Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 4, Number 1, January, 1994 Page: 9
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Brief History of Columbus
Though five separate accounts of this battle, each differing in some of
the particulars, were available to Zumwalt when he wrote his history, he
relied on only one, that of William B. Dewees. Dewees reports on these
incidents in his "letter" dated August 29, 1823. Zumwalt apparently
assumed the battle occurred in the spring because Dewees' previous
"letter" was dated March 15, 1823. Except that Dewees states that
Brotherton was attacked on the day after the men in the canoe were
attacked and Zumwalt implies that the incidents occurred on the same
day, and that Dewees identifies the Indians as Karankawa, Zumwalt
accurately recounts what Dewees reported (see Letters From An Early
Settler of Texas, pages 37-40).
However, the other four accounts call some aspects of the story
into question, further identify the individuals involved, and definitely
date the incidents to February 23 and 24, 1823. Jesse Burnam, who,
according to his own account, served as Kuykendall's lieutenant,
remembered that Kuykendall's company "had eighteen men in the fight"
and that they "killed fourteen Indians and wounded seven." A longer
account of the incident, written by John H. Moore, was appended to
Burnam's. Moore, who provides no evidence that he had direct
knowledge of the battle, also identifies the Indians as Karankawa, states
that Brotherton had been attacked the day before rather than the day
after the men in the canoe, remembers that Kuykendall's company
contained "about twenty-two men" and that twenty-three Indians were
killed, and adds that Clark heard the gunfire and made his way to
Kuykendall's camp (see "Reminiscences of Capt. Jesse Burnam," The
Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, volume 5, number
1, July 1901). The fourth account of the battle, in a letter written by
John Tumlinson, who states that he sent Kuykendall's company to look
for the Indians, identifies the Indians as "Cokes," meaning presumably
the Cocos, who were a band of the Karankawas, reports that the
company contained 25 men and that only eight Indians were killed and
several wounded. His letter was written on February 26, 1823, which,
it turns out, was the day after the battle. The fifth account, in a letter
signed by both Tumlinson and Kuykendall and dated March 5, 1823,
gives the names of the three men in the canoe as John Ally, H. W. Law,
and John Clark, and states that they were attacked on February 23, that
Brotherton was attacked on the 24th, and that the Indians were attacked
on the 25th (see the reproductions of the letters on pages 16-17 and
pages 23-25 of E. W. Winkler, editor, Manuscript Letters and Documents
of Early Texians 1821-1845, Austin: The Steck Company, 1937).
In August, 1823, Stephen F. Austin, the Baron de Bastrop, a surveyor and some negro
slaves surveyed 170 acres on the Colorado river eight miles above the Atasco Sito
crossing to be the capital of the Municipality of Colorado and the headquarters for all of
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 4, Number 1, January, 1994, periodical, January 1994; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151390/m1/9/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed May 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.