Excerpt from Reminiscences of Ten Years Experience on the Western Plains: How the United States Mails Were Carried Before Railroads Reached the Santa Fe Trail
Feet, and taking nine mules, harness and Bell pony, cutting open themail sacks, and scattering the contents on the pr... airie. Soldiers buried the bodies, gathered up all the mail they could find and gave it to the first mail party they met. Michael Smith was the first conductor I crossed the plains with, and I was booked for one of his helpers the trip he got killed. I was sick and Dr. Henry advised me not to undertake the trip. Next weekly mail after the murder of the Smith Brothers, Peter Kelly was conductor; I was one of his helpers. Reaching the big bend of the Arkansas River we met Lieutenant Long, a cavalry officer, and forty men, detailed by Major Sedgwick to escort the mail to the Cimarone Crossing of the Arkansas River, 110 miles further west. Before we reached the point where the escort would leave us and return to join their command, we found three dead bodies, two men and one woman, scalped and stripped of all their clothing; they seemed to be emigrants murdered where they were camped, wagon and yokes were there, but no cattle in sight. Feathers ¿ying all over the prairie, bed ticks carried off. The body of one of the men and the woman were close together; a little white dog sitting barking between them; a half burned stick of wood lying on the man's breast showed it was on fire when placed there, as the ¿esh was burned brown. The supposi tion at the time was the little dog kept the wolves away from the bodies he seemed to be watching over, as the third corpse lay fifty yards from the other, one of his limbs torn from the body by those animals. The Lieutenant took the sheets from his bed and had them.
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