Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xiv

Charles Curtis served in the 5th United States Infantry during the American Civil War, his service including assignments in Arizona and New Mexico between 1862 and 1865. During those years he spent most of his time on garrison duty and had the...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-20

People who live east of the Mississippi River have always been fascinated by the Great American West. They have thought it to be a land of mystery and adventure, full of rugged mountain men, bloodthirsty Indians, and innumerable...

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1. The Adventure Begins

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pp. 21-35

A four years’ course at the Military College of Vermont had enabled me to offer my services at the outbreak of the late war as military instructor to the volunteers of my native State of Maine and, after a few months’ drilling and but a few days...

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2. Across the Plains

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pp. 36-49

Fort Larned, at the time I arrived there, was a small open post, garrisoned by two companies of infantry, under the command of a lieutenant.1 The fort is situated upon the Pawnee Fork, a tributary of the Arkansas River, and the stage station is known...

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3. Along the Santa Fé Trail

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pp. 50-61

Shortly after we left the Cimmaron crossing we came to the first relay station of the “long route.” It was a rude house, built of cottonwood logs, standing a short distance to the right of the road. Since the last evening our company had been...

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4. Into New Mexico

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pp. 62-72

As we began the ascent of the Raton Pass, our attention was called to a bold mountain, which rose in severe majesty on our left, apparently not more than two miles away and nearly overhanging us. I say apparently because the mountain is really...

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5. Arrival in Santa Fé

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pp. 73-91

When we drove up before the hotel at Las Vegas it was quite dark. By the light of the lamps, which streamed through the open windows and doorways across the plaza, we could perceive that we were in a narrow street with...

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6. Albuquerque and the Rio Grande

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pp. 92-101

The driver of the Rio Abajo coach was a stout young German, who united in himself the duties of conductor and driver. He carried an army bugle on the seat beside him, blowing a musical tantara, tantara as we entered each town, which had...

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7. Arrival at Fort Craig

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pp. 102-111

The town of Socorro is situated on the west side of the Rio Grande Del Norte, upon a bluff overlooking the river. The meaning of the name is “succor” and is said to have been bestowed for the following reason. When the Pueblo Indians...

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8. On the March

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pp. 112-123

Our orders were to leave on the 21st of July, but owing to a delay in the arrival of a clothing train from the north, we did not get away until the 23rd, at seven o’clock in the forenoon. It had been originally intended that we should march...

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9. Encounter with Apaches

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pp. 124-130

After my arrival in camp, I learned from the commanding officer that the train which I had seen on the Jornada, from the top of San Diego Mountain, belonged to Señor Estevan Ochoa, a Mexican contractor, that the stores in the train were to...

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10. Las Cruces and Mesilla

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pp. 131-142

I had arrived at Las Cruces on the 3rd of August, five days in advance of the command to which I was attached, which gave me considerable leisure to look about the town and form acquaintances before my fellow officers arrived. The town was...

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11. New Mexico Stories

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pp. 143-150

My duties as confiscating officer ran smoothly along, after the change in the guard before mentioned, giving me occasional opportunities of spending an hour or two in visiting newly made acquaintances and rambling in the suburbs...

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12. Across the Jornada Del Muerto

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pp. 151-160

One day, when I was nearly through with my work on the Armijo property, I found I was in need of some writing paper to carry on the accounting, so I walked across the plaza to a variety store, kept by a Frenchman, to procure some...

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13. From Peralta to Fort Marcy

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pp. 161-171

I arrived at Peralta on or about the 16th of September and found the portion of the 5th Infantry which had turned back at Cañon Alamosa, July 26th, encamped in a large bosque near the river. The report was current that an order was out for the regiment to go...

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14. Quartermaster Duty

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pp. 172-183

Duty at Santa Fé was mostly local guard duty with the usual drills, varied occasionally by escort service to some distant post or a dash after Indians who had made a raid upon some herdsman’s flock. During the time I was in the city...

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15. Romantic Entanglements

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pp. 184-192

During the summer, there occurred an episode in my life exceedingly rare for a New Englander and one which gave me much anxiety at the time. My conduct in the affair can scarcely be defended in this part of the country, where blood runs...

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16. En Route to Conejos

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pp. 193-204

Although we had a fine garden, with a great variety of vegetables, many unknown to this northern climate, still the one universal vegetable without which no meal seems complete, the potato, was absent. This root does not grow in New Mexico...

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17. No Potatoes, But a New Assignment

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pp. 205-217

The name Taos was originally applied to the country lying about the valley and headwaters of a stream of that name, a tributary of the Rio Grande del Norte, but has long since, by universal custom, come to belong to the town of Don Fernandez...

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18. Indian Attack at Los Valles Grandes

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pp. 218-226

I was the only officer with my company—the others being in the Army of the Potomac, holding colonelcies of Volunteers— and the number of men, through the various casualties incident to our campaign against the Texans, had become...

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19. Pueblos and Navajos

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pp. 227-238

After two days the cavalry left the valley and on the same day my wagons returned from Santa Fé, loaded with commissary and quartermaster stores for our use. They also brought instructions for all but one wagon and one set of...

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20. Indians of New Mexico

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pp. 239-247

It seems to me absolutely necessary to give some account of the Indians of New Mexico, together with a brief history of the early settlement of the country. There is hardly any question discussed by our newspapers of which they are so conspicuously...

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21. Lost in the Wilderness

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pp. 248-253

The next morning after the massacre at the Indian pueblo of Jemez, I rose to an early breakfast and at seven o’clock, with Padre Gutierrez as cicerone, started out to pay a visit to the head chief of the town. Arriving in front of a two-story house...

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22. Winter Quarters

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pp. 254-263

The fall was now getting far advanced and although the weather was still fine and likely to remain so until the last of December, I determined to make preparations for cold weather, partly for the sake of giving my men occupation and more...

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23. Return to Jemez

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pp. 264-276

The second day after the failure of the doctor to reach Jemez, I started with the same number of soldiers, but without a guide, to try my luck in getting through the snow and finding grain. I had the advantage over the doctor of having my...

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24. Good-Bye to Los Valles Grandes

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pp. 277-288

To return to Los Valles Grandes. With spring I began the construction of new quarters for my men, intending to make them one building, with a hollow court and bastions for defence in case of attack. It was to have two large rooms for dormitories...

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25. Departure from Albuquerque

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pp. 289-296

On the afternoon of our arrival in Albuquerque, I took a long walk alone, around the streets and far into the suburbs. As I turned around a garden wall about a mile from the plaza, I came upon a bevy of women and girls in the garb of Eve...

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26. Headed for Fort Wingate

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pp. 297-305

On Friday, June 23rd, all our preparations having been completed, we pulled out of Los Pinos at sunrise and took our way to the river, about a mile and a half distant. There was a large ferryboat at the crossing, owned by the Government...

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27. Inscription Rock

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pp. 306-315

At one o’clock P. M. we resumed our march and left Fort Wingate. From that post to our destination was 318 8/10 miles and for the whole route we did not expect to meet a civilized being or see a white man’s habitation. The distance...

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28. Sightseeing and a Captive Boy

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pp. 316-326

As we left the camp, we passed over a slight ridge and rolled down a long and beautiful valley whose bed was lava, now covered almost entirely with a grassy soil, and after a march of fourteen miles reached the Ojo Pescado. This spring bursts from...

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29. Coues and Consequences

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pp. 327-335

From the two Navajos we had learned there was plenty of excellent water at Navajo Springs, seven miles from Jacob’s Well. As we had now been two days without good water, drinking just as little of the miserable stuff as we possibly...

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30. Colorado Chiquito and a Porcupine

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pp. 336-345

Just after I left the train to join the cavalry in front and while I was still some distance behind, I noticed a slightly defined path—where the wagon road swept round a curve to the right—which, like the cord of a bow, ran from point to point of...

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31. Troubles with Coues and Indians

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pp. 346-357

At five o’clock on the 19th of July, we left our last camp on the Little Colorado, and struck off to the southwest, in the direction of San Francisco Mountain, whose towering summit had for many days stood as a landmark before us. Our route for...

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32. Arrival at Fort Whipple

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pp. 358-368

We left Volunteer Spring at 4:30 A. M., on the morning of July 23rd, the road still running through the pine forest, over the hills and across the ravines radiating from the base of San Francisco Mountain, making the task of dragging the...

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33. Building a Fort

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pp. 369-377

As Fort Whipple was to be my home for nearly two years and the point from which all our operations against Indians were fitted out, I have thought it best to give an outline of it. In a council called by the commanding officer in relation to the...

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34. The Missing Mail Carrier

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pp. 378-383

Night was upon us when we entered Skull Valley and rode up to the door of the newly constructed log dwelling of Joseph Ehle.1 This man had accompanied us from New Mexico to Arizona with his family, consisting, besides his wife, of one son...

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35. Horse Flesh

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pp. 384-396

Doctor Coues’s mule, which had borne him faithfully from Albuquerque to Prescott, both on the direct marches and in his lateral ramblings along the route in search of ornithological specimens, was the property of Uncle Sam and so at the...

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36. A Bad Day Fishing

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pp. 397-408

The Apache was on the warpath and we were constantly making expeditions about the country to rescue some besieged ranchemen, act as escort to a train or pursue a successful raiding party to recapture stolen property. Still we....

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37. Cash and Carrying on

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pp. 409-418

My sojourn in Arizona was during the darkest period of the war, when the lack of marked success by the Northern army depressed our finances to the lowest point they ever reached. Although so far away from the struggle, we felt every...

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38. Life in Prescott

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pp. 419-430

The sawed timber used in the construction of Fort Whipple during the first three months after our arrival was sawed by hand in a saw-pit or on trestles, with whipsaws and was, of course, very expensive. About the last of September a steam...

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39. Fight at Red Rocks

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pp. 431-439

After we had been at Fort Whipple some months, Captain Anderson was appointed colonel of a California regiment of Volunteers and left for San Francisco in February of 1865.1 His successor appeared in the person of Captain John Thompson...

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40. Politics and Punishment

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pp. 440-449

My post life went along smoothly, until the Secretary of the Territory, Richard C. McCormick, found it necessary that he should go to New York on business. Before he left, he made an arrangement with me to edit his paper, the Arizona...

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41. Into the Desert

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pp. 450-460

The ride through the cañon was safely accomplished and night found us encamped at Willow Spring. This spring was surrounded with immense boulders of granite, so rotten that the pieces which had long been exposed to the weather would...

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42. Water in Several Forms

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pp. 461-467

Once before I found that I could not tell an adventure without introducing my constant companion, Victoriana. Vic had come with me, as usual, and had alternately run or rode as the whim struck her or as the danger from Indians permitted...

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43. La Paz

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pp. 468-478

In the morning we took our breakfast, gave a receipt to Colonel Charles Tyson for the water and forage furnished our animals and resumed our journey.1 I am not sure of the distance from the well to La Paz or precisely the hour of day when I reached...

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44. Major Thompson’s Scout

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pp. 479-492

Shortly after these incidents, Major Thompson announced his intention of going on a grand Indian hunt.1 Great preparations were made and much consultation was had with Weaver, Cooler and other mighty hunters of the red man, as to...

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45. Last Days at Fort Whipple

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pp. 493-505

Once more established in my quarters at Fort Whipple, for several weeks I did no duty outside of the garrison. I learned from many sources that there was much discontent among the employees in the corral at the actions of the commanding...

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46. Doctor Coues in Charge

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pp. 506-519

The evening before we were to leave Fort Whipple, Governor Goodwin was in my room, having ridden down from Prescott to consult with me in relation to some matters connected with the outfit for the journey. We were seated at a table busy with...

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47. A Change in Command

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pp. 520-534

We got away before sunrise and with a good road soon passed over the seventeen miles between Government Hole and Soda Lake. As we turned round a big rock, we first beheld, down a long shelving shore, what appeared to be a frozen...

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48. California and Home

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pp. 535-545

I have not hitherto mentioned that my dog Vic was a passenger in the ambulance from Fort Whipple to San Bernardino. Neither have I said anything of the doctor’s black and tan terrier Nellie, which had been with him from the Rio Grande to the Rio Colorado...

Bibliography

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pp. 546-560

Index

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pp. 561-576