The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 185
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2002 Archeological Investigations at the Battle of Red River Site
The distribution of the military artifacts across the battlefield can be at-
tributed to one of these three military movements. In Figure 3, note the
cluster of military cartridges on the hill marked "Compton's Charge."
Since Major Compton was commanding the right column, this hill is un-
doubtedly the one referred to by Miles when he states in his report, "the
Indians had taken position opposite the right, occupying a high crest in
strong force, a few shell [meaning artillery shell] were fired at this body,
and a splendid cavalry charge was made by the Ist Battalion 6th Cavalry
under Major and Lt. Col. Compton ... up a steep crest of 200 feet and the
position carried in fine order." In addition to the military cartridges, the
archeological investigations also recovered fragments of two exploded
Parrott shells near the base of the hill.25
After taking this hill, the right column apparently continued to Red
River and then moved south of the river into Tule Canyon. Lieutenant
Baldwin writes in his diary that the right column "advanced about 3 miles
south of Red River," apparently in pursuit of the Indians. The archeolog-
ical evidence clearly reflects this movement and indicates that the right
column followed the divide between Pilgrim Creek and Robins Arroyo to
get to Red River. The artifacts recovered along the divide suggest that the
column stopped on the bluffs that overlook Red River, where they may
have replenished their ammunition, though little fighting was apparently
taking place at this stage of the battle. This is indicated by the fact that of
the 131 cartridges recovered from the divide during the investigations,
122 are unfired and apparently were simply lost as the ammunition wag-
ons made their way to Red River. The majority of the unfired cartridges
were recovered from the bluffs above Red River. Because the bluffs along
this portion of the river are very steep, it seems likely that the wagons were
forced to stop here until a way could be found to cross the river. While the
wagons were stopped, the cavalry probably took the opportunity to quick-
ly reload with ammunition, carelessly dropping many cartridges, and
then continued the pursuit of the Indians across the river. The ammuni-
tion wagons probably followed at a hurried pace once they found their
way off the bluffs and crossed the river. This is evident in the archeologi-
cal record in that the trail of unfired cartridges continued on the south
side of the river. In fact, the cartridge trail was found to extend from the
south bank of Red River approximately three miles, where it ended near
Tule Canyon. This seems to confirm Baldwin's statement that the right
column advanced three miles south of Red River. Only a few spent mili-
tary and Indian cartridges were recovered along the trail, suggesting that
the Indians were now in full retreat and only sporadic firing occurred.6
2 Miles to the Assistant Adjutant General, Sept. i, 1874-
2" Baldwin Diary.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/237/: accessed April 27, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.