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Army Life on the Pacific

Col. Lawrence Kip, c.1862

Col. Lawrence Kip, c.1862

It is the tendency in this country to decry the services of the army and of its officers; and yet, most of the latter spend the greater part of their lives on the frontiers and in the Indian country. Weeks at a time are passed in scouting against their treacherous foe, enduring every hardship, and daily risking life itself, to open the way for the pioneer and settler. Yet, what is their reward? When the papers come to them from the regions of civilization, they find themselves stigmatized in editorials, and even in speeches on the floor of Congress, as the drones of society, living on the government, yet a useless encumbrance and expense.

But, one by one, how many lay down their lives in this cause! Without counting those who sink into the grave from sickness produced by unwholesome climates, exposure and hardships, how many more actually meet their deaths on the battle field I Daring the last season alone, Taylor, Gaston, Allen and Yan Camp have thus shed their blood, and every year the list increases. Yet they fall in battle with an obscure enemy, and little are their sufferings appreciated by the ________ “gentlemen Who live at home at ease

Of the exposure and hardships, indeed, of our Army, the present journal furnishes no fit illustration, for the country in which the expedition was undertaken is comparatively a healthy one. The story is far different when the scene is among the Everglades of Florida, the burning heats on the Colorado, or the mountain passes of the Apaches. Yet these pages may give some idea of the nature of these expeditions, and the manner in which they are conducted.

Of the two battles the descriptions are necessarily very general, while for the benefit of the professional reader, the Official Reports have been printed in the Appendix.

These pages having been printed while the writer is on the other side of the continent, he would avail himself of this means of returning his thanks to George L. Duyckinck, Esq., for his kindness and the trouble he has taken in carrying them through the Press.

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