Green DeWitt to Stephen F Austin, 03-03-1829
Summary: Reporting depredations of Indians in his settlement and battle with Tahuacanas. Recommends appointment of Rangers to patrol the frontier.
Dr Sir The indians have been commiting such outrages on the
people of this colony, by killing a few hogs and stealing one horse;
and robed the camp of some men who were sawing some plank 3
miles above this place on the Guadalupe River—the hogs were stolen
below—on the River, by the Tankawas—, horse was stolen by the
cados and taken from them again on the waters of the St Marcus by
a party of 19 men which I sent after them, the Camp above
mentioned was robed by the Tawaccanies—of about $100 worth of
Tools— I sent a party of men out to find their course—after a
march of 4 days on foot—they returned and reported that there were
four in number—when they commited the theft, but were joined by
about 25 more at the Cappoto—and bent their course for LaBahia,
and crossed the San Antonio road 24 miles west of this place—I
raised a party of 17 men besides myself and followed them within
about 15 miles of LaBahia finding on their trail parts of saws which
they had broken which convinced us they were the same indians
there they had fallen in with a bout 40 more who had been encamped
there during the last Storm, on that evening we struck their trail
on their way from LaBahia with a Caviard of a bout 50 horses.—I
put three spies ahead with orders to report should they see any
Indians in a bout one hour, one of the spies discovered an Indian—
riding down from a prairie hill; when he broke in to full speed
without reporting what he had seen—he was too far ahead to hear me
when I ordered him to keep order—consequently he went on and
those who had good horses went on—others whose horses were tired
were a mile behind—when I arrived there were five men on the
ground—and them scatered for the distance of two hundred yards—
I ordered them to form in a small bunch of muskeet trees in about
100 yards of the Indian horses—4 men besides myself formed there—
when Capt McCoy who was in the rear of me order a retreat to
better ground, and reported that the Indians were a bout to cut off
I have given you this detail of the affair precisely as it was
tra[n]sacted, in order to show you we were not the agressers, but
were persuing our property and were fired upon first by themselves.
Your Old friend Don G. Flores was robed of his horses between
this and San Antonio and went home on foot as I am informed—.
I have received information from Bexar—that the Indians have
stolen a great many horses from that place and that there are 200
Soldiers now in persuit of them. The fact is I believe the Caddos
Wacos Comanches and Tawaccanies are all concerned in the affair;
and unless there is some precaution taken they will harrass the
people on the frontiers of both of these Colonies; and the only means
will be to keep troops of some discription on the alert from the
Colorado to the Guadalupe, and thence to San Antonia which would
be the means of giving information of their approach and put people
on their guard so that they could protect them selves and property.
I would wish you to take these things in to consideration; and should
you approve of the measure—use your influence to affect it, either
by a Company of Rangers, or the public troops which would be a
great security to the people of San Antonia and LaBahia as well
as to American Settlements.
I have addressed a short note to the Alcalde at San Felipe on the subject of the expected election at this place which is very much wished for and needed as well for the Organization of the Militia as that of a civil officer in this place which I hope you will urge as soon as possible, as our Safety greatly depends on a well Organized Militia.
Our place is strenghening fast, Mr. Lockhart has arrived in the Bay of Aransas—with 55 souls men women and Children bound for this place; he himself has been up and returned to the Bay with Waggons Carts and horses for their transportation; and will arrive in a few days— I would be happy to hear from you; often and get the news of the day, and have your opinion on the best means and measures in case the Indians should prove hostile.
G. DeWitt [Rubric]