Dangers of the Trail in 1865 by Charles E. Young<br>The Story of a Pioneer by V. Devinny Date Published:
2009/07 Page Count:
188 Softcover ISBN-13:
978-1-84677-747-9 Hardcover ISBN-13:
This book contains two books, gathered here for their common subject—and value reading—concerning the 'March of Destiny'—the inexorable movement of pioneers to claim the unsettled lands of the great American continent. Trudging alongside ‘prairie schooners' these brave, ordinary men, women and children stepped into the unknown to create a better life for themselves and forge a new nation in the process. Many would fall by the wayside, victims to disease, accidents, starvation, banditry, raids by hostile Indian tribes or simply through exhaustion as a result of pitiless journeying through hundreds of miles of difficult terrain beset by every force of nature the wilderness could throw against them. When they arrived at their 'promised land' there began the difficult task of making a living against many of the same obstacles. These are two accounts, recorded for posterity, by those who prevailed to reach and live in Colorado.
O’Fallow’s Bluffs was the most dismal spot on the entire trail. Its high walls of earth and over-hanging, jagged rocks, with openings to the rolling plain beyond, made it an ideal point for the sneaking, cowardly savages to attack the weary pilgrims and freighters. The very atmosphere seemed to produce a feeling of gloom and approaching disaster. The emigrants had been repeatedly instructed by the commander at Fort Carney to corral with one of the trains. Many of the bullwhackers were desperate men, so that the poor pilgrims were in danger from two sources, and very seldom camped near either corral. Our consort was a day’s drive in the rear. That evening the emigrants camped about a half mile in advance of our train. It was at this point, when unyoking our oxen at evening that a large band sneaked over the bluffs for the purpose, as we supposed, of stampeding our cattle. They did not take us unawares, however, for we never turned cattle from corral until the assistant wagon boss surveyed the locality in every direction with a field glass, for the tricky redskin might be over the next sand hill.<br>
Fifty good men could whip five times their number, especially when fortified by those immense white covered prairie schooners in corral formation. On they came in single file, their blood-curdling war whoop enough to weaken the bravest. Closer they came, bedecked in war-paint and feathers, their chief in the lead resembling the devil incarnate with all his aids bent on exterminating as brave a band of freighters as ever crossed the plains. Nearer they came, their ponies on a dead run, the left leg over the back, the right under and interlocking the left, firing from the opposite side of them, ducking their heads, encircling the camp and yelling like demons. Their racket, together with the yelping of their mongrel dogs and the snorting and bellowing of the cattle, made it an unspeakable hell. Every man stood to his gun, and from between the wagons, at the command of the wagon boss, poured forth with lightning rapidity his leaden messengers of death. For about an hour they made it very interesting for us. It was almost impossible to hit one as they kept circling the camp, drawing nearer with each circle made. How many were killed we did not know as they carried them off, but from the number of riderless ponies, a dozen or more must have been dispatched to their happy hunting grounds. During the fight a portion of them bore down on the poor pilgrims’ camp, in plain sight, and massacred all, running off their cattle and such of their outfit as they wanted.