Indian wars and pioneers of Texas Page: 71 of 894
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INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.
Coy, Jose Vicenti Micheli, Jose Ariola, and Antonio
The first outbreak occurred on the 4th of August,
1838, when a party of Americans who had pursued
and recovered some stolen horses from a Mexican
settlement in Nacogdoches County, were fired upon
on their return trip and one of their number killed.
The trail of the assailants was followed and
found to be large and made by Mexicans. On the
7th Gen. Rusk was informed that over a hundred
Mexicans, headed by Cordova and Norris, were
encamped on the Angelina. He immediately recruited
a company of sixty volunteers and posted
them at the lower ford of that stream. The enemy
were then on the west side. On the 10th it was
reported that about 300 Indians had joined Cordova.
On the same day President Houston, then
in Nacogdoches, who had issued a proclamation to
the immigrants, received a letter signed by the persons
whose names have been given, disavowing
allegiance to Texas and claiming to be citizens of
Cordova, on the 10th, moved up towards the
Cherokee Nation. Maj . H . . Augustin was
detailed to follow his trail, while Gen. Rusk moved
directly towards the village of Bowles, the head
chief of the Cherokees, believing Cordova had
gone there; but, on reaching the Saline, it was
found that he had moved rapidly in the direction
of the Upper Trinity, while the great body of his
followers had dispersed. To the Upper Trinity and
Brazos, he went and remained till March, 1839, in
constant communication with the wild Indians,
urging them to a relentless war on Texas, burning
and destroying the homes and property of the
settlers, of course with the deadly horrors of their
mode of warfare, and promising them, under the
instructions of Gen. Filisola first, and his successor,
Gen. Valentino Canalizo, secondly, protection
under the Mexican government and fee simple
rights to the respective territories occupied by
them. He sent communications to the generals
named, and also to Manuel Flores, in Matamoros,
charged with diplomatic duties, towards the Indians
of Texas, urging Flores to meet with him for conference
and a more definite understanding.
In the meantime a combination of these lawless
Mexicans and Indians committed depredations on
the settlements to such a degree that Gen. Rusk
raised two hundred volunteers and moved against
them. On the 14th of October, 1838, he arrived at
Fort Houston, and learning that the enemy were in
force at the Kickapoo village (now in Anderson
County), he moved in that direction. At daylight
on the 16th he attacked them and after a short, but
hot engagement, charged them, upon which they
fled with precipitation and were pursued for some
distance. Eleven warriors were left dead, and, of
course, a much larger number were wounded.
Rusk had eleven men wounded, but none killed.
The winter passed without further report from
Cordova, who was, however, exerting all his powers
to unite all the Indian tribes in a destructive warfare
On the 27th of February, 1839, Gen. Canalizo,
who had succeeded Filisola in command at Matamoros,
sent instructions to Cordova, the same in
substance as had already been given to Flores,
detailing the manner of procedure and directing
the pledges and promises to be made to the Indians.
Both instructions embraced messages from Canalizo
to the chiefs of the Caddos, Seminoles, Biloxies,
Cherokees, Kickapoos, Brazos, Tehuacanos and
other tribes, in which he enjoined them to keep
at a goodly distance from the frontier of
the United States,
a policy dictated by fear
of retribution from that country. Of all the
tribes named the Caddos were the only ones
who dwelt along that border and, in consequence
of acts attributed to them, in November, 1838,
Gen. Rusk captured and disarmed a portion of the
tribe and delivered them to their American agent
in Shreveport, where they made a treaty, promising
pacific behavior until peace should be made
between Texas and the remainder of their people.
CORDOVA EN ROUTE TO MATAMOROS.
In his zeal to confer directly with Flores and
Canalizo, Cordova resolved to go in person to
Matamoros. From his temporary ahiding place on
the Upper Trinity, with an escort of about seventyfive
Mexicans, Indians and negroes, be set forth in
March, 1839. On the 27th of that month, his
camp was discovered at the foot of the mountains,
north of and not far from where the city of Austin
now stands. The news was speedily conveyed to
Col. Burleson at Bastrop, and in a little while that
ever-ready, noble and lion-hearted defender of his
country found himself at the head of eighty of his
Colorado neighbors, as reliable and gallant citizen
soldiers as ever existed in Texas. Surmising the
probable route of Cordova, Col. Burleson bore
west till he struck his trail and, finding it but a
few hours old, followed it as rapidly as his horses
could travel till late in the afternoon of the
29th, when his scouts reported Cordova near
by, unaware of the danger in his rear. Burleson
increased his pace and came up with the enemy in
an open body of post oaks about six miles east, or
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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas, book, 1880~; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/m1/71/?rotate=270: accessed January 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .