Battle of Plum Creek


Battle of Plum Creek

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Plum Creek
partof=the Indian Wars
date=August 12, 1840
place=Lockhart, Texas
result=Texas Victory
combatant1=Texan Rangers Militia
combatant2=Comanche all bands
commander1=Matthew Caldwell Edward Burleson
commander2=Buffalo Hump but effective control of the war party had broken down
strength1=approximately 200
strength2=Unknown, but the best guesses are 1000 in the war party, including women and children
casualties1=at least 30 killed at Victoria and Linnville, and 11 at Plum Creek
casualties2=Unknown; 12 bodies recovered, Texans claimed 87 killed at Plum Creek

The Battle of Plum Creek was a clash between militia and Rangers of the Republic of Texas and a huge Comanche war party under Chief Buffalo Hump, which took place near Lockhart, Texas on August 12, 1840, following the Great Raid of 1840 as the Comanche war party returned back to West Texas. [The Comanche Barrier to South Plains Settlement: A Century and a Half of Savage Resistance to the Advancing White Frontier. Arthur H. Clarke Co. 1933.]

Background

Following the Council House Fight of 1840 a group of Comanches led by the Penateka Comanche War Chief Buffalo Hump, warriors from his own band plus allies from various other Comanche bands, raided from West Texas all the way to the coast and the sea. [The Comanche Barrier to South Plains Settlement: A Century and a Half of Savage Resistance to the Advancing White Frontier. Arthur H. Clarke Co. 1933.] These Comanches were angered by the events of the Council House, in which Texans had killed Comanche Chiefs who had come to talk under a flag of truce.

The Council House Fight

:"Main article Council House Fight".

The Texan officials began the treaty talks with demands that the Comanche considered it impossible, including that the Comanche return all white prisoners. This included people such as Cynthia Parker, who were with bands of the Comanche not represented at the talks. The Texans certainly knew that many of the captives were in the hands of bands not represented at the talks, and thus that these captives would not be able to be returned. [http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/LL/btl1.html] The Comanche chiefs at the meeting had brought in one captive, a severely mutilated adolescent girl named Matilda Lockhart, to show good faith, and had others available for return. When they could not, and would not, return all captives immediately, the Texas militia threatened to hold the chiefs hostage. The chiefs drew their weapons. The militia in hiding then threw open the doors, and began firing in at the astonished Comanches. Fighting back with only their knives, the Comanches were killed or taken prisoner. [The Comanches: Lords of the Southern Plains. University of Oklahoma Press. 1952.]

The Great Raid of 1840

:"Main article Great Raid of 1840".

But Buffalo Hump was determined to do more than merely complain about what the Comanches viewed as a bitter betrayal. Spreading word to the other bands of Comanches that he was raiding the white settlements in revenge, Buffalo Hump led the Great Raid of 1840. On this raid the Comanches went all the way from beyond the Edwards Plateau in West Texas to the cities of Victoria and Linnville on the Texas coast. In what may have been the largest organized raid by the Comanches to that point on Texas settlements, or an attack by Indians on any white city in the continental United States, [The Comanches: Lords of the Southern Plains. University of Oklahoma Press. 1952.] they raided and burned these towns, plundering at will. Linnville was the second largest port in Texas at that time. On the way back from the sea the Comanches were attacked by Texas Rangers and militia at the battle of Plum Creek near Lockhart.

The Battle of Plum Creek

The "battle" was really more of a running gun fight, as the Comanche War Party was trying to get back to the Llano Estacado with a huge herd of horses they had stolen, a large store of weapons, and other plunder such as mirrors, liquor, and cloth. [http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/LL/btl1.html] Volunteers from Gonzales under Matthew Caldwell and from Bastrop under Ed Burleson gathered to attempt to stop the war party and together with all the Ranger companies in central and east Texas, moved to intercept the Indians, which they did at Good's Crossing at Plum Creek, near the modern town of Lockhart (about 27 miles south of Austin). [The Comanches: Lords of the Southern Plains. University of Oklahoma Press. 1952.] Texas history says the Rangers won this battle, although the Indians got away with a great many of the stolen horses and most of their plunder. However, 80 Comanches were reported killed in the running gun battle, unusually heavy casualties for the Indians (although the Texans only recovered 12 bodies). [http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/LL/btl1.html] The reality is that greed determined this battle. The Comanches would have never been caught had they not been herding an enormous number of captured, and heavily laden, mules. Equally, the Texas militia discovered stolen bullion on recaptured mules, and subsequently went home. [http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/LL/btl1.html]

Aftermath

Buffalo Hump continued to raid white settlements until 1856, when he led his band into the Brazos River Reservation. The town of Linnville never recovered from the Great Raid, most of its residents moving to Port Lavaca, the new settlement established on the bay three and one half miles southwest by displaced Linnville residents.

Online sources

*Buffalo Hump [http://www.texasindians.com/comhump.htm]
*Battle of Plum Creek [http://www.lsjunction.com/events/plumcrek.htm]

References


* Bial, Raymond. "Lifeways: The Comanche". New York: Benchmark Books, 2000.
* Brice, Donaly E. "The Great Comanche Raid: Boldest Indian Attack on the Texas Republic" McGowan Book Co. 1987
* "Comanche" [http://www.gbso.net/Skyhawk/comanche.htm Skyhawks Native American Dedication] (August 15, 2005)
* [http://www.historychannel.com/thcsearch/thc_resourcedetail.do?encyc_id=206146 "Comanche" on the History Channel] (August 26, 2005)
* Lodge, Sally." Native American People: The Comanche". Vero Beach, Florida 32964: Rourke Publications, Inc., 1992.
* Lund, Bill. "Native Peoples: The Comanche Indians". Mankato, Minnesota: Bridgestone Books, 1997.
* Mooney, Martin. "The Junior Library of American Indians: The Comanche Indians". New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1993.
* [http://www.nativeamericans.com/Comanche.htm Native Americans: Comanche] (August 13, 2005).
* Richardson, Rupert N. "The Comanche Barrier to South Plains Settlement: A Century and a Half of Savage Resistance to the Advancing White Frontier". Glendale, CA: Arthur H. Clark Company, 1933.
* Rollings, Willard. "Indians of North America: The Comanche". New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1989.
* Secoy, Frank. "Changing Miliitary Patterns on the Great Plains". Monograph of the American Ethnoligical Society, No. 21. Locust Valley, NY: J. J. Augustin, 1953.
* Streissguth, Thomas. "Indigenous Peoples of North America: The Comanche". San Diego: Lucent Books Incorporation, 2000.
* [http://www.texasindians.com/comanche.htm "The Texas Comanches" on Texas Indians] (August 14, 2005).
* Wallace, Ernest, and E. Adamson Hoebel. "The Comanches: Lords of the Southern Plains". Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1952.


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