Forty years at El Paso, 1858-1898; recollections of war, politics, adventure, events, narratives, sketches, etc., by W. W. Mills. Page: 48 of 163
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FORTY YEAkS AT EL PASO.
He came, but received no encouragement at Fillmore,
and learning of my arrest and being in danger of rebels
at Mesilla, he attempted to make his way toward California.
He went in the mail coach with a party of six
other young men, all well armed.
At Cook's canyon, about one hundred miles west of
Mesilla, they were attacked by a large body of Apache
Indians under Mangas Coloradas, "Bloody Sleeves,"
and one of the most desperate frontier fights on record
ensued. It appears that our friends had time to gain
the top of a little hill and build a stone breastwork
about two feet high, inclosing a space about twelve feet
square. A freighter, Mr. Deguere, who passed the
scene a few days later with his wagons, found and buried
the bodies and found everywhere the evidences of
a terrible struggle. Under a stone, on the top of the
wall, he found a pencil note, dated July 23d, I86I,
stating that they had been fighting two days; had killed
many Indians; that all were now killed or wounded except
two; that they were out of water and would try
to escape that night. I have visited the scene of this
conflict. A tree, not more than ten inches in diameter,
about one hundred yards from the fortification, has
many marks of bullets evidently discharged from inside
the wall. I give a list of the names of these brave men,
the extent of whose daring and suffering can never be
known in this strange life of ours. They were: Emmett
Mills, Freeman Thomas, Joe Roacher, M. Champion,
John Pontel, Bob Avlin and John Wilson. All were
killed. The Indians who sold their arms and watches in
Mexico said that they lost forty warriors in the fight.
The newspaper containing this sad account was thrown
to me through the window of my prison.
It was about this time that I stood at the door of the
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Mills, William W. Forty years at El Paso, 1858-1898; recollections of war, politics, adventure, events, narratives, sketches, etc., by W. W. Mills., book, 1901; Chicago. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6112/m1/48/?q=Forty%20Years%20at%20El%20Paso,%201858-1898:%20Recollections%20of%20War,%20Politics: accessed August 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .