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OFFICIAL REPORTS
 
 No. 3.--Reports of Lieut. Col. Edward E. Eyre,
 First California Cavalry
 
 HDQRS. FORT BARRETT,
 Pima Villages, Ariz. Ter., May 14, 1862.
 
   MAJOR: I have the honor to inform you of the death of Second Lieut. James Barrett, late of the First Cavalry California Volunteers, who was shot in a skirmish with rebel picket at Picacho Pass, Ariz. Ter. (about thirty miles from Tucson), on the 15th of April, 1862. The only relative of the deceased is Mrs. Ellen Brady, who when last heard from by deceased, four years ago, resided in Albany, N.Y.
   I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
 
   E. E. EYRE,
 Lieutenant-Colonel, First Cavalry California Volunteers.
 
 Maj. R. C. DRUM,
 Asst. Adjt. Gen., Dept. of the Pacific, San Francisco, Cal.
 
 ------------
 
HDQRS. FIRST CALIFORNIA VOLUNTEER CAVALRY,
Fort Thorn, Ariz., July 6, 1862.
 
LIEUTENANT: In compliance with orders received from the colonel commanding, dated June 17, 1862, I have the honor to make the following report:
 
June 21, left Tucson at 3 a.m. with Captain Fritz, Lieutenants Haden and Baldwin, First California Volunteer Cavalry, and 140 men; marched thirty-five miles to Cienega de los Pinos, and encamped at 12.30 p.m.; water and grazing abundant. The road to-day is very good, with the exception of two or three hills. At a distance of about twenty eight miles the road descends into the Cienega, then seven miles to water near the burned station, which stood on the hill to the right of the road. Course, southeast; thirty-five miles. June 22, left Cienega at 6 a.m.; marched over a high rolling country, but good wagon road, and splendid grazing all the way for a distance of about twenty-two miles, when the roads descends through a canyon for one mile, and then opens on the San Pedro Valley. Two miles farther the river is reached at the Overland Mail Station; strong bridge over the river; water and grass abundant; wood very scarce. Course,  northeast; twenty-five miles. There found the name of Jones, the expressman. June 23, left camp at crossing of the San Pedro at 7.30 a.m. The road at once leaves the river and enters a valley about one mile wide and four miles long, when it terminates at the foot of the mesa, which is gained through a narrow canon in which is a long but very steep hill. The canon is about one mile and a half, when the top of the mesa is reached; then about fourteen miles to Overland Mail Station at Dragoon Spring, at which place we arrived at 12.30 p.m. and encamped; found water sufficient by digging, up the canyon two miles, the trail to which is difficult in some places to lead animals over. Course. northeast; nineteen miles and a half. June 24, left Dragoon Spring at 10.30 a.m.; was detained in consequence of scarcity of water. Marched twenty-five miles over an excellent road to Ewell's Station, arriving there at 5.30 p.m.; sent Captain Fritz and six men with spades to examine the spring in the mountain north of station.

He had returned to station by the time the command arrived and reported only enough water for the men. Encamped at 6 p.m. Course, northeast; twenty-five miles. June 25, left Ewell's Station at 1 a.m.; marched fifteen miles over a very hilly and in places a very rocky road to station in Apache Pass, and encamped at 6 a.m.; water scarce; no grass. Course, northeast; fifteen miles.
 
About 12 m.--I being engaged at the spring superintending the watering of animals, it being necessary to dip it with tin cups-four shots were heard in the vicinity of where the horses that had been watered were being grazed under a strong guard. Immediately thereafter it was reported that Indians were in sight and that the guard had fired to give the alarm. Almost immediately thereafter it was reported to me that the Indians were waving a white flag. I at once started for them, taking with me a white flag, and Mr. Newcomb as interpreter. At the end of about one hour I succeeded in getting sufficiently near one of them to be understood. I explained to him what I desired and asked for the chief. At this time at least 75 to 100 indians were in sight, many of them mounted on good-looking horses and all of them armed with fire-arms, some with rifles and six-shooting pistols. Of the latter I observed a great number and occasionally single-barrel shotguns. When the chief came forward I told him we were Americans, and that our Great Captain lived at Washington, that we wished to be friends of the Apaches; that at present I was only traveling through their country, and desired he would not interfere with my men or animals; that a great captain was at Tucson with a large number of soldiers; that he wished to have a talk with all the Apache chiefs and to make peace with them and make them presents. He professed a great desire to be friendly with the Americans, and assured me that neither my men nor animals should be molested. He asked for tobacco and something to eat. I gave him all that could possibly be spared and we parted, with a request on his part that I would meet him again at the same place at sunset. On my return it was reported to me that three of the men were missing.

A party of thirty were at once sent out in the vicinity of where the firing was heard, and after an hour's search the bodies of the missing men were found stripped of all their clothing and two of them scalped. Each was shot through the chest with fire-arms and lanced through the neck. They were victims of their own imprudence, the entire command having been repeatedly warned by me not to wander from camp. It appears they had started, leading their horses from the spring where the watering was being done, over the ridge into another gulch, when they came upon the Indians and were murdered. The Indians succeeded in getting one horse. When the bodies of our murdered men were found instant pursuit of the Indians was made, some of whom were seen on a hill half a mile distant; but being unable to come up with them a return to camp was ordered, carrying in the dead bodies, which were buried, the entire command being present.  The animals now being all watered, or as much as could be obtained for them, and there being very little grass in the pass, at 6 p.m. left camp; marched out and made a dry camp on the plain two miles beyond the canon. Course, east by northeast; four miles.
 
At 11 p.m. a volley of six or eight shots was fired into camp, wounding Acting Assistant Surgeon Kittridge in the head and killing one horse at the picket-line. June 26, left Dry Camp, No. 1, at 3.30 a.m.; marched fifteen miles over an excellent road to San Simon Station, then turned square to the right and marched thirteen miles up the dry bed to a large cienega and encamped at 2 p.m. Course, east, northeast, and southeast; twenty-eight miles. This is a splendid camping place--water and grass in the greatest abundance. The proper road to the cienega turns to the right from the stage road about six miles from Apache Pass and around the point of the mountain. It comes on the San Simon one mile below the water. Ar 12, midnight, camp was alarmed by a shot fired by one of the guard. On examination it was found to be a coyote, which he mistook in the dark for an Indian crawling through the scattered bushes, but which he instantly killed. This was a very hard day's march on men and animals, being obliged to leave Dry Camp without breakfast owing to the scarcity of water, having but eight five-gallon kegs in which to carry water for the men, and not being able to get at the pass as much water as the animals required. June 27, laid over. June 28, left camp at Cienega of San Simon at 4 p.m.; marched five miles north-northeast to the pass in the mountains; road heavy. On arriving at the pass, found the road through it very good and the pass wide. Marched fifteen miles from San Simon and made dry Camp No. 2, at 10.15 p.m. Course, north-northeast;  fifteen miles. June 29, left Dry Camp at 4 a.m.; marched nine miles to Lightendorffer's Well, in Round Mountain Canyon; good road; well on right of and close to the road. It is about eight feet square and seven feet deep; rock bottom. Halted at well one hour and obtained a very limited supply of water for my command. This is a tolerably good camping place for three companies of infantry. By care they could obtain sufficient water, which is good. Left Lightendorffer's Well at 8 a.m.; marched twenty-two miles to Densmore's Station (Soldiers Farwell) and halted at 5 p.m. Discovered here a small spring about two or three miles up the arroyo, north of station, and a hole of bad water 800 yards south of station. Left Densmore's Station at 8 p.m.; marched fourteen miles to Cow Springs, and encamped at 12, midnight; water and grazing abundant. The road from the Cienega of San Simon to this place is good for loaded teams, excepting four or five miles to the pass. Course, northeast; forty-six miles.
 
Soon after leaving Densmore's Station found two men on the side of the road under rather suspicious circumstances; took these letters from them, one directed to the commander of Federal forces at Tucson or en route; put the men in charge of guard and brought them back. (Letters herewith enclosed, marked Nos. 1,2, and 3.(*)) There discovered nine men encamped, who proved to be a party sent by Colonel Chivington, commanding Southern Military District of New Mexico, at Fort Craig, with a letter to Colonel Carleton, with verbal orders to deliver it to the commander of the advance of his column when met with, and return to Fort Craig. Read the communication, and returned Mr. Milligan and one of his party with the answer to Fort Craig at 3 p.m. on the 30th instant, at which place he would arrive on the evening of the 2d proximo. Letter of Colonel Chivington and my answer thereto herewith inclosed. (*) From Mr. Milligan I learned of the capture of Jones, the expressman, by the secessionists at the Picacho, near Mesilla, his two companions having been killed by Indians at Apache Pass and himself chased by them for a great many miles. This information was brought to Fort Craig by a friendly Mexican, who was present at the capture of Jones. June 30, laid over.
 
July 1. This morning a number of men were discovered by the lookout approaching from the direction of the Pine Alto gold mines; sent out a party and brought them into camp. They proved to be a party of thirty Mexican miners, returning to Sonora in consequence of the almost total absence of provisions at the mines; allowed them to proceed on their journey. Left Cow Springs at 8 a.m.; arrived at the Rio Miembres at 1 p.m. and encamped two miles above the station; water and grazing abundant and the best quality; road good. Course, northeast; sixteen miles. July 2, laid over. At 1 o'clock this morning one of the pickets discovered persons approaching camp. They were arrested and brought in--twelve men and two women, one a German, the others Mexicans. They also were from the mines en route for Mesilla. Ordered them confined, in order to secure the secrecy of my movements. At 9 a.m. sent out party of twenty men to examine Cooke's Canon, with orders to arrest, if possible, all persons they may meet with, and remain at Cooke's Spring until the command came up. July 3, left Miembres River at 6.30 a.; marched twelve miles over a good road to Cooke's Pass. From here to summit road hilly. A long, rocky, but not very steep, hill brings you to the top of the pass; from there the descent to the spring is good; distance from pass to spring six miles. Course, north-northeast and northeast; eighteen miles. There came up with the party sent in advance yesterday; they reported no person in sight and no fresh traces. July 4, left Cooke's Spring at 6.30 a.m.; took Fort Thorn road, which keeps a north-northeast course, while the Mesilla road turns to the right immediately at the springs and bears east-northeast. passing the Overland Mail Station, which is seen on the hill about half a mile distant. Marched thirteen miles to Mule Spring; good road, Here no water could be found even by digging, having sent a party in advance with spades for that purpose.

Left Mule Spring at 12 m.; marched twenty-two miles to the Rio Grande, and encamped at 7 p.m. near Fort Thorn. Course, north-northeast; thirty-five miles. The road for about eight miles after leaving Mule Spring is very good, when it enters a rolling country, the hills becoming more and more abrupt for a distance of about six miles, when it descends into a broad canyon, which is followed on a good road to the river. Immediately on making camp the national colors were raised amid the loud and continued cheers of the assembled command. This was the first time the Stars and Stripes floated on the Rio Grande below Fort Craig since the occupation of
 the country by the Confederate troops, and it being the anniversary of our National Independence, was not calculated to dampen the ardor of the command. We are now within thirty-five miles of the enemy, which the prisoners whom I have taken variously estimated from 200 to 800 strong. As soon as the horses have a little recruited (they being considerably reduced on a march of about 300 miles through a broiling sun and over a country utterly destitute of water for distances ranging from thirty-five to sixty miles) will reconnoiter his position and endeavor to ascertain his strength, which I have little doubt of accomplishing, and in case he does not greatly outnumber me will give him a fight. July 5, moved three miles down the river to and reoccupied Fort Thorn; three miles.
 
 I am, lieutenant, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
 
 E. E. EYRE,
 Lieut. Col., First California Volunteer Cavalry, Commanding.
 
 Lieut. BENJAMIN C. CUTLER,
 Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Column from California, Tucson, Ariz.
 
 ---------
 
 HDQRS. FIRST CALIFORNIA VOLUNTEER CAVALRY,
 Fort Thorn, Ariz., July 8, 1862.
 
 LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to report the reoccupation of Fort Thorn, by the squadron of First California Volunteer Cavalry, under my command, on the evening of the 5th instant.  Immediately thereafter the national colors were run up and the old flag once more floated over the garrison. On the morning of the 6th instant an express arrived from Fort Craig, with a communication from Colonel Chivington, First Colorado Volunteers, commanding Southern Military District of New Mexico, a copy of which is herewith inclosed. (*) He also sent a communication addressed to Colonel Steele, C.S. Army, empowering me to negotiate an exchange for Captain McCleve and the men who were made prisoners with him. Soon after the express from Colonel Chivington arrived a party of men were seen approaching from the
 direction of Mesilla. One of them proved to be Captain McCleve, on his way to Fort Craig, bringing with him a proposition for an exchange of Captain Gardner, C.S. Army. Having learned from the expressman just arrived that Captain Gardner died a few days since, I at once sent Captain Fritz, First California Volunteer Cavalry, to Fort Fillmore, with a report to Colonel Steele to name any other Captain General Candy hade made prisoner in exchange for CaptainMcCleave; also proposing an exchange for the men taken with him, as well as an exchange for our expressman (Jones) and a Mr. John Lemon, of Mesilla, who was extremely kind to Captain McCleave during his confinement, and who had horses ready saddled and laid out for Jones' escape. He was ordered to be hung, and was taken to a tree for that purpose, but after hanging a Mr. Marshall, who was taken out with him, his execution was postponed. Captain Fritz will probably be back to-night, when I will at once send Captain McCleave with a party of twenty five men through to Tucson. It is not safe for a less number to travel that road on account of the Indians, and even then with the utmost caution.
 
 If it is the desire of the colonel commanding to keep open communication between Tucson and the Rio Grande I would respectfully recommend that a company of infantry be stationed at Dragoon Spring and two companies at the Apache Pass. That corps would be far more effective against the Indians in the rugged mountains at the points above named than cavalry; besides, horses could not be kept in flesh on the dry grass alone; they would be utterly useless in two weeks' riding. At this season of the year sufficient water and of a good quality can be obtained for two companies of infantry at the foot of the mountains, four miles north of Ewell's Station.  The spring is prominently marked by a large, white spot on the mountain, which is directly over the water. The Rio Grande has been unusually high this summer, almost the entire bottom between Fort Craig and Mesilla being still overflowed. It is impossible at this time to approach Mesilla on the west side of the river, and a new channel having been washed out on that side of the town, through which the largest portion of the water flows; besides the bottom for a long distance is overflowed, and, the soil being of a loose nature, animals mire down in attempting to get through it. This morning I sent Captain McCleave with a small party to examine the San Diego Crossing, eighteen miles below here, to ascertain if the river can be forded at that point. The moment a crossing can be effected it is my intentions, unless otherwise ordered by General Canby, to move on Mesilla and reoccupy Forts Fillmore and Bliss. When that is done that portion of the proclamation of the colonel commanding will not only have been carried out, but the sacred soil of Texas will have been invaded. Captain McCleave reports Colonel Steele with the rear of Sibley's brigade making hurried exertions to get away from Texas. He is pressing every team, both mule and oxen, he can find into service, compelling the owners (generally Mexicans) to take Confederate script in payment therefor. The same mode is resorted to by him in regard to provisions. Captain Howland, Third U.S. Cavalry, in advance of his squadron, has just arrived; his command (100 men) will probably be here this evening. His horses are in shocking condition.  Should we come up with Colonel Steele and a mounted charge made, it must be done by the squadron of my regiment. On the capture of Jones greatly increased exertions were made by Colonel Steele to get away. Mesilla was evacuated, and Captain McCleave, who was at the time on parole to the limits of the town, immediately confined under a strong guard. Mr. White, of the Pima Villages, had been released, and will probably be here with the return of Captain Fritz.
 
   The horses are out grazing (under a strong guard) from daybreak until dark, then tied up to the picket-line, with as much grass as they can eat during the night. They are doing very well, but have not yet recovered from the effects of the very distressing march from Tucson here. Captain McCleave has just returned, and reports the road down the river almost impassable for loaded wagons and the river swimming at the crossing. July 9 [7?], sent Captain McCleave, with an escort and two wagons, to Fort Craig for supplies. The squadron of the Third U.S. Cavalry (100 strong) arrived and gone into quarters at this post. Captain Fritz returned this evening, having effected an exchange for Captain McCleave and the others named in my communication to Colonel Steele, a copy(*) of which is herewith inclosed. Two lieutenants were given in exchange for Captain McCleave, as Colonel Steele affected to know of no captains of theirs for that purpose, although there are a number. His real object was to exchange for officers of his own regiment only. About 6 o'clock this evening and express arrived from Captain McCleave, informing me of an attack on his party, as they were moving up the river, by the Navajoes, sixty or seventy strong; that he had made camp, but was being surrounded by them. I immediately sent Captain Howland, with Lieutenant Baldwin and forty men, to his relief. I forward herewith, for the information of the colonel commanding, all communications (*) received or written by me since my arrival on the Rio Grande.
 
 I am, lieutenant, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
 
 E. E. EYRE,
 Lieutenant-Colonel-First California Volunteer Cavalry, Comdg.
 
 Lieut. BENJAMIN C. CUTLER,
 Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Column from California, Tucson, Ariz.
 
 --------
 
 HDQRS. FIRST CALIFORNIA VOLUNTEER CAVALRY,
 Fort Thorn, Ariz., July 14, 1862.
 
 LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to report the arrival here on yesterday of another express from General Canby, the second one alluded to in Colonel Chivington's communication of the 7th instant.
 
 * * * * *
 
 I leave here to-morrow morning with my command for Mesilla. On examination found the road from here to Rough and Ready Station impracticable, and have determined to make a road to the San Diego Crossing, and then pass the river on a raft, which I am now having made for that purpose, and which will be floated down to the crossing. The road on the east side of the river from San Diego to Mesilla is good. It is my determination, unless otherwise ordered, to hoist the national colors over Mesilla and Forts Fillmore and Bliss before the end of the present month.
 
 * * * * *
 
 I neglected in my report, of the march to this place to give the names of the men killed by the Indians at Apache Pass. Their names are Privates James F. Keith, Peter Maloney, and Albert Schmidt, of Company B, First California Volunteer Cavalry.
 
 I am, lieutenant, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
 
 E. E. EYRE,
 Lieutenant-Colonel First California Volunteer Cavalry, Comdg.
 
 Lieut. BENJAMIN C. CUTLER,
 Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Column from California, Tucson, Az.
 
 -------
 
 HDQRS. FIRST CALIFORNIA VOLUNTEER CAVALRY,
 Las Cruces, Ariz., August 30, 1862.
 
 LIEUTENANT: In compliance with verbal orders received from the general commanding the column, I have the honor to report that immediately after my arrival on the Rio Grande, July 4, I sent a scouting party down the river as far as San Diego Crossing, for the double purpose of ascertaining of the enemy had pickets within that distance of my camp, and also whether the high stage of water in the river rendered it impracticable to move my command that far for the purpose of crossing, it being my intention to follow and, if possible, overtake the retreating Texans under Colonel Steele. On their return they reported it impracticable to get to the crossing with wagons, but that the river was falling fast, and that in a short time--say one week--I would be able to accomplish my purpose of moving on Fort Fillmore, where a portion of the Texans were then quartered. I therefore determined to remain at Fort Thorn for a short time longer, to recruit the men and animals and to receive re-enforcements from Fort Craig, which I had asked for from Cow Springs, having sent an express from that point on June 28. On the 8th ultimo Captain Howland, Third U.S. Cavalry, with 100 men, arrived at Fort Thorn and reported to me for duty. I was now still more anxious to pursue the enemy, being confident of my ability to successfully cope with his disorganized and disheartened troops, although they outnumbered me more than two to one. On the morning of the 10th ultimo I received a communication from Colonel Chivington, commanding Southern Military District of New Mexico, of which the following is an extract:
 
 You will do all you can to learn the enemy's strength, and purpose, but General Canby does not design an advance from where you are until no can go in force. I am under orders to advance to Santa Barbara or thereabouts with sixteen companies of infantry and a battery of four 6-pounder guns and two 24-pounder howitzers and an additional cavalry force, to support the advance of General Carleton and to co-operate with the forces under him in the reoccupation of the valley of Mesilla.
 
 Although this was not a positive order to remain where I was, yet it intimated too clearly the desire of the district commander to lead the advance on Mesilla and Fort Fillmore, that I felt exceedingly embarrassed as to whether I would be authorized in leaving Fort Thorn until the arrival there of Colonel Chivington; but on consultation with Captains Howland, Tilford, and Fritz, I determined, unless more positively ordered, to remain, and to move down to the San Diego Crossing as soon as the water would permit. Accordingly, on the 13th ultimo, I sent Wagon Master Black, with a party, to the crossing, to ascertain if it was yet practicable to get the train of thirteen wagons to that point. On his return the same day he reported favorably, and on the 15th ultimo I left with my command and arrived at the crossing on the 16th ultimo, a distance of eighteen miles. On the 17th ultimo I had succeeded in crossing successfully my command in a small boat, which I caused to be made for that purpose before leaving Fort Thorn. On the 19th ultimo I received from Lieut. F. Van Vliet, acting assistant adjutant-general, the following communication:
 
 I am instructed by the colonel commanding the district to inform you that your troops will not cross the river until further orders.
 
 This was from Colonel Howe's acting assistant adjutant-general, he then being in command of the Southern Military District of New Mexico; but having crossed the river before its receipt, and there awaited his further orders, and so wrote him. But on my arrival at the latter place I found neither forage nor grazing for the animals, and pushed on to Las Cruces, where quarters were found for the command in unoccupied houses belonging to notorious secessionists. On my arrival at Las Cruces I at once made inquiry as to the whereabouts of the Texans, and learned from reliable authority that a portion of them were yet at Franklin, Tex.; that they were collecting at that point a large amount of Government property which had been by them secreted at different places on their march up the river and that they designed selling it to a citizen of El Paso, Tex.  This property I could undoubtedly have taken, and in all probability have captured the Texans then at Franklin, had I at once pushed on to that point; but the strong intimation not to leave Fort Thorn which I received from Colonel Chivington, and the positive order not to cross the river which I received from Colonel Howe, and my letter to him that I would await his further orders at Las Cruces, compelled me to remain at the latter place. Indeed, by moving farther down the river I would have run counter to the expressed wishes of the district commander of the Southern Military District of New Mexico, if not against their positive orders. On the 28th ultimo I received a positive order from Colonel Howe not to leave Las cruces until further orders. Subsequently, while accompanying the general commanding on his march to Fort Quitman, I learned that Colonel Steele greatly feared he would be overtaken by the California troops, and in his hurried retreat burned a number of his wagons and destroyed a large amount of ammunition. I also learned that so much were his men disheartened and so thoroughly disorganized, their had they been attacked by even a small force they would have at once surrendered. Certain it is an opportunity would have been given them to do so had it not been for the orders received from Fort Craig, for I should certainly have followed and as certainly overtaken them before they left the river at Fort Quitman.
 
 I am, lieutenant, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
 
 E. E. EYRE,
 Lieutenant-Colonel First California Volunteer Cavalry.
 
 Lieut. BENJAMIN C. CUTLER,
 Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Column from California, Franklin, Tex.
 
 Vol. 50 Pt. 1 p. 120


Written by Arnold Franks
Copyright © 2000 Arnold Franks

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