Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown. Page: 77 of 894



Mississippi Confederate General who was killed in
some sort of personal difficulty a year or two years
ago. Michael Chavallier, subsequently distinguished
as a Texas ranger, drew his maiden sword in this
fight. Maj. Henry W. Augustine, of San Augustine,
was severely wounded in it. Charles A. Ogsbury,
now of Cuero, was a gallant member of Capt. Ownsby's
Company. John H. Reagan,* then a youth,
recently arrived in the country, was in the hottest of
the engagement, and now sits in the Senate of the
United States. David Rusk, standing six feet six

in his stocking feet, was there, as valiant as on San
Jacinto's field. The ever true, ever cool and ever
fearless Burleson covered himself with glory and by
his side rode the stately and never faltering chief,
Capt. Placido, who would have faced "devils and
demons dire" rather than forsake his friend and
beau ideal of warriors, "Col. Woorleson," as he
always pronounced the name.
I cannot give a list of casualties, but the
number of wounded was large
of killed

Burleson's Christmas Fight in 1839
Death of Chiefs John
Bowles and the " Egg."

After the double defeat of the Cherokees in East
Texas, in the battle of July 16th and 17th, the
whereabouts of those Indians was unknown for a
considerable time. Doubtless a considerable portion
of them sought and found refuge among their
kindred on the north side of the Arkansas, where
Texas had long desired them to be. The death of
their great chief, Col. Bowles, or "The Bowl," as
his people designated him
the man who had been
their Moses for many years-had divided their
counsels and scattered them. But a considerable
body remained intact under the lead of the younger
chiefs, John Bowles, son of the deceased, and
"The Egg." In the autumn of 1839, these, with
their followers, undertook to pass across the country,
above the settlements, into Mexico, from which
they could harass our Northwestern frontier with
impunity and find both refuge and protection
beyond the Rio Grande and among our national
At that time it happened that Col. Edward Burleson,
then of the regular army, with a body of
regulars, a few volunteers and Lipan and Toncahua
Indians as scouts,was on a winter campaign against
the hostile tribes in the upper country, between the
Brazos and the Colorado rivers.
On the evening of December 23d, 1839, when
about twenty-five miles (easterly) from Pecan
bayou, the scouts reported the discovery of a large
trail of horses and cattle, bearing south towards
* Since above was written, resigned from United
States Senate, and is now a member of the Texas State
Railroad Commission.

the Colorado river. On the following day Col. Burleson
changed his course and followed the trail.
On the morning of the 25th, Christmas day, the
scouts returned and reported an encampment of
Indians about twelve miles distant, on the west
bank of the Colorado and about three miles below
the mouth of the San Saba. (This was presumably
the identical spot from which Capts. Kuykendall
and Henry S. Brown drove the Indians ten years
before in 1829.)
Fearing discovery if he waited for a night attack,
Col. Burleson determined to move forward as
rapidly as possible, starting at 9 a. m. By great
caution and the cunning of his Indian guides he
succeeded in crossing the river a short distance
above the encampment without being discovered.
When discovered within a few hundred yards of
the camp, a messenger met them and proposed a
parley. Col. Burleson did not wish to fire if they
would surrender; but perceiving their messenger
was being detained, the Indians opened a brisk
fire from a ravine in rear of their camp, which was
promptly returned by Company B. under Capt.
Clendenin, which formed under cover of some
trees and fallen timber; while the remainder of the
command moved to the right in order to flank their
left or surround them; but before this could be
executed, our advance charged and the enemy
gave way, and a running fight took place for two
miles, our whole force pursuing. Favored by a
rocky precipitous ravine, and a dense cedar brake,
the warriors chiefly escaped, but their loss was
great. Among the seven warriors left dead on
the field were the Chiefs John Bowles and "The

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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown., book, [1880]; Austin, Tex.. ( accessed May 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; .