Camp Nichols, N. Mex., June 19, 1865.
Captain BEN. C. CUTLER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Headquarters Santa Fe:
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to state for the information of the commanding general that a train of seventy ox wagons having passed here en route to the States unprotected, I deemed it advisable to detail Captain Stombs, with all the available men of his company (F, First Cavalry California Volunteers), to escort it to the Lower Cimarron or there abouts. Captain Stombs left here on the 13th instant, rationed to include the 25th, and returned in company with the train on the 17th. Inclosed herewith please find his report. * Captain Stombs Remained here yesterday to enable him to have hobbles, &c., repaired, and matters generally adjusted, and left again this morning in charge of the train, pursuant to Camp Special Orders, Numbers 6, a copy of which is herewith inclosed. + I am well assured that the Indians are now aware of my locality, and probably out in force, as fresh trails have been discovered a few miles from camp, and I consider the attack upon Captain Stombs was made by an advance party of a more formidable body. I am using the utmost precaution to guard against surprise, and have fifty mounted men under charge of a commissioned officer on heard daily. This leaves me but one company (indifferently armed) to protect the camp and man the howitzers, a force competent, I hope, to do so effectually, provided the attacking party be not too numerous or successful in cutting off communication between the camp and herd guard. With my present command it is utterly impossible for me to do more than protect the herd and camp, and if attacked by a greatly superior force to hold my own successfully is the utmost I can reasonably anticipate. To afford efficient protection to the road, I require another company whose services when not called upon for that purpose can be made available here.
Grass suitable for hay cannot, I think, be procured in sufficient quantity nearer than from ten to twelve miles, and this alone will demand the services of a company. Consideralen this month and grazing is improving rapidly. I am intrenched behind breast-works of stone banked with earth, inclosing a space of 200 feet square, which affords ample room for the men and horses of my command, as also accommodation for store-houses and hospital. Six sets of officers' quartermasters are completed and occupied, and a building for quartermaster's and commissary supplies, twenty-feet long and twelve feet wide, is in progress and will be ready for use in the course of the week. The men are using shelter-tents supported by walls until more permanent quarters can be provided. If expedient, excellent, durable quarters can be erected here to winter four companies without much labor or any expense, except of lumber. Stone well adapted for building purposes is plentiful in the immediate vicinity, and the earth is so composed as to constitute an excellent cement. Wood is convenient and sufficient to supply all the fuel requisite; water abundant, permanent, and of good quality. I regret having to report the following losses, viz: Private Barranca, of Company L, First Cavalry, New Mexico Volunteers, killed by the accidental discharge of a pistol on the 8th instant; six privates of Company H, First Infantry New Mexico Volunteers, and one private of Company L, First Cavalry New Mexico Volunteers, who deserted from the command of Second Lieutenant R. D. Russell, First Infantry New Mexico Volunteers,
*See Part I, p. 320.
+See June 18, p. 922.