Diary of Pedro Ignacio Gallego
Wherein 400 Soldiers Following the Trail of Comanches
Met William Becknell on his First Trip to Santa Fe

Michael L. Olsen and Harry C. Myers

This diary reproduced with permission of Wagon Tracks editor.
Wagon Tracks
Volume 7 November 1992 Number 1

     Michael Olsen is professor of history at New Mexico Highlands University at Las Vegas, and Harry Myers is superintendent of Fort Union National Monument. Both are acknowledged scholars of the Santa Fe Trail and frequent contributors to Wagon Tracks. Their discovery and preparation of this significant document is a substantial contribution to Trail historiography. They plan to gather more material about Captain Gallego and present that, along with the story of the discovery of the diary, at the 1993 SFT symposium.

     For over a century historians have speculated about the circumstances surrounding William Becknell's journey across the plains in 1821, including such issues as where he was heading and the route he followed into New Mexico. Almost exclusively they have relied on Becknell's own account of his trek. But other documentary evidence exists in the diary of Militia Urbana Captain Pedro Ignacio Gallego, who with his troops encountered Becknell's party near present Las Vegas, New Mexico, on November 13, 1821. This diary has lain untranslated and unappreciated in the Mexican Archives of New Mexico for over 100 years. It challenges some previously held views of Becknell and his expedition. It is presented here with a short introductory narrative, annotation of its salient points, and commentary on the precise geographical information it provides.

     William Becknell has been credited with being the "Father of the Santa Fe Trade," having initiated successful trading contact and the first legal commerce with New Mexico from the United States in 1821 and, the following year, opening a wagon route later known as the Santa Fe Trail between Missouri and New Mexico. This set in motion over a half century of commerce and cultural exchange between New Mexico and eastern trade centers and contributed to the acquisition of the region by the United States during the Mexican War. Gallego's diary, published here for the first time, sheds new light on Becknell's initial journey to Santa Fe.

     The summer of 1821 was a difficult one for New Mexico Governor Don Facundo Melgares. Navajo Indians beset the territory's scattered settlements from the west. In August, Comanche Indians from the eastern plains raided San Miguel del Vado. There were rumors of revolution in Mexico itself. To meet the Indian threat, MeIgares, fielded several companies of troops. [1] One was that under the command of Pedro Ignacio Gallego of Abiquiú. Originally dispatched against the Navajo, Gallego's company was redirected to investigate the plunder of San Miguel by Comanches. It was on November 13, 1821, while following the trail of these Indians, that Gallego met the Becknell party at Puertocito, on Piedra Lumbre Creek, just south of present Las Vegas.

On Nov. 13, 1821, Captain Gallego recorded: "Left Ojo de Bernal about 9 a.m. Followed the usual formation. About 3:30 p.m. encountered six Americans at the Puertocito de la Piedra Lumbre."

     Several important questions concerning Becknell's exploit continue to surface. For example, did Becknell have prior knowledge that Mexico was about to lift its trade restrictions (or knowledge of the Mexican revolution for independence from Spain which made the removal of trade prohibitions possible)? Trade had been closed to Americans and other outsiders with New Mexico and the rest of Spain's colonies until Mexican independence in September 1821. There was a question also about the route the Becknell party followed, especially from the Arkansas to the vicinity of present Las Vegas.

     Becknell, of course, was not the first American in the opening decades of the nineteenth century to attempt trade with New Mexico. That earlier expeditions had been accorded a less than cordial reception in Santa Fe was common knowledge on the Missouri frontier. Zebulon M. Pike, In 1806-1807, had been leading a military venture, so his fate may not have served a warning, but what of the party of James Baird and Robert McKnight, imprisoned in Mexico from 1812 to 1821? Or of Auguste P. Chouteau and Jules De Mun (also DeMunn), who during the summer of 1817 spent 48 days incarcerated on the plaza in Santa Fe and had $30,000 worth of their goods confiscated? [2] H. M. Chittenden, in his early landmark history of the fur trade, surmised, "The outrageous treatment of Chouteau and DeMunn in 1817, and the knowledge that a party of Americans (McKnight) even then were languishing in the dungeons of Chihuahua, seems to have deterred further adventure in that direction until the overthrow of Spanish power in Mexico in 1821." [3]

     In the face of such odds, why did Becknell think he would fare any better? The question of who in Missouri knew what about Mexican independence, and when they knew it, is unclear. Becknell, in advertising for companions with whom to mount an expedition, said only that he was headed westward. Consequently, historians have advanced several explanations. Josiah Gregg, in The Commerce of the Prairies (1844), took Becknell's advertisement at face value and asserted that he actually intended to trade with plains Indians and "accidentally" fell in with "a party of Mexican rangers." [4]

     Max Moorhead, who edited a later edition of Gregg's book, echoed Gregg in New Mexico's Royal Road (1958). In Moorhead's rendition, "Becknell . . . meant only to hunt, trap, capture wild horses, and barter with the Comanche." After ten weeks on the plains, Moorhead stated that Becknell and his men "happened upon a detachment of troops from New Mexico." This interpretation was long accepted, although Henry Inman, so notoriously inaccurate about so much of the lore of the Santa Fe Trail, concluded in his late 19th-century book that Becknell, after trading the previous year with the Comanche, "determined the next season to change his objective point to Santa Fe." [5]

     In his Opening the Santa Fe Trail (1971), Marc Simmons also advanced the view that Becknell planned all along to go to Santa Fe. In so doing he inaugurated contemporary debate on Becknell. Simmons concluded that, "an assessment of available evidence clearly shows that Captain Becknell intended from the very first to visit the New Mexico settlements." [6] As David J. Weber noted, with this essay "Simmons argues . . . an interesting new interpretation that subsequent writers cannot ignore." [7]

     Weber also contributed to the inquiry through his many perceptive publications on New Mexico and the Southwest. In one article, he attempted to determine the dates when the Spanish government in Santa Fe knew officially of Mexican independence and, hence, of the lifting of trade restrictions. [8] The last in a series of revolts against Spanish rule in Mexico came under Augustin de Iturbide early in 1821. Iturbide embodied his conservative vision of an independent Mexico in his Plan of Iguala, February 24, 1821. Weber noted that New Mexicans had some inkling of new rebellion in Mexico and the Plan of Iguala as early as May 1821. [9] By early September New Mexico had reports of wide spread support for Iturbide, though his forces did not occupy Mexico City until September 27. Chihuahua had joined the revolt during the summer and, under orders from Durango, Governor Melgares in Santa Fe administered an oath of loyalty to the new government on September 11. News of Iturbide's occupation of Mexico City reached Santa Fe by November 30, but Governor Melgares did nothing to mark independence until ordered to do so in a dispatch which he received on December 26. Meanwhile, Becknell arrived in Santa Fe on November 16, 1821.

     Becknell's biographer, Larry M. Beachum (writing in 1982), declared, without citing any document as proof, that in 1821 "Becknell was also aware that a new revolt had begun in Mexico." Beachum concluded that "Becknell's arrival in New Mexico seems to have been no accident; he prepared as thoroughly as possible with that end in mind." Whether hints of Mexican independence circulated in Missouri during the spring of 1821 might be determined by a close examination of regional newspapers. Simmons claimed that "between February 24 and the following June 25 when Becknell published his advertisement [for men to accompany him], more than sufficient time had elapsed for news to reach Missouri of the state of Mexican affairs." [10]

     Becknell, who left Franklin, Missouri, on September 1, was not the only trader to set out for New Mexico that year, suggesting some general conception of changing conditions in Santa Fe. An expedition under John McKnight and Thomas James headed down the Mississippi from St. Louis on May 10, and thence went up the Arkansas. This group arrived in Santa Fe two weeks after Becknell. Jacob Fowler and Hugh Glenn, with another party, left Glenn's trading house on the Verdigris River in east central Oklahoma on September 25 and reached southeastern Colorado in mid-November; from there Glenn and four companions went on to Taos and Santa Fe. [11]

     It is interesting to note that all of these men, Becknell included, had financial difficulties at the time. Simplistically put, trade with and trapping in New Mexico may have represented a chance for them to recoup their fortunes. They may have been desperate enough to take the risk of being rebuffed or even incarcerated in New Mexico. If that is the case, some of them did find treasure at the end of this particular rainbow.

     Beachum ascertained that "Becknell's financial problems culminated in at least five law suits . . . in late 1821 and the first months of 1822, all while he was on his westward journey." Thus, he concluded, "Becknell's journey west was clearly an act of desperation. He was hundreds of dollars in debt and his salt business was in ruins. . . . Everything he cherished was at stake." From a financial perspective, Becknell's first venture to Santa Fe brought relief Beachum noted that "Becknell returned from New Mexico with enough valuables to repay at least part of high debts." [12] The profit motive must have been an important factor in Becknell's first trip, as well as his second trip to Santa Fe in 1822.

     Weber advanced one further interpretation on the question of how those three parties that arrived in Santa Fe in late 1821 and early 1822 may have learned about Mexican independence. He suggested that all three may have encountered New Mexicans on the plains and thereby heard of the lifting of trade restrictions. In Becknell's case, however, Weber may have misread Becknell's journal. Becknell reported his first encounter with New Mexicans on November 13. As the Gallego diary indicates, this meeting was at Puertocito near present Las Vegas, not on the Arkansas as Weber would have it. [13]

     Another debatable aspect of Becknell's first trip to New Mexico, as noted above, has concerned the possible route the party followed. The Gallego diary is quite precise on locations concerning Becknell's party as far north as the Rio Colorado (Canadian River) in New Mexico. Gallego himself marched from Abiquiú to Bosque de Santo Domingo on the Rio Grande, then crossed to Galisteo and San Miguel del Vado. From there he traveled to Ojo de Bernal and Puertocito de la Piedra Lumbre, where he met Becknell. He and his men then attempted to trace Becknell's trail. They followed it north past the Mora and Sapello rivers but lost it at the Rio Colorado. This information, along with a careful reading of Becknell's journal, helps to better determine Becknell's route and, perhaps, to correct an error that has dominated Trail literature for more than 60 years.

     In 1930 Robert L. Duffus published a book, The Santa Fe Trail, a popular overview of the history of the route. While Duffus summarized in excellent prose the available information about the Trail, he also repeated some errors and made some uninformed suppositions. One of those suppositions was that Becknell's party had entered New Mexico via Raton Pass. [14] He apparently assumed that Becknell followed in 1821 what became known many years later as the Mountain Route of the Trail. Such a conclusion, however, was not consistent with either Becknell's journal or the landscape. Nor, is that conjecture consistent with the recently discovered Gallego's diary.

     Had Becknell crossed into New Mexico at Raton Pass, his journey to where he met Captain Gallego would most likely have been along the eastern side of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. There are several major problems with that routing. First, where Robert Duffus had Becknell crossing Raton Pass, Becknell in his journal [15] stated that he had insurmountable cliffs to ascend. On his way into Santa Fe on the same journey, Becknell says that he crossed mountainous country. Why did he, if he was at the Raton Mountains, say he only had cliffs to ascend?

     Becknell next said that two days later his band crossed the Canadian River, which also had rugged cliffs which they overcame with considerable difficulty. Two days south of the Raton Mountains would put Becknell's party at a location east of the Canadian River, where the only difficulty in crossing the river with horses was the quicksand in the river bottom. Perhaps Becknell had misidentified the Canadian and was actually crossing a different stream. The third problem is that, after surmounting the cliffs and crossing what he called the Canadian River, Becknell recorded that his party encamped a night without wood and water. That was unlikely if they did cross the Canadian, but it was possible if Becknell had labeled another river, as will be suggested below, as the Canadian. Given the terrain and other information gleaned from Becknell's journal, it is improbable that Becknell's party had come over Raton Pass.

     When the pieces do not all fit together, perhaps another route is more plausible. Because of the general nature of Becknell's journal, any suggested alternate routing must be somewhat speculative. But the available evidence strongly indicates that Becknell and his five men, if they were indeed headed for Santa Fe, took a route other than Raton Pass between the Arkansas River and Puertocito Piedra Lumbre. The following excerpts from Becknell's journal, accompanied by an innovative interpretation of the evidence of the way his party headed south from the Arkansas River, may shed some light on Becknell's route and, at the same time, set the stage for the significance of Gallego's diary.

Becknell Journal:
     "On the 21st we arrived at the forks of the river, and took the course of the left hand one. The cliffs became immensely high, and the aspect of the country is rugged, wild and dreary."

     Becknell, in preparation for his journey, met with others at the home of Ezekiel Williams. When employed by Manuel Lisa, [16] Williams had been out on the Plains and could give valuable advice. [17] But perhaps the only tangible and most valuable item Becknell could take to show the way would have been Zebulon M. Pike's "Chart of the Internal Part of Louisiana." This map was published with Pike's account in 1810. If Becknell's intention was to enter Santa Fe for trade, Pike's account of his 1807 adventures in Mexico and his description of the route would have been required reading. In fact, Jacob Fowler of the Glenn-Fowler expedition, hard on the heels of Becknell in 1821, was carrying either Pike's map or his book which included the map. [18]

     A comparison of Becknell's journal with Pike's map shows that both parties crossed to the south side of the Arkansas in the vicinity of Great Bend, Kansas, and continued up the river. A notation on Pike's map stated: "Above the first Fork of the Arkansaw the bank becomes very rough which altho' narrow (the fork) carries a quantity of water of a red colour, and is the left branch of the Arkansaw, which connects with the Red River of the Mississippi, which is extremely easy distinguishable in ascending; as from a few miles above nearly in a parallel line, is a high Ridge bearing off at right angles from the main River." [19] Becknell, describing his course, used terms similar to those of Pike. This first fork or left branch, was the Purgatoire River. [20] Becknell headed south up the Purgatoire River, it being the left branch of the Arkansas. He kept to the left, following Chacuaco Creek, a tributary of the Purgatoire. On October 26 the group saw large flocks of mountain sheep which were described in the journal. Then they encountered the cliffs.

Becknell Journal:
     "We had now some cliffs to ascend, which presented difficulties almost insurmountable, and we were laboriously engaged nearly two days in rolling away large rocks, before we attempted to get our horses up, and even then one fell and was bruised to death."

     As the cliffs lining the creek began to close in, Becknell realized he had to get out of the creek valley. Only the year before, Major Stephen Long and his party, on an exploring expedition to determine the sources of the Red River, went up Chacuaco Creek to where they "arrived at a part of the valley beyond which it was found impossible to penetrate." [21] Longs party had to backtrack and were finally able with great difficulty to emerge from the canyon. Becknell apparently had the same experience.

Becknell Journal:
     "At length we had the gratification of finding ourselves on the open plain; and two days travel brought us to the Canadian fork, whose rugged cliffs again threatened to interrupt our passage, which we finally effected with considerable difficulty."

     Once out of the canyon of Chacuaco Creek, there is indeed a plain which is fairly level. Depending on where a party left the creek and how many miles it traveled per day, it was possible to spend two days traveling to the Dry Cimarron River. Becknell apparently came to the Dry Cimarron and called it the Canadian, an error that had been made before. Edwin James, a member of the 1820 Stephen H. Long exploring expedition, had called the Dry Cimarron "the most remote sources of the great northern tributary of the Canadian river." [22] If the Long party misnamed the Dry Cimarron, Becknell could have made the same mistake. John M. Tucker, in his description of Long's route, related (with a quotation from the report) the difficulties that party had in crossing the Dry Cimarron: They "arrived at the cliff bounding the south side of the valley at a distance of 3 miles from their camp. This 'mural barrier' they found impassable 'except at particular points, where it is broken by ravines. One of these we were fortunate in finding without being compelled to deviate greatly from our course, and climbing its rugged declivity, we emerged upon the broad expanse of the high plain.'" [23] Thus Long's difficulty in crossing the Dry Cimarron was matched by Becknell's difficulty in crossing the Dry Cimarron and each called it the Canadian. [24]

Becknell Journal:
     "Nov. 1st, we experienced a keen northwest wind, accompanied with some snow. Having been now traveling about fifty days . . . our horses are so reduced that we only travel from eight to fifteen miles per day. We found game scarce near the mountains, and one night encamped without food or water. On the 4th, and several subsequent days, found the country more level and pleasant discovered abundance of iron ore, and saw many wild horses."

     Traveling southwest from the crossing of the Dry Cimarron, Becknell and his party would have passed through an area of old volcanoes, lava flows, and intrusive peaks. Such features would include Sierra Grande, Capulin Volcano, Laughlin Peak, Palo Blanco Peak, Eagle Tail Mountain, Tinaja Peak, Sugar Loaf Mountain, and Johnson Mesa-Raton Mountains in the northern background. In this area there are places where wood was scarce and, in November, some creeks were dry. They probably crossed the Canadian River north of the Rock Crossing (or possibly at the Rock Crossing itself), heading for the Sangre de Cristo Mountains which would have been in sight for several days. The mountains would have been a natural target, since Becknell and his men knew they would have to cross this range to reach Santa Fe. It is also likely that they were looking for the "gap" in the mountains and the trail which would lead them to Taos and on to Santa Fe.

Becknell Journal:
     "After several days' descent towards Rock river, on Monday the 12th we struck a trail, and found several other indications which induced us to believe that the inhabitants had here herded their cattle and sheep. Timber, consisting of pine and cottonwood, is more plentiful than we have found it for some time."

     Becknell's Rock River was most likely the modern Canadian River. He does not mention crossing Rock River in 1821, but the next year, when bringing wagons across the Trail, he reported that the 'greatest difficulty was in the vicinity of Rock river, where we were under the necessity of taking our waggons up some high and rocky cliffs by hand." Gregg's 1844 Map of the Indian Territory, which was included in Commerce of the Prairies, shows the routing of the "First wagon Route to Santa Fe" [25] That route cut south from Cold Spring, passed south of Rabbit Ears, crossed Ute Creek, and crossed the Canadian in the vicinity of what is now Conchas Lake. There are deep canyons along both Ute Creek and the Canadian. However, the most likely candidate for Becknell's "Rock River" is the Canadian. And, although Gregg is not always completely accurate, a crossing here was indicated by the Marmaduke Journal of 1824. [26] The crossing in the vicinity of present Conchas Lake was a traditional gateway to the plains long before Becknell came through, and a road crossed there as late as 1877. [27] That he crossed it farther upstream in 1821 was, perhaps, an indication that Becknell, as he should have, recognized the Canadian both above and below its great canyon.

     The corridor through which Becknell traveled between the Arkansas River and the point where he met Gallego had been used before. In 1706, Juan de Ulibarri on his way to El Cuartelejo crossed the Dry Cimarron in the same vicinity as did Long and Becknell. In 1804 and again in 1805, Pedro Vial on his way to the Pawnee Villages forded the Dry Cimarron in the same vicinity. [28] The Hugh Glenn-Jacob Fowler and Thomas James expeditions, which arrived in Santa Fe in 1821 on the heels of Becknell, joined together to journey home in 1822. They left from Taos, passed through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and headed northeast. They skirted the mesas at the head waters of the Dry Cimarron, forded the Purgatoire, and camped on Chacuaco Creek, before heading northeast across the country. Thus, if Becknell asked Ezekiel Williams how to get to Santa Fe (which he surely did if he intended to go there), Williams might have told him to follow the Arkansas River, take the left fork and keep to the left branch, cross the Canadian (Dry Cimarron) fork and head southwest to the mountains, follow a creek to the gap in the mountains, and cross over to Taos. The corridor through which Becknell and his men probably passed into New Mexico had been in use for over a hundred years. [29]

     By November 13, 1821, Becknell, a desperate man with dreams of riches in Santa Fe, had brought his small party of tired, dirty, and discouraged men into the province of New Mexico. On that day they met New Mexican troops under command of Militia Urbana Captain Pedro Ignacio Gallego. Gallego's brief diary of his activities, so long buried, reveals a new perspective and additional details on that historic encounter and the opening of the Santa Fe trade.

Pedro Ignacio Gallego Diary [30]
     A diary kept by Captain of the Militia Urbana, [31] Don Pedro Ignacio Gallego, [32] of an expedition undertaken at the command of the political chief of the Province of New Mexico, Governor Don Facundo Melgares, commencing at the Plaza of San Raphael de Abiquiú, [33] from the day indicated in the present year, November 2, 1821.

     2 . . . At about 3 a.m. on this morning, in obedience to superior orders, the horses, kept according to instructions, were rounded up and prepared for the march, with the company of 148 men under my command. These men include those who should observe general written orders given by the commanders of the various company divisions, and men appointed for service, assigned as follows: Company No. 1, militia men and citizens from Canada, [34] to guard the cattle, under the command of Second Lieutenant Don Jose Manuel Salazar; Company No. 2, 25 men from the central Rio Arriba, [35] acting as vanguard. The company halted at the Cuesta del Cuerpo Espin [36] a little after 5 p.m. Nothing further occurred. At 6p.m. the Alcalde, Don Jose Jaramillo, appeared with 63 men. Nothing more happened.

     3 . . . Departed from the Cuesta del Cuerpo Espin at about 5 a.m. The company proceeded in the accustomed manner unill about 6 p.m. and halted at the Vallecito de los Indios. [37] Nothing further to report.

     4 . . . Began marching from the Vallecito de los lndios about 4 a.m. Traveled in the usual formation to the Pueblo of Xemez, [38] stopping at about 5 p.m. Nothing further to report. A soldier, Jose Francisco Sanchez, of the militia company from San Buenaventura, [39] presented himself with an official communication from Governor Don Facundo Melgares, [40] requesting that I proceed to El Vado [41] with my company. [42] Nothing more to report.

     5 . . . Began marching from the Pueblo of Xemez in the direction of El Vado in compliance with the order from Governor Don Facundo Melgares, dated October 29, 1821. Halted at the Bosque of Santo Domingo [43] a little after 3 p.m. About 4 p.m. Manuel Chávez, commander of the company from Rio Arriba, informed me that a member of his company, Diego Gonzales, wounded José Lucero by throwing a hat at him. I sent the Second Lieutenant of the Militia Urbana, Don José Manuel Salazar, and the Corporal of the company of volunteer militia, Miguel Quintana, to look at the wound. They swore to me and said that having thrown the hat, Diego Gonzales then punctured José Lucero in the chest with the point of a flint. Diego Gonzales turned himself in to the Sergeant José Maria Sandoval and was arrested and imprisoned.

     6 . . . Began marching from the Bosque of Santo Domingo about 5 a.m. Left behind two sick people, the citizen wounded by Diego Gonzales and an Indian from Santa Clara who is ill. Turned them over to Diego Martin, a citizen of Cañada, with orders to keep them in his care or turn them over to the Alcalde [44] of Cañada. Halted at Gallsteo [45] at about 4 p.m. Nothing further to report.

     7 . . . Left Galisteo at about 4 a.m. in the usual manner and with the usual arrangement of the company. Halted at about 8 a.m. in the Cañon de San Cristobal de Sortiada. [46] Resumed marching at about 2 p.m., stopping at the Mesa del Ojo de la Baca. [47] Nothing further to report.

     8 . . . Left the Mesa del Ojo de la Baca at about 6 a. m. and halted at about 2 p.m. at Poblacion del Vado. [48] Nothing further to report.

     9 . . . At Poblacion del Vado. About noon we were reunited with companies from Jemez, Alameda [49] -- with 77 men, and Santa Fe -- with 45 men. Nothing further occurred the rest of this day. Later we were reunited with 50 cavalrymen of the garrison.

     10 . . . At Poblacion del Vado. On this day I relieved from duty 20 men of the cavalry garrison.

     11 . . . Halted this day at Poblacion del Vado awaiting orders. Nothing further to report.

     12 . . . About noon I ordered all the cavalrymen to assemble in the Plaza, to march into the wilderness [50] with my company, consisting of a force of 445 men: 123 armed with guns and the rest with bows and arrows. [We had] 356 pack animals. I gave general orders to the commanders of the various companies. Halted at Ojo de Bernal [51] at about 4 p.m. Nothing further occurred. [52]

     13 . . . Left Ojo de Bernal about 9 a.m. Followed the usual formation. About 3:30 p.m. encountered six Americans at the Puertocito de la Piedra Lumbre. [53] They parleyed with me and at about 4 p.m. we halted at the stream at Piedra Lumbre. [54] Not understanding their words nor any of the signs they made, I decided to return to El Vado, in the service of your excellency. [55] At this point Vicente Villanueva [56] presented himself. Nothing further occurred.

Becknell Journal:
     "On Tuesday morning the 13th, we had the satisfaction of meeting with a party of Spanish troops. Although the difference of our language would not admit of conversation, yet the circumstances attending their reception of us, fully convinced us of their hospitable disposition and friendly feelings. Being likewise in a strange country, and subject to their desposition, our wishes lent their aid to increase our confidence in their manifestations of kindness. The discipline of the officers was strict, and the subjection of the men appeared almost servile. We encamped with them that night, and the next day about 1 o'clock, arrived at the Village of St. Michael, the conduct of whose inhabitants gave us grateful evidence of civility and welcome."

     14 . . . This day about 1:30 a.m. Vicente Villanueva presented himself to me with five citizens of El Vado, to serve as an interpreter. Learning nothing new I left them [the Americans] with him, to present themselves to your excellency. [57] then, at about 6 a.m. I resumed my march, separating a party of 100 men under Corporal Lucero, [58] with the intention of following the trail of the Americans. Halted at about 3 p.m. at the Cañon del Pecos [59] and at about 4 p.m. the party under Corporal Lucero returned, having lost the trail of the Americans at the falls of the Rio del Sapello. [60] Nothing further occurred.

     15 . . . Left the Cañon del Pecos at about 5 a.m, in good order, detaching a party at 100 men under Corporal Lucero with orders to follow the trail of the foreigners. Halted at about 4 p.m. at the point where the Rio Sapello joins with the Mora. [61] A little after 4 p.m. the party under Corporal Lucero rejoined us; he traced the trail of the foreigners to a point below the Sierra de la Gallina [62] The trail of the "hostiles" [Indians] who threaten us runs in a northerly direction to the gap in the Sierra de Taos. [63] Nothing further occurred.

     16 . . . Began marching this day about 6 a.m., separating the party of 100 men under Corporal Lucero with orders to follow the trail of the foreigners. Halted at about 4p.m at the Rito del Capulin, [64] where Corporal Lucero was camped with his detachment. He lost the trail at the Rio Colorado. [65] At the ford of the Rito del Capulin I noticed traces of the Indians who attacked El Vado.

     17 . . . Left El Rito del Capulin at about 5 a.m., dividing the men with the horses under Sergeant Antonio Garcia, with orders to cut across the land to where the foreigners might have come through. [66] Halted at El Aguague del Lobo [67] at about 4 p.m., where I again encountered traces of the same Indians who plundered El Vado. At about 5 p.m. we reunited with the detachment under the Sergeant mentioned above, who did not find evidence of the trail. Nothing further occurred.

     18 . . . Left El Aguague del Lobo at about 6 a.m., dividing a party of 150 infantry under Juan Lucero ordering him to go up the Mesa de Rayado [68] to identify all the places where the Indians might hide. Halted at El Ojo de la Mesa de Rayado [69] about noon. About 6 p.m. we reunited with the party under Corporal Lucero, who did not find any sign of the Indians on the mesa. Nothing further to report.

     19 . . . Left El Ojo de la Mesa de Rayado at about 5 a.m. Reunited the whole company and halted on the Rio Colorado [70] at about 4 p.m., where I encountered the trail of the Indians. Nothing further to report.

     20 . . . Left the Rio Colorado at 6 a.m. in the direction of the Sierra Grande, [71] following the trail of the Indians, and halted at Los Cerritos del Aire [72] about 4 p.m. Nothing further to report.

     21 . . . Left Los Cerritos del Aire about 5 a.m. Traveled one league; about half way the Sergeant of the rear guard came and reported two animals were worn out. About 2 H leagues further on the commander of the company from Rio Abajo, [73] Don Eutivio Real, presented himself, asking permission to hunt some buffalo which could be seen at the edge of the river. [74] Forty men went on the hunt and provided the camp royally with meat. After traveling about 4 leagues, we lost the trail halfway between the Sierra Grande and the Jicara. [75]
Used With Permission From:
Leo Oliva, WT editor

     The remainder of the diary is missing from the Archives.

"Observations by Marc Simmions"
Back to Research Articles

Santa Fe Trail Research Site

Santa Fe Trail Research Site
"E-Mail & Home Page"
Larry & Carolyn
St. John, Ks.
© "Forever"