Saved From The Hands Of A Desperado.
The following circumstance is communicated to us by a United States
"After the close of the Mexican war, and in the year 1849, a train was
sent out from San Antonio to establish military posts on the upper Rio
Grande, particularly at El Paso. I was surgeon of the quartermaster's
department, numbering about four hundred men. While the train was making
up, the cholera prevailed in camp, for about six weeks, at first with
terrible severity. On the 1st of June it had so far subsided that we
took up the line of march. After about four days out from San Antonio,
the health of the men became very good, and continued so through the
whole route, with the exception of occasional cases of prostration from
heat, and slight fevers, the Summer being unusually hot. One evening in
July, after coming into camp, I received a call to see a man who had
been taken sick on the march. I found him lying under his wagon. The
wagon was loaded with bacon, in bulk about two tons. The heat with the
pressure had caused it to drip freely. I asked him to come from under
the wagon, that I might examine his case and prescribe, for him. This he
refused to do; but demanded that I should crawl under the wagon to him,
which I, of course, would not consent to do. No persuasion could induce
him to change his position in the least. Becoming satisfied that he was
not much, if at all sick, I left him. His profanity, threats and
imprecations were fearful. Perhaps it would be well to give a short
sketch of his life for the three years previous, as I learned it from
men who knew him, and had been with him for considerable portion of that
period. He went to Mexico, at the beginning of the war, a soldier in the
regular army. When his term of service expired, he was discharged, and
sought employment in the quartermaster's department, as a teamster. He
had the reputation of being a thief, a robber and an assassin. In a few
months he was ignominiously discharged from the service, and, at the
close of the war, he came to Texas, and sought and obtained employment
as teamster in the train then organizing for El Paso. But, to return to
my narrative. On the morning after the occurrence at the wagon, a
teamster came to me and said, in a hasty and abrupt manner, 'Doctor, Mc
will kill you to-day or to-night. He is full of rage, and muttering
terrible threats. He was out very early this morning and emptied his
six-shooter, and came in and reloaded it and put it in first-rate
order.' I said, 'Mc, what's up now?' He replied, 'I will kill that
d----d old doctor to-day or to-night;' and he will do it. I have known
him make threats before, and have never known him fail to execute them.
But I must go; he must not know that I have seen you.' Knowing the man,
I realized the danger, and felt that I was powerless, either to resist
or avoid it. I retired within my tent and closed it up. I prostrated
myself before Him who is able to save. I prayed for deliverance from the
hands of the cruel and blood-thirsty man, and that I might not be left
in the power of him who was my enemy without cause. I submitted my cause
into the hands of Him who doeth all things well, and prayed for entire
submission to his will. My anxiety subsided; my fear was removed, and I
commenced the duties of the day with usual cheerfulness.
"Soon after this, the camp broke and we were on the march. I fell back
with the officers of the rear guard, and the excitement of the morning
was soon forgotten. About 10 o'clock, a courier came back in haste, for
me to see a man who had been thrown from his mule and crushed under the
wheels of his wagon. He did not know who the man was--he was about half
or three-quarters of a mile ahead. The thought then occurred to me, I
shall probably have to pass Mc's team. I will ride square up with the
courier, and keep him between myself and the train. When we came to the
spot I inquired who the man was, for he was so mutilated I could not
recognize him. _It was Mc. God was there_. Awe and terror took hold upon
me. I was dumb with amazement.
"Mc had dismounted and walked some fifty rods by the side of his team.
Attempting to remount, his mule whirled and pitched, and he was thrown
upon his back, and his team with fourteen others instantly stampeded.
Both the fore and hind wheels on the near side of his wagon, passed
directly over his face, and crushed every bone in his head. It was a
fearful sight; not a feature of the human face could be discerned.
"The stampeded teams were flying wildly over the prairie, in spite of
every effort of the teamsters to control them.
"I directed the head of the corpse to be inserted in some new, thick
sacks, in such a way as to prevent the oozing of blood, and that it be
wrapped in his blanket and taken to the next camp for burial. When the
stampeded teams came in, it was found that no other person was injured,
nor any damage done.
"The philosopher may tell us of the reign of law; of the coincidence of
circumstances; of the action of natural causes; but, to the Christian,
the fact still remains--prayer was answered. God heareth his people when
they cry unto Him."
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