Notes and Documents
Ghost Writers of the Palo Duro
W. G. TUDOR*
MAJOR CONFLICTS BETWEEN ANGLO-AMERICANS AND SOUTHERN
Plains Indians in the Texas Panhandle ended with the Battle of Pa-
lo Duro Canyon on September 28, 1874. In that battle, the Fourth U.S.
Cavalry, commanded by Col. Ranald S. Mackenzie, engaged and defeat-
ed an estimated twenty-five hundred renegade Indians encamped in Pa-
lo Duro Canyon. After six hours of combat the cavalry destroyed the
camp, burned all lodges and food supplies, and captured fourteen hun-
dred ponies. The next morning the troopers shot all of the horses to
prevent their recapture. During the final three months of 1874, the
Fourth Cavalry continued mop-up operations in the Panhandle. It
searched for isolated bands of Comanche and Kiowa, attacking and dri-
ving them back to their reservations. By mid-December 1874, Indian
domination of the Panhandle was just a memory.'
Although many books and articles recount the story of the Battle of
Palo Duro Canyon, one book is generally recognized as the most reliable
eyewitness account. This book is On the Border with Mackenzie; Or, Winning
West Texas from the Comanches, published in 1935 by the Eynon Printing
Company, Inc., of Washington, D.C. Robert Goldthwaite Carter, a re-
tired captain of cavalry, is credited as its author.2
Carter, ninety years old at the time of the book's publication, recounts
his military service with the Fourth U.S. Cavalry in'Texas during the
* W. G. Tudor is a partner in Tudor, Nelms and Wall, L.L.P., certified public accountants in
Dallas. He is currently completing his dissertation in the Department of History at Texas Christ-
ian University in Fort Worth.
Ernest Wallace, Ranald S. Mackenzie on the Texas Frontier (Lubbock: West Texas Museum Asso-
ciation, 1964), 128-166.
2 Robert Goldthwaite Carter, On the Border With Mackenzie; Or, Winning West Texas from the Co-
manches (1935; reprint, New York: Antiquarian Press, 1961). Carter printed this book at his own
expense. On the title page the word "Publishers" appears in small type below the name of
"Eynon Printing Company, Inc." This is an error. Eynon was only the printer.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 99, July 1995 - April, 1996. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101217/. Accessed August 2, 2015.