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July

This webpage reproduces a section of
Uncle Sam's Camels

by
Lewis Burt Lesley


Harvard University Press,
Cambridge [Mass.], 1929
As republished by The Rio Grande Press, Inc.
Glorieta, NM 1970

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

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September
This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

 p71  The Journal of May Humphreys Stacey, supplemented by selections from the Report of Edward Fitzgerald Beale

(continued: August 1857)

August 1. Saturday. Last night the guard was somewhat alarmed by the report that three Indians had been seen, creeping upon their hands and knees, about forty yards from the wagons. A scouting (party) immediately went in search of the supposed Indians, but they returned without seeing or hearing anything of them. Several times during the night the mules became uneasy, and snorted as they do when danger is near. It is supposed that some stray wolf was prowling around the camp, and the animals became scared at the scent. I think this hypothesis extremely probable, especially as several times during the night, (we)  p72 heard coyotes howling off in the prairie. We traveled this morning to the little Allemand1 to breakfast, and found sufficient water for the animals and for our own use. A Dutchman was murdered by the Indians at this place in 1853, hence the name.2 We hitched up in about two hours and struck out for the only watering place between this and the river called the Laguna (?).3 We had not gone two miles when we met a Mexican train of wagons encamped on some water. They informed us that they had not seen any water from the time of leaving the Rio Grande. Mr. Beale, upon the reception of this intelligence, deemed it best to encamp and go forward this night. Accordingly we turned out. At about six we caught up and traveled until after twelve. When we had been on the road about two hours, the moon which before had been obscured, burst out, shedding a mellow light over the surrounding prairie, and bringing into bolder relief the distant mountain of the Organ. I, as I rode along gazing upon the sweet moon, could not help asking myself, is anyone in the wide world looking at that orb, and as they allow their minds to wander over the past, thinking of me.a I also recalled to mind the many happy hours that I have spent beneath its face. My revery was interrupted by our arrival at the camping place.

August 2. Sunday. This day before twelve, we again  p73 made the Rio Grande, having passed the "Jornada del Muerto" (the journey of death)º in entire safety and with good speed. We had no difficulty with water, finding it at three places at convenient intervals. If the Government would appropriate a hundred thousand dollars for this road, and sink a few artesian wells along it, the road would be the only one traveled, and, by traveling this road, which is surpassed by none in the United States, two days of hard driving on the river bottom, full of sand, would be saved. There are so many appropriations, so much less deserving of success than this, that it would be only doing justice to the large number of traders, who are making this country of some value to the country. The animals having been driven very hard all the way from San Antonio, Mr. Beale gave orders to drive with less speed, in order that the animals might not be too much exhausted when we reach Albuquerque to continue our journey. They now begin to exhibit signs of fatigue, and they are getting poor, notwithstanding they get corn at night and grass whenever it is possible to graze them with safety.

August 3. Monday. We passed Fort Craig4 today. It was about eight miles from our last camp. The train did not stop, but the camel train passed to allow the officers a chance of seeing them. We passed several large herds of sheep and Mr. Beale purchased two, and we had a feast on fresh meat, the first we have had, except the game which I shot along the road, since leaving Las Moras. Day's travel sixteen miles.

 p74  August 4. Tuesday. We met today a young man who had crossed the plains with a train of wagons from Independence. He said they had a hard time of it, water and grass being very scarce. They had no trouble with the Indians; found plenty of buffalo. We passed through the Mexican town of San Pedro. Tonight we had one of the most delicious stews I have ever tasted. It consisted of mutton, rice and onions. About nine o'clock a Mexican came into camp with milk and cheese to sell. We purchased his supply for two bits, and he went away perfectly satisfied. We traveled today about fourteen miles.

August 5. Wednesday. We have been traveling up the valley of the Rio Grande, passing constantly through Mexican towns, whose inhabitants rush out to see the camels. I have seen very few pretty women. They are generally very ugly and very dirty but very polite. You see two dirty looking Greasers walk up to each other, touch their hats and address each other in the most polite manner possible. Some of these people are very dark, some brown, and some almost as white as the "Gringoes," as they call the Americans.5 The road today has been extremely heavy, loose sand that gives at every step from under the mules' feet. They soon become much exhausted by the continuous strain upon them, and we cannot therefore make more than fifteen miles a day.

 p75  August 6. Thursday. We passed through a large Mexican village this morning soon after leaving camp. (We) breakfasted on the Rio Grande. This morning we passed through and camped near the town of La Joya. When passing through, a Mexican made a very fair proposition to us. He said that if we would camp near the town he would furnish all the onions and eggs that we would want. When the time came for the fulfilment of his part of the bargain he was nowhere to be found. The sight of the camels most probably excited his generous emotions so strongly that he thought he would be a little munificent; but when he came to think of what he had said, he concluded to withdraw.

August 7. Friday. We saw today many large herds of cattle grazing in the rich and beautiful valley of the Rio Grande. Back from the valley the country is mountainous. The grass where we camped was very poor, so scant indeed that the animals could not pretend to fill themselves. The road has been today rather better.

August 8. Saturday. Last night a copious rain fell, wetting the unfortunates who did not secure for themselves a berth in one of the wagons. The rain cooled the atmosphere wonderfully, and this morning was quite cool, making a coat feel very comfortable. Our morning's drive was about eight miles which brought us up to a large Mexican village, whose name I do not remember. We passed through and camped a mile from it. Our object in thus always passing these towns is to keep the men from mixing up with and getting into difficulties with the inhabitants. We being out of corn, and Albuquerque about twenty‑six miles distant,  p76 Mr. Smith thought it best to purchase enough to last until we reached the post. Accordingly, one wagon was detached from the train, and while the other wagons continued their onward journey, we (Mr. Smith, Hampden Porter and myself) accompanied the single wagon back to the village for corn. We had learned that the Padre had some for sale and we drove up to his house just beside the church. We had a "Little Giant" corn mill in the wagon and we had strong hopes of being able to trade it off for corn. The mill had been purchased in Cincinnati with a mistaken notion that it would be useful in our journey across the plains. It would be useful to a former who had a large stock to feed, or even on the road if you could spare the time necessary to rig it and put it in motion. But situated as we are, when every moment is spent in procuring rest when not traveling, it is totally impracticable. It takes up room in the wagon which could be devoted to a much more important account. We have long had the conviction that it would do us no good, and Mr. Beale had determined to leave it at Albuquerque anyhow. So we thought if we could make an advantageous trade, it would meet with Mr. Beale's entire approbation. With this view, we had the "Little Giant" put in the wagon which returned to the village. When we arrived at the Padre's mansion we brought him out and showed our "Little Giant" mill. He expressed a desire to see it in motion and we put it up in his yard and ground about a peck of corn and showed it to him. He asked, "Will it grind finer?" "Oh, yes," we replied, and screwed the machine up a little, and showed him the result of that grinding. "Will it grind finer?" "Yes," says Joe McFeeley, who was making himself conspicuous, as usual, and another turn. This literally  p77 wound the thing up but still the meal was not fine enough. So our trade was done and we had the great satisfaction of reloading our mill, weighing about three hundred and fifty pounds. The Padre thought we had a mill capable of grinding meal fine enough to make corn bread with, which it was not, and he very soon discovered it. However, he was a very clever man anyhow. He invited us into his sanctum, a very decent little room, filled with books, writing materials, etc. He regretted that he had no wine to give us, adding if we had come a month later he would have had plenty. This man was a perfect gentleman and a scholar. What attraction could a place of this kind present to such a man? We remarked to him that it was a singular situation in which to find a man of his attainments. He replied "if a man ever did know anything he would soon forget it here." It made me feel melancholy as we came away, to think that we had left behind us a man so worthy of a higher position. About six we reached a splendid grove of cottonwood, in the center of which was a small town, known as "Connellys." We rode past the store kept by Dr. Connelly but when we had passed a short distance, Mr. Smith suggested that we ought to return and take something to drink. No sooner was the suggestion offered than it was adopted; and (we) turned back and hitched at the store door, and went in and called for whiskey. The Dr. said they did not keep it in anything less than barrels, adding that he had some claret and champagne. We concluded to take claret, but instead of bringing claret the old fellow brought us a bottle of cognac. It was decidedly the best brandy I have tasted for many a day. It was splendid. When we came to pay for it, the old fellow said the sight of the camels was ample  p78 compensation and would not take a cent. We came into camp in excellent spirits.

August 9. Sunday. The whole party were very much edified and amused by the sight of some Mexican women and men wading the Rio Grande, which is up to about their waists. We encamped tonight within about two miles of Albuquerque in a place where there was neither grass nor water. It was by Mr. Beale's command that we stopped here. The sand is extremely disagreeable especially when the wind blows, which it did do and filled our eyes with fine particles of sand.

August 10. Monday. I visited Albuquerque today. The Government buildings, such as storehouses, officers' houses and stables, are built of adobe, but in a superior manner to the adobes of the Mexicans. Mr. Smith, who was with me, got his hair cut, and it cost four bits (fifty cents). We had a most delightful drink from a creek which runs near the town. It was a delightful change from the water of the muddy Rio Grande.

August 11. Tuesday. Last night Mr. Beale returned from Santa Fé.6 He brought me letters from home which I was delighted to receive. He did not come out to camp because he was very much fatigued by his journey. Last night Joe McFeeley was shot in the hand at a Fandango by John Hoyne. Some Mexicans lived very close to our camp and they got up a Fandango and invited all our men (teamsters, etc.) to go. Hoyne and McFeeley, along with the rest, went. They, like men will do, got to drinking and the liquor went to John's head; he became crazy and kicked  p79 up the "old Harry." He called a Mexican woman some very hard names. Our men wished to get him away, but he was dead to all reason, and it was impracticable to use force because he had two revolvers and a knife. They agreed among themselves to disarm him, and then carry him out of the room. McFeeley was to take one pistol, and John Tribbit was to take away the other and the knife. Joe got one pistol and Tribbit took the knife and had his hand on the pistol when John discovered their game. He immediately drew his revolver and said to McFeeley, "I will shoot you, I will, by God." He cocked the revolver and fired a shot at Joe, which went over his head and lodged in the wall of the house (they were outside). He paused a short time and fired again, the ball this time taking effect in the left hand of McFeeley. It passed between the bones of the first and second fingers, luckily without injuring them. Hampden Porter dressed the wound. It happened about half past ten.

August 12. Wednesday.7 Raised camp about six and went into the post. We remained until afternoon receive provisions and forage, and also disposing of the articles that could not be carried, such as the photographic apparatus, which proved a failure, and geological specimens from Texas. Our supplies are sufficient to last us for sixty days. We take also a hundred sheep. When Mr. Beale was at Santa Fé he transferred or sold five of his teams to General Garlandb, the Commander of this department. They go along with us, to carry the escort we will get from Fort Defiance. Thus the expense of thirty mules and seven men  p80 are defrayed by the Government, and we have at the same time all the advantages which their going along will give us. It was decidedly a very excellent move. Mr. Davis, Mr. Beale and Mr. Smith remained at the post but dispatched the teams across the river. Mr. Davis hired a man in place of John Hoyne who was discharged along with McFeeley. He professed to know where the ford was, and accordingly he was placed in the front. The first thing he did was to get stalled in the soft sand of the river. I saw at once that the man was drunk, and added to it very impertinent. I ordered the other teams to drive across. The first two teams passed in safety but all the rest had to be assisted. I promised the new hand that he should be discharged and he was as soon as Mr. Davis arrived. Camped a mile from the river.

August 13. Thursday. Got underway soon this morning but we encountered a very bad sand hill a half mile from our camp which kept us one hour and a half getting over. Some teams had twelve mules hitched on, even then it was tough work. The camels, which are now heavily packed, had some trouble in coming over. We made about ten miles and camped. In the afternoon Mr. Beale sent out a man to tell us that we were on the wrong road. This was very agreeable intelligence, especially as we thought we would have to go back the same road we came. Luckily we found a passage from one road to the other, about two miles ahead. We did not reach the other road until about eight o'clock at night; it was raining and intensely dark.

August 14. Friday. Passed today five Pueblo Indians. They were seated under a blanket spread over a bush. They had a large carear of horses. Our road has lain through  p81 a most singular country, large tables and deep valleys and in one or two places the rocks rise right up in the center of a valley. No grass, and very little water. Camped at a water hole.

August 15. Saturday. Today about two a rain set in which was likely to have washed us away from our valley encampment. About ten we had encamped in a beautifully grassy place surrounded on all sides, except one, by high mountains. Through the center a dry water course passed. At two it commenced to rain in torrents, and was succeeded by one of the most severe hail storms I have ever seen. The stones were larger than marbles. It slackened up, and began again from another quarter and rained in such torrents that the water rose in five minutes over three inches under the wagons. We came to the conclusion that it was no time for us to remain there, and Mr. Davis gave orders to gear up and strike out as soon as possible. The men worked hard, and we soon had the teams safe on dry ground. We passed on about three miles, and came to Laguna, a Pueblo village. We were on one side of the stream and the town on the other. The rain had so raised it that it (the stream) roared and foamed by us in a very violent manner. We were unacquainted with the road and did not know how deep the bed of the stream might be. So Mr. Davis did not like to drive the teams into a place where there was so much uncertainty, and asked me to ride my mule in and try it. She was very much opposed to that arrangement and would not go. I mounted a horse and rode him across. It was up to his belly, and it was so very rapid that it made him dizzy for a moment, and he reeled about like a drunken man. We found the natives all turned out to see  p82 the "camelos." The wagons passed on and camped a mile from the town. When the camels arrived in camp they were escorted by large numbers of Indians and Mexicans in all costumes, of all sexes and sizes, on foot and in every manner of conveyance. The Indians remained until sunset and then took their departure, so that when the shadows of the night had fallen, the red men had passed from our campfires.

August 16. Sunday. We pushed on this morning to a place called Covero,8 also a Pueblo village, built right up on the rocks overhanging the road. Nearly the whole population came out to see us. A good many Navajo Indians came into town along with their head chief. He is an oldish man with a broad face, and strong Indian features. His name I do not remember. It was very amusing to see these fellows come and sit around the campfire where the men were cooking, and watch the pot boil with longing eyes. Mr. Beale arrived from Albuquerque today.9

August 17. Monday. Started again for a place called Ojo del Gallo,10 arrived and camped near the crossing of the stream, where we found clear beautiful water and a reasonable supply of grass. Just before reaching camp one of our teams was upset through the carelessness of the driver. All the bars were more or less broken, otherwise the wagon was uninjured. Today we had a guide before us. Mr. Beale brought two with him from Albuquerque.

 p83  August 18. Tuesday. We made about five miles this morning and camped farther up the valley where we found better grass. The reason of the shortness of our drive is, we do not care to push ahead much, on account of our mules, and we desire to see Colonel Loring11 who is going from Los Lunas to Fort Defiance with a part of the men who were on the "Gila Scout." It is necessary that these men should first get into the post before we draw our escort, consisting of thirty-five men. We have had an agreeable change in our food. Mr. Beale purchased at Covero two hundred sheep and we have mutton every day instead of "Old Ned," in other words, salt bacon. Our ration of salt provisions is comparatively small. It consists of full rations for twenty days. Our flour (we could get no hard bread) is for sixty days, and our sugar and coffee a ration and a half for eighty days. With this inlaid we hope to be able to reach California in from forty-five to sixty days.

August 19. Wednesday. Nothing today worthy of mention.12

August 20. Thursday. Mr. Beale having heard that the command of Colonel Loring was in the vicinity of our camp, mounted "Seid," the dromedary, and set off to see the Colonel if possible. He found him in Covero. They both entered the town about the same time. After having transacted business he had with the Colonel, Mr. Beale remounted and returned to camp. He was gone about five  p84 hours, and traveled in that time a distance of thirty‑one miles.13 About eleven the Colonel came into camp and we were all introduced to him by Mr. Beale. He was a very fine looking man and a perfect gentleman. There was something in his countenance which strongly reminded me of Dr. Porter.

August 21. Friday. Mr. Beale and Mr. Thorburn went with Colonel Loring to Fort Defiance.14 Mr. Beale offered the Colonel his ambulance, and the Colonel accepted it, for the reason that it would facilitate Mr. Beale's operations. We have traveled over a broken country extremely rough. At one point we crossed a stream of lava, which extends for miles and miles through the valley of the Ojo del Gallo. We camped about two miles and a half from the road, on very good grass, but poor water.

August 22. Saturday. We continued up the same valley that we struck yesterday. After going about seven miles we came across an abundance of very fine pine trees. Camped in a fine valley, about half a mile from a splendid mountain spring, as cool as ice. About eleven last night  p85 I was awakened by the mournful cry of a panther quite near camp. He had smelled our sheep and came from the mountain to see if it were possible to steal one for the benefit of his stomach. The watchfulness of our sentinels and the camp fires which were burning kept him at a respectable distance.

August 23. Sunday. After leaving camp we passed up a canyon, which let us out through a pass between two high rocks, beyond which was a most beautiful grove of pine trees. We crossed the dividing ridge of the Sierra Madre, at twelve o'clock, and from here forward the waters flow toward the Pacific. We camped at a spring called El Moro15 situated at the base of Inscription Rock, which we ascended after dinner. It is a most singular formation. The rock covers an area of about four to five miles. It is rather circular in formation and upon the top it is, in places, level. Upon these even places are the relics of buildings. In some places the wall is entire for eight or ten feet. The stones are beautifully set together, each joint falling at regular intervals. We found four remains, two on each side of a deep canyon, in which were growing elegant pine trees and an abundance of fine grass. It is probable that this place was used in times long since passed for a corral, in which the inhabitants of the hill herded their stock in times of danger and of cold. The questions, who built these ruins? And whence came these people? are the first which naturally present themselves. The answers are difficult, but it is evident that these were a branch of the same people who built the mounds in Ohio and throughout the whole Continent. It would appear that some mighty  p86 convulsion of nature has driven the people who once occupied this section of the country from it — most likely into Mexico, where we find the same relics that are discovered here.

August 24. Monday. Last night a tremendous dew fell, saturating the blankets of those who slept out. We again visited Inscription Rock this morning and entered the corral on horseback. It is a beautiful place, secluded and secure, fit for the echo of words of love. Here one might pour out all the tender ideas of love without reserve, without interruption. Who knows but what on this same spot scenes similar to those described by the classic author of Paul and Virginiac might not have occurred, and that a broken-hearted Indian youth wasted away wandering over these mighty rocks? It was a romantic spot and one we shall all remember, when years have passed, and other scenes will have grown dim in the waters of memory. We parted from the place with regret, after having inscribed on the rock's soft face our names.d

We pushed on at a lively pace after the train which was a long distance ahead, having been traveling while we were examining Inscription Rock. We overtook them in the course of three hours, and after traveling a short distance farther, camped on the Rio Pescado, twelve miles from Zuñi, where we will remain until Mr. Beale returns from Fort Defiance. Our camp is in a very pretty valley in which we find both grass and water in abundance. The latter especially is of the finest kind, cold as ice and clear as crystal.

Tuesday August 25. I visited Zuñi16 along with Mr. Davis  p87 and old Savidra, the guide. The houses are of adobe plastered up with mud. The town contains from a thousand to eighteen hundred inhabitants who own large herds of sheep and goats. The guide having discovered in the town an Indian with whom he was acquainted, we all went to the house and found the old man and four or five others eating either dinner or breakfast. We were invited to "pitch in," which I did, and was just beginning to get happy eating chile con carne and bread, when we heard a great rumpus outside and rushing out we had the mortification of seeing our horses dashing away, having broken loose. My animal was captured before he got away, by our Indian. So mounting, I dashed forward in pursuit of the other animals, who took the back track for camp on a full run. After a chase of five miles I brought them back. I was very mad at having lost my breakfast, but very glad to secure the horses. The object of our visit to Zuñi, namely to see if there was any corn in the place, being accomplished, we returned to camp which we reached about five o'clock somewhat fatigued. We found Zuñi to be, instead of only twelve miles, fifteen.

August 26. Wednesday. Today I have been lying around camp, doing little of anything. I am somewhat stiff from my ride, which was not less than forty miles yesterday. Tucker and I went hunting this afternoon but were quite unsuccessful. It has been bloody cold at night since we crossed the mountains.

August 27. Thursday. We expected Mr. Beale to arrive from Fort Defiance,17 but we were disappointed. He has not  p88 come. The probability is that we will not get away from this place until the first.

August 28. Friday. This morning I shot five green winged teal. It made feel curious to see these ducks. It brought back home and the old Delaware to my recollection, upon whose banks I have often spent many an hour in pursuit of my favorite game. Tucker and Mr. Smith went out this afternoon and shot a black tailed deer, the first killed on the trip. I went with them to bring it in.

August 29. Saturday. I killed two more teal this morning, on the river. This afternoon an Indian brought a letter from Mr. Beale, in which he informed us of his arrival at Zuñi from Fort Defiance.18 He requested Mr. Davis to  p89 move the train up to the town as soon as possible. The teams were immediately harnessed up and tonight we drove three miles.

Aug. 30. Sunday. Started very early this morning for Zuñi where we found Mr. Beale engaged in buying corn from the Indians. Soon after we arrived, all hands were sent to shell it, and they were kept busy until late at night. Large numbers of Indians have been in camp trading for hats, shirts, pants, etc., and they would give good blankets for a shirt or a piece of tobacco. From this place our survey commences.

August 31. Monday. We left Zuñi at eleven o'clock. No road from this place; the pathway perfectly hard and firm making a good road. Five miles from Zuñi the ground is not so good, being sandy and rough. We camped without water twenty and a half miles from Zuñi. Very little grass, sandy soil.


The Editor's Notes:

1 In the southeastern part of Sierra County, New Mexico.

[decorative delimiter]

2 Beale speaks of the grave of two Germans killed by the Indians, and of a spot three miles farther on, where another German of the same party lost his life.

[decorative delimiter]

3 Does Stacey have reference to a small town of Laguna which is given in Colton's Map of New Mexico and Arizona, 1875? The settlement is located in the "Jornada del Muerto," south of what is now Engle in eastern Sierra County, New Mexico.

[decorative delimiter]

4 Fort Craig was located in the southern portion of what is now Socorro County, New Mexico. Beale says of it, "from its appearance at a distance of a quarter of a mile it presented a more fortlike outside and aspect than any post we have seen on the road." Beale Report, 31.

[decorative delimiter]

5 The crowds continued to gather along the way to view the camels. Beale and his group were constantly taken for a traveling show, and Beale was spoken of as "dee showmans." Here is a sample, given by Beale, of a conversation with the crowd.

"What you gottee more on camelos? Gottee any dogs?"

"Yes, horse more."

"Whattee can do horse?"

"Stand on his head, and drink a glass of wine."

"Valgame Dios! What a people these are to have a horse stand on his head, and drink a glass of wine."

Beale Report, 32.

[decorative delimiter]

6 Lieutenant Beale had gone up to Santa Fé in order to arrange all of his business with the commanding officer of the department. Beale Report, 32.

[decorative delimiter]

7 Beale's map of the expedition begins at Albuquerque. It is contained in his Report.

[decorative delimiter]

8 Present town of Cubero, in the northeastern part of Valencia County, New Mexico, due west of Albuquerque.

Thayer's Note: Covero is described, and some of its history recorded, by Amiel Weeks Whipple in his journal, November 14, 1853 (as edited by Grant Foreman, A Pathfinder in the Southwest, p125 ff.)
[decorative delimiter]

9 "We arrived about sundown," writes Beale, "and no one can imagine the pleasant thing it was to us to get back to our flannel shirts, big boots, and greasy buckskins once more. It was home to us." Beale Report, 33.

[decorative delimiter]

10 Near what is now Grant, Valencia County.

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11 The Colonel who was to turn over an escort of soldiers to Beale.

[Thayer's Note] William Wing Loring: born in North Carolina, appointed from Florida. Second Lieutenant in the Florida Volunteers 16 Jun to 16 Aug 1837; Captain in the Mounted Rifles 27 May 1846; Major 16 Feb 1847; Lieutenant-Colonel 15 Mar 1848; Colonel 30 Dec 1856; Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel 20 Aug 1847 for gallant and meritorious conduct in the battles of Contreras and Churubusco, Mex. and Colonel 13 Sep 1847 for gallant and meritorious conduct in the battle of Chapultepec, Mex.; resigned 13 May 1861. Major General, C. S. A. in the war 1861 to 1865. Died 30 Dec 1886. (Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army)
[decorative delimiter]

12 The day was spent in camp waiting for Colonel Loring. "Our camels are doing well here, and seem as fat as when we left, and apparently in better order for the road. On leaving Albuquerque they were packed with an average of seven hundred pounds each; the largest carried nearly a thousand pounds, and the others in proportion to their size and strength." Beale Report, 34.

[decorative delimiter]

13 The animal traveled at the rate of eight miles an hour, and, on the return journey was so far ahead of Colonel Loring that Beale went on into camp alone. After the journey "Seid seemed not the least tired; indeed it was as much as I could do to hold him on my return, and could not have done so had I not put the chain part of his halter around his lower jaw." Beale Report, 34.

[decorative delimiter]

14 Beale went up to Fort Defiance with Colonel Loring in order to start with his escort from that place, meanwhile sending his regular party on to Zuñi. Fort Defiance is in Arizona, near the border of New Mexico, northwest of Gallup. Beale and Loring arrived at the fort on August 25. Captain Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Carlisle came out for ten miles to meet the men. "As we stood in the warm sun of August, it was most refreshing to see the captain's servant throw off the folds of a blanket from a tub in the bottom of the wagon, and expose several large and glistening blocks of ice, while at the same time the captain produced a delicate flask of 'red eye.' " Beale Report, 36. Beale arrived at Zuñi and joined his party with the escort, on August 29.

[decorative delimiter]

15 In what is now El Moro National Monument Park.

[decorative delimiter]

16 Zuñi is in the southern part of McKinley County, New Mexico, on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fé Railroad.

[decorative delimiter]

17 While at Fort Defiance, Beale realized that the worst part of the journey was ahead of the party — a future "dim, uncertain, and unknown. . . . Not only responsible for the lives of my men, but my reputation and the highest wrought expectations of my friends, and the still more highly wrought expectations of envious enemies — all these dependent on the next sixty days' good or evil fortune. Today commences it. Let us see what I shall say in this journal, — if I live to say anything, on the day of my return here."

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18 Beale's reactions to Zuñi are worthy of reproduction.

August 29. Arrived at Zuñi, an old Indian pueblo of curious aspect; it is built on a gentle eminence in the middle of a valley about five miles wide, through which the dry bed of the Zuñi lays. As we approached, cornfields of very considerable extent spread out on all sides, and apparently surrounded the town. This place contains a population of about two thousand souls; the houses, although nearly all have doors on the ground floor, are ascended by ladders, and the roof is more used than any other part. Here all the cooking is done, the idle hours spent, and is the place used for sleeping in summer. Each house or family has a little garden, rarely over thirty feet square, which is surrounded by a wall of mud. Inside of these, and completely encircling the town, are the corals for sheep, asses, and horses, which are always driven up at night. We saw here many Albinos, with very fair skins, white hair, and blue eyes. The Indians raise a great deal of wheat, of a very fine quality, double-headed. The squaws are more expert at carrying things on their heads than our southern negroes. I saw one ascend to the second story of a house by a ladder, with an earthen jar containing a full bucket of water, without touching it with her hands. It was quite amusing to see the men knitting stockings. Imagine Hiawatha at such undignified work. The old Jesuit church is in ruins; but a picture over the altar attracted our attention from the beauty of four small medallion paintings in each corner, which were very beautifully done. After much rubbing off the mud and dust we made out that it was painted by Miguel somebody in 1701. White intercourse (traders) with these Indians seems to have destroyed with them all the respect they had for the Catholic religion, without giving them any in return. Like all Indians who have a fixed abode, they are quiet and inoffensive. A knowledge of this fact induced me to endeavor to establish the same system of old missions in California; but the government did not appreciate the fact as I did, and it has not been carried out. We found here a few indifferent peaches, the only effect of which was to carry us back, in fancy, to home at this season. The melons also were quite poor, almost unfit to eat.

For an account of these people, as they were centuries ago, see Coronado's expedition. For more modern accounts, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Whipple's answers every purpose, and is very interesting. Salt, of the finest quality, is found near here by the Indians in the greatest abundance. There is no wood nearer the town than five miles. After leaving camp this morning we had no water until our arrival here. The grass is good, and the wood on the road abundant, until getting within five miles of the place.

Beale Report, 38.


Thayer's Notes:

a See the Journal of Martha Barbour, Aug. 4, 1847, Texas.

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b John Garland: born in Virginia, appointed from Virginia. First Lieutenant in the 35th Infantry 31 Mar 1813; transferred to the 3d Infantry 17 May 1815; Captain 7 May 1817; Captain Assistant Quartermaster 31 May 1826 to 10 Jul 1832; Major in the 1st Infantry 30 Oct 1836; Lieutenant-Colonel in the 4th Infantry 27 Nov 1839; Colonel in the 8th Infantry 7may1849; Brevet Major 7 May 1827 for 10 years faithful service in one grade; Colonel 9 May 1846 for gallant conduct in the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, Tex. and Brigadier General 20 Aug 1847 for gallant and meritorious conduct in the battles of Contreras and Churubusco, Mex. Died 5 Jun 1861. (Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army)

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c Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, the French author of Paul et Virginie (1788), a novel very popular thruout the nineteenth century for its mix of sentimental pathos, descriptions of an idyllic nature, and idealistic social philosophy.

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d There seems to be no catalogue online of the inscriptions at El Morro. There may be one in a very rare work, printed only in 500 copies:

Slater, John M.:

El Morro, Inscription Rock, New Mexico: the rock itself, the inscriptions thereon, and the travelers who made them

Los Angeles: Plantin Press, 1961.

157pp + xiv: illustrations, maps, facsimiles


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