War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0589 Chapter XXI. THE CALIFORNIA COLUMN.

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Overland Mail Station, which is seen on the hill about half a mile distant. Marched 13 miles to Mule Spring; good road. Here no water could be found even by digging, having sent a party in advance with spades for that purpose. Left Mule Spring at 12 m.; marched 22 miles to the Rio Grande, and encamped at 7 p. m. near Fort Thorn. Course, north-northeast and northeast; 35 miles.

The road about 8 miles after leaving Mule Spring is very good, when it enters a rolling country, the hills becoming more and more abrupt for a distance of about 6 miles, when it descends into a broad canon, which is followed on a good to the river. Immediately on making camp the national colors were raised amid the loud and continued cheers of the assembled command. This was the first time the Stars and Stripes floated on the Rio Grande below Fort Craig since the occupation of the country by the Confederate troops, and it being the anniversary of our National Independence, was not calculated to dampen the ardor of the command.

We are now within 35 miles of the enemy, which the prisoners whom I have taken variously estimate from 200 to 800 strong. As soon as the horses have a little recruited (they being considerably reduced on a march of about 300 miles through a broiling sun and over a country utterly destitute of water for distances ranging from 35 to 60 miles) will reconnoiter his position and endeavor to ascertain his strength, which I have but little doubt of accomplishing, and in case he does not greatly outnumber me will give him a fight.

July 5, moved 3 miles down the river to and reoccupied Fort Thorn; 3 miles.

I am, lieutenant, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Lieutenant Colonel, First California Volunteer Cavalry, Commanding.

Lieutenant BENJ. C. CUTLER,

A. A. A. G., Column from California, Tucson, Ariz.


Fort Thorn, Ariz., July 8, 1862.

LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to report the reoccupation of Fort Thorn by the squadron of First California Volunteer Cavalry, under my command, on the evening of the 5th instant. Immediately thereafter the national colors were run up and the old flag once more floated over the garrison.

On the morning of the 6th instant an express arrived from Fort Craig, with a communication from Colonel Chivington, First Colorado Volunteers, commanding Southern Military District of New Mexico, a copy of which is herewith inclosed.* He also sent a communication addressed to Colonel Steele, C. S. Army, empowering me to negotiate an exchange for Captain McCleave and the men who were made prisoners with him. Soon after the express from Colonel Chivington arrived a party of men were seen approaching from the direction of Mesilla. One of them proved to be Captain McCleave, on his way to Fort Craig, bringing with him a proposition from Colonel Steele for an exchange for Captain Gardner, C. S. Army. Having learned from the expressman just arrived that Captain died a few days since, I


* Not found.