The savages began to bluster, primed their guns, and boasted of what they intended to do. But even to their darkened minds it was manifest that two out of the four, in case of hostilities, must certainly fall before the rifles of the white man. And should the remaining two rush on before their opponents could reload, still the white men had their revolvers in hand, and it was not improbable that the other two might be shot. These were not the circumstances under which the Indians were willing to enter into battle. After a short delay and many defiant gestures, they departed.
Mr. Carson and his noble-hearted boy immediately resumed their journey, and after five days of hard riding reached Fort Bent. Here Mr. Carson learned that the Texan Rangers, having incautiously entered the territory of the United States, were all captured and disarmed. This relieved the conductors of the Mexican train from all anxiety. The dispatches which Mr. Carson had borne were left at the fort, from which place they were sent back to Santa Fe.
A few days before Mr. Carson arrived at Bent’s Fort, from this expedition into New Mexico, Mr. Fremont had passed by, on a second expedition to the still far off west. Carson was anxious to see his old friend and comrade again. He mounted his horse and, following his trail, by rapid riding overtook him after a pursuit of seventy miles. Colonel Fremont manifested the greatest pleasure in again meeting Mr. Carson, and so urged him to join the expedition that he decided to do so. It had become manifest that the party needed more mules to assist them in their operations. In climbing wild mountains these hardy animals are far more valuable than horses.
Kit Carson was sent back to Fort Bent to procure the mules, and to rejoin the party at St. Vrain’s Fort, on the south fork of the Platte. Here Major Fitzpatrick, with a reinforcement of forty men, was added to the expedition. On Mr. Carson’s return with the mules, the exploring party was divided into two forces; the main body, under Major Fitzpatrick, following the eastern bank of the river to the site of the present city of Denver, and then west, through the passes of the mountains. They took with them nearly all the camp equipage.
Colonel Fremont, with Kit Carson as a guide, accompanied by fifteen men, in what may be called light marching order, followed along the Thompson river some miles, directly west, then struck north about thirty miles, to the Cache le Poudre river. This stream they followed up in a northwesterly direction some sixty miles, through a ravine in the mountains, till they reached the head waters of the Laramie river. They then pushed on in a still northwesterly direction, under the eastern brows of the Rocky mountains, through a somewhat broken, though prairie country, two hundred miles, to the Sweetwater river.