Bugler Aaron Stevens, Co. F., 1st Dragoons wrote the following letter to his sister in Connecticut. In less than four months he would find himself caught up in the Taos mutiny of 1855. Sentenced to death by a military tribunal for attempting to shoot his commanding officer, Stevens would embark on a journey which would ultimately wind up with him serving at the side of abolitionist John Brown and dying on the gallows in 1860.
More on the 1855 mutiny can be found elsewhere on this blog.
November 20, 1854
My Dear Sister
That I have a few leisure hours at present I take pleasure in writing you a few lines, hoping in writing you a few lines, hoping they will find you in good circumstances. The reason I did not write before, was because I have been tramping nearly all the time since last April, and now I have just returned from a schout [scout] after the Patches and was gone one month, but we did not find them, we enjoyed ourselves though very much. We had 48 Antelope and one bear. The bear was so fat that we could hardly eat it, the fat was six inches thick all over it, and you would have laft to see us greasing our hair. I took a piece about the size of your fist and greast my hair, and then my horse all over, and I tell you what, we both skined…. Our Company has had two fights with the Patches this year, and had 9 men killed & 10 wounded, and another Company 14 killed & 18 wounded, & another, 9 killed and 5 wounded, and another 2 killed and 3 wounded…and as luck would have it I have got off safe so far, but they may get me yet. We have made four tribes come to a treaty since I came to this Country.
I wonder where poor Sam is now. I expect he is in the Pacific sailing and tumbling about. I would like to see him very much. I suppose he has got to be quite a man. I hope he will do well, and live till we shall meet once more.
What would you think to hear I had got married to o a Spanish Lady, well I havn’t yet and I don’t expect I shall, although there is sum [sic] pretty girls here, but give me the Yankee girls yet.
I see by what Henry tells me that all the young people are getting married. I don—™t expect there would be any chance for me there now: as yet, I can—™t find one in the West, if I can—™t, then I—™ll have to live as I am, that all.
Give my love to Joseph and tell him I should like to see him very much, and have a chat about old times. Tell him I am fat egged, and d—”m saucy.
Give my love to Lucy, Billy, the children and all inquiring friends, and now with many good wishes I bid you good by until I here from you again.
Your most affect. and loving Brother
A. D. Stevens