As reported in the Daily Alta California, Volume 3, Number 179, 28 June 1852
Later from San Diego – The body of Col. Craig found—-Arrest of the Murders.
By the steamer Oregon, which arrived yesterday, we received a copy of the San Diego Herald of the 22d inst. It will be seen, by the extract which we give below, that the melancholy intelligence of the murder of Col. Craig is now fully confirmed:
MURDER OF COL. CRAIG – BODY FOUND – ARREST OF THE MURDERERS! – The startling intelligence reached San Diego on the 10th inst; of the murder, on the desert, of Col. Craig, 3d Infantry, and Sergeant Bales, 1st Artillery, by two deserters from Major Heintzelman’s command at Camp Yuma.
It is stated by the military express rider, who gives this information that Col. Craig, accompanied by a Sergeant of the 3d Infantry, and by Sergeant Bales, of the 1st Artillery, who was detained by Col. Magruder, with a party to act under the orders of Col. Craig, as an additional escort to the Boundary Commission from this place to Camp Yuma, met on the desert the two deserters, at about one-third of the distance across from this side.
They were on foot, and armed with percussion muskets. The Colonel, taking with him the two Sergeants, pursued them for some miles, calling on them to surrender. At length they halted. Col. Craig look off his sabre, gave it, with his pistol, to Sergeant Bales, and dismounting, proceeded unarmed toward the deserters, offering to use his influence in their favor if they would return with him. The other Sergeant, in the mean time, seeing the Colonel’s mule stray off, went to catch it — heard a shot — turned and saw Col. C. fall, and at another shot, saw Serg. Bales fall. Before he could recover the Colonel’s mule, the deserters fired upon him, and he fled to camp. Nothing further was known. Col. Magruder, who was on the spot at the old town of San Diego when this news came, immediately sent native Californian couriers to all the Indian chiefs between this and San Gorgonia, (some one hundred and thirty miles,) ordering them to turn out their men and use every effort to apprehend and deliver to him, alive, these murderers, offering at the same time suitable rewards — the object being to establish a cordon of Indians from this place to San Gorgonia, so as to block up all the avenues from the Desert to the upper country. Subsequently, through tho promptness of Mr. Geo. McKinstry, at San Isabel, who had been communicated with by Major McKinstry, from the Depot here, a trace of them was obtained, and immediately an armed party of soldiers was detached by Col. M, by the coast road to Los Angeles, to intercept and get ahead of them; whilst another, two days after, was sent to follow up their rear. Trusty soldiers were at the same time sent to watch at night the bouts and shipping in the harbor, to prevent escape by sea : and the proper notifications were directed to be sent to the Sheriff’s of Los Angeles and Santa Barbara by the Ohio of Wednesday. The result was, that on the 15th inst. the murderers were delivered up to the Colonel at the Mission of San Diego, by Pablito Apiz, a chief of Temecula, to whom he had sent orders. They are now well secured, being heavily ironed and confined in strong and separate cells.
Their muskets and a knife belonging to Sergeant Bales were also delivered up by the Chief. We hope speedy justice will overtake these miscreants. It is said that Pablito showed much tact in capturing these men. He first bought their muskets and paid for them, then asked to look at their only revolver; and having got possession of it, coolly told them they were his prisoners. Upon showing a disposition to resist, fifteen Indians sprang up from “parts unknown”, and drawing their bows, threatened instant death, where upon they were put in the stocks by Pablito, and delivered up the next day, as above stated.
Since writing the above, we have been furnished with an extract of a letter, received by express from Camp Yuma. which destroys all hope of the existence of Col. Craig, and assures us of the safety of Sergeant Bales, who, it appears, was badly wounded, and confirms fully the above melancholy intelligence.
Saturday morning, while yet on the road, we met two deserters. Col. Craig, with whom I was riding at the time, rode in pursuit, taking two sergeants with him; and not wishing to use force, continued to follow them for several miles, talking and advising them to return. The deserters at length came to a halt, and said the thing must be decided without going farther. Col. C. then threw aside his sabre and handing his pistol to one of the sergeants, advanced unarmed toward them. When within a very few feet, they (the deserters) fired, one at Col. C, the other at the sergeant, who was further off. The Colonel fell without a word, and died in ten minutes — he was shot through the stomach. The sergeant was wounded in the leg, the same shot killing his horse, which fell with him, thus placing him also in their power. The other sergeant was catching the Colonel’s mule, which had strayed. After shooting the Colonel and first sergeant, they commenced firing on him. He seeing how matters were, turned his mule toward the train, leaving Col. C.’s mule to be caught by the murderers. He overtook one or two of the wagons, and changing his animal, came into camp with the news. A party was sent back immediately, with a wagon, who brought up the Colonel’s remains, also the wounded sergeant.
“Col. C. was killed June the 6th, about seven o’clock. We buried him at a camp where wells had been lately dug by Capt Davidson, (at ‘Alamo Muncho.’)
“The Indians last night came into the commission camp and took fifteen mules.”