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

64

INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.

probably nearer southeast, from Seguin, on the
Guadalupe. Yoakum says the enemy fled at the
first fire. He was misinformed. Cordova promptly
formed his men, and, shielded by the large trees
of the forest, made a stubborn resistance. Burleson
dismounted a portion of his men, who also
fought from the trees for some time. Finally seeing
some of the enemy wavering, Burleson charged
them, when they broke and were hotly pursued
about two miles into the Guadalupe bottom, which
they entered as twilight approached. Further pursuit
was impossible at night and Burleson bore up
the valley six miles to Seguin, to protect the few
families resident there against a possible attack by
the discomfited foe. The conduct of Gen. Burleson
in this whole affair, but especially during the
engagement in the post oaks, was marked by
unusual zeal and gallantry. The lamented John D.
Anderson, Owen B. Hardeman, Wm. H. Magill and
other participants often narrated to me, the writer,
then a youth, how gloriously their loved chief bore
himself on the occasion. All the Bastrop people
loved Burleson as a father. Cordova lost over
twenty-five in killed, fully one-third of his followers,
Burleson lost none by death, but had several
wounded.
PURSUIT OF CORDOVA BY CALDWELL.
At the time of this occurrence Capt. Iatthew
Caldwell, of Gonzales, one of the best known and
most useful frontier leaders Texas ever had, was in
command of a company of six months' rangers,
under a law of the previous winter. A portion of
the company, under First Lieut. James Campbell,
were stationed in the embryo hamlet of
Seguin. The other portion, under Caldwell, was
located on the Guadalupe, fourteen miles above
Gonzales and eighteen miles below Seguin, but
when the news reached them of this affair, during
the night succeeding Cordova's defeat, Capt.
Caldwell was in Gonzales and Second Lieut.
Canoh C. Colley was in command of the camp.
He instantly dispatched a messenger, who reached
Caldwell before daylight. The latter soon sent
word among the yet sleeping villagers, calling for
volunteers to join him by sunrise. Quite a number
were promptly on hand, among whom were Ben
McCulloch and others of approved gallantry.
Traveling rapidly, the camp was soon reached
and, everything being in readiness, Capt. Caldwell
lost no time in uniting with Campbell at Seguin,
so that in about thirty-six hours after Burleson had
driven Cordova into the Guadalupe bottom, Caldwell,
with his own united company (omitting the

necessary camp guards), and the volunteer citizens
referred to, sought, found and followed the trail of
Cordova.
But when Cordova, succeeding his defeat,
reached the river, he found it impracticable to
ford it and, during the night, returned to the uplands,
made a detour to the east of Seguin, and
struck the river five miles above, where, at daylight,
March 30th, and at the edge of the bottom,
he accidentally surprised and attacked five of
Lieut. Campbell's men returning from a scout, and
encamped for the night. These men were James
M. Day, Thomas R. Nichols, John W. Nichols,
D. M. Poor and David Reynolds. Always on the
alert, though surprised at such an hour by men using
fire-arms only, indicating a foe other than wild
Indians, they fought so fiercely as to hold their assailants
in check sufficiently to enable them to reach
a dense thicket and escape death, though each one
was severely wounded. They lost their horses and
everything excepting their arms. Seeing Cordova
move on up the river, they continued down about
five miles to Seguin, and when Caldwell arrived
early next morning gave him this information.
Besides those from Gonzales Caldwell was joined
at Seguin by Ezekiel Smith, Sr., Peter D. Anderson
and French Smith, George W. Nichols, Sr.,
William Clinton, H. G. Henderson, Doctor tIenry,
Frederick Happell, George H. Gray and possibly
two or three others.
Caldwell pursued Cordova, crossing the Guadalupe
where New Braunfels stands, through the
highlands north of and around San Antonio and
thence westerly or northwesterly to the Old Presidio
de Rio Grande road, where it crosses the Rio
Frio and along that road to the Nueces. It was
evident from the " signs" that he had gained
nothing in distance on the retreating chief who
would easily cross the Rio Grande thirty or forty
miles ahead. Hence farther pursuit was futile and
Caldwell returned, following the road to San
Antonio. He had started without provisions, relying
upon wild game; but Cordova's party had, for
the moment, frightened wild animals from the line
of march and after a serpentine route of a hundred
and sixty miles through hills, the men were in need
of food and became much more so before traveling
a hundred and ten additional miles to San Antonio.
Arriving there, however, the whole town welcomed
them with open arms. In a note to the author
written August 24, 1887, more than forty-eight
years later, Gen. Henry E. McCulloch, who was a
private in Caldwell's Company, says: "The
hospitable people of that blood-stained old town,
gave us a warm reception and the best dinner pos

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 August 30, 2014.