Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/284

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Maj. Whalen ordered out Capt. Bristol's company of United States Infantry, while Mr. Labadie, with thirty Apache Indians and seven men of my company, who had been left in camp to care for the horses and company property, immediately mounted and pursued the Navajoes. At three o'clock p. m., they came up with the marauding band, which numbered about one hundred, and at once engaged the enemy, who formed line and made a stand with about two-thirds their force, while the remainder were urged forward with the sheep. The conflict lasted about an hour, during which twenty-five Navajoes were killed, and the remainder routed in all direcions. Bent upon recovering the prey, the victorious party pushed on, but did not succeed in overtaking the sheep until three hours later, when the parties in charge fled and abandoned their hard-earned plunder, which numbered nearly fourteen thousand head. Such was the story told me by the Apaches. I asked Nah-tanh whether his people had remained with Mr. Labadie to guard the sheep, and he replied that he did not know, but supposed some of them had.

It seems that the Regular Infantry sent by Major Whalen had obtained this intelligence, and believing that the affair was ended, had retraced their steps to the fort. Feeling it my duty to protect Mr. Labadie and his diminished force, we hurried on until half-past ten o'clock p. m., when we saw a very dim fire on the plain, toward which we directed our course, and shortly arrived in his camp, having accomplished sixty-eight miles through a snow-storm. It is needless to add that he was delighted to find himself so perfectly reinforced, as all his ammunition had been expended, and he only had the seven men of my company and twelve Apaches with him, and was apprehensive that the Navajoes would