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

22

IN.DIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.

fire from passing over it; and likewise, in pulling
up rocks and bushes to answer the purpose of a
breastwork.
" They now discovered they had failed in routing
us by the fire, as they had anticipated. They then
re-occupied the points of rocks and trees in the
prairie, and commenced another attack. The firing
continued for some time when the wind suddenly
shifted to the north, and blew very hard. We now
discovered our dangerous situation, should the
Indians succeed in putting fire to the small spot
which we occupied, and kept a strict watch all
around. The two servant boys were employed in
scraping away dry grass and leaves from around
the baggage, and pullingup rocks and placing them
around the wounded men. The remainder of the
party were warmly engaged with the enemy. The
point from which the wind now blew being favorable
to fire our position, one of the Indians succeeded
in crawling down the creek and putting fire to the
grass that had not yet been burnt; but before he
could retreat back to his party, was killed by
Robert Armstrong.
" At this time we saw no hopes of escape, as the
fire was coming down rapidly before the wind,
flaming ten feet high, and directly for the spot we
occupied. What was to be done? We must either
be burned up alive, or driven into the prairie
among the savages. This encouraged the Indians;
and to make it more awful, their shouts and yells
renit the air, they at the same time firing upon us
about twenty shots a minute. As soon as the
smoke hid us from their view, we collected together
and held a consultation as to what was best to be
done. Our first impression was, that they might
charge us under cover of the smoke, as we could
make but one effectual fire, the sparks were flying
about so thickly that no man could open his powder
horn without running the risk of being blown up.
However, we finally came to a determination had
they charged us to give them one fire, place our
backs together, and draw our knives and fight
them as long as any one of us was left alive.
The next question was, should they not charge us,
and we retain our position, we must be burned up.
It was then decided that each man should take
care of himself as best he could, until the fire
arrived at the ring around our baggage and
wounded men, and there it should be smothered
with buffalo robes, bear skins, deer skins, and
blankets, which, after a great deal of exertion, we
succeeded in doing.
"Our thicket being so much burned and scorched,
that it afforded us little or no shelter, we all got
into the ring that was around our wounded men

and baggage, and commenced building our breastwork
higher, with the loose rocks from the inside,
and dirt dug up with our knives and sticks.
During this last fire, the Indians had succeeded
in removing all their killed and wounded which
lay near us. It was now sundown, and we
had been warmly engaged with the Indians
since sunrise, a period of thirteen hours; and
they seeing us still alive and ready for fight,
drew off at a distance of three hundred yards,
and encamped for the night with their dead and
wounded. Our party now commenced to work in
raising our fortification higher, and succeeded in
getting it breast high by 10 p. m. We now filled
all our vessels and skins with water, expecting
another attack the next morning. We could distinctly
hear the Indians, nearly all night, crying
over their dead, which is their custom; and at
daylight, they shot a wounded chief
it being
also a custom to shoot any of their tribe that are
mortally wounded. They, after that, set out with
their dead and wounded to a mountain about a
mile distant, where they deposited their dead in a
cave on the side of it. At eight in the morning,
two of the party went out from the fortification to
the encampment, where the Indians had lain the
night previous, and counted forty-eight bloody
spots on the grass where the Indians had been lying.
As near as we could judge, their loss must have
been forty killed and thirty wounded. [We afterwards
learned from the Comanche Indians that
their loss was eighty-two killed and wounded.]
" Finding ourselves much cut up, having one man
killed, and three wounded
five horses killed,
and three wounded -we recommenced strengthening
our little fort, and continued our labors
until 1 p. m., when the arrival of thirteen Indians
drew us into the fort again. As soon as they
discovered we were still there and ready for action
and well fortified they put off. We, after that,
remained in our fort eight days, recruiting our
wounded men and horses, at the expiration of
which time, being all in pretty good order, we set out
on our return to San Antonio de Bexar. We left
our fort at dark, and traveled all night and until
afternoon of the next day, when we picked out an
advantageous spot and fortified ourselves, expecting
the Indians would, when recruited, follow
our trail; but, however, we saw no more of them.
" David Buchanan's wounded leg here mortified,
and having no surgical instruments, or medicine of
any kind, not even a dose of salts, we boiled some
live oak bark very strong, and thickened it with
pounded charcoal and Indian meal, made a poultice
of it, and tied it around his leg, over which we

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 13, 2014.