che battle of Doe Creek
WILLIAM C. POOL
NE of the most controversial conflicts in the annals of
Texas Indian warfare is the Battle of Dove Creek, an
engagement which took place on intermittent Dove
Creek in the southwestern section of present Tom Green County.
This significant fight between a combined force of Confederate
troops and state militiamen and a band of Kickapoo Indians'
occurred along both banks of the small stream on January 8,
1865, and ranks among the important military engagements
fought on Texas soil.
The long series of events leading up to the Battle of Dove
Creek had their beginning in Erath County in the first week of
December, 1864. In compliance with orders from headquarters
of the Second Frontier DistrictS at Gatesville, Coryell County,
N. M. Gillintine started on a routine Indian scout along the
headwaters of the Brazos River about December 7, 1864. Gillin-
tine commanded twenty-three men and his small scout left the
settlements in Erath County to proceed in a generally northwest
direction toward the Clear Fork of the Brazos River. After a
march of two or three days, the scouting expedition reached the
Clear Fork at old Fort Phantom Hills and advanced up the river
to a point thirty miles beyond. There the expedition discovered
an abandoned Indian camp on December 9, 1864. The many
accounts of Gillintine's discovery differ with regard to the site.
S. S. Totton reported that the discovery was made on the "Forks
1Kickapoo comes from Kiwigapawa and means "he stands about" or "he moves
about." The Kickapoo tribe first appears in history about 1667-1670 in the Wiscon-
sin Territory. Later the tribe moved to Kansas and at least two groups migrated
to Mexico, the first in 1852 and the second in 1864-1865. It was the second group
attacked by the Texans at Dove Creek. Frederick Webb Hodge (ed.), Handbook
of American Indians North of Mexico (Washington, 1912), Part I, p. 684.
2The Second Frontier District, George B. Erath commanding, was a part of the
home defense system created in 1864. The counties composing this district were
Bosque, Comanche, Coryell, Erath, and Johnson.
8Fort Phantom Hill was constructed on the Clear Fork in 1851 and abandoned a
short time later because of the failure of water supply. Between 1864 and 1865
the houses were all gone except two stone buildings, but a number of stone
chimneys were standing.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101126/. Accessed April 18, 2014.