Notes and Documents
I forgot to state that Capt. Sutton's command left us on August
31st 1841, that our commander gave them 15 days time in which
they were to send us a report and a supply of beef and sheep.
While Capt. Sutton was gone, we moved camps occasionally, and
went higher up on the creek in order to have good grass for our
stock; when at old camps it was eaten pretty short. We tarried for
fifteen days and yet heard nothing of our advance. The officers, on
consultation, decided to wait five days more. Would they had re-
mained by their first resolution, which was, that if we heard nothing
of our men to burn up our wagons and retreat to Texas.
Had we known where we were, we could have made a retreat
easy, for we were not more than about 3oo miles from Red River
and the upper portion of Arkansas.
The tribe of Indians, Cayugas, near the Staked Plains annoyed us
very much; they would hover near our camps, not daring to attack
us, but would cut off small parties of our men, in quest of game
or water, and kill them. The Comanche Indians when aware of our
approach always retreated and did not annoy us, but with neither
tribe could we get a parley, though our mission was peaceable and
we had written instructions not to molest or attack any tribe, only
in self defence.
Our guides reached our camp on the 19th of September; they told
us that the creek we were camped on, was called the Rio Quintrefue,25"
a branch of Red River.
They pursued a course W.N.W. The nights became right cold.
On Sept. 23d Gen. McLeod detached Capt. Caldwell with a party
to ascertain the absence of that relief which Col. Cook2B had promised
We learnt afterwards, that soon after he crossed the plains and was
nearing the settlements, he was surrounded at night by a large party
of Mexicans, and as resistance would have been in vain, he and his
party were taken prisoners.
After some four days travel over the Plains we suddenly struck a
river, which at that time only contained water holes; the banks were
very high and at some places would have been impassable. We kept
up the right side of that river and struck a very large trail, probably
made by buffalo. We found along the banks of the river an extensive
growth of dwarf grapes and plums, which were very palatable and
"6William G. Cooke, a thirty-three year old Virginian, had fought against
Iturbide in Mexico during 1828 and with the Texans in the Texas Revolution. He
was in command of the civil commission to Santa Fe. Harry Warren, "Col. Wil-
liam G. Cooke," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, IX, 21o-219.
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 October 4, 2015.