Karnes Comanche Fight, November, 1839

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.

Karnes Comanche Fight,
November, 1839

Colonel Karnes relied on his young scout, John Coffee Hayes, to find the renegade Comanches on November 1, 1839, a few miles from present-day Fredericksburg. The enemy was sited.

Picture of a Young John Coffee Hays
John Coffee Hays

Hays wrote:

...he guided Karnes and Wilson's troops to the Comanche camp, "which they reached about an hour before a day." Just as Karnes' rangers began closing in on these Indians, a horse belonging to one of the Comanches became frightened and alerted the sleeping Indians. The surprised Indians grabbed their weapons, and the shooting commenced. "The Indians were taken by surprise," wrote Hays, "and thought more of flight than fight."

Private Benedict wrote:

They "surprised about 25 Comanches just at daybreak and before the Indians could make their escape 10 or 12 were killed."

Jack Hays took note of the Indian casualties.

Twelve of them were found dead on the ground, among whom was Asa Minor, the Leader-a chief or great note. He had been shot through by two balls, and lay as dead for three days-when he was found with life still in him. His countrymen recovered him and he was soon restored to health. He afterwards came to Bexar, and there related his fate, stating that he had lain dead three days, and then came to life.

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