Joaquin Murrieta: Life and Adventures of the Celebrated Bandit : His Exploits in the State of California

By Ireneo Paz; Francis P. Belle | Go to book overview

Chapter XXIV

After having sacked the country during several weeks and having brought desolation upon the unfortunate inhabitants of California, after having lost by this work some of the most daring and useful men of the band, after having obliged their enemies to gather on all sides to pursue them, and after having collected by their enterprise a considerable sum, Joaquin resolved to go from Calaveras County, which he had invaded since his return from headquarters, to change the theater of his operations to Mariposa County.

This county suffered in its turn what its neighbors had endured. We shall not describe the long list of crimes; this would be the endless repetition of the bloody scenes which we have already related to our readers. The genius which directed and protected Murrieta seemed not to wish to abandon him yet; and in view of the numerous incidents which were changed for him in enterprises of an extraordinary ending, we are tempted to credit the ancient superstition of the Cherokees, to the effect that certain men have a charmed existence, and cannot die unless they are wounded with a silver shot.

The outlaws did not cease to devote themselves to murder and pillage. They always left behind them some bloody sign, which indicated their passing, and the most daring crimes were committed almost in sight of the very ones who were pursuing them. At any moment their pursuers heard at a short distance from them, desperate shouts; they hurried their progress, but only arrived in time to see the victims bathed in their own blood, and see the desperadoes, who, more daring than ever, went off on their horses, without appearing to have any fear of being overtaken. Joaquin’s hordes were divided most of the time into small companies of five or six men. Murrieta was seldom favored with more than four of his assistants; Valenzuela and Jack Three Fingers never left him.

Guerra had in his charge the guarding of the camp. Sevalio also was in active service, and only the arrogant Antonio equalled him in

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