Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 9, Number 2, May, 1999 Page: 103
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Reminiscences of the Old Brigade
time shall last.
We have seen these men cheerfully start in
mid-winter on a campaign over arid plains and
bleak mountains, well-knowing that disaster and
ruin would result, yet willing to sacrifice them-
selves upon the altar of their country; we have
seen them in an open plain face, and after a
desperate struggle, route and drive in terror,
confusion and dismay, from the field an army
of more than four times their number; we have
seen them in a rugged mountain pass, scale
cliffs, climb the mountain side, crawl through
deep, thick brush, and drive in terror from their
own chosen stronghold, more than three times
their number; we have seen them face and
boldly offer battle to more than eight times their
number; we have seen them five times engaged
in battle with the foe, always engaging more
than three times their number, yet always vic-
torious and holding every battlefield; we have
seen them wearily on their march, shivering
with cold, parched with thirst and pinched with
hunger, yet always presenting a firm, undaunted
front to the foe; pacing in rags and tatters, their
weary beat through the long, tedious hours of
the night, with bare-foot, the cold, frozen, ice-
covered ground. "Found dead on post" and
froze to death last night," are sounds we have
often heard, as a poor, stiff, lifeless body was
brought into camp, the dauntless spirit having
gone to sleep with the true, and to rest with the
All these things we have seen, and they
speak volumes for the courage, heroism and
patriotism of these men. But now we are to see
them perform deeds and undergo sufferings that
utterly eclipse all other sufferings, acts and
We left Albuquerque on our retreat with
ten days half rations of bread and coffee, and it
was the intention of our leaders to move rap-
idly down the Rio Grande and pass Fort Craig,
and meet Steel with our provisions before the
enemy, who have been closing their different
armies upon us, could divine our object or in-
tercept our march.
But the events of Paralto have disclosed the
fact to our leaders, which they ought to have
known at first, that we have a wise and vigilant
foe, who is keeping a close watch on our every
move. But whether they have become convinced
of that soon enough for us to derive any benefit
from it, the future must reveal.
After the enemy returned from the field at
Paralto, Col. Green ordered me to get the wag-
ons all ready to move by dark, and to keep
everything secret, and to permit no noise among
the teamsters. I immediately put the wagon mas-
ters to getting their wagons ready to march,
and told them of the necessity for silence and
secrecy. At dark Col. Green told me to move
the wagons out and get them across the river
before day, as everything depended on that. I
moved them out down to the ford, and com-
menced crossing them, but the river was swol-
len, the quick-sand deep, and the crossing te-
dious, as we had to take hold of the wheels and
push to enable the mules to pull through. In
this work I was ably and generously assisted
by "Old Gotch," who at the wheels that night
in that cold water showed that he was the "wheel
horse." The weather was extremely cold, slush
and ice in the river, yet we were in it from 8
o'clock p. m. of the 15th, to 6 o'clock a. m. of
the 16th. At 5 o'clock the army commenced
crossing and marched by the wagons in the
river. At sun-up we rolled the last wagon up
the west bank of the river, just as the enemy's
advance guard reached the east bank. We pro-
ceeded down to Los Lunas, where we got break-
fast and dried our clothing.
Getting breakfast, we marched down the
river valley on the west side of the river, the
enemy's advance guard halting when we halted,
and moving when we moved.
On the 17th we started on the march very
early, still keeping down the Rio Grande. As
soon as the god of day had dispensed with the
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 9, Number 2, May, 1999, periodical, May 1999; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151406/m1/55/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed November 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.