Colonel Fremont had married the daughter of Missouri’s illustrious Senator, Hon. Thomas H. Benton. Mr. Carson, upon his arrival at St. Louis, was taken immediately to Mr. Benton’s home, where he was treated with every attention, and where he enjoyed the pleasure of an introduction to the most distinguished men of the city. As in the continuance of his journey he stepped upon the platform of the depot in Washington, Mrs. Fremont was there, with her carriage, to convey him as a guest to her residence.
In the crowd landing from the cars, Mrs. Fremont recognized him at once, from the description which her husband had given. Mr. Carson remained in Washington for several weeks, greatly interested in the entirely new world which was open to him there. His reputation had gone before him, and the very best men in our land honored themselves in honoring Christopher Carson. President Polk appointed him Lieutenant in the United States Rifle Corps. He was then directed to return immediately across the continent as bearer of important dispatches.
Arriving at Fort Leavenworth, in Kansas, he was there furnished with an escort of fifty soldiers to accompany him across the plain. He reached the eastern declivity of the Rocky mountains without important adventure. Here, at a place called Point of Rocks, he overtook a party of United States Volunteers, under command of Lieutenant Mulony. They were escorting a large train of wagons to New Mexico. They encamped not far from each other. Just before the break of day a band of Comanche Indians made an attack upon the cattle of Mulony’s party, and got possession of all the oxen and of twenty-six horses.
Mr. Carson, ever on the alert, heard the tumult, and made a sudden and impetuous charge upon the savages. He recovered all the oxen, but the horses were effectually stampeded and lost. But for Mr. Carson, the cattle also would have fallen into the hands of the Indians, which would have been a great calamity. The next day Mr. Carson resumed his rapid march and reached Santa Fe in safety. Here he left his escort in accordance with orders, and hiring sixteen mountaineers, he proceeded on his journey.
Travelling rapidly, he came to Muddy Creek, a tributary of Virgin river. Here he suddenly encountered a camp of three hundred Indians. He knew their reputation as treacherous in the extreme. He threw up a little rampart, forbidding the Indians to draw too near, and then held a parley under the protection of his men. Thoroughly acquainted with the Indian character, he seemed always to know the tone which it was best to assume. Sternly addressing the chiefs, he said: