Colonel William C. Dalrymple, and Others, Fight on the Concho

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.

Concho County, Texas
Colonel William C. Dalrymple, and Others, Fight on the Concho

    During the fall of 1866, Jacob Schnively, who represented he had discovered rich gold-mines in the region of western Texas, below El Paso and near old Fort Quitman, interested Col. Wm. C. Dalrymple and others, and it was agreed that a party be raised to make an expedition into that section. Consequently, during January of 1867, Col. Wm. C. Dalrymple, Jacob Schnively, Mose Carson, brother of Kit Carson, Tom Jones, Tom Holly, John Koen, Abe Hunter, Warren Hunter, Temp Robinson, W.H. Robinson, A. Whitehurst, Dr. McReynolds, a man by the name of Greenwood, and perhaps others, started out in quest of the fabulous riches in the far west.

    When the party was near the North Concho, a trail where many horses had traveled, was discovered by Col. Dalrymple. Others advanced the theory that the trail was made by mustang ponies, hundreds of which ran wild on the great western prairie. Others were of the opinion that the trail was made by a large band of Indians. So during the day, a better discipline was observed. The next day, shortly before noon, approximately 200 Kiowas, and Comanches, came storming toward the small band of frontiersmen. W.H. Robinson, who was a member of this expedition, said:

    "And right here I want to say that during the Civil War, then but recently closed, I had participated in fifty-two battles and sieges, and had served under some of the most skilled cavalry officers in the Confederate army east of the Mississippi, but I had never seen a commander handle his troops with the skill and judgment displayed by the Kiowa chief on that fatal occasion. During this hard fought battle which lasted the rest of the day - say from 11 o'clock until after nightfall - this chief's maneuvers were in full view and his tactics won the admiration of every old ex-Confederate soldier in our little band. Although within easy hearing distance, we never heard him give a word of command; a motion of his hand, the pointing of his long lance, or the flourish of his glittering shield, seemed to have been as clearly understood by his warriors as his words of command could have possibly have been. He was rigged out in all the fanciful toggery of Indian warefare, was mounted on a splendid bay gelding, and seemed to rank the Comanche chief whose costume was less pretentious and who best rode a beautiful gray."

    Mr. Robinson further said:

    "I counted only four guns in their outfit, but several had six-shooters and nearly all carried lances. Each of our men was armed with either an Enfield or a Spencer rifle, and carried from one to two six-shooters, and when the Kiowas charged up within reach, we began to empty their old saddles, but the chief, with admirable tact and courage held his men down to their work, at the same time employing his shield to ward off the many shots fired at him. 'Shoot that chief,' was the cry raised by our men, but he seemed invulnerable behind that shield. During the heat of the action and at the most critical time, Captain Schnively lost his head and shouted to the men, 'Dismount and fight on foot,' but some of the men cursed him for being a fool. Hearing Schnively's order, and the curses of the men, Col. Dalrymple roared out, 'Stay on your horses, my boys; draw your pistols and we'll charge 'em. Come on; follow me;' and with a yell we went right in among them shooting right and left, and the savages broke and scattered. As we charged in among them, Tom Jones' horse was killed and as he fell, Jones recovered his feet just in time to parry the thrust of a lance in the hands of a big Indian mounted on a splendid horse. Seizing the bridle reins, Jones shot the Indian and mounted his horse."

    During this charge, the beautiful gray steed of the Kiowa chief was riding, was killed, but the chieftain again marshalled his forces and made another desperate charge. These veteran frontiersmen, who were calm and considerate, waited until the savages were within about thirty feet before they fired. When they did, several featheNative American warriors fell dead. A third time the Kiowa chief rallied his forces, and made another desperate charge, and this time, he lost more red-men than before. A large number of savages then concealed themselves nearby and shot a shower of arrows into the air to fall down upon the heads of the handful of frontiersmen, but a strong wind swept most of these instruments away. Shortly afterwards, a savage was discovered creeping through the grass, in an attempt to recover the body of one of his dead comrades, but within a few seconds later, his lifeless and feathered form also lay oblong. In the lingering light of a fastly departing day, a savage shooting effectively from behind some rocks, with an Enfield rifle, was also soon silenced of his disturbance, Concerning this Indian, W.H. Robinson said:

    "I had tried several times to pick him off, and had failed, but finally I got the distance down fine, and drew a bead on the little opening in the boulder where he stuck his head. When he raised to fire, and when his black noggin darkened this opening, I pulled the trigger and my shot knocked the whole top of his head off. When the ball struck him, he hade a wild leap, fell over the ledge, and rolled to the base of the bluff. This silenced a long range Enfield, but not until about half of our horses were killed."

    The next day the expedition, now afoot, for the citizens had been robbed of all of their horses, and provisions, were traveling toward the ranch of Frank Tankersley, on Dove Creek, near where the famous Dove Creek Fight was fought. But before Col. Darlymple and his men reached their destination, they met Rich Coffey, and his party, who were on their way to the salt lakes on the plains. He partly supplied the impoverished prospectors, who shortly afterwards disbanded.

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

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