Sunday, April 18, 2010

April 18, 2010
Back from Laughlin and the history convention. Came back through Bullhead (Hardyville was behind the Safeway there), Fort Mohave, Topock, Needles Canyon, Lake Havasu, Bouse, Hope, Salome (where she danced), Wendon, Aguila (eagle in Spanish), Wickenburg and home. Got some good photos on the Colorado for my Martha Summerhaye's research. Created a timeline of her travel from Fort Russell, Wyoming to San Franciso to Cabo San Lucas to Yuma and then up the Rio Colorado to Fort Mojave. Here are the timeline highlights of the next part of the trip:

• (Rejoining Martha on the Colorado River at about The Needles): On the 3rd of September, 1874 the boilers on the Gila "foamed" and the steamer, the barge and the troops had to lay over for "nearly a day."

• The Gila arrived at Camp Mojave on September 8 (it took 11 days from Yuma). Captain Jack Mellon pronounced it "a quick trip."

• The troops spent two days and nights at Fort Mojave. On September 10 (35 days since they left San Fran), they lined up and headed out, with the infantry troops marching in advance, then came the ambulances & carriages (Martha mentions several officers bought carriages in San Francisco for this trip, so I assume they were on the boat), followed by big, blue army wagons and schooners each drawn by six heavy mules. Martha is riding in one of the ambulances. Bringing up the rear was a small rear guard. They marched for an hour and then halted for ten minutes. When they halted, the officers would walk back to the wagons and talk to the wives until assembly was called.

• In the desert they would get up at four ("cook's call"), make breakfast (soldier's bacon, coffee and biscuits baked in a dutch oven), strike camp and head out, marching until about noon when they would make the next camp and have supper (see breakfast).

• At noon of the first day's march, the troops reached Packwood's Ranch. He had a bar and many of the soldiers sampled the stock.

• On September 12, they reached Beale's Springs (near Kingman, AZ) and Martha bought a peach pie for one silver dollar. It was also on the 12th that one of the soldier's dogs ran to his death from the heat.

• For the next two days, Martha says they marched over "dreary country", camping at Freeze-wash near some old silver mines.

• On September 16 the guide shouted: "28 miles to Willow Springs Grove." They got there at 4 P.M. By this time some of the older troopers had given out and are riding on the wagons (that would be me).

• September 17, they encounter rolling grass country and they can see Bill William's Mountain in the distance. They camp at Fort Rock.

• Their next two stops are at Anvil Rock and Old Camp Hualapai.

• At this point the road turns south and "about the middle of September" Martha writes, they arrived at American Ranch about 10 miles from Fort Whipple.

• The wagons push on to Whipple while the troops lay over and march in the next day. They have been travelling for 7 weeks straight and one of the companies, F Company, stays at Whipple, while Martha's husband's unit, K Company gets word they will be going on to Fort Apache.

• The garrison at Whipple throws a dance and there are informal dinners and a trip into Prescott. They stay 3 days to rest up.

• Martha doesn't give the date of departure from Whipple, but says it took two days to get to Camp Verde where another company dropped out.

• In the "latter part of September" 2 companies of soldiers (about a hundred men in all, 5 or 6 officers, 2 wives and 2 laundresses), march out of Camp Verde bound for Fort Apache. They take Crook's Trail and according to Martha they are the first wagon train to actually use the trail.

• The mountains are steep and a wagon with a 6 mule team is lost over a cliff. A party of horsemen "tore past us at a gallop. . ", it's General Crook and staff heading somewhere quickly.

• After two months of arduous travel, Martha and the remaining troops finally arrive at Fort Apache and join the 5th Cavalry which is also stationed there.

• Martha unpacks and goes outside to witness one of the wives playing tennis.

"In the end, everything is a gag."

—Charlie Chaplan

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