“Oho! Mr. Indian,” I exclaimed, “at your old tricks.” I raised my revolver, took deliberate aim at the very heart of the bush, and fired. Mr. Indian gave a hideous yell, and he had gone to his happy hunting grounds. In the morning, we prepared to leave. The Indians, as we afterwards learned, had fifteen hundred warriors within a radius of five miles. We numbered but about fifty men. But we had rifles, they had only bows and arrows. The superiority of our arms raised us above all fear.
It was manifest however, with the earliest dawn, from the large number of warriors assembled, and the menacing cries they raised, that we must have a fight. Colonel Hoffman detached every fourth man, each one to hold four horses. The rest of the dragoons were marshalled on the bluff, which as I have mentioned, lined one side of our encampment. As our rifles could throw a bullet more than twice as far as any arrow could be thrown, the battle was rather a source of amusement to us, than of terror. No Indian could approach within arrow shot of our ranks, without meeting certain death. It must be confessed that we had no more compunctions in shooting an Indian than in shooting a bear or a wolf. As they dodged from tree to tree, assailing us with their impotent arrows, our keen marksmen watched their opportunity to strike them down with the invisible death-dealing bullet.
Old Joe Walker practiced with our Hawkins’ rifles and revolvers, as he said, “just to keep his hand in.” After an hour or two of this strange battle, in which the Indians suffered fearful carnage, and we encountered no loss, our foe in rage and despair retired. They left sixty of their number dead, besides taking with them many wounded. We continued our march without further molestation.
And now my friend, if you shall find anything interesting to you in this short sketch, I shall be satisfied. I have written a great deal more than I expected to write, when I began. And yet you have but a very brief narrative of my adventures in California.
(signed) William E. Goodyear.
Frontier Desperadoes and Savage Ferocity.
Original Friendliness of the Indians.—The River Pirates, Culbert and Magilbray.—Capture of Beausoliel.—His Rescue by the Negro Cacasotte.—The Cave in the Rock.—The Robber Mason.—His Assassination.—Fate of the Assassins.—Hostility of the Apaches. Expedition of Lieutenant Davidson.—Carson’s Testimony in his Favor.—Flight of the Apaches.
We have occasionally alluded to the desperadoes who infested the frontiers. They were often much more to be dreaded than the Indians. Indeed the atrocities which these men perpetrated were the main cause of the hostility of the savages. It is the uncontradicted testimony that the natives were, at first, disposed to be friendly. It was only when exasperated by unendurable wrongs that they appealed to arms. When seemingly unprovoked assailants, they were seeking revenge for some great outrage which they had already experienced, from the depraved vagabonds of the wilderness.