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Doc. 64.-operations in New-Mexico.

camp Florilla, near Fort Canby, N. M., January 26, 1864.
The cumminating point in this expedition has been reached at last by the very successful operations of our troops at Cañon de Chelly. Colonel Kit Carson left Fort Canby on the sixth instant, with a command of four hundred men, twenty of whom were mounted. He had a section of mountain artillery with him, and taking the road via Puebla, Colorado, he started for Cañion de Chelly. He gave orders to Captain Pheiffer, with his command of one hundred men, to enter the cañon at the east opening, while he himself intended to enter it at the “mouth,” or west opening, and by this movement he expected that both columns would meet in the cañon on the second day, as it was supposed to be forty miles in length.

Captain Pheiffer's party proceeded two days through the cañon, fighting occasionally; but although the Indians frequently fired on them from the rocky walls above, the balls were spent long before they reached the bottom of the cañon, which, in many places, exceeded one thousand five hundred feet in depth. It was a singular spectacle to behold. A small detachment of troops, moving cautiously along the bottom of one of the greatest cañons on the globe, (the largest is in Asia, I believe,) and firing volleys upward at hundreds of Navajoes, who looked, on the dizzy heights above them, like so many pigmies. As they advanced, the cañon widened in places, and various spots of cultivated lands were passed, where wheat, maize, beans, melons, etc., had been planted last year; while, more than a thousand feet above their heads, they beheld neat-looking stone houses built on the receding ledges of rocks, which reminded the beholder of the swallows' nests in the house-eaves, or on the rocky formation overhanging the “sea-beat caves.” Further on, an orchard containing about six hundred peach-trees was passed, and it was evident that the Indians had paid great attention to their culture.

On the second day, a party from Colonel Carson's column met the Captain in the cañon, and returned with him to Colonel Carson's camp. A party from the Colonel's command had in the mean time attacked a party of Indians, twenty-two of whom were killed. This had a dispiriting effect on many others, who sent in three of their number under a white flag. Colonel Carson received them, and assured them that the Government did not desire to exterminate them, but that on the contrary the President wished to save and civilize them; and to that end General Carlton had given him instructions to send all the Navajoes who desired peace to the new reservation on the Rio Pecos, where they would be supplied with food for the present, and be furnished with implements, seeds, etc., to cultivate the soil. They departed well satisfied, and Colonel Carson immediately ordered Captain A. B. Carey, Thirteenth United States infantry, with a battalion, to enter the cation and make a thorough, exploration of its various branches, and at the same time to be in readiness to chastise any body of hostile Navajoes he might encounter, and to receive all who were friendly and who wished to emigrate to the new reservation. Captain Carey, during a passage of twenty-four hours through a branch of the cañon hitherto unexplored, made an exact geographical map of this terrible chasm, and discovered many side cañons hitherto unknown. About one hundred Indians came in to him and declared that “the Navajoe nation was no more;” that they were tired of fighting and nearly starved, and that they wished to be permitted to advise their friends and families in the mountains; many of whom were willing to leave the land for ever and go to a [354] country where they would be cared for and protected. They said they understood agriculture, and were certain they would make comfortable homes on the Pecos. This was, of course, only the opinion of some; others would prefer to remain and culture the soil on which they were born, and live at peace with the territory. However, the latter were positively informed that unless they were willing to remove they had better not come in, and moreover, that the troops would destroy every blade of corn in the country next summer.

On the twentieth of January, Colonel Carson came to Fort Canby, and about six hundred Indians had collected there; but when the wagons arrived to remove them only one hundred wished to go, and the remainder desired to return to their villages and caves in the mountains, on pretence of bringing in some absent member of their families. Colonel Carson very nobly and generously permitted them to choose for themselves; but told them, if ever they came in again they should be sent to Borgue Redondo, whether willing or not. Colonel Carson himself took the Indians to Santa Fe, and will remain absent about a month. Since his departure many Indians came in and agreed to go to the reservation.

I think the Colonel foresaw this, as no person understands Indian character better than he does. Captain A. B. Carey, Thirteenth infantry, commanding in his absence, will see that all Indians coming in will be removed, and I think, before April next, if the present good feeling exists, we shall have accomplished the removal of the entire tribe. Captain A. B. Carey, after successfully marching through the cation and noting its topography, reached Fort Canby on the eighteenth instant, and relieved Captain Francis McCabe, First New-Mexico cavalry, who commanded in the absence of Colonel Kit Carson.

A military execution took place at Fort Canby on the eighteenth instant. Private John Caulfield was shot to death by a detachment of his regiment, in presence of all the troops at the post, who were paraded under arms on the occasion.

Caulfield had been tried and sentenced for shooting a Mexican soldier of his own regiment, and the Department Commander ordered his execution in three days from the date of reception of the general order at Fort Canby. He died without a struggle, his heart having been pierced with six bullets.

As the Navajo expedition is now entirely successful, it is but justice to the officers and men of the First cavalry of New-Mexico, and to Colonel Christopher Carson and his staff, to say that they have all acted with zeal and devotion for the accomplishment of that great desideratum — the removal of the Navajoes. Cut off from the enjoyments of civilized life, deprived of its luxuries, comforts, and even many of its necessaries, and restricted to the exploration of a wilderness and the castigation of an army of savages, who defied them and endeavored to find a shelter among the cliffs, groves, and cañons of their country; in pursuing them to their haunts they have encountered appalling difficulties, namely, want of water, grass, and fuel; often exposed to the merciless fury of the elements and to the bullets and arrows of a hidden foe. In the face of these difficulties they have discovered new rivers, springs, and mountains in a region hitherto unexplored, and penetrated by companies into the very strongholds of the enemy, who fled farther west as our columns advanced, and on various occasions the dismounted cavalry have, by rapid and unparalleled night marches, surprised that enemy, capturing his camp and securing his flocks and herds, at a time when he imagined himself far beyond our reach, and really when he occupied a country never before trodden by the foot of a white man.

Much of the credit is due to the perseverance and courage of Colonel Kit Carson, commanding the expedition, whose example excited all to great energy and inspired great resolution; but it may not be out of place to remark that it is now demonstrated beyond a doubt that, while the troops of New-Mexico have long borne the reputation of being the best cavalry, they have proved themselves on the present campaign to be the best infantry in the world.

General James II. Carlton, who knows, perhaps, and understands the material for an army as well as any general in our army, has directed the formation of a New-Mexican brigade; and when the savage foe is removed, that brigade, commanded by Brigadier-General Kit Carson, would surely reflect credit on the Territory and on the Department Commander, who, in every sense, deserves the stars of a Major-General.

J. M. C.

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