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Pecos River

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

Story 1

12 March 1867; Langtry, Texas: While camped on Live Oak Creek near the abandoned Fort Lancaster, Capt. John A. Wilcox and a detachment of Company C, 4th Cavalry, picked up the fresh trail of what appeared to be about 200 Indians. They followed it for four days, twisting through the hills west of the lower Pecos River. On 12 March, Wilcox overtook the Indians, burned their camp, and recovered one Mexican captive. The soldiers then had to make a fighting withdrawal as the Indians pursued them for 15 miles.

Four of Wilcox's men were missing, presumed killed; guide Severino Patino was killed and five soldiers were wounded. Wilcox claimed to have killed between 25 and 40 Indians, but 10 is a more likely number.

Story 2

2 November 1875; Langtry, Texas: Lt. Col. William R. Shafter, 10th Cavalry, was chasing Indians, probably Comanche, on the Staked Plains on what he believed was the main trail near Cedar Lake when he found another trail heading south. Shafter sent Lt. Andrew Geddes, 25th Infantry, with Companies G and L of the 10th Cavalry and Seminole-African scouts to follow it. Geddes trailed the Indians across south Texas as they tried to throw him off the scent. The trail traversed the Staked Plains, crossed the Pecos River below the mouth of Independence Creek, and went south. It appeared to Geddes that the Indians were heading for Mexico.

On 2 November, Geddes finally caught up with the Indians in the rough canyonlands near the mouth of the Pecos River. During the chase, most of the Indians had escaped. Geddes and his men killed only one warrior and captured four women and a small boy. After trudging back to Fort Concho, they had made a 650-mile march.

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