December 13 (December 3, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council orders that Colonel Leonard Claiborne, who has admitted to disobeying orders from his superior officer, be prosecuted at the next general court along with Colonel Christopher Senior and Captain Michael Holdsworth.

New Mexico: Governor Vargas, concerned about the toll his long journey has taken on the expedition’s horses and mules, decides the split the group in two for the last stretch.  He orders his officers to select twenty well-equipped men to go ahead with him and his commanders while Roque Madrid stays behind and leads the remainder of the expedition, including most of the animals, at a more leisurely pace.  Madrid is to plan his journey so that he arrives at El Paso in about ten days, and Vargas leaves him sufficient supplies to do this.  Vargas and his accompanying troops then set out down the river.

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December 12 (December 2, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council orders Captain Maynard of the Mordaunt to impress a sloop and sail it along the coast to catch people trying to leave the island and impress them for naval service.

New Mexico: Governor Vargas and his expedition leave their campsite and march along the Rio Grande.  Instead of the usual route, the Camino Real, they go along the opposite bank of the river, which is rougher but is more likely to have water for the animals.  They camp at the end of the day along the riverbank at a place where they can see the El Muerto and Las Peñuelas mountains, as well as the Camino Real across the river.

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December 11 (December 1, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council meets in Port Royal and appoints Thomas Nichols as Attorney General.

New Mexico: Governor Vargas, camped near the abandoned Pueblo of Senecú, decides to send word to the people of El Paso that he is nearby and will be arriving there within a few days. He sends Captain Rafael Téllez Girón with two soldiers to go ahead of the main body of the expedition and arrive at El Paso within three days. They are to deliver letters to the main civil and ecclesiastical authorities there reporting Vargas’s success in the reconquest and estimating that he will arrive at El Paso within nine days. Since the garrison at El Paso has been operating with greatly reduced numbers while most of the province’s soldiers have been on campaign, Vargas figures news of the imminent return of his troops will be welcome to the people there.

After dispatching the messengers, Vargas orders the rest of his men to break camp and continue on their march down the Rio Grande.  They head for Fray Cristóbal through a stretch of road within any known permanent water holes, but they figure that there may be some places where water has collected from the recent storms.  After marching all day they camp at a place in the lowlands within sight of a hill beyond which is Fray Cristóbal.

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December 10 (November 30, o.s.)

New Mexico: Despite the fact that it is snowing at dawn, Governor Vargas and his expedition leave their campsite at the abandoned Pueblo of Socorro, cross the nearby Rio Grande, and march down the river toward the abandoned Pueblo of Senecú.  They camp within sight of the pueblo, but not in it.

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December 9 (November 29, o.s.)

New Mexico: Despite the weather being very harsh, with strong winds and snow, Governor Vargas decides to set off from his expedition’s campsite in a ravine at the foot of the Sierra de Socorro.  The campsite has no pasturage or firewood, and is exposed to the weather, so it isn’t a good place to try to wait out the storm.  The group heads for the abandoned Pueblo of Socorro, the closest pueblo.  They reach it fairly soon and camp for the night in the church, which is abandoned but still in fairly good condition.

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December 8 (November 28, o.s.)

Jamaica: The Council meets in Port Royal.  Colonel Leonard Claiborne confesses to having disobeyed orders given by his superior officer, Captain Bernart Andreis.  A general court martial is ordered for December 1.  The sloop Neptune, impressed for government service after the earthquake, is ordered to be returned to her owners.  French prisoners are to be sent to St. Domingue.

New Mexico: Governor Vargas attends a mass in the morning for the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, then meets with his Zuni guide, Agustín, and his companions.  He thanks them for their help and gives them the buffalo hides he promised as payment, as well as supplies for the journey back to Zuni.  They say that they are worried about attack by the Apaches and would therefore like to return by way of Acoma Pueblo, and they ask Vargas for a letter to the people at Acoma to ensure their safe passage.  Vargas obligingly writes a letter to Mateo, the governor of Acoma, introducing the Zunis and explaining why he took a shortcut under their guidance rather than returning via Acoma himself.  This satisfies the Zunis, who leave happy.

Vargas then orders his men to prepare to leave their campsite at the waterhole which he names La Purísima Concepción in honor of the day of its discovery.  They head toward the Rio Grande, with the Magdalena Mountains in view and serving to direct them.  When they get to the Sierra del Socorro they cross it, following the tracks of the men and animals from the expedition who left the previous night to find water.  They find them waiting in a broad arroyo at the foot of the mountains.  Since it is pretty late at this point, Vargas orders the reunited expedition to camp there for the night.

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December 7 (November 27, o.s.)

New Mexico: Governor Vargas is unable to sleep all night, due to both a harsh storm with its cold winds and his concern over the fact that his expedition’s animals haven’t had any water in two days.  Well before dawn Captain Roque Madrid tells him that he heard from a Piro Indian accompanying the party that there is a brackish water hole in the direction of El Alamillo on the Rio Grande.  Vargas, upset at the fact that the shortcut the group is currently on is much drier and harder on the horses than his Zuni guide, Agustín, led him to believe, thinks over this proposed alternative.  He attends a mass at 5:00 am, then assembles his officers at the entrance to his tent and informs them of the alternative route.  He says, however, that following it would take the expedition too far out of its way to make it worth the time and effort, especially given the poor quality of the water at the reported waterhole.  He proposes instead that they head toward the Magdalena Mountains, which have now become visible off in the distance, following a route reconnoitered by Agustín, who has said that he surely couldn’t be so unlucky as to have there be no water at all along that route.  Despite the fact that Agustín’s luck hasn’t seemed very impressive so far, Vargas decides to trust him this time.  He orders that if a water hole is found, the camp should stop at it, and if it turns out to be too shallow for all the animals, the camp should stay for the night and the animals should continue to the Rio Grande, even if it takes them all night to get there.

Having received their orders, the men are already on the march at sunrise.  After a short distance, they find a small spring with a curbstone around it.  Agustín points it out and continues on his way past it, and most of the men follow him, with only a few stopping to water their horses at the spring.

The group goes up and down hills for a considerable distance until they find another small spring, where some more of the horses drink.  There is also some snow nearby, which is hard-packed but about to melt, and some of the horses manage to bite some off.

After continuing through a flatter plain for a while, the expedition sees the Magdalena and Gila Mountains in the distance.  Agustín leads the group along the crest of the nearby mountains, figuring that the Rio Grande is in that direction.  Atop a ridge at the foot of the mountains, Vargas finds a very old abandoned pueblo made of masonry, with two kivas.  A short distance to the south of it, toward the Gila Mountains, there is a water hole surrounded by tall reeds, apparently the source used by the people who built the pueblo.  Vargas immediately orders half of the expedition to camp there for the night and water their animals.

Having made some progress in watering the animals, Vargas presses Agustín about the location of a larger water hole nearby where the rest could get water.  Agustín points in the direction he believes it to be, but says it is pretty far and he is too tired to go there.  Vargas, frustrated with Agustín’s misleading description of the shortcut and general unhelpfulness, gets very angry at this and orders his officers to take Agustín and have him show them the water hole whether he wants to or not.  They leave around 4:00 pm.

A short time later Vargas orders four squads of soldiers to prepare to take the horses to be watered.  He orders them to go all the way to the Rio Grande if they don’t find a waterhole closer, and they take a Piro guide to show them the way at night.  If they do find a closer waterhole, they are to camp their overnight and Vargas and the rest of the camp will follow their trail in the morning and meet up with them.  They leave immediately.

Not long after, the officers and Agustín return.  They report that they found the water hole.  Vargas orders one of the officers to assemble a small group of soldiers and to take the remaining animals there to be watered, but to be sure to leave and return to the main camp at midnight, since the camp would have no horses in this dangerous land until they returned.  They do so and return with the refreshed animals late at night.

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December 6 (November 26, o.s.)

New Mexico: At dawn Governor Vargas, frustrated at having to camp without water yet again, orders his men to break camp and prepare to leave in search of a water hole.  He orders the expedition’s Zuni guide, Agustín, to go ahead to reconnoiter the area and find the best route.  Shortly after dawn, when the rest of the men are ready, they and Vargas depart, following Agustín to the southeast.  The route goes generally downhill through an area of mesas and plains dotted with hills.

After a while the group finds a path that has clearly been used much more than the others in the area, which Agustín says must be the way to the water hole.  The expedition therefore follows it down to a wide plain.  After a considerable time traveling across the plain they find a very small spring, with enough water for the men to drink, which they do, but not nearly enough to water the horses.  From a mesa above the water hole the men can see the Ladron and Magdalena mountains off in the distance.

After the men have satisfied their thirst, they continue on their way.  They reach an arroyo with a lot of cottonwood trees in it, but it is dry.  It is getting pretty late by this point, however, and Vargas orders a halt for the night.

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December 5 (November 25, o.s.)

Massachusetts: The assembly, after a long period of debate and disagreement, finally approves a bill setting up a new judicial system for the colony.  At the top of the system is the Superior Court of Judicature, which now assumes responsibility for the witchcraft cases formerly handled by the Court of Oyer and Terminer which was dissolved on October 29.

New Mexico: Governor Vargas and his troops awake at their campsite after a harsh, stormy night to find that, while the snow has stopped, the cold winds continue.  Vargas nevertheless orders his men to break camp and continue their march.  Their route takes them further down the canyon they are in and over some hills and mesas.  When they get to the top of one mesa they can see the Sandia and Manzano mountains off in the distance ahead of them.  The way down from that mesa is very steep and rocky, but they make it and reach a broad plain at the bottom.  At this point it is becoming late and Vargas orders a halt to camp for the night at a place where there is no water.  He is a little irritated at the promises made by his Zuni guide, Agustín, about the number and quality of water holes along the shortcut he is taking them through, and figures he should have brought some water along.  There’s nothing he can do about it now, though.

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December 4 (November 24, o.s.)

New Mexico: Governor Vargas and his expedition leave their campsite and continue their march down the canyon they are in.  After a fairly short distance they find a swampy area in the canyon called La Cebolleta, and Vargas calls a halt to water the horses, since the harsh weather of the past few days has slowed the group’s journey and forced them to camp without water two nights in a row.  The group camps there for the night.

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