Last modified on 6 November 2013, at 20:06

Narrative of the Texan Santa Fé Expedition


Narrative of the Texan Santa Fé Expedition, Comprising a Description of a Tour Through Texas, and Across the Great Southwestern Prairies, the Comanche and Caygüa Hunting-Grounds, With an Account of the Sufferings from Want of Food, Losses from Hostile Indians, and Final Capture of the Texans, and Their March, as Prisoners, to the City of Mexico. With Illustrations and a Map. This is a description of the 1841 commercial and military Texas Santa Fe Expedition and its aftermath, written by George Wilkins Kendall (1809–1867) and published in 1884.

QuotesEdit

PrefaceEdit

"A scamper among the buffalo" by John Gadsby Chapman
  • In speaking of the manners, customs, institutions, and character of the Mexicans, the author has simply related what came under his own observation; he has censured where he considered that reproof should fall, has praised where he deemed commendation due. Should his strictures not meet the approval of the leading men of that country, the blame cannot attach to him; for if the Mexican government, in its wisdom, saw fit to deny a friendly traveller the privilege of viewing aught save the darker shades of life while within the limits of that republic, it certainly cannot upbraid him for painting them in all their deformity.
    • p.ii-iii
  • In whatever light a government or an individual may choose to "sit for a portrait," it is certainly the duty of every honest artist to give it with scrupulous fidelity.
    • p.iii
  • The scene in the buffalo range—the "scamper" after those huge animals—is a truthful picture from the quick and fertile imagination of Chapman. Scenes of a similar nature were of almost daily occurrence while the Santa Fé pioneers were in the buffalo region, and the artist seems to have caught the spirit of the exciting chase.
    • p.iii-iv
  • Another word or two and the author will throw himself upon the kindness of his reader. His attempt has been to interest and amuse; should it be thought that he has thrown too much levity amid scenes of suffering and of gloom, his excuse must be that he belongs rather to the school of laughing than crying philosophers—to a class who would rather see a smile upon the face of melancholy than a tear in the eye of mirth.
    • p.iv

Vol.1, Chapter IEdit

  • In the early part of April, 1841, I determined upon making a tour of some kind upon the great Western Prairies, induced by the hope of correcting a derangement of health, and by a strong desire to visit regions inhabited only by the roaming Indian, to find new subjects upon which to write, as well as to participate in the wild excitement of buffalo-hunting, and other sports of the border and prairie life.
    • p.14
  • While canvassing the chances and merits of a trip of this kind, I met with Major George T. Howard, then in New-Orleans purchasing goods for the Texan Santa Fé Expedition.
    • p.14
  • Major Howard informed me that it was commercial in its intentions, the policy of the then President of Texas, General Mirabeau B. Lamar, being to open a direct trade with Santa Fé by a route known to be much nearer than the great Missouri trail. To divert this trade was certainly the primary and ostensible object; but that General Lamar had an ulterior intention—that of bringing so much of the province of New Mexico as lies upon the eastern or Texan side of the Rio Grande under the protection of his government—I did not know until I was upon the march to Santa Fé.
    • p.14
  • He [Lamar] was led to conceive this project by a well-founded belief that nine tenths of the inhabitants were discontented under the Mexican yoke, and anxious to come under the protection of that flag to which they really owed fealty. I say a well-founded belief; the causes which influenced him were assurances from New Mexico—positive assurances—that the people would hail the coming of an expedition with gladness, and at once declare allegiance to the Texan government.
    • p.14-15
  • Texas claimed as her western boundary, the Rio Grande; the inhabitants within that boundary claimed protection of Texas. Was it anything but a duty then, for the chief magistrate of the latter to afford all its citizens such assistance as was in his power?
    • p.15
  • Texas claims... the Rio Grande as her western boundary; yet, so isolated were Santa Fé, and such of the settled portions of New Mexico as were situated on the eastern side of that stream, that the new Republic had never been able to exercise jurisdiction over a people really within her limits. The time had now arrived, so thought the rulers of Texas, when rule should be exercised over the length and breadth of her domain—when the citizens of her farthest borders should be brought into the common fold—and with the full belief in their readiness and willingness for the movement, the Texan Santa Fé Expedition was originated.
    • p.15
  • On its arrival at the destined point, should the inhabitants really manifest a disposition to declare their full allegiance to Texas, the flag of the single-star Republic would have been raised on the Government House at Santa Fé; but if not, the Texan commissioners were merely to make such arrangements with the authorities as would best tend to the opening of a trade, and then retire.
    • p.15-16
  • The idea... that the first Texan Santa Fé pioneers were but a company of marauders, sent to burn, slay and destroy in a foreign and hostile country, is so absurd as not to require contradiction; the attempt to conquer a province, numbering some one hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants within its borders, was a shade too Quixotical to find favour in the eyes of the three hundred and twenty odd pioneers who left Texas, encumbered with wagons, merchandise, and the implements of their different trades and callings.
    • p.16
  • In the progress of my narrative, it will be seen that its [the expedition's] failure arose from causes purely fortuitous; in a word, that the enterprise had failed and been broken up long before those engaged in it had reached the confines of New Mexico.
    • p.16
  • The expedition was to leave Austin, the capital of Texas, about the last of May or first of June. The route to be taken had not been determined upon when Major Howard was in New-Orleans, but it was thought that the pioneers would follow up the San Saba road, from San Antonio to Santa Fé; a route extending in nearly a northwest, and, as was then thought, a direct line. Fearing that there might be a scarcity of water on this trace the direction was afterward changed.
    • p.16-17
  • That a military force of some three hundred men accompanied the expedition is well known, and it is equally well known that the route across the prairies, whether by the San Saba or the Red River, would lead directly through the very heart of the Camanche and Caygüa country—inhabited by Indians who are foes alike to both Mexicans and Texans. It cannot be considered very strange, then, that in a country... where a man hardly dares go out to catch his horse without a rifle and pair of pistols about him, a military force accompanied this expedition. The number of men was really not larger than that which accompanied the earlier Missouri enterprises; and large as it was, it did not prove sufficient for the purposes intended, many valuable lives being taken, and a large number of horses stolen, by the Indians we encountered on the route.
    • p.17
  • These remarks I have made to counteract assertions put forth by the ignorant few, that the very fact of a military force being sent with the expedition was proof sufficient of its original hostile intentions. They would have had us, forsooth, start off with walking-sticks and umbrellas, and been scalped to a man in order to prove our object pacific.
    • p.17
  • My intentions were, on joining this expedition, to leave it before it should reach Santa Fé, so as in no way to commit myself, and then to make the entire tour of Mexico—visiting the cities of Chihuahua, Durango, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, Guanajuato, and others on the road to the capital. These intentions I made known to all my friends in New-Orleans, not one of whom thought I should in any way compromise myself as an American citizen, or forfeit my right to protection, by the route I proposed pursuing.
    • p.18
  • Having made every other preparation for my tour through Texas and Mexico, I went on the morning of the 15th of May, 1841... to the office of the then Mexican vice-consul at New-Orleans, and obtained from him a passport, which gave me permission to enter, as an American citizen, any place in the so-called Republic of Mexico. Thus fortified, and with intentions the most pacific towards both the countries through which I was to pass, on the 17th of May I sailed from my native land, in the steam-ship New-York, Captain Wright, for Galveston.
    • p.19
  • On bidding adieu to my friends, I anticipated an exciting and interesting tour of some four months' duration, and expected to meet with the usual dangers and participate in the usual sports to be met with on the borders and prairie—nothing more.
    • p.19
  • Our voyage from New-Orleans to Galveston was characterized by little worthy of remark. ...One circumstance I well remember: our captain told me that a piece of raw hide, placed in the mouth while suffering thirst, would impart much moisture, and consequent relief; and months afterward, when in a situation to try the experiment, I found that there was much truth in the recipe of our experienced skipper.
    • p.19-20
  • At Galveston I found every one talking of the proposed Santa Fé Expedition. It was looked upon as nothing more than a pleasant hunting excursion, through a large section of country, much of which was unknown to the white man. Such portions of the route as had been previously explored were known to abound with buffalo, bear, elk, antelope, and every species of game, besides fish and wild honey. The climate was also known to be dry and salubrious; in short, until a point high up on Red River should be gained, the trip promised to be one of continued interest and pleasure. But beyond that point the country was a perfect terra incognita, untrodden save by wild and wandering Indians, and all were eager to partake of the excitement of being among the first to explore it.
    • p.20
  • At Galveston I became acquainted with young Frank Combs, son of General Leslie Combs, of Kentucky. He had partially made up his mind to accompany the expedition in the hope of recovering his hearing, which had been for some time defective; on learning that I intended to start that evening for Houston, on my way to Austin, he made hurried preparations to set off in my company on board a steamer.
    • p.20
  • The next morning we were landed safely at Houston. Here all was bustle and preparation. A company of volunteers comprising some of the most enterprising young men residing in and about Houston, had been formed, and all were busy in making arrangements for their departure for Austin... Every gunsmith in the place was occupied, night and day, in repairing guns and pistols; every saddler was at work manufacturing bullet-pouches, and mending the saddles and bridles of the volunteers—all was hurry, preparation, and excitement.
    • p.20-21
  • Hardly a word was said of any hostile collision with the inhabitants of New Mexico; on the contrary, a chase after buffalo or a brush with the Camanches or some of the hostile tribes known to be wandering about the immense Western prairies, was the principal topic upon every tongue.
    • p.21
  • Old campaigners and hunters were among the speakers, and the wild stories they told of their forays upon the borders and beyond the borders of civilization, of their hair breadth 'scapes and encounters with bears, rattlesnakes, Camanches, buffaloes, and other inhabitants of the boundless prairies, with the thousand and one tales of the marvellous these frontier Leather Stockings always have at their command—either ready made or easy of construction at the time of need—all served to render those who had already made up their minds to join the party more eager than ever, and induced the lukewarm to "pack up" and follow their example.
    • p.21
  • Determined to be in no way connected with the expedition, farther than travelling with it at my own pleasure, and for such time as might suit my own interest and convenience, I had scrupulously avoided involving the Texan government in the least expense in providing the minutest article of my outfit.
    • p.22
  • My rifle—short, but heavy barrelled, and throwing a ball, with great strength and precision, a long distance—I had purchased of the well known Dickson, of Louisville Ky., and a most excellent rifle it was. My pistols, powder and lead, bowie and other knives, blankets, accoutrements for my horse, and other implements and articles necessary for a prairie tour, I had picked up here and there... My necessities now required little save a horse, and as this was one of the most important points in an efficient "fit out," I determined to take my time and obtain a good one.
    • p.22
  • I purchased a heavy and powerful American horse for four times the sum with which I could have bought the spotted and sprightly Spanish pony. He was far from being "a good horse to look at," but was "an excellent one to go," and never was money better invested. Bravely, and without once flagging, did he carry me my long journey through, ever ready to start off on a buffalo or other chase, and enduring to the last. "Jim the Butcher"—not a very romantic or euphonious name, but so he was called by the man of whom I purchased him—is now in the hands of the Mexicans, and sincerely do I hope they have treated him with more kindness and consideration than they did his master. Would that I had him now. Want should never overtake him until it had first conquered me.
    • p.23
  • Frank Combs and myself, with one or two others also on their way to Austin, left Houston late in the afternoon. The weather was hot and sultry, and dark clouds in the southwest gave every indication of a heavy shower before nightfall. The house that had been recommended to us to stop at over night was some twelve miles distant, inducing us to gallop rapidly along with the hope of reaching our resting-place before the coming down of the shower. ...After a closely contested race, of an hour's duration, with the shower, during which it was almost impossible to say which would come out ahead, we finally reached our stopping-place neck-and-neck—in racing parlance, made a "dead heat" of it. No sooner had we thrown ourselves from our jaded animals and hastily stripped them of their saddles, than the large and widely-scattered raindrops, which usually precede a shower, gave place to a perfect avalanche of water. Our log-house quarters, however, were closely "chinked and daubed," and we passed a dry and comfortable night.
    • p.24-25
  • On arriving at Austin, I was introduced to Colonel William G. Cooke and Doctor R. F. Brenham, two of the commissioners appointed by General Lamar to treat with the inhabitants of New Mexico. Poor Brenham! He passed safely through all the perils, hardships, and sufferings of the Santa Fé expedition, to be again taken prisoner at the sanguinary battle of Mier, fought in the early part of the past year, 1843. While again on his march as a prisoner to the city of Mexico, Brenham induced his fellow-prisoners to join him in an attempt to escape. He led the attack upon the guards, had already killed two of them, and severely wounded a third, when he stumbled and fell directly upon the bayonet of his falling enemy. Thus died Brenham, and in him Texas lost one of her bravest and most generous spirits.
    • p.26
  • The distance from Austin to San Antonio is some eighty miles, without a single human habitation on the route. Parties of hostile Indians are continually hovering about in the vicinity of the road, ready to attack any party they may think themselves able to overcome. The bones of many unfortunate white men are now bleaching upon the prairies, between the two cities, where the travellers were waylaid and killed. At one time the wayfarer is shot at by a party of foot Indians from some cover or ambuscade; at another, he is attacked upon the open prairies by a superior number of mounted Camanches—a tribe that appear to live, move, and have their being, or, in other words, to eat, sleep, work and fight, on horseback. ...We mustered five strong, all well armed and equipped for a trip that is set down as extra-hazardous.
    • p.29

Vol.1, Chapter XIVEdit

  • We felt that although our lives had been spared the previous day, it was but a reprieve; that we were still in the hands of a semi-civilized enemy—cruel, relentless, and treacherous—who looked upon us as heretics, and the common enemies of their religion and race; and we had fearful reason to believe that the appearance of Armijo would be the signal for our immediate execution. Surely, the emotions of that hour, when the future was looming up so close and dark upon us, are not to be appreciated by the reader.
    • p.292
  • Our guard, which on the previous day had only consisted of four, was now increased to eight men, four members of the country militia, armed with bows and arrows, and mounted upon asses, being stationed, two on either side, while Don Jesus on his mule hovered around, as if to guard the weaker points in the order of march. This addition to our escort had been provided by the old alcalde of San Miguel, with the view, probably, of rendering our escape a matter of positive impossibility; yet enfeebled as we were from our many privations, and the long weary pilgrimage across the prairies, we still felt certain that we could, at any time, capture Don Jesus and all his men with the greatest ease. ...yet we should not have been able successfully to run the gauntlet of well-mounted men stationed at all the passes between us and our friends.
    • p.292
  • The plaza was again crowded with the women, children, and old men of San Miguel as we hurriedly marched through it, many of the boys following and gazing at us until we reached the extremities of the town. We had not travelled more than a couple of miles before a tolerably well-dressed woman came running towards us from a small house, bringing a bottle of the country whiskey, and saying that it was for our use. This we drank upon the spot, and as we thanked the good-hearted creature for her kindness she appeared to feel deeply for us in our misfortunes. Even after we had been hurried off by our inhuman guard, the woman still remained to gaze upon us, looking her last at the pobrecitos [poor little ones], whom she really thought the sun would not set upon alive. The almost universal brutality and cold-heartedness of the men of New Mexico are in strange contrast with the kind dispositions and tender sympathies exhibited by all classes of the women.
    • p.293
  • A brisk walk of another mile brought us in contact with a party of some two hundred half-dressed and miserably-armed Mexicans, on their march towards San Miguel. Their commander was a brutal, piratical-visaged scoundrel, who... cursed us with every opprobrious epithet, said we should have been shot when first taken, and then asked why we were not tied. ...Before they departed... we learned that they were to act against Colonel Cooke, Captain Sutton, and their men, and we were also informed that Armijo had left Santa Fé in the morning with several hundred men, and that we should meet him before nightfall.
    • p.293-294
  • The miscreant who had charge of us now stated that his imperative duty made it necessary to tie us. ...Never shall I forget this Don Jesus. He had a coarse, dark, hang-dog face, a black but vicious eye... and if he had a heart at all, it legitimately belonged to a hyena or a prairie wolf.
    • p.294
  • He [Don Jesus] pushed, or rather drove us rapidly onward until past the middle of the afternoon, during which time we must have passed nearly a thousand troops, the larger portion of them armed with bows and arrows or old and worn-out muskets. The sun had hidden himself behind a range of mountains which divides the valley of the Pecos at this point from that of the Rio Grande and we were approaching an old and ruined mission, which, in former times, had served the double purpose of a church and fortress, when suddenly the sharp and discordant blast of a trumpet announced the approach of General Manuel Armijo, governor of New Mexico.
    • p.294-295
  • A few steps brought us in full view of all the pomp, circumstance and chivalry, bows and arrows, sycophants and rascals, with which the governor is usually surrounded. When I say that our guard had been entertaining us during the day with stories of Armijo's cruelty and barbarity, and that they freely gave it as their opinion that we should be ordered to execution on sight, I need not add that the present moment was exciting to a painful degree.
    • p.295
  • The governor himself, a fine, portly man, was mounted on a mule of immense size, and gayly as well as richly caparisoned. ...he rode directly up to the spot where we were standing, and, without dismounting, addressed us with no little politeness, shook each of us by the hand with much apparent cordiality, called us amigos, or friends, and after saying that he had heard of our capture, asked us who we were. Lewis immediately answered—and here the spirit of the craven caitiff first manifested itself—that we were merchants from the United States. Van Ness interrupted him at once by saying that, with the exception of myself, we were all Texans; but, without heeding him, Armijo grasped Lewis by the collar of his dragoon jacket, dragged him up alongside of his mule, and pointing to the buttons, upon which were a single star and the word "Texas," he sternly said, "What does this mean? I can read—Texas!" at the same time pointing to the latter word and pronouncing it emphatically. Lewis quailed under his iron grasp, but without heeding him the governor continued, "You need not think to deceive me: no merchant from the United States ever travels with a Texan military jacket."
    • p.295-296
  • A walk, or rather a hobble of two hours, for we were so stiff and foot-sore that we could not walk, brought us once more to the plaza or public square of San Miguel. The place was now literally filled with armed men—a few regular troops being stationed immediately about the person of Armijo, while more than nine tenths of the so-called soldiers were miserably deficient in every military appointment. A sergeant's guard of the regular troops was immediately detailed to take charge of our little party, and... we were marched to a small room adjoining the soldiers' quartel. ...Sentinels were immediately placed at the little window and door, leading us to suppose that this was to be our regular prison-house; but we had scarcely been there ten minutes before a young priest entered at the door, and said that one of our party was to be immediately shot!
    • p.300-301
  • We hurriedly turned our eyes in that direction, and were shocked at seeing one of our men, his hands tied behind his back, while a bandage covered his eyes, led across the plaza by a small guard of soldiers. ...The priest said that he had first been taken prisoner, that while attempting to escape he had been retaken, and was now to suffer death. A horrible death it was, too! His cowardly executioners led him to a house... not twenty yards from us, and after heartlessly pushing him upon his knees, with his head against the wall, six of the guard stepped back about three paces, and at the order of the corporal shot the poor fellow in the back! Even at that distance the executioners but half did their barbarous work; for the man was only wounded, and lay writhing upon the ground in great agony. The corporal stepped up, and with a pistol ended his sufferings by shooting him through the heart.
    • p.301
  • Soon Armijo, dressed in a blue military jacket, with a sword at his side, was seen to approach the window. One by one he pointed us out to some person behind him, of whom we could not obtain even a glimpse, and as he pointed he asked the concealed individual who and what the person was to whom his finger was now directed, his name, business, and the relation in which he stood with the Texan expedition. ...It seemed to us that we were undergoing an arbitrary trial for our lives.
    • p.302
  • "Gentlemen," commenced the governor, stopping in front of us, "gentlemen, you told me the truth yesterday—Don Samuel has corroborated your statements—I save your lives. I have ordered Don Samuel to be shot—he will be shot in five minutes. He ran away from Santa Fé, and in attempting to reach Colonel Cooke's party, has been retaken. You now see the penalty of trying to escape. His fate will be yours if you attempt it.
    • p.303
  • Our old friend and guide, Howland, was led forth... he had been acquainted in former years with Armijo... Howland's hands were tied closely behind him, and as he approached us we could plainly see that his left ear and cheek had been cut entirely off, and that his left arm was also much hacked, apparently by a sword. ...A bandage was placed over the eyes of the new victim, but not until he had seen the corpse of his dead comrade. ...With a firm, undaunted step he walked up to the place of execution, and there, by the side of his companion, was compelled to fall upon his knees with his face towards the wall. Six of the guard then stepped back a yard or two, took deliberate aim at his back, and before the report of their muskets died away poor Howland was in eternity! Thus fell as noble, as generous, and as brave a man as ever walked the earth.
    • p.303-305
  • Often, on that eventful day, did recollections of the French Revolution pass through my mind. Armijo I could not look upon but as a second Robespierre, only requiring a field of equal extent to make him equally an assassin, a murderer, a bloodthirsty tyrant. His power, I knew, had been purchased by blood—I saw that it was sustained by blood. Human life he regarded not, so that his base ends were attained; and he would not shrink from sacrificing one man on the altar of his sanguinary ambition, if by so doing he could impress another with a due sense of his boundless authority and power to do whatever might seem meet unto him.
    • p.306
  • From the time of our first arrival in San Miguel that morning, to the death of Howland, the plaza had been nearly filled with armed men. ...Immediately after the execution of Howland, detachment after detachment of mounted men left the plaza for Anton Chico, where we now learned that Captain Sutton and Colonel Cooke, with their men, were encamped. Next the two pieces of cannon were dragged off in the same direction, surrounded and followed by a motley collection of Indians and badly-armed, half naked, wretched Mexicans, whom Armijo dignified with the title of rural militia.
    • p.307
  • By the middle of the day the town [San Miguel] was completely deserted, except by the women and children and some two hundred of the chosen troops and friends of the governor; for, great warrior as he was, he contrived to keep the prudent distance of some thirty miles between himself and the Texans so long as they had arms in their hands. ...He had now surrounded Colonel Cooke with at least a thousand of his men while there were but ninety-four Texans in all. In case the latter defeated the Mexicans—and Armijo trembled and feared lest they should—his plan was to retreat to his residence at Albuquerque as fast as picked horses would carry him, and then, after gathering all his money and valuables, make his escape into the interior of Mexico. With these intentions he remained behind at San Miguel, and there anxiously awaited the news from the little frontier town of Anton Chico.
    • p.307-308
  • The command of the troops... Armijo had assigned to his few personal friends—toadies and sycophants whom he always has about him, and for whose adherence he pays a good round sum. He well knew that nine tenths of his people hated and despised him, and were also inclined for an immediate annexation to Texas; he knew, too, that they feared him, and that nothing but their extreme ignorance and timidity had prevented them, years before, from throwing off his yoke. So long as they were commanded by officers in his pay he felt confident that he could make a show if not a fight with them, and he felt equally confident that if parade, fair promises, and treachery could induce the Texans to lay down their arms, he could still retain his ascendency. Such was his policy, such were his plans, and fate decreed that they should prove successful.
    • p.308
  • The bodies of the murdered men [Howland and Baker] were allowed to remain where they had fallen until near night, a large pack of dogs congregating around them, licking their blood and tearing their clothes. They were then taken to a prairie near the town, denied a burial, and were finally devoured by wolves.
    • p.310
  • The hours flew swiftly by, couriers constantly departing to, and arriving from, Anton Chico. At one time it was represented to us that a dreadful battle was raging—then that the parties would come to terms. At sundown, a Mexican came riding into the square with the intelligence that the Texans had all surrendered. Instantly the air was filled with vivas, and in ten minutes we received a visit from the governor's secretary and the brute Manuel Pino, corroborating the news. They said the terms were an unconditional surrender; but this we could not believe. Even at this time it was suggested by one of our little party that if Colonel Cooke had surrendered without a terrible fight, treachery had done the work, and that Lewis was the instrument; but such was our confidence in the man that a majority of us could not believe he had turned traitor.
    • p.311
  • Shouts of "Long live the Mexican Republic!" "Long live the brave General Armijo!" "Long live the laws!" and "Death to the Texans!" were heard on every side, and these were followed by discharges of musketry, ringing of bells, blowing of trumpets, and such music as may be produced by cracked mandolins and rickety fiddles when execrably played upon.
    • p.311-312
  • A Te Deum was in the mean while sung in the church, a short distance from the plaza, and the guardian saint of the place, San Miguel, with all his finery, feathers, and wings, was dragged from his resting-place to take part in the show. Fandangoes were got up in the different houses on the plaza, a drunken poet was staggering about singing his own hastily-made-up verses in praise of Armijo, taking his pay, probably, in liquor—all went perfectly mad, and spent the night in revel, riot, and rejoicing.
    • p.312
  • The shouting, firing, ringing, dancing, and carousing were kept up until morning; and why? Because some fifteen hundred or two thousand cowardly wretches had succeeded in capturing ninety-four half-starved Texans—not by the intervention of battle or military strategy, but by the blackest piece of treachery to be found on record.
    • p.312-313

Vol.1, Chapter XVEdit

  • A blast from one of Armijo's trumpets announced his immediate departure; and ere the sounds had died away, the great man and his followers dashed past us, evidently going some hundred yards out of his way for no other purpose than to give us one more opportunity of seeing him. His appearance was certainly imposing, even unto magnificence. On this occasion he was mounted on a richly-caparisoned mule, of immense size and of a beautiful dun colour. In stature Armijo is over six feet, stout and well built, and with an air decidedly military. Over his uniform he now wore a poncho of the finest blue broadcloth, inwrought with various devices in gold and silver, and through the hole in the centre peered the head to which the inhabitants of New Mexico are compelled to bow in fear and much trembling. Armijo is certainly one of the best-appearing men I met in the country, and were he not such a cowardly braggart, and so utterly destitute of all moral principle, is not wanting in the other qualities of a good governor.
    • p.315
  • On his departure, San Miguel, which ordinarily contained some two or three hundred able-bodied men, was left with scarcely a dozen, he having dragged away with him every one old and active enough to carry a lance or bow and arrow, in the direction of the great prairi, to meet the force under General McLeod.
    • p.315-316
  • The room assigned us as a prison was immediately adjoining the little adobe church of San Miguel, with its small belfry and clear-sounding bell, and its rude turret surmounted by a large wooden cross. Had this room not been completely overrun with chinches, which, when night came, issued from every crack and crevice in the walls in myriads, it would have been very comfortable.
    • p.316
  • Our guard was soon on the most sociable terms with us, allowing us to sit in front of our door, and kindly doing any little errand which might add to our limited stock of comforts. In the room adjoining ours, the two doors not being four yards apart, lived a Mexican family, the head of which was a zapatero or shoemaker. His wife was a young, chatty, well-formed woman and had not one side of her face been marked by a large, ugly, red spot, would have been exceedingly comely. ...On the following morning, it appeared to us that the mark on the face of our female neighbour had changed its position. ...Early on the third morning she appeared before us with a face not only fair, but very pretty—not a spot or blemish to be discovered. At first we did not recognise her, but on inquiring, we found that all the spots which had so much disfigured her had been placed there by herself, the juice of some red berry being used for the purpose. ...The custom is universal among the females of New Mexico, and when there is no weed or berry that furnishes a deep-red tint, they use vermilion, or even a reddish clay. ...The belles of New Mexico appear to be ignorant of the aphorism that "beauty when unadorned is adorned the most."
    • p.316
  • On first entering the country, the Anglo-Saxon traveller, who has been used to see the gentler sex of his native land in more full, and perhaps I should say more becoming costume, feels not a little astonished at the Eve-like and scanty garments of the females he meets; he thinks that they are but half dressed, and wonders how they can have the indelicacy, or, as he would deem it at home, brazen impudence, to appear before him in dishabille so immodest. But he soon learns that it is the custom and fashion of the country... He soon looks, with an eye of some leniency, at such little deficiencies of dress as the absence of a gown, and is not long in coming to the honest conclusion, as the eye becomes more weaned from the fastidiousness of early habit and association, that a pretty girl is quite as pretty without as with that garment. By-and-by, he is even led to think that the dress of the women, among whom fate, business, or a desire to see the world may have thrown him, is really graceful, easy—ay, becoming: he next wonders how the females of his native land can press and confine, can twist and contort themselves out of all proportion, causing the most gracefully-curving lines of beauty to become straight and rigid, the exquisite undulations of the natural form to become flat or angular, or conical, or jutting, and all in homage to a fickle and capricious goddess—a heathen goddess, whose worshippers are Christians! He looks around him, he compares, he deliberates—the result is altogether in favour of his new-found friends.
    • p.317-318
  • The forms of the gentler sex obtain a roundness, a fulness, which the divinity of tight lacing never allows her votaries. The Mexican belles certainly have studied, too, their personal comfort in the costume they have adopted, and it is impossible to see the prettier of the dark-eyed señoras of the northern departments without acknowledging that their personal appearance and attractions are materially enhanced by the negligé style.
    • p.319
  • They are joyous, sociable, kind-hearted creatures almost universally, liberal to a fault, easy and naturally graceful in their manners, and really appear to have more understanding than the men. Had we fallen into the hands of the women instead of the men, our treatment would have been far different while in New Mexico.
    • p.321
  • During our tedious and annoying confinement at San Miguel, we were visited by every girl in the town, and from the ranchos in the vicinity. Each time they brought us some little delicacy to eat; and if ever men came near being killed with kindness, we were the victims. One party would arrive with a dish of chile guisado, an olla podrida, or hash of stewed mutton, strongly seasoned with red pepper, and really excellent when well made. Scarcely would this party leave us before another would come in, bringing atole and miel; others milk, eggs, tortillas, or bread. Of all these different dishes we were obliged to partake, or wound the feelings of our kind-hearted friends; and the consequence was, that we were frequently compelled to swallow a dozen meals a day for the first week or two of our imprisonment. ...No slight can be greater than the rejection of any eatable proffered by a Mexican girl; and so numerously attended were our levées at San Miguel, that we were frequently employed half the day in paying due honour to our presentations.
    • p.321-322
  • It was on the afternoon of the 17th of September that Colonel Cooke and his men surrendered themselves at Anton Chico. On the morning of the 20th these betrayed and unfortunate men passed through the edge of San Miguel on their long and gloomy march towards the city of Mexico. We were not permitted to see them, but were informed by the women who visited us, that they had been stripped of nearly everything, and were badly treated in every way.
    • p.322
  • At this point of my narrative... I will give my readers an account of the agency Lewis had in inducing our companions to surrender their arms at Anton Chico. To show him in his true colours, I will make a few extracts from a statement of the particulars of the surrender made by Lieutenant Lubbock, one of Captain Sutton's officers. ...the day after the small party which I accompanied consisting of Howard, Fitzgerald, Van Ness, and Lewis, left the large sheepfold on the Gallinas [river], the main body of the Texans took up the line of march and travelled as far as Anton Chico. They did not enter the town, but encamped on the edge of a ravine within some two hundred yards, a strong position in case of attack, with an abundance of water running almost at the very feet of the men. Three or four of the Texans, who crossed the river, and entered the small town to purchase provisions, were arrested by Dimasio Salezar, who was then encamped at the place with several hundred men. Salezar immediately sent one of them back to Colonel Cooke and Dr. Brenham with a request that they... hold a consultation with him. ...the conference resulted in the liberation of the men. Colonel Cooke then asked Salezar what had become of Van Ness, Lewis, Howard, Fitzgerald, and myself. He answered that he had met us, was satisfied with the objects of the mission as we had explained them, had treated us as friends, and sent us on to the governor.
    • p.322-323
  • On the morning of the 17th of September, it was determined to take up the line of march, when a message was received from Captain Salezar, stating that Governor Armijo would arrive in a few hours... He marched... entirely around our line and took his position within two hundred yards of us, having received farther re-enforcements and now numbering about four hundred men. ...In about fifteen minutes we perceived a party of about a hundred and fifty or two hundred men, advancing to our right and rear. This gave cause for a suspicion of danger, and Colonel Cooke immediately ordered Captain Sutton to form the men for action. In five minutes battle to the death would have been commenced—but some one exclaimed that Captain Lewis was at the head of the party. ...We then perceived Captain Lewis advancing towards us with another, whom we afterward ascertained to be the nephew of the governor. Lewis told us that the people were exasperated at our coming, and were in arms; that, in addition to the six hundred troops before us, he himself had seen four thousand of the best-equipped men he had ever met with; that they were on the march, and would be on the ground in a few hours. He farther stated that five thousand men were marching from Chihuahua, and were expected daily, but that the governor had commissioned him to offer, if we would give up our arms, permission to come in and trade, and that at the end of eight days they [the weapons] would be returned to us, together with our recruited horses. He farther stated that he knew this to be the custom of the St. Louis traders visiting Santa Fé, that no possible harm would result from such a course, and for the truth of these statements Lewis pledged his honour.
    • This is Lubbock's narrative.
    • p.323-324
  • It was observed, during the conference, that Lewis, in his language, disconnected himself from us, using continually the pronoun you instead of we. This aroused the suspicions of one of the officers, who proposed that we should return to our companions as we came... While our officers were in consultation, one of them reminded Colonel Cooke of the peculiarity he had observed in Lewis's conversation, and told him that his suspicions were aroused, for the very countenance of the man foreboded evil. Colonel Cooke went after Lewis and held a private conversation with him. On returning, he said that the officer must be wrong, for Lewis had pledged to him his masonic faith for the correctness of his statements. That day our arms and equipments were taken from us!
    • Again, this is Lubbock's narrative.
    • p.324-325
  • William P. Lewis betrayed his associates to a cruel and inhuman enemy. He has the mark upon his forehead; and will yet be found, recognised, and punished as the Judas of the nineteenth century.
    • p.326
  • The same officer then goes on to speak of the arrival of Armijo on the day after the surrender, saying that the petty tyrant was much exasperated on seeing that the betrayed prisoners were not tied. By his orders they were then bound...The cries among the more open friends of Armijo, during this operation, were, "Kill them! kill them! Death to the Americans!" After nightfall a consultation was held by the officers... within hearing of the Texans, as to the propriety of either executing them all upon the spot or sending them forthwith to the city of Mexico as trophies of the valour of the New Mexicans. The party in favour of the latter course prevailed by a majority of only one vote!
    • p.326-327
  • The day following that on which Colonel Cooke and his comrades were marched through San Miguel, we petitioned the old alcalde for a change of quarters, the room we were then occupying, although comfortable in every other respect, being so completely overrun with chinches and other vermin, that it was impossible to sleep at night. ...When once established in our new quarters, our time passed more agreeably. Our only occupations were eating, drinking, sleeping, chatting with the girls who made us daily visits, and speculating upon our past reverses, our present position, and future prospects. At dark we would build a fire, for the evenings were now cool among the mountains, and then probably spend half the night in song and story.
    • p.327
  • For myself, I must say that I have never laughed more heartily than while confined in that little prison-house on the plaza of San Miguel... But with all this hilarity, thoughts of an escape frequently entered our minds. The members of our guard, who manifested the greatest astonishment at our indifference to imprisonment, we could at any time have captured and tied, and with their bows and arrows, and a German double-barrelled gun in their possession, we could next have taken the town of San Miguel with the greatest ease. On several occasions, so careless was the guard, we made trials of skill with them with the bow and arrow, Major Howard beating the best of them at a game which may be considered their own; but, even with their arms in our possession, where were we to go?
    • p.328
  • Had we known then, what we afterward ascertained, that so many dreary months of toil and captivity were in store for us; had we been aware that by forced marches we could have reached Bent's Fort in three or four days, we might have made the attempt. There was no one, however, to give us advice... we knew nothing of the country, and thus were we compelled to give up all thoughts of an escape at a time when the chances of its successful result were altogether in our favour. With the knowledge we have since gained, I doubt whether the same party could be safely kept another month in San Miguel, at least with so weak a guard, under like circumstances.
    • p.328-329
  • We had been but a week in our new quarters before a caravan arrived direct from St. Louis, owned by one of the Chavez family, a rich and powerful connexion in New Mexico. Chavez himself, in a neat buggy wagon, accompanied his men. I could not help reflecting, while gazing at him in the plaza, upon the difference of treatment he had experienced in the United States from that I had met with in his country, knowing as I did, that my feelings and intentions on entering the latter were precisely the same as his on first setting his foot on that soil where I claimed citizenship. I would cheerfully have endured a month's extra imprisonment for an opportunity of making known my reflections and feelings to Chavez; but this might not be— he did not come within speaking distance.
    • Historical Note: The trader Antonio José Chaves was killed in 1843, and was the brother of Mariano Chaves
    • p.329
  • Three or four days after Chavez passed through San Miguel, another caravan, made up of Americans on their way to California, arrived from St. Louis, and after resting themselves for one day, again took their departure for their new homes west of the Rocky Mountains. Anxious as we were to converse with these men, and gather news of the world without from which we had now been cut off more than four months, we were forbidden the privilege. The alcalde undoubtedly had his orders not to allow any intercourse, and scrupulously did he obey them.
    • p.329
  • Following close upon the heels of this party of Americans, or but three or four days later, came still another caravan, belonging to Mr. Samuel Magoffin, a native of the United States, but at this time a merchant of Chihuahua, who was now on his way to that city with more than forty wagons heavily laden with goods. Mr Magoffin sent us word, through a Mexican, that he had had an.. we were informed that we need not be under the least apprehension for our lives.
  • From Mr. Magoffin we received a generous supply of coffee and tobacco, luxuries more welcome than anything he could have sent us. The old alcalde furnished us regularly with tortillas, atole, and occasionally with an earthen pot of boiled mutton; but as we had saved our money, we had the means to purchase occasionally a fat sheep, eggs, good bread, and any little necessary we might wish for; and now that we had coffee and tobacco, and had no employment save the dressing and cooking of our meals, we fared most sumptuously.
    • p.330
  • We contrived to manufacture excellent pipes of corn-cobs; for stems we were indebted to a... Mexican named Juan Sandobal, who brought us some branches from a small bush growing upon the river bank, the pith of which could be easily extracted.
    • p.330
  • Our principal out-door agent, when his time was not otherwise occupied, was Tomas Bustamente, the same personage who purchased the sheep for us on the morning after our first arrival at San Miguel. Don Tomas, as we called him, was always bringing us information of all the movements of Armijo, and was ready at any time to make up a story in case nothing had occurred... For us he always manifested the greatest friendship; and as he was a specious, honest-seeming, and open-countenanced fellow, accommodating to a fault, and with far more integrity than Sandobal even pretended to, to him we always intrusted our important commissions. All our little purchases were made by him.
    • p.331
  • An American merchant of San Miguel, Mr. Thomas Rowland, had been arrested by Armijo about the time when Howland was first taken, and his goods and effects had been confiscated. We had been confined but a couple of weeks before Rowland was released, his effects were given up to him, and he had once more opened his store. Some half dozen times a day our countryman passed within a few yards of our prison, yet was not allowed to communicate with us by word, or even gesture. We knew the circumstances of his arrest, and the constraints under which he laboured; yet I am confident we were indebted to Rowland for many little favours, and I have little doubt that he sent us many luxuries which never reached us, all through the rascality of Tomas Bustamente.
    • p.332
  • Hearing that our former companion, Lewis, was at a rancho but a few leagues distant, and not knowing at this time of his traitorous conduct, Van Ness and Howard despatched Bustamente to see him, in the hope that we might gain news, or at least obtain a change of linen, our entire wardrobe now consisting simply of what we had upon our backs. As a token that Van Ness had sent this fellow, he placed a ring upon his finger which Lewis well knew, and which would convince him that there was no deceit in the transaction. ...At night our agent returned unsuccessful from his mission, saying that he had been unable to find Lewis or obtain our much-needed-supply.
    • p.332
  • Don Tomas casually remarked that the Señora Rowland had accidentally seen the ring sent by Van Ness, and had taken a great fancy to it, at the same time desiring him to ask whether it could be disposed of, and the price. So plausible was this story, that not one of us suspected fraud; and as it was impossible to sell the ring, valuable as it was, to one who had constantly been sending us many little delicacies, it was at once despatched to her as a present, accompanied by the usual ceremonious compliments. ...The evening following the return of Don Tomas from his unsuccessful trip, one of our female visiters remarked that the ring Señora Bustamente had received from Van Ness was a beautiful present, and that she was so extremely proud of it that she was showing it about among all her acquaintances! Here was a discovery, and it is almost unnecessary to say that after this Don Tomas fell most essentially in our esteem.
    • p.333-334

Vol.1, Chapter XVIEdit

  • Manuel Armijo, the subject of the present memoir, as the story-books commence, was born of low and disreputable parents at or near Albuquerque, a town of no inconsiderable importance some sixty miles south of Santa Fé. From his earliest childhood his habits were bad. He commenced his career by petty pilfering, and as he advanced in years extended his operations until they grew into important larcenies. While yet a youth, he carried on an extensive business in sheep stealing, admitted, I believe, to be the lowest species of robbery; yet so lucrative did the young Armijo find the business, that in his own neighbourhood he gave it a tone of respectability.
    • p.346-347
  • A wealthy haciendero, or large plantation owner, in the vicinity of Albuquerque, named Francisco Chavez, suffered not a little from the exceedingly liberal system of helping himself adopted by the embryo governor. ...Up to this day, when among his intimate friends, General Manuel Armijo boastingly relates the exploit of having sold to "Old Chavez" the same ewe fourteen different times, and of having stolen her from him even in the first instance. By this means, and by having what is termed a good run of luck at dealing monte, he amassed no inconsiderable fortune, and as his ambition now led him to learn to read and write, the foundation of his future influence and greatness among his timid and ignorant countrymen was substantially laid.
    • p.347
  • He [Armijo] had been appointed Administrador de Rentas, or principal custom-house officer at Santa Fé in the year 1837. It is proper to mention that... somewhere between the years 1825 and 1830, he had been, by a federal appointment under the old territorial laws, clothed with the executive authority in New Mexico, and... his short administration was signalized by acts of cruelty and reckless injustice. In consequence of some misdemeanor, he was soon deposed from his place at the head of the customs by the then governor, Don Albino Perez, and another person was appointed in his stead.
    • p.348
  • The effects of the central form of government were now just beginning to be felt in this isolated department of Mexico, and the people were beginning to manifest no inconsiderable discontent at the new order of things. Armijo, perceiving that there was now a chance, not only to signalize himself, but to reap a rich harvest of revenge against his enemies then in power, took advantage of this feeling by secretly fomenting a conspiracy. An insurrection was soon in agitation and early in August, 1837, a heterogeneous force numbering more than one thousand men, among whom were a large number of pueblos or town Indians, assembled at La Cañada, a village about twenty-five miles north of the capital. Governor Perez conducted a small force against the insurgeats; but a majority of his men went over at the outset, leaving him with only twenty-five personal friends to contend with odds the most fearful. ...fourteen of them, including all the officers of state, were most inhumanly put to death. Among the slain were three brothers named Abreu: Governor Perez was also butchered in the suburbs of Santa Fé, his head cut off, and kicked about the streets by the populace. His body remained where it had fallen, a prey to the vultures and wolves, no friend daring to offer it sepulture!
    • p.348-349
  • Shrewdly conjecturing, now that he had raised a whirlwind, that he might easily direct the storm to his own personal advancement, Armijo, after the manner of his great prototype, Santa Anna, suddenly left his hacienda and made his appearance at Santa Fé. ...The rabble dispersed, however, committing no other outrage than electing one of their own leaders, an ignorant and unlettered fellow named José Gonzalez, governor of New Mexico. They paid no attention to the claim set up by Armijo, the fomenter, as he had exposed himself in no way to the anticipated hard blows and knocks which had given them the ascendancy. Foiled in his ambition, Armijo once more retired to his hacienda, a fine estate he had purchased at Albuquerque with the proceeds of his cheating, stealing, and gambling transactions.
    • p.349-350
  • Through secret intrigues, he [Armijo] managed, after the lapse of three or four months, to organize a counter-revolution, and collecting a numerous force, he declared in favour of Federalism, and marched towards Santa Fé. He took quiet possession of this place, as Governor Gonzalez, finding himself without an army, had fled to the north. The latter was soon enabled, however, to rally around him no inconsiderable mob; but Armijo... succeeded in routing Gonzalez without loss... The unfortunate governor was immediately shot, and four of his chief officers met with the same fate by order of Armijo. The latter were put out of the way more, it is said, to prevent disclosures than for any crime they had committed; for they had been Armijo's confidential emissaries in the formation of his original plot.
    • p.350
  • The ambitious tyrant [Armijo], now that his enemies were either murdered or dispersed, reigned supreme in New Mexico. One of his first steps was to bribe the army to proclaim him governor and commander-in-chief; his next, to send off a highly-coloured account of his own exploits in favour of Federalism to the city of Mexico, and no officer can more adroitly adopt the high-sounding fanfaronade style in wording a despatch or an address than Manuel Armijo. Such disinterested patriotism, such love of the confederacy, and such daring bravery as he had manifested could not go unrewarded, and a return of post from Mexico brought documents confirming him in his station of governor, with the additional title of colonel of cavalry. The sheep thief is now rising in the world!
    • p.350-351
  • In the early part of 1839, without a shadow of law or authority, he [Armijo] deposed all the custom-house officers and appointed his own brother and his other creatures in their stead, in order that he might have the exclusive control and management of the customs in his own hands.
    • p.351
  • It is strange how this man has been able to maintain his despotic and arbitrary sway among a people acknowledging no law but that of force. The inhabitants are far more dissatisfied with his administration than they were with that of Perez and his cabinet of Abreus; yet so far they have dared to do no more than plot revolutions against their oppressor. He continues to hold sway in a country where he has not a real friend upon whom he can depend; even his sycophantic favourites would prove his bitterest enemies were he once in adversity. Could the Texans have entered New Mexico in a body, with plenty of provisions, Armijo would have fled with his ill-gotten wealth, and the new-comers would have been hailed by all parties as deliverers.
    • p.359
  • I might diversify this hasty biography of Don Manuel Armijo, from the abundant material which I have yet by me unused, with stories of his atrocious acts that would bring a blush upon the brow of tyranny. I might detail many horrible murders which he has committed. I could relate many a thrilling story of his abuse of the rights of women, that would make Saxon hearts burn with indignant fire... I might speak of his conniving with the Apache Indians, in their robberies of his neighbours of the State of Chihuahua, by furnishing this hardy mountain tribe with powder and balls and guns, knowing that with them they would fall, like the eagle, from their fastnesses, upon his own countrymen. I could give a catalogue of men's names whom he has banished from their own families and homes, for no reason but because they were in his way. Assassinations, robberies, violent debauchery, extortions, and innumerable acts of broken faith are themes upon which I am armed with abundant and most veritable detail; but my readers would sicken and my narrative leads me another way.
    • p.359-360
  • The mien and deportment of Armijo are not ill calculated to strike a timorous people with awe; for, as I have before remarked, he is a large, portly man, of stern countenance and blustering manner. Not one jot or tittle of personal bravery does he possess, but is known to be a most arrant coward. In all the revolutions that have taken place since he first courted power, his own person has never been exposed, if we except one instance. In a skirmish with some Indians he received a wound in the leg, from which he still limps; but the action was not of his own seeking, and his conduct on this occasion was that of a man engaged in a business anything but to his liking. He has made great capital, however, of his crippled leg, and, like his great exemplar, Santa Anna, is determined that his subjects shall never forget that he received it while encountering their enemy. But the master-stroke of this great man was the capturing the Texan Santa Fé Expedition. These small squads of tattered soldiers, taken piecemeal, in his grandiloquent bulletin he multiplied into a legion of Buckramites—for which act of most heroic daring he was, all in good time, knighted by Santa Anna.
    • p.360
  • He [Armijo] knows his people thoroughly, having studied their character with a most acute discernment. A common remark of his is, "Vale mas estar tornado por valiente que serlo"—it is better to be thought brave than really to be so—and thus, by blustering and swaggering, he keeps the timid natives in subjection.
    • p.360-361
  • To General Manuel Armijo I will now bid adieu; but I cannot do it without again saying, that, however much he may be astonished at seeing his portrait thus taken, he cannot urge a single syllable against its fidelity.
    • p.361

Vol.1, Chapter XVIIEdit

  • The 17th of October, the day on which we started from San Miguel, was warm and showery. Our route lay towards Santa Fé, and over the same ground myself and companions had travelled the day on which we first met Armijo. About sundown, foot-sore and completely exhausted after a hurried march of thirty miles over a rough and hilly road, we reached the old ruin of Pecos—in former times a mission and a fortress, but now uninhabitable, and fast crumbling to decay. Salezar drove us into an enclosure amid the ruins, and there herded us for the night in quarters not fit even for brutes, and without giving us a morsel of food.
    • p.370
  • Immediately to the north of Pecos, and within a few miles, rose a lofty mountain whose summit was now covered with snow. On the other side of this mountain, and immediately at its base, lies the little mud-built city of Santa Fé, a place towards which we had been journeying for months, but which we were not destined to see. ...The only baggage in possession of the prisoners, besides the slight and ragged clothing upon their backs, was a single blanket for each man. In this each immediately rolled himself, and then stretched his weary limbs upon the cold, damp earth, vainly hoping that he might obtain rest and forgetfulness in sleep—but no such good fortune awaited us. As if to increase our sufferings, a chill, biting wind sprang up, at dusk, fresh from the snow-clad mountain north of us, and in less than an hour it was so bitterly cold that to sleep was impossible. ...we could scarcely move or turn over without enduring tortures the most excruciating. In this way, and without an hour's sleep, we passed our first night on the long road to Mexico.
    • p.370
  • The road forks near Pecos the right hand branch leading directly towards Santa Fe while the left which we were now to take is the regular thoroughfare towards Albuquerque and the other towns on the Rio Grande. After a march of some thirty miles, during which the men suffered incredibly from hunger, thirst, and extreme lameness, night overtook us at the small rancho... Before reaching it, my feet were so badly swollen and blistered that I was obliged to draw off my boots, and finish the march with no other protection against the short and prickly grass than my stockings; yet many of my fellow-prisoners were unfortunately worse off than myself, their feet bleeding at every step.
    • p.372
  • For the next ten days after this I was unable to pull off my stockings without bringing the skin with them. The large blisters would break during the day, and the exudation, as it dried, adhere firmly to my stockings, so that I was obliged to keep them on although full of gravel, and torturing me at every step. Many of my companions suffered much more from frostbitten feet than myself, their toe-nails coming off, in consequence, before we got through our journey.
    • p.374-375
  • Reaching the little village of Santo Domingo before it was yet noon, a distance of eighteen miles from our camping-ground of the previous night. At this village our men first had cause to thank the women for their kindness. The latter came running out of the mud houses in every direction, bringing tortillas, baked pumpkins, and dry ears of corn, and fairly shedding tears at our forlorn and miserable appearance. The corn was our principal food, and was swallowed after simply roasting the ears a short time before the fire, although many of the more hungry among our men ate it raw.
    • p.375

External LinksEdit

Narrative of the Texan Sante Fé Expedition by George Wilkins Kendall, Vol.1 (1844) & Vol.2 (1845) @Google Books