previous next

[174] tools of any kind) there was quite a town built up, of some one hundred and twenty houses, or shanties, which we called Lincolnville. Some of the houses were built of stone, some of logs, some of mud like those in New Mexico, and some of the wealthiest firms had quite respectable frame houses. I was in as a partner with three others, and I flatter myself our mansion was quite a gem, ten by fourteen feet, and seven feet high. We carried the boards that built it about three miles, and put it all up in six days; but the improvements we made occupied us much longer. We had a good chimney in it, also bedsteads, chairs, table, &c. You know I used to be pretty handy at such things, and all lent a hand to the work. After all was finished we put up a flag pole and made a flag, not the stars and stripes, (for that we dared not do,) but the red cross of St. George. The Texans thought we were great fellows to work; but we did the most of it to pass, the time. Pretty soon we began to get out of and feel the want of some tobacco; so I proposed that we four should build a little ship, and by selling it get some little things we wanted; but my partners' talents not being in that line of business, I had to work alone for the benefit of the others, so I built a little war frigate with no other tools than a jackknife and an awl, rigged it, but could get no paint; so I had to use ink and some other articles: however, it was finished and put on exhibition; and it was a rarer sight to the natives than fifty live elephants or tigers. They have no idea what such a thing as a ship is. Hundreds came to see it, and it was with the greatest difficulty we could keep them from smashing it, handling it; so I had to sell it out or run the chance of getting it broke. All I got was ten dollars. I made another, but only got five dollars; so that branch of business had to be abandoned as unprofitable.

About this time an order came to have us move, just as we had got comfortably lodged for the winter; and on the fourth of December, 1861, Companies B, E, F, H, I, and K, left for Fort Mason, eighty-five miles from Verde. We left sixty men at Verde. We all got safely to Mason, and there the command was split up into five parties, one to Fort McKuvett, one to Camp Colorado, one to Camp Cooper, one to Fort Belknap, and Companies B and K, in all fifty-eight men, to Fort Chadbourne, clear up in the Camanche nation of Indians.

I forgot to tell you that we were three months and fifteen days in Camp Verde.

All these forts that I have mentioned are on the Indian frontier, and were formerly garrisoned by our soldiers, but none of us had ever been to any of them; but at the time I am writing about they were garrisoned by the rebels, and we were distributed amongst them, as I tell you, for safe keeping. I had the good luck to go with my company, K, to Chadbourne, two hundred and twenty miles from Fort Mason. We got there without any mishap, and remained there three months and fourteen days. We had all the liberty we wanted, but we could not get away, as there was not a house for over two hundred miles, and in an Indian country; so we had to make the best of it. Here we were well treated, and had nothing to do, but could not get a smoke for any money; we were all nearly crazy for tobacco; we smoked everything — leaves, coffee, tea, weeds, and paper, and, finally, to wind up our troubles, got out of flour, and went without bread for twenty-four days. Beef also run short, and the rebel Captain in charge of the fort told us he would go out with a party of men and kill some buffalo; so some of our men went along, myself amongst the number. We had only to go some thirty miles. When we came on the range of the animals he furnished us with good horses, guns, and six shooting pistols. We had a fine time, and the first day killed nineteen, and the next eleven. We only took the tongue and humps, put them in the wagons, and went home again; but that would not last long; so the Captain told us he would leave the fort if the flour did not come on such a day, and as we had been living on nothing but beans for some weeks, we were not in very good trim for marching one hundred and twenty miles, the nearest way we could get to Mason; but the boys went through all right. I took sick the night before the most of the men started, and came pretty near dying, but God willed it otherwise. I had to stop behind with four other men of my company for ten days, as there were not wagons enough to take the property; but we got to Mason a few days after the others. On this march down we made one hundred and twenty miles in five days; one day we marched thirty-eight miles, and had nothing to eat but beans and coffee. At Fort Mason we were found in a few days by our other companies that had been at the other forts. During the winter we were all put in a camp without any tents, but the weather by this time was beginning to be fine, (April.) We all commenced comparing notes; but I think we had a little the hardest times.

I must not enter into detail, but it is hard to finish now without a full account. We had a good camp at Mason, fine water and plenty of wood; so we commenced building brush houses to keep off the heat of the sun. That was quite a job, for the weather is extremely hot there in the summer months; but the sheds were built, and we were quite comfortable under the circumstances; but when it rained we used to catch it all; our things got wet, but we did not mind that much. We now began to be much in need of clothing, shoes, and in fact everything; but we went to work, got flour sacks, made shirts and trousers, and got some canvas and made slippers, with raw-hide soles; but we were always clean and neat even in our old clothes, and kept up our hearts, knowing that it could not last forever. I can now say I am a pretty good carpenter, builder, tailor, and shoemaker; you would be surprised.

It was at Mason we heard of the fall of New Orleans. I was out on a fishing tour fourteen miles from camp, and heard the good news; and you may be sure I did not stop long to fish after that, but hurried home to acquaint the others with the good news. Shortly after that event,

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
A. P. Mason (3)
Indians (1)
Chadbourne (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
December 4th, 1861 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: