Page:Life among the Apaches.djvu/286

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effort to reach water, but our search was in vain; not a soul of them ever came under our observation. Subsequent arrivals of Navajo prisoners at Fort Sumner contained several who had been engaged in the affair just narrated, and they told me that it had been their intention to attack Mr. Labadie the night of the engagement, but that our opportune arrival, of which they had become aware, completely changed the prospects of success, and that instead of coming back next morning, they hurried off with all possible speed, and at the time we were hunting for them they must have been at least forty miles distant. Mr. Labadie arrived safely at Fort Sumner with fourteen thousand head of re-captured sheep, which would have fallen to us, but for the fact that my sentinels at the Alamo Gordo Pass lost their way in a snow-storm for twenty-four hours after the Indians had left the pass with their plunder. His comrade did not rejoin us until I again returned to Fort Sumner, whither he had gone, after discovering that the command had left for parts unknown.

Several of my men, being quite indisposed, were sent back to the fort by this opportunity, while the remainder continued the scout. Once more our direction laid to the northeast, but with little hope of finding more Indians. After several days we arrived at the Conchas Springs, about one hundred and eighty miles east-north-east from Fort Sumner, and encountered a severity of cold surpassing anything I had ever before experienced, although a native of Maine, and a visitor to its northern-most borders in the heart of winter. In my command were nine men from the same State, and none of them had ever known anything to compare with the intensity of the cold we suffered. The deepest part of the Conchas Springs is about seven feet, and the men cut through