The 1848 March of Company H

Santa Fe Republican, September 12, 1848, reported:

-Co. (H,) 1st Dragoons, commanded by Lt. Buford, from Fort Gibson, reached this place on Saturday, the 9th inst., all in fine health and spirits.  It seems that Lieut. Buford came direct from Fort Gibson almost a new and untravelled route, which he considers much the best and shortest to the United States.


Arrival of Co. H. 1st U. S. Dragoons.

Co. H., 1st U.S. Dragoons, under Lieut. R. Buford, accompanied by Lieut D. B. Sackett, arrived in this city on the 9th inst. [September], from Ft. Gibson, having left that place on the 17th of July last.

We are under many obligations to Lieutenant Buford for the following information relative to his trip and the new route taken by him across the plains.  The Lieutenant and his force on leaving Ft. Gibson, marched up the Arkansas River to the mouth of the big Red Fork, or [illegible] river, and then following up that [illegible] to the Salt Rock, a great salt plain which [illegible] is about three hundred miles from Fort Gibson.  On the 17th of August, they left the Salt rock and proceeded south, and struck the waters of the Cimaron and main Canadian—”then continuing their march in a westward direction between these two streams until august the 20th, when they altered their course to the north and crossed the waters of the north fork of the Canadian, (which is not near as large a stream as represented on many of our maps) and on the 31st [?] of August, struck the Santa Fe road, near the middle Cimaron spring, which point is about five hundred miles distant from Ft. Gibson by this route, the actual distance of which would not5 be over four hundred miles from the middle Cimaron spring to Fort Gibson; he also states that a route and good road could be laid out from Santa Fe New Mexico, via the Salt Rock, following partly the route taken by him, the distance of which from Santa Fe to Fort Gibson would not be over six, to six hundred and fifty miles by this route—”good camping ground, with a large abundance of wood and water every night, and fine grazing beside, innumerable buffalo could always be found.

The Salt rock, as spoke of in this report as a particular point, we believe some day will become a valuable and important place.

The salt taken from this rock is a white and nice as any table salt, and it can be procured with but little or no labor.  Lieut. B. has in his possession some specimens of this salt, which in fact are worthy of public notice.  According to report, this rock must be one of the greatest curiosities in the world by its structure and location.  [Note that Salt Rock and Salt Fork were site of commercial salt works and had been for a couple of decades; routes to there were well traveled from the southeast.  Gregg mentions them.]

[H left Fort Gibson in July en route for New Mexico arrived at Santa Fe 8 Sept.  Left Santa Fe on the 18th and arrived at Socorro Sept 29.  Stationed their [sic] the remainder of the year.]