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Lamar's Efforts to Protect the Frontier

meantime, the beeves escaped owing to the negligence of the guard. Deciding not to wait for the quartermaster to furnish another supply of beeves, Cooke left orders behind for Captain John Holliday to join him with the beeves whenever they were obtained and pushed on to the Brazos, arriving at the Waco Village on September 17, where he remained until the quartermaster came up with the supplies.[48] 

Upon the arrival of the beeves and other necessities, Cooke proceeded with his men toward the Trinity, making slow progress of from six to eight miles a day, because of having to cross numerous creek bottoms with wagons pulled by mules in poor condition. Owing to the dryness of the season the men were forced to camp several times without water. Finding Chambers Creek dry, some ten or fifteen of the men went back upon the trail for water and, contrary to orders, without their muskets. They were ambushed by a party of Indians and five of their number killed.

That night, while the main party camped near Chambers Creek, a severe norther blew up, and the cattle stampeded and were never recovered although every exertion was made to find them. "They were probably driven away by the Indians," who prowled about Texan camps from the Brazos to the Trinity. The loss of the beeves left the troops "entirely without provisions," except for sugar and coffee, no corn having been taken upon the expedition.

From Little River to the Brazos, Cooke's men found buffalo in abundance, and also for several days after leaving Chambers Creek; but as they approached the Trinity the game became scarce, and before they could reach the main bottom of the river the men were forced to subsist for several days on dogs, mules, and horses.[49]  Too far from the settlements now to turn back with the wagons and sick men, the expedition moved on toward the settlements on the Sulphur Fork of Red River, a distance of two days' ride or five days' march. Lieutenant Colonel Adam Clendennin was left on the west side of the Trinity with the wagons, some twenty horses and mules, the sick, and a guard of forty men.

Five days after leaving the Trinity, Colonel Cooke's men struck a thicket which their guide said was the headwaters of the Sabine. Five days were required to cut a path through the thicket. They then struck

48. William G. Cooke to B. T. Archer, Secretary of War, [dated:] Camp on Bois d'Arc, Nov. 14, 1840, in Texas Congress, Journals of the House of Representatives, Fifth Congress, Appendix, pp. 325-327.

49. Ibid.

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AFTER SAN JACINTO: The Texas-Mexican Frontier, 1836-1841
Joseph Milton Nance, 1963