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April 7, 1863: Firebaugh

April 7, 2013
Firebaugh 01

Downtown Firebaugh; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

[Today] we came on to Firebaugh’s Ferry—a long fifty miles, a weary ride, and we had nothing to eat the entire day. Nor was this all. In crossing a slough early in the morning, a mixture of very muddy water and very sticky mud, Kate and Gabb got mired. They got out safely, but both cut a sorry figure, wet and covered with sticky mud, the former from head to tail, the latter from head to foot. We pushed on, the sun came out and dried them, and the mud was brushed off.

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San Joaquin River at Firebaugh; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

Firebaugh’s [is] even a harder place than Hill’s. I ought to have mentioned that near our Sunday’s stopping place a murderer had just been arrested, and that at Hill’s four horses had just been stolen. When we got to Firebaugh’s we found more excitement. A band of desperadoes were just below—we had passed them in the morning, but luckily did not see them. Only a few days before they had attempted to rob some men, and in the scrimmage one man was shot dead and one of the desperadoes was so badly cut that he died [yesterday]. Another had just been caught. Some men took him into the bushes, some pistol shots were heard, they came back and said he had escaped. A newly made grave on the bank suggested another disposal of him, but all were content not to inquire further. This semi-desert plain and the inhospitable mountains on its west side are the grand retreats of the desperadoes of the state. It is needless to say that knife (newly ground) and six-shooter are carried “so as to be handy,” but I trust that I will ever be spared any actual use for them.

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