Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/282

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movement through that cañon. Camp was accordingly changed, and a fresh position, in the open plain, selected. No man in the command had more than two blankets, and many had only one; wood was scarce, requiring all hands to collect enough for ordinary cooking purposes; the snow was six inches deep, and the weather looked threatening. In no sense could our condition be deemed agreeable. At eight o'clock p. m. another terrible snowstorm burst upon us. The wind howled with fury, and the flakes covered us with such density that it was necessary to throw it from the upper blanket every half hour, its weight being oppressive. In the meantime two men had been stationed at the outlet of the Alamo Gordo Pass, with strict orders to inform me the moment the Indians should make their appearance. Snow continued to fall, but in moderate quantities, all of the next day, and I heard nothing from my spies. The storm rather increased that night, which was also extremely cold, and next morning, at five o'clock, one of my lookout men arrived in camp with the information that the Indians had passed with a large body of sheep, at daylight of the previous morning. He and his comrade had immediately come on to inform me, but the severity of the storm and density of the snow were so great that he could not distinguish objects, even at a short distance; he had lost sight of his companion; had wandered about all night, and was nearly dead with fatigue, suffering and exposure.

The order to saddle up was immediately given and obeyed, without waiting for breakfast, or even a cup of hot coffee, and the command moved in such a direction as would enable it to cut the Indian trail without losing ground. Our rate of traveling was at the trot, and every little while the horses' hoofs "balled" badly, greatly im-