FORT UNION
Historic Resource Study
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CHAPTER THREE:
MILITARY OPERATIONS BEFORE THE CIVIL WAR (continued)

     There were few Indian problems in eastern New Mexico in 1857, during which time the expansion of settlements continued and reached into the Canadian River valley. Apparently no troops were stationed at Hatch's Ranch during the remainder of the year. It turned out to be a time of transition in the region. The conflicts with the Jicarillas and Utes were practically over because most leaders of those tribes were convinced that further resistance was futile. The conflicts with the plains tribes (especially the Comanches and Kiowas) were preparing to erupt as they began to mount an effective resistance against the eastward expansion of the New Mexican line of settlements. [109] The troops stationed at Fort Union probably looked forward to a respite from Indian-fighting activities. This was not to be because of Indian troubles in western New Mexico Territory. As a result of the capture and murder of Indian Agent H. L. Dodge by Gila Apaches, Colonel Bonneville ordered a large campaign against the Gila, Mogollon, and Coyotero Apaches in 1857, with Colonel Loring in command and including mounted riflemen stationed at Fort Union. [110]

     After Colonel Loring and most of the mounted riflemen left Fort Union in April 1857 for the Gila Apache Expedition, [111] the new post commander, Captain Llewellyn Jones, Regiment of Mounted Riflemen, reported to department headquarters that "the command left here for duty is so small and of such worthless material" that it was difficult to operate the post and repair quarters. There were no troops available for field service against Indians should that situation arise. If military operations became necessary, Fort Union would require reinforcements. [112] No Indian troubles were anticipated in the area. Brigadier General Garland returned to the department on May 12 and resumed command, relieving Colonel Bonneville who went to lead the Gila Expedition. At the end of June Garland reported that the Mescaleros, Jicarillas, and Utes were all quiet. Late in July the Gila Expedition was considered at an end, after a number of Indians were killed and captured, with good results. [113]

     On July 6 Alexander Hatch sent an express to Fort Union, informing the commanding officer that seventeen Kiowa warriors were at his ranch en route to Navajo country and requesting that troops be sent to protect settlers in his area. Captain Jones, "by making drafts upon the guard house and Band," was able to send a sergeant and ten privates from the undermanned garrison the next day. Jones doubted that a few Kiowas would cause much trouble. The detachment returned from Hatch's Ranch on July 10 and reported there was no problem there. The sergeant who had gone to investigate told the commanding officer that there were sufficient men in the area, approximately twenty at Hatch's Ranch and nearly a hundred at the community of Chaparito, that "it was hardly necessary, except for some ulterior object to have called upon this command for protection." Hatch, like many other ranchers, would not hesitate to exaggerate Indian problems with the apparent hope of selling supplies to the army, a common practice when troops were in the field. [114]

     There were reports of Kiowas and Cheyennes menacing travelers on the Santa Fe Trail in September 1857, and Garland directed that a strong escort be provided from Fort Union for the first eastbound October mail coach. [115] Lieutenant William B. Lane and 25 mounted riflemen were selected to protect the mail and other travelers who wished to accompany them at least as far as the Arkansas River, farther if Indian troubles threatened. They planned to join the mail party as it passed Fort Union, but that plan was changed slightly. [116]

     On October 2 an express rider from the plains (neither the rider nor his point of origin were identified) arrived at Fort Union. He was carrying a message for Lieutenant Colonel Joseph E. Johnston, First Cavalry, who commanded several companies of troops then engaged in surveying the southern boundary of Kansas Territory. [117] The rider had encountered two parties of Kiowas and Cheyennes (60 Indians in one and 40 in the other), who had taken all his provisions and clothing and threatened his life. He had not been able to locate Johnston and came to Fort Union for protection. [118]

     Colonel Loring determined to send the best guide he had at Fort Union, Frank DeLisle, and three others with the express rider to find Johnston. To give these men as much protection as possible, Loring ordered them to travel with the mail escort until they could ascertain, if possible, approximately where Johnston's command might be. Rather than wait for the mail coach to arrive from Santa Fe, the escort was sent ahead on October 4 to the Canadian River crossing to await the arrival of the mail. This would protect the guides that far and possibly place them in a position from which they could reach Johnston. [119] The mail party encountered no Indian problems, but it was not determined if the express reached Lieutenant Colonel Johnston.

     The mail escorts in the autumn of 1857 were provided by mounted riflemen, whose provisions and camp equipage, as well as some forage for their horses, were carried in two wagons. Lieutenant Lane recalled many years later that the "mail outfit" was comprised of two stages and a baggage wagon, each pulled by four mules. The mail party also had a few "extra mules, to replace any in the teams which might become broken down or lame." There were no stage stations in 1857 between Fort Union and Walnut Creek in central Kansas Territory, a distance of approximately 400 miles. [120]

     According to Lane, the mail and the escort followed a routine schedule, starting at daylight and traveling "at a six-miles-an hour trot." They stopped for breakfast after going approximately 15 miles, giving the animals a break to graze for about an hour. The same rate of travel was resumed until they found another place to rest, where water and grass were available. Several such stops were made during the day, including one for supper before sundown. Usually, after the evening meal, they traveled another 10 or 15 miles before camping for the night. Each of the wagons carried a keg of water, and firewood was taken from the Turkey Mountains. The passengers furnished their own bedding, and everyone (passengers, mail party, and escort troops) slept on the ground where they camped. Guards were posted to keep watch through the night. [121]

     Lane remembered there were only two or three passengers on the trip he escorted. They arrived at the Arkansas River without encountering any Indians. There the troops met the westbound mail and accompanied it back to Fort Union. Because the pace of the mail coaches was difficult to maintain by the mounted riflemen's horses, several of the horses were lost, "broken down and worn out, and they had to be shot to prevent their falling into the hands of the Indians." The troopers who lost their horses rode in the wagons back to Fort Union. The following year it was decided to send the mail escorts in wagons pulled by mules rather than to break down more cavalry horses. Although the return trip of Lane's escort "was very disagreeable, on account of the cold and snow," they met no Indians. [122]

     Another special escort was sent from Fort Union with the second October mail. Acting Governor W. W. H. Davis and the territorial chief justice, with their families, took the mail coach to Independence. They requested an escort. Second Lieutenant John H. Edson and 25 enlisted men were sent out on October 17 to proceed to the Canadian River and there wait for the mail and its passengers. The troops were to go as far as the crossing of the Arkansas River, farther if they "should discover any probability of the Mail being menaced by the Indians." The troops were directed to travel from 25 to 30 miles per day. [123] No Indian problems were encountered, and Brigadier General Garland noted at the end of October that Indians throughout the territory were quiet. The new territorial governor, Abraham Rencher, and his escort under command of Captain Daniel T. Chandler, Third Infantry, including recruits for the department, arrived at Fort Union on October 31. Governor Rencher reached Santa Fe on November 12. [124]

     In December 1857 troops from Fort Union were sent back to Hatch's Ranch to help provide protection for a surveying party. Platoons of 25 mounted troops and one officer were to be rotated monthly from Fort Union to the station at Hatch's Ranch. A similar arrangement of troops from Fort Stanton to Preston Beck's Ranch was established for the same purposes. In addition to protecting the surveying party these troops were to safeguard the settlements from "roving bands of Indians." Troops at the two ranches were to establish a system of communication and cooperate as necessary. [125]

     Lieutenant Lane was in charge of one of the platoons rotated from Fort Stanton to Beck's Ranch every other month. Lane did not mention the survey party during his first month there, but noted that the troops were directed "to keep the Kiowas and Comanches from entering farther into New Mexico." He was not so sure, however. "The real reason (some thought)," Lane recollected, "was, the man who had charge of Beck's Ranch had corn to sell, and as Mr. Beck was a prominent merchant in Santa Fe, and, besides, an agreeable man, we young fellows thought the whole object was to eat up Mr. Beck's corn without giving him the trouble and expense of hauling it to market." [126]

     This was not the only time such beliefs were expressed. Lane tempered his statement by adding, "of course we were not certain of all this, but believed it at the time." With 30 horses for the troops and 12 mules for their two supply wagons, Lane observed there were "forty-two animals to be supplied with corn after reaching the ranch." In addition, "there were no signs of Indians of any nation during the whole month we were at the ranch. And this proved to be the state of affairs for the whole winter." [127]

     Lane remembered, too, that service at Beck's Ranch "was fearfully lonely and dreary. . . . We had no mails, did not see a strange face for the entire month, and the hunting was not good." During his second monthly stay at Beck's Ranch, because the nearest surgeon was some 80 miles away at Fort Union, Lane secured a supply of medicines with instructions to treat his men if they became ill. Fortunately, according to Lane, his command enjoyed good health. "My skill as a medical man was not often called into requisition," he wrote many years later, "and although I may not have cured any one, I had the consolation of knowing that I killed nobody." [128]

     It was during his second stay at Beck's Ranch that the "monotony" was broken by an order "to protect a surveying party which was working not far from us." The platoon left the ranch and accompanied the surveyors "for some time." Then, being told by the head of the group that the troops were no longer needed, Lane's detachment went back to their station at Beck's Ranch until relieved. Lane left them under charge of a sergeant and rode to Santa Fe to request a leave of absence, which was denied. He rejoined his detachment at Fort Stanton. [129]

     Records have not been found to indicate when the troops were withdrawn from Beck's and Hatch's ranches. The survey was apparently completed by August 1858, when Garland informed army headquarters, "the Country east of the Pecos river as far as the Canadian has been recently surveyed down to the Western boundary of Texas." Garland recommended that a military post be established in the region near the mouth of Ute Creek on the Canadian to protect settlers who would expand into the area as soon as they felt safe from the incursions of Kiowas and Comanches. [130]

     At the end of March 1858 the troops then stationed at Beck's Ranch were ordered to leave and proceed, via Hatch's Ranch, to the Canadian River to accompany a surveying party under R. E. Clements until further orders. These troops drew subsistence provisions from Fort Union. Fearing that 25 mounted riflemen might not be a sufficient force in case of an Indian attack on the surveying party, Garland sent an entire company from Fort Stanton to replace the platoon that had been at Beck's Ranch. The company carried provisions for two months. [131]

     With part of the garrison at Fort Union assigned to Hatch's Ranch, Colonel Loring requested more troops for Fort Union. He could not keep the troops at Hatch's Ranch and provide regular mail escorts from the garrison comprised of only two companies of mounted riflemen (because of the mail schedule and time it took to complete an escort trip, one detachment was required to accompany the next mail before the troops with the previous mail returned, keeping two officers and seventy-eight men constantly in the field). A third company of riflemen joined the post in January 1858, and Loring was authorized to recall the troops from Hatch's Ranch if they were essential to continued provision of mail escorts. He was reminded, however, that Hatch's Ranch was an important position from which to keep watch on the Kiowas. [132]

     This was verified at about the same time when a large party of Kiowa warriors came past Hatch's Ranch on their way to raid settlements along the Rio Grande. They were going to retaliate for an attack on their fellow tribesmen by troops from Fort Craig on December 10, 1857. The troops had surprised a party of Kiowas (who had been on a raid against the Navajos) near Valverde, attacked them (killing several and taking a wounded chief captive), and forced them to return to the plains. The wounded Kiowa chief was taken to the Fort Union hospital, where he was treated by the post surgeon and held prisoner. When the troops at Hatch's Ranch spotted another party of Kiowas heading the Rio Grande, the commanders at Albuquerque and Forts Stanton and Craig were immediately informed and directed to send the Kiowas out of the area, by force if necessary. [133]

     Loring continued to press for more manpower and more horses to provide escorts for the mail. He noted that the escort duty was especially hard on the horses. "The mail stages," he wrote, "being supplied with fresh animals at their stations, enables them without much loss—to make the trip, while that of the Government is subject to the whole distance without relief, over roads covered with snow." Garland informed Loring that no more troops were available in the department. Garland sent a request to the adjutant general for more troops and horses, noting "that no mail has been lost since my administration of this Military Department—four years and a half," because of the protection provided by the troops at Fort Union. [134]

     The early-warning system provided by the troops stationed at Hatch's Ranch apparently worked successfully and the Kiowas were forced to return to the plains. They soon retaliated and attacked a small party of Comancheros who were on the plains to trade with the Comanches, killing two "Mexicans," taking a third captive, and stealing their trade goods. The Kiowas also threatened the westbound mail party on the Santa Fe Trail (between Upper Spring and Cold Spring in present Oklahoma) when it fell behind the escort. Commander of the escort, Second Lieutenant John Van Deusen DuBois, stated that the conductor of the mail disobeyed DuBois's orders when he "halted a few miles behind the escort. . . . The mail party reported that when the escort was absent the Kiowa spies signaled their movements, and by the time they were again on the road about one hundred mounted Kiowas charged upon them, and followed them until they approached the escort again." The Kiowas threatened, according to Comanche informants, to avenge the attack on their party near the Rio Grande and the holding of their captured chief. [135]

     Brigadier General Garland decided to release the Kiowa prisoner and send him back to his people with a strong message designed to encourage the Kiowas to keep the peace. He was to tell his people that the soldiers would "protect the lives and property of the Americans, as well as the Mexicans who live in New Mexico." Any Kiowas caught west of the Pecos River were to be considered hostile and driven back. The prisoner left Fort Union on March 17, as Loring reported, "he expressed himself satisfied with the treatment he has received and promised to carry his people, the 'talk' given him." [136]

     At the same time the mail escorts were needed to meet the Kiowa threats in March 1858, it became more difficult to keep them in the field. Colonel Loring reported that there was not sufficient grass along the route to sustain the horses pulling the escort wagons (mounted troops could not keep up with the mail during the winter months) and grain had to be sent with every detachment. In addition the horses were unable to keep up the pace of 40 miles a day for the 600-mile round trip made by each escort. One of the escorts was stranded on the plains 200 miles from Fort Union because of "broken down teams," and another had left the post with animals that should not have been sent. Unless more horses were provided, Loring explained that the escorts would have to stop for want of public animals. Garland reported to army headquarters that, if the system of escorts was to be continued, more men and animals were required. Also he requested that orders be issued to require the mail coaches to keep pace with the troops rather than the escort being forced to keep up with the mails. [137] It soon became evident that the Indian threat was getting worse.

     By 1858 the Comanches and Kiowas were ready to increase their opposition to the expansion of ranches into eastern New Mexico Territory, especially along the Canadian River. Samuel Watrous, settled at the junction of the Sapello and Mora rivers, had sent some of his employees to establish a ranch on the Canadian River approximately 130 miles from Fort Union. Watrous apparently realized that the Indians would resist and asked for an army cannon from the ordnance depot at Fort Union to protect his ranch on the Canadian. Brigadier General Garland authorized Captain Shoemaker at the ordnance depot to provide Watrous with a mountain howitzer (including powder and shot) if one was available that was not suitable for field service. When Watrous heard from Pueblo traders that the Comanches planned to destroy his ranch, he requested that troops be stationed on the Canadian to protect it from Indians. [138]

     A party of Comanches visited the ranch foreman, a Mr. Bumham, and warned him to abandon the project. Burnham refused and the Comanches later killed him, burned the buildings, and drove off all the livestock. Second Lieutenant Laurence S. Baker, Regiment of Mounted Riflemen, in command of the platoon from Fort Union at Hatch's Ranch, was ordered to examine the scene of the attack. Baker was accompanied by Watrous. In addition the company of mounted riflemen with the survey party on the Canadian River was sent to assist with the investigation. [139]

     When the troops arrived at the site, approximately 50 miles east and 10 miles south of Hatch's Ranch on the south side of the Canadian River, everything at the ranch was destroyed and the livestock were gone. Baker estimated that Watrous had suffered a loss of property worth at least five thousand dollars. From the extent of the improvements, Baker concluded, "the settlement was evidently intended for a permanent one." The lieutenant was able to piece together the circumstances of the "outrage." A few days before the attack three "Mexican captives" who had lived with the Comanches came to the ranch "as spies" and may have been employed by Burnham. The evening before the assault four Comanches arrived "on pretence of trading" and spent the night. "The settler having been thus put off his guard, was easily decoyed from the house unarmed by the three spies and became an easy victim to his treacherous foes, who then consummated the work of destruction." [140]

     The "Mexican" employees at the ranch were not harmed by the Indians, partly out of respect for the long tradition of friendship between the Comanches and New Mexicans and partly because they wanted them to deliver a message. They were told to return to the settlements and tell the Anglos, as Colonel Loring understood it, that they must not settle along the Canadian, that the Comanches "would kill any who attempted it." [141] From Indian traders Baker learned that the Comanche leaders had decided in council that they would not accept any settlements east of Hatch's Ranch or others "on the Rio Gallinas, but will kill all persons attempting to make them and destroy their property." They had also pledged themselves to destroy, if possible, all such places where settlements were already established "including Fort Union." [142] Brigadier General Garland's response was to request more troops to defend the eastern frontier and to advise Watrous not to send his men so far from military protection. [143]

     Although Utah and the Mormons seemed far removed from the eastern frontier of New Mexico and Fort Union, the so-called Mormon War, 1857-1858, involved troops from the post. Troops were sent from Fort Leavenworth to Utah Territory to enforce federal laws, and the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints prepared to resist. Some of the supply trains of the U.S. Army were burned by the Mormons and many of the oxen and some of the horses were stolen. On November 27, 1857, Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston, commander of the Department of Utah, sent Captain Randolph B. Marcy with a small force from Utah to New Mexico to purchase 1,500 horses and mules for the troops in Utah. The animals were needed to pull the supply trains of the quartermaster department and to remount the troops. It is interesting to note that the troops of New Mexico were unable to find sufficient horses in the department for military purposes, while the commander in Utah considered it the closest supply for his troops. [144]

     Colonel Johnston later requested Brigadier General Garland to furnish an escort for Marcy's command and the animals on the trip back to Utah. Garland directed that 25 mounted troops from Fort Union, joined by troops from other garrisons, be sent as an escort to Utah. Captain Shoemaker was ordered to provide the necessary ammunition for the trip, and the quartermaster department was to furnish the transportation needed to carry provisions and supplies. Marcy and the horses and mules he had purchased went to Fort Union in preparation for the trip. The party had been on the road from Fort Union only a few days when Garland was informed that the Mormons had threatened to intercept Captain Marcy on his return. [145]

     Garland immediately ordered Colonel Loring to lead a relief column to join Marcy, including 60 more troops from Fort Union and 150 from Albuquerque. A medical officer or civilian contract physician was authorized for the journey. Loring was to assume command of the entire escort, approximately 400 troops, when he reached Marcy. Provisions for two months were to be carried along and, because the garrison at Fort Union was so reduced in size, escorts for the mail to the states was discontinued until more troops could be stationed at the post. Loring requested permission to hire "Watkins LaRue" (probably Antoine Leroux), considered to be "the best mountaineer" in the country, at $150 per month to guide his command to Utah and back. Loring's column left Fort Union on April 7 and 8 to join Marcy's party which had halted on the north side of the Arkansas River not far from the site of Pueblo to wait for the reinforcements. Captain Andrew J. Lindsay, Regiment of Mounted Riflemen, assumed command of Fort Union when Loring left. He was ordered to discontinue the mail escorts on the Santa Fe Trail. [146]

     The details of the escort to Camp Scott, Utah Territory, are beyond the scope of Fort Union history. The command arrived at its destination on June 11, 1858, after a journey of approximately 765 miles, much of it through snow and under extremely cold conditions. The troops performed well and the animals Marcy brought arrived in good condition. [147] On the same day that Loring arrived at Camp Scott, negotiations began at Salt Lake City by which church leaders agreed to submit to federal authority. The "Mormon War" had not become a military engagement and peace was achieved by agreement. [148] Colonel Loring's column returned to New Mexico early in September and he resumed command of Fort Union on September 14, 1858. [149]

     Indian troubles were few in eastern New Mexico during the summer of 1858, but the Navajos began raiding among the Rio Grande settlements again. In preparation for a campaign into Navajo country, the two companies of mounted riflemen stationed at Fort Union were sent to serve under Colonel Bonneville, commander of the expedition. When it became necessary for Brigadier General Garland to leave the department for health reasons and for Bonneville to replace him, Lieutenant Colonel D. S. Miles, Third Infantry, was placed in command of the Navajo campaign. The ordnance depot at Fort Union was ordered to supply ammunition for the planned campaign, enough for four companies of infantry, five of mounted riflemen, and one company of spies and guides. Because the troops sent to Utah with Colonel Loring were needed to conduct a campaign against the Navajos, the expedition could not begin until those troops returned to New Mexico. A detachment of recruits, marching from Fort Leavenworth, was also needed to fill the ranks of the companies in the department. By action of the Navajos, the fighting began on August 29 before most of the troops had arrived in Navajo country. [150]

     Garland left for the states in September 1858, accompanied by Captain L. C. Easton, Lieutenant William A. Nichols (who had served as assistant adjutant general in the department for several years and later served as assistant in the adjutant general's office in Washington, D.C.), and an escort of one non-commissioned officer and five mounted riflemen from Fort Union. Because of Garland's ill health, Assistant Surgeon Letterman accompanied him to St. Louis, and civilian contract surgeon J. H. Bill was hired to replace Letterman at Fort Union. Before Garland left Santa Fe, he called Colonel Bonneville from his command of the post at Albuquerque to consult about the affairs of the department. When Garland left New Mexico (September 15) Bonneville assumed command (September 16) of the department and continued plans for a Navajo expedition. [151]

     Colonel Bonneville had his own views about the Indian problem in New Mexico and again recommended the early establishment of defined reservations for the tribes. "As there are no reserves for Indians in this Territory," he wrote, "the Indian has no home, no place of refuge, where he may remain unmolested by traders, and settlements with their numerous herds of cattle and sheep." In addition the traders supplied Indians with whiskey. For these reasons, Bonneville explained, "many of the difficulties with the Indians may be ascribed to the fact, that they come to the settlements to trade, become intoxicated, and in their drunken frolics act badly." The solution, he concluded, was for Congress to assign "reservations, within the limits of which they may be restrained and protected from promiscuous traders, and from the encroaching settlements and herds." Meantime, he predicted, the army would be required to continue facing one Indian problem after another. [152]

     Early in October additional troops, including one company of mounted riflemen from Fort Union, were sent under Major Electus Backus, Third Infantry, to comprise a second column (in addition to that led by Colonel Miles) in the campaign against the Navajo. Thus three companies of mounted riflemen from Fort Union were active in the Navajo war, and they were carried on the post returns as being on detached service from the post. Bonneville warned Backus not to be misled "by trails and appearances of giving a general battle." He recommended that the troops seek the families and herds of the Navajos, and then the Navajos would stand and fight. When they were defeated, peace would be possible. [153]

     Colonel Loring, at Fort Union, was reportedly disappointed that he had not been selected to direct the war against the Navajos. His case was presented to the public by a member of the staff at the fort. A lengthy article by "Civis," the work of post chaplain William Stoddert and highly critical of the conduct of the campaign against the Navajos, was sent in October to the National Intelligencer in Washington, D.C., and appeared in the November 28 issue. Among other things, "Civis," who identified himself as "an outside civilian," charged that the army had "blundered" into an unnecessary war with the Navajos and then kept Loring, whose regiment of mounted riflemen was involved in the conflict, from commanding his troops. He implied that Loring was the most capable officer to lead mounted troops in New Mexico. Stoddert was later forced to resign as chaplain because of this indiscretion. [154] The Navajo war continued without Colonel Loring. After a series of engagements in which the Navajos suffered losses of life and property and a number of their warriors captured, the Navajos offered to sign a peace treaty. A cease-fire was declared until negotiations could take place. An agreement was signed and the Navajo war of 1858 was declared over on December 25. The power of the Navajos had not yet been broken and the peace did not last. [155]

     While the army was busy with the Navajo campaign in western New Mexico, troubles began on the plains to the east. At the end of September 1858 there were reports of Comanches "committing depredations" in the area around Hatch's Ranch, Anton Chico, and along the road from Fort Smith to Albuquerque. Mail coaches had recently begun regular service over that road to California along a route surveyed the previous year by Lieutenant Edward F. Beale, U. S. Navy. [156] In 1858 Beale was in charge of a party making improvements along the road from Fort Smith to Albuquerque, and his workers approached New Mexico in the autumn. They were accompanied by an escort of 137 recruits for the Department of New Mexico under command of Lieutenant Alexander E. Steen, Third Infantry. Colonel Loring, commanding officer at Fort Union, was directed to station a few troops at Hatch's Ranch to watch along that road and report on Indian activities. This was done. Loring was instructed to "take charge of the settlements, in that neighborhood, and if the Indians are depredating on the inhabitants, punish them." Troops from Fort Stanton were also ordered to "scout in that neighborhood" and report to Colonel Loring, but there were not sufficient troops at Stanton to spare any for the assignment. Loring was authorized to employ 30 spies and guides to assist the troops, and they began service on November 15. [157]

     The soldiers and spies scoured the region from Hatch's Ranch to the Canadian River and from Anton Chico to the Cimarron River, looking for hostile Comanches. They met none. In November a party of Comancheros arrived at Hatch's Ranch to report that, according to a Comanche who was involved, Comanches had attacked Lieutenant Beale's construction camp and the eastbound mail coach on the Fort Smith road someplace in northern Texas. A big fight had followed in which the escort of recruits forced the Indians to retreat. The Comanche informant stated that "a great many Indians were killed." It was believed that Beale's camp might need additional troops to insure its safety although no definite information had been received about it. In addition the Comanches might be expected to attack some of the frontier settlements. Loring requested more troops for his Fort Union garrison and authorization to provide assistance where needed. Colonel Bonneville considered the battle with Comanches in Texas outside the jurisdiction of his department, but notified Loring that the Indians along the Canadian were restless and his troops were responsible for protecting the settlements of eastern New Mexico Territory. Several scouting parties were kept in the field, as Loring reported, and "all the lurking places of the Indians were visited and watched." [158]

     When Santa Fe Postmaster David V. Whiting requested that an escort accompany the next mail coach sent eastward on the Fort Smith road, he was informed that troops were not available. The soldiers and spies already sent to watch for Indians along that road could provide assistance to the mail if needed. The mail went through without any problems. The Comanches had left the area along the Fort Smith road and the Canadian River and had established a camp on the Cimarron River north of Fort Union. Lieutenant Beale's road-building crew arrived and set up camp at Hatch's Ranch on December 28, 1858, from which point they resurveyed the area between the Canadian River and the ranch. They had constructed nine bridges since leaving Fort Smith. The recruits escorting Beale went to Anton Chico and were distributed from there to their assigned companies. As soon as the troops returned to Fort Union from the Navajo campaign, the ancillary force of spies and guides was discharged. Beale's survey and construction crew left Hatch's Ranch on February 26, 1859, to improve the route from there to Albuquerque and on west to the Colorado River. Increased travel on the Fort Smith road eventually led to more encounters with plains Indians and additional field service by troops from Fort Union. [159]

     There were few Indian problems during the winter of 1858-1859, but a band of Utes, who according to DuBois "numbered some sixty lodges or 180 fighting men," were granted permission by their agent, Kit Carson at Taos, to camp on Wolf Creek a few miles downstream from Fort Union "between Barclay's Fort and the Wagon Mound" early in 1859. DuBois wrote they were situated about twelve miles from the post "in a most beautiful spot." They caused no trouble and the troops at the post monitored their activities. Ranchers in the area feared they might start stealing cattle and sheep. Colonel Loring agreed that was bound to happen if they remained and also believed these Indians would be blamed for any "depredations" in the area, no matter who was responsible. With the approval of department headquarters, Loring directed the Utes "to return to their own country." [160]

     Second Lieutenants DuBois and Ira W. Claflin and six enlisted men from Fort Union went to the Ute camp on January 23 and ordered them to leave. DuBois stated their "lodges were built like those of the prarie indians but of canvas instead of skins." There were few men in the camp because most of them were on a retaliatory raid against the Arapahos, who had reportedly attacked a small party of Utes on the Sapello River and "wounded one of their warriors." DuBois disclosed, "I gave them the order and though I doubt their obedience, still I hope they will get in no trouble." [161]

     The Indian camp remained and reports came into the post that these same Indians were killing cattle and sheep in the vicinity of the village of Sapello, a small community on the river by the same name southwest of Fort Union. Loring led a detachment of mounted riflemen from the fort to Sapello on January 29 to remove the Utes. The soldiers arrived near the village after dark and set up camp. They had departed the post in such a hurry that they had "nothing except what they had fastened to their saddles." DuBois explained that he and Lieutenant Claflin "doubled our beding or our two blankets & tried to sleep but the ground was yet wet with snow & we became so cold that even comfort was impossible, must less sleep." DuBois recalled, "we thought it would never be day — Daylight at length came & with it a cup of coffee. About 9 A.M. we found an indian village." It turned out to be "only a small portion of the band," but Colonel Loring had a "talk" with them. [162]

     Loring warned them that, if they did not leave, his troops would force them to go. The colonel reported that the Utes were "very much alarmed" by the presence of the soldiers and he expected them to move. A few of the Utes were taken back to Fort Union on February 1, apparently as hostages in case the rest of the camp committed any hostile acts. On February 3 Captain Robert M. Morris, with a detachment of mounted riflemen, took the Utes at the post and went to the Indians' camp "to see that they all leave for Taos." [163]

     The Utes started on the way to Taos, accompanied by Morris's command, when a party of Utes and Jicarillas, estimated to be nearly 200 warriors, appeared "with evident hostile intent." Morris had the Utes he was escorting establish their camp near the village of Mora and sent to Colonel Loring for assistance. Loring took every available trooper at the post to Mora on February 5, where he learned that Agent Carson had been sent for and was expected the next day. Loring decided to wait for Carson before taking any further action against the Utes. Loring had "ascertained beyond doubt that they have been killing stock in these settlements" and were "otherwise disposed to be troublesome." He thought they should be held to account and punished to prevent further trouble with them and to encourage the Jicarillas to remain peaceful. [164]

     Loring talked to the principal chief of the Ute camp, Ka-ni-ache, on February 6 and discovered that the presence of more troops had the desired effect. The chief promised to take his people home without further trouble. On February 7 the Utes were given some wheat that had been stored in Mora for them, and they were preparing to leave for Taos when Carson arrived. Carson "reiterated to them the necessity of moving at once" and accompanied them back to his agency. Not long after the Utes had left Mora a party of Jicarillas arrived there and reported to Loring that the Utes had "robbed them of their entire stock, between 50 and 100 horses." According to DuBois, the Utes who had wanted to fight but were overruled took out their frustrations by stealing the horses of the Jicarillas, "with whom they had been living for months as friends." Loring requested Carson to try to recover the horses and warned the Jicarillas not to commit hostile acts or the army would have to deal with them. The troops returned to Fort Union, leaving the agent to deal with the Utes and Jicarillas. "Thus ended," DuBois recorded, "the glorious campaign of 1859 against the Muwatche band of Utahs." Citizens who had complained to the army about the presence of the Utes in the Mora Valley were told that the army had sent the Indians back to their agency and they should make their objections known to the superintendent of Indian affairs in the territory. The division of authority between the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the army was frustrating to citizens as well as Indians. [165]

     Because of potential Indian troubles, few government survey parties traveled without a military escort in New Mexico. Captain John Pope, Topographical Engineers, who had accompanied Sumner to New Mexico in 1851, had been involved in a search for artesian water on the Llano Estacado for several years and, in 1859, was assigned to continue the search along routes of travel in New Mexico Territory. Second Lieutenant Christopher H. McNally, Regiment of Mounted Riflemen, was in charge of an escort assigned to Pope's expedition in the territory. The enlisted members of the escort were one sergeant, one corporal, and twenty privates from the garrison at Fort Union. These troops left Fort Union on February 11, 1859, to join Pope's expedition at Galisteo. In March Second Lieutenants DuBois and Claflin were sent with a detachment to Galisteo to bring the horses of the escort back to Fort Union. DuBois and Claflin left their detachment at Galisteo and made a four-day side trip to Santa Fe to "enter into the gayities," but DuBois was sick all the time they were there. They and their detachment arrived back at Fort Union with the horses on April 3. [166]

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