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Miles, Nelson Appleton, 1839-1925 / Personal recollections and observations of General Nelson A. Miles embracing a brief view of the Civil War, or, From New England to the Golden Gate: and the story of his Indian campaigns, with comments on the exploration, development and progress of our great western empire

Chapter XXXVI. A campaign against the Apaches (Captain Maus' narrative),   pp. 450-479 PDF (11.9 MB)

Page 455

had been abandoned, as the noise made by them could be heard a long
distance. The advance scouts kept far ahead. Several abandoned camps
of the hostiles were found, the selection of which showed their constant
care. They were placed on high points, to which the hostiles ascended in
such a way that it was impossible for them to be seen; while in descending,
any pursuing party would have to appear in full view of the lookout they
always kept in the rear. The labor of the Indian women in bringing the
water and wood to these points was no apparent objection.
   Crossing the Haros River the trail led direct to the Devil's Back-
bone, situated between the Haros and Satachi Rivers. The difficulties of
marching over a country like this by night, where it was necessary to
climb over rocks and to descend into deep and dark canions, can hardly be
imagined. When we halted, which was sometimes not until midnight, we
were sore and tired. We could never move until late in the day, as it was
necessary to examine the country a long distance ahead before we started.
No human being seemed ever to have been here. Deer were plentiful, but
we could not shoot them. Once I saw a leopard that bounded away with
a shriek. It was spotted and seemed as large as a tiger. At last, after a
weary march, at sunset on the 9th of January, 1886, Noche, our Indian
sergeant-major and guide, sent word that the hostile camp was located
twelve miles away.
   The command was halted, and as the hostiles were reported camped
on a high point, well protected and apparently showing great caution on
their part, it was decided to make a night miarch and attack them at day-
light. A short halt of about twenty minutes was made. We did not
kindle a fire, and about the only food we had was some hard bread and
some raw bacon. The medical officer, Dr. Davis, was worn out, and the
interpreter also unfortunately could go no further. We had already
marched continuously for about six hours and were very much worn out
and footsore, even the scouts showing the fatigue of the hard service.
These night marches, when we followed a trail purposely made over the
worst country possible, and crossing and recrossing the turbulent river,
which we had to ford, were very trying. But the news of the camip being
so close at hand gave us new strength and hope, and we hastened on to
coverthe ten or twelve miles between us and the hostiles. I cannot easily
get that night's march. All night long we toiled on, feeling our way. It
a dark and m-noonless night. For nmuch of the distance the way led over
solid rock, over mountains, down canions so dark they seeimed bottomless.
It was a wonder the scouts could find the trail. Sometimes the descent

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