February 15th. Some of the men found water about one and a half miles from camp. Here they determined to kill their fattest horses and mules, jerk the meat for food, and take it on foot. The saddle flaps were turned into sandals to protect their feet from the rocks and thorns. Here was a scene of grand moral sublimity: freemen, who for the love of country and liberty had voluntarily reduced themselves to the last state of human sufferance, still cheerful under the bright hope of liberty; and when pressed by nature's extremest wants, putting their knives into the hearts' blood of their good horses with a melancholy regret which showed they had no option! So, having stationed sentinels upon the peaks of the highest adjoining mountains, they led their horses and asses down into the ravine, and commenced the mournful task. In doing so, no language can describe the feelings of these bold men - men who in battle had killed their scores of Mexicans without winking - when they stood with unsheathed knives beside their faithful animals, they found that their bursting hearts had unnerved their arms. Many turned from the effort and wept, while others, as much affected, performed the bloody deed in conscientious duty to their families,  their country, and liberty. The lamentable groans of the poor horses, as the keen steel would press to the heart's core, was distressingly painful to hear. Some, in the agonies of death, would squeal and flounder, while others would seem to look upon their masters in deep sorrow, and press against the fatal blade. This never-to-be-forgotten scene was the work of a portion of this day, as some built scaffolds with fire underneath to dry the meat, while others butchered, and some went with gourds still deeper into the ravine for water [see plate facing page 48]. At 3 o'clock P.M. the water was so nearly exhausted that the men could not fill their gourds, when the march was recommenced. At 10 o'clock P.M. camped in a deep ravine without water.
February 16th. The course of our men still north. This day several were left on the road exhausted for the want of water, and here they commenced, unfortunately, the use of the palmetto juice as a substitute.
February 17th. Marched early in the morning. At 12 o'clock M. discovered some Mexican spies in a large valley, the course of our men being northward across it. At 9 o'clock encamped without water, a number of our men keeping on, and bearing more to the eastward in hopes of finding some spring.
February 18th. No signal from any of the water-hunters: the course still across the valley. Now much dissatisfaction prevailed as to the course  most likely to find water. Most of the men were now unable to travel, and halted to rest, when Captain Cameron, with about fifty men, continued on a short distance, bearing more to the west. They also had to stop during the heat of the day. At this time his party were also undetermined what course to take, as several parties had been left behind, and sent out in different directions to find water. The main body, as they scattered over the valley to screen themselves from the burning