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Calloway of Company I, First California Infantry, to command the advance into Arizona. Calloway’s force totaled 272 men and included his own company of foot soldiers and Captains McCleave and Pishon’s companies, A and D respectively, of the First Cavalry. Young Lieutenant James Barrett commanded McCleave’s men now, and Second Lieutenant Jeremiah Phelan drilled a detachment of 1. James P. Newcomb Diary, May 15, 1862, CAH. “The Girl I Left Behind Me” was traditionally played when a command left a military station for the field.
If captured, the messenger could eat the real thing and turn the phony papers over to the enemy. Carleton intended to deceive the Confederates for as long as possible about his expedition’s true purpose, hoping to surprise them in Tucson or pitch into Sibley’s rear somewhere along the Rio Grande. Calloway’s advance troops prepared well for the long desert trek to Tucson. The march to Fort Yuma, where some soldiers had been waiting as long as five months, had been good practice. Both officers and enlisted men benefited from the journey and the experience of desert living at Fort Yuma while the column slowly grew, one company at a time.
The California mounts were famed for their endurance but could not carry the weight larger horses bore. 33 Cavalry regiments received three types of saddles. The “Grimsley” dragoon saddle, adopted in 1847, was too wide and flat in design to fit the small California horses; these saddles went back to the arsenal for reissue to the artillery. The volunteers soon learned an ill-fitting saddle would gall and ruin a good horse, so a new pattern, inspired by a popular Mexican style, went into production.