Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown. Page: 125 of 894
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INDIAN iWARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.
A Story of Gen. Lee
His Attack Upon a Band of Savages in
1860, While on the Way to the Rio Grande.
" Col. A. G. Brackett, who in 1886 and for several
years commanded at Fort Davis, Texas, spent
the better part of a long and arduous military career
in Indian fighting and the roughest of frontier work
generally," writes a correspondent of the St. Louis
Globe-Democrat; and then continues: "For years
prior to the war, when San Antonio was but a far
outlying post, when railways were an unknown
quantity in Texas' taxable values, and the Comanches
and Mexicans practically owned creation,
Col. Brackett was holding up his end of government
guard duty, and of necessity became intimate with
most of the men who for some portion of their lives
lived on the then far frontier, and afterward became
heroes of national story and song. To a
group of interested listeners Col. Brackett detailed
the following hitherto unprinted episode in the life
of Gen. Robert E. Lee-in 1860 a Colonel in command
of the departmeut of Texas, and in 1865 the
Confederacy's grandest soldier.
"' Robert E. Lee,' says Col. Brackett, 'was on
his way from San Antonio to the Rio Grande for the
purpose of doing what he could toward bringing the
Cortinas war to a close and settling the disturbances
connected therewith. He had for his escort my
company of the Second Cavalry, and was marching
as rapidly as possible. He had done what he could
in his office, and now found his only safe plan was
to go himself to the spot where hostilities were progressing.
He was a man who always attended to
everything himself as far as possible. Utterly without
pretension, he held every man to a strict performance
of his duty, and spared nothing in having
his plans carried out. He was an able department
commander, and foreshadowed many of those qualities
which made him famous in a more extended
sphere of action, and proved him one of the greatest
military leaders this country has produced. He
was strict in his ways, but at the same time was one
of the most benevolent and kind-hearted of men.
" ' As he approached Seco river a messenger came
galloping up to him and reported that the Indians
were just ahead and were robbing the settlements
on and near that stream. It took but a moment to
pass the word to me. We dashed off with our
troops and were soon in the midst of the savages,
who, unaware of our proximity, were plundering
without hindrance and to their own great satisfaction.
But when the cavalry dashed in upon them
there were seen some amazing feats of horsemanship
as with wild yells the Indians endeavored to
get out of the way. They had killed some head of
cattle, and were about to rob a house occupied by
women who had huddled together there, when Lee
appeared on the scene. Again they went in every
direction, but generally up the river toward the
mountains, the cattle lowing from fright, and the
big bay horses of the troopers bounding after the
red men over the rocks, stones and bushes in a
way to gladden the heart of every true horseman.
For a time the din was great as the troops tore
through the bushes. It was a race for life, and a
most exciting one, as all must admit. How many
were hurt was never accurately known to the whites,
as an Indian can conceal himself in a place which
would almost seem impossible. The chase was
kept up for a couple of miles, but in the broken
ground all further efforts were useless. The men
returned to the house, when a recall was sounded,
their horses being blown and their clothing in
strings from the brush and briers. The women
were dreadfully frightened, their husbands and
brothers being away from home at the time of the
attack, but as the soldiers returned they came in
and were profuse in their thanks to Lee for his
timely arrival and his handsome performance in
beating off the red rascals. He was as impassive
as ever, but it was plainly to be seen that he
thoroughly enjoyed the discomfiture of the Indians,
as well as the eagerness of his men to get at them.'
" In lengthy and interesting mention of the great
commander as one who had broken bread and lived
in camps with him, Col. Brackett speaks of the
Confederate General with the respect and tender
appreciation of a lifetime soldier for a gallant
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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/m1/125/: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .