Forty years at El Paso, 1858-1898; recollections of war, politics, adventure, events, narratives, sketches, etc., by W. W. Mills. Page: 55 of 163
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FORTY YEARS AT EL PASO.
for one last desperate charge. On they came, on foot,
a mass of wild men, without order and apparently without
command, with rifles, shotguns, pistols and all kinds
of arms, and yelling like demons. Colonel Roberts saw
the danger and ordered me to bring all the strength
possible to charge their flank as they neared the battery.
I found Major Duncan with his cavalry in an advantageous
position, and gave him the order, but again
he failed to obey. Turning to Captain Wingate, with
his two companies of infantry, he responded promptly
and was immediately on the jump. But he was soon
mortally wounded, and Stone, his second officer, being
killed, the movement was checked.
I returned to the battery. The small support was
giving away; Canby, whose horse had been shot, was
on foot. He had taken a musket from a retreating soldier
and was urging the men to re-form and charge.
It was too late. The battery worked on to the last
moment. Captain McRae and his first lieutenant, Michler,
were killed at their guns. Bell, the second lieutenant,
was wounded. Of the ninety-three men belonging
to the battery less than forty escaped. The contest was
now ended, but notwithstanding this disaster, we retired
to the post "with the regularity of a dress parade."
Considering the numbers actually engaged, Valverde
was one of the best fought and one of the most sanguinary
conflicts of the war, the mortality on either side
being near one hundred. Five officers of the regular
army, McRae, Michler, Wingate, Stone and Bascom,
were killed in that fight. I admired General Canby
(since treacherously murdered by the Modocs) alike for
his courage as for his amiable character, but I believe
that if Colonel Roberts had been left to carry out his
plans that day Valverde would have been a Union vic
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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/m1/55/?q=Forty%20Years%20at%20El%20Paso,%201858-1898:%20Recollections%20of%20War,%20Politics: accessed January 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .