Notes and Documents
found the remains of our brave comrades. Lieut. Hall [Hull] had
a pleasing death smile, the others a determined desperate look.
We saw plenty of blood not far off, showing evidently that they
killed many Indians. One1 of our men's heart was cut out, for it
appears to be the superstition of some Indians that to eat the heart
of a desperate fighter, makes them brave warriors. Another one had
his finger cut off to get his gold ring. Dead Indians we found none,
for it is a well known fact that an Indian will not leave a warrior
on the battle field, even at the risk of his life, rather than leave him
in the hands of an enemy.
The way we found out that Lieut. Hall [Hull] and the few with
him were killed, was; he was detailed to find water and a possible
route, but as men were frantic for water, having no water a day and
a half, some without order detached themselves, and one of them saw
the attack of the Indians some distance off.
When the detailed men reached the ground of the dead men, what
a sad, sad sight it was. Two horses still kicking and not dead, and a
mule dead. The men evidently used the horses as long as possible
for breastworks, and two horses that were not killed were carried
off by the Indians.
While I and others assisted to dig the grave of my five brave com-
rades of Capt. Strain's company, I saw others skin the horses and
mule for their meat. Hungry as a wolf, as well as the escort was,
I could not partake of the animals who belonged to the men of
the same company I did, and whom I knew to be good and brave
Those sad scenes of suffering I would rather pass over, but I want
to leave a record to my children, and also to the State of Texas
of the past.
Had it not been for Mr. Geo. W. Kendall's description of the
Santa Fe expedition, or for his excellent illustrated description of
the war of the United States with Mexico, we would know but little
of the history of the Republic of Texas or the consequent great
My future letters will be probably more sad and also possibly
sometimes a little humorous. After a lapse of 41 years I may be
excused if I omit or forget some things, but the main points are
Next will contain the history of the expedition, when the com-
mand separated, and Mr. Kendall with others left us, and I will
allude only to Mr. Kendall's account of his party, which may well
be called the "Forlorn party." Bad as the condition of the main com-
mand was, yet Kendall's and the commissioner's party and escort
suffered more than we did.
17William Mabee was a native of New Hampshire.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101196/. Accessed March 29, 2015.