At dawn Lieutenant Robert Carter and 5 troopers took up the raiders' trail. They were joined by Captain Heel and ten of his men. Spotting some of the Indians, they gave chase, only to be led into a well-planned ambush. They quickly found themselves facing approximately 70 Comanche warriors lined up at the foot of a mesa, waiting for them.
They had ridden into a hornet’s nest.
The soldiers formed into a dismounted skirmish line and began firing at the now screaming, charging swarm of Indians using their Spencer 7-shot repeating carbines. The carbine fire temporarily stopped the onslaught, when, to Lt. Carter’s surprise, Captain Hey and his ten men, all green recruits, broke and ran, leaving Lt. Carter and his 5 troopers to face the Comanches alone.
Carter remounted his men and began a tactical retreat, firing and falling back towards the camp some three miles distant.
Two troopers and several horses were wounded when suddenly a small band of Comanches broke off from the main attack and charged straight at Trooper Gregg, whose exhausted horse was about to collapse.
Quanah himself was in the lead and shot Gregg in the head at point-blank range, killing him. Wheeling their horses, the Indians broke off their attack and retreated toward the mesa. They had seen the dust of Mackenzie’s command riding to the rescue in a scene straight out of a John Wayne movie.
Lt. Robert Carter was awarded the medal of honor for organizing an effective defense and showing great courage under fire.
Click below to watch the recording of the unveiling on July 2nd, 2021. Researcher Todd Smith, who discovered the site of the battle, and the artist Ron Kil share the process of their work.
Crosby County Pioneer Memorial Museum
101 West Main Street Crosbyton, TX 79322US
Copyright © 2019-2022 museum - All Rights Reserved. Website content: Melinda R. Cagle, Rachel Taylor, Ana Lowry. Photo Credits: Rachel Taylor, Melinda R. Cagle, Ana Lowry.
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