A CAMPAIGN WITH COL. DONIPHAN.

CHAPTER VI.

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Chihuahua. The bull ring. The Plaza. The Congress Hall. Cathedral. Funeral rites over Major Owens. Mexican naked petdogs. Chapel of San Francisco. Monument to Hidalgo. Splashesof blood on the pavement. Negro story. Bread, cakes and butter. Architectural freak in building an aqueduct. Dexterity inspinning. Danger among gun powder. The mint. Mr. Potts andhis threats. A council called. "Sarah and the children." Startfor Parras. Orders to join General Taylor. Difference betweenrich and poor. Lizards. Rancho and dead bodies. Santa Cruz. The liquor called Mezcal. Guajaquilla. San Berrado. Adisappearing spring. Fort Pelayo surprised. Mapini, and theinhabitants' alarm, and Mexican force near. Lights on themountains. Traders alarmed. Rancho of El Poso and fight withthe Lipans. Medicine-man's skull. Parras, and a thief. Brutalattack on a soldier, and Mexican wounded.

The side from which we entered the city presented the worst viewof it; and it was not until we had traversed a long distance ofsuburbs with immense piles of scoria alternating with mean housesthat we came to any good looking dwellings. But a course whichtook us past the unfinished Jesuit's College, the plaza and finecathedral, and through nicely paved streets to the Alameda orpublic walk, soon showed us that we had got into a city farsuperior to any place we had before entered. Most of the houseshad white stone fronts;

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while the paved streets and good side walks made it somewhat homelike, for we had seen no pavement before since leaving Missouri. We were quartered at the Plaza de Toros or Bull Ring. This is afine amphitheatre, and being government property, it is built inthe best manner, with several rows of white stone seats all round,and a covered gallery above and at the back of them. The ringitself is more than one hundred yards in diameter, and the wholebuilding, which is square externally, is very high and handsomelydecorated. In front of this, and extending the whole length ofthe city, is the public Alameda handsomely planted with rows ofcottonwood trees and streams of water running through it; andhere and there white stone seats. In the middle of the city isthe plaza or square, and in the centre of this is a publicfountain, to which the water is brought from falls about sixmiles below. The plaza is surrounded by numerous handsomeresting places, or rather large stone sofas. Fronting it towardsthe north is a large building containing the public granary andCongress Hall -- the former of which is very extensive and wellfitted up, and in it we found a large quantity of maize andbeans. The Congress Hall consists of a beautiful room, with arailed enclosure at one end, in which sat their legislature, andat the top of the table, under a canopy, used to preside theGovernor. Behind his seat is a large painting representingIturbide, Hidalgo and Morelos, the latter in the act of beingcrowned by Liberty, while, under their feet lies a Spanishsoldier, with sundry broken fetters and whips. Around the upperpart of the room, is a

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page 123 CHIHUAHUA. CATHEDRAL.

gallery with a gilt railing. I sat down in the chair whichGovernor Trias occupied, when the legislative body decided whatshould be our fate when taken: which was, after being stripped ofmoney -- and arms, to be sent on foot to the city of Mexico. Attached to the hall are numerous rooms, with such designationsat the doors as showed them to have been occupied by judges andofficers of state. In front of the building runs a widecolonnade, between the pillars of which we placed our battery. Attached to the water spouts in front, I remarked several Apachescalps, relies of some unusually successful skirmish. On thewestern side of the plaza stands the treasury building, verymassive, with numerous handsome rooms, which we used as quartersfor some of our companies.

On the south side, is a building of which the inhabitants arejustly proud, the cathedral. Its exterior is covered with finecarving and statues. The front has three tiers of pillars, oneabove another, with figures of Christ and the twelve Apostles indifferent niches the size of life. Its two steeples, which aresquare and composed of pillars fancifully carved, were, a shorttime before, hung with bells; but the inhabitants had cleared oneof the steeples, in order to use the metal in making cannon. Theedifice stands upon a raised terrace well walled around. Thenext day after we had entered, I had an opportunity of seeing theinside of the building; and although most of the valuablearticles had been removed, yet the interior fully realized myexpectations. It is lighted only from the dome, which is verylarge and gaily painted. Around the walls are six large shrinesreaching to the ceiling,

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and resembling highly decorated chapel fronts, richly gilded, andhaving wax images and artificial flowers enclosed within glass orgratings The altar is not handsome; nor did I at any time seeupon it much plate and gold or silver emblems This cathedral costtwo millions of dollars, and was some thirty years inbuilding. The occasion on which I first visited it was, however, avery melancholy one. In the centre of the church lay the body ofMajor Owens. He had been a Catholic, the priests had willinglyoffered to inter him. It was sad to know that under that velvetpall, lay the man who had so exultingly dashed before us in thecharge a few days before!

Perhaps nothing could have been better calculated to allay theterror and dislike of the citizens, than to see their prieststhus performing funeral service over one of our officers. At thehead of the coffin stood a high pyramidal stand, covered withvelvet, and upon it was candles in silver sconces set all overit; the priests were in their canonicals of velvet and gold,chanting the ms ???? ; while round them knelt numerous Mexicans, andoutside them were our men standing closely together. At the endof the usual church service, the priests all marched inprocession round the church, preceded by a man wearing a greenmantle, with a red heart embroidered upon the left breast, who,being the sexton, would occasionally raise a smile on our hereticfaces, by stopping the procession to drive out some intrudingdog

I do not think I have previously spoken of the immense number ofdogs in Mexico. it seems to me beyond calculation; and beingalmost a cross of the prairie wolf have an ex-

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page 125 CHIHUAHUA. JESUITS' CHAPEL.

ceedingly mean appearance. I did not see a gentlemanly dog inall Mexico. The pet dogs are called "Comanche;" but why I knownot. They are without any hair, and of a dark slate color; andto me, the nastiest animals I know of to look at or to feel, andas to the dogs in general should advise a traveller never to stirout without a revolving pistol. The dogs have as strong a dislike to it as their masters, and the possession alonewill be a sufficient safeguard from either cur or owner.

A short distance down one of the streets leading from the plaza,stands the unfinished college chapel of San Francisco, begun bythe Jesuits some years before their expulsion, and not finishedon account of that event (which occurred in 1767). The chapelremains as they left it, looking like some enormous skeletonrising from a heap of ruins. This appearance arises from severalslender arches of large span, which were to have supported theroof but now stand alone, although the stone composing them isnot more than two feet square. The front and one of the sideentrances are finished, and have good evidence that, had theJesuits been allowed to complete the building, it would have beenvery grand and pure in design. Numerous statues adorn theoutside; but within, there have lately been erected two largefurnaces, in which we melted the bells and other metal for thecannon we had taken from them, and which were cast in a pit inthe floor of the building. The smoke from these furnaces hasblackened all the inside of such part as was finished, and givenit a very singular appearance. Adjoining the chapel is theJesuits' Hospital, a large and very complex building, and

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to which we removed our sick and wounded. In this building hadonce been imprisoned the patriot Hidalgo, who was shot in thesquare in the rear. And here, too, Kendall and his party hadbeen confined. On the spot where Hidalgo fell, is erected a highmonument, which would be handsome were it not that the obeliskpart is painted in flames; rather a sinister compliment to thespirit of the Catholic patriot. On the four sides are longinscriptions, two to Hidalgo, one to Iturbide, and one to theglorious sixteenth day of September, 1810, the day of MexicanIndependence.

In my rambles about the streets, I observed, in most of them,splashes of blood, evidently caused by some wounded soldierhastily dismounting. One can imagine this bloody messenger fromthe field, hurriedly telling of defeat.

Let me here correct a statement made in the public papers. It issaid that our artillery, at the battle of Sacramento, was drawnby oxen. Not so, our American horses, and fine horses they were,were employed, while mules drew our caissons.

I have the following second-hand, and yet there is no reason todoubt it. During our march from El Paso to Chihuahua, the blackservants of the different officers of the regiment formedthemselves into a company. There were twelve of them, of whichnumber eleven were officers, and one high private. Jo -- servantto Lieut. D -- was elected Captain. He was the blackest of thecrowd, and sported a large black feather with a small black hat -- also, a large sabre, with an intensely bright brass hilt -- which same sabre was eternally getting involved with theintricate windings of

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page 127 NEGRO CAPTAIN.

his bow legs. With Jo for captain they were a formidable body,and to hear them talk, they would work wonders! During the battleof Sacramento, however, the company was not to be seen; but afterthe action was over, they were espied breaking out from thewagons, and joining in the pursuit. That evening, one of ourofficers attacked Jo about his company.

"Well, Jo, I hear your men were hid behind the wagons duringthe fight?"

"Lieutenant, I'se berry sorry to say it am de truf! I doneeberyting -- I call'd on de paterism ob de men -- I injoked dem by alldey hold most deah in dis world and de nex, but it was no go -- deywould get on de wrong sides ob de wagons."

"But what did you do there?"

"I stood dar gittin' cooler, and de firing kept gittin' hotter,and at last de cannon balls cum so ormighty fass, I thought debest ting dis nigga could do, war to get behind de wagonsheself!"

I found, in the Secretary of State's office, where we werequartered, among other papers, a government extra, showing mostaccurately our force and strength, but interlarded withpeculiarly Mexican untruths; a translation is in the Appendix No. 3.

Ortis and his companions were released immediately we arrived atChihuahua; and they stated, when they got back to El Paso, thatwe had not fought like men, but like wolves and tigers. While westayed in Chihuahua, a bull fight was got up for

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our amusement. But the bulls named Ampudia, Ponce de Leon, andso on, had been too much starved to show fight, and it wasdifficult to get them to attack the matadores. Many cock-fightstook place, at which much money changed hands.

Blessings on the Chihuahuans, for their light bread and sweetcakes. It was a great treat to the volunteer, after walking tothe market early in the morning, and purchasing this bread and alump of butter, to enjoy both with a cup of coffee. They have asingular mode of putting up their butter; it is in lumps the sizeand shape of a hen's egg wrapped round with the shuck of theIndian corn, and each two lumps fastened together. As theinhabitants never use salt, from its high price, the butter doesnot keep long. I here purchased some salt for our troops, andhad to pay no less than fifteen dollars for each fanega, equal toseven dollars a bushel; and this was of the coarsest kind and wasmore than half lime. And yet I only paid the customary price. It is brought all the way from El Poso, although there is, infact, plenty around Chihuahua, but the Apaches will not let theinhabitants collect it -- indeed, these savages have stopped theworking of all the mines, by driving the miners away.

Crossing a valley about three miles from the city, are numerousvery tall arches supporting the aqueduct, which conducts thewater to the fountain in the plaza. By some freak of thearchitect, two of the arches are imperfect, being made to inclinein opposite directions, and giving it a very singularappearance.

Just below the dam which throws the water into this

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page 129 MR. POTTS.

aqueduct is a beautiful natural fall in the stream. It is nothigh, but at the point of a cleft, the water tumbles down betweenthe rocks with great noise.

I may here remark, upon the spinning of the coarse wool of theMexican sheep by the women of the lowest orders. They may beseen constantly seated on the floor twirling, with greatdexterity, a spindle, set in a shallow saucer upon the ground,and twisting the yarn between the left finger and thumb; and itis surprising with what dexterity they will thus spin a coarseyarn, or, rather, what is called by our spinners, a sliver, whichis used in the manufacture of their blankets.

The ridiculous fool-hardiness of our men was illustrated one day,by the following incident. I was superintending the unloading ofan ammunition wagon by some of our own men, and was receiving the powder, &e. , in asmall room, in which lay more than two hundred cannon cartridges,besides other ammunition, when one of the men very coolly walkedin with a keg of powder on his shoulder and a lighted pipe in hismouth! and asked me to lift it down for him; on remonstratingwith him, he expressed the greatest surprise at my remarks; thisis only one ease out of a dozen. They seemed to be entirelydevoid of fear, but I am not ashamed to say that I felt veryuncomfortable when the man walked into the room.

The mint here is very extensive, and under contract by anEnglishman, named Potts, who made himself conspicuous bythreatening us with the displeasure of his government. ColonelMitchell was desirous of examining the residence

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of Governor Trias, who had fled; and understanding that Mr. Potts had the key, he sent for and told him that it was necessaryhe should take up his residence in the mansion for a few days, inorder to examine any papers there at his leisure. But Pottsbecame angry, and told the Colonel that the key had beenentrusted to him, and he should not give it up. On being assuredthat the door would be broken open, he said that being a Britishsubject he considered the house under the protection of theBritish flag, and that any violence to it would be resented byhis government. Colonel Mitchell, who was standing in front ofthe house, turned to me and told me to collect what men I couldfind in the streets, and send up for a howitzer with which toblow open the door. I did so immediately; and in a few minutestwo howitzers arrived, and were pointed at the huge portal. Atthis moment, out came running Mrs. Potts from her own house,exclaiming, "Don't fire! don't fire! perhaps my brother isbehind that door!" Colonel Mitchell told her that nothing shouldprevent him blowing the doors down, if Mr. Potts did not producethe key, and he now meanly said he had lost it. Some of our menclambered over a side wall and broke open the doors from theinside. On that day, "Pedrigo Potts was not a happy man!"

Soon after we entered Chihuahua, our company were set to workmaking cartridges for our captured cannon; and it certainly wouldhave frightened any nervous man to have seen the quantity ofgunpowder strewed through our building day after day. I believethere was more than five hundred pounds of loose powder standingopen in boxes or

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page 131 COUNCIL OF WAR

scattered about, and subject, at any moment, to a chance spark offire -- several of our men occasionally passing over it with lightedcigars.

While we were in this city, a Council of War was called. We hadexpected to have here met and joined General Wool; however, wehad done our work without him; but what course were we now totake? for there was danger at all points! A few of the officersproposed staying in Chihuahua, others were for trying to joinGeneral Taylor, and some suggested a retrograde march to SantaFe; most, however, were in favor of pressing home by way ofMonterey. No ultimate decision was at that time had; but a shorttime afterwards, another council was held, and, at this time,most of the officers were for remaining in quarters. Doniphanheard them for some time, but with impatience, and at last,bringing his heavy fist down on the table, he gave the board tounderstand that they might possibly have found fair reasons forstaying, "but gentlemen," added the Colonel, "I'm for goinghome to Sarah and the children." The reader may be assured thatwe caught up these words, and often afterwards spoke of "goinghome to Sarah and the children."

On the fifth of April, the artillery, with one battalion ofColonel Doniphan's regiment, started for Parral, a large townwhere the state government had established itself, after itsexpulsion from the city of Chihuahua; but, on the third day out,some Americans came up, bringing news that the frightenedgovernor had broken up his government and fled to the city ofMexico -- so there was a return to old quarters.

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The next day, an express of twelve men was sent down to GeneralTaylor for orders, which were to decide whether we would at oncego home by the way of Texas, or join him. The express returnedon the twenty-fourth of April, bringing orders for us to joinGeneral Taylor at once, via Parras and Saltillo.

On Sunday, the twenty-fifth, we bid farewell to the city of Chihuahua, where we had been quartered more than a month. Thethick-headed Mexicans, who had all been living on us, made nighthideous by their rejoicing cries and bell ringing. Theirprincipal shout was, "The gringoes are gone, hurrah!" This word"gringo," is a corruption of "greenhorn," and is supposed bythe Mexicans to be the most opprobrious American term they canuse, equal to the word chivo with them, which means a he-goat. You may call a Mexican by any term of reproach but this usechivo, even to a common beggar, and you will put him into a mosttremendous passion.

It is utterly impossible for any one who has not seen it, toimagine the difference which exists between the rich and the poorin this wretched country. The rich, who rule everything -- even theminds of the poor -- are generally most debased in all moral sense,and become, from their brutality, cruel masters. And having,too, the power to punish to any extent save death, they areserved with the most abject deference by their peons or servants.These, mostly bound to them by some debt which the master takescare the poor fellow shall not be enabled to pay, appear to haveneither mind nor hope above their present condition, and willcontinue to

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work on, from day to day, and from year to year, withoutreceiving more than enough to keep body and soul together. Thereis nothing they will not do for a little money, even to the saleof wives and daughters. The religious feeling which pervades allclasses, young and old, is remarkable. Never do you see any ofthem pass a church without uncovering their heads and turningtheir faces thitherward, while, at the sound of the bell forvespers, every hat is removed and all stand uncovered where theyare, until the sound is over, when each one resumes whatever hemay have been doing when interrupted.

The whole country to the south of Chihuahua swarmed with smallblack and yellow lizards, which started from under our horses'feet in all directions; they moved with remarkable rapidity, andit was difficult to catch them. Their number was so great attimes, as to give a seeming living motion to the ground.

Our first encampment was at a most beautiful rancho. All thebuildings were of white stone. It was part of the estate of aFrenchman, lately deceased, who had been, for many years, aresident of Chihuahua. The next day we passed a deserted rancho. It had been attacked by the Apache Indians a very short timebefore, and the dead undestroyed bodies lying around, showed thecruelty of the assailants. Let me here observe, that I havementioned before how the wolves were said to have scratched upthe dead bodies, after the battle and their burial at Bracito. Idid not mean to have it also inferred, that the wolves haddevoured the dead Mexicans, for it is a curious fact that thewolf will not eat the

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Mexican -- the red pepper, which makes a mummy of the latter, isalso said to make the flesh too high-seasoned for the former. Only think of an epicurean wolf!

We were obliged, from the entire want of grass south ofChihuahua, to purchase the standing wheat as fodder for ourhorses; and where we encamped away from any village, our pooranimals had to live on the maize alone, which sadly heated themwith fever.

A few days afterwards, we encamped at Santa Cruz, a fine town,and near which is a large hacienda or country seat, where I founda good cotton mill, fitted up with American machinery. I neversaw a finer water-wheel than that attached to this mill. Here Ialso observed the first cotton growing.

On the thirtieth, we reached San Rosalia, where we saw anotherspecimen of Mexican folly, in an immense unfinished fort, whichwas commenced to repel General Wool, who was expected to come bythis route to Chihuahua. What could ever make them believe thatWool would take the trouble to attack a fort posted where thiswas, when he could march all round it out of gun shot, I cannotimagine! At this place, large quantities of a coarse liquor,called mescal, are manufactured from the Maguey plant or AgaveAmericana, which is largely cultivated at all the southernvillages, although it grows in a wild state in all parts belowChihuahua. In order to obtain the liquor from this Aloe, theleaves are cut off level with the ground, and then the root isdug up. The latter is about the size and shape of a quart bowland is,

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page 135 GUAJAQUILLA. -FORT PELAYO.

of a dry woody texture; but, on being piled in large heaps, androasted, it becomes very juicy and tender, and of a sweet taste. The roots are then pressed, and the liquor allowed to ferment;after fermentation, it resembles beer in appearance, and somewhatin taste, but a little smoky, and is called pulque. It is drunkvery extensively by the lower classes. From the pulque there isdistilled a clear colorless liquor, of a most acrid and burningtaste, which is the mescal. It is only fit for a Mexican todrink -- he can do it without winking; but I shall never forget aglass of it which I swallowed at San Rosalia, and which wasconsidered of an extra good quality. It appeared to draw mytongue half way down my throat, and took my breath away for aninstant. It was the first and last glass of mescal I everdrank.

Our next camp was at Guajaquilla, where we had to prepare foranother of those dry jornadas -- sixty miles across. We encampedupon it but once, travelling all the second night, and late onthe second day reached San Berrado, where we got only brackishwater, strongly impregnated with sulphur. On a hill rises alarge fine spring, cool and pretty good, but the water,disappearing before it gets down the hill, re-appears in thevalley in numerous deep holes, very much the worse in quality forits subterranean journey. The next night we encamped below thewalls of Fort Pelayo, which crowns the top of a very high conicalhill, almost impregnable from its position. And here were postedsome Mexican soldiers. However, they were only to keep theIndians off. Colonel Mitchell, who had preceded us by one day'smarch, with a small escort, had surrounded the

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place the day before and disarmed the soldiers, surprising their commander in bed, but had returned the men their guns ontheir word not to use them against Americans. This sort oftreatment astonished them exceedingly, but it no doubt had a verygood effect on the surrounding inhabitants.

Our men this night gave loose to their foraging propensities, byslaughtering almost all the pigs, fowls and young calves in thevillage below the fort. I never saw our soldiers act sobefore -- they had invariably treated the people with greatforbearance -- always paying for what they took. But, to-night, thespirit of destruction seemed to seize on all, while no effort wasmade to repress the outbreak. From remarks made, all the fowlswere supposed to have been cleared off, but a companion told me,he positively, in the morning, heard the crowing of one solitarycock!

At Fort Pelayo is a very large warm spring of pure water, whichruns along the ground for about a quarter of a mile, and thentumbles, suddenly, into a hole. Where it goes to, I do not know;but it was the subject of remark that so much warm water andsulphur as we had seen and smelt for the last two days seemed tobetoken a contiguity to a certain place of punishment, while, aslong as this spring continued to run, there would be no want ofwater down below. The next night we encamped at Rancho Cadena,the owner of which, having heard of our foray on the pigs andchickens of the previous evening, rode out to meet us, andoffered us whatever we might require of wood and corn, if wewould respect his property. This was readily agreed to.

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page 137 RANCHO CADENA. -MAPINI.

At his house we found a two-pounder cannon, very handsomelymounted in heavy field-piece style, and evidently new. The ownerassured us, however, that it was only got to resist ApacheIndians and not American citizens; and he was allowed to keephis cannon. Encamped here, we found an old Mexican with ahundred pack-mules laden with common corn sugar, which he wastaking to the upper countries to sell, having accumulated themoney which he had earned while carrying goods from Matamoros toGeneral Taylor's camp. He spoke in the highest terms of oldRough and Ready, but I believe that good prices here gave theveteran a good character.

After this, we came to the small village of Mapini, then almostdeserted. As this was in the state of Durango, the governmenthad adopted a real Mexican mode of keeping up appearances. Inorder to get to Parras, where we were to await further orders, itwas necessary to cross this upper easterly corner of Durango; butwhich, as we had no idea of conquering the whole state, wasthought rather impudent, and, therefore, four thousand valiantdragoons were sent to Mapini to follow us through the state, andthen to come back and boast how they had chased the Yankeesthrough the glorious and invincible state of Durango; of course,ending their report in the usual Mexican style,"Dios-y-Libertad!" All this they carried out to the letter. Theyencamped in the mountains about six miles from the town, until wehad left it.

The poor inhabitants, who had fled from their homes by order ofthe government, had ascended the sides of the moun-

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tains; and their fires were to be seen like stars on the darkhill sides. However, we had just received the news of the takingof Vera Cruz, and, about nine o'clock, we fired a salute in honorof General Scott's victory. It was laughable to see the lightson the mountains go out, one after another, their watchersevidently thinking we were about sending them iron messengers. Icould imagine the terror of the poor people while waiting,breathlessly, for the expected ball to strike some of them, andthe relief they must have felt when the salute was over. By thetime the last gun was fired, there was not a spark to be seen inthe mountains. Silence and darkness were with the unhappydwellers there.

The next night we had just encamped, after a ride of forty miles,when a Spaniard dashed into camp, and, in a breath, stated thatthe four thousand Mexican troops were going to cut off thetraders, who had lagged behind us this day. As to the tradersand their goods, I know not but that they would have been left totheir fate, had it not been known that two of them, Magoffin andanother, had their wives with them, and that these were Americanladies. Half an hour had not elapsed before two hundred andfifty men were galloping back to their relief; that number beingmodestly considered as sufficient to beat off the four thousand. But for some reason, the traders were not attacked, and gotsafely into camp about twelve o'clock at night.

Our next encampment was at San Lorenzo, on the banks of the Nazasriver. Here I purchased as pretty a white pony as ever I saw forfifteen dollars. Two days afterwards, on reaching a large ranchocalled El Poso, we found,

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page 139 SAN LORENZO. - LIPANS

lying just outside of the walls, some dozen naked bodies ofIndians, badly cut up by rifle balls. The mystery was soonexplained: -- a band of about sixty Lipans, (a branch of theCamanches,) had been observed coming up the valley from San LuisPotosi, with many stolen horses and captive Mexicans. A guard,that had preceded us, with Colonel Mitchell, was then in Parras,twenty-five miles off; and the owner of El Poso, knowing that thesavages would attack his rancho, went to the men composingMitchell's guard, and offered each one the use of a good pony togo up and repel them. About a dozen agreed to do so, and havingridden nearly all night, arrived just before day-light at theestate. Soon afterwards, a small party from our troops,principally officers, who had left the main body early thatmorning, to push on to Parras by the evening, came up, thusincreasing the force to twenty, who, as soon as it was daylight,perceived the Indians advancing up the valley. As they came infront of the buildings, the Americans sallied out, and took up aposition in front of them; and, after receiving a heavy flight ofarrows, fired a volley at the Indians, which, apparently, did noharm, as they kept waving their bodies about in their saddles,thus disturbing the aim. A sturdy fight began and lasted aboutan hour -- sometimes one party retreating, and then the other. Butthe savages soon found out that they had not Mexican carbines todeal with, but Yankee rifles; and they fled the field, leavingall their animals and about a dozen prisoners, together with overtwenty of their warriors slain. These showed great muscularpower and handsome forms -- but the savage was apparent in every

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part. Our men received many arrows in their clothes, but wereall uninjured, except the Captain, who had two slight arrowwounds on the chin. A Mexican distinguished himself here by hisskillful use of the lasso, having, with it, dragged down andkilled two of the Indians. This is a terrible weapon in anexperienced hand; and I have since heard that, among the forcessent out to meet us at Santa Fe, there were about one thousandlassoers. I would much rather encounter a Mexican armed with acarbine, than one holding a lasso. We had a man very badlyinjured, a short time after the period I am referring to, whileaway from camp. He was caught by a mounted Mexican in this way,and dragged some distance, tearing his face very much; but,luckily, the lasso did not go down low enough to entirely securehis arms, and he succeeded in freeing himself.

It was singular to see our men, who had come to make war on theMexicans, turning round, and, at the hazard of their lives,protecting the property of the owner of El Poso. The lattergenerously presented each of his defenders with the horse he hadridden from Parras. Among the Indians slain, was theirmedicine-man, whose head our physician slyly bore away for thesake of his skull. I heard that the mess to which the physicianbelonged, snuffed something occasionally that was not lavender,and it afterwards became a savage question among them, whetherour man of medicine had sufficiently cured the cranium of themedicine-man to save it from Hamlet's remark on the skull ofYorick.

On entering the pretty town of Parras, we encamped in theAlameda. Here, General Wool had encamped for

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page 141 PARRAS. -OUTRAGE AND RETALIATION.

some time. The Alcalde told us that we must be very careful, orthe Mexicans would steal everything from us -- that General Wool,who was a Catholic, had very wrongly allowed them to thieve andabuse his men without giving the soldiers any redress. Ourofficers assured him that they would have rather different folksto deal with now. We were not five minutes in camp, before athief got so beaten and kicked as to be hardly able to draghimself away.

The next day, a horrible occurrence took place. One of ourcannon drivers, a young and remarkably inoffensive man, who hadbeen on the sick list for a week previous, had started, with twoor three companions, to take a look at the town; but, afterproceeding some way, he had found himself too weak to go further,and had separated from his companions to return to camp, when athorn having entered his foot, he drew off his boot and sat downin the street. He was looking into his boot, when a stone struckhim on the forehead, and knocked him down senseless. He supposedthat the Mexicans then beat him on the fate with stones, and lefthim for dead. On recovering his senses, he made his way down tocamp; and I never saw a more horrible sight than his facepresented; his forehead was broken through in two places, and theflesh all cut to pieces, and his lower jaw broken; besides, afracture just below the eye. His wounds were dressed, and heseemed to be rapidly recovering at the time we left him atSaltillo; but I afterwards heard that he died of lockjaw. Thesight of our friend's bloody figure at once excited some of thesoldiers; and they sallied into the town, and closed most of theshops. Vengeance was sworn, and

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each felt that, after what had happened, it would not requiremuch provocation to produce an outbreak. Nor did it. A shorttime afterwards, a Mexican sat down on the pole of one of ourwagons. The driver, who was sitting near, and who, from havingbeen a prisoner among them for some time, spoke Spanish, toldhim, mildly, to get off, as the hounds were broken, and he wasinjuring the wagon by sitting on that part. The fellowinsolently responded: "I shall not -- this ground is as much mineas yours." Without another word, the teamster caught up hisheavy iron-shod whip, and struck the Mexican on the left temple,fracturing the skull over four inches. He fell, but got up andstaggered off. However, he died the same night. This occurrencehappened before the house of the constable of the alcalde, whocame running out with his staff of office in one hand, and adrawn sabre in the other, crying out, "Respect the law." But anAmerican, standing by, knocked the constable down with his fist,and, seizing his sabre, bent it up and threw it into the sako. The constable moved off, and did not venture to interfere in thator any other matter during the day. In the night, a Mexican wasfound dead, with a horrible sabre wound in his breast, lying inthe street.

This system of retaliation cannot be defended; but the offence onthe Mexican side was very gross, after the uniform kind treatmentthey had met with from us; and it was more surprising, becausethis was the town where, when General Wool arrived, theinhabitants had quarreled as to who should receive and attend onthe American sick -- everybody being desirous to receive them intotheir houses. And we

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had never met with such treatment north of this place, theMexicans seeming properly to appreciate the forbearance exhibitedby our soldiers. Whenever we encamped, in five minutes, womenand children would roam through the tents to sell differentarticles, never meeting with insult or injury. Although we hadflogged several Mexicans very severely at Chihuahua for stealing,yet the rest of the inhabitants were not dissatisfied; it beingknown that we were whipping common thieves, and that the examplewould, probably, prove beneficial.

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