The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 29, July 1925 - April, 1926 Page: 25
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The Federal Indian Policy in Texas, 1845-1860
general war.32 That the rangers played the major part in saving
the frontier settlers from extermination must be concluded from
all the evidence at hand. The rangers helped the Indian agents
to carry out the Federal policy. Major Neighbors wrote Medill
September 14, 1847, that the ranging companies ordered for the
defense of the frontier had arrived at Fort Belknap, where Captain
Ross, who was in command, was doing all he could to stop the
whisky traffic among the Indians and to keep evil-disposed persons
out of their country. The troops had been there scarcely a month,
he said, and their presence had produced perfect quiet among the
Indians.33 It was the hostile Indians against whom the rangers
usually made war, as succeeding accounts will show. Neighbors
wrote Medill April 10, 1848, informing him of an attack by Texas
rangers under Captain Highsmith on a party of Wichitas.34 He
did not state whether they were Northern or Southern tribes; and
it will be recalled that the Northern tribes were intruders in Texas
and a great scourge because of their predatory expeditions. Cap-
tain Highsmith, said King, besides fighting the Indians, helped
lay out a road from Austin to Chihuahua and one from San
Antonio to El Paso.35 Lieutenant Colonel J. M. Smith wrote
Governor Houston July 13, 1860, that he was keeping up active,
daily scouting along the line; that this had been proved in earlier
days to be the most effective means of protection to the frontier.6
Further evidence of the nature of the rangers' work follows in the
accounts of their engagements discussed later in this chapter.
Organization of Companies.-When General George M. Brooke
received his appointment to the eighth military department, June,
1849, his orders were to defend the frontier from Red River to
the Rio Grande. If he needed more troops, he was authorized to
call on the Governor of the state for a limited force of mounted
men for a limited period, not over six months, to be disbanded at
the pleasure of the President.37 On August 24, General Brooke
8 31st Cong., 1st Sess., House Doc. No. 5, p. 143.
3330th Cong., 1st Sess., Senate Doc. No. 24, p. 901.
3"Neighbors to Medill, April 10, 1848, Photostat, University of Texas.
'"Wooten (Ed.), A Comprehensive History of Texas, II, 339.
"0Smith to Houston, July 13, 1860, Houston Letters, 1858-1862, Texas
3731st Cong., 1st Sess., House Doc. No. 5, pp. 138-139.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 29, July 1925 - April, 1926, periodical, 1926; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117141/m1/33/: accessed August 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.