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.

Lampasas County, Texas

    October 19, 1861, Lt. Robert Carter, John Witcher, John Hurst, F.G. Morris, A.W. Witcher, J.R. Townsend, James Mitchell, Joe Manning, Simpson Lloyd, and a tenth man who belongs to Capt. Frank Cotton's company, were returning from a ten day scout. Lt. Carter and his men, had been gone nine days, had seen no Indians, and were now nearly home.

    The supply of meat being short, J.W. Witcher, was dispatched from the head spring of the Lampasas River to meet the squad at the next camping place with a deer, or such other meat that could be found. Since he did not return F.G. Morris was dispatched to Lookout Mountain to see if Witcher could be found, and to assist, if possible, in killing a deer.

    When this point was reached, he saw several Indians about two miles away running a man that appeared to be Witcher. Morris promptly reported at the camp. Lt. Carter ordered his men to advance as rapidly as possible. When they reached a ravine above the spring, the rangers' horses snorted at something in the rear. This was only a short distance from their camp, and evidently the Indians intended to stampede the horses, for about twenty-two savages now appeared on the scene. Lt. Carter ordered his men to charge and was met by the Indians on the half way ground. It was now dark but severe fighting followed. Difficult it was to tell the white men from Indians. Finally the whites withdrew to one side of the draw, and the Indians to the other. Lt. Carter ordered another charge and a hand to hand encounter followed. John Hurst and Gundy Morris were now wounded. When a third charge was made, Lt. Carter himself could not be found. Several of the savages' horses were wounded. By this time the Indians retreated apparently for the purpose of giving attention to their dead and wounded. When the camp was reached, Mr. Carter had not appeared. J.W. Wilcher and J.R. Townsend volunteered to crawl in the dark over the battle ground to see if their lieutenant could be located. But they were unable to find him. This fight occurred Saturday night and searching parties did not find Mr. Carter until the following Monday morning. He was dead.

    Several Indians were killed and some of these rangers received slight wounds. J.W. Witcher, who had been sent out to kill a deer, successfully escaped from the charging savages.

    Notes: the author interviewed F.M. Carter, a son of Robert Carter who was killed. B.F. Gholson and others who were living in Hamilton and adjoining counties at the time.

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

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