Part of our in-depth series exploring the forts of Comancheria
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Agua Chiquita Canyon | Agua Dulce Creek | American Ranch | Apache Springs | Arroyo San Roque | Baca's Wagon Train | Bass Canyon | Bavispe Mountains | Bear Creek | Bear Creek Redoubt | Beaver Creek | Big Bushes | Big Lake | Big Timber | Blackwater Spring | Bodamer's Fight | Brownwood | Buffalo Creek | Burleson's Fight | Caddo Creek | Carrizo Canyon | Casas Grandes | Cedar Canyon | Cedar Gap | Chicosa Arroyo | Cieneguilla | Cimarron Crossing | Clear Fork of the Brazos River | Cobb's Fight | Cold Springs | Comanche Canyon | Conchas Springs | Congillon River | Cow Creek | Davis's Fight | Dead Man's Hole | Delaware Creek | Dog Canyon | Dog Creek | Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos River | Eagle Nest Crossing | Eagle Pass | Eagle Springs | Eayre's Fight | Elephant Rock | Elkhorn Creek | Fisher's Peak | Fort Bascom | Fort Sumner | Fossil Creek Station | Foster Springs | Fremont's Orchard | Freshwater Fork of the Brazos River | Gallinas Mountains | Godfrey's Ranch | Graydon Affair | Guadalupe Canyon | Guadalupe Mountains | Guadalupe River | Guzman Mountains | Headwaters of the Canadian River | Headwaters of the Concho River | Headwaters of the Llano River | Headwaters of the Nueces River | Hennessey Wagon Train | Horsehead Hill | Hungate Massacre | Hynes Bay | Jemez | Johnson Draw | Johnston's Station | Julesburg | Kickapoo Creek | Kidder Massacre | Lagunas Quatras | Lake Quemado | Lake Trinidad | Laredo | Little Coon Creek | Live Oak Creek | Llano River | Lookout Point | Lookout Station | Manzano Mountains | Mays's Fight | McClellan Creek Wagon Charge | Mescalero Agency | Mulberry Creek | Mulberry Creek/Palo Duro | Nesmith's Mills | North Concho River | North Fork of the Concho River | North Fork Solomon River | Nueces River | Ojo Caliente | Paint Creek | Pawnee Fork | Pecos Falls | Pecos River | Placitas | Point of Rocks | Poncha Pass | Pond Creek Station | Pueblo | Punished Woman's Fork | Rattlesnake Springs | Rayado | Remolino | Rio Bavispe | Rio Hondo | Rio Penasco | Robert's Fight | Rock Creek | Round Timbers | Rule Creek | Sacramento Mountains | Saguache Creek/Cochetopa Pass | Salt Fork of the Brazos River | Salt Lake | San Andres Mountains | San Diego | San Roque Creek | Sand Hills | Sangre Canyon | Sanguinara Canyon | Sapello Creek | Saragossa | Shakehand Springs | Sheridan | Sierra del Burros | Sierra del Carmen | Sierra Diablo | Sierra Enmedio | Smoky Hill Crossing | Smoky Hill Station | Spring Canyon | Stanger's Fight | Summit Springs | Teres Mountains | Tularosa | Turkey Branch | Turkey Springs | Valley Station | Van Horn's Well | Wagon Mound | White Butte Creek | Whiteface Mountain | Wilson's Fight
Special credit goes to the Encyclopedia of Indian Wars by Gregory F. Michno.
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1 September 1880; Weed, New Mexico: At Agua Chiquita Canyon, east of the Sacramento Mountains, Sgt. James Robinson and 10 privates of Company G, 9th Cavalry, were driving a herd of army horses and mules when they were attacked by about 25 Apaches, on foot but well-armed. Robinson countercharged into a heavy fire and drove away the Indians. Two privates were killed.
13 June 1868; Apache Springs, New Mexico: On 6 June, just as the government was finalizing a treaty to move the Navajos back to their homeland, four white men were discovered face down in the water on Twelve Mile Creek, in New Mexico Territory. Navajo arrows pierced the bodies, and three of the victims appeared to have been tortured. Navajo leaders Barboncito, Delgadito, and Manuelito, not wanting the incident to ruin the treaty, cooperated fully in finding the criminals.
The guilty men fled the reservation, but the chiefs reported them to the soldiers at Fort Sumner. Lt. Deane Monahan, with detachments of Companies G and I, 3rd Cavalry, caught up with the culprits before dawn at Apache Springs, less than 20 miles south of Las Vegas, New Mexico. While the soldiers surrounded the sleeping Navajos, the band's leader, Juh Sanchez, awoke and roused his warriors. A fight erupted, but the Navajos, outgunned, were forced into a ravine, where two Indians were killed and Sanchez was mortally wounded. The 11 remaining renegades surrendered soon after daylight.
13 May 1850; Catarina, Texas: Capt. John S. "Rip" Ford of the Texas Mounted Volunteers was assigned with his company to Fort McIntosh. They were patrolling along the Nueces River when a band of Comanches attacked them near Arroyo San Roque, a tributary west of the Nueces. One Texas was wounded, while 4 Comanches were killed and 4 were wounded. The Texans captured 11 horses.
22 June 1867; Cimarron, Kansas: A train of 80 wagons heading for Santa Fe, led by Capt. Francisco Baca, were camped at the Cimarron crossing of the Arkansas River on 22 June. Among those traveling with Baca were the first Catholic bishop of Santa Fe, Jean Baptiste Lamy, ten other priests, and six nuns. The Cheyenne Lame Bear and 75 warriors, including George Bent, another half-Indian son of William Bent, coming from their camp on the Washita River, encountered Baca's party. After successfully stealing 50 mules, the Indians were repelled by the fast shooting of Baca's men.
Though eastern papers reported that all the priests were killed and the nuns abducted, the only casualties were ten people, including one nun, who died of the cholera that was sweeping Kansas in the summer of 1867.
23 June 1885; Oputo, Sonora, Mexico: In the spring, Capt. Emmet Crawford, with Henry F. Kendall's Company A, 6th Cavalry, and 92 Apache scouts under Lt. Britton Davis, 3rd Cavalry, went after Apache raiders. The expedition took them into Mexico. At Huachinera the trail turned toward Oputo. Crawford had Chato, the former renegade Apache chief, now a scout for the army, take the scouts ahead.
On 23 June, Chato stumbled onto a rancheria high in the mountains northeast of Oputo. The Indians fled and the rough terrain limited Chato's pursuit. Only one hostile was killed, and 15 women and children were captured, including Chihuahua's entire family. One scout was wounded.
September 17, 1878; Pinos Altos, New Mexico: Lt. Henry P. Perrine, Sixth Cavalry, with detachments of his Companies B and M and Company D of the Indian Scouts, was patrolling in rough country east of Fort Thomas, Arizona Territory. On 13 September, along the Gila River at what was called the Clifton Crossing, the scouts found a small party of three or four renegade Apaches who had left the reservation.
The Apaches bolted, and Perrine began a five-day chase. Their trail led east along the Gila and into New Mexico Territory. North of the Big Burro Mountains, the Apaches left the Gila and went along Bear Creek into the Pinos Altos Mountains. Perrine finally cornered them on 17 September, in Bear Creek Canyon, northwest of Pinos Altos. In a short fight, Perrine killed two Indians and captured four horses and a mule; one enlisted man was killed in the action.
24 June 1874; Ashland, Kansas: After suffering the 21 June ambush, Maj. Charles E. Compton and his men continued north as escort of the mail to Fort Dodge. They pulled into the redoubt on upper Bear Creek, a new post about 12 miles north of old Bear Creek Station and 33 miles south of Fort Dodge. Cheyennes attacked the party again, but the soldiers were in a more defensible position. The Indians came out badly, having four killed and several wounded.
8 June 1870; Buffalo, Oklahoma: Lt. John A. Bodamer and 25 men of Company F, 10th Cavalry, were escorting a large ox train from Fort Dodge to Camp Supply, about 80 miles south. Near the edge of Indian territory, about 100 Cheyennes attacked. Bodamer corralled the wagons and fought off the Indians until nightfall, then dispatched Pvt. William Edmonson to Camp Supply for reinforcements. Narrowly escaping capture, Edmonson reached the post at 11 p.m. When Capt. Nicholas Nolan arrived the next morning, the Cheyennes were gone.
During the fight Bodamer and his men killed three Cheyennes and wounded ten. Two soldiers, a Cpl. Freeman and a Pvt. Winchester, were wounded.
18 November 1874; Brownwood, Texas: Lt. B.F. Best, with a 16-man detachment of Company E of the Frontier Battalion, Texas Rangers, was patrolling in Coleman County and found a trail heading east into Brown County. After following it for 20 miles, the Rangers came upon a band of Comanches near Brownwood, Texas. In the fight, the men killed three Indians, wounded one, and confiscated an assortment of weapons. Two Rangers were wounded.
21 June 1874; Buffalo, Oklahoma: Maj. Charles E. Compton, 6th Cavalry, with a detachment of Company G, 6th Cavalry, and a detachment of Company A, 3rd Infantry, were on the road from Camp Supply to Fort Dodge as a mail escort. Just south of Buffalo Creek they were attacked by about 30 Cheyennes, who wounded one soldier and one civilian. Two Cheyennes were thought to be wounded.
24, 27, and 28 February, 1859; Ardmore, Oklahoma: After their defeat at Rush Springs, many Comanches left the area. Some wintered in Chihuahua, Mexico, while others went north of the Arkansas River. Those who remained continued raiding settlers. In February two patrols out of Fort Arbuckle ran into some of the raiders.
On 24 February on Caddo Creek, south of the Arbuckle Mountains, Comanche raiders jumped Lt. James E. Powell, 1st Infantry, and 31 men of Companies D and E, 1st Cavalry, killing one trooper and wounding two. Three days later, again on Caddo Creek, Capt. James M. McIntosh led a detachment of Company D, 1st Cavalry, against a Comanche band. The fight continued into the next day. Seven Indians were reported killed.
12 August 1881; Sabinal, New Mexico: Capt. Charles Parker, operating out of Fort Wingate with 19 men of Company K, 9th Cavalry, struck a band of Apaches under Nana in Carrizo Canyon, about 25 miles west of Sabinal, New Mexico. Though outnumbered two to one, Parker's men fought the Indians for an hour and a half before the Indians broke off the action. Five troopers were killed and one was captured and later killed. One Apache was killed and three were wounded. For extraordinary courage, Sgt. Thomas Shaw received a Medal of honor.
7 August 1885; Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico: Capt. Wirt Davis, 4th Cavalry, with one troop of the 4th Cavalry, 100 Indian scouts of Companies G, H, I, and K under Lt. Matthias W. Day, and guides "Buckskin" Frank Leslie and Charlie Roberts, worked his way through the Sierra Madres in conjunction with Capt. Emmet Crawford. On 28 July, in the Sierra de Joya, Davis's men ran down and killed an Apache woman and a boy.
On 7 August, the command jumped Geronimo's camp near the Rio Janos, west of Casas Grandes. One woman and two boys were killed. Geronimo and Nana escaped. The attack swept away Geronimo's family. Two of his wives were seized and a third disappeared; five of his children were also taken. Altogether, 15 Apaches were captured.
25 April 1855, Trinidad, Colorado: After the Saguache Creek/Cochetopa Pass engagement, Col. Thomoas T. Fauntleroy's expedition rested and provisioned at Fort Massachusetts, then moved out again. Kit Carson guided Ceran St. Vrain and three of his volunteer companies east of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, trailing the Apaches and Utes to the edge of the plains. At one point along Chicosa Arroyo, north of present-day Trinidad, Colorado, the Pueblo irregulars were out hunting game when the volunteers mistook them for Apaches and nearly attacked them. From that point on, the Pueblos wore distinctive white headbands.
Continuing down Chicosa Arroyo to the headwaters of the Purgatoire River, the column ran into a camp of about 60 Jicarillas. St. Vrain attacked, killed 6 Indians, captured 7, and rounded up 31 horses. The volunteers suffered no casualties.
Clear Fork of the Brazos River
26 August 1860; Snyder, Texas: Maj. George H. Thomas, later a Union general, led the smallest contingent of the army's summer expeditions of 1860. Company B and a detachment of D, 2nd Cavalry, left Camp Cooper, on the Clear Fork of the Brazos River, on 23 July. For a month Thomas trekked around the headwaters of the Concho and Colorado Rivers, searching for hostile bands.
On 26 August, by the head of the Clear Fork near present-day Snyder, Texas, Thomas encountered 11 Comanches. The soldiers killed 1 of them and wounded 2, but not before the Comanches had killed 1 soldier and wounded 5 others, including Thomas. The column quickly returned to Camp Cooper.
7 February 1871; Chico, Texas: About 50 miles east of Flat Top Mountain, in northeast present-day Wise County, Texas, Sgt. E.H. Cobb and 9 Texas Rangers ran into 40 Kiowas and Comanches who were well-armed with Henry rifles, six-shooters, and bows and arrows. The Indians moved back over a hill and into a stand of tall grass, and when Cobb's men topped the rise, the warriors tried to surround them. Cobb pulled his men back to a better position and fought them off.
The Rangers killed two Indians and wounded a few others. One Ranger, "Little Billy" Sorrels, was wounded.
2 January 1861, Boise City, Oklahoma: Head of the Department of New Mexico, Col. Thomas T. Fauntleroy, commanding at Fort Union, ordered Lt. Col. George B. Crittenden to chastise the raiding Kiowas and Comanches at any opportunity. When news of depredations in the mountains along the Santa Fe Trail came in, Crittenden led out 88 men and four officers of Companies D, H, and K and a detachment of Company E, Mounted Rifles.
In the meantime, the raiders had moved east of the Raton Mountains and were harassing travelers along the Cimarron River. Crittenden ordered forced marches to catch up with them. Near the Cimarron, about ten miles north of Cold Springs, the soldiers found a camp of 175 sleeping Kiowa and Comanche lodges. They surprised the Indians, killing 10 and wounding about 10 more. Three Mounted Riflemen were wounded. Crittenden's men destroyed the camp and took 40 horses back to Fort Union with them.
3 March 1862; Albuquerque, New Mexico: Detachments of Companies C and K, 3rd Cavalry, were en route from Fort Craig to Fort Union when, on the road between Peralta and Antelope Springs, in Comanche Canyon, Indians surprised them. The warriors killed one soldier from Company C and wounded the officer in charge, Sgt. (Acting Lt.) Richard Wall, as well as two men from Company C and two from Company K. There were no Indian casualties.
20 January 1870; Pine Springs, Texas: Capt. Francis S. Dodge continued Col. Edward Hatch's campaign despite frigid weather, leading 200 men of Companies A, C, D, H, I, and K, 9th Cavalry, north from Fort Davis following a Mescalero Apache trail up Delaware Creek into the Guadalupe Mountains. In a nearly inaccessible spot, the soldiers found the rancheria. But the Mescaleros had seen Dodge's men coming, so they climbed into the rocks above the gorge and began firing. Dismounting, the troopers began an ascent, though rain made footing precarious. By dusk they had reached the top, but the Indians were gone.
In the exchange, the Apaches wounded two troopers. Dodge counted ten dead warriors. The soldiers captured 25 ponies and destroyed the Indians' weapons and supplies.
22 July 1855; Sierra Blanca, Texas: Operating out of Fort Davis, a detachment of Company I, Mounted Rifles, under Capt. Charles F. Ruff, fought with Mescalero Apaches near Eagle Springs. Of 15 Indians, 13 were reported killed, with no army casualties.
4 June 1854; Trinidad, Colorado: By the spring of 1854, the army had not yet subdued all the Jicarilla Apaches. Capt. James H. Carleton of the 1st Dragoons led 100 of his own men and James Quinn's battalion of irregulars on a sweep to the north. They went to Fort Massachusetts, a post of 85 miles north of Taos, midway up the San Luis Valley on the slopes of Sierra Blanca Peak. There, the force found a trail heading southeast, past the Spanish Peaks and up into the Raton Mountains. With Kit Carson guiding, they found the Apache camp in a basin on the east side of treeless Fisher's Peak, about six miles south of present-day Trinidad, Colorado.
Carleton held his troops back in the brush and off the trail until they slowly worked into position. At 2 p.m. on 4 June, they fanned down the mountainside in a surprise attack. The startled Apaches scattered immediately. The soldiers destroyed 22 lodges and captured 38 ponies, but the Apaches fled so fast, Carleton's men killed only 3 of them. The soldiers suffered no casualties.
26 February 1873; Tucumcari, New Mexico: The Cheyenne White Eagle led 17 warriors into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in New Mexico Territory, looking for Utes. Unsuccessful, they were returning to the reservation when on the Canadian River, they were attacked by soldiers and civilians. One Cheyenne was killed and one mortally wounded, including White Eagle. Their attackers pressed the Cheyennes so hard that they had to leave their badly injured man behind.
28 May 1869; Russell, Kansas: About 30 Cheyennes attacked 7 railroad hands who were cutting weeds two miles west of Fossil Creek Station, in present-day Russell, Kansas. The workers jumped on a handcar and pumped furiously toward the station. Four of them had rifles, but succeeded only in killing an Indian pony. Shot and unable to hang on to the car, two of the workers fell to the ground. Their bodies were later found mutilated and scalped. The other five, four of them wounded, escaped. The injured were taken to Fort Harker's hospital, where they recovered. That evening the Indians tore up two rails and sabotaged a third, derailing the westbound train around midnight.
19 September 1871; Southwestern Oklahoma: Capt. John B. Vande Wiele of Company B, 10th Cavalry, and a patrol from Otter Creek Camp in Oklahoma were scouting southeast toward the Red River. On 19 September, Kiowas and Comanches ambushed three troopers who were riding ahead of the rest. Kiowa warrior An-pay-kau-te killed bugler Larkin Foster, while the soldiers killed two warriors and wounded three.
Col. Benjamin Grierson was so angry at the death of one of his 10th Cavalrymen that he wanted to strike the Kiowas at Fort Sill, but Indian agent Lawrie Tatum talked him out of it.
8 June 1885; Northeastern Sonora, Mexico: Capt. Henry Lawton and Capt. Charles A.P. Hatfield, who operated out of Fort Huachuca with elements of Companies C, D, and G of the 4th Cavalry, were patrolling south of the border near Guadalupe Canyon when Apaches attacked their camp. As the soldiers were having their noon meal, with only one sergeant and seven privates guarding the camp, about 50 warriors of Chihuahua's band swept in. The raiders killed three men, captured livestock, burned equipment, and carried off supplies.
18 November 1869; Southeastern New Mexico: Lt. Howard B. Cushing, transferred to the 3rd Cavalry in May 1867, was operating out of Fort Stanton when about 150 head of stock were stolen from a ranch on the Rio Hondo. Cushing took his Company F on a 200-mile chase that led into the Guadalupe Mountains in New Mexico, just north of the Texas border. There he found the Mescalero Apache raiders and recovered most of the stock, along with 30 Apache ponies.
Cushing's men killed one Indian; one corporal and one private were severely wounded. The soldiers returned to Fort Stanton on 30 November.
8 March 1856, Kerrville, Texas: A detachment of Company I, 2nd Cavalry, under Capt. Albert G. Brackett, scouting to the south out of Fort Mason, discovered a Lipan Apache camp near the Guadalupe River in present-day Kerr Conty, Texas. The Indians had recently killed settlers, looted cabins, and stolen livestock in the San Antonio area. A small detachment under Sgt. Henry Gordon found the raiders' trail in a dense cedar brake. The terrain was too rough for a mounted charge, so Gordon and his men attacked the camp on foot. The first carbine volley surprised the Lipans and they fled with little resistance. The soldiers killed three of the Indians, and recovered stolen horses, mules, and a bank draft for 1,000 British pounds.
Headwaters of the Canadian River
26 July 1850; Raton, New Mexico: While patrolling the Santa Fe Trail, Companies C and I of the 1st Dragoons and Company K of the 2nd Dragoons surprised a camp of about 150 Indian lodges, possibly of Jicarilla Apaches, on the upper reaches of the Canadian River. The Indians were able to escape, with unknown casualties. One enlisted man was killed.
Headwaters of the Concho River
22 December 1856; West-central Texas: Lt. Richard W. Johnson, in command of a detachment of Company F, 2nd Cavalry, from Camp Cooper, found a band of Comanches near the source of the Concho River. Johnson separated the Indians from their horses and drove the animals into the chaparral. Dismounting his men, Johnson divided them into two squads, surrounded the Indians, and closed in.
In a sharp action amid dense brush, Johnson's men killed three Indians and wounded three. The Comanches killed two soldiers, bugler Ryan Campion and Pvt. Timothy Lamb-the first 2 nd Cavalrymen to die in battle-and wounded two. Johnson collared 34 horses and recovered a Mexican captive.
3 November 1859, South-central Texas: Lt. William B. Hazen, with a mounted detachment of Company F, 8th Infantry, and 30 civilian volunteers, rode out of Fort Inge looking for Comanches who had stolen horses and killed two settlers near Sabinal, Texas. Northwest of the fort, near the source of the Llano River, Hazen and his men found and attacked the perpetrators. A sharp fight ensued.
The Comanches wounded Hazen and 3 volunteers. Hazen's men killed 7 Comanches, wounded 1, and recovered 30 horses and some guns.
Headwaters of the Nueces River
22 February 1856; Rocksprings, Texas: On 14 February, Capt. James Oakes with Company C, 2nd Cavalry, left Fort Mason to pursue a band of Waco Indians who had been raiding settlements. The soldiers trailed the Wacos for three days until they cut the Indians' path, then they chased them for six days. When the soldiers found them, the band proved to have only six to eight warriors.
In the ensuing fight, a trooper wounded a Waco and, having used up all his ammunition, killed him with a rock. Two other Indians may have been wounded. Two soldiers were wounded, as were six army horses. Oakes and his men captured all the Indian horses and property, then made the long trip back to Fort Mason. Along the way, as they ran out of food, the men killed and ate several lame horses. Oakes was later recognized for being the first 2nd Cavalryman to have killed an enemy Indian.
3 July 1874; Hennessey, Oklahoma: Wagonmaster Patrick Hennessey and three drivers were taking supplies to feed the Kiowas and Comanches at Fort Sill, in spite of having been warned of danger, after Agent James M. Haworth had made repeated pleas for food. About 10 miles north of the Cimarron River on Turkey Creek, at present-day Hennessey, Oklahoma, Cheyennes overwhelmed the train.
All four men were killed and mutilated. Hennessey was chained to a wagon wheel, partially buried under his oats and corn, and burned alive.
Fall 1852; Austwell, Texas: After conflicts with Texans, many of the Karankawa tribe-despised for their cannibalism-moved to Mexico. But sometime in the fall of 1852, one Karankawa band returned to its old campgrounds along Hynes Bay, near present-day Austwell. When they were discovered by local settlers, about 30 militia, led by John Hynes, surrounded the camp and launched a surprise attack.
The militia destroyed the Karankawa village of about 50 people, sparing only a handful of women and children; about 45 Karankawas died. The militia had no losses. This may have been the last fight of the Karankawas on Texas soil. Within a decade, disease and warfare made the Karankawas virtually extinct.
27 September 1863; Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico: After Pueblo Indians near Fort Marcy complained that a band of Navajos had stolen stock from them, Lt. P.A.J. Russell, 1st California Infantry, and four mounted infantrymen joined a party of Pueblos to pursue the raiders. At Valle Grande, west of present-day Los Alamos, they picked up the trail and followed it down the Jemez River into Jemez Pueblo, where they attacked. They killed 8 Navajos, captured 20 women and children, and recaptured 125 sheep.
7 June 1869; Juno, Texas: In the spring of 1869, Fort McKavett was headquarters of the 41st Infantry, a black regiment under Col. Ranald S. Mackenzie. On 19 May, Mackenzie rode out with a scout of two lieutenants and 42 men from detachments of Companies G, L, and M, 9th Cavalry, along with a few civilians and two guides. About 50 miles from the mouth of the Pecos River, the company fell upon a party of Indians and scattered them in the first charge. The Indians fled south toward the Rio Grande; the soldiers' weary horses could not keep up a pursuit.
One enlisted man and two Indians were killed in the skirmish.
13 February 1857; Vick, Texas: When Comanches stole horses near Center Point, Texas, Sgt. Walter McDonald and a detachment of Company D, 2nd Cavalry, rode out of Camp Verde to catch them. Led by guide "Polly" Rodriguez and two civilians, the cavalry tracked the Comanches west along the Concho River to Kickapoo Creek, southeast of present-day San Angelo, Texas. Upon attacking the Indian camp, McDonald found himself in a sharp contest. His men killed two Comanches and wounded four, but two of his troopers were killed in action and a third was mortally wounded.
3 November 1874; Tahoka, Texas: After the Palo Duro Canyon fight, Col. Ranald Mackenzie took Companies A, D, F, H, I, K, and L of the 4th Cavalry and 32 Indian scouts south along the eastern edge of the Staked Plains. At Lagunas Quatras (Four Lakes), he attacked a Comanche camp, killed 2 warriors, captured 19 women and children, and took 144 horses.
7 April 1850; Laredo, Texas: On 6 April, during a scout near Laredo, Lt. Walter W. Hudson and Companies G and I of the 1st Infantry, out of Fort McIntosh, attacked a camp of Indians on the Nueces River and recovered 30 stolen horses. Hudson pursued the Indians and the next day caught up with them. In the ensuing fight, four enlisted men were wounded and one was killed. Hudson received a mortal wound and died on 19 April. Four Indians were wounded.
12 June 1850; Laredo, Texas: Lt. Charles N. Underwood, with detachments of Companies H and K, 1st Infantry, was escorting mail from Fort Merrill to Laredo when Comanches attacked the party. Two soldiers were killed in action; two others were mortally wounded, both succumbing on 16 June. Underwood and three other soldiers were also wounded. One Indian was killed and four were wounded.
2 September 1868; Spearville, Kansas: On Little Coon Creek, east of Fort Dodge, about 40 Kiowas attacked supply wagons heading from Fort Larned to Fort Dodge. The train's escorts included a detachment of 3rd Infantry under Sgt. Dittoe, Company A, and four 7th Cavalrymen under Cpl. J. Goodwin, Company B. The wagons corralled and put up a good defense while one of the men rode to Fort Dodge for help.
Three enlisted men were wounded, and three Indians were killed and one wounded before help arrived from Lt. Wallace and the 3rd Infantry.
11 October 1854; Batesville, Texas: Capt. Benjamin H. Arthur with Company F, 1st Infantry, skirmished with Lipan Apaches along Live Oak Creek near present-day Batesville, Texas, and killed two Indians.
24 November 1869; Sonora, Texas: Capt. Edward M. Heyl took 20 men from Companies F and M, 9th Cavalry, from Fort McKavett to scout the headwaters of the South Fork of the Llano River, west of old Fort Terrett. There the soldiers ran into a small party of Apaches and engaged them in battle. The troopers killed one Indian and took seven horses and mules. Heyl received a serious wound.
12 September 1869, Bluff Dale, Texas: A small band of Indians, possibly Kiowas or Comanches, raiding through Hood County, Texas, stole horses as they made their way down so-called "Squaw Creek" almost to the Brazos River, then cut west toward the Paluxy River. When citizens discovered them driving nearly 200 head, they hastily gathered up posses from the so-called "Squaw Creek" and Thorp settlements to converge at Lookout Point, 12 miles west.
After riding hard all night, ten men from so-called "Squaw Creek" surprised the Indians, only seven in number, and the Indians took refuge in a small ravine beneath the tangled roots of some large trees. The ten-man posse from Thorp soon arrived, and around 8 a.m. on 12 September, they rushed the ravine. The fight was over quickly. The white men killed and scalped all seven Indians; one was a woman. Two of the posse were wounded, one of them mortally.
15 April 1867; Antonino, Kansas: On 14 April, 250 lodges of Lakotas and Cheyennes fled their Pawnee Fork camp to escape Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock and his command, which included Lt. Col. George A. Custer and the 7th Cavalry. The Indians moved quickly north, crossing the Smoky Hill Trail and attacking stage stations along the way.
On the evening of the 15th, employees at Big Creek Station saw smoke rising from the direction of Lookout Station, about eight miles west, near present-day Antonino, Kansas. A freighter called "Capt." Barron and a trader, John H. Betts, went to Lookout and found that the station had been burned, the bodies of the stock tender and cook had been nailed to the barn, which was also burned, and the stock had been driven off. Another man had also been killed and burned.
29 January 1869; Ford Kansas: In January a band of raiders, thought to be Pawnees from their reservation in Nebraska, ran off with horses from frontier settlements in central Kansas. Capt. Edward Byrne, with 25 troopers from Company C, 10th Cavalry, rode out of Fort Dodge in pursuit. He caught the thieves on Mulberry Creek and recovered the horses.
Two troopers were wounded in the pursuit; seven Pawnees were killed and one was wounded.
17 April 1868; Tularosa, New Mexico: In the foothills of the Sacramento Mountains near Tularosa, New Mexico, a detachment of Company H, 3rd Cavalry, commanded by Sgt. E. Glass and aided by a party of armed citizens, fought with the Mescalero Apaches. One trooper and 5 civilians were wounded. The party reported killing 10 Indians and wounding 25, very likely an exaggerated count.
North Fork of the Concho River
12 February 1857; Sterling City, Texas: Lt. Robert C. Wood, with Company B, 2nd Cavalry, was scouting out of Fort Mason along the North Fork of the Concho River. After tracking a Comanche trail for three days, the soldiers found and attacked the Indians. Three Comanches were killed and two were taken prisoner. Lt. Wood was wounded.
North Fork of the Solomon River
1 June 1870; North-central Kansas: Shortly after Lt. Charles C. DeRudio and Company K, 7th Cavalry, had escorted a train of settlers to the plains along the North Solomon River, about 75 Indians, probably Cheyenne, stole the emigrants' cattle. DeRudio and his men, camped downstream, rode after the raiders, wounding four Indians and recovering much of the stock. Later, at Ellsworth, Kansas, the thankful citizens presented DeRudio with a gold-mounted saber. Six years later, DeRudio would carry the saber into battle at the Little Bighorn.
3 April 1880; Grandfalls, Texas: When Mescalero raiders stole horses from rancher Francis Rooney near the falls of the Pecos River, near present-day Grandfalls, Texas, 10th Cavalry detachments from Companies D and L, under Lt. Calvin Esterly, pursued them. The soldiers found a trail that led north through the sand hills east of the Pecos River, in present-day Ward and Loving Counties. The nearly waterless, three-day pursuit ended when, during a dust storm, Esterly hit the unsuspecting raiders. The soldiers killed one Indian and recovered eight head of stock.
9 September 1861; Lincoln, New Mexico: When Floyd A. Sanders reached Fort Stanton after the Gallinas Mountains attack, Lt. John R. Pulliam ordered 14 men to head to the scene of the fight. In the meantime, perhaps emboldened by their easy victory, Mescalero Apaches attacked the small village of Placitas (present-day Lincoln, New Mexico), about ten miles southeast of Fort Stanton. Pulliam and 15 men of Company D, 2nd Texas Mounted Rifles, rode to the rescue and, with no casualties of their own, managed to kill five raiders in a running fight.
After these incidents, Lt. Col. John R. Baylor decided he could not send enough troops to Fort Stanton to cope with the Indians in the area, and he ordered his men to abandon the post.
20 January 1865; Dodge City, Kansas: Sutler supply trains destined for Fort Lyon left Fort Larned on 17 January, escorted by 25 men of the 1st Veteran Colorado Cavalry and 6 men of the 2nd Colorado Cavalry. They proceeded unmolested for three days, until they reached Point of Rocks, or Nine Mile Ridge, 65 miles west of Fort Larned and about 2 miles west of present-day Dodge City, Kansas. There, about 45 Cheyennes and Arapahos attacked.
In the skirmish, three Indians were killed and three were wounded. One private was killed and two were wounded. The trains were so harassed that they returned to Fort Larned.
25 December 1854; Pueblo, Colorado: In the fall of 1854, Ute Indian agent Kit Carson had distributed some coats to the tribe to smooth over a feud between the Utes and some Mexicans. The clothing may have carried smallpox, for two tribal leaders who wore the coats caught the disease and died. Their deaths incited a retaliation against settlers in the San Luis Valley.
On Christmas Day, a Ute and Jicarilla Apache war party of 100 attacked the small settlement of Pueblo, on the Arkansas River. They killed 15 men and wounded 2, carried off a woman and 2 children, and stole 200 horses.
6 April 1850; Rayado, New Mexico: Near Rayado Creek, about 50 miles south of Raton, a band of Jicarilla Apaches stole horses and seriously wounded two Mexican herders. Captain W.N. Grier of the 1st Dragoons sent out Sgt. William Holbrook and ten men of Company I to protect the Rayado settlement. Riding with Holbrook were Christopher "Kit" Carson and two other frontiersmen, William New and Robert Fisher.
They rode to the scene of the attack, then followed the trail 25 miles of to the camp of nine unsuspecting Apaches. At daybreak on 6 April, Holbrook charged in, killed five of the nine, wounded two others, and recaptured the stock. Holbrook returned the next day with five scalps as "vouchers," which he claimed he did not take from the bodies himself; rather, a couple of Mexican herders who came by after the fight did the scalping.
21 November 1874, Mason Texas: Lt. Dan W. Roberts, with a detachment of Company D of Maj. John B. Jones's Frontier Battalion of Texas Rangers and part of Jones's escort under Lt. L.P. Beavert, came upon an Indian trail in southern Menard County. The tracks headed east through the hill country toward Mason, Texas. Roberts soon found 11 Comanches, and in a running fight, he killed five and wounded and captured a sixth.
By that time, Roberts's horses were exhausted, but a detachment of the better-mounted escort under Lt. Beavert continued the chase. Soon Beavert's horses began to give out one by one, but he and two men rode on and cornered the remaining six Comanches in a cave on the banks of a small creek. They killed one and wounded another before the others could escape.
16 April 1871; Graham, Texas: In the spring of 1871, 12 ranchers were engaged in their annual cattle roundup near Rock Creek when more than 40 Comanches and Kiowas attacked them. The only protection the ranchers could find in the flat prairie was a shallow ravine, and their pistols put them at a disadvantage to the Indians' rifles.
By late afternoon, eight of the ranchers were either dead or wounded. Had the Indians known only four of the men were still capable of firing, they would have rushed the ravine and killed them all. Knowing this, rancher I.E. Graves had all the men who could stand rise and gesture their defiance. The stratagem worked; the Indians took the stock and left. Three ranchers died in the fight; five were wounded.
19 May 1872; Westover, Texas: A band of Comanches and Kiowas including Kom-pai-te, the young brother of Kiowa chief White Horse, attacked a survey party, led by L.H. Luckett, seven miles east of Round Timbers, about 25 miles northwest of Fort Belknap near present-day Megargel, Texas. One of the surveyors was killed; Kom-pai-te and another Kiowa boy were also killed, and Pohocsucut, brother of Comanche chief Tabananica, was wounded. More
10 September 1868; Toonerville, Colorado: Company L, 7th Cavalry, recently restationed at Fort Lyon, were temporarily under the command of Capt. William H. Penrose, 3rd Infantry. When stock was stolen in the vicinity, Penrose led a hard-riding scout up Rule Creek, about six miles from the fort. Five horses died of exhaustion in the chase before the soldiers engaged a band of Cheyennes in a sharp fight, killing 4 Cheyennes and recovering 12 head of stock. Two troopers were killed in the encounter and one was wounded.
27 July, 1879; Salt Flat, Texas: Scouting out of Fort Davis, Capt. Michael L. Courtney, 25th Infantry, with a detachment of H Company of that regiment and a detachment of H Company, 10th Cavalry, attacked Apaches at the salt lakes in present-day Hudspeth County, Texas. They wounded three Indians, two of them mortally, and captured ten ponies. Two of Courtney's men were wounded.
25 July 1881; South-central New Mexico: From Mexico, Chief Nana, with remnants of Victorio's Mimbres band and 25 Mescalero Apaches, attacked a supply train heading to Fort Stanton in Alamo Canyon on 17 July. The head packer, named Burgess, was wounded. Lt. John F. Guilfoyle, escorting the train, doggedly went after Nana with 20 troopers of Company L, 9th Cavalry, and some Apache scouts. Following the raiders' trail down Dog Canyon, Guilfoyle descended the Sacramento Mountains too late to sop Nana from murdering three Mexicans.
The soldiers pursued west across the blistering White Sands to the San Andres Mountains. On 25 July, while Nana stopped to rest, Guilfoyle caught up with him. The troopers wounded two warriors, while three of their own scouts were hit. They seized 2 horses, 12 mules, and all of Nana's camp supplies, but the old chief got away.
11 July 1854; San Diego, Texas: Sixteen enlisted men of companies A and H, Mounted Rifles, under Capt. Michael E. Van Buren were patrolling in the vicinity of San Diego, Texas, about 50 miles west of Corpus Christi, when they met a band of Comanches. In the ensuing skirmish, Van Buren was mortally wounded, two soldiers were wounded, and five Indians were killed.
17 September 1852; Cotulla, Texas: Citizens of Laredo, Texas, were alarmed when Indians, probably Lipans, crossed the Rio Grande and began raiding up and down the river. A Texas Ranger company under Capt. Owen Shaw intercepted the trail and tracked the Indians north to the Nueces River, then upstream. About 30 miles northwest of Fort Ewell on San Roque Creek, about 12 miles west of present-day Cotulla, the Rangers found the Indians' camp.
The Indians approached the Texans from an arroyo and opened fire with rifles, arrows, and one six-shooter. From 75 yards away, Shaw and his men returned fire with their larger number of rifles. When Shaw charged, the Indians abandoned the arroyo, and the mounted Rangers cut them down on the prairie.
The Rangers killed 9 Indians and wounded 11; only 1 escaped. They also captured 23 horses and mules, plus saddles, bridles, and weapons. Shaw had no casualties.
22 April 1869; Southeastern New Mexico: On 9 April an expedition composed of Companies A, F, and H, 3rd Cavalry, and Company I, 37th Infantry, left Fort Stanton to search for renegade Apaches. The party scouted through the Sacramento Mountains and down the Rio Penasco toward the Pecos. After establishing a supply camp at Rio Azul, the expedition turned south into the Guadalupe Mountains.
In Sangre Canyon the expedition attacked a rancheria and wounded five Apaches, suffering no casualties themselves. The soldiers recovered 19 stolen horses and a $500 check.
25 and 30 December 1869; Southeastern New Mexico: As part of a punitive operative against Mescalero Apaches, Lt. Howard B. Cushing left Fort Stanton on 10 December with a detachment of Company F, 3rd Cavalry, and 28 civilian volunteers, moving into the Guadalupe Mountains in New Mexico. Near the old stage stop at Pine Spring, just inside the Texas border, the men attacked an Apache rancheria. After a quick exchange of shots, the troopers burned the huts, destroyed the winter provisions, and captured a large number of ponies. Several Mescaleros were hit in the fight, and Lt. Franklin Yeaton, fresh out of West Point, was wounded in the wrist and hand.
Yeaton's wound was severe but did not appear life-threatening. The soldiers fashioned a travois to carry the injured man out, through heavy snow, to a sheltered camp on the Rio Penasco. Though he lived for two and a half more years, Yeaton's wound ultimately proved fatal. on 30 December Cushing took his strongest men and horses back to the scene. At the mouth of McKittrick Canyon, about five miles northeast of his first assault, Cushing found the Apaches mourning their dead. He attacked, scattering them. Casualties were not recorded.
30 June 1854; Watrous, New Mexico: By the summer of 1854, the Jicarilla Apaches had lost their enthusiasm for large engagements with dragoons, but there were still occasional conflicts. An Apache raiding party north of Las Vegas, New Mexico, was heading back into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and had reached Sapello Creek, near the Mora River, not far from Fort Union, when they ran into Lt. Sykes, 3rd Infantry, with Company D and a detachment of Company H of the 2nd Dragoons.
Lt. Joseph E. Maxwell, 3rd Infantry, led a charge. A deadly hand-to-hand fight ensued. Maxwell had emptied his revolver and was in the act of sabering an Apache when he went down, bristling with arrows. A Pvt. Allen killed the Indian who shot the last arrow into Maxwell. Two men of Company H were wounded. The rest of the Apaches got away.
9 April 1880; Whites City, New Mexico: Col. Benjamin Grierson, 10th Cavalry, sent Capt. Thomas C. Lebo and Company K on a scout along the Black River into the Guadalupe Mountains. From there, Lebo was to ride north to the Bluewater River and the settlements on the middle Rio Penasco in New Mexico. The day after they started, the soldiers suddenly came upon an Apache camp at Shakehand Springs, 40 miles south of the Rio Penasco. They killed one chief and captured four women and one child. They also recovered about 25 head of livestock and many provisions from the Mescalero agency. One of the captives was a kidnapped Mexican boy named Coyetano Garcia.
19 June 1869; Wallace, Kansas: Near the end of the railroad tracks at Sheridan, Cheyenne Dog Soldiers attacked a surveying party escorted by a detachment of Company E, 7th Cavalry. One Indian rode up so close to surveyor Howard Schuyler that Schuyler touched him with the muzzle of his gun as he fired. Schuyler's horse was shot four times and collapsed as Schuyler reached the surveyors' camp.
Two surveyors, including Schuyler, were wounded. Two soldiers were also wounded, while reportedly 4 Indians were killed and 12 wounded.
16 August 1864; Carneiro, Kansas: A six-man detachment of Company H, 7th Iowa Cavalry, left Salina, Kansas, carrying orders for the commanding officer at Fort Larned to intercept Cheyennes who had been raiding along the Overland Trail near Fort Kearny and were now moving south. However, at about 4 p.m. on Alum Creek, east of the Smoky Hill crossing of the Santa Fe Road, about 200 Cheyennes waylaid the messengers, killing four of them. The two surviving soldiers hightailed it back to Salina.
7 February 1852; Zapata, Texas: In the winter of 1852, Lt. (later Gen.) John Gibbon and a company of the 4th Artillery occupied Camp Drum on the Rio Grande, 50 miles south of Laredo, Texas. Assisting Gibbon were companies of the 2nd Dragoons, split among various Texas posts. On 5 February, Gibbon sent a Cpl. Stanger with 10 men of Company C, 2nd Dragoons, from Camp Drum to chastise a band of Comanche raiders. After a two-day chase, Stanger and his men caught up with and routed about 10 Comanches.
With no casualties of their own, the soldiers killed three Indians, wounded one, and recovered stolen property.
22 September 1885; Northeastern Sonora, Mexico: After decimating Geronimo's Apache camp at Casas Grandes, Capt. Wirt Davis searched for the wily Chiricahua chief, but he had slipped back north of the border. Davis and his Indian scouts found another band of Apaches in the Teres Mountains below the northern loop of the Bavispe River. In the ensuing skirmish, one scout was killed and one was wounded, while the scouts killed one hostile and wounded two. The same day, Geronimo recaptured one of his wives and one of his children from near Fort Apache.
11 March 1868; Tularosa, New Mexico: In a raid on settlements around Tularosa at the foot of the Sacramento Mountains, Mescalero Apaches killed and mutilated 11 men and 2 women, captured a child, and drove off about 2,200 sheep. Lt. Peter D. Vroom, 3rd Cavalry, with a detachment of Company H, chased the raiders. With a three-day head start, the Apaches disappeared into the Guadalupe Mountains. Vroom could only round up some abandoned sheep.
13 April 1856; Cline, Texas: After Indians, probably Comanche or Lipan Apache, raided around Laredo, Capt. Thomas Claiborne Jr., in command of companies B and D, Mounted Rifles, and Company F, 1st Artillery, out of Forts McIntosh and Duncan, pursued the raiders for 300 miles. With the soldiers were Laredo mayor Santos Benavides and 25 Laredo citizens. The force surprised a small band of Indians on the Turkey Branch of the Nueces River, west of Uvalde, Texas, and killed one Indian, wounded one, and captured four.
August 1868; Van Horn, Texas: Former Texas Ranger "Bigfoot" Wallace and eight companions were driving the mail stage between El Paso and Fort Davis when they saw dust rising in the distance. They hurried to a defensive position at Van Horn's Well as the Indians (probably Apache) became visible. The Indians charged then withdrew a short distance. Wallace killed a few horses for breastworks and waited behind them. The night passed without incident, but in the morning the Indians, thirsty, tried to get to the well. They hid among their horses as they turned the animals loose to go to the water. The ruse failed, costing them several mounts as Wallace and his men blasted away. The Indians then rode in circles around the barricade, showering the defenders with arrows and bullets, wounding three of them. That afternoon, a great thunderstorm struck, blunting the Indians' ardor for attack. They soon departed. Three of Wallace's men were wounded; the estimated they hit 11 Indians.
May 1850; Wagon Mound, New Mexico: A band of Jicarilla Apaches jumped a train of U.S. mail wagons on its way from Independence, Missouri, to Santa Fe. The Indians attacked in the morning, and the fighting lasted all day. Two whites were wounded and placed in a wagon; the remainder managed to hold their own.
That night, a band of Utes joined the Apaches. The Utes said they did not know how to fight Americans, so the Apaches said they would show them. In the morning the mail wagons were moving closer to the high ground at Wagon Mound when the combined force of raiders attacked again, this time with overwhelming force. The Indians killed ten men and every animal. Soldiers from Santa Fe buried the dead. They found some of the men stripped, but none scalped. Arrows covered the ground and the mail was scattered across the plains.
23 February 1855; Becker, New Mexico: A few days after Capt. Richard S. Ewell's bone-weary dragoons returned from their trip to the Rio Penasco, a band of die-hard Mescaleros who had followed them back attacked a horse-grazing camp 25 miles from the post at Los Lunas. Four soldiers of Company G, 1st Dragoons, in Ewell's command, were guarding the horses when the Indians struck, late on 23 February. After a bloody fight in which every soldier was hit at least four times, the dragoons drove off the Mescaleros. Two of the soldiers succumbed to their wounds on 21 March.
19 November 1868; Rush Center, Kansas: A detachment of ten troopers from Capt. Nicholas Nolan's Company A of the 10th Cavalry, on a scout from Fort Larned led by Sgt. Augustus Wilson, came upon a small party of Indians. In a chase of nearly 20 miles, the soldiers killed two of them.
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