The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 43, July 1939 - April, 1940 Page: 357
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Eighty-six Hours Without Water on the Texas Plains 357
brought into camp at Double Lakes that a band of hostile Indians
had recently been seen passing Dry Lake; Captain Nolan forth-
with prepared to follow them, and broke up camp at 1 P. M.
July 26th. The Indian trail was struck west of Dry Lake, and
pursued until dark, being then no longer discernible. The guide
in anxiety to keep the Indian trail, had neglected his landmarks,
and was unable to find water when the halt was sounded. The
party was compelled therefore to make a "dry camp" and so pass
the night. On leaving Double Lake, each man's canteen had been
filled, but in consequence of the intense heat they were emptied
in the early part of the march, and what little water Dry Lake
contained was so strongly alkaline that neither man nor beast
could drink it.
At dawn the trail was again taken up and followed perseveringly,
not only with a view of capturing the Indians but also with hopes
that it might conduct them to some lake or water hole. Their
course lay over a gently undulating country, the soil dry, mostly
of a reddish color, covered with bunches of short grass, here and
there a stunted mesquite bush, ten or fifteen inches high, and
occasional twigs of scrub oak of similar size. The heat was ex-
cessive-"coup de soleil" had prostrated two men, and all were
suffering severely from thirst.
Towards sunset the trail commenced to spread breaking into a
multitude of ill-defined tracks, rendering further pursuit useless,
and the chase was given up. Men had been thrown out on the
flanks all day to seek for water and for the same purpose, the
guide explored every valley and depression in view. Matters were
assuming a grave aspect; many were faint and exhausted; some
fell from their saddles. The horses needed water equally with
their riders. After adopting all customary methods to extricate
his command from this critical position, Captain Nolan finally
mounted the guide on his private horse, a tough animal, and
ordered him to traverse the country, ranging wherever he thought
it possible to find water. This guide was never seen afterwards;
Captain Nolan awaited for a time his return, and then determined
to fall back upon Double Lakes, which were supposed to be 75
or 100 miles distant where he felt confident of obtaining water.
Another day was drawing to a close, and as night came on,
advantage was taken of the cooler atmosphere, and every nerve
was strained to reach Double Lakes.
The next day found them still marching onwards, and the mid-
tropical heat causing great suffering. The desire for water now
became uncontrollable. The most loathsome fluid would now have
been accepted to moisten their swollen tongues and supply their
inward craving. The salivary and mucous secretions had long
been absent, their mouths and throats were so parched that they
could not swallow the Government hard bread; after being masti-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 43, July 1939 - April, 1940, periodical, 1940; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101111/m1/381/: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.