The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979 Page: 47
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"I Am Already Quite a Texan"
stood something. Who's there? No answer. Who is there? No answer.
Ready! Aim! Fire!! Three loads of buck shot wound fearfully a stump!
It seems that there are grounds for alarm, however, and the word is
given "Fire the Prairie"!-oh! it was glorious to see the red brands
hurled into the clustering reeds. First a sparkle and a flickering light,
then a flame with a slight crackle, then a rush and a roar, a torrent of
fire with dark clouds of smoke rolls toward heaven while the broad glow
of the conflagration lights up, for miles around, hills and plain, and
near us tree, bush, and stone, with the vividness of noon day. We stand
for a while with guns in our hands but we see nothing. Then we leave
our sentry, very certain to keep awake, and go into our tents and I lie
down to sleep, but first I read my chapter and make a note and wonder,
as I lie dosing [sic], if others are thinking of me as I think of them,
alone, in my tent, on this wild prairie.
All that night the fire rages and I awaking see it shining through the
walls of canvas, and look out to enjoy its beauty. Its hum comes to be a
kind of lullaby, but the flame and its reflection, the broad wavering
light, and the solemn grandeur of the scene, at night, are enchanting
and I wish that some of you could be with me a moment to enjoy it and
then, far away where I know you are safe. Then I see the sentinel pacing
restlessly, never standing long in one place, for that might expose him
to a shot, and so I go to bed again and sleeping, dressed, rest until morn-
ing. Then we march and an old guide goes seeking about the burned
district and finds the trail of Indians, very few however, leaving it. Then
we march on day after day.
I could fill pages with our adventures. One day as we stop at noon "a
smoke" rises from a hill a mile or two away and our guide points his
rifle at it and says "Los Indios" are signalling to gather their comrades.
We care very little for this, and, at night, when we camp, we set the
prairie on fire again. They may see that we do not intend to conceal
ourselves. Then on other days we pass large graves on the road side and
they tell us with hushed voices how the Indians killed seven here and
so they are buried; and here another party fought; and here another
was attacked, but after all these Indians do not like to risk their lives
when there is little to gain and we think they would hesitate long be-
fore they attack us.
At last one bright Sunday we come through a most romantic valley
and reach Fort Davis.19 Fort Davis lies in a valley. The site is much more
19Fort Davis was established October 7, 1854, at the mouth of a canyon near Limpia
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979, periodical, 1978/1979; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101206/m1/67/: accessed May 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.