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feet, and blood, in many instances, marked their progress through the day's work. Beyonp the Sierra Carmel the river seemed to pass through an almost interminable succession of mountains: cañon succeeded cañon; the valleys, which alone had afforded some slight chances foi rest and refreshment, had become so narrow and devoid of vegetation that it was quite a task to find grass sufficient for the mules. At a point some few miles below Sierra Carmel, it was supposed that a better pathway could be found on the Mexican side of the river. Just above the entrance of the river into a small cañon a place was chosen, which seemed to afford the most feasible opportunity for fording the river. With great difficulty the whole train was passed over without loss. With this slight interruption, the line of survey was carried on until it reached a point since shown to be about one hundred and twenty-five miles above the mouth of the Pecos. Here the work was suspended, owing to the failure of provisions and the means of transportation on the river. With the whole party we passed down on the Mexican side through the town of Santa Rosa, and arrived at Fort Duncan after a long and tedious journey. It is but proper, in justice to Messrs. Thompson and Phillips, the gentlemen associated with me as assistants, to mention their names as an expression of my appreciation of their exertions. To Mr. Phillips, for his able assistance and unvarying industry, I feel especially indebted.
I have forborne any but an incidental allusion to the difficulties of the survey under my charge, leaving it for yourself, so well acquainted with the character of the country gone over, to appreciate these difficulties, and thus excuse any deficiencies that may have occurred in the work. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. T. W. CHANDLER, Assistant in charge of party U. S. and Mexican Boundary Commission. Major WM. H. EMORY,
Chief Astronomer and Surveyor U. S. and Mexican Boundary Commission.
PRESIDIO DEL NORTE.
We arrived in front of the Presidio del Norte July 8, 1852, and found watermelons ripe and the corn in tassel. The town, isolated and very remote from any other settlement, had been suffering from famine. The Indians had run off most of the cattle, and the drought for the three preceding years had caused a failure in the corn.
The Presidio is a miserably built mud town, situated upon a gravelly hill overlooking the junction of the Conchos and the Rio Bravo—the latter called here the Rio Puerco, no doubt from the contrast of its muddy waters with those of the Conchos, which, except during freshets, is limpid. The town, which contains about eight hundred souls, is one of the oldest Spanish settlements in northern Mexico; but from the barrenness of the soil, an attempt is making to settle a military colony forty miles higher up the Rio Bravo, where the land is supposed to be better adapted to agriculture.
The church is within the walls of the Presidio, or fort, and contains one or two paintings of a better class than are usually found disfiguring the walls of frontier churches. In almost every house is found, in addition to the cross, a figure of our Saviour, which is sometimes so very grotesque that piety itself cannot divest it of its ridiculous appearance.
These customs, however, are a source of comfort and happiness in prosperity and in adversity, in youth and in old age. They fill the imagination and give occupation to the idle, as the light literature of the day serves the more cultivated races. The padre who presides over the church in this district was by nature intended for the military profession. Brave, frank, handsome, and energetic, he is the leading spirit in every foray against the Indians, and is. by no means an insignificant person in the trade of the place. He bears on his person more than one wound received in battle. In the present isolated and defenceless state of the Presidio, this gentleman is nevertheless as good a spiritual and temporal adviser as could be desired.
The relations between the Indians of this region and several of the Mexican towns, particularly San Carlos, a small town twenty miles below, are peculiar, and well worth the attention of both the United States and Mexican governments. The Apaches are usually at war with the people of both countries, but have friendly leagues with certain towns, where they trade and receive supplies of arms, ammunition, &c., for stolen mules. This is undoubtedly the case with the people of San Carlos, who also have amicable relations with the Comanches, who make San Carlos a depôt of arms in their annual excursions into Mexico. While at the Presidio we had authentic accounts of the unmolested march through Chihuahua, towards Durango, of four hundred Comanches under Bajo Sol. It seems that Chihuahua, not receiving the protection it was entitled to from the central government of Mexico, made an independent treaty with the Comanches, the practical effect of which was to aid and abet the Indians in their war upon Durango.
In the fall of 1851 I had the honor of entertaining at my camp the excellent and reverend Bishop Leamy, who was then on his return from a visit to the Bishop of Durango, to adjust the territorial limits of their respective dioceses to make them conform to the altered boundaries of New Mexico and Texas. He stated as his opinion, that the wealthy State of Durango must soon be depopulated by the Indians. Haciendas within a few leagues of the city, that once numbered one hundred thousand animals, are now abandoned.
This condition of things, together with the three years' drought, had overwhelmed the inhabitants of that State, and had driven them to unmanly despair. On the occasion of a great fiesta in the city of Durango, where no less than ten thousand people were assembled in and around the plaza, the cry was heard of Los Indios ! Bajo Sol! and in a very short time every one had retreated to his house, leaving no one to face the enemy. The enemy, however, did not appear on the occasion, for it turned out to be a false alarm.
66 Bajo Sol” is the title assumed by a bold Comanche, who, as his name signifies, claims to be master of everything under the sun. His name, which strikes dismay into every heart throughout Durango, is mentioned only in a whisper. I have never seen the villain or heard his name on the American side, where he probably takes another soubriquet; but I did meet one of his lieutenants, who, I have no doubt, was in all respects a worthy disciple. I give here a sketch of this rascal, by Mr. Schciv: He called himself “Mucho Toro,” and represented himself as a Comanche, but he was evidently an escaped Mexican peon. It was in the fall of 1851, in making a rapid march across the continent, escorted by only fifteen soldiers under Lieut. Washington, as we approached the Comanche springs after a long journey without water, that we discovered grazing near the spring quite one thousand animals, divided into three different squads. As we approached we could see with the naked eye a party of thirty or forty warriors drawn up on the hill overlooking the spring. I considered it inevitable to fight, or die with thirst; so, without making a halt, the men were deployed to the right and left of the wagons as light
infantry, and the whole moved rapidly towards the water. A flag was raised by the Indians, which was answered by Lieut. Washington and two others riding forward ; but believing it a ruse to divide our forces, or give time to deliberate, I quickened the speed of the column, so as to keep Lieut. Washington under cover of our fire ; so that we reached the ground and got within pistol-shot of the water before we halted to talk. A man was sent to the top of the hill with a spy-glass to look back, as if additional force was expected. We promptly corraled our wagons near the water, and put ourselves, without appearing to do so, in a good position to fight. We succeeded, without so stating, in producing the impression that we were only the advanced guard of a large force which would come on the next day, and possibly that night. We assumed all the air of the superior party, staid eighteen hours on the ground, and moved off the next day, as if we had a regiment to back us.
The party were Kioways and Comanches, returning from a foray into Mexico with nearly one thousand animals. “Mucho Toro," the chief of this party, who spoke Spanish well, stated he had purchased his animals in Mexico, and that he was but the advanced party of several hundred warriors, who were close behind him. We desired very much to attack the party, but our force was too small, and we were three hundred miles from support. The next day, when crossing the dividing ridge between the Comanche and Leon springs, we discovered the dust rising from the trail which crossed our road as far as the eye could reach, leaving no doubt of the truth of “ Mucho Toro’s” statement, that his was but the advanced party of “Bajo Sol's"? four hundred men. The following summer we found that such a party had passed out of Mexico over this road.
“Mucho Toro” paid me a visit in full dress, on which occasion he displayed great humility, exhibiting conspicuously on his person an immense silver cross, which he stated had been given him by the Bishop of Durango when he was converted to Christianity. He had, no doubt,