eClassics Publications presents "Farthest North" by Charles Lanman Description: In the 1885 written "Farthest North", Charles Lanman (1819-1895) tells the life story of Lieutenant, and American arctic explorer, James Booth Lockwood, and his deadly participation in the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition, also referred to as the Greely Arctic Expedition.
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It is believed that this book, with its true but none the less stirring adventures, will be of much interest to the general public, as well as gratifying to the many warm friends of Lieutenant Lockwood. It will likewise correct any erroneous impressions which may have arisen from the publication of garbled extracts from the official journals kept by the different members of the Greely party and, by order of the War Department, laid open to the public. By this order, Lockwood’s journal and those of others became public property, and hence any reference to them in advance of their official publication is allowable.
The few pages devoted to the early life can not be expected to especially interest the general public, but will gratify Lieutenant Lockwood’s friends. They are here produced to give them permanency, and to show his sterling character.
No attempt is here made to give a history of the Expedition, and only so much of Lockwood’s journal is produced as shows his connection therewith. The voyage to Lady Franklin Bay is given more in detail, as it presents a lively picture of an interesting people not much known, and as it exhibits the buoyant spirits with which he entered upon the work, before dissensions in camp had checked them, though without marring his faithfulness and energy. The important part he had in the enterprise, his zeal, energy, and loyalty to his chief and to the cause, all are fully set forth, and will be more clearly seen when the more elaborate history of the Expedition shall be published by Lieutenant Greely, as will shortly be done.
Although the journal has been freely used, its language and style have not been closely followed, except in those parts quoted which refer to Lockwood’s sentiments and feelings. The deep pathos of these could be expressed as well in no other words.
His journal is very full and complete on the perilous boat-voyage to Cape Sabine, and in the heart-rending struggle for life in that ever-memorable hut where he and so many others laid down their lives. This has purposely been reduced to a few pages, giving the story only so far as Lieutenant Lockwood was connected with it. The same, may be said as to the home-life at the station on Lady Franklin Bay.
The portrait of Lieutenant Lockwood is from an excellent photograph taken a short time before he started for St. John’s, and two of the woodcuts are from photographs by Sergeant Rice. “Arctic Sledging” was made up from a description and a sketch by Sergeant Brainard, and “Farthest North” from a sketch by Lieutenant Lockwood.
The map is a reproduction of that published by the London Geographical Society, which is an exact transcript of maps drawn by Lieutenant Lockwood and submitted by him to Lieutenant Greely with reports of sledge-journeys. This map gives the names agreed upon by Lieutenant Greely and Lieutenant Lockwood, and are those referred to in the journal and in this book. It is much to be regretted that many of these names differ from those on the official map published by authority to the world. The names first given commemorate events connected with those wonderful sledge-journeys, as will be seen in the text; and, if a few unimportant lakes and points were named after friends and relatives, this might have been conceded to one who accomplished so much, and that much so well. The map of the London Geographical Society will probably live, and the other perish, as it should.
Captain Markham, Royal Navy, soon after the return of the Greely Expedition, declared, in articles published in a leading English magazine, that Lockwood never got beyond Cape Britannia, and that he mistook Cape May for that cape, etc. It was thought that, when the history of this sledge-journey was better known, Markham would be glad to withdraw this ungenerous aspersion. This is done so far as to admit that Lockwood did reach 83° 24′ north latitude, 44° 5′ west longitude; but it is now said, in the article “Polar Regions,” of the new Encyclopædia Britannica, written by the captain’s brother, that all this region had previously been explored and exhaustively examined by the English expedition of 1875-’76.
This is very remarkable, in view of the fact that Lockwood Island, which was reached by Lockwood, is one hundred geographical miles east and forty miles north of Cape Britannia which Beaumont saw at the distance of twenty miles, but never reached.
In the same article are expressed sentiments in accord with those contained in this book, viz.: “If the simple and necessary precaution had been taken of stationing a depot-ship in a good harbor at the entrance of Smith’s Sound, in annual communication with Greely on one side and with America on the other, there would have been no disaster. If precautions proved to be necessary by experience are taken, there is no undue risk or danger in polar enterprises. There is no question as to the value and importance of polar discovery, and as to the principles on which expeditions should be sent out. Their objects are exploration for scientific purposes and the encouragement of maritime enterprise.”
In the following pages, it is proposed to record the personal history of an American hero whose fortune it was, at the sacrifice of his life, to visit and explore the utmost limit in the Arctic regions ever attained by human skill and enterprise. Aside from the information communicated to me by his family, the materials placed in my hands consist of his private correspondence and various journals which he faithfully kept while serving his country on the Western frontiers, as well as in the inhospitable domain of the North. As the poet Fitz-Greene Halleck wrote about a kindred character—
“He lived, as mothers wish their sons to live,”
and, on the score of fidelity to duty,
“He died, as fathers wish their sons to die,”
leaving a name that will long be honored in every civilized land as that of a martyr in the cause of geographical exploration.
Many of those connected with the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, before the civil war, will remember a playful and mischievous boy, whose ready smile and cheerful ways beguiled them in their hours of relaxation. Others who were at that school after the war will remember the same boy, grown into a youth of sixteen years, rugged in aspect, devoted to manly sports, and assiduous in all his duties. It is the story of his brief but eventful life to which this volume is devoted, written for the information of his friends and all those who admire true heroism and rare abilities when allied to sufferings for the public weal.
James Booth Lockwood was the second son and third child of General Henry H. Lockwood and Anna Booth Lockwood. He was born at the Naval Academy, Annapolis, on the 9th of October, 1852, at which time and place his father—a Professor of Mathematics in the Navy—instructed the midshipmen in the military branches, as he had done for many years before. Both his parents were from the State of Delaware, and came from the best stock of that State; and, as his father taught his students “how to shoot,” and prepare themselves for the conflicts of life, it was quite natural that the son should have acquired a love of noble deeds and adventure.
Like many boys, he had his narrow escapes from death, one of which occurred in April, 1860, when, having fallen into the river from the dock, he was rescued in an insensible condition, and restored to life with great difficulty. This escape must have been recalled by him with special emotion in after-years amid his struggles with the ice of Smith’s Sound.
His innate love of fun had been one of his characteristics from childhood, nor was it subdued even when recovering from the accident which nearly cost him his life; for, while lying in his bed, he peered into his father’s face with a quizzical smile, and remarked, “I was drowned, but not drowned dead.”
When the Naval Academy was occupied by a general of the army, in 1861, and the students and professors were transferred to Newport, Rhode Island, young Lockwood accompanied his father and family, and was placed at a public school in that place. After a brief residence in Newport, his father, being a graduate of the Military Academy at West Point, was called upon to command a volunteer regiment of Delaware troops, and having been subsequently commissioned a brigadier-general of volunteers, he was placed in charge of the Eastern Shore counties of Virginia and returned to the region of hostilities, making his headquarters at Drummondtown, in Accomac County. In this quaint and quiet place, and while a mere stripling of ten years, young Lockwood displayed his love of adventure and active life by forming a company of all the colored boys in the village, erecting earthworks in a vacant lot, and, all armed with corn-stalks and broom-handles, meeting a company of white boys in mimic war—noisy, if not dangerous to life or limb. The vanity of personal strife, however, soon becoming irksome to his mind, he turned his attention to horsemanship, and explored the surrounding shores of Accomac on a Chincoteague pony belonging to his father. He also spent many quiet hours conversing about horses and their habits with the soldiers in the garrison, with whom he was a special favorite. After a while, his father was transferred to the command of troops at Harper’s Ferry, and there a new field of adventure occupied the attention of the incipient hero. He was foremost in climbing the neighboring mountain-heights and scaling precipices, and always on the lookout for adventure along the waters of the Potomac. Afterward, when living with his family near the city of Baltimore, he displayed his activity and energy in other ways. When neighboring boys were wont to trespass on his father’s grounds and fruit-trees, he was quite as ready to defend his home as he had been in Accomac to maintain the national struggle then rending the land. And here it was that he often accompanied his father on his rounds among the military works near Baltimore, and always attracted the attention of the troops by his skill in riding. But these experiences were not deemed satisfactory for molding the character of a boy, and then it was that his father sent him to a boarding-school at Bethlehem, in Pennsylvania, kept by a Mr. Schwartz, a good scholar and strict disciplinarian. Of course, like those of all boys, his letters teemed with complaints. He was very homesick—a mere child separated from all he loved. In one letter he spoke of praying to God to make him satisfied. In after-years, and when suffering all the horrors of the Arctic, his mother’s prayer was that his childhood’s star might again arise, and lead his sorrowing heart to that comfort found only above. His chief grievances were a Dutch dish regularly given to the boys, called scrapul, and the discipline of powers administered to those who failed in their studies. In this latter punishment, the delinquent was required to raise to the fortieth, fiftieth, or one hundredth power any number given him. However distasteful to him at the time, he seems to have changed his mind upon the subjects of food and discipline afterward; for he became, after his return home, a strong advocate of scrapul as a physical, and of “powers” as a mental diet. Returning, in 1866, with his father to Annapolis, he was sent to St. John’s College in that place, and at that time in a flourishing condition, under the able administration of James C. Welling, now the accomplished President of Columbian College. Although his mental abilities were acknowledged as superior, he preferred action to books, and his success there was not satisfactory to his father. Others known to be his mental inferiors took a higher stand. He, however, read some Latin, and made considerable progress in mathematics. Here we come to a new illustration of his character. During his residence within the walls of the Academy, a species of tyranny existed among the sons of naval officers of his own age with whom he associated, which he could not endure. Rank in the father was supposed to give rank or prestige to the son. This theory young Lockwood was unwilling to acknowledge, and the consequence was that he soon found himself beset by those whom he opposed. But then, as always with the free and brave, right prevailed, and the aggressors were sent to the wall, while the fearless victor very soon became the peer of his associates. The situation of the Academy offering peculiar facilities for boating, fishing, swimming, etc., the professor’s son became an expert in all these exercises, making pets of his sail and row boats, as he had done with the ponies of Chincoteague. Many of the Annapolis students, now high officers in the navy, have spoken of his frolicsome pranks at that time within the grounds of the Academy—for example, how he mimicked the strut of the drum-major, how he teased the watchman by hiding among the trees and bushes, personating an intruder on the grounds, and how he alarmed the servant-maids and the children by appearing suddenly before them like a phantom. He was more fond of reading than of study, and among his favorite books were those of De Foe, Mayne Reid, and others of that class. To what extent he was familiar with the histories of John Ledyard and Joseph R. Bellot can not be stated, but there is a striking similarity in their characters, and indeed it was the fate of the latter, like Lockwood, to lose his life in the Arctic regions. They form a trio of remarkable explorers, whose fame will be perennial, but it was the fate of the last one mentioned to reach the highest success. During the latter part of his residence at Annapolis, he spent many of his spare hours on his father’s farm. By way of encouragement, his father assigned to him a patch of ground for his special cultivation, with fertilizers and the use of a team. To the surprise of all, his success seemed amazing, and his crops were good and profitable. With the money thus secured he purchased for himself a watch and a sporting gun. He had a special fondness for dogs, and exerted over them great influence. His favorite in this direction was a short-legged, long-bodied, common rat-terrier. In the purity of this dog’s blood, he was a decided believer, which faith he maintained with many hot arguments, and exemplified by teaching the animal a great variety of tricks. Indeed, the high degree of training to which he brought the dog Jack was remarkable. He was always quiet and positive toward the animal, and Jack gave his commands a serious and implicit obedience. One of the feats performed by the dog was to carry a candlestick with a lighted candle wherever ordered to do so. Another was to this effect: the boy would place a small scrap of paper on the parlor wall at a height which Jack was hardly able to reach. Jack’s attention would then be called to the paper, and the dog and master would retire up-stairs. Some time afterward, Jack, in obedience to a mere word, would proceed to the parlor, and, to the amusement of those congregated there, launch his body at the paper until he finally secured it, and then would carry it to his master. Although this dog had a special dislike for fire, he would, under orders, pull chestnuts out of the hot coals, even if it took him an hour to perform the task; and it is also related of him that on one occasion, when he slipped his muzzle on the Academy grounds, he picked it up and took it to his master. When the lad’s father was ordered to the National Observatory, the family removing to Washington, the pet dog accompanied them, and the intimacy between the dog and his master was unabated. They often rambled through the streets together, and it was during one of their walks along Pennsylvania Avenue that the dog disappeared, and was never recovered by his owner, whose grief was most sincere and manifest. He published an advertisement, and, true to his regard for the departed, he spoke of it as a pure-blooded animal; which statement was probably the reason why the dog was never returned, as no stranger could have believed in the alleged pedigree of such an ungainly creature.
After young Lockwood’s father and family had become settled in Washington, it was decided that he should return to Annapolis and take charge of the farm until some more suitable or congenial employment should come into view. In looking over the home letters which he wrote at that time, I find a few developments of character which are worthy of mention. For example, in February, 1872, he writes as follows:
“I find Annapolis the same as ever. It would hardly do for Rip Van Winkle to go to sleep here, for, when he awoke, he would find no change, not even by death.”
After speaking in the same letter of a man going to purchase implements in Baltimore, he says: “I think it would pay one capable of judging of such things, or one endowed with ‘Lockwood Common Sense,’” this allusion being to an imaginary manual which the children had attributed to their father. The quiet humor of the youthful farmer is manifested in another letter after this fashion: “I have been suffering all the week from the effects of a poison most probably communicated from some vine. It manifests itself pretty much as Job’s troubles showed themselves, and no position of body except standing affords relief. I haven’t yet got down into the ashes. If tartar emetic produced these eruptions, they might be attributed in some way to the evil agency of Mrs. W——.”
The person here alluded to was the one who became notorious for the alleged poisoning of General W. S. Ketcham, in Baltimore. Young Lockwood had met her at a boarding-house in Annapolis after her release from prison, and was agreeably impressed by her conversation and manners. On a subsequent occasion, when visiting his family in Washington, and some severe remark had been made against the lady in question, he demanded that the company present should not abuse an absent friend in his presence. Being of a sensitive nature in regard to the weather, as is proved by several of his Annapolis letters, and by such passages as the one now to be quoted, it seems surprising that he should ever have decided to visit the icy regions of the North.
“This gloomy weather,” he says, “is by no means calculated to elate one’s spirits, but, on the contrary, makes everything appear in its most dreary and desolate light, especially on a farm like this, and, though the spring will bring more work and attention, yet I shall hail its appearance with joy. I must confess that I can not prevent a feeling of loneliness from coming over me, particularly in the daytime, for at night my lamp and open wood-fire make things more cheerful, or rather less dreary.”
As these letters were written from a farm, and by a mere boy, they are chiefly devoted to asking for advice as to how he should manage affairs, and to reporting the condition of the crops; but, in their way, they prove that there was much solid manhood in the lad, and that he looked upon life as something substantial, and not as a kind of dreamland.
On one occasion, when visiting his home, he noticed that one of his sisters was manifesting what he thought an unreasonable excitement about the advent of cockroaches in the kitchen, whereupon he drew the figure of a vessel under full sail, beneath which he wrote the following: “The brig Anna Baby, bound to the north pole for a load of cockroaches.”
On another occasion, after consulting the family copy of Webster’s Dictionary, he wrote upon one of the fly-leaves, opposite the indorsements of Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and other distinguished men, these words: “I regard this dictionary as very good, especially when you can not get any other.”
These incidents, though unimportant, help us to appreciate the character of the critical and independent youth.
The following example of the boy’s ingenuity is also worth mentioning:
In 1870 a brother-in-law gave him a small, cheap clock, about four and a half inches in diameter, which he at once adapted to the purpose of waking himself in the morning. After joining the slats of his bed together with battens, he sawed them through in the middle and hinged the parts. That half of the arrangement which was at the head of the bed was supported only by a single prop. A minute collar of lead was supported by one of the hands of the clock. At the proper time the lead slipped from the hand automatically, and, in falling, set in motion a system of levers which were connected with the prop by a string. Thus, with unfailing regularity, the prop was jerked from its place, and the young occupant of the bed was pitched headlong to the floor among his pillows and bolster. When he tired of this apparatus, it became his custom at night to hitch a string around his foot, the end of the string being passed out of the window and allowed to trail down to the kitchen-door. At a definite time in the morning, previously ordered, the colored cook pulled the string until she received intimation of a successful result.
In the hope of finding more congenial employment, young Lockwood now fixed his mind on engineer work in connection with railroads. He joined a corps on the Texas and Pacific Railroad line, and went to the northeastern corner of the State of Texas, where, for four months, he drove pegs and cut down bushes in the virgin wilderness, which employment was only terminated by the failure of the company to go on with its enterprise. What with the rough people with whom he was compelled to associate, the hard fare at the rude taverns, and a severe attack of sickness, he had a very disagreeable experience, which was enhanced by the non-payment of wages by the company, and by the temporary loss of the spare money furnished by his father, which was taken from him by the rascality of a pretended friend, an employé of the railroad company. By careful financial engineering, he managed to leave the wilderness of Texas, went to Shreveport, and thence to New Orleans, where he took a steamer for Cincinnati, and on this trip he met with one small bit of good fortune. Owing to his limited means he contracted with the captain of the steamer that he should be carried to Cincinnati, O., for a specific sum, all his meals to be included in the passage-money. It so happened, however, that the steamer was detained by floating ice for three weeks, but this caused no detriment to the traveler’s pocket, as time was not “nominated in the bond.” About eleven years after that experience, the same traveler was fighting his way through the ice of the Arctic seas and enduring the horrors of Cape Sabine, finding it difficult to secure necessary rations at any price or of any quality.
On reaching home, he began the study of bookkeeping with a view to the civil service. With others, he was examined for a position in the Treasury Department. He passed the examination with credit, and received a mark much above the number required for passing, but, when the office-mark was thrown in, as was then the custom, his average was reduced, and those who had personal influence and understood the “tricks of the trade” became the successful applicants.
After finding that farming and railroad engineering were not exactly the employments he had fancied them to be, young Lockwood resumed his studies under the direction of his father. Not long afterward, however, he was seized with the idea of entering the army, and, at the very outset of this venture for a useful life, he was met with a blending of good and bad fortune. Securing the influence of many friends, he made a successful appeal to the President and the War Department. He received orders for an examination before the proper tribunal, and, out of thirty-eight young men who were examined in Washington, he passed No. 1. He also had a higher mark than any of those examined in other places at the same time; hence he was entitled to the highest commission as second lieutenant, and at one time it was resolved to give it to him; but, as the examinations were conducted in different places and before different boards, it was decided to settle the rank of the applicants by lot, and Lockwood’s number was forty, instead of one to which he was justly entitled. He was, however, promised a crack regiment, and hence became second lieutenant in the Twenty-third Infantry, then commanded by two officers who had gained distinction in the late war—Colonel Jefferson C. Davis and Lieutenant-Colonel George Crook. He soon after joined the recruiting station at New York for instruction.
The few letters that Lieutenant Lockwood wrote home from New York contained very graphic pictures of what he there observed. His reception at the recruiting-station was most cordial, one of the first things done there by the recruiting-officers, to his surprise, being to bring forth a demijohn of whisky; but from this hospitality he begged to be excused, only one or two other young men following his example.
After a service of several weeks at the recruiting-station in New York, he conducted recruits to the Territory of Arizona by the way of Panama. The party left New York in November, 1873, and, on reaching San Francisco, went by steamer to Fort Yuma, near the mouth of the Colorado River, and thence marched over the rugged and dusty plains of Arizona to McDowell Post, a distance of more than one hundred and fifty miles in the interior.
From the few letters that he wrote respecting his trip from New York to San Francisco, we gather the following items:
“Aspinwall is a dirty, sandy town, of no architectural pretensions. I cannot better describe it than by asking you to imagine Lockwoodville with a lot of palm- and cocoanut-trees growing in the vacant lots, plenty of the sand and filth aforesaid, all the darkies of Annapolis sauntering around, plenty of children and many dogs, pigs, etc. However, I must do Aspinwall justice—it has a neat little church, a marble monument erected to some of its chief benefactors, and, what I should call, a remarkably fine statue of Columbus, in bronze. It has an enormous trade passing through it, from one ocean to the other, and is really a place of great importance to the mercantile world.”
“We reached Panama between four and five in the afternoon, after a very interesting ride across the country, and were immediately embarked for the Constitution—which lay two miles from shore—so that I had no opportunity of seeing Panama, except from the water. The ship left during the evening, and ever since has been ‘plowing the angry main’ toward San Francisco, excepting when stopping at some of the towns along the coast. We have seen several of these, and they are all of one type, that of Aspinwall, though on a much smaller scale. Some that I saw had not half a dozen wooden houses, but consisted merely of reed-huts covered with straw. One of these—Mazatlan—claims to have twenty thousand inhabitants, but does not appear to have more than one tenth of that number. All the tropical fruits were abundant at these places, and could be purchased for a trifle. The Constitution is a side-wheeler of four thousand tons, and has little motion, and, while sea-sickers are abundant, I am not one of them. I have gained ten pounds, and now weigh one hundred and sixty-one.”
Lockwood’s stay in San Francisco was too brief to afford him much opportunity for observation, but here is what he said of the Chinese: “I visited Chinatown this evening, and saw the Celestials in all their glory. I saw many strange and amusing sights in their stores and shops and along their streets, as they are very slow in adopting civilized customs. I send along with this some Chinese pictures which I purchased. I am very much pleased with San Francisco, and shall leave it with many regrets. A walk through the Chinese quarter is like a visit to some Chinese city on the other side of the Pacific.”
The few events of his trip along the coast to Yuma were to this effect: Soon after leaving the Golden Gate, he experienced a storm that was far from pacific in its character, far worse than any he had witnessed since leaving New York; he visited Magdalena Bay, which impressed him as a barren, miserable place, chiefly noted for its want of houses, and yet of some importance as the shipping port of a dye-wood found in that region; he also stopped at Carmen Island, where large quantities of salt were found in the dry bed of a lake, and at Cape St. Lucas, but brought away no favorable impressions from any of these remote places. With Yuma City he was better pleased, describing its houses as small, one-story affairs, built of adobe, more Mexican than American in character, and its streets as far more dusty than those of Washington City; and the mountains surrounding the city as very imposing. The Colorado reminded him of the Red River—the channel winding and running between great mud-flats and islands, all constantly changing, and abounding in many kinds of water-fowl. He was interested in the Indian inhabitants, whom he pitied for their poverty and degradation; occasionally seeing a number of squaws reclining like quadrupeds on the mud-flats or in front of their tiny oval huts.
The sojourn of Lieutenant Lockwood in Arizona lasted into the summer of 1874, and from the letters which he wrote home from Post McDowell may be gathered some interesting particulars, illustrating his habits of close observation in regard to men and events.
His journey from Fort Yuma to Camp McDowell was full of interest and was greatly enjoyed. He had for companions two brother officers and three ladies; traveled by ambulance, making marches of only about fifteen miles; camped out every night, Lockwood himself sleeping on the ground outside. As the country was very desolate and barren, they traveled generally along the valley of the Gila, but their last march was over desert land forty-five miles wide. They saw many relics along the route, mounds, ruins, and immense ditches for irrigation. One immense pile of rocks, called the Painted Rocks, was entirely covered with pictures of lizards, Indians, beasts, and birds—supposed to represent a great battle in which the Apaches conquered the Maricopas. There were also along the road graves of men murdered by the Indians. One grave, near Gila Bend, was of a man named Lumley, a station-keeper, murdered by two Mexicans—his successor exhibited a knife, used by one of the murderers, which had been found, and he pointed out the spot where Judge Lynch had disposed of the only criminal that happened to be captured. While the travelers did not spend any money at hotels, they were obliged to pay from twenty to thirty dollars for being ferried across the Gila and Salt Rivers at different points.
In one of his letters, written to his sister after the rainy season, and soon after his arrival at Camp McDowell, young Lockwood says: “I wish you could see the pretty flowers around here; they are principally yellow and red, and each kind grows by itself. They grow so close together that the ground is covered as with a carpet. To the west of this post there is a wide plain covered with these flowers. There is also a species of cactus called the Suwarrow, which grows fifteen or twenty feet high—a sort of tree without branches, but covered with thorns; the outside of this tree is of a green color and nearly as soft as young asparagus, but inside it has a frame of wood. These are all over the plain, in fact all over Arizona. I often walk out here after dinner with a large dog that belongs to one of the officers, and start up the rabbits—great big Jack-rabbits, as they are called—as large as a small dog. They can run very fast, faster than any dog except a hound. Among other curiosities about here are rattlesnakes and lizards—the lizards as common as flies; also crows as big as hens and almost as tame. The post is entirely surrounded by mountains.” By way of contrast to this pleasing prospect, in another letter he gives the particulars of the murder of two men by the Indians within twelve miles of the garrison, their bodies having been fearfully mutilated. “I am still in the land of the finite and material,” he writes, “and the Apaches have not yet disturbed the arrangement of my back hair; in short, I am alive and kicking.”
On the 14th of May, Lockwood writes that “there has been nothing new at the post except the arrival of Lieutenant Schuyler, Fifth Cavalry. He has been out on a scout for several months past, dropping in at various posts now and then. He reports that he came upon the Apaches southeast of here, killed twelve and took fourteen prisoners. He is accompanied by Dr. Corbasier and a party of thirty-one soldiers and eighty-one Indian scouts. These scouts are composed of Apache-Mojave, Tonto-Apaches, and other tribes, closely allied to the Apaches proper. It seems strange that they are thus willing to join the enemy in exterminating their brethren; but such is their nature. They are hardly superior to the beasts, except in shape, and even there the line of demarkation is not very distinct. The Pimos, to the number of one hundred or more, were here about a week ago, on their way to punish the Apaches for stealing some stock from them. When they returned, they reported the killing of quite a number of their foes—some sixteen or more—and taking many prisoners. Schuyler’s party confirm the report; they came across the camp of the Apaches, and the doctor said he counted a large number of slain. The Pimos surprised the Apaches when asleep and almost exterminated them. They were armed with war-clubs, and of course mangled their bodies horribly. When found their heads were all beaten in, and their bodies stuck full of arrows and partially burned. The doctor says it was the most sickening sight he ever beheld. The Apache bands, off their reservations, are fast becoming exterminated, over a thousand having been killed during the last winter. General Crook will not allow them to return to their reservations unless they bring the heads of several of the ringleaders in the late outbreak.”
In another place, after alluding to the extravagant accounts published about Arizona, he says: “One would suppose, from reading the pamphlet I send you, that Arizona is a fine agricultural country—which is absurd; and that it contains many flourishing cities and towns, whereas even the river-bottoms require irrigation, and the ‘cities’ are merely the nuclei of towns.”
On one occasion, after alluding to his enjoyment of the newspapers sent him from home, and to the early transfer of his regiment, he says: “It would probably have been removed this spring but for the financial panic and other commercial disasters. I suppose if the rest of the year goes by prosperously, and nothing occurs to prolong the gingerly, penny-wise, pound-foolish policy of Congress called economy (?), that the Twenty-third will probably be removed next spring or fall.” And again, he continues: “Grant appears to have obtained great credit by his veto of the Inflation Bill. How Congress could pass a bill which seems to be unacceptable and repugnant to the whole people, I can not understand.”
Alluding a second time to the pleasing characteristics of frontier life, he tells his father that “a party of Indian scouts arrived here yesterday from Schuyler’s command. They brought the news that the lieutenant had jumped the Indians at Four Peaks—a high mountain, forty miles off—killed eighteen and captured six. The party brought in a wounded scout, shot through the head, who is now in the hospital. He was the only one wounded in the fight, or rather slaughter, for these Indians rarely fight a party of any size. I suppose these Arizona tribes are the most degraded, cowardly, and despicable savages in the country. Schuyler, as I understand, generally sweeps a breadth of country fifty miles across, by means of flanking-parties on the right and left, and has been quite successful.”
In speaking of his duties at the post, he says: “I am officer-of-the-day every other day; I mount the guard every morning, attend all roll-calls, accompany the captain in his inspection of quarters every morning, and afterward recite tactics. I also am present with him at company-drill every evening, command the company at Sunday morning inspection, sit on boards of survey and perform other irregular duties.”
After announcing the arrival of the paymaster at the post, and alluding to expenses, he says: “Servants in this country are paid enormously. The post-trader pays his Chinese cook thirty dollars per month, and has paid as high as one hundred dollars. Officers in Arizona are compelled from necessity to employ soldiers in this capacity, though contrary to the regulations.”
In one of his letters, Lieutenant Lockwood gives his opinion about some of his father’s landed property, and then goes on after this fashion: “The old farm has additional charms for me now, after living in Arizona, and I have come to think that there are many worse places. Does distance lend enchantment to the view? or what is it? I often long after some of the delicious peaches and other fruit that the much-abused farm produces in such abundance. However, if you can dispose of the farm as you suggest, it will, no doubt, be for the best, as the Lockwood family have become so high-toned that I am afraid they will never stoop (?) to live on a farm and become grangers.”
In one of his letters written about this date, he makes the following remark respecting his education at Annapolis: “I don’t think I care about being present at the meeting of the alumni of my Alma Mater, or, what she would be more pleased with, contributing anything in the way of money. Enough has been thrown away in teaching me what has never been of any use. However, the old woman has my good wishes.”
In another letter, after speaking of an entertainment he had attended, he said: “I don’t know that I should have enjoyed it, but for the presence of a very pretty Spanish girl with whom I fell in love; she danced charmingly, but as she could not speak a word of English, nor I a word of Spanish, our conversation was somewhat limited.”
On the 4th of July when arrangements were commenced for removing the Twenty-third Regiment to Yuma, the lieutenant thus touches upon the national anniversary: “I have celebrated the day by being very busy writing up the proceedings of a board of survey, and have a like job on my hands for to-morrow; indeed, I shall be fully employed now till we leave. Some of the men, however, have been otherwise employed, viz., in parading before the guard-house with logs of wood on their backs, as the reward of a drunken frolic. Our march to Fort Yuma will doubtless be very disagreeable, and for two weeks we shall have dust and heat together with the fatigue of travel; but, on the other hand, the daily march will not be more than fifteen miles, and as we shall be well provided, I can’t say that I look forward to it with much dread. The wife of our captain is even now interesting herself in the culinary arrangements, so I presume the vitals will be good.” From the time of his uttering this amusing pun until the following September, the letters of young Lockwood give us no incidents of special interest, and we now follow him into the State of Nebraska, his regiment having been assigned to the favorite post of Omaha.
Having entered upon duty at the barracks of Omaha, he seems to have made himself especially useful there, while enjoying some of the comforts of civilization, including good society. On the 25th of September, he wrote that he had been busy for a week as the recorder of a court-martial. “We settled nine cases, and, while we now stand adjourned sine die, I suppose the court will soon be reconvened to try half a dozen more men against whom charges have been preferred. There have been, since my arrival here, as many as sixty men in the guard-house, and courts-martial are the order of the day. I have to attend drills, etc., every day, and hence my leisure and opportunities for visiting the town have been limited. However, I did go last night to a concert in town given for the benefit of the grasshopper sufferers, several of these sufferers from the country being present. You can not realize what a nuisance these insects are in this country. I have not yet seen them in any numbers, or the effects of their ravages, but I am told they sometimes actually stop the railway-trains. The incredible number of bed-bugs in this country is another curious fact. I sleep so soundly that they do not disturb me. They infest every house at the post, and they are also numerous in the city, the fences between here and there being painted in many places, ‘Go to Smith’s for the great bed-bug buster.’” He became a favorite in the refined society of Omaha, at that time on the confines of civilization, but appearing to him like a bit of New York city cut off and set down in the wilderness, where, only a few years before, the buffalo ranged in his native freedom. During his residence at Omaha, young Lockwood was on the most friendly terms with all his fellow-officers, with one exception. After giving his father a very manly account of that trouble, he writes a paragraph about himself in these words: “With regard to myself, I find this army-life about what I expected. It has its pleasures and its crosses. I should prefer the cavalry to the infantry, and am sorry I did not apply for that arm of the service. I should like to remain in the army two or three years longer, I think, and yet, with a good opening, might do better in civil life. Promotion is very slow, and the accumulation of anything is not easy. These, of course, are rude impressions and but half formed, but, as you ask for impressions, I feel bound to give them just as they are. I have not been in the army long enough to rise, nor have I had the opportunity to gain any particular reputation, but suppose mine is as good as the average—that is, I think I have displayed as much aptitude for my profession as is generally exhibited by men of average ability, for of such I regard myself—perhaps below the average. I hope this peroration will answer your inquiries, and prove satisfactory in that respect. Excuse the necessary egotism. I will thankfully receive any advice or corrections which the reading of this, or your acquaintance with my characteristics, may suggest. I feel as though I had written a lot of foolishness; if you think so, please excuse.”
To the writer of this personal history, it seems as if such sentiments as the above could come only from a young man endowed with the highest instincts of ambition, honor, and true manhood, and can not but be considered, with others of like character, as a suitable passport into the land of Odin and the glories of Valhalla.
During his stay at Omaha, Lieutenant Lockwood was detailed by General Ord, the commanding officer, to visit those counties of Nebraska where grasshoppers had destroyed the crops, for the purpose of determining to whom contributions which had been sent to the general should be given. In this journey of several hundred miles, made in the coldest weather, he visited the several county towns, met the citizens, and afterward laid before the general such testimony as to the destitute, that the bounty was distributed to the satisfaction of all. While on this duty, he traveled ninety miles in twenty-four hours. The county people with whom he conducted business, he designated as “Grasshoppers.” He greatly enjoyed the prairie scenery through which he passed, especially the valley of the Blue.
On the approach of Christmas at Omaha, our young friend had an attack of chills and fever, which sent him to his bed. After deploring that he could not perform his duties on the pending court-martial, he gives us this holiday information: “Yesterday was Christmas, and I am glad that the day comes but once a year. With a large party I was occupied until late in the afternoon making the rounds of the many houses here at the post. In the evening, I ate a fine dinner at General Ord’s, and on top of that, danced in the parlor until eleven or twelve o’clock, and, as a consequence, am coming on as officer of the guard to-day with a most gorgeous headache. So much for Christmas. I have received two or three presents, but have made none myself, from want of funds. I just now heard a tremendous crash, and, on going out, found a fine lunch, sent by Mrs. Ord, scattered on the ground, and in the midst of the débris of broken glass and china, the unfortunate bearer, who had slipped and fallen on the ice in front of the door. I was not particularly sorry on my own account, as I could not have eaten the good things ‘anyhow.’ Upon the whole, Christmas has passed away as it usually does, pleasantly, though at the expense of many unfortunate turkeys. I am sorry I could not send home any presents, my pecuniary affairs being in a straitened condition. I should like very much to be at home about this time. I often wish I could hear Lidie and Anna sing, although I suppose I would find the girls, including Julia and Mary, much changed.”
Remembering young Lockwood’s remarks about whisky-drinking in New York, the following statement is worth quoting: “Most of the ladies at the post received visitors on New-Year’s-day, either singly or in groups. One marked feature of the day was the general absence of liquor, its place being supplied by coffee, chocolate, and other refreshments of a more solid and less stimulating character. I noticed the same thing in town, or rather that at those places where I saw liquor, the ladies were less urgent than is usually the case in pressing it upon the gentlemen. However, there is less drinking at this post than at any other I have seen, as large as it is. Although, with few exceptions, all drink here, it is done quietly at home and without excess.”
As our young friend had narrowly escaped with his life from drowning at Annapolis, so did he from the pranks of an unruly horse at the Omaha Barracks. He was about mounting the horse for a ride, when the animal started on the run before he could get into the saddle, when he was thrown forward upon his head. The trouble was owing to a defect in the bridle. In accounting for his escape, he remarked that his thick head was what saved his life. True to his native pluck, he tackled the same horse a number of times afterward, until the animal—a special favorite—was subdued.
In the month of June, 1875, it would seem as if something like homesickness was weighing down his spirits, for he then began to write about employment in civil life. Not that he disliked the army, but he longed for some business that would enable him to make a little money. He thought he could supply a sufficient amount of energy to prosecute a commercial venture. He felt that there was a great difference between the roads that lead to wealth and to military glory. If his father should chance to see an opening that might give him a fortune in a few days at the expense of a few hundred dollars or some hard work, he wanted to be promptly notified. He broached these business ideas at that time merely for the sake of having a subject for discussion when permitted to visit his home.
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