The Way The Panhandle Was...It was the beginning of the Red River Wars- (thats when the civil war was over and the government sent the army back to the area called 'Texas', to once again try and stop the mighty Comanche tribe. But why were they stopping them?
Because the new settlers came to Texas:
An then they quickly returned to the east in smaller numbers.....
Because the Texas tribe "Comanches" said:
"HMMMM.....!! Get out of my backyard....!!!!"
Now its important here to note that Plains Indian Warfare was not just the Indians getting back at the new settlers called "Texans"...
To them this type of warfare was their LIFESTYLE. It was harsh, brutal, eye for an eye, scalp for a scalp "all-out Warfare". It was going on between the tribes before and DURING the time the cavalry was at war with them... and it was something they had honed into an art for hundreds of years. Maybe thousands.
You see, the Comanches had to fight for the land we call Texas. They had to fight off other tribes who inhabited this land because it was the prize.
Yep that's right... This flat land we call a "platter", with nothing in sight but miles of "view", boring as it seems when you return from
New Mexico, or Colorado, or even South Texas... was actually a PRIZE. Why??
Because it was covered with Buffalo. Millions of Buffalo.
Some herds having as many as 5 million head.
That reminds me of my little buffalo sculpture.. I made it from a red rock that I found in P.D. canyon... (no dremel tools)
The Comanche tribe, you see, was a Texas-sized tribe. They were business-men of their time.
They had women tanning hides of buffalo constantly. They were in the fur trading business. Big-time fur trading.
They were also in the horse-trading business.
Horse trading business...???
They were in it. And in fact, they were THE tribe to which all other tribes went for their horses. Why...? Because the Comanches had the grasslands. And horses graze grass. And they were the best at training horses. They traded them already trained for more goods. And..
The Comanche tribe with all of its different bands, from north to south and from east to west Texas, were possibly the greatest
horsemen to ever live...
This picture below demonstrates how, without a saddle, the Comanches were very adept at sliding to the side of their horse in order to "hide" from the enemy fire. All the while they were holding their weapons, which usually included a 10 to 14 foot lance. They kept one foot on their horses' back to do this. And it was done usually with the horse at full gallup.. a real feat!
I have drawn several of these
"Possibly the greatest light-cavalry in the world, once given a pistol..." This is quoted by a worldly man from Europe, who saw them fighting(on horseback no less) with his own eyes back in the day. Makes me sick that there weren't video cameras back then....
The Comanches were so good on horseback in fact, that none other than THE "Texas Rangers" based their fighting style on these very same Comanches. What???????????? Why haven't we heard that before? Someone left that out of our History lessons...
Basically, the Texas Rangers were formed to fight off Indian attacks. But guess what? The first time they went to fight the Comanches, they got OFF their horses to fight! Definitely the WRONG thing to do if Comanches were mounted..!
Needless to say, they didn't fare too well that day, although they did have better weapons.
But from that day forward, the Rangers began to learn from the Comanches, and began learning to fight from horseback. They were riding slower horses however, and their skills were no match for the Indians trained practically since birth... and they still had a hard time winning any battles against them even after getting a new pistol called a "Colt".
But horses were also how you survived out here on the plains. And Quanah, the Comanche Chief, knew that if he stole all of MacKenzie's horses, on the night they had invaded his homeland, that he would have easily been able to cut down the whole 4th Cavalry the next day. This would have been the "Custer Story" had it worked out the way Quanah Parker had planned.. It would have been famous. And so would've Quanah. All 25 years of him...
In fact they may have wandered off and died on their own without horses.
Pretty darned smart for such a young chief..
So on that fateful night, sometime after midnight, Quanah took some of his men and they snuck over to MacKenzie's camp..
They rode straight into the middle of The camp of the 4th Infantry. This was suicide by all modern standards.
Firing guns, whoops and hollers (that only a well trained Indian warrior could muster up at night), and the sound of hundreds of hooves moved through the darkness as the Comanches raided their camp and struck terror in the heart of every one of MacKenzie's men...
The soldiers saved most of their horses luckily, but Quanah still made off with 60 to 70 steeds.
Including Col. MacKenzie's very own grey pacer...! It must've been a humiliating moment for him.
Can you imagine being the Colonel, taking a horse from one of your men the next morning, and then sending him packing back to base-camp on foot...?
It was only about FIFTY miles back down the trail. (poor guy) But at least he was not unaccompanied.. he was with 66 or so of his own men who had to be sent packing it back on foot like him.. Thanks to: These warriors in black war-paint:
" QUANAH AND THE NIGHT RAIDERS "
Night raids were a staple of the plains tribes. They accquired horses, slaves(for working on buffalo hides-usually women who may even become a potential 2nd wife) These raids were carried out in modern day Mexico every summer. The historians say that there were many more Mexicans killed during these raids, than Texans... but I'm not sure if anyone has the statistics. Remember, horses were the same as money to the natives, and this is why there were lots of horses stolen.
Stealing horses at night in Mexico may have been as easy as taking candy from a baby..
If it were me, I would go take their horses in broad daylight, when they were taking a "siesta"...!
These raids were done during the full moon.But the early Texans had a different name for it...
Out of fear of being attacked in a Comanche night raid, full moon was commonly referred to as - "Comanche Moon".
Thanks for reading my blog.! Texas Artist-Randy Friemel