Mountain is a prominent landmark; bears southwest about 15 miles; reached camp at 11 p. m.; distance, 15 miles. Left at 5 p. m. for New River Station; road a perfect level, over an alkali plain, with a few patches of mesquite bushes; road dusty and heavy for wagons; well deep; water scarce and of inferior quality.
Started at 5 p. m. for Alamo; road heavy, over barren flat; there is a well some 30 feet deep, affording some water. Left at 4 p. m. for Gardner's Wells; no water; 9 miles; thence, by same character of road and country, to Salt of Seven Wells; water plenty, but brackish, Started at 4 p. m., 9 miles, to Cooke's Wells. First 2 1/2 miles bad road. At Cooke's Wells water and wood abundant and good; thence 15 miles, to Pilot Knob. Camped on the bank of the Confederate at foot of mountain. From Cooke's the road is generally good, through mesquite flat, and latter part through Indian Gardens; distance 25 miles. Started at 1.30 p. m. The road follows the Rio Colorado to Fort Yuma; distance 10 miles; road much broken. Reached Forty Yuma at 4. 30 p. m.
I have been thus minute in detail in order that a correct idea may be had of some of the difficulties encountered in marching troops across this desert.
It will be seen that nearly every march was made in the night-time. By starting at 4 or 5 in the afternoon the march would be accomplished before daylight, thus enabling men to sleep a part of the night.
The ground did not become sufficiently settled for the movement of Shinn's battery until the 13th April. Previous to this nearly all the command had been moved toward Fort Yuma, one company only remaining to accompany the battery. Colonel Carleton arrived at Fort Yuma on the 29th of April. Active preparations were made to move the command eastward without delay. Water-tanks, holding 600 gallons each, were prepared to accompany each detachment. Contracts were made at Fort Yuma to have hay cut and deposited at different points between the fort and the Pima Villages.
It was ascertained that Tucson was still in the hands of the Texans. Their pickets extended down the Rio Grande till within 50 miles of Fort Yuma. Hay deposited at different points by Colonel Carleton's agents was burned. The Pima Indians are an agricultural people, and cultivate large quantities of wheat. Knowing this fact and the importance of securing as much as possible, Colonel Carleton had for some time been in communication with an American living at these villages. He was directed to purchase all the wheat the Indians had. A considerable quality was thus accumulated; but before the advance of the column reached that point the Texans had destroyed it all, with the exception of a small quantity the Indians had cached. This was a serious loss, but the growing crops had not been molested, and Colonel Carleton was enabled to secure a considerable amount for his animals. Two companies of infantry and one of cavalry were sent forward toward the Pima and Tucson. As our forces advanced the Texans fell back to Tucson. The command followed them to within a short distance of that place; but not feeling sufficiently strong to attack them, fell back to the Pima. Lieutenant-Colonel West was then ordered forward with four companies of infantry. The following itinerary was made by Lieutenant-Colonel West:
To Gila City, 17 miles; no grass, wood; camp on river; thence to Mission Camp, 11 miles; wood, water, and a little grass; wood, water, and grass 4 miles farther on.
From Mission Creek to Fillibuster is 6 miles; thence to Another Peak, 9 miles; Station, 12 miles; no grass; camp on the river. To Texas Hill, 11 miles; a little grass on the hill station, one-half mile back from the river. Lagoon Camp; fine water, wood, grass, and shade; thence to Burwell's Ranch, 11 miles; very dusty and disagreeable; men nor animals cannot recruit much. At Grassy Camp, 3 miles distant, they do much better. From Grassy to Berk's Station, 6 miles; a very poor camp; little better at Oatman Flat, 11 miles farther. From Oatman Flat to Kenyon Station, 11 miles; poor camp; no grass. To Shady Camp, 10 miles; everything good. From Shady Camp to Gila Bend, 4 miles; wood and water, but no grass; thence to Desert