Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown.

12

INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.

the sound of footsteps on the brush
a glance of
his lynx-eye revealed the approaching foe. A
single shrill yell from him, which echoed far and
near through the Brazos forest, brought every
Waco to his feet. The terrible Cherokee warwhoop
was their morning greeting, accompanied
by a shower of leaden rain. But, though surprised,
the Wacos outnumbered their assailants many
times--their women and children must be protected
or sacrificed
their ancient home, where
the bones of their fathers had been buried for ages,
was assailed by unknown intruders. Their chief
rallied the warriors and made a stand -the fight
became general, and as the sun rose majestically
over the towering trees of the east, he beheld the
red men of Tennessee and the red men of Texas in
deadly strife. But the bows and arrows of the
Waco could not compete with the merciless rifle of
the Cherokee. The Wacos were falling rapidly,
while the Cherokees were unharmed.
After half an hour's strife, amid yells and mutual
imprecations, the Wacos signaled a retreat, and
they fell back in confusion, taking refuge in the
fortified sink-hole. Here, though hemmed in, they
were quite secure, having a great advantage. Indeed,
they could kill every Cherokee who might
peradventure risk his person too near the brink.
The Cherokees had already killed many, and now
held a council, to consider what they should do.
It was proposed by one brave that they should
strip to a state of nature, march into the sink-hole
in a body, fire their pieces, then drop them, and
with tomahawks alone endeavor to kill every man,
woman and child among the Wacos. A half-breed
named Smith, who was in favor of this desperate
measure, as an incentive to his comrades, stripped
himself, fastened half a dozen horse-bells (which
he had picked up in the camp) round his waist,
and commenced galloping and yelling around the
sink-hole, now and then jumping on the embankment
and then back, cursing the Wacos most lustily.
Arrows were hurled at him by scores, but he fell
not.
Just as the Cherokee council was coming to a
close, at about an hour after sunrise, they heard a
noise like distant thunder on the opposite side ol
the river and delayed a few moments to discover its
cause. Very soon they discovered a large body ol
mounted Indians rising the river bank a littlh
below them. What could it mean? they murmurec
one to another. The story is soon told. A mes
senger had rushed from the WAcos in the outset
for the Tehuacano village, begging help, and nov
two hundred Tehuacano warriors, mounted anc
ready for the fray, were at hand. The whole aspec

of the day was changed in a moment. To conquer
this combined force was impossible--to escape
themselves would require prudence. The Tehuacanos,
in coming up, cut off a .Cherokee boy,
twelve years old, killed and scalped him, and placing
his scalp on a lance, held it up defiantly to the
view of the Cherokees. The boy was an only
child, and his father beheld this scene. The brave
man's eye glared with fury. Without a word he
threw from his body every piece of his apparel,
seized a knife in one hand, a tomahawk in the
other. "What will you?" demanded the chief.
"Die with my brave boy. Die slaying the wild
men who have plucked the last rose from my
bosom!" The chief interceded, and told him it
was madness; but the Cherokee listened not; with
rapid strides he rushed among the Tehuacanos,
upon certain death; but ere death had seized its
victim, he had -killed several and died shouting
defiance in their midst.
The Tehuacanos occupied the post oaks just
below the Cherokees, and kept up a lusty shouting,
but ventured not within rifle-shot. The latter, seeing
that on an open field they could not resist such
numbers
having taken fifty-five Waco scalps
(equal to their own number)
having lost two
men and the boy--now fell back into the cedar
brake and remained there till night. They were
convinced that their safety depended upon a cautious
retreat, as, if surrounded on the prairies, they
would be annihilated. When night came on, they
crossed the river, traveled down the sand bank a
mile or two, as if they were going down the country,
thence, turning into the stream, waded up the
edge of the water some six or seven miles (the river
being low and remarkably even), and thus eluded
pursuit. In due time, they reached their Red
river villages, without the thousand horses they
anticipated, but with fifty-five Waco scalps
glory
enough in their estimation. The tribe was speedily
called together for a grand war-dance. For miles
around the American settlers were surprised to see
such a commotion and gathering among the Indians.
LA gentleman, my informant, was there visiting a
L widowed sister. He rode up to the Cherokee
f encampment, inquired into the cause of the move3
ment, was invited to alight and spend the day.
f He did so, and witnessed one of the grandest wardances
he ever saw, and he was an old Indian
I fighter. A very intelligent man, a half-breed,
named Chisholm, one of the fifty-five, gave
,him a full history of the whole transaction. He
v noted it carefully, and from him I received it in
1855.
t That gentleman was Capt. Thomas H. Barron,

Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown.. Austin, Tex.. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/. Accessed July 11, 2014.