The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

and vigilance of the settlers had generally many hours start; and if
the Indians were too closely pursued they scattered over a country
well known to them; they selected the most bushy and mountainous
route and it was not worth the pursuit to follow them under such
circumstances.
When an alarm of an Indian depredation came, the settlers started
out runners to the nearest settlement; then each man who was in-
formed gathered at the appointed place; he made but short prepara-
tion for pursuit-plenty powder and lead, some parched coffee,
a tin cup, a slice of bacon, a blanket or two for bedding, and he was
ready for pursuit; for his further sustenance he depended on game,
and for that of his horse on the prairie grass. After we were annexed,
the United States sent us troops for frontier protection, we had to
laugh at their inexperience-sending out infantry to protect a fron-
tier post, and even cavalry totally unacquainted with the country,
and habits and manners of fighting these prairie Indians was a use-
less expense to the United States and not much protection to 'Texas.
However, I do not wish to blame any of the officers of the regular
army; but circumstances alter cases; only the experienced frontiers-
man, also acquainted with the country, can furnish protection, and
even he may be foiled sometimes by the Indian.
X
Now I will resume a portion of the yet unwritten history of the
Santa Fe Expedition, till we met Geo. W. Kendall again; after that,
I will give a history of my own sufferings and experience in Mexico.
But before I begin with the latter, I will give the reader extracts
of Kendall's trip over the staked plains and the sufferings of the ioo
men under command of Capt. Sutton, till they reached the settle-
ments of New Mexico.
The next morning after the guides reached us, we broke camps,
left the eminence on which our camp was situated, crossed the
brackish running creek heretofore mentioned, and ascended a gentle
sloping hill opposite; reaching the top thereof we passed for a few
miles small clusters of mesquite trees; after that there was the vast
expanse of the table land, known as Staked Plains, before us. Our
Mexican guides with unerring aim brought our party at each day's
journey to one of nature's water tanks of fresh water.
I have traversed the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, but never
met such singular loneliness, as on the plains.
The ocean at least offers a variation of storm, gale or calms. The
ocean in its gentlest mood of calm, presents long swells having the
azure hue of the sky, while on these long waves, probably not higher
than three or four feet, there are little ripples, dolphins would play
around the ship, afar off perhaps flying fish might be seen keeping

442

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101196/. Accessed April 20, 2014.