DIARY OF WILLIAM ADDISON BUSHNELL
CIVIL WAR SOLDIER
Dec. 10th, 1864, Enlist in the California Volunteers at San Francisco. Second Regiment of Infantry, Co. K. Lieutenant T. C. Winchell commanding Co. Col. Thomas F. Wright commanding regiment. Nine Companies of which are stationed at the Presidio, three miles from town, the other Co. is stationed at Round Valley, Mendocino Co.
Dec. 12, Mustered into the Service of the United States and proceed to Recruiting Rendezvous, on Harrison St., preparatory to joining my regiment.
Dec. 15. Receive Government Bounty. $100.00 in greenback which are worth 46 cents on the dollar.
Dec. 16 Join my company and regiment at Presidio.
May 25, 1865. Rumors are rife in the camp that we will soon be discharged as the war is virtually closed, the question is much discussed among the soldiers.
July 1st. Promoted to the rank of Corporal.
July 4th. The entire Command to town in full force commanded by Lieutenant Col. Pollock. Spent the day very agreeably.
Aug 4th (Sunday) From week to week how little happens to relieve the monotony of a soldiers life in the garrison. How seldom is the Sabath a day of rest for him. With the exception of Drill it relieves him from few of the ordinary labors of the day. Dress Parade and Inspection occupying the principal part of the forenoon, leaving only the afternoon for recreation and rest.
Aug. 18. Leave the Presidio enroute for Arizona via Drum Barracks. Five companies comprising the headquarters of the Second Regiment, embark on the Steamer Senator at 3 P. M. The companies are B. G. H. and K. A. C. and I. remain at the Presidio awaiting transportation, the other two Companies D. and F. are at Humboldt and will probably not accompany the regiment.
Aug. 20 (Sunday) At sea. Ocean smooth as a mill pond weather superb. Had a glimpse of some whales. Land always on our port side about sundown pass Point Concepcions and sometime in the nite pass Santa Barbara.
Aug. 21 Arrive at San Pedro at 10 A. M. companies form into line on the wharf and march up thought town and on to a slough three miles from town where we encamp. Memorandum orders issued from headquarters christen the place "Camp No. 1 near Drum Barracks". Strictly speaking it is not a very desirable place to camp but whatever inconveniences there may be are overlooked by the strict law of "Military necessity".
Aug. 28 A. and C. companies came into the camp today commanding by Lieut. Col. Pollock. G. Co. still remains at the Presidio. Seven companies of the Second are now at Camp No. 1, dwelling in tents and awaiting orders to march Arizona onward. The climate here compares with San Francisco, is warm, but not uncomfortably so, dust is rather plenty, so are watermelons, both of which seem to be the principal productions of the country. Scorpions and tarantulas are also abundant. Take it altogether life is rather pleasant at Camp No. 1.
Sept. 8 Co. I joins the regiment. The camp is in motion today to make readiness for moving tomorrow, everybody is busy.
Sept. 11 Leave Camp No. 1 travel 12 miles and encamp in the San Gabriel Rio.
Sept. 13 Encamp at El Monte one splendid stream of water, excellent vineyards in this vicinity Scenery Magnificent. Mountains surrounding the valley, judging from appearances we are on the outskirts of civilization.
With the far-stretching desert behind and before us-
Sept. 30. Fort Yuma is situated on a slight eminence on the western bank of the Colorado River, a short distance below the confluence of the Gila- which empties on the opposite side- The adobe buildings constituting the Officers and soldiers quarters, were built in 1852 or 3 and are large and commodious, and viewed externally are picturesque and pleasing to the eye.
Oct. 8 A detachment of the second Inf. Co. 2 consisting of three companies under command of Lieutenant Col. Pollock leave Fort Yuma enroute for Arizona. Our destination is said to be Fort Goodwin. We get over the river by 7 P.M. and pass through Arizona City, thence on a mile from town and encamp on a slough, the remaining companies are destined for Fort Breckenridge.
Oct. 10- Reville sounds at 3 A. M. and an hour later we are on the ride. After traveling 19 miles we encamp at Gila City, so called consisting of the remains of two or three willow houses, occupied by an American and his Mexican Senorita, together with a few Greasers and half-clad Indians. Gila City lies at the foot of a range of rocky hills, and on the Gila River. Some little mining is done in the hills nearby and the place was the scene of considerable mining excitement 3 or 4 years ago.
Oct. 11, Travel 17 miles and encamp at Mission Camp. "No Inhabitants". Road sandy and rock. A species of Cactus is found through the country here which much resembles the trunk of a standing tree. It rises to the height of 15 or 20 feet and is profusely covered with thorns the center of the tree is the largest part, from which it tapers gradually to either end. Some of them are two feet thick and where a few of them are standing together they present quite a picturesque appearance. But majestic as they are, they can never rise too much importance as a shade tree, hot having any limbs. The only kind of wood found here is a species of thorny wood known as mesquite.
Oct. 12, Distance the same, as yesterday, encamp at the foot of Antelope Peak. A mountain that rises abruptly to the height of 4 or 5 hundred feet, towering in majestic style, and throwing a splendid shade over our camp from 2 P. M. The nites here are much cooler that at Yuma, rather too cold for comfort. Unless with about three blankets over us. Some Mexicans live here, one family at least. Their only means of support seem to be selling a occasional glass of Tarantula juice, at 25 cents.
Oct. 13, March 16 miles and encamp on the river among heavy willows and weeds, interspersed with cottonwoods. Capt. Stewart caught a splendid Salmon. A train of Emigrants camp near, they are from Texas Hill and represent themselves as being "hard up".
Oct. 14 Leave camp as usual at 5 A. M. In two miles pass Mohawk Station. Nine miles further pass Texan Hill and still six miles further reach, Teamsters or Shady Camp, and halt for the day. A portion of the command got on the wrong road, or rather on no road at all, for which they were indebted to Captain Noyes. Shady Camp consists of a few cottonwood trees, standing on the banks of the Gila, and were it not for the dust, and wind would be an agreeable place. McGinnis shot a crane across the river. The boys caught some nice fish.. Distance 17 miles. (not the fish)
Oct. 15, Travel 14 miles and encamp at Grinnells Station, on the Rio, at a nice grove, and a sort of house made of poles or logs set on end. The occupants were two or three white men, and as many Mexican women, Watermelons for sale at tres reals, a piece. Some of the teams are sent over the river after barley for the mules. Our time of traveling since we left is pretty regular, "Reville" sounds at 4 A. M. immediately after comes "Role Call" then follows the "General", which means for all hands to hurry up and get ready for the road. About five the "Assembly" sounds and the companies fall in, and await the call "forward" which soon sounds off and off we go. In two hours we halt and rest a few minutes, and at the end of every hour thereafter until we halt for the day.
Oct. 16, Were compelled to make a departure from our ordinary starting hour on account of the teams being sent after barley. It was 8 ½ A. M. when we got under way and 11 ½ A. M. we encamp at Burkes Station (an old overland stage station) distance 12 miles, no houses nor any evidence of inhabitants except an Emigrant Train from Texas. They represent themselves as being destitute of provisions and money. They are bound for California. The train consists mostly of women and children. - Pass over plains of dry grass which would have made excellent hay and it been cut in due season. My prediction is that the valley of the Gila will some day contain nice farms and fields of cotton where nothing grows now but luxuriant grass and willows.
Oct. 17. Leave camp as usual at 5 A. M. and arrive at Oatman Flat at 8 ½ A. M. distance 12 miles. The country over which we travel today is rough and rocky. The entire country is strewn with a species of burnt rock resembling lava. After leaving the upland for the river bottom by descending a steep rocky hill, we find ourselves on "Oatman Flat". About a quarter of a mile after leaving the bluff, on the left had side of the road is a small enclosure about six feet square at one end of which may be seen a board bearing the crude inscription "The Oatman Family, 1851". Here it was that the ill fated emigrants perished at the hands of the blood-thirsty Apaches - and over yonder bluff in a southerly direction, they bore their pale-faced captives. Seven of the family are said to be buried in the grave by the roadside viz, the two Oatman brothers, the younger brothers wife and 4 children some of which, I believe, belonged to the elder Oatman who was a widower. We encamp at the upper end of the Oatman Flat on the river.
Oct. 18. Leave camp at the usual hour and arrive at Canyon Station, on the river, at 10 A. M. Distance 16 miles. Met a train of wagons going toward California consisting of 10 mules to the wagon. Road much the same as yesterday. Another train of wagons camp near us, which have been to Camp McDowell with supplies and are going to Yuma for more.
Oct. 19. Arrive at "Gila Bend" at 10 A. M., pass two teams of emigrants camped on the road. Our camp abounds in willows, cottonwoods, dust, etc. One company of Cavalry (Cal. Volunteers) are encamped here, also a large emigrant train from Texas. From here to our next camping ground it is said to be 45 miles, the whole distance is without water - very pleasant to contemplate. We shall probably try it tomorrow.
Oct. 20. Leave camp at 3 P. M. (the hottest part of the day) and halt at 11½ P.M. at the remains of an old stage-station, said to be half-way between Gila Bend and Maricopa Wells. We pass some very tall cactus, some 40 feet high. No water here.
Oct. 21. After building fires, making coffee and replenishing our canteens from the barrels in the wagons, we resume our march with renewed energy at 2 A. M. In 8 miles pass the "Tank", no water. At 8 A. M. we arrive at Maricopa Wells which takes the name from the tribe of Indians residing here. They are innumerable, or seem to be, and flock around our camp with fine water-melons for sale. They are fine looking Indians and are on good terms with the whites. They speak considerable Spanish and make some pretensions to clothing themselves.
Oct. 22 Lay over to-day and rest ourselves after our big march. Had a thunder shower in the evening accompanied with a strong wind, which came near lifting our tents off the ground, but little rain fell, however. A store is kept here.
Oct. 23 Our road, after leaving Maricopa, for three or four miles was thought one continuous line of Indian houses. Judging by the number of houses, the village must contain 4 or 5 thousand inhabitants. Some estimate the number as high as 8,000. Their houses are constructed of a kind of framework of willows, are generally flat on top and are thatched with grass and dirt. Everything around their town is scrupulously neat and clean. Between the village and the river, lie their farms which are fenced in with small poles. They raise pumpkins, water-melons, corn and wheat etc. At half past nine A. M. we arrive at Pima Villages 12 miles distant. Here is a 10 horse power steam flouring mil and store, black-smith shop, eating-house etc., a few whites and Indians without number. They are the Pima tribe and farm quite extensively, raising fine crops of wheat, corn etc. The Pimas and Maricopas are allies against the Apaches, between which there seems to be a hereditary hatred. There is also a Co. of them enlisted in the service of the U. S. , under command of Lieut. Walker. They fight the Apaches in their own way and in this respect are superior to our soldiers, perhaps.
Oct. 24. Travel 12 miles and arrive at Sacaton. Indian houses were in sight nearly all the way and Indians of both sexes passed us frequently on the road. They are generally mounted on their ponies the squaws ride a-straddle, and upon them devolves the labor of transporting their stores from one place to another, hence you may often see a squaw mounted on a pony and astride a bag of wheat going to mill, or carrying a huge basket of water-melons, to market on their back. The parties who own the mill purchase their wheat, convert into flour and find a ready market for it in the territory. Sacaton is on the Gila and is the last place we shall see the river on the road. Our road to-day was level with broken ranges of mountains on either hand. Water is easily obtained in many places, though it is generally brackish and unfit to drink. Copper ore is found in the mountains, though the mines, as yet, are not much worked.
Oct. 25. Leave camp at 5 A. M. and arrive in camp at 12 M. at an old overland stage station called Blue Water. Distance 24 miles. A mile or so after starting we passed the limits of the Indian Reservation. Upon a raised mound is seen a pole with the inscription cut into it, P. & M Reservation 1858. In 10 miles pass a dilapidated uninhabited old adobe, formerly a Stage Station. Level country and good roads. Our supply of water here comes from a well nearly a hundred feet deep and raised by a windlass. The water is good, being of a clear and slightly blue color, to this the station is indebted its name. The boys have a great time in the evening, shooting a beef animal. Nearly the whole command turned out in masse with muskets in hand to shoot him. Several shots were fired without much effect and the animal becoming demoralized, threatened tents and such frail property with destruction, when a lucky shot from Sergeant Dulin, forced him to capitulate and thus the skirmish ended.
Oct. 26. Make another long march of 46 miles. Leave camp at 5 A. M. and arrive in camp at Point of Mountain at 8 P. M., find a good well of water 70 or 80 feet deep and apparently inexhaustible. Eight miles from our last camp we passed an old stage station called Pocatch, did not halt, no water. Halted about noon, had coffee, refilled our canteens and after resting for 3 hours, resumed our march. Splendid roads and level country. Passed a high, bold projecting rock on our right and a similar one on our left at the same time.
Oct. 27. Lay over at Point of Mountain.
Oct. 28. Eighteen miles brings us to Tucson, an old Mexican town, built entirely of adobe houses. It is quite a place and the population with the exception of a detachment of soldiers, consists entirely of Mexicans. We pass on through the town and encamp about a mile from it on a nice stream of water.
Oct. 29th and 30th Remain in camp near Tucson.
Oct. 31. Muster and inspection of camp.
Nov. 1. Reveille, sounding at 4 A. M. drowns the voices of an uncertain number of coyotes, and causes a certain number of soldiers to turn out from their blankets, to inhale the morning air. An hour later we are on the road to Fort Goodwin, said to be distant 160 miles. We saw a great deal of game along the road to-day such as quail and hare. Also saw a fine herd of antelope. The country is covered with dry grass and seems more fertile than usual. We find a kind of wild fruit, resembling banana and called by that name. We pass a spot where a party of emigrants were murdered by the Indians this summer, the remains of an Indian seen dangling from a bush near by. One of the murderers, he thus forfeited his life for his pains. The Indians, it seems, did not know the value of the money they found on the persons of those they murdered so scattered it profusely along the trail when they retreated - and it was picked up by the Cavalry who went in pursuit. We halt for a couple of hours, take lunch and from thence inter Murders Canyon, then up the canyon about 10 miles and encamp in the slough, good water.
Nov. 2. Lay over.
Nov. 3. By 5 A. M. we were on the road and, from that time until sunrise the weather was uncomfortably cool. We traveled til 1 P. M., then encamped on a splendid stream of water, called the San Pedro. Numerous remains of adobe houses are found along its banks.
Nov. 4. Marched down the river 5 miles and encamped for the day.
Nov. 5. Make a fatiguing march of 25 miles to Croton Springs. Nine hours on the road, water brackish and no wood except mezcal stalks. We passed the grave of a man murdered by the Indians in July last (a member of the 1st Calvary, 1st Cal. Vol.) More antelope.
Nov. 6. Seventeen miles brings us to Oak Grove, a splendid grove of oak trees between us and mountains on our left. One of the Cavalry escorts brings a fine antelope into camp.
Nov. 7. Reach Eureka Wells, fine water. Find some black walnuts here of small variety.
Nov. 8 Travel 18 miles and encamp in Sycamore Canyon. Water scarce.
Nov. 9. Arrive at Ft. Goodwin, our destination, at 1½ P.. M. and having no quarter to go into, we stretch our shelter tents for the present. The fort seems to be pleasantly located, having a nice spring stream running by it. Wood is plentiful but timber for building purposes is not be had. The troops stationed here are Co. I, 1st New Mexico Vol. and Co. M, 1st Calvary Cal. Vol.. both companies of which are about 70 strong each. Col. Pollock will assume command here soon. Here then we may say "Alabama" (Here we rest.)
Ft. Goodwin Nov. 10, 65
From her to San Pedro, the distance is between 8 and 9 hundred miles and viewing it as a whole from the road, we venture to say that a more uninviting country, the sun never shone on. We should say that some years must elapse before it "Blossoms as the rose". With a few exceptions, we may in fact, set it down as an interminable waste. From San Pedro to Ft. Yuma, the country may be set down as a desert, with the exception of a verdant spot, here and there, on that portion of the road nearest the seaboard.
From Ft. Yuma to Tucson the country "gets no better fast" and cannot be called an improvement on that west of the Colorado. From Tucson to this post it is somewhat more inviting, the valleys and lowlands are well lined with verdure and even the mountains up to their summits are dotted with bunch-grass. Wild animals, denominated "game" are more abundant that heretofore such as quail, rabbit, deer and antelope.
As for timber, that is a word not known in the vocabulary of Arizona productions if we except a species of scrubby, thorny wood known as "mesquite" - A few cottonwoods are found along the streams.
Some fish are found in the rivers, that are not all dried up. Water is plentiful, especially along the principal rivers.
At least a portion of the territory comprises what is know as the "Gadsden Purchase". We do not know the amount paid but are of the opinion form a pecuniary point of view, Uncle Sam Was the loser. The U. S. Marshal of the Territory is Maj. A. B. Duggield, a man whose antecedents, if reports be true, eminently qualify him for the position. He resides at Tucson, a place that deserves a passing notice being the largest town we have seen since leaving San Pedro (Arizona City not excepted). Its antiquity is disputed ground, or at lease involved in some obscurity - but judging from appearances we should say it was founded sometime since the Christian Era.
The houses are built entirely of adobe and the streets are laid out with about as much regard for neatness and regularity as are the trails through a prairie dog village. The inhabitants are greasers and Indians with the exception of Uncle Sams boys. In the matter of costume, a variety of styles prevail - from the Indian with flour-sack about his loins to the well clad American soldier - from the Mexican vaqueros with immense sombreros and jingling spurs to the government teamster with slouch hat and tattered habiliments. The female portion of the community is entirely Mexican and they are slouchy and inelegant in their attire and indolent in their habits.
In fact, viewing the inhabitants collectively, one may say of them in the language of Byron, that "No one doth seem to care for cleanliness of surtout or of shirt, though sheut with Egypts plague, unkempt, unwashed, unhurt".
Such was our impressions of Tucson by daylight but to make matters worse, we took a stroll through the town by moonlight. If we had before entertained exalted ideas of Alhambras by moon-light and gay youths serenading their sweet hearts in the evening air, fragrant with the aroma of orange blossoms and all that sort of thing, they vanished with that nocturnal visit. No love-sick cavalier touched his guitar at the window of his fair senorita. All was silent save a few soldiers carousing in a adjacent gin-mill. The streets were nearly deserted and in the soft silver light of the moon, the shapeless adobe houses seemed ten times more flat and unromantic.
Prescott situated in a mineral portion of the country is the capital and largest town in the Territory. A newspaper entitled "Arizona Miner" is published here. It eschews politics, advocates the mining interest and is "Sound on the goose", or at least it ought to be as it is the only one published in the Territory. Goodwin is the functionary who is supposed to hold the reins of the Territorial Government in his hands, at present, and this camp, misnamed Fort, is his namesake. It was established about 1½ years ago. Seven companies of troops were sent here with the expectation of having a fight with the Indians, as it was supposed that they would make a stand at this one of their strongest camps but it seems that they did not dare to abide the issue, and fled a few hours previous to the arrival of the soldiers. There are, as yet no permanent buildings here and the location is not very interesting from a scenic point of view. From what we can learn, we believe that the Apaches are in possession of the Territory at present, with the exception of a few isolated outposts and it seem to be their custom to come into these out-posts (this one, at least) every winter, treat for peace, receive rations from the government, lay around the garrison all winter and leave at the approach of spring, for their inaccessible haunts in the mountains and then, no doubt, they exclaim in the language of one of their race who once flourished on the other side of the continent, "Our vice is still for war". They may be very good friends of the white man, as they profess to be (when in his power) but as Artemas Ward would say they sometimes have a "cussed queer way of showing it".
Take it altogether ,the road from San Pedro to here is not a very interesting road to travel. The scarcity of timber will always be a draw-back to the development of the country; but in the absence of timber, there is an abundance of mezcal and every third mile on the road develops a new species of cactus.
Such is our impression of the Territory, so far. And here we pause.
Nov. 11. An alarm was occasioned in camp last night by the discharge of fire-arms and the remains of an Apache Chief lying in front of the guard house this morning proved to have been the cause of the disturbance. He has been a prisoner at the post for some time and proof is not wanting of his being principal in several outrages committed upon emigrants and others on the road. Common report and a cloud of witnesses stamp him as a villain of the blackest dye. But last night he paid the debt of nature and stretched at full length upon the ground he looked like an Apache gone in (Patagonian). He is said to be well known in New Mexico, Arizona and Sonora and somewhere in the latter place, a reward of $3000 is said to have been offered for his head.
The particulars of his capture are somewhat as follows: Coming into the garrison among some other Indians he was recognized by a Mexican guide and taken charge of by the authorities here. Since his capture, he has been kept in double irons in the guard house. Hopes of a release have all along been held out to him in order to elicit form his, if possible, information in regard to the whereabouts of some white children who are captives of the Apaches. The manner of his death is not clearly known, at lease not to everyone. One report is that he was shot endeavoring to escape from the sentinel in charge. Another report current in camp and the one most generally believed is that he was shot by order of the Commanding Officer. It was rather clandestinely done and it is not very satisfactory to the soldiers. They vastly preferred seeing him executed publicly, black criminal that he was, to his being assassinated thus. At any rate, five or six shots fired in quick succession just as we were dropping off to sleep, precipitated us from our tents in some little confusion. However we all fell in under arms and after the alarm again turned in, slept on our arms and kept ourselves prepared for an attack.
Nov. 18. Capt. Stewart, in command of Co. H started out this morning on a scout but returned in the afternoon not having met any "foreman worthy of his steel". The expedition was started on the strength of a rumor that the Indians were driving a band of sheep through the country east of here, and they (the officers) expected to make a raid and capture them. It turned out that an Indian was the cause of all the excitement because of his making inquiries as to whether the Q. M. would like to buy two or three hundred head of sheep. Since Capt. Stewarts return, no one seems disposed to purchase sheep.
Nov. 21. Funeral at sunset. A private of Co. I, New Mexico Vol. A train of supplies arrives from Tucson. They bring with them rumors that we are soon to be mustered out. And as a consequence the boys are in high spirits to night.
Nov. 22. Some friendly Indians came into camp today and informed the officers that some of their tribe have some white children captives about 20 miles from here. A detachment under command of Lieut. Febner consisting of Sergeant Dulin and ten privates was immediately dispatched to rescue them, to be gone three days.
Nov. 25. Lieut. Felmers [sic] detachment returns not having found any white captives. They brought with them an Apache Chief, bearing a flag of truce and seven or eight of his tribe who are peacefully disposed and favor a treaty of peace. In the afternoon two detachments consisting of 50 men each, leave the garrison for scouting purposes, one under command of Capt. Simpson and the other under Capt. Stewart. In the former is a detachment of K Company among which is myself. We are supposed to be absent 30 days. The military authorities, it seems insist on a vigorous prosecution of the war. Our command goes down the Gila. We encamp at night 5 miles from the garrison, on the river.
Nov. 26. Travel down the river ten miles and encamp. An Express from the garrison reaches us at camp. Shortly after dark the sentinel reported that he saw a couple of Indians prowling around in the bushes which gave us some alarm and we immediately extinguished our fires and stayed out in the cold until morning.
Nov. 27. March down the river six miles. Down the river, down the Gila 7 miles. Numerous signs of Indians. Deserted ranchos.
Nov. 28. After two or three miles travel this morning, we wade the river then leave it to our left. Our trail leads us over the upland and hills for a couple of miles then down a steep rocky hill into the pleasant valley of the Rio San Carlos. The river here is about a rod wide and is well lines with cottonwoods and willows.
Nov. 30. Travel on up the San Carlos, over the Bluffs and valley alternately and encamp on a fine grassy plateau with a precipitous bluff of rock facing us from the east and the river with its monotonous woods and willows on the west. Here our command will probably halt and send out scouting parties in different directions.
Dec. 1st. Remain in camp. A detachment is sent out Indian hunting under command of Capt. Noyes. Indications of rain.
Dec. 2nd. Another scouting party is sent out under command of Lieut. Norcross. Rain.
Dec. 3rd. Lieut. Norcross party returns. Found no Indians. Rained all night.
Dec. 4th. Pleasant. Remain in camp, dry our clothing and blankets. Rations beginning to get short.
Dec. 5th. Cloudy and disagreeable with indications of more rain. Still in camp.
Dec. 6th. Weigh anchor and start for home. Camp at night on the Saint Charles River
Dec. 7th. Cross the Gila.
Dec. 8th. Lay over.
Dec. 9th. Decamp.
Dec. 10th. March on up the river ten or twelve miles and encamp within 15 miles of home.
Dec. 11th. Arrive at Goodwin seventeenth day out.
At this season of the year, carrying one blanket, your
overcoat, half a shelter tent, your gun accoutrements and 210 rounds of
ammunition, is not very desirable pastime, especially when you are out seventeen
days without finding an Indian. If Jomini could peruse a detailed account
of our expedition, he would , no doubt, see fit to change his definition
of military terms considerably. Thus the term Scouting (in an Indian country,
at least) as our experience proves, is to start out and travel 8 or 10 miles
a day, camping about noon and keeping good fires burning all night so as
to warn all Indians of your whereabouts. In the morning a large fire should
be built so as to make smoke so that the enemy can see it and flee your approach.
It is also well to take the precaution a few days before leaving the garrison
to post all guides and interpreters so that they can easily go out into the
mountains and intimate the coming danger to their savage brother. Thus you
will easily avoid coming into collision with the noble red man. An appropriate
report to send to Headquarters would be something like this:
Deserted Rancheria, December 1865
We are at the camp of the enemy and they are ours (hour
ahead of us.
Schillers Maid of Orleans.
It is profitable occasionally in our lives to retrospect the past, to ascent the watch-tower of memory and look back on the field we have traversed, to view at a soul glance the many sinuosities of the road we have trod, to trace the intricacies of the thread of our existence back to its source, to view the vicissitudes through which we have passed, and the perils we have survived. Encouraging is such a view to the mind disposed to profit by experience. Sublime are its teachings, forcing us to acknowledge in all things the presence of an over-ruling Providence. Giving us to know that man tho a slave to earthly sense is progressing toward all that is good and pure. Yet when we come to view the many errors of our lives both of head and heart, the good resolutions we have made and never kept, the good deeds we have never done and the evil we have upheld (by our silence, at least), when we view all these, I repeat, we are disposed to report that the battle goes unfavorably. Our success I life depends on the spirit with which we fight lifes battles for what is life but a series of conflicts, a ceaseless strife against passion, against fortune and "the thousand ills that flesh is heir to". How true is the language of the poet, that "He who lives as wise men ought , but lives as saints have died, a martyr". "There is a lion in the way" yea many of them, and only a few of earths lion-hearted sons may overcome the obstacle to their progress in this mundane existence. The last chapter in "This strange eventful history" is death, the great Waterloo of the campaign of life, the final struggle to which even Napoleon must succumb. Behold what two great volumes of wisdom are open to our perusal so that "He who runs may read". They are respectively The Experience of Man and The World of Nature. This first may show us the reefs and rock on which so many who have preceded us have made shipwreck, may point us to the quicksand which lay in our future course, may direct us to the goal of human ambition to which we would aspire and teach us inunmistable terms that if we would avoid their fate, we must avoid their errors. The second is the great pictorial edition of the Works of nature, issued some centuries ago from the hand of its Divine Author. Yet how few have read aught but its title pages, how few have ever dived into its mysteries or fathomed the secrets it contains. This great volume is ever before us like an open book-teaching man his affinity to everything in Nature of which he constitutes a part, from the stream let hurrying on like man to its destiny, the boundless ocean to the son-covered mountains that point forever to the skies. Who that goes forth into the boundless Kingdom of Nature among her fields and flowers and trees which were the first temples of God, but feels his soul expand within him as he reads "Books in the running brooks, sermons in stone and good in everything". The tendency of our own experience should be to make us hopeful for the future, strong for the coming conflicts of the soul with the senses and to make each year in our life an improvement on its predecessor.
Camp Starvation January 27, 1866
The troops at this post consisting of 3 companies of California and one of New Mexican Volunteers under the command of Lt. Col. Pollock and the whole in the service of the United States, are not starved out yet, but here is something in Denmark that smells bad. We are of the opinion that certain officials in this department have been reaching deep down into Uncle Sams packet for since our battalion arrived here not a frijole has been issued to us. There wasnt any at the post and of course no one was to blame. Misfortunes never come alone and this was the beginning of tribulations. About two weeks before Christmas the sugar gave out in the commissary. Of course, no one was to blame and the soldiers swallowed their coffee with as good grace as possible, under the circumstances. About this time the supply of beef cattle failed and after some delay arrangements were made with the sutler at the post for butchering his ox teams which had recently done their owner good service on the road. Now the soldiers were furnished with meat for a while longer but times which had begun to look blue were not nearly so blue as the sutlers beef. Early in the present month our rations of bread began to grow small by degrees, decreasing in weight at the rate of nearly an ounce a day. By the twelfth of the present month we received only half rations of bread but were allowed an additional quantity of rice was again augmented and now come the experiment of feeding us on wheat, accordingly a pound of wheat was issued to, each man and after being boiled was served out by the cook. The experiment prove a failure, the stomachs of the soldiers refusing to sanction so important a change in diet and the wheat ration was stopped. Since then we have been living on rice plain, coffee straight and very indifferent beef. There has as yet been no insubordination or mutiny, not a man has refused to do his duty as a good soldier though we will not say but what curses both loud and deep have been showered upon the heads of those who are considered responsible for the deficiency. Perhaps the adage that the hour is the darkest just before the dawn may have a prophetic application in our case. At least we hope so. In the meanwhile we shall keep an anxious lookout for a train and of course blame nobody.
Jan. 28th A train of supplies arrived today consisting of 15,000 lbs. of flour, pork and beans etc.
Feb. 2nd. Paymaster arrives and of course the boys are jubilant in anticipation of receiving at his hands four months pay, bounty etc. in greenbacks.
Feb. 3rd. Two companies were paid off today and greenbacks are flying around like leaves in an autumn wind.
Feb. 5th. Los otros dos companias were paid today.
Feb. 10th. Since payday gambling has been all the rage. The Montebank is the insatiable Moloch to whom the boys offer up their sacrifices in the shape of greenbacks.
Feb. 18th. Inspector-General, by name Davis, and by rank Major arrives at the post.
Feb. 19th. Inspection and Review by Major Davis. A train of supplies in the evening from Tucson. Private Johnson of Co. B, 7th Inf. Cal. Vol., on escort duty here gave an entertainment in the consisting of scenes from Shakespeare.
Feb. 22nd. The troops were paraded and reviewed today in commemoration of the birthday of the Father of his Country.
Feb. 24th. There was quite a stir in camp last night at 11 oclock. The sentry at Post No. 2 discharged his piece at some passing hombre who, prompted perhaps by an inordinate desire to remain incognito refused to answer when challenged but took to his heels like a valiant soldier. Thus far no harm was done but the report of the musket brought sundry members of the Guard to the spot, among others, the Officer of the Day who on this particular occasion had so far forgotten his dignity as an officer in the U.S. Army as to be in a state of beastly intoxication and fell headlong into a ditch nearby and this morning he, the sergeant of the guard and the 1st Sergeant of Company I are under arrest. Recent developments show that a mujere (Q) who hold forth in the lower part of the garrison was the cause of all the disturbance. May we not say with Shakespeare "Woman, thy name is frailty".
Feb. 28th. Inspection and Muster.
Mar. 1st. Scouting has again become fashionable. This morning the New Mexican Company left for a scout of 20 days.
Mar. 5th. Brigadier General Whittier, Inspection General, accompanied by Col. Dennison of the 2nd U.S. Artillery and Col. Smedberg of the 14th. U.S. Infantry arrived at this post. Escort return from Fort Grant. They report that Capt. Urmy in command of a scouting party from Fort Grant fired on a body of Indians a day or two ago, killing four and taking a few prisoners. The Indians did not evince any hostility and it seems were fired on unaware. The escort brought in a captive that they picked up on the way, a youth of 9 or 10 years, supposed to be a boy but evidence being adduced to the contrary SHE was set at liberty.
March 12th. Inspector General takes his departure for Fort Grant. All the military stores pertaining to the post underwent a thorough examination and inspection during his stay and all articles and stores unfit for use were promptly condemned. It is probable that some changes for the better will be made in this department soon. Our hopes for a discharge from this service in three or four months are confirmed by the General. The Col. of the 14th is well pleased with the location and it is said intends making this post his headquarters.
Mar. 15th. "The cry is still they come" the Apaches we mean. Col. Pollocks conciliatory manner of treating them has brought large numbers of them in the vicinity of the garrison where rations of "carne" and wheat are issued to them daily. A walk around among the rancherias is quite entertaining. Their habits of life may be said to be in strange contrast with those of the nations of other lands. All manual labor devolves upon the squaw such as carrying water &. The bucks occupy their time mostly in lounging around the hillsides and basking in the sun. At night the buck enfolds himself in his serape and lies along side the fire taking care to secure for himself the most comfortable position. The female members of the family cook the supper and keep the fires going, if need be, all night. Their language, if it may be dignified with the name, consists of a series of guttural sounds or grunts which would be very difficult to express in English.
Mar. 17th. Some time ago we noted the fact that the troops at this post were destitute or nearly so of the necessaries of life, by the soldiers vulgarly called "Grub". Since that eventful period provisions have flowed in apace so that with a few exceptions, complaints on that score would now be unjustifiable and uncalled for. But notwithstanding the removal of this fruitful cause for complaint, do not imagine for a moment that we are resign our precious prerogative as a soldier. We mean the right to grumble. By no means. But is of another deficiency that we speak now, namely the scarcity of intellectual food in the garrison. In fact in the matter of reading matter, we are living on less than one-fourth rations. We need only cite a few instances to prove the truth of our assertion. Take the case of a comrade of ours who, unable to obtain anything else, has gone to reading the Bible as a pastime. Does not this prove the total want of mental sustenance when a soldier voluntarily endeavors to digest such substantial food. Or another instance where a stray copy of Robinson Crusoe has gone from company to company and from hand to hand until with such perpetual thumbing the text is threatened with oblivion. The veritable adventures and hair-breadth escapes of the Originals are nothing to the perils of annihilation he ahs survived here, and were this the only copy in existence we would not answer for its appearance before the world in a new edition again. The sutler also brought a few yellow covered novels with him from the Rio Grande along with his other necessities but they were soon gobbled up and are by this time worn out, their frail bindings failing to secure for them a very long existence in the rough hands of the soldiery.
Of leisure time we have an abundance, more in fact than we know what to do with. Even a Spanish dictionary with the facilities that exist here for acquiring that language, would be an invaluable acquisition, but there is only one at the post that we know of and that could not be had for love or money. Newspapers the greatest luxury of the modern civilization are as rare here as they were in the civilized world two centuries ago. In the way of intellectual entertainment our condition is lamentable, but we see no way of bettering it as present and we suppose our privations on that score will come under the head of "Sacrifices for the good of the Country", Patriotism, &&&&&
Mar. 22nd. The Indians keep coming in clans,
reinforcing the rancherias near the garrison almost every day. The report
is current in camp that one thousand Indians more are coming in tomorrow.
The object is to get them all on a reservation here and keep them. Their
arrival at the garrison in small parties suggested the following parody:
Mar. 28th. The Express which arrived last night brought orders for the three companies of the 2nd. Cal. Vol. at this post to take up the line of march for California immediately upon the arrival of the Regulars (an event expected to take place daily) for the purpose of being mustered out. Col. Wright left Fort Grant with the other five companies of the regiment on the 10th of the present month, for the same purpose.
April 1st. A scouting party of about 70 men headed by Col. Pollock left this morning for the vicinity of the scene of the outrages recently committed by the Apaches between Fort Grant and Maricopa, in order if possible to punish the marauders. They take with them six days rations, all that can be spared from the Commissary in the present straitened condition of that institution, but upon the arrival of a supply train here another party is to be sent after them with more provisions. Capt. Stewart is in command of the post.
April 2nd. There was a general alarm in the garrison last night, an outbreak of the Apaches being momentarily expected. The rumor that two hundred warriors of the Cogotero tribe intended making a descent on the post, whether well-founded or not had the effect of causing the guard to be strengthened and the vigilance of everybody to be redoubled.
April 5th. Another express left this morning for Tucson consisting of three men- Lieut. Haine and two privates.
April 7th. The post sutler returns from the Rio Grande where he has been nearly two months for supplies for his department.
April 9th. Lieut. Haine, who left here a few days ago for Tucson, returns, having met the train of supplies.
April 10th. A train of supplies arrives at the post.
April 11th. Col. Pollocks scouting party comes in not having encountered any hostile Indians if any at all. Sergeant Lacy and party also returns from Apache Pass.
April 13th. Express arrives from Apache Pass bringing letters && but nothing definite in regards to our departure from "This festive scene". We have been disappointed so often on that score that we have almost ceased to hope. The signs of the times at present indicate that we will not leave here until the last of the month, at any rate.
April 14th. How are our Indians getting along? We answer; They are doing finely. They now muster for 8 or 9 hundred rations of beef and wheat or corn, daily. The smallest as well as the largest of the tribes draw full rations. Three or four men have steady employment issuing rations. They are motley looking crowd as they assemble at the Commissary of Indian Subsistence at 2:30 P. M. daily and march off with their rations in the direction of their respective rancherias. What a splendid chance would there be here for Harpers special artist, such sketches as "Issuing Rations", "Muster", and portraits of "Medicine Man", "The Chief". It would be highly entertaining.
April 15th. Express and the train of Commissary supplies arrive from Tucson. They bring the welcome intelligence that there are no regular troops coming to our relief this side of Yuma, that is Fort Yuma.
April 16th. The supply train leaves for Tucson accompanied by three men of our command and Capt. Noyes. The latter is on a sick furlough and the three soldiers are sent to Cal. to be discharged, their terms of service having nearly expired.
April 17th. There was symptoms of a riot this morning among the Indians. The difficulty originated about a blanket. For a while blood seemed imminent as the opposing and contending factions ere in hostile array and only separated from each other by a small raving, a distance of a hundred yards. They mustered their forces to the number of 50 or more men on each side and seemed destined to come into collision when a short "armistice" was agreed upon and after some diplomacy, pacific counsels prevailed. The property in dispute was to be disposed of in the following manner: the two claimants were to take hold of an end of the blanket and divide it between them with their knives, the more dexterous in the use of that weapon, having the best chance. In this manner it was decided, one of the combatants getting a little more than half of the blanket, less than half, getting in addition a smart cut on the face.
So says Burns of the toothache, very justly terming it the hell of all diseases. We venture to say that no one who has not suffered from this painful malady knows how to appreciate its dreadful pangs. Laboring under this direful visitation, all sympathy almost amounts to insult and we feel like accusing the sympathizers of want of respect for our sufferings. What avail it that we change our position every five minutes standing, walking, lying, sitting, its all the same. The demon is not thus to be routed. Your change of base moves his not. The delirium of fever extending from the afflicted member to the whole side of the face and from thence to the remotest parts of the system is much more pleasant to contemplate than to endure. If you can manage to catch a short nap your rest is disturbed by small demons with diminutive hammers in their hands knocking away on your jaw trying to displace it. Calm sleep only lives in your remembrance as the recollection of some pleasant dream. At least such has been our experience of the toothache from which we have suffered intensely the last few days, our abhorrence of a visit to the doctor so far surpassing the misery we have endured.
April 24th. Arrived express from Apache Pass "mail-matter" News- The Regulars are coming - so is the Fourth of July. Query "Which one will get here first? The warmest day of the season 96° in the shade.
April 28th. Arrived - a train of supplies from Tucson, consisting of subsistence for the Indians. Had some fine April showers today accompanied by some old-fashioned thunder which sounded quite old-fashioned and home-like.
April 30th. Parade and muster of all forces at the post. Another supply train arrives from Tucson also a fine drove of beef cattle also the express from Apache Pass. The Regulars are supposed to be between here and Tucson. Allowing such to be the case, we can be relieved and leave here inside of a week.
May 1st. Rain has fallen at intervals for the last three days and the rainy season seem thoroughly inaugurated.
May 9th. 1866 Half a year to a day from the time of our arrival at Fort Goodwin. We took up the line of march for California, marched across the creek and encamped upon its banks opposite the garrison.
May 10th. Fort Goodwin Adios. Farewell to the garrison where we have been stationed for lo these many days for we assure you the time has not passed on eagle wings. On the morning of the tenth just as the sun was gilding the top of Mt. Turnbull we struck tents and were soon on the road.
From Fort Goodwin to Tucson
Our first days march brought us to Cottonwood Creek. Our teams being poor we did not get into camp until 9 oclock at night, but the command had arrived there at 1 P.M. The first days marching , after so much inactivity tells considerably upon the boys but they bear it cheerfully, as they are homeward bound, and there is a magic in that word that poetry cannot describe. The second day we marched to Eureka Wells, the third day to Oak Grove, a good camping ground with an oak grove stretching away towards the mountains. Antelope are numerous here.
The fourth day we reach Croton Springs. The water here is bad and there is no wood. To our left hand is a continuous mountain range and in those mountains there is said to be "much gold." Rising conspicuously from among the mountain peaks appears "Los dos cabesas" (the two heads). Near those peaks is situated Fort Bowie, otherwise known as Apache Pass, once a stronghold of the Indians. The fifth day we arrived at the Rio San Pedro after a march of 35 miles. The sixth day we reached Mezcal Station. Here we feasted to our hearts content on wild currant and laid over for one day. The seventh days travel brought us to Tucson. The marches have been long and wearisome and the last few days there has been considerable complaint about too much marching, the colonel in command being blamed for it. Riding along the other day on his Beaucephelus a few rods in advance of his men he was heard to remark to fellow officer "The men stand it remarkably well", at the same time throwing a furtive glance back to a soldier by the road-side who had given out from sheer exhaustion and was endeavoring to improvise an awning out of his over an almost leafless mesquite bush. A Few minutes later we passed a fine grove and a few minutes later still the Col. ordered a halt for rest where there no trees and no vestige of shade. Military ability is a great thing. Having been over the road once, of course we did not wee much new this time, the same barren mountains towered on either hand, the same mesquite bush by the roadside sought to detain us with their jagged thorns. The same deer crossed the road just in advance of us. Arriving at Tucson, the same monotony meets us everywhere. The same long line of Mexican carts attached to the same big-horned oxen, pass us in the suburbs of the town. The same adobes stand there as real as ever. Near our former camping ground about a mile from town we encamped for a day or two and the boys indulged themselves to their hearts content drinking Tucson poison, Tarantula juice, Arizona Lightning &&&. Many of the boys deprived for a long time of the beverage they favored, got unconsciously drunk and in this state many were robbed of what few greenbacks they possessed by a set of harpies in the shape of regular soldiers belonging to the 14th U.S. Inf. Stationed in town. On the 19th of May we left Tucson on our homeward march. A number of men stopped in town as we passed through, got to drinking and before they were aware of it some of the were so much intoxicated as too be unable to travel, and a certain corporal in charge of the rear guard had his hands full that day. Those however whom he could not manage he left by the roadside with sealed orders to join their command as soon as they had slept it off. The next days march brought the sober part of the command to Point of Mountain, 20 miles from Tucson.
May 20th. We did not resume our march until 3 P.M. on the day following our arrival here (Point of Mountain), hoping by this means to cross the desert in the night. About midnight we halted and made coffee.
May 21st. Arrived at Blue Water Station about 9 A.M. Weather terribly warm.
May 22nd. March to our old stamping ground on the Gila, Sacaton. Many Indians, it being part of the Pimo and Maricopa Reservation.
May 23rd. March 12 miles and encamp at Pimo Village or Whites Mills.
May 24th. To Maricopa Wells, same distance as yesterday. Nothing of special importance happened until within a days march of Fort Yuma, when a messenger came to us from the fort with the welcome intelligence that we were to proceed by water from Fort Yuma. The march as a general thing was monotonous enough to make a chapter in a modern novel. IT was with heartfelt joy that we again looked on the turbid waters of the Colorado which we did on the fourth of June having accomplished;
We made the march from Fort Goodwin to Fort Yuma in 26 days, a distance of 462 and a half miles. We remained encamped here until the sixth when we went on board the small steamer which was to convey us to the mouth of the Colorado. Though the vessel did not leave her moorings until the morning of the seventh.
Evening of the seventh: We tied up to the bank, went ashore and camped. Disembarked the morning of the eighth at the mouth of the Colorado at 9 P.M. Capt. Noyes who has been absent from his company on a sick furlough, for a couple of months died here a few days ago on his way to San Francisco, and was buried at Point Isabel.
June 10th. After experiencing considerable delay in getting over the Bar at the mouth of the river, we found ourselves in the open water of the Gulf of California. We were five days coming down the gulf. Under different circumstances the trip would have been one to be remembered a lifetime, with pleasure. As it was, we cannot soon forget it. Such a smooth calm and as Byron would say a "deep blue sea". Such splendid star-lit nights. Every evening the soldiers used to assemble on deck in the bow of the vessel to sing songs and amuse themselves as best they might. For ourselves this singing was nothing to the music of our thoughts as leaning over the gunwale we watched the faithful vessel plow her way through the sparkling and phosphorescent waves. After rounding Cape St. Lucas a "change came in the spirit of our dreams and such a change. Head winds, rough seas, sea sickness, indifferent fare, &&&&&. It was one of the happiest days of our lives when we set foot upon Folsom St. Wharf, San Francisco, on the morning of the twenty-third of June, having been 15 days on the water. Same day marched out to the Presidio to be mustered out as soon as the necessary papers can be made.
End of Diary.
This realistic look at military life on the frontier, in an era when half the enlisted men were illiterate, William Bushnell brings an educated humor to an otherwise bleak existence. His poetry and prose accounts, certainly the exception to an enlisted soldiers view of his daily life, show a sensitivity and optimism in what must have been unbearable conditions. Fort Goodwin was established 21 June 1864 and according to Joseph Fishs History of Arizona, "the situation at Fort Goodwin was so unhealthy as to render the largest proportion of the personnel unfit for active duty most of the time. Out of 250 men in the post, not more than 20 were fit for duty." (The post was abandoned on 14 March 1871.) His accounts of the problems with camp rations touch on a significant command issue in the regiment. The shortages were due to various blunders connected with the change in departments and commanders. Further, the notion that military success might be achieved by offering the Indians food and protection, on one hand, and ceaseless attacks from all directions on the other , brought senior command criticism to Gen. Mason and others. The U.S. had adopted the Mexican theory of extermination, and thusly, committed acts of inhumane treachery and cruelty that made the Indians our implacable foes. It is estimated that this policy, just from 1861 to 1870, cost the U.S. $40 million and 1,000 lives.
William Addison Bushnell was born 29 Feb. 1840 at Franklin, OH, son of George Edwin Bushnell (1816-1902) and Helen Marie Bligh (1820-1848). He came west with his family in 1864 to Sonoma, California. After military service, he moved to Lane Co., Oregon and by 1870 had become a teacher. He died 4 Aug. 1874, at age 34. Family records relate that he never fully recovered from the ordeals in the southwest, remaining ill for years prior to his death.
Bancroft, Herbert Howe, Arizona and New Mexico, Works Vol. XVII, 1889
Peplow, Edward H. Jr., History of Arizona, Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1958 Vol. 1
This diary was copied from a typed and handwritten copy of the original diary
by Peter Steelquist, 28 Dec. 1999. Misspellings and punctuation have not
been changed except where typographical errors by first transcriber were
noted. Some formatting was changed for clarity. After William Bushnells
death, the diary was passed to Edwin Bushnell and ultimately to his niece,
Charoltte Lottie Feary (nee Kilgore, married to William, resided
1520 Cypress Ave., Burlingame, CA, in March 1953). She died Sept. 1977 at
Company K, organized October 28, 1861, at San Francisco. Left San Francisco January 7, 1862, for Humbolt Military District; established Post Lippitt, Humboldt County, Cal., January 10, 1862. July, 1862 company engaged in scout in the neighborhood of Eel River; captured about two hundred Indians, and left them on the Humboldt Reservation. April 30, 1862, while a detachment of the company was escorting a Government pack train from Arcata to Fort Gaston, Cal., a number of concealed Indians fired on the train, killing private Andrew Smith and wounding Corporal Patrick Agan in the arm. Company left Fort Gaston, June 20, 1863, for Fort Humboldt, Cal.; left Fort Humboldt for Benicia Barracks, June 28 1863; Left Benicia for Chico, Butte County, Cal., August 14, 1863; arrived August 16, 1863; left Chico for Benicia, October 26, 1863; left Benicia for Fort Miller, Cal., December 19, 1863; arrived December 26, 1863; left Fort Miller, October 1 1864, for Presidio, San Francisco; arrived October 8, 1864. Stationed there till ordered to Arizona, August 15, 1865.
The following members of Company K, Second Regiment of Infantry, California Volunteers served with William Bushnell during the period from Dec. 1864 to 1866.
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