Benevides’s Ranch

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

June 15, 1850; San Ygnacio, Texas: Early in June 1850, Comanches raided in Webb County, Texas, in the vicinity of Laredo, and many Mexican settlers fled to town for protection. Capt. John S, Ford ordered Lt. Andrew J. Walker out to intercept the raiders. Walker made camp near Laredo, where he got word of another depredation, said to have occurred farther down the Rio Grande.

Walker hurried downstream with about twenty rangers. He picked up an Indian trail that led to Don Basilio Benevides's Ranch, about twenty miles south of Laredo and about a dozen miles north of present-day San Ygnacio. When the rangers arrived, seven Comanches were still near the ranch, using Benevides's own corral to select their remounts then herding them along a bend in the river. When Walker charged, the Indians headed east, away from the river.

After a chase of one and a half miles, Walker caught up to the raiders. Ed Stevens, a former sheriff of Bexar County, rode up to one warrior, who turned and shot an arrow into Stevens's head at the same time as Stevens shot the Indian in the face. Jose Morales chased down another dismounted warrior and rode over him with his horse three times before shooting him dead.

The pursuit continued for a few more miles, with the rangers killing or fatally wounding all seven Comanches. Morales helped Stevens pull the arrow from his head, which had pierced his scalp and bent around the curve of his skull. The blood gushed out of what appeared to be a fatal wound, but Morales bound the area tightly with his handkerchief and stopped the blood flow. Stevens survived.

The rangers caught one badly wounded Indian and took him to Benevides's home with the intention of trying to save him. Both of his hips were smashed, however, and the Texans figured he would not recover. None of the rangers wanted the job of putting him out of his misery, so a Mexican muleteer named Lorenzo performed the task. Most of Benevides's horses were recovered, and the rangers received thanks from many of the locals.

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