Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown. Page: 102 of 894
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INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.
President Lamar, on his own responsibility, were
severely criticised by many; but Texas was a unit
in indignation at the treacherous, dastardly and
brutal treatment bestowed upon their brave and
chivalrous citizens after honorable surrender,
among whom were many well-known soldiers and
gentlemen, including Hugh McLeod, tile commander,
Jose Antonio Navarro, William G. Cooke
and Dr. Richard F. Brenham as Peace Commismissioners,
Capt. Matthew Caldwell, Geo. V.
Kendall of New Orleans, young Frank Coombes
of Kentucky, Capt. Houghton and an array of
first-class privates, the choice spirits of the country,
of whom my friend of forty-eight years,
Thomas W. Hunt, now of Bosque County, is still
an honorable sample.
The triplicate Mexican raid of 1842, ending with
the glorious but unsuccessful battle of Mier, intensified
the desire for retaliatory action towards
Mexico and especially so towards New Mexico.
As the result of this feeling, on the 28th of
January, 1843, Jacob Snively, who had held the
staff rank of Colonel in the Texian army, applied
to the government for authority to raise men and
proceed to the upper boundaries of Texas, and
capture a rich train belonging to Armijo and other
Santa Fe Aexicans. Permission was issued by
George W. Hill, Secretary of War, on the 16th of
February, with provisos that half the spoils should
go to the government and should only be taken in
On the 24th of April, near the present town of
Denison. the expedition, about 175 strong, was
organized, with Snively unanimouqly chosen as
commander. A few others joined a day or two
later, making a total of about 190. They followed
the old Chihuahua trail west till assured of being
west of the hundredth meridian, then bore north,
passing along the western base of the Wichita
mountains, and on the 27th of May encamped on
the southwest bank of the Arkansas. This was
said to be about forty miles below the MissouriSanta
Fe crossing, but was only eight or ten miles
from the road on the opposite side of the river.
It was known before they started that a Mexican
train of great value (for that day) would pass from
Independence to Santa Fe, some time in the spring,
and as the route for a long distance lay in Texas, it
was considered legitimate prey.
They soon learned from some men from Bent's
Fort that six hundred Mexican troops were waiting
above to escort the caravan from the American
boundary to Santa Fe. Snively kept out scouts
and sought to recruit his horses. His scouts inspected
the camp of the enemy and found their
number as reported, about six hundred. On the
20th of June a portion of the command had a fight
with a detachment of the Mexicans, killing seventeen
and capturing eighty prisoners, including
eighteen wounded, without losing a man, and
securing a fine supply of horses, saddles and arms.
Snively held the prisoners in a camp with good
water. On the 24th three hundred Indians suddenly
appeared, but, seeing Snively's position and
strength, professed friendship. There was no confidence,
however, in their profession, excepting so
far as induced by a fear to attack.
The long delay created great discontent and
when scouts came in on the 28th and reported no
discovery of the caravan, a separation took place.
Seventy of the men, selecting Capt. Eli Chandler
as their commander, started home on the 29th.
Snively, furnishing his wounded prisoners with
horses to ride, the others with a limited number of
guns for defense against the Indians and such provisions
as he could spare, set the whole party at
liberty. Whereupon he pitched another camp
farther up the river to await the caravan, perfectly
confident that he was west of the hundredth meridian
and (being on the southwest side of the Arkansas,
the boundary line from that meridian to
its source), therefore, in Texas. Subsequent surveys
proved that he was right. By a captured
Mexican he learned that the caravan was not far
distant escorted by one hundred and ninety-six
United States dragoons, commanded by Capt.,
Philip St. George Cooke. On June 30th they were
discovered by the scouts and found to have also
two pieces of artillery. Cooke soon appeared,
crossed the river, despite the protest of Snively
that he was on Texas soil, and planted his guns so
as to rake the camp. He demanded unconditional
surrender and there was no other alternative to the
outrage. Cooke allowed them to retain ten guns
for the one hundred and seven men present, compelled
to travel at least four hundred miles through
a hostile Indian country. without a human habitation;
but their situation was not so desperate as
he intended, for a majority of the men, before it
was too late, buried their rifles and double-barreled
shot-guns in the friendly sand mounds, and meekly
surrendered to Cooke the short escopetas they had
captured from the Mexicans. Cooke immediately
re-crossed the river and slept. He awakened to a
partial realization of his harsh and unfeeling act;
and sent a message to Snively that he would escort
as many of his men as would accept the invitation
into Independence, Missouri. About forty-two of
the men went, among whom were Capt. Myers F.
Jones of Fayette County, his nephew John Rice
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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown., book, ; Austin, Tex.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/m1/102/: accessed May 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .