From FB - The Comanches- Lords of the Plains Part 5:
From a425couple@21:1/5 to All on Thu Oct 22 09:27:46 2020
Joe CreadenThe Order of the Indian Wars
The Comanches- Lords of the Plains Part 5:
Quanah Parker "Tell the White Chiefs the Kwahadies Are Warriors"
In the early 1860's the Civil War not only stripped the forts of U.S.
soldiers, but also sent about 60,000 Texans into the Confederate Army,
leaving about 27,000 men to defend the entire state. The Comanches and
Kiowas turned central Texas into a disaster area. Settlers were killed
and their settlements reduced ruins. However, the Comanches had never
replaced the losses they had suffered in the cholera epidemic in 1849
and the Texas Ranger attacks that followed it. In 1867 the U.S.
Government called a grand peace council with the Indians of the southern
plains at Medicine Lodge Creek, Kansas. Many chiefs were willing to
listen and were eager for the gifts that went with the talks. The
Kwahadies and the Kotsotekas two of the strongest Comanche bands,
disdained the peace talks and sent no representatives.
Over a period of two weeks the peace commissioners presented their plans
for the Comanches, Kiowas, Arapahoes, and Cheyennes: the tribes were to
cede their lands, go to a reservation in Indian territory, and accept government guarantees. Ten Bears and nine other chiefs, more out of
weariness than hope or conviction, signed the treaty. In debate over the
treaty among the Comanches Quanah declared "My band is not going to live
on the reservation. Tell the white chiefs that the Kwahadies are
warriors." So the Kwahadies continued their fierce raiding and they
would be attacked with a special fervor for breaking a treaty they had
never agreed to.
As Quanah was leading many raids, the rest of the Comanches went to
the reservations. They soon became embittered by the government rations,
the agents trying to teach them farming, and the intrusion of whites and eastern Indians who stole their livestock. Before the decade was out
many Comanches were leading a double life: languishing on the
reservation through the winter, then leaving in the spring to hunt
buffalo and do some raiding with the holdout bands.
In September of 1871 the Army sent the 30 year old Colonel Randall
Mackenzie to invade the Staked Plains of the Comanches. Mackenzie and
his men fought and pursued the Comanches led by Quanah into October. The
Army was finally stopped on October 12th by a howling blizzard. It was a dismaying end to a frustrating mission, but Mackenzie learned valuable
lessons about the Comanches and their highland refuge. By March of 1872 Mackenzie was back in the field again hunting the Comanches and the New Mexican traders who were supplying them with repeating rifles in
exchange for stolen Texas cattle. Later in the year Mackenzie defeated
the Kotsotekas at McClellan Creek at the edge of the Staked Plains. For
awhile even the Kwahadies curtailed their raiding for fear of
retribution; but in June of 1873 the Kwahadies resumed their raiding and
they were pursued by Mackenzie again, and he kept the Comanches on the
run. By 1874 white buffalo hunters showed up on the Texas plains in
great numbers threatening the Indians food supply. In June of 1874
Quanah and his warriors attacked the buffalo hunters at Adobe Walls (we
posted on this battle previously) and were defeated.
After Adobe Walls, the Indians scattered and vented their fury in wide
ranging attacks across the plains from Texas to Colorado. The vengeful
orgy was so violent the Washington sent out an ultimatum informing the
tribes that all Indians who did not enroll at the reservation by August
3rd would be attacked as hostiles. On September 28th Mackenzie attacked
the Comanches at Palo Duro Canyon and defeated them (another battle we previously posted on.) After this battle, groups of Comanches and Kiowas
began surrendering with the onset of the cold weather. Not until April
of 1875 did the first Kwahadies straggle into the reservation, half
starved and ill clad. Still, Quanah and some 400 of his people continued
to hold out. (to be continued- Part 6 Quanah Parker: A Second Life)
Sources: "Empire of the Summer Moon" by S.C. Gwynne and "The Great
Chiefs" Time Life Books, text by Benjamin Capps.
Photos: Google Images