The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 58, July 1954 - April, 1955 Page: 37
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The Expedition of Major Neighbors to El Paso in 1849 37
the expedition stemmed from the considerations that, "In addi-
tion to the necessity of acquiring correct knowledge of the coun-
try, it is important that, the Indians through whose hunting-
grounds the trains for El Paso must pass, should be advised of
the movements and intentions of our troops."5
It was no easy matter to open communications with El Paso.
The Spaniards had traversed the region at various times but
failed to maintain regular communications. When going from
San Antonio to Santa Fe, a long circuitous route was ordinarily
taken far to the south, then to the north, thus avoiding the
Great Plains., The Texans also had failed to open a route. The
Texan Santa Fe Expedition ended in disaster. When Colonel
John Coffee Hays tried to reach El Paso in 1848, his guide be-
came lost, and after suffering many hardships, Hays's party reached
Presidio del Norte, Chihuahua.7 The early death of some of
Hays's men was later attributed to the privations suffered on
the trip, and Hays himself suffered from rheumatism thereafter
as a result.8 A Doctor Wham who went insane and "rode off in a
fury" one night, was lost in the black ravines. Captain Samuel
Highsmith, who escorted Hays's party, succumbed to an attack of
influenza shortly after returning.0 In the Davis Mountains be-
fore he reached Fort Leaton,11 Lieutenant Whiting was threatened
with annihilation by Gomez, the fierce Apache chief. According
to newspaper reports, a government wagon train, which left by
another route after Neighbors started, broke down and was ex-
pected to take months to reach El Paso.12
Neighbors left San Antonio, passed through Austin, where
Doctor John S. Ford indicated his desire to join him, and
proceeded up to Barnard and Torrey's Trading House. There was
sNeighbors to Medill, March 18, 1849 (Indian Office Letters Received, National
Archives; photostats, Archives, University of Texas Library. Hereafter referred to as
I. O. L. R.) .
6Walter Prescott Webb, The Great Plains (New York, 1931), 118.
7Hays to Bell, Northern Standard, February to, 1849.
8J. D. Affleck, History of John C. Hays (transcript, Archives, University of Texas
Library), Part II, 748.
oSamuel A. Maverick, Chihuahua Expedition (MS., Archives, University of Texas
lONorthern Standard, February 17, 1849, p. 2.
11Whiting to Totten, June lo, 1849, House Executive Documents, 31st Cong., 1st
Sess. (Serial No. 569), Document No. 5, pp. 284-287.
12Texas Democrat (Austin), August 4, 1849.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 58, July 1954 - April, 1955, periodical, 1955; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101158/m1/56/: accessed October 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.