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Savage Frontier Volume III 1840-1841

Rangers, Riflemen, and Indian Wars in Texas

Stephen L. Moore

Publication Year: 2002

This third volume of the Savage Frontier series focuses on the evolution of the Texas Rangers and frontier warfare in Texas during the years 1840 and 1841. Comanche Indians were the leading rival to the pioneers during this period. Peace negotiations in San Antonio collapsed during the Council House Fight, prompting what would become known as the Great Comanche Raid in the summer of 1840. Stephen L. Moore covers the resulting Battle of Plum Creek and other engagements in new detail. Rangers, militiamen, and volunteers made offensive sweeps into West Texas and the Cross Timbers area of present Dallas-Fort Worth. During this time Texass Frontier Regiment built a great military road, roughly parallel to modern Interstate 35. Moore also shows how the Colt repeating pistol came into use by Texas Rangers. Finally, he sets the record straight on the battles of the legendary Captain Jack Hays. Through extensive use of primary military documents and first-person accounts, Moore provides a clear view of life as a frontier fighter in the Republic of Texas. The reader will find herein numerous and painstakingly recreated muster rolls, as well as casualty lists and a compilation of 1841 rangers and minutemen. For the exacting historian or genealogist of early Texas, the Savage Frontier series is an indispensable resource on early nineteenth-century Texas frontier warfare.

Published by: University of North Texas Press

Title page, copyright Page

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Contents

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pp. v-vii

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Prologue

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pp. ix-xii

The first two volumes of Savage Frontier traced the evolution of the Texas Rangers during the revolution and in the post-revolutionary period, during which ranging companies began to operate within formal militia brigades. Other military forces on the Texas frontiers during the period of 1835–1839 included army, militiamen ...

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CHAPTER 1. THE COMANCHES

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pp. 1-20

Four unknown riders made their approach to the outskirts of San Antonio as the sun set low into the afternoon sky. Three wore the accoutrements of Comanche Indians––breechclout, leggings, moccasins, and buffalo skin robes to ward off the cool winter air. The fourth horse bore a small young captive, secured to his horse ...

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CHAPTER 2. THE COUNCIL HOUSE FIGHT

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pp. 21-34

On the morning of March 19, two Comanche runners entered San Antonio and announced the arrival of a party of sixty-five men, women, and children. This peace party included many chiefs and warriors, plus one old man and about thirty-two women and children. The only prisoner they brought along, however, was one ...

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CHAPTER 3. SPRING EXPEDITIONS

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pp. 35-76

Nine days after their Council House losses, a war party of at least two hundred Comanches rode down to San Antonio on March 28 looking for a fight. Chief Isomania, veteran of an earlier fight with frontiersman Jack Hays, boldly came into town with another Comanche. ...

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CHAPTER 4. THE GREAT COMANCHE RAID

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pp. 77-96

The Comanches of central Texas were stirred up to a fever pitch. They had not forgotten how their chiefs had been killed in San Antonio in March. They had tried to provoke a fight in the week after the Council House affair, but the Texas soldiers had refused to fight them on account of the temporary truce. Captain ...

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CHAPTER 5. "IF WE CAN’T WHIP 'EM, WE CAN TRY"

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pp. 97-128

Ben McCulloch was determined to organize a group of men who would aggressively seek out a fight. As he neared Gonzales, he dispatched Alsey Miller to find Captain Mathew Caldwell, who was returning with a group of men from chasing other Indians.1 Arch Gibson, also dispatched as a courier by McCulloch ...

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CHAPTER 6. MOORE’S COMANCHE VILLAGE RAID

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pp. 129-158

General Huston arrived back in Austin on Friday, August 14. Colonel Burleson’s Bastrop volunteers returned home several days later, on August 17. Burleson brought in a “magnificent Comanche cap” from the fight, presenting it to his old San Jacinto buddy GeorgeW. Bonnell, the editor of the Texas Sentinel ...

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CHAPTER 7. THE GREAT MILITARY ROAD

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pp. 159-178

On the night following John Henry Moore’s assault on the Colorado River Comanche camp, the settlement of Franklin in Robertson County endured its first ever Indian depredation. Although Indians had passed through this community, the November 7, 1840, edition of the Austin Sentinel noted this to be ...

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CHAPTER 8. THE NEW FRONTIER "MINUTEMEN"

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pp. 179-218

The December 26, 1840, legislation to raise three small companies of rangers was one of the acts most quickly followed up on. Within six days, Captain John Coffee Hays had been elected to command a company that would operate out of San Antonio. Although already a veteran frontiersman, Hays had never ...

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CHAPTER 9. THE LEWIS EXPEDITION

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pp. 219-234

Although George Dolson’s Travis County Minutemen had been the first new county rangers to find a fight, it was the Robertson County Minutemen who would most consistently find action during 1841. The commander, Captain Eli Chandler, was an old-timer in the ranging system. He had served with ...

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CHAPTER 10. THE VILLAGE CREEK EXPEDITION

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pp. 235-252

The present Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex area was a hotbed of Indian expeditions conducted by militia and ranger forces during 1841. General Morehouse’s early spring expedition to the Trinity was soon followed up by another large militia force from the Red River settlements under General Edward H. Tarrant. ...

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CHAPTER 11. "ACTIVE AND ENERGETIC MEASURES"

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pp. 253-278

Edward Tarrant was not satisfied with the result of the Village Creek expedition. Immediately upon returning to the settlements, he began working to raise another, larger force to return to the area of the Cross Timbers near present Fort Worth. General James Smith, a gallant warrior of the Creek War under General Andrew Jackson, was commander of the Third ...

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CHAPTER 12. THE GULF COAST MINUTEMEN

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pp. 279-308

Stephen Dincans and his two fellow rangers found themselves on a very lonely vigil in a remote area of Texas. Members of Captain John Price’s Victoria rangers had gone into service on January 3, 1841, just days ahead of Jack Hays’ San Antonio rangers. His small ranger unit had scouted continually between ...

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CHAPTER 13. "BRAVO TOO MUCH"

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pp. 309-340

Captain George Erath apparently bought into the philosophy that the best defense is a good offense. Involved with the Texas Rangers since 1835, he had learned early the value of keeping mounted patrols in the field. ...

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CHAPTER 14. ENCHANTED ROCK AND BIRD’S FORT

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pp. 341-356

After operating with as many as forty-five men in August 1841, Captain Jack Hays trimmed his B

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Afterword

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pp. 357-360

Captain Jack Hays had certainly become a role model in frontier fighting during 1841. He was respected by his peers and feared by his enemies. His rangers and minutemen were effective in quelling any threat, and with the Colt repeating revolver slowly making its way into their hands, the Texas Rangers would ...

APPENDIX A. Texan Casualties of the Frontier Indian Wars, 1840–41

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pp. 361-362

APPENDIX B. Roster of 1841 Rangers and County Minutemen by Units

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pp. 363-372

Notes

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pp. 373-398

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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pp. 399-404

Index

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pp. 405-436


E-ISBN-13: 9781574413885
Print-ISBN-13: 9781574412284

Page Count: 448
Illustrations: 42 b&w illus., 4 maps
Publication Year: 2002

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Subject Headings

  • Texas -- Politics and government -- 1836-1846.
  • Indians of North America -- Wars -- Texas.
  • Texas Rangers -- History.
  • Indians of North America -- Texas -- Government relations.
  • Frontier and pioneer life -- Texas -- History.
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