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.

Gonzales March 3rd 1829

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 our men who were on tired horses and intirely behind us—this put the men in confusion, and the indians having made a bold charge upon us with a hot fire—in order to cover their own men who were then securing their horses—John and Andrew Tumlinson who had tied their horses in the edge of the same thicket where the Indians were, got almost surrounded one of their horses being slightly hit by a ball, broke a way and joined our horses the other horse being tied with two hard knots, was siezed by an Indian in a few Steps of John T, whose gun would not fire—the Indian untied the ho[r]se which got frightened at him; broke loose and Joined our company the Indians followed those men a few yards and stopt, two of whom were shot down by our men They then retreated in to their thicket, carrying off their dead—we were not able to charge in to their hold without great loss, as they were too superior in number—therefore we took our stand in the fork of a small creek in their view in order to draw them out—where we could be Sheltered by a few muskeet trees; where we remained for some time, but without any attack— we then with drew Slowly for a few hundred yards when we discovered them in full chase on horse back—we then took our stand and drove them with the loss of two more of their number; it then being after dark we Struck our course for home; as I did not wish to hazard the lives of any the Citizen on such unequal grounds; for we were compelled to fight them at a place of [their] own selection; and which was almost impenetreble.

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]

Col Stephen F Austin