Excerpt from Chapter XXX The Life of Kit Carson online book by Edward S. Ellis (1840-1916)

Kit Carson Carries Dispatches to Washington

On arriving at Taos, he spent several days with his family and friends, after which he proceeded to Santa Fe. There he learned that the United States Senate had refused to confirm his nomination as lieutenant in the army. Many of his friends were so angered over this slight that they urged him to refuse to carry the despatches further; but his reply, as given by Dr. Peters, is so admirable that we quote it:

"I was entrusted with these despatches, having been chosen in California, from whence I come, as the most competent person to take them through safely. I would try to fulfill this duty even if I knew it would cost me my life. It matters not to me, while I am performing this service for my country, whether I hold the rank of lieutenant in the United States Army or am known merely as an experienced mountaineer. I have gained some little honor and credit for the manner in which I have always conducted myself when detailed on any special and important business, and I would on no account now wish to forfeit the good opinion formed of me by a majority of my countrymen because the United States Senate did not deem it proper to confer on me an appointment which I never solicited, and one which, had it been confirmed, I would have resigned at the termination of the war."

Having determined to perform his duty, he made careful inquiries as to the state of feeling among the Indians through whose country the trail led. The reports were of the most alarming character: the Comanches were on the war path with a vengeance. They were swarming all along the old Santa Fe Trail, on the watch for parties whom they could overwhelm and destroy.

Such being the case, Carson resorted to the bold artifice of making a trail of his own. He reduced his escort to ten experienced mountaineers and then struck out upon his new route. He rode northward from Taos until within a region rarely visited by hostiles, when he changed his course by the compass several times. By this means, he reached Fort Kearney on the Platte and finally arrived at Fort Leavenworth. Not only had he avoided all trouble with Indians, but by following the new route, had found abundance of game so that the entire trip was but little more than a pleasure excursion.

All danger was over at Fort Leavenworth, where he parted from his escort and went alone to Washington. Previous to this, the war with Mexico had ended, the treaty of peace having been signed February 2, 1848, and proclaimed on the 4th of July following.

Carson tarried in Washington only long enough to deliver his despatches to the proper authorities, when he turned about and made his way to Taos, New Mexico, where he joined once more his family and friends.

Excerpt from Chapter XXX The Life of Kit Carson online book by Edward S. Ellis (1840-1916)

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