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.

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

Ca. 15 July 1850; Southern Texas: In the summer of 1850 Capt. William A. "Bigfoot" Wallace and his 20 men of the Texas Ranging Company were attached to Capt. William J. Hardee's expedition. While Hardee and ten compasnies of the 2 nd Dragoons and 1st Infantry scoured the east bank of the Nueces, Wallace and his Rangers moved down the west bank. After going downriver nearly to Corpus Christi, Wallace turned around and went back up to Fort Merrill, then continued upriver.

At a place called the Black Hills, 20 miles above the old Laredo Road, Wallace's company spotted Indian signs, including a "scalped" mustang, which Wallace interpreted as meaning that if they persisted in following the trail, they would be scalped. But, said Wallace, "the threat did not scare us 'worth a cent.'" Several hundred yards on, they met a Comanche who challenged them to fight. The Texans were game, but soon found themselves facing about 100 warriors. The Indians charged in double file, then when they got within 100 yards, they broke right and left and circled around the Rangers. Wallace was ready, and his men fired intensely, keeping the Indians at bay. Said Wallace, "We pitched the rifle bullets into them so rapidly they couldn't stand the racket, and once more retreated toward their camp."

The Comanches made four charges, the last not dividing but attempting to go right over the Texans. The Rangers shot them to pieces, yet the Indians would not give up the field. After several hours of fighting, Wallace had to make his own charge, hoping to drive the Indians away from their camp and get at the only waterhole in the area. A wild zigzag attack carried the Texans to the camp without casualties, and they drove out the last of the Comanches. Only three Rangers were wounded: Rose, Oget, and Hynyard. Wallace reported 22 Indians killed and 15 wounded.

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