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“The Wonders of Prayer:
A Record Of Well Authenticated And Wonderful”
“Revised By D.W. Whittle.
Saved From The Hands Of A Desperado.
“The following circumstance is communicated to us by a United States
After the close of the Mexican war, and in the year 1849, a train was
sent out from San Antonio to establish military posts on the upper Rio
Grande, particularly at El Paso. I was surgeon of the quartermaster's
department, numbering about four hundred men. While the train was making
up, the cholera prevailed in camp, for about six weeks, at first with
terrible severity. On the 1st of June it had so far subsided that we took
up the line of march.
After about four days out from San Antonio, the
health of the men became very good, and continued so through the whole
route, with the exception of occasional cases of prostration from heat, and
slight fevers, the Summer being unusually hot.
One evening in July, after
coming into camp, I received a call to see a man who had been taken sick on
the march. I found him lying under his wagon. The wagon was loaded with
bacon, in bulk about two tons. The heat with the pressure had caused it to
drip freely. I asked him to come from under the wagon, that I might examine
his case and prescribe, for him. This he refused to do; but demanded that I
should crawl under the wagon to him, which I, of course, would not consent
No persuasion could induce him to change his position in the least.
Becoming satisfied that he was not much, if at all sick, I left him. His
profanity, threats and imprecations were fearful. Perhaps it would be well
to give a short sketch of his life for the three years previous, as I
learned it from men who knew him, and had been with him for considerable
portion of that period.
He went to Mexico, at the beginning of the war, a
soldier in the regular army. When his term of service expired, he was
discharged, and sought employment in the quartermaster's department, as a
teamster. He had the reputation of being a thief, a robber and an assassin.
In a few months he was ignominiously discharged from the service, and, at
the close of the war, he came to Texas, and sought and obtained employment
as teamster in the train then organizing for El Paso.
But, to return to my
narrative. On the morning after the occurrence at the wagon, a teamster
came to me and said, in a hasty and abrupt manner, 'Doctor, Mc will kill
you to-day or to-night. He is full of rage, and muttering terrible threats.
He was out very early this morning and emptied his six-shooter, and came in
and reloaded it and put it in first-rate order.' I said, 'Mc, what's up
now?' He replied, 'I will kill that d----d old doctor to-day or to-night;'
and he will do it. I have known him make threats before, and have never
known him fail to execute them. But I must go; he must not know that I have
Knowing the man, I realized the danger, and felt that I was
powerless, either to resist or avoid it. I retired within my tent and
closed it up. I prostrated myself before Him who is able to save. I prayed
for deliverance from the hands of the cruel and blood-thirsty man, and that
I might not be left in the power of him who was my enemy without cause. I
submitted my cause into the hands of Him who doeth all things well, and
prayed for entire submission to his will. My anxiety subsided; my fear was
removed, and I commenced the duties of the day with usual cheerfulness.
Soon after this, the camp broke and we were on the march. I fell back
with the officers of the rear guard, and the excitement of the morning was
soon forgotten. About 10 o'clock, a courier came back in haste, for me to
see a man who had been thrown from his mule and crushed under the wheels of
his wagon. He did not know who the man was--he was about half or
three-quarters of a mile ahead. The thought then occurred to me, I shall
probably have to pass Mc's team. I will ride square up with the courier,
and keep him between myself and the train. When we came to the spot I
inquired who the man was, for he was so mutilated I could not recognize
him. It was Mc. God was there. Awe and terror took hold upon me. I
was dumb with amazement.
Mc had dismounted and walked some fifty rods by the side of his team.
Attempting to remount, his mule whirled and pitched, and he was thrown upon
his back, and his team with fourteen others instantly stampeded. Both the
fore and hind wheels on the near side of his wagon, passed directly over
his face, and crushed every bone in his head. It was a fearful sight; not a
feature of the human face could be discerned.
The stampeded teams were flying wildly over the prairie, in spite of
every effort of the teamsters to control them.
I directed the head of the corpse to be inserted in some new, thick
sacks, in such a way as to prevent the oozing of blood, and that it be
wrapped in his blanket and taken to the next camp for burial. When the
stampeded teams came in, it was found that no other person was injured, nor
any damage done.
The philosopher may tell us of the reign of law; of the coincidence of
circumstances; of the action of natural causes; but, to the Christian, the
fact still remains--prayer was answered. God heareth his people when they
cry unto Him.