Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown. Page: 79 of 894



and ordered "To horse," and a rapid march in
the direction the Indians had gone, leaving two
men in the fort as guard. In about four miles
they came in view of fifteen or twenty Indians and
chased without overhauling them. The enemy
were well mounted and could easily elude them,
but seemed only to avoid gun-shot distance, and
continued at a moderate speed on the same course,
through the broken prairie. Now and then, a single
lndian would dart off in advance of his comrades
and disappear, and after pursuing them some
four or five miles small parties of well mounted
Indians would frequently appear and join the first
body; but still the retreat and the pursuit were
After traveling some twelve miles in this way,
through the prairie, the Indian force had been materially
augmented, and they halted and formed on
the summit of a high ridge. Bird immediately
ordered a charge, which was firmly met by the
enemy and they came into close quarters and hot
work. As they mingled with the Indians on the
elevated ridge, one of Bird's men, pointing to the
next ridge beyond, sang out: "Look yonder,
boys! What a crowd of Indians! " and the little
band of forty-five men beheld several hundred
mounted warriors advancing at full speed. They
immediately surrounded our men and poured a
heavy fire among them. The intrepid Weaver
directed Capt. Bird's attention to a ravine two hundred
yards distant and at the base of the hill, as an
advantageous position. Bird, preserving the utmost
composure amid the shower of bullets and
arrows, ordered his men to dismount, and leading
their horses in solid column, to cut their way down
to the position named.
Cutting their way as best they could, they reached
the head of the little ravine and made a lodgment
for both men and horses, but a man named H. M.
C. Hall, who had persisted in remaining on his
horse, was mortally wounded in dismounting on
the bank. This ravine was in the open prairie with
a ridge gradually ascending from its head and on
either side, reaching the principal elevations at
from two hundred and fifty to three hundred
yards. For about eighty yards the ravine had
washed out into a channel, and then expanded
into a flat surface. Such localities are common
in the rolling prairies of Texas. The party
lhaving thus secured this, the only defensible point
within their reach, the enemy collected to the
number of about six hundred on the ridge, stripped
for battle and hoisted a beautiful flag of blue and
red, perhaps the trophy of some precious victory.
Sounding a whistle they mounted and at a gentle

and beautifully regular gallop in single file, they
commenced encircling Bird and his little band,
using their shields with great dexterity. Passing
round the head of the ravine then turning in front
of the Texian line, at about thirty yards
a trial
always the most critical to men attacked by superior
numbers, and one, too, that created among
Bird's men a death-like silence and doubtless tested
every nerve -the leading chief saluted them with:
"How do you do? IHow do you do? " repeated
by a number of his followers. At that moment,
says one of the party, my heart rose to my throat
and I felt like I could outrun a race-horse and I
thought all the rest felt just as I did. But, just as
the chief had repeated the salutation the third time,
William Winkler, a Dutchman, presented his rifle
with as much self-composure as if he had been
shooting a beef, at the same time responding: " I
dosh tolerably well; how dosh you do, God tam
you! " He fired, and as the chief fell, he continued:
"Now, how dosh you do, you tam red
rascal! " Not another word had been uttered up to
that moment, but the dare-devil impromptu of the
iron-nerved Winkler operated as an electric battery,
and our men opened on the enemy with loud and
defiant hurrahs-the spell was broken, and not a
man among them but felt himself a hero. Their
first fire, however, from the intensity of the ordeal,
did little execution, and in the charge. Thomas Gay
fell dead in the ditch, from a rifle ball.
Recoiling under the fire, the Indians again formed
on the hill and remained about twenty minutes,
when a second clharge was made in the same order,
but in which they made a complete circuit around
the Texians dealing a heavy fire among them. But
the nerves of the inspirited defenders had now become
steady and their aim was unerring
brought a goodly number of their assailants to the
ground. They paid bitterly for it, however, in the
loss of the fearless Weaver, who received a death
ball in the head, and of Jesse E. Nash, who was
killed by an arrow, while Lieut. Allen and George
W. Hensell were severely wounded and disabled;
and as the enemy fell back a second time, Capt.
Bird jumped on to the bank to encourage his men;
but only to close his career on earth. He was shot
through the heart with an arrow by an Indian at
the extraordinary distance of two hundred yardsthe
best arrow shot known in the annals of Indian
warfare, and one that would seem incredible to
those who are not familiar with their skill in shooting
by elevation.
They were now left without an officer. Nathan
Brookshire, who had served in the Creek war under
Jackson, was the oldest man in the company, and

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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown., book, 1880~; Austin, Tex.. ( accessed November 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; .