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march, hoping soon to
reach those we knew to be in distress, and who could only be saved by our coming. Getting through that canon at night was
a desperate undertaking, leaving the Indians entirely out of the question, and on looking at the breakneck places
afterwards by daylight, over which we had passed, it seemed a miracle that we succeeded in getting through without losing
all the wagons carrying the infantry, and some of the horsemen as well.
The cavalry was in the lead, but the " charioteers," as the infantry were called, followed close behind,
and on the down grade occasionally ran into the rear of the cavalry column. On the ascent the infantrymen jumped from
their wagons and pushed horses, wagons and all up the grades. On reaching the summit each party boarded its wagon, and, with
a cheer, away they went down the grade on the run. All were under so much of a strain that fatigue or sleep was not thought
of. Thus it was, up one hill and down another all night, and no light-artillerymen were ever more expert at mounting
their limbers, than these infantrymen in getting out of and into those wagons on the run.
Between 4 and 5 a. m. we reached a point about four miles
from the intrenchment, and at that hour saw a sight that made the blood run cold. A citizen wagon train, hauling supplies
to the agency,had been captured by the Indians, and every man belonging to it had been murdered, stripped, and partly
burned. As we had had no news from the front since leaving the railroad, this was something of a surprise, and as may be imagined,
at that hour in the morning, not a pleasant opening for the day. The wagon train, for the last few miles, had been stretching
out a little, but on reaching this spot it was observed that all intervals were rapidly closed up and kept closed. But
notwithstanding this depressing sight, some rude jokes were made, as usual, by the old soldiers in passing, and recruits
were made to fear that before another sun should rise they would be broiled in like manner.
General Merritt at this time was some distance ahead with the cavalry, and crossing the last hill he entered the
valley just at dawn of day. It was yet too dark, to see the intrenchment, but the column, while pressing on, was soon brought
to a halt by a challenge from the besieged. A trumpeter was then summoned and officers' call sounded. This brought all hands
to the top of the