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Horsehead Hill

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. Please consider reading our editorial policy to understand how and why we publish the resources we do.

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Part of our in-depth series exploring the forts of Comancheria

14 September 1868; Marathon, Texas: Late in August, west of Fort Stockton, 200 Apaches attacked a wagon train owned by a man named Morales and stole 100 mules. Morales recruited 45 armed Mexicans to get them back, but he knew it was not enough. He requested help from the army, and Lt. Patrick Cusack responded with 60 men of Companies C, F, and K, 9th Cavalry. The combined parties left Fort Davis on 8 September.

In the Santiago Mountains, Cusack found the Indians-Alsate's Mescaleros and Sabier's Lipans-and chased them in a running fight for five miles. The warriors retreated up Horsehead Hill, which was too steep for the horses to climb, so Cusack's men dismounted and fought them amid the rocks. The soldiers thoroughly defeated the Apaches. Some of Cusack's troops rode back to Fort Davis painted like Indians and carrying lances with Apache scalps attached.

At a cost of one enlisted man wounded, Cusack claimed his men killed 25 Indians and wounded 25 more. They also captured two Mexican boys and an Indian girl and took 450 skins and 198 horses and mules. Morales's mules were returned to him. Cusack was brevetted a captain for "conspicuous gallantry."

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