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Additional resources for Billy the Kid (Legends of the Wild West)
Another reason was because he thought little of the Kid and assumed his testimony would not be worth much. The governor, therefore, did not answer the outlaw’s proposal. Things finally moved forward in the spring of 1879. In March, the Kid wrote to the governor, once again offering his testimony in exchange for having his indictment dropped. This time, the governor agreed to meet. A few days later, the outlaw and the governor met at a house in Lincoln City belonging to a friend of Wallace. ” The door opened somewhat slowly and carefully, and there stood the young fellow generally known as the Kid, his Winchester in his right hand, his revolver in his left.
The letter, reprinted in Nolan’s The West of Billy the Kid, was written in a neat hand, although it had numerous misspellings and grammatical mistakes. It read: Dear Sir I have heard that You will give one thousand $dollars for my body which as I Can understand it means alive as a Witness. I know it is as a witness against those that murdered Mr. Chapman, if it was so as that I could appear at Court I could give the desired information, but I have indictments against me for things that happened in the late Lincoln County War and am afraid to give up because my Enemies would kill me.
The Regulators, plus McSween and about a dozen Lincoln residents who were on their side, were trapped inside this compound. Outside were about 40 men from the House faction. A column of cavalry officers, armed with a 12-pound mountain howitzer and a Gatling gun (an early form of machine gun), joined them. This large group maintained a siege of the McSween house despite the brutal summer heat and high winds that blew dust everywhere. As the standoff continued, the Kid and his comrades barricaded themselves from gunfire with sacks of flour and adobe bricks.