The Algona Republican from Algona, Iowa on January 1, 1896 · Page 7
Get access to this page with a Free Trial
Click to view larger version

The Algona Republican from Algona, Iowa · Page 7

Publication:
Location:
Algona, Iowa
Issue Date:
Wednesday, January 1, 1896
Page:
Page 7
Cancel
Start Free Trial

Page 7 article text (OCR)

•':••.•-.;•••/•••':"" tHE BSPtttJUCAK AtOOtfA IOWA, WEDNKSUAY, JANttASV 1, 1896. (Copyright, 1894, by the Authof.) li JBvideatly this allusion was a stinger, *E her e Was a but- at of laughter, more or less jeer ing afld unsympathetic^ under shower of Which Muncey turned angrily ftWay. He wetlt over toward the group <bf officers, but at sight of him the ma* jdi 1 lifted a warning hand and lowered his voice. ''Here's that fellow Muneey again," said he, "and I distrust him somehow. " Everybody seemed to turn ah unsociable back on the newcomer, and presently, after a moment's hesitation, he pulled his old felt hat lower over his eyes, thrust his hands in his pockets and slouched away down the slope in the direction of the corral, within whose adobe walls the horses and mules of the refugees were shel* iered. And now came on a night of no little .excitement, even for Arizona, in the heart of the Apache country. For three- quarters of an hour after Foster and his men rode away there was a strange silence and eager waiting at the post, Taps had sounded just before they left. Half -past ten o'clock, called by the sentries, had gone echoing away across the still ani starlit meoa; and not a sound or sign came from the front. Then suddenly, far out through tho darkness, there was faintly audible the thud of hoofs, and a minute or so brought the rider, full canter, into their midst. He could barely rein in his horse at the hail of the major's party. Everybody — officers, civilians and even soldiers — seem to swarm about the courier in an Instant. It was Corporal Foley, of Foster's troop. Recognizing the major, he threw himself from the saddle and stood respectfully before the commander, handing him &> penciled note, which the major eagerly opened' and read, all eyes upon him. "We found two Mexicans," it said, "with a camp outfit. They were badly frightened, but unhurt. They declare they were attacked by Apaches, who , succeeded in running cfl. two mules. They say the Indians drew away nortk- t 'west toward the Sandy, and that there was a party of prospectors and packers camped at Raton Springa eight .miles out, who were warned of the outbreak, but who wouldr.^ believe it. The Mexican said they were trying to reach the post when headed off, and that there were enough Apaches to wipe • out that party. They themselves only escaped by hiding 1 among the rocks • down in the deep vavine. Their story is'told with such earnestness that I have deemed it best to push on in search of the prospectors referred to. We should reach the springs soon after • midnight. The Mexicans go with us in hopes of recovering their mules. '(Signed) "FOSTEB, f, s " "Commanding Troop." • • "Come with me, gentlemen," said the major, after a moment's thought. "This is something I'll have to talk over with you. No," he eontinued,-as many of the frontiersmen, too, showed evident inclination to consider themselves included in the invitation. "Excuse me, now, if I have to talk with my officers a moment. There is no news except that Capt.* Foster has found "" a couple of Mexicans who claimed to have been jumped by Apaches, and who say the Indians have gone to atta,ck a small camp of prospectors at Raton Springs, Do you know any miners or prospectors who cpuld be th'ere?" A general shaking of heads followed. 'No one knew. One or two went so far as to say they didn't believe it, "What sort of looking fellows were the Mexicans, corporal?" asked Ferguson, the brainiest, apparently, cf the civil- Jans, '"Oh, insignificant little runts, both of them," replied, Foley, "One of them sppke English enough to mako himself .understood; the other could only jab per sorno lingo I didn't know no more vpf.than I 4o of Apache. 1 So far as reckon he knows where those fellows are if anybody does." "Gone to get a bracer," laughed one of the miners. "Muneey's nerve ain't what it used to be, and he's rattled tonight, lie's been shaky ever since that cloudburst swept his partner into eternity two years ago* 1 never understood what drew them together. Mao was a square man and a hard worker, and what's more, everything they had in the way of an outfit was bought with moneys-wagons, mules, burros, grub, tent and tools—it was all Mac's, and he had some coin and gold dust besides. Yet when Capt. Cullen tried to get hold of it for the boy, nothing could be found that Munccy hadn't a lien on— him and that damn little greaser brother-in-law of Mac's — what's his name, Manuel Cardoza." "Cardoza?" exclaimed Corporal Foley. "Manuel Cardoza? Why, that's the name of the boss of this party up near Raton Springs, where G troop's gone. I heard it given to Capt. Foster twice." Ferguson turned quickly around. Ho had been standing facing the_ north, keeping intent watch in tho direction taken by the troopers. Now ho whirled on the corporal. "Are you sure of that?" he said. "By the great jumping Jehosaphat, that means something I hadn't thought of. Muncey swore to me that they had gone to Sonora, and wouldn't return until October. But he boy got away and came back? And ic's over there at the old post now—tonight?" "That's lust where he is, or was yes- .erday morning," said Foley. "We laven't heard from them since." 'And Manuel Cardoza had a pack of Mexicans at Raton Springs at sunset, did he? And wouldn't run for shelter icre, even when he knew the Whole Tonto tribe was on the warpath?" He ,urned again northward, and gazed out over the intervening silence, and space a where the huge bulk of the Socorro .oomed up against, the polar sky. 'Cassiopeia's Chair, traced by clear, .twlnk- ing stars, was resting along the black Dackbone of , the • range; "^heiold Tonto trail from the Springs.,to the foot of Apache canyon burrows, right thrpugh those hills," said he. "The Springs lie .not more'n six miles to the left around that point. The miserable greasers didn't dare go through Apache canyon, and they didn't want to be seen over here. I'll bet what'you like they're bound for the old post—'and another attempt to nab Leon. "-No\& boys, I want just a minute's talk, with two men—one "of 'em Maj. Thornton. Tho other's Mtmcey." * Maj. Thornton was found in lossfhan a minute, but not so Muncey. \yhen midnight came it was definitely settled that Muncey was gone; so was Ferguson's pet roan, the fleetest horse of the Santa A»nita mines. make out, they had all been trav- togethw, but when the bigger L'' parf pf i'he crpwd stopped to camp at jjowe springs, these" two fellows came ^C^headr-said tUey >yere afraid to stay kvth'wo after what thpy.had J>eai*d pf .the IfVoutbreak/" - . ^s/v 1 , "Wellj what did they he r ar, tjsked Ferguson, , '.j'•''"-' ! k*T}iey sa^d th&Fthoy met some ( h.a' cpuriers from |jprp§peot,ors • who were ••""'-'-— $hp 9 lc W Week Skipping for tjte tqjd Jhe fiQwj,ey8 that they were in, but despite tho^ tfiey carog ba,pH CHAPTER III. The summer night was still young. The sentries had passed the call of "twelve o'clock and all's well" despite the fact that Trooper Casey, on post at the corral, felt vaguely assured that all NOW. ',with l^m'. at ,lsas>. "My 0;rd<?rVare (0 .take 'charge of this'pbst and all gpyerBment property in view?" b<?gus when questioned by the oth§ day, and as Ferguson^ stvw;;me,nk property haye wriggled put of his ' " w wti)*t:A«ft4 ' W ' in, }U$ 'orders ioj|cer flight, but in common with, those tnein- bers of the garrison who were not actually in ranks awaiting orders were out somewhere along that northward bluft watching eagerly for further sign from the front. The plain truth of the matter was that Casey, too, instead of watching the corral, kept as much as possible at the northward end of his post, where he could see or hear what might be going on in'that quarter. And so it happened that the corral was left practically unguarded, and Muncey had been able to enter and quit at his own sweet will. It wouldn't help Casey to say he didn't see or didn't hear. Schoolboy excuses are not accepted in the army. A sentry must see and must hear even in nights dark as Erebus and blustering as a boiler r.hop, which this summer night was not. On the contrary, it was soft and still and starlit. There was no moon, but the sky was cloud' less, and had Casey used even ordinary vigilance, no one without his knowl* edge could have trespassed on his guarded land. At twelve-thirty, when the third relief was started around» Private Meisner took Casey's post. The latter was in no sense surprised, though woefully disturbed, to find that the moment the old relief Was inspected and dismissed at the guardhouse, the sergeant of the guard had ordered his belt taken off—and that is the soldier way of saying that the ex-sentry was to be relieved for good as untrustworthy —his arms and equipments turned over to his first sergeant and he himself turned over to the charge of his fellow members of the guard, a prisoner awaiting trial by court-martial for neglect of duty as sentry. Everybody felt sorry for Casey, Who had lost a good reputation, but sorrier for Ferguson, who had lost what was considered of even greater worth in the old frontier days—a fine horse. Even as Casey was ruefully slipping out of his carbine sling and waist belt Ferguson and others, with lanterns, were tracing tho hoof prints of the beautiful roan. Out from the corral gate, around to the south wall, they followed them in the soft, dusty soil; but they were, soon lost along 1 the slope. No one believed for a moment Muncey had ridden eastward any distance, however. That was the quarter from which the Apaches had cOme. Westward, along the south face of the Socorro, was'his'probable course; for if Cardoza had slipped through from the Springs toward the old post, as now seemed possible; they could meet at the fords of the Sandy, not a mile from where the dim lights were twinkling there at "old Retribution earlier in the evening—not half a mile from the base of Signal Butte and barely short rifle shot, from old Sergt. Kelly's ranch. And now the question arose: Where were the 1 Apaches? The miners and prospectors who had fled from the Santa Anita - said they fairly swarmed in that valley, fifty ' miles to the east. The dispatches from department headquarters represented ; them as having already, at three different points, swooped ; down upon the Prescott road, both east and west of the Sandy; but, so far,as heard from, they had not ventured into the valley south of the Socorro range, a cluster of rough, rocky, pine crested upheavals that bulged out eastward, from the main range, jutting like some huge promontory into the Tonto basin. It was through a rift in this clump from the Raton Springs to the site of old Retribution that ran the Tonto.train of past generations, and through another, still further to the west, a deep jagged fissure in the bed rock, that the Sandy foamed and chafed and tore—the ill-favored Apache canyon. Fifty miles north of the Socorro, on the banks of the same stream and in the very heart of the Apache country was a military ' post , some wh at larger than Retribution—old Camp Sandy— and there were stationed the headquarters and four strong troops of the new regiment that had replaced the Eleventh cavalry, all commanded by Col. Pelham. Thornton, at Retribution, felt well assured that by this time Pelham would be pushing out his scouting parties after the Tonto raiders, and that between Sandy and Retribution' they could make it very lively for the Indians in a day or two, but meantime should they work around into the Sandy valley, south of the old post, just as Capt. Raymond said: "Heaven help the scattered settlers there!" "If they reach the lower Sandy by night-or day," were the major's orders to Lieut. Oraue, who commanded the 'guard at the old site, "don't wait an^inr etant.' Fire the beacon on Signal Butte," And npw, one o'clock of the hpt June night l*ad come, v There had been skirav ishing ( to ,-tho north, ,a, chase to .the northwest, signal • flree ablaze to the past, across'the brpad s basin, ,h,a>d b§en,'pushed out oprtl after.-'Fpstoy with owe o* , ,, , ...^....L.-L, to the Cardpsa £b stopped to water Sergt. tfelly's broncho at the spring." Another minute and riding briskly top from the dark, low ground to the West*of the mesa came the lithe, young courier himself. He reined in the instant he heard the major's voice, and threw himself from the saddle. "What on earth brought you here at this time, Leon?" "Mrs. Downey, sir, Was Very sick, "i 1 He women folks from Downey's ranch tfeese reads en « UW^B titt»9ft»^yev "WHAT ON EABTtt BKOUGJlf YOU HKBB?" all came up to the post at dark, said they didn't dare stay—the Apaches were surely coming into the valley, and they got word somehow they were everywhere along the north face of tho Socorro, and Sergt. Kelly sent the gi»ls in to the post from his ranch, biit Mrs. Kelly wouldn't leave him. She stayed there. There's rcn.lly no place around the old post for worn "in, but they've got them into n tent for the night. They daren't remain at the farmhouse up by the canyon, n.au the lieutenant couldn't detach any men as guard—he needs them all at the post. Mrs. Downey was in such pain that we were all worried about her, so I borrowed the pony, without saying anything to Sergt. Kelly, and came up to get some medicine." ; "Well, great Scott, boy! That's taking tall chances," said the major. "Didn't you see or hear anybody?" "A fellow passed me, riding like mad, about five or six miles out, sir. I heard him coming and slipped off the road a few yards, not knowing who it might be, and then, just a few minutes ago; I was halted by three cits—said they were looking for a horse thief, but I wasn't the one they were in search of." Meantime the doctor liad taken Downey's note and was trying by the light of the guard lantern to decipher •the ill written scrawl. "She has had the same trouble before," ttaid he, "and ,1 can give her the medicine shfe needs, L^eon; but you oughtn't to risk going back to-night." ' "Oh, I've simply got to' go, doctor," .said the boy, eagerly. "Mrs. Downey has always been mighty kind to Randy and me. She always gave us lunch at her ranch when we were down there fishing, and I told her I'd fetch the medicine before daybreak or get nabbed trying. Why, the Indians themselves don't know the country around here better than Randy and I do, though I've never been out this far at night." The major, too, interposed an objection. "I feel that we are responsible for you, Leon, until Maj, Cullen gets back and claims you. It isn't Apachea only to be avoided. They tell me your Uncle'Manuel is here again, and the man you met riding full tilt was your father's old partner—Muncey—going to meet Manuel, I judgo, somewhere on the old Tonto trail through the Socorro." Then, indeed, Leon looked very grave. "I'm more afraid of them than I am of Apaches," he said. "They don't mean to take me back to mother's people. I shouldn't want to go if they did. I'm a Yankee, like father, and I want to stay here and grow up in the cavalry. Randy and I are going to enlist just as soon as we're eighteen. But all the same I promised Mrs. Downey she should have that medicine before day— and I'm going." And so, peeing how earnest the boy was, and recognizing from his description that Mrs. Downey roust be in great pain, the major reluctantly assented. "I'd send a couple of men back with you, lad, but 'tisn't likely the Indians are anyvvhere along the road between two parties of tropps. I don't, think they'd risk that, At all events we'd probably, have known it before if they were, We are all up here yet waiting further news from Capt Foster, Mrs, Foster is 1 out there on her pia'zza now, so you might see her while you're wait* in'g. THep. come over to-my* nousp and haye sojng coffee before you start," It was jusst t;30 by the guard b.ouse clock when, once agaw tl?e jipu,ng courier njpijnted, his wiry'pony; and started fpp.'the tenfmlle ridebaok, 'He went Ipping away , down the' starlit road tUs yi|l wrapp^ ij* Ws after a Myried gpod-by, hjs bjaok gleawiftgyjims white teeth, firmly "Good g$y, that boy," said the j looking tip?!! him, "J wouldn't " ' "' '""fprwypwR," r ;, ' jn4ef<iJ" 'paid R.aymo.ni 1 }$n,pw ' • W ftp What it was fell tefy trfavfi of him to take such a risk io* Mfs. Downey's sake, but when Indians hate dared to come with' in a mile of Us what's to pf et&it their being all along that westward road now? Couldn't you have sent a few men?" "Could, perhaps," said the major, with an air that betrayed just a little how much he resented it that any of the ladies should question his judgment, "but there are two reasons why 1 didn't—more than two, in fact. In the first place, the boy had just come safely in over the road, and that Shows that it 4s probably safe for to-night at least. Even Apaches have to sleep sometimes, you know, in the second place, Capt. Foster has driven ahead of him any Indians that might have been out here to the north — if, indeed, those Mexicans Weren't shooting at spooks. We have only their Word for it, you know, that there were any Tontos at all." "They ran off two mules," interposed Mrs. Foster, impetuously. "Wait a moment. The Mexicans say they did, but I've known these greasers to lie like Ananias already, and we've only been here a few weeks. Even if they had had two mules and a boy, what was to prevent the mules stampeding into the hills on their own account, and hiding in some ravine to the West of the road, as their owners did to the east?" "But Capt. Foster wouldn't chase spooks all night," said the lady, rocking rapidly and excitedly now. She was full of conviction that the Apaches were all around them, and there was no comfort in being argued out of the idea. "Capt. Foster," replied the major, "knows as well ^is we do from official reports that the Indians have raided the mines and the Prescott road, and he is gone on, like the good soldier he is," added he, diplomatically, "to warn or rescue these other parties, if they really exist, and stir up tho Indians if they get in his way. South of that curtain of mountains," he continued, pointing to the black mass of the Socorro, "and behind your husband's skirmish line we are free from danger. West of this post, which guards the descent to the Sandy valley, no Indian is going to be fool enough to venture unless he's doubly Tonto, which, I'm told, means mad. Now my advice to the wife of my good friend, Capt. Foster, is that she go to bed and sleep. That's what I uxjantodo." "But,.major," persisted Mrs. Foster, "suppOso Leon should be cut off by— By anybody. Ho told me you said his Mexican uncile was again here trying to get him. Suppose he shouldn't reach the old post by three o'clock or later, how would you know?" "Ah, I thought of all that. I- tpl£ him to start a fire under what's 1 left) of that old' stack of condemned hav thfi moment he got in. The sentries out here on Three and Four have already received orders to wa,tch for a fire at the old post. If they don't'see it by half-past three at the latest, we'll start a^ party in search. But that "flre'll be there all right. Good night, Mrs. Foster—now don't worry." But Mrs. Foster did worry. She wor-, ried about Leon—exposed, as she believed, to danger from- two sources. She worried about her husband, even though her native common sense told her it was not likely, so strong a command as his company would meet with Apaches that night. If Apaches were in the neighborhood they would be apt to keep well out of the way. She worried so that even by two o'clock when she retired to her own room she could not sleep. But she worried oven less than her friend the major, who found himself too uneasy to lie down at all. Bidding good night to the three officers, he had gone to his quartei-s, and as he took .a final look out over the silent and shadowy prairie, thanked goodness Mrs. Thornton and the children were safe in the east. Not that they would have been in any particular danger at Retribution, but because they'd be in tho way just now, and when women and children will ask questions that are hard to answer, especially of a post commander. "Confound the Apaches and Muncoy and,'Manuel Cardozal"said ho, "and especially Mrs, Downey! What on earth did she get sick for and have that boy risking his young life to fetch her a camphor julep at three o'clock in tHe morning?" He wished he had sent a sergeant and ten men back •vy v ith him, for, if Apaches really were in the Sandy valley, Crane might need reinforcements, anybody, only ho hated to "rout out" men, and Horses* in that heathenish way long after midnight. If anything should f?o wrong, yyjth Leon, how MS pld friend Oulleji wpuld blame Mm. He looked,^ Ins watch- only a little after-, two^-'a wh'pla |iour to wait before, lie 1 could heap > of ; ; the boy's safe return t but surely should bo heard from Foster, It couldn't take h.^ couriers twp .hours to P$§' baqk in' the njgot from Baton Springe,' " < T J»V. 4-•)••->/• flight li'ghts still btrfning. the night signal fir%s could bis '8&$tt over the aouthe'nst in the Sielfa Afiehtf? but they had dwindled awa#, five thing about the tfarrison seemed tfy speak of calm and security, y6t, airing the portioos of tile opposite barfackl and in their bunks Within, & hilndfe8 stalwart men lay dfoWsfag with thMf arms close at hand. Many of them had not even kicked oft their boots, "KUm 4 ber 1—half-past two o'clock," rattg the call of the Bcntry at the gliard house. Then No. 2 took it up OVef at the south* west, adding in cheery, resonant tone"} "a-a-lis wc-c-11." Isfo. 3, far but on thS West front—one of the sentries warned to watch for Leon's signals-came nextj and he, too, piped his soldier's lay» prompt and cleat* and confident Thefl No. 4 at the northwests-he Who had the best view of the distant Valley pf the Sandy and the bold outlines of Signal Butte—a big, burly German he—and his deep bass Voice rolled out like the bellow of a bull; "Holluf bahstdoO o'glock, unt a-a-hls veil." Over at the guardhouse the inett of the first relief were already_turning out preparatory to being inspected attd marched off to re* lievc the mombcrs of the third, who had gone out at half-past twelve, and as big Stromberg's resonant bellow. Went echoing away to the Socorro, there was an audible titter and laughing imitations of his German accent, and then, sternly, the sergeant's voice ordered! "Shut up, there! Stop that noise!" The call had stopped short with No. 4. Not a sound had come from No. 6. "Who's No. 5 on your relief?" asked the sergeant, sharply. "Ruckel, the r>ew man," replied the corporal, already picking up his car- binc,but listening intently. "Ruekel's a snoozer," laughed a boy trumpeter, nervously. "Silence, you! Quick, corporal," said the sergeant. "The man couldn't sleep through that Dutchman's yell." Promptly the corporal went bounding across the parade, the short cut to tho north side, and Maj. Thornton, some strange fear hammering at his heart, fast as he could walk, had hurried around to tho 'back of his quarters, where once more he could see the polar constellations shimmering over tho Socorro and the dim, vague, shadowy lowland stretching away from the slope at his very feet. Already big Stromberg hod begun to repeat his call in Teutonic observance of the order thai'if the next sentry failed to pass it it should be repeated once. Already Number Six, far around at the corral, had lifted up a shout for the corporal, convinced that something must be wrong with Five. But the corporal was 4u rapid rush for the^seeue. He never pulled up.'as he pastsecl the • major, out. Hastened on down the bhiff. Thornton paused at the brink. '• " ' '' ' arc you, Five? What's the matter?" he' heard the corporal's "eager hail in the darkness. No answer. "Where are you, Ruckel? Wh—" Then a stumble—a stifled exclamation •—the sound of something like a carbine falling on the sandy ground, and •then along the bluff trot, trot, trot, trot, trot, double time, the rapid coming of the sergeant with the patrol and a lantern. "This way, sergeant," cried the major, as he led on down the slope. "Come here with that light, for God's sake," rang the voice of the corporal. And fifty yards further they found him bending over an inanimate and blaed- ing form—that of Ruckel, the young Bavarian trooper, pierced through with Tonto arrows. CHAPTER IV, Alive, alert and well at two o'clock the young sentry on Number Five had passed the call. Entitled to his relief immediately after two thirty and allowed a few hours' rest and sleep at the guardhouse, he had-but half an hour now to tramp up and down—up and down along that dark and dreary post, with the black silhouettes of the o£$- cers' quarters rising between him and the southern sky and the black shadows of the northward foothills hemming the view to the Prescott road, Soft an$. sandy was tlie soil in this depression,, w^th "stunted shrubbery , and ha/rdy' brushwood dotting it here and ther^ West of the road by which' G troop had, trotted away the ground lay open apflj clear. East of it and\6yer toward'the upper en4 of Six'js post there remained'' many clumps of wild 1 vegetation,, an'd' if spy doubts existed at two o'clock; } pf the j4 ' near presence pf, Apaches in,foree' r "— were -.banished at *two thirty,, fi troop, tumbling pu ' formed io ! fightfng- , . the slope in ewgis'.wik, post of ppor Buck^l precV with" Tpnto p]" - ' -—'"yvitlt 1 they beat, through, stirring .'"•-/"''$corp, and, lajjey " JH'tf " • i' - •v'3- M the major the still nipt air

Get full access with a Free Trial

Start Free Trial

What members have found on this page