The Forty-Day Scout

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August 17th, 1872 —Still in Camp, “B” Troop has not arrived, and the night did not pass without another alarm of Indians. Our troop was in Camp in rear of the main Camp. I was first relief over the horses, and having stood my three hours’ guard, went to the outpost and turned in to sleep the remainder of the night. Being very tired and from the loss of sleep, slept unusually sound, and failed to hear a shot fired by one of “D” Troops sentries with the cry of ‘Indians.’ But suppose my mind was on that one subject the most, that I awoke with an indistinct recollection of hearing the cry of ‘Indians.’ I looked around from right to left where there had been men sleeping when I turned in, but could not see a single man, not even the sentries whose beat was right along our front. I confess that I was not a little frightened for the moment. I could not account for the sudden spiriting-away of the remainder of the guard, but when I looked in the direction of Camp I saw by the light of the moon, numerous heads sticking up above the men’s saddles, which had been arranged in a line to form a kind of fortification for the men when lying down. Catching up my arms and blankets I made as fast time getting over those five hundred yards which intervened between our picket post and Camp as ever “Harry Bassett” made at any of the Saratoga Races. …

I crouched down behind my saddle and soon learned what all hands were on the alert for. Two mounted Indians had been approaching Camp in a stealthy manner, supposed for the purpose of reconnoitering our Camp. From the position our men were in sleeping at the outpost in case of an attack from that side and a charge by the Indians, we would very probably be cut off and be subject to the fire from both our own men and the Indians, not a very pleasant situation by any means. Soon as the shot was fired all hands (excepting myself) ran in. I could have been in soon as any of the others, had I only heard the shot. I talked pretty plain to those men who slept near me, for running in and leaving me sound asleep. …