Arroyo Baluarte

Michael has a BA in History & American Studies and an MSc in American History from the University of Edinburgh. He comes from a proud military family and has spent most of his career as an educator in the Middle East and Asia. His passion is travel, and he seizes any opportunity to share his experiences in the most immersive way possible, whether at sea or on the land.

Part of our in-depth series exploring the forts of Comancheria

May 12, 1854; Falfurrias, Texas: After Lt. George B. Cosby and eleven men of Companies F and I, Mounted Rifles, fought Lipan Apaches in the 5 May 1854 Lake Trinidad Battle, Cpl. William Wright took over for the wounded Cosby. On 7 May Wright sent his brother, John, sixty miles north to Fort Merrill to get reinforcements and medical aid for the three wounded men. Racing to the fort, John Wright got there in seven hours but killed his horse in the process. He was assigned a small detachment of Company F and a hospital steward, and the party hurried back to the battle site. Near Agua Dulce Creek, they rode through a small camp of Indians but did not stop. The warriors chased them for a time before giving up. The detachment reached Lake Trinidad at daybreak the next morning.

William Wright took his new command, now numbering about twenty men, and followed the Indians' trail south until it came upon the Lipan camp along Arroyo Baluarte near where it flows into Laguna Salada, a few miles south of present-day Falfurrias, Texas. As Wright barreled into the Indians, the scene became a jumble of shots, curses, and the swirling bright colors of caparisoned horses and Indians. Wright's horse, ominously named Death, was struck by a bullet and killed, throw ing the corporal to the ground. An Indian rode up to dispatch him, but Wright shot the warrior as well as his horse.

After a few short minutes, the Lipans rode away into the chaparral, leaving behind four dead and taking with them about six wounded. Six soldiers were wounded, including one man who received a severe tomahawk blow to the head. Corporal Wright led his ragged detachment back to Fort Merrill. Both brothers' terms of enlistment ended in October 1855, and neither had any desire to renew their service in the army.

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