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

Story 1

30 July 1876; Saragossa, Coahuila, Mexico: Even though Col. Ranald S. Mackenzie had successfully attacked the Kickapoos in their Mexican sanctuary in 1873, Kickapoos and Lipan Apaches still raided for horses in Texas, and Lt. Col. William R. Shafter decided to follow the raiders into Mexico. With Companies B, E, and K, 10th Cavalry, detachments of the 24th and 25th Infantry, and 20 Seminole-African scouts under Lt. John L. Bullis, the command hit the trail.

About 25 miles upriver from the mouth of the Pecos River, Shafter and his men crossed the Rio Grande into Mexico. They moved south for five days, Shafter wondering if Mexican troops might cut off his retreat back to American soil. He decided to encamp while sending Bullis with the scouts and Lt. George Evans with 20 men of the 10th Cavalry ahead. After a 25-hour march, Bullis and Evans located a Lipan village of 23 lodges about five miles from Saragossa. They attacked at dawn.

The assault crashed through the dwellings and quickly became a hand-to-hand fight, lances against carbines used as clubs. The scouts fought like demons, and in 15 minutes it was over. The Lipans fled, leaving 14 dead warriors behind. Four women and 90 horses were captured. Later reports claimed greatly exaggerated Lipan casualties. Bullis lost three men. Bullis was brevetted to Major.

Story 2

26 September 1877; Saragossa, Coahuila, Mexico: More than a year after Lt. Col. William R. Shafter's expedition into Mexico to punish Lipan and Kickapoo raiders, Gen. Edward O.C. Ord authorized another offensive. Capt. Thomas C. Lebo with detachments of Companies C, 10th Cavalry, and A and F, 8th Cavalry, and Lt. John Bullis, 24th Infantry, with his Seminole-African scouts gathered on Pinto Creek near Fort Duncan. They crossed the Rio Grande and made a lightning raid near Saragossa, but most of the Lipans had already scattered. The troopers captured five women and children and destroyed some lodges.

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