The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958 Page: 557
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Lee managed to escape and eventually worked his way back to
San Antonio. Illness forced him to miss the Santa Fe Expedition,
but he participated in the Mexican War as a volunteer in the
Lee's account of the events in the Mexican War exhibits a
somewhat disturbing inattention to dates and complete names
of characters but makes up for this in part by including many
details of camp life and Ranger practice. A typical example may
be found as follows on page 27:
Two hours, more or less, before sunset, we halted; always by a
stream of water if possible. Some gathered wood and kindled a fire-
some took charge of the horses, while others sallied out in quest of
game for supper. Having satisfied the cravings of appetite, as soon
as darkness began to overspread the prairie, we mounted, and riding
an hour or more directly out of our general course, halted for the
night in the most secluded situation we could discover.
During intervals of peace, this despiser of irksome inactivity
engaged in trading in horses, mules, and cattle, and it was his
trading activities which led Lee into the greatest adventure of
his life-captivity among the Comanche. Chapters VIII through
XV describe his capture, servitude, and eventual escape. In 1855,
Lee formed a "joint company" with seven other men to drive a
herd of horses and mules to California. It was while making
preparations for the drive that he purchased a silver alarm watch
which later saved his life. The eight associates and a crew of nine-
teen hands left San Patricio in March of 1855, intending to
"follow the grass" up the Rio Grande, traveling slowly and trading
for stock along the way. After crossing the river and collecting a
herd of 395 head, the party headed for El Paso.
On the night of April 2, they were attacked by Comanche who
killed or captured every man in the party. Eventually Lee emerged
as the sole survivor. His life was spared because of his silver alarm
watch, which the Indians regarded as a spirit under his control.
During the next three years he led a precarious and often harsh
existence as a captive. On two separate occasions he and his watch
were traded for fortunes in buffalo robes and horses. Late in 1859
Lee escaped and made his way back to civilization.
During his enforced stay among the Comanche, he was meticu-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958, periodical, 1958; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101164/m1/665/: accessed May 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.