Captain Jack Hays Fight on the Pedernales

    About 1844, while scouting in the present Gillespie County, Capt. Jack Hays in charge of a detachment of fourteen men, discovered about fifteen Comanche warriors who showed signs of wanting to fight; but Hays realizing that the Indians, no doubt, were endeavoring to ambush the Texans, led his men around the timber and stationed them on a ridge, separated from the Indians by a narrow valley. The Comanches realizing that their strategic maneuvers had failed to decoy the rangers about seventy-five in number rode out into the open, and summoned Captain Hays ad his men for a fight. The challenge was accepted and the rangers slowly rode down the hill in the Indians’ direction. But contrary to expectation instead of charging in front, they followed a ravine and charged the Indians in the rear. This, of course, somewhat demoralized the Indians, who nervously awaited the first appearance of the Texans from the opposite direction. The Indians, however, soon rallied and made a countercharge. Captain Hays ordered his men to be ready, and they waited until the Indians were almost within throwing distances with their lances, before they fired a single shot. Twenty-one warriors almost immediately fell from their horses, and the Indians fell back in confusion. The rangers in turn charged the retreating savages. Charge after charge was made by both the Indians and rangers; and the fight lasted nearly an hour. The Texans had almost exhausted their loads in both revolvers and rifles. Capt. Jack Hays asked who was loaded. AB Gillespie replied that he was, and Hays told him to dismount and made sure work of the chief as that would, no doubt, end the fight. Although the ranger was badly wounded, he tumbled the chief from his horse. The Comanches now retreated and when the smoke of battle had cleared away, thirty dead Indians remained to indicate the accuracy of the Texans’ deadly aim.

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

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