold, Fahrenheit's thermometer being ten degrees below zero at eight o'clock in the morning. The Apaches under our care were then encamped about three miles south of the fort, on the eastern bank of the Pecos. They possessed quite a number of horses, in which consisted their whole wealth. One night, about twelve o'clock, Major Whalen was roused by the guard, who informed him that a deputation of Apaches were present, earnestly desirous of making some communication. An audience was immediately granted, and the Apaches informed the commanding officer that their camp had just been visited by a large band of marauding Navajoes, and their stock driven off. They came for aid to recover their animals. It happened that nearly the whole of my company—the only cavalry force at the fort—were absent on a scout at the time, and only about twelve remained with some of the most used-up horses belonging to the company. Nevertheless, the men were immediately ordered to saddle up and place themselves under command of Lieut. Newbold, while a company of United States Infantry, under the command of Capt. Bristol, was ordered to follow the cavalry with all speed. These forces were assisted by twenty-five Apache warriors, under the conduct of Gian-nah-tah, that being the greatest number the Apaches could mount since the Navajo raid. The trail led due south, and about seven o'clock in the morning the cavalry and Apaches came upon the retreating Navajoes, who were all on foot except those mounted on the animals stolen from the Apaches. The band numbered about one hundred and eighty, of whom about sixty were mounted. So soon as their pursuers came