Colonel Fremont saw the smoke of the conflagration and understood its significance. He hastened forward and joined Carson. But it was thought that the Indians had not yet received the punishment which their crime deserved. The whole party then moved on together for several miles, to a secluded encampment.
Mr. Carson said that the warriors would certainly return to view the ruins of their village and to bury their dead. Twenty men were consequently sent back to lie in ambush. At midnight fifty savages were seen in the bright moonlight, approaching their ruined homes. Some alarm caused them precipitately to retreat. Carson was a little in advance with Colonel Fremont. He saw one solitary warrior separate from the rest. Spurring upon the savage at the distance of not ten paces he endeavored to shoot him, when his gun missed fire. He was now apparently at the mercy of the Indian, who had already with sinewy arm, drawn an arrow to the feather to pierce the body of his foe.
Fremont was mounted on a very powerful and spirited charger. He plunged the rowels of his spurs into the animal, when the noble horse made one or two frantic leaps, knocked down the Indian and trampled over him. The arrow of the savage flew wide of its mark. The next moment a rifle ball pierced his heart, and he lay quivering in death.
The party now pressed on to the Sacramento river. The Klamath warriors dogged their path, watching for an opportunity to take them at advantage. One day Carson and Godey, who were a little separated from the rest of the company, came quite unexpectedly upon a band of these warriors and instantly charged upon them. One Indian only was too proud to fly. He took his position behind a rock and as soon as the two white men came within shooting distance, he let fly his arrows with great force and rapidity.
After dodging these arrows for some time, Carson mounted and crept through concealment, till he obtained good aim at the savage. There was a sharp report of the rifle, and the Indian was dead. Carson took from him a beautifully wrought bow and a quiver still containing a number of arrows. But the savages still continued to hover around their trail without venturing upon any attack.
The Dispatch Bearer.
Undertaking of Kit Carson.—Carson’s
Courage and Prudence.—Threatened Danger.—Interview with General
Kearney, and Results.—Severe Skirmish.—Wonderful Escape of
Carson.—Daring Adventure.—Fearful Suffering.—Lieutenant
Beale.—Carson’s Journey to Washington.—Adventures on his
Our explorers now pressed on for twenty-four hours without encountering any molestation, though they saw many indications that the Indians were hovering about their track. Hungry and weary, they reached Fort Lawson, on the Sacramento river, where they tarried for a week to recruit. They then followed down the river some distance, to the well-known camping-grounds, “The Buttes.”