The Algona Republican from Algona, Iowa on January 15, 1896 · Page 7
Get access to this page with a Free Trial

The Algona Republican from Algona, Iowa · Page 7

Algona, Iowa
Issue Date:
Wednesday, January 15, 1896
Page 7
Start Free Trial

* *X3*i» F •• *, JANttA&¥ 16, 1896. With that he turned his back on a fehame-facecl group and strode fiercely away in the direction of his hornet Never until that instant had it seemed to dawn upon them that by any human possibility Leon had striven to return— had found the Indians interposed be» tween him and the old post in the valley, and then realizing what its original projectors had not thought possible—that the Indians had probably so closely invested the post itself as to prevent anyone's'getting out to fire the beacon—he had risked his own "IT WON'T BE THE PIBBT GAVE YE." BA.TIN' brave life in the attempt; had given the signal that brought rescue to them at the gallop, and in so, doing had fc betrayed his own presence to the lurking foe. Here again, therefore, was a case where the ground remained in the hands of one party, but all the telling blows were dealt by the other. The soldiers had felt the sting of - Kelly's words. True, no one of their number had been ordered to make that perilous ride, though all had heard Mrs; Downey's cries and moans and appeals for aid, and" some one might have volunteered' and been al, lowed to go, but not until LeOn was well on his way. True, had Downey, been there he would not have permlt- v ted the sacrifice, and was now ready to k , bitterly upbraid his weaker half for in•>., > spiring it. A good woman in many a >-, ( way was Mrs.'Downey; aridrVery fond i, of the boys, Randall and Leon, but ;the '<\ least pain or illness prostrated,her, and; ^ ' a serious painfrightened her to the ; verge of distraction. All this Leon was too young to' appreciate. Up believed her suffering terribly and in dire need, as did all who.heard .her, perhaps, but Kelly's girls arid her own Mexican maid of all work—and so,' just as he ' thought Randy would have done had he been there, he determined to go and went without a word to Crane, who might have stopped him, as, indeed, 1 Mrs. Downey was shrewd enough ' to declare he would if he happened to hear of it. •." "•'•.' .•'•••• "'..•..:-• ; .'•'• ••" : •• \ , And now Crane and his party were / well away into the Socorro in pursuit, >' and Kelly, returning wrathful to his ' i > home, was anticipated in his search for Leon by the coming of Turner's troop, ! f"'J[ followed within a moment or two by '*.r ,Cb,arlton's dramatic announcement of 1 the discovery of the slaughtered pony. f ' Half an hour later while the old sergeant was bending over and examining . the stiffened carcass of his pet broncho, Turner's best scouts, afoot, wore scouring every square yard of those jagged, bowlder strewn flanks of the t butte in search of 'Leon's trail or that of his Indian foes, Others were examining the signs in the timher and along the Saady, ,,1 and tho more they found the more they 1 were mystified, Apaches, as a rule, in -' those; <l a ys were foot warriors, The ,» •' Tontos. Sierra Blancas, Hualpais, /s ; . Apache Mohaves and Apache Yuroas ;j^'ha'd small use 'for or mule,> yet P 1 ,* $here were more hoof than moccasin, l^'pr-ints in the timber wd around Kelly's fe,4V._'.—^ Wha^, .was more, both mules hovSQs ly'ore shod,. fhat meant they had run off a'good.d^al pf apd were riding instead pf walk' Turner's men, •' 4jut • Kelly, graver' an$ Jess ^disposed to with every.?'mq»ept, on his; own many ?* , qha-Roe ' to' snub CO.UQW ypymg trooper * hazarding ,., ios a.8 to -the' unmhers ' ' '" onjftts of thP Indians, ' IL.M'oJ. Thorntoq contenting qpricUng 1 p plfttflpn qn^he trail qjf ,".p to, Rp.jly'a tp. pencil^sfitjiiQ jnatj'^oUftRf »W $-' as he xvasn't coming—for the present, at least, the major had borrowed a big sheet of the ordnance sergeant's official paper, arid began! "KKLi,Y's RANCH, South of Apache Canyon, June a, 181'-. Assistant Adjutant General, Headquarters Departs mettt of Arizona: "Sir—I have the honor to report that on receipt of your dispatch notifying me of the Apache outbreak, and directing me to guard well my working parties at old Fort Retribution and the road connecting it with the new post, 1 detached Lieut. Crane, with twenty of Capt. Raymond's troop, and sent him to camp-temporarily at the abandoned corral, and also took steps to notify tho settlers north and south of the post of the now danger. Deeming it possible that the Indians might attempt to pass around us and raid the ranches, 1 had caused a beacon to be built on the summit of Signal Butte, and instructed Lieut. Crane to fire it if he learned the Apaches were in the valley. "Last evening my sentries reported firing on the Prescott road, north of the new post, and Capt. Foster, with his troop, was sent to investigate. He reported by courier that he had come upon two Mexicans, who claimed that the Apaches had attacked them and run off their mules, they themselves escaping by hiding in a dark ravine. They also reported a large party of prospectors, etc., at Raton Springs, and represented them as being in peril of similar attack, so Foster pushed on at once to their succor, expecting to reach them at midnight. At two-thirty a. m. Trooper Ruckel, a sentry on post No. 5 in the low ground 'to the north of the post, was found dead, pierced by several Apache arrows, and Capt. Raymond with his men made a search through the chapparal as far as the foothills without discovering anything of the enemy. A few minutes later a horse recognized as Private Rafferty's, of C troop, came riderless and wounded into the post, and I had just dispatched Capt. Turner with his troop at daybreak to scout the country along the Prescott road, when the flaming signal at the butte told that the Indians had worked around to the valley to the west of us. Leaving Capt. Raymond with the infantry and his half troop to puard the post, I proceeded with Troop F (Turner's) to this point,' reaching here after a sharp trot, in less than an hour and a quarter, only tof; find the Indians" fled with some 'stock from Kelly's ' ranch and Lieut. Crane already in pursuit. The only casualty in the valley thus 'far reported is one Mexican herder killed at Kelly's, and, I regret to add, the probable loss of a gallant little fellow, Leon MacNutt, whose pony was found a few minutes ago at the foot of; the butte with three Apache arrows through him. It is feared that the boy has been killed or run off by the Indians, who are reported to have\fled into the fastnesses of the Socorro, to the north of us. If so, between Capt. Foster's troop, already in the field, and those .here'at hand, I hope to make short, work of them." And here Maj. Thornton was interrupted by tho entrance of the ordnance sergeant. It must bo remembered now that old Kelly had served in Arizona in his dragoon days, before the war, and had just completed another period of five long years with the Eleventh cavalry, the predecessors of Thornton's regiment. Like every other pld soldier, he was inclined to the belief that newcomers had very much to learn, and, as we have seen, the Indians themselves were taking advantage of this inexperience, Kelly couldn't be disrespectful to an officer, but he had much to say, and there was no time to be lost. "May I speak to tUe major?" was Ms abrupt request, as he stood erect at the doorway, his haud raised in salute, Thornton wheeled round in his chair and looked up in quick interest, "Certainly, sergeant, Go ahead!" "As i understand it, sir, Lieut, Crane's party followed the trail into the, canyon, and would go on' through in pursuit," ', ' ' . ''That's my understanding aJsq," said the major. , ^ ' , "And did the ma^r, order the de* tftohjnent'thftt followed, L.ieut, Crane tp *g,o.PB till they pam.e up with WraT '"Yes/' Be; couldn't go very far, Unpwi 1 he twk no rations," ' , ••^l know^irj but,from what I hew th,e lieu tenant rade straight into. % oaj*y4R Sjad. the troops &t this end they'd kno# the reserved here would be galloping up the game trails east or west of the canyon in no time, whereas, if they wait and let the lieutenant and his pai-tv grope along to that narrow part of tho canyon, just below where old Sanchez" and his people were drowned out, why, they've got 'cm, sir; got 'em where they can't hit back or help themselves iiS any way." The major hastened out into the open sunshine, now beating hot and dry upon the adobe trails. "Bring my horse, orderly,*' he called, as he stowed away his unfinished report, and a boy trumpeter with his slouched hat pulled down to keep the sun from his eyes, turned away from where a little knot of men had just buried the body of the hapless Mexican i herder and darted into the corral, presently reappearing with the major's reluctant charger to\ving at the end of a taut bridle rein* "Now let Scrgt. Kelly have your horse," said Thornton, "and give my compliments t& Capt. Turner and ask him to join ua. Come, sergeant, show me the trails," Old Kelly was already in saddle be* side the commander, and, never wait- MAT I BPBAK TO THE MAJOR?" ing to let down the stirrups, but with his long legs dangling, led the way along a winding path to the stream and then through the willows to its wooded bank. A trot of three minutes brought them to the bluff at whoso rocky base ,the Sandy came boiling out of the canyon. Ahead of them, fresh and' distinct, the hoof prints of a score of horses had obliterated all sign of what might have been driven ahead of them. But wheeling his horse abruptly to the right Kelly plunged into the foaming waters and sent h^m sputtering, breast deep, to the lower bank on the opposite side. Here in a shallow depression to the east of the stream lay some soft and marshy ground, and here the old sergeant reined in and pointed without a word to some peculiar footprints. Thornton, following his lead, gazed down at the sign, then into the sergeant's face for explanation. When did you find these?" he asked. "Not fifteen minutes ago, sir. The animals went into the . canyon, as Mr. Crane supposed, and he followed, but that's the print of the Tonto moccasin, and some of those bucks have cut across below hero, skirted the edge of this here eienega close as they could without getting into it. and gone on up the heights. It's my belief they've planned to trap the lieutenant, and we can't get after them along this trail too quick." Thornton turned and gazed eagerly down the Sandy. Out from the willows, loping, rode the tall and soldierly form of the captain of the sorrel troop, hastening to join his^ chief; but, before he could ford the stream, far to the northward, somewhere among those resounding rocks, came f aint, distinct, but unmistakable, the ring and rattle of musketry. "By heaven, old man, you're right!' 1 cried the major. "Mount your men, Turner," he shouted, "and get them up here lively." CHAPTER VI. It was some twenty-three miles, as has been explained, in a general northwesterly direction, by a crooked road, from the new post of Fort Retribution, around the base of tho Socorro, past Raton Springs (eight miles out) to tho fords of the Sandy, which lay some five miles north of tho upper entrance to Apache canyon. It was about ten miles nearly due west from the flag staff at the new post to Signal Butte, Apache canyon, from gate to gate, was a rift of nearly eleven miles, and the couvse pf the Sandy was about south' east by south, So here was a rude scalene triangle with a ten-pule base, a sixtewwile adjacent side and a wenty*»three-m.ile hypothenuse, crook' od as a corkscrew, 9& the troopers said, this little triangle, solidly filled mountains, was th e field pf opera* of Maj, Thornton's command in its first campaign against Arizona Indians, 1 £he sanely tool* a sudden ' ' foster and ready to lead him while others far to the north, keeping 1 wary eye on the .movements of Col. Pelham's troops at Sandy, dispatched swift runners or communicated by smoke or flame signals that only iitdian eye could read. "They feel secure for this day, sir," said Kelly to the anxious and perplexed field officer, whose command was now 60 widely scattered, "or they wouldii't wait to jump the lieutenant." Had they "jumped" the lieutenant? That was the absorbing question. The fifing had died away almost as suddenly as it began. The sounds came from the general direction of the canyon— not that of the trail to the springs. It could not, therefore, be a clash between Foster's troop and the Apaches. It inttst have been Crane's men, to whose support a whole platoon had been dispatched; but if what Kelly said was true, they were little better off than so many rats in a trap. All this the major was rapidly considering while Turner rallied his men down stream and came trotting up to the eienega. Then, led by Kelly, afoot and in single file, the little party began the tortuous ascent to the heights. In ten minutes they were again in saddle and trotting through a bold and beautiful range. To their left lay the deep, chasm of Apache canyon and 6ff to the eastward could be seen the dark rift through which ran the trail to Raton Springs. A guard of ten men, together with Downey and his fellow ranchmen, remained about the post, so that at this moment, say eight o'clock of a hot June morning, Maj. Thornton's force was distributed at five or six different points at both the southern angles and along the outer edge of this rough triangle. Verily, the Apaches seemed to know how to "play" the newcomers. "If poor Eafferty hadn't been headed off and killed," said the major to Capt. Turner who, now that there was greater room, rode up alongside, "we should have known Foster's discoveries and movements. As it is, we are completely in the dark. I'm not so anxious about Crane now, for he has evidently got through the lower part of the canyon all right, and hasn't had time to reach the northern end, but I hope he's safe out of the bad'place in the middle." And just at this moment the old sergeant, riding a dozen yards ahead, and coming to a sharp turn around a rocky point,' reined suddenly in, signaling halt. With much clatter and sputter of hoofs the rear of the column seemed to double up on the leaders before the rapid trot could be checked, and then with heaving flanks the horses huddled in a bunch. There was an opening in the hills to the right and a game trail led down around the very point where Kelly had halted and was now off his horse studying the ground. "I thought so, sir," said he, pointing eagerly to certain prints in the rock dust along the trail. Then, bending low; he worked over toward the edge of the cliff. "See, here again, sir, and here—Tonto moccasins! They probably crept up close to the edge, two or three of them, to watch what might be coming up through the gorge below." Turner was listening \yith a whimsical smile on his face, and here interposed. "Look here a moment, sergeant," said he. "I have b«en doing some little scouting down stream • and there are some points that may not have occurred to you. I admit we're new to Apache scouting, but there are some general rules that all Indians recognize. Now, we learned from our Pawnee- scouts, and a Pawnee would say that these fellows" (and here Turner iJlnillllllJiii, ON THE HOOK to. the southwest' as' it pa.sse.4 the eld post and. flowed away in tha.t gen/ $ir§oti<2B to its confluence with the the oi4 roundabout wagpn frpnj Retributipn, to, "hj Sandy, around the. pf the incnwi^in' range' HP- T,hf «$?>§ lump, wa.s. ,by from, ,'tQ, Raj$$ flag's, j&Q I believe it was, HJ gang h,§ could fpr giying warning tp yourself; >,theo he toward Ra^on Springs, »j$ .were the prints of & mules . mpp,jincj fiucl Ue nowe qf W(s Indian; jQr ti eyejjts p| canyon, bulijet pointed to the footprints in the yielding turf) " were peering over at some' thing going- up the canyon ahead of thera v ani| not what was coming behind. * Let we ask you— what has become of Muncey and Ferguson and all their crowd 'all this time-rwhere did they go?^ '; "God UU9WS, sir, but ever- since the cloudburst^ $fu,n.cey's too big a coward to PU6b though, the canyons ajono at night." r'f? "Qrdin,a.riJyj yes,— I that, but this time ifyas, 'life or death' with him. , JTor 6pma£'*ejison he stole the best horse '— "No, sir; it was lighting up a little &i the east and I'd fallen into a sort of doze, and the boy, I suppose, thought everything was All safe and he went out to let the mules out of the stuffy box, in which we'd penned them for the night. The next thing Mrs. Kelly and I heard was the firing. It was down the hillside toward the water and t feould only shoot at the flashes." "Exactly. What I believe 5s that those two bands of thieves — Apache and Mexican—ran afoul each other in the dark. Muncey and his party, scared to death, perhaps, have fled northward into the canyon, and the reason you have had no more trouble is that the Apaches put out after him. We have got the whole field ahead of us at this minute, f only Wish we knew who has Leon." "Mount, then, and come on," said the major eagerly. "Turner, you're probably right." And then, as if in confirmatioc. of the theory, far to the front again the crack of cavalry carbines echoed along the mountain gorge. And here, four miles out from the lower gate, the walls of the canyon seemed to fall away. Still jagged and steep where the Sandy lashed at its rocky banks, the cliffs were but a dozen feet or so in height, and thence the pine-covered slopes rose and rolled in bold upheavals with sheltered valleys between each mountain wave. Along through the pines led the Tonto trail. Along in single file, now at rapid trot, now at easy lope, but often climbing and sliding clumsily, the sorrels followed. Far down in the gorge the old canyon trail could be seen. "It's just around the point, sir," said Kelly presently, his eyes snapping with excitement. "Ould Sanchez and Leon's father were drowned out. We knew it because when the flood went down you could find mules and men, saddles and apparejoes, rifles and blankets lodged among the rocks and trees for miles below, but nothing above. They were swept out just like so many ants in a millrace." "There's a mule down there now,' cried a keen-sighted trooper, riding close behind the captain. "He's killed this morning then—and yon's a horse. Seel" cried Kelly, pointing eagerly down into the depths of the canyon. "The first tackle must have been right along here somewhere." Once more ahead of them the cliffs began tO narrow. Once more the trail ascended • to a projecting point, and then skirted a rocky palisade commanding a view of the canyon for two miles —the Sandy leaping in foaming rapids five hundred feet below. One after ' another the troopers reached the point, and then, following the leader, spxirred into a lope, for Turner and Kelly, foremost now, had caught again the sound of firing, and presently out from the sockets whipped carbines—the fight was in view ahead. But what a fightl Down in the depths of the gorge, sheltering themselves as best they could from occasional bullet and frequent bowlder hurled from up the heights, some forty blue uniformed troopers were falling slowly back before the ceaseless onslaught of a foe they could neither see nor reach. Just as Kelly had feared, Lieut. Crane had been lured into a trap, and the supporting platoon, reaching him, could only share his predicament. Just how far up the canyon he had succeeded in following the trail was now a matter of little consequence. Crane and his mien were making the best of their way out, bringing their wounded with them. It was the first lesson, a bitter one, and one that would have been far more tragic but for the coming of their better led comrades along the upper trail. Long before Turner and Kelly could "sight" a single Apache, the Apaches had caught sight Of them,' Darting from rock to rock, slinking from tree to tree, away sped the lithe, sinewy fellows out of rifle range. Only a few long distance or random shots were exchanged between Turner and the invisible scattering foe, and Crane's fellows, sending up stentorian cheers from the stream bed below, drowned for' the moment the roar of the waters. Throwing out some keen c>hots as skirmishers to prevent the) reappearance of the Indians, Thornton and his troop leader signaled Crape to fall back to a point where the Sandy flowed in smooth tranquil reach for a hundred yards or so, and there, one side climbing down the heights, the other climbing up, the officers were able to compare notes. The first question was as to Crane's losses, Several horses killed, three abandoned and two men wounded. "But," said he, "they've cleaned out some Mexican outfit a jnile up stream, We almost caught them at it." And so, leaving the wounded with the guard and attendants to make the best of their way back to the old post, the two cpmmattds again pushed on up stream, Crane on the lower and Thornton fol* lowing the upper trail, both pities in single file, Turner- fcept the 1 frpnt well covered by a few sWrpishers, Half an h°ur's march brought them around, a. wooded point, and there deep down in'the gorge, just at the spp,t where camped, tt),aj>|^k^s,s night befpre, Of the ,midsn,m$i$MHes, j ay ^ - Fipoa fury had scattered th9 ppssessipnj " " • ^y Ibyoad^st dpwj J a.nd fij»ne " feuddled. &16 bag's ftad appnfejoCS as «vefi damaged by the flames, Cfane's watched by Thornton's from thfe site heights, slowly remounted and forth on their return. "If Foster cornea through the mountains with his tell him we'll joiti him at the old in a few hours," sang out the major from across the stream. "We've got to come back for something to eat soott, as we scout to the north side, and if this be a specimen of Apache business/* added Thornton to himself, as he slowly remounted, "it's too complicated campaigning for me." And so by noon that sultry and long remembered day, after burying the murdered Mexicans Under calms of stones, Crane and his wearied mefl were jogging back within hail of Signal Butte, while Maj. Thornton, with Turner and some twenty hungry troopers, pushed northward, determined to scout the Socorro to the Prescott road. Turner still kept his skirmishers ahead. There was no telling where the Indians might open on them from rock or precipice or tree. Kelly, raging iti his heart to think that he had lost his mules and herdsman through such scoundrels as Muncey and Cardoza, attached himself closely to Turner, with whose judgment and foresight he was now greatly impressed. It was extremely hot and the water in the canteens utterly undrinkable. The horses, too, wore suffering, but it was impossible to get, them down the steep to the dashing stream, so even when after an hour s weary marching over the upland trail they came in sight of the broad valley of the Sandy abovei the range, Thornton decided to go on down to the lowlands and water before starting on his return. It was high noon, hot noon, a scorching noon, and the men's eyelids were blistered by the fierce rays of an unclouded sun. They "WE'LL JOIN UIM AT TUK OLD POST. were hungry, too, for not one had had bite or sup since coffee at dawn, but they bit at their plug tobacco and jogged, silently on. and up to tho moment of their catching sight again of the "old trail that wound beside the Sandy not an Indian had been seen or heard of. Now there rose into mid- • air a little dust cloud far out near the Prescott rOad telling of some party in rapid movement.-- '"Muncey and Cardoza skipping for all they're worth," hazarded Kelly, but Turner shook his head. "That cloud's coming this way," said he, "and coming fast — and it's some of our own people," , And so it proved. Less than half an hour later, down by the splashing waters, the two detachments came together. Comrades of the same regiment, yet from stations miles apart. The sunburned, dust-covered fellows from far up the Sandy ', rode in to the welcoming ranks from Retribution. "What news of the Indians?" was naturally the first inquiry, and rapidly, officer to officer, man to man, the two parties exchanged views. The captain of the little par^j/ from Camp Sandy was a soldierly fellow, Tanner by name, and with him were two or three experienced scouts. Al Zeiber was one, a man who knew Apaches and Arizona even as their old guide, Buffalo Bill, knew the Pawnees and th<? plains, "There isn't a hostile west of the Sandy this day," said he, "They've all had their 'jump' and done what damage they could, and now they're skipping back to the Mogollon country," But Zeiber looked grave and troubled when told of the deeds of the previous night/ "They are little detached war parties,)' said he. "We may strike one of them down war the springs, but I doubt it." In brief conference the owcers decided what should then be done, Tanner sent his lieutenant with a scout and twenty men down along the north face of the Socorro to find IToster and follow full speed any of tho straggling i Apaches whose trails they might discover, hp,]k ing oven yet to recapture Leon, u Then the paqk train came up and (presently", cook fires were blaming > in >il}$ timber and from th« Camp .Sanfly hearty dinner was s,erve.d p,u.t --- — - •» «• — n. OTn •-. « rtw ifxv>j*t men while Tftwertprgno^eJch^Mj "My instructions.," »aajdY^e|Cf! e to leay§ • an. es'cprtr p|\JfW§OTS$y plan."were men here at 4, '• ?\ ,.,

What members have found on this page

Get access to

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 11,200+ newspapers from the 1700s–2000s
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Try it free