Fights of Col. Buck Barry and His Command on the Northwestern Frontier

    After the ordinance of secession was passed, early in 1861, as has already been related, Col. Henry E. McCulloch and his forces were assigned to the frontier. Col. R. B. (Buck) Barry, who had charge of a portion of McCulloch's command, was stationed on the northwestern frontier.

    While camped at Camp Cooper, Col. Buck Barry agreed to meet Major Burleson at a spring on Red River. Consequently he detailed ten men to escort the wagons, which carried provisions and supplies. When the ten men had gone about forty miles, they were stormed by a large number of savages, and eight of their number were wounded. The battle started at nine a.m. and continued until three p.m. when the Indians were supposed to have exhausted their ammunition and left the field. It was afterwards learned through peacable tribes that the savages lost eight of their warriors. Capt. Buck Barry, as soon as he received the news of their situation, dispatched one half of his command to the ranger's relief.

    During the second day after the above fight, Wilse Biffle reported to Capt. Buck Barry and his command, that he had discovered Indian signs. Col Buck Barry halted his command and sent twelve men back for the pack mules. This was during the hot days of July, 1861. The twelve men were hardly out of sight, when firing started. The remaining command, of course, rushed to their relief. But three of their number, namely: J. J. Weatherby, Tif Conneley, and Bud Lane had already been killed, During the fighting two others were wounded. The savages were well armed, highly painted for war, and outnumbered Col. Buck Barry's men about three to one. Their chief, in accordance with their usual custom on such occasion, was wearing a peculiar head piece somewhat similar to that often worn by a bandmaster. For a long time this chief was able to turn the showering bullets with his shield. But finally the Indian chieftain was wounded in the head, and his warriors rallied to his relief and moved him away. It was not long before a running fight followed with the savages in the lead. For ten or twelve miles, along the divide between the little Wichita and the Red Forks of the Brazos, the rangers followed the Indians. Seven of the savages were known to have been killed, and, perhaps others seriously wounded. The next morning, the horses of Buck Barry's men were so stiff, they were hardly able to stand.

    Graves were dug with butcher knives for the dead, and they were buried in a buffalo trail. Private McKay who was one of the eight men wounded two days before, also, died and was given a frontier burial.

    Ref.: Col. Buck Barry's account of his controversy in Wilbarger's Indian Depredations in Texas; also interviewed F. M. Peveler, Babe Williams, John Marlin, Henry Williams, Mann Johnson, W. A. Ribble, and others who were living on the northwestern frontier at the time or shortly afterwards. A searching party was sent out, and Mr. Schriber was found dead and scalped where he had been massacred by the Indians.

The above story is from the book, The West Texas Frontier, by Joseph Carroll McConnell.


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