Carson resolved to make a trail of his own. He selected but ten men. Pushing directly north, he reached a region which the Comanches seldom visited. Then changing his route, he struck the Bijoux river, and followed it down until within about twenty-five miles of its entrance into the Platte. He then traversed the plains to Fort Kearney, and thence proceeded to Fort Leavenworth without any molestation. His men and animals were in fine condition. His trail, though very circuitous, had led him through a country abounding in game, well watered and with a succession of rich pastures. Here he dismissed his escort, and proceeded to Washington alone.
Having delivered his dispatches, he immediately set out on his return, and reached his home in Taos in October, 1848. He had not been long at home, before the Apache Indians in the vicinity were committing terrible outrages. Colonel Beale, who was in command at Taos, learned that a large party of the savages were upon the upper waters of the Arkansas, with quite a number of white prisoners. He took two companies of dragoons, and Kit Carson as a guide. Upon reaching the river, he found two hundred Indians who had met there in grand council. The force of armed warriors was so strong, and their passions so aroused, that Col. Beale deemed it impossible to liberate the captives, who were Mexicans, by force. He therefore returned to Taos, to resort to the more peaceful operations of diplomacy.
There was at that time residing at Taos, an old mountaineer friend of Kit Carson, by the name of Maxwell, who had become quite rich. Fifty miles east from Taos, there is one of the most lovely valleys in the world called Razado. Fringed with lofty hills of luxuriant foliage, with a mountain stream meandering through the heart of the valley, and with the fertile prairie extending on either side, waving with grass and flowers, a scene is presented which is quite enchanting.
This valley Maxwell and Carson selected for their vast farms, or ranches, as they were called, containing thousands of acres. Maxwell erected a mansion which would be an ornament to any country town. Mr. Carson’s dwelling, though more modest, was tasteful, and abounding with comforts. While earnestly engaged in developing and cultivating his farm, he heard that an American merchant by the name of White, while approaching Santa Fe in his private carriage, had been killed by the Apaches, and his wife and only child were carried off by the savages.
A command was immediately organized to pursue the murderers, and rescue the lady if possible. Kit Carson proffered his services for the expedition. The first object was to find the trail. They soon reached the place where the crime had been committed. The ground was strewn with boxes, trunks and pieces of harness, etc., which the savages had not thought it worth while to carry away. They struck the trail and followed it for twelve days without overtaking