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

INXDLIN 1LllhS AND L IONEERS OF TEXIAS.'

81

" Big" Hall, of Gonzales, on foaming steed, overtook
us with the news from Victoria and Linnville,
and that the Indians, pursued, were retreating on
their downward made trail. The old veteran Caldwell
at once said we must meet and fight them at Plum
creek. After rest and breakfast, and strengthened
by a few recruits, we moved on and camped that
night at tle old San Antonio crossing of the San
Marcos. The lth was intensely hot, and our
ride was chiefly over a burnt prairie, the flying
ashes being blinding to the eyes. Waiting some
hours at noon, watching for the approach of the
enemy after night, we arrived at Goode's cabin, on
the Gonzales and Austin road, a little east of Plum
creek. Here Felix Huston, General of militia, with
his aide, James Izard, arrived from Austin about
the same time. We moved two or three miles and
camped on Plum creek, above the Indian trail.
Here we met the gallant Capt. James Bird, of
Gonzales, with about thirty men, who had come up
the road directly from that place, and with the
indefatigable Ben McCulloch and his three comrades.
Our united force was then one hundred
men. We camped at midnight and sent pickets to
watch the trail. Men and horses were greatly jaded,
but the horses had to eat while the men slept.
At daylight the pickets dashed in and
reported the Indians advancing about three
miles below. In twenty minutes every man
was mounted and in line. Capt. Caldwell, in
the bigness of his heart, rode out in front and
moved that Gen. Felix Huston take command.
A few responded aye and none said nay, but in
fact the men wanted the old Indian fighter Caldwell
himself to lead. They respected Gen. Huston
as a military man in regular war. They knew lhe
had no experience in tile business then in hand, but
they. were too polite to say nay, having a real
respect for the man. The command moved forward
across one or two ravines and glades till they entered
a small open space hidden from tile large prairie
by a branch, thickly studded with trees and bushes.
At this moment the gallant young Owen Hardeman,
and Reed of Bastrop dashed up with the information
that Col. Edward Burleson, with eightyseven
volunteers and thirteen Toncahua Indians
(the latter on foot) were within three or four miles,
advancing at a gallop. They were too invaluable
to be left. A halt was called. Gen. Huston
then announced his plan: a hollow square, open in
front, Burleson on the right, Caldwell on the left,
Bird and Ward forming the rear line, under Maj.
Thomas Monroe Hardeman. During this delay we
had a full view of the Indians passing diagonally
across our front, about a mile distant. They were
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singing and gyrating in (livers grotesque ways,
evidencing their great triumph, and utterly obliviou3
of danger. IUp to tills time they had lost
but one warrior, at tile Casa Blanca; they had
killed twenty persons, from Tucker Foley, tile first,
to Mordecai, the last; they had as prisoners Mrs.
Watts, Mrs. Crosby and cliild, and the negro
woman and child; they liad about 2,000 captured
horses and mules, and an immense booty in goods
of various kinds. Before Burleson arrived the
main body had passed our front, leaving only
stragglers bringing up bunches of animals
from the timber in their rear. It must be understood
that the whole country, about forty miles
from tlhe Big Hill to the north side of Plum creek,
is heavily timbered, while beyond that it is an open
prairie to the foot of the mountains, with the Clear
Fork of Plum creek on the left and parallel to the
Indian trail.
Here is an appropriate place to speak of the
number of Indians. Their number was variously
estimated, but from all the facts and the judgment
of the most experienced, it is safe to say
they numbered about 1,000. Our force was:Number
un(ler Caldwell, including Bird and
Ward ....... ...................1........... 100
Under Burleson, 87; and 13 Indians............ 100
T otal................................................ 200
As soon as Burleson arrive(d the troops were
formed as before mentioned, and tile advance made
at a trot, soon increasing into a gallop. The main
bo(ly of tile Indians were perhaps a mile and a
lialf ahead. As soon as we ascen(led from the
valley on to the level plain, they had a full view of
us. and at once prepared for action. Small parties
of their more daring warriors met and contested(
with a few of our men voluntarily acting as
skirmishers, and some heroic acts were performed.
I remember well the gallantry of Capt. Andrew
Neill, Ben McCulloch, Arch. Gipson, Reed of
Bastrop, Capt. Alonzo B. Sweitzer (severely
wounded in the arm), Columbus C. DeWitt, Henry
E. McCplloch, and others then personally known
to me.
The Indians, as we neared them, took position
in a point of oaks on the left, with the Clear Fork
in their rear, and a small boggy branch on their
left, but in the line of their retreat. It was only
boggy a short distance, and was easily turned on
our right advance.
When within about two hundred yards of the
enemy we were halted and dismounted on the open

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 May 6, 2015.