Part of our in-depth series exploring the forts of Comancheria
29 May 1850; Midway, Texas: Capt. John S. "Rip" Ford led a scout of about 40 Rangers in southern Texas below the Nueces River. After dividing the party into two squads, Ford came across a band under Comanche chief Otto Cuero in present-day Jim Wells County, about 14 miles north of the town of Alice. The Rangers attacked, and the Comanches turned to do battle. Each side had about 16 men. Otto Cuero rode out in front as if daring the Rangers to charge. "Be steady, boys!" Ford said, "He wants to draw your fire and then charge you with the lance!" The chief came on, and Sgt. David M. level shot him in the arm. When he turned back, the Rangers charged. William Gillespie was shot through the lung with an arrow, and fellow Rangers stopped firing While Gillespie was removed to safety amid long-range sniping. When the Rangers' rear guard arrived, the soldiers flanked the warriors, who tried to pull back to the trees along Agua Dulce Creek. Otto Cuero gave his own horse to a wounded warrior. While the chief was rallying his men, David Steele killed him with a rifle bullet. Then the Comanches took up position along the creek and the Rangers pulled back.
One Ranger was killed and two were wounded. The Comanches suffered four men killed and seven wounded. A slight arrow scratch on Ford's right hand never stopped troubling him. Six years later the hand and arm became paralyzed, and Ford speculated that the arrow was poisoned.
From: Encyclopedia of Indian Wars by Gregory F. Michno
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