Mrs. Dorothy Field

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.

Menard County, Texas

When Lowe's train passed through their territory, the Kiowas were recovering from a smallpox epidemic which had devastated the plains tribes during the winter of 1861-62. To combat further outbreaks, the federal government sent a physician who arrived at Satanta's camp about forty miles up the Arkansas River from Fort Larned in April 1864. In his report, he stated:

I was four days in Satanta's (sic) or White Bear's village... He is a fine-looking Indian, very energetic, and as sharp as a brier. He and all his people treated me with much friendship. I ate my meals regularly three times a day with him in his lodge. He puts on a good deal of style, spreads a carpet for his guests to sit on, and has painted fireboards 20 inches wide and 3 feet long, ornamented with bright brass tacks driven all around the edges, which they use for tables. He has a brass French horn, which he blew vigorously when the meals were ready.

The doctor also commented, "A body of Kiowas and Comanches and some Cheyennes intend to make another raid into Texas in about five or six weeks." He speculated that if this raid was successful, the Indians would raid farther north in Union territory.

The physician's forecast proved well-founded, for 1864 was one of the bloodiest years in the history of the Southern Plains. Satanta began by leading a raid into the vicinity of Menard, in west Texas, where he and his warriors killed several whites and captured a Mrs. Dorothy Field. Returning to Fort Larned, the Kiowas held a scalp dance to celebrate the raid. When it ended, the Koiet-senko leader Satank and another Indian wandered over to the post, where they were warned away by the sentry. Not understanding, they continued on. The soldier raised his rifle, but before he could fire Satank shot two arrows into him and the other Kiowa fired a pistol. Soldiers and Indians both panicked; the Kiowas jumped on their horses, and the garrison rushed to prepare a defense. As they rode away, the Indians came upon the military horse herd grazing outside the post, stampeded it, and made off with most of the animals. The now-dismounted troopers were unable to pursue. A few days later, Satanta insolently sent a message to the post commander, complaining about the poor quality of the horses and hoping that in the future the army would provide better ones.

...While dealing with the tribes on rations, Tatum was also making serious efforts to locate white captives. One effort involved Dorothy Field, who had been carried off in Satanta's raid to the Menard area in 1864. In a letter to her husband, Tatum admitted he had no word on her but hoped to acquire information from the Apaches who were due in soon. On the other hand, he said that in obtaining other captives,

I had but a few words with the Indians on the subject. I told them that they must bring them and deliver them to me before they got any more rations, and I would make them such presents as I saw proper. After they were delivered, I gave them one hundred dollars for each capture, thinking they would be less likely to kill their captives if they got some presents for them.

The above information is from the book, Satanta, The Life and Death of a War Chief, by Charles M. Robinson, III.

It was never learned what happened to Dorothy Field, although her relatives were still inquiring for her at the Fort Sill agency in 1872. The agent from 1872 to 1878 was James Haworth, whose efforts to recover white captives were inadequate.

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