Indian wars and pioneers of Texas Page: 150 of 894
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INDIAN TWARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.
planters and traders. James first entered Texas
with the view of locating, in 1824 -became a citizen
in 1826 -but did not wholly give up his home in
Louisiana till 1828. He was fond of hunting and
camp life, and became deeply interested in explorations
for the discovery of gold and silver mines,
devoting much time at intervals for several years to
The celebrated fight on a sand bar near Natchez,
in 1828, was the product of a feud in which opposing
factions agreed upon that mode of adjusting
their difficulties. To that extent it was a duel in
which a number were engaged on either side.
Bowie fell from a wound and was unable to rise.
His antagonist closed upon him, and, though prostrate,
Bowie, by the use of his knife, killed him.
After a time he recovered and suffered no permanent
disability. In the article before referred to
Rezin P. BoWie asserts that this was the only duel
in which he or his brother were ever engaged. On
the contrary, on many occasions, Bowie interposed
to prevent difficulties and to reconcile excited men
for whom he entertained kindly regard. He was,
to this extent, a peace-maker.
Bowie's noted fight with the Indians, on the 2d of
November, 1831, from an account furnished by
Rezin P. Bowie, to a Philadelphia paper in 1832, has
been described in almost every book on Texas.
The account appears in this volume.
Bowie arrived in Nacogdoches after the battle of
August 2d, 1832, between the Americans and the
Mexican garrison under Col. Jose de la Piedras.
The latter retreated during the night on the road
to the west. He was pursued and surrendered at
the Angelina on the 4th. Bowie escorted the
prisoners to San Antonio.
Bowie, in 1832, commanded a small company
into the Indian country to retaliate for their attack
upon him. But the red men received information
of his movement and fled as from a pestilence,
declaring him to be a "fighting devil." In a tour
of several hundred miles he never saw an Indian.
Bowie joined the volunteer citizen soldiery at
Gonzales in October, 1835, and with Fannin commanded
an advance of ninety-two men, who, at the
Mission of Concepcion, two miles below San
Antonio, at daylight, on the 28th of October, were
attacked by four hundred Mexicans, with two
cannon. They occupied a fine position on the bank
of the river, and after a short contest repulsed the
enemy with heavy loss, on their part losing but one
man, Richard Andrews.
On the 26th of November Bowie commanded in
the Grass Fight, on the west side of San Antonio
and drove the enemy into the town.
During the winter, pending the provisional government,
he desired a commission under which he
could raise and command a regiment. Gen. Houston
estimated him as an able and safe commander
and desired him in the field
him, for the moment, to an important position.
Bowie repaired to the seat of government and
applied to the legislative council for the authority
desired. That body was torn by faction and
delayed action. Bowie became impatient. Tired
of waiting, he suddenly appeared at the bar of the
council and essayed to speak. " Order! Order! "
rang through the hall, while Bowie stood erect, hat
in hand, the personification of splendid manhood
and fierce determination. The air was full of
revolution -Bowie the idol of a majority of the
people. A crisis was at hand. The presiding
officer quickly spoke, suggesting that Col. Bowie so
long tried, distinguished and courageous
heard. The council, grasping the situation, invited
him to speak.
He was a splendid specimen of manhood--six
feet and one inch high, straight as an arrow, of
full but not surplus flesh, fair complexion, fine
mouth, well-chiseled features and keen blue eyes with
grace and dignity in every movement. So
far as known this was his first and last public
Stepping inside the railing, still hat in hand,
with a graceful and dignified bow, he addressed
himself to the president and council, for nearly an
hour, in a vein of pathos, irony, invective and
fiery eloquence, that astonished and enraptured
his oldest and most intimate friends. He reviewed
the salient points of his life, hurled from him with
indignation every floating allegation affecting his
character as a man of peace and honor
that he was an unlettered man of the Southwest,
and his lot had been cast in a day and among a
people rendered necessarily, from political and
material causes, more or less independent of law;
but brave, generous and infinitely scorning every
species of meanness and duplicity; that he had
honorably cast his lot with Texas for honorable
and patriotic purposes; that he had ever neglected
his own affairs to serve the country in the hour of
danger; had betrayed no man, deceived no man,
wronged no man, and had never had a difficulty in
the country, unless to protect the weak from the
strong and evil-intentioned. That, yielding to the
dictates of his own heart, he had taken to his
bosom as a wife a true and lovely woman of a
different race, the daughter of a distinguished
" Coahuil-Texano; " yet, as a thief in the night,
death had invaded his little paradise and taken his
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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas, book, 1880~; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/m1/150/: accessed March 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .