The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966 Page: 410
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
tion to end the Indian troubles by confining them to their as-
signed reservations. Soon recognized as an officer who got results,
Mackenzie could usually count upon sympathetic support from
Sherman and Sheridan for his actions. Relentless in his pursuit
of hostiles and a strict disciplinarian, Mackenzie may have in-
spired little love, but he engendered a great deal of respect.
His 1871 expeditions into the Panhandle region accomplished
little except to acquaint him with the scope of his task and the
terrain where it would have to be accomplished. His first impor-
tant victory was the Battle of McClellan Creek (near Lefors,
Texas), on September 29, 1872. At the cost of four casualties he
killed twenty-three Indians, captured 13o, and destroyed a Co-
manche village of over 250 tipis and large stores of winter sup-
plies. Several hundred captured horses and mules were later re-
covered by the Comanches.
Mackenzie hoped to complete his task in 1873, but serious raids
by the Mexican Kickapoos resulted in his being transferred to
the Rio Grande. In actions reminiscent of Andrew Jackson's
Florida expedition, Mackenzie risked international involvements
by crossing into Mexico. In 1874, he was ordered back to the South
Plains where another Indian war had started. Mackenzie led one
of the five army columns which encircled the Indians like a giant
fist, and in late September he won the Battle of Palo Duro Can-
yon. He had no one killed, and he could count only four Indians
dead, but he ordered the slaughter of over 1,ooo captured horses,
and their bleaching bones became a symbol of the decline of the
nomadic tribes. In four months Mackenzie marched his troopers
over 900 miles and fought one battle and four skirmishes. It is
doubtful if any other Indian fighter ever accomplished so much
with so few losses on either side. Although he killed only eleven
enemies and captured twenty-two, his relentless pursuit and
harassment gave the Indians no chance to prepare for the winter,
and most of them returned to the reservations. By the close of
1874 the Red River War was practically won.
By then Mackenzie was the army's troubleshooter. During the
next few years he was sent to the Black Hills after Custer's de-
feat, to the Rio Grande when trouble flared up again along the
border, to Colorado when the Utes became restless, and to Ari-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966, periodical, 1966; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117144/m1/470/: accessed October 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.