[DONIPHAN'S EXPEDITION]. CONARD, Howard Louis. “Uncle Dick” Wootton, the Pioneer Frontiersman of the Rocky Mountain Region: An Account of the Adventures and Thrilling Experiences of the Most Noted American Hunter, Trapper, Guide, Scout, and Indian Fighter Now Living. Chicago: W.E. Dibble & Co., 1890. [i-vii]-viii,  10-473  pp., frontispiece portrait and 30 plates (included in pagination), text illustrations. 8vo (23.8 x 17 cm), original brown pictorial cloth. Spine rubbed, moderate edge wear, corners bumped. Uniform light age toning, but otherwise fine.
First edition. Campbell, pp. 60-61. Dobie, p. 72. Eberstadt, Modern Narratives of the Plains and the Rockies 100. Flake 2470. Graff 846. Howes C659. Littell 208. Rittenhouse 121. Saunders 2828. Wynar 275. Not in standard Mexican-American War sources.
In chapters 12-13, Uncle Dick recounts serving as scout on the Doniphan expedition which, with Kearney’s conquest, gave the U.S. its claim to New Mexico and Arizona. This expedition is considered one of the most brilliant long marches ever made. Without quartermaster, paymaster, commissary, uniforms, tents, adequate provisions, or even military discipline, the force covered 3,600 miles by land and 2,000 by water, all in the course of twelve months.
One of Uncle Dick’s tasks was to draw on the resources of the country to feed the men. “There were bands of wild cattle roaming over the hills and mesas...and whenever we wanted a supply of meat we ‘rounded’ up a lot of these cattle.... It was thought advisable to lasso, instead of shooting them, as some ammunition would be saved thereby. Lassoing wild cattle was a new business to most of the [soldiers], and they had some very amusing experiences.... At first the soldier always thought he had the steer, but before much time had elapsed he usually learned that the steer had him. Being able to lasso an animal of that kind is one thing, and knowing how to land him on his back, instead of being landed on your own back, and perhaps seriously hurt, is quite another.” (pp. 190-191).
Wootton (1816-1893) went west to work for Bent & St. Vrain’s Fur Company at the age of twenty. He was involved in various cattle and sheep enterprises, referring to himself as “something of a ‘cattle king,’” and driving nine thousand sheep from New Mexico to California in 1852.