Drop the gun then take off the gunbelt,” I ordered.
There was hesitation on his part. I didn’t have time to argue with him, I had to get to the baggage car to see what happened. The solution: I thumped in alongside the head with the Greener and not did his gun drop but his whole body fell to the floor.
I hurried to remove his gunbelt then his uniform belt which I used to tie his hands together behind his back. Pulling off his uniform blouse I put it on him backwards keeping his arms out of the sleeves and tied the sleeves to the seat. Then I rushed to see if Linton was alive. From six feet away I doubt that the lieutenant missed. The bullet caught him in the chest on the lower left side; most likely destroying a lung for Linton was for sure dead.
Cautiously I went to the baggage car. I didn’t know what to expect. There were four shots fired. That either meant that the bad guys took control quickly or that Sergeant Quincy had been ready. They were probably thinking the same thing about what was happening in the passenger car. Only one shot, did that mean that the Lieutenant had everything under control?
I decided to climb up on the top of the car and move back to where I had talked with Gibbons. I didn’t know if they could hear me on the roof of the car or not, I was hoping that the sound of the train on the tracks would hide my steps. Lying down I tried to peer over the side. The door was still open. As I moved slowly down the steps I saw why; the guard was laying halfway in the doorway propping it open.
“Gibbons,” I loudly whispered. Seeing that did not good, I yelled out, “Gibbons!”
“Sure hope that’s you, Marshal, ’cause if it ain’t you’re going to be received with several rounds of lead.”
It was the voice of the Sergeant. “Sergeant, I’m comin’ in.”
Stepping over the dead guard I made my entrance into the car. The first thing I noticed what the gun of Sergeant Quincy pointing at me. “I sure hope you’re one of the good guys,” I stated. Then I saw Gibbons laying there with a soldier working on him. “Hurt bad?” I asked the Sergeant.
“Hard to tell, he needs a doctor. Private McCaskill is trying to stop the bleeding. He took a bullet at almost point blank range from the guard.”
Looking from Gibbons to the others in the car I saw that other guards had been herded to one end with their guns confiscated. On the floor, not far from the Sergeant lay the shifty-eyed man with a bullet hole in his forehead.
“I have the Lieutenant tied up in the passenger car. He shot and killed Mr. Linton,” I said then reached out to place my hand on the shoulder of the sergeant. “I don’t know exactly where we are or where the next town is, but I will go up to tell the engineer about the situation back here. Have you seen the conductor?”
A strange look appeared on the sergeant’s face. “Come to think of it he went through the baggage car just before those soldiers came back from eating.”
“Well, he never came into the passenger car.”
Shaking his head, the sergeant said, “Think they threw him off the train?”
“That would be my guess,” I said then went to see Gibbons who was unconscious. “How is he soldier?”
“The bullet hit right at the shoulder joint. Since it was fired so close it went on through, but I think the bone might be broken. I finally stopped the bleeding, but maybe it was ’cause he don’t have much blood left.”
Leaning down I spoke, “I don’t know if you can hear me Josh, but the bullion is safe. You and the real soldiers did their job.”
“Watch him, son,” I said as I stood then hurried out to make my way to the engine.”
The engineer listened intently as I told him of the situation and informed me that I could get a telegraph out when we arrived where the train would take on water, but it would be close to an hour before we arrived in Las Animas where there would be a doctor available from Fort Lyons.
As the train took on water I went to send the telegram to the marshal’s office in Kansas City. “Gibbons shot–STOP–bullion safe–STOP–prisoners–STOP–send telegram to Las Animas advising. Marshal Forrest”
Upon entering the passenger car I saw a soldier guarding the lieutenant. He was still tied and laying down, but was now conscious. Linton had been taken from the passenger car. I glanced at the passengers who had all moved together at one end of the car and nodded at them. “To ease your mind, I’m Deputy U.S. Marshal Miles Forrest. There was an attempted holdup led by the lieutenant that has been put down. Injuries have occurred but the situation is under control.”
The engineer must have poured on the coal for we arrived under an hour in Las Animas. The town marshal was there along with a detachment from Fort Lyons to take the prisoners. The soldiers who were to relieve the detachment on the train was there as well. I asked the sergeant if he and his men would also remain. I now trusted them and these men were new to me. The officer in charge had no problem and would inform the commander at Fort Lyons of the situation.
Gibbons was taken from the train to the hospital at Fort Lyons. He had not regained consciousness. I hated to leave him, but I had to continue on to Kansas City.
Just before the train was ready to pull out, a man came running to me. “Are you Marshal Forrest?”
When I informed him that I was, he handed me two telegrams. The first from the Kansas City office. “Continue on–STOP–marshal will relieve you in Abilene.” That left me puzzled until I read the other telegram, “Mateo shot, hurry back”…
Drop the gun then take off the gunbelt,” I ordered.