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Neal Coldwell, a Gallant Texas Ranger

Published December 2nd, 2014 by Unknown

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[From J. Marvin Hunter’sFrontier Times Magazine, January, 1926]

Captain Neal Coldwell was born in Dade county, Missouri, May 2nd, 1844 and died at his home near Lenten Point, Texas, November 7, 1925. His father, Thomas Coldwell, was a soldier under General Jackson in the War of 1812, and participated in the famous battle of New Orleans, fought on January 18th, 1815. The best sketch of the life of Captain Neal Coldwell, who became famous as a frontiersman and Texas Ranger, is Given in A. J. Sowell's book, "Texas Indian Fighters," and we herewith reproduce the sketch in full:

"In 1850 Thomas Coldwell immigrated to California, going the overland route across the plains. His was quite a large outfit, consisting of five wagons with five yoke of oxen in each, and one spring wagon and ambulance for the members of the family to ride in. Besides this he carried extra horses for the vehicles and 100 head of Missouri cattle. In his pay also as guards, were fifteen men under the command of Captain Stockton.

"This was a long, tedious trip, and fraught with many dangers and hardships. Many Indians were met on the route, but most of them were friendly. Near Carson river, however, one night a hostile band made a raid and stole all of their horses and part of the cattle. Next morning the guards followed them on foot and succeeded in getting the cattle back, but not the horses, and they now had to work oxen to everything. Finally Mr. Coldwell bought several head of horses from some friendly Indians and continued his journey, but was followed and overtaken by another band, who claimed the horses, saying they had been stolen from them by the ones who had sold them. There was no other alternative but to give them up, and the Indians drove them back.

“Neal Coldwell was then but six years of age, but distinctly remembers all of these things, and says one circumstance which made a vivid impression on his mind was crossing the desert, which consumed two days and nights of travel. It was a sandy country with no water on the route, and was strewn with abandoned wagons and other possessions of those who had gone the trail previous. Feather beds had been ripped to save the cloth and the feathers had been scattered promiscuously by the winds across the sandy wastes. He saw men chopping spokes out of wagons wheels for fuel, and yokes and chains were lying in front of abandoned wagons where they had been dropped and the given-out teams carried on to water and grass. These wagons were public property for anyone who was disposed to pick them up, as the owners never returned for them, not being worth a trip back in the deep sand to recover them. The elder Coldwell exchanged wagons several times, finding some he liked better than his own among the hundreds that strewed the desert plain. Twelve miles from Grass Valley an enterprising individual was found by the roadside selling grass and water, the latter at $1 per gallon. The Coldwell family finally reached their destination, and Mr. Coldwell went into the stock business. His cattle were the first Missouri stock to cross the plains, and some of them sold for $150 per head. None but Spanish stock had been here previously. Gold dust was the circulating medium in trade, and each dealer, in whatsoever business he was engaged, had his scales to weigh the gold dust.

"In 1852 the elder Coldwell died, and in 1856 Mrs. Coldwell went back with her family to Tennessee, her native state. Here young Neal Coldwell attended the Black Grove and Newmarket schools until 1850, when his mother with her family came to Texas, and reached Kerr county in 1860.

"In 1862, during the progress of the Civil War, young Coldwell enlisted in the company of Captain Eugene B. Millet, 32nd Texas Cavalry, the regiment commanded by Col. P. C. Wood. Their field of operation was in Louisiana, opposing the invading army under General Banks. He participated in all of the battles and skirmishes, thirty-two in number, with the exception of Mansfield, his last fight being at Yellow Bayou. During one of these battles, while the regiment was under fire and not replying to it, awaiting orders, one man became nervous, and said there was no use talking, he could not stand it, and would have to move back. Sergt. John C. Douglas of Seguin told him to come and stand with him, and he would try to keep him up to the fighting point. He stood for a few minutes until a bucketful of canister shot tore up the ground in front of him, when he wilted again, and Douglas told him to go and he went. Their horses were tied in the rear and this man rode a swayback he called Rainbow. He was a humorous fellow, and telling afterwards of his fight from the battlefield, he said that when he mounted he picked old Rainbow up with his spurs and shook him three times, and when he let him down he fairly flew, only hitting the road in the high places. After the war Captain Coldwell came back to Kerr county and engaged in farming and stockraising.

"In 1875 a frontier battalion was organized to operate against the Indians, and he was appointed captain of Company F. Pat Dolan was first lieutenant, F. C. Nelson, second, and there were seventy-five enlisted men. There were six companies in all, the whole being under the command of Major John B. Jones. Their station (Captain Coldwell's men) was on the headwaters of the Guadalupe River. Their scouting territory embraced the country from the mouth of the Pulliam Prong of the Nueces to the mouth of the South Fork of the Llano, where Junction City now is. Much scouting was done, and with such energy that the Indians were kept in check without any fights, but they came near getting one band. On this occasion George Danner, William Baker and Joe Moss were camped with a wagon four miles east of the Frio Water Hole, hunting game and wild honey. They found a bee cave in a gorge and were robbing it, when they were attracted by the barking of a dog at their wagon on the hill. Climbing out to see what was the matter, they discovered a band of nine Indians who had taken their wagon horses and were driving them off, the dog followed and barking at them. The distance to the Indians was about 600 yards, but Joe Moss had a buffalo gun, and taking a pop at them, he killed one of their horses. The Indians now killed the dog and rode on. At this time Baker was out on a hunt and riding their only remaining horse. When he returned and learned the situation he at once rode to the camp of Captain Coldwell, nine miles distant, and informed him of the presence of the Indians. He set out at once to the scene with thirty men. The trail of the Indians was taken up at 5 o'clock and followed until night. It led south towards the head of the Sabinal river, and the trailing was tedious and slow, being in a timbered country abounding in high grass. The rangers camped on the divide at the head of the river, having no water, and were moving again as soon as the trail could be seen on the following morning. As they turned down into the head of the canyon a belled mare and colt were seen, and had they known the situation here they could have waited and caught the Indians, for the latter had only gone down in the valley to camp by the water, and come back to the divide next morning, but not on their own trail of the previous evening. They crossed over into another valley and came out near enough to see the mare which they captured, and killed the colt. While they were doing this Captain Coldwell and his men were trailing them to where they camped and back on the divide, where the dead colt was found, and the mare gone. Part of this time only a ridge intervened between the Indians and the rangers. The trail now led down the divide between Cypress Creek and the Frio, which came in above the town of Leakey. Here on a high point the Indians stopped for noon, having a good view of the country for several miles. and evidently saw the rangers on their trail and hastily decamped, which fact was indicated by signs of cooked meat, etc. They intended raiding Frio Canyon that night, for as yet they had only one horse beside those they were riding. This one they had stolen from Sam Larrymore on the head of the Pedernales, and had been pushed out from there by citizens who were now on their trail behind the rangers, but went back when they learned that Captain Coldwell was after them. At the noon camp of the Indians the captain left the pack mules with Sergt. W. G. Coston and five men to follow on, and he and the others pushed on as rapidly as the rough nature of the country would admit.

"To give an idea of the difficulties which had to be surmounted in crossing these rocky mountains, the following incidents will be a fair sample: In many places the rangers had to lead their horses, and in one of these Captain Coldwell was leading his by the rope with the bridle reins, over the horn of the saddle, and coming to a four-foot ledge, the horses had to make a powerful spring to clear, and all succeeded but the captain's horse. When he made his spring the bridle reins tightened and pulled him backwards and he fell in such a position with his feet uphill that he had to be turned over before he could get up. At a similar place one of the pack-mules with Sergeant Coston's party fell backwards and rolled to the foot of the hill with his pack.

"The Indians were crowded so close that the water in the little branches which they crossed was still muddy when the rangers would cross. If there had been any open country they would have been caught, but all was brakes, mountains and canyons. Much blood was on the trail where the Indians had spurred their horses. On the West Prong of the Frio two men were discovered some distance off in a little valley, and not knowing whether they were Indians or white men, and wanting to be sure to get them if the former, Captain Coldwell deployed his men and completely surrounded them. When the cordon was drawn close and they were caught in the circle, it was discovered they were white men. The latter were greatly surprised to see armed men riding towards them from every direction, and at first they were alarmed. They were busy cutting a bee tree, and did not notice the approach of the rangers until they were close upon them. They were also on the trail of the Indians but had not noticed this fact, having come into the valley after the Indians crossed it. One of the men was named Ragsdale. The rangers made another dry camp. They had no provisions, but about 10 o'clock in the night Sergeant Coston came up with the pack-mules, and they got something to eat. The Indians had the advantage of the night when the trail could no longer be followed, and got another good start ahead. They were followed however, until 3 o'clock on the following evening, when a heavy rain came up and obliterated all signs of the trail. Captain Coldwell now went down the Nueces, hoping to find the trail again but could not do so, and the pursuit was abandoned. The Indians were not heard of any more.

"In December it became necessary to reduce the ranger force and the company of Captain Coldwell was cut down to forty men and the lieutenants thrown out. Afterwards Major Jones allowed one, and W. K. Jones, (later county judge of Val Verde county) was appointed. He was a brother to the ranger captain, Frank Jones, who was killed near El Paso. Soon after the company was reduced Captain Coldwell was sent down into the Rio Grande counties with his men to stop the depredations of bandits. The territory to scout over was from Ringgold Barracks to Brownsville. By vigilant work the outlaws were kept in check during the winter. The command was now ordered in to be disbanded, and Captain Coldwell instructed to turn over State government property, mules, etc., but with the view of organizing a new company for further operations against Indians and lawless characters. The home of Captain Coldwell was near Center Point, in Kerr county, and here he had the government mules, with a man employed to look after them. They were turned out during the day ad rounded up and penned again at night. On one occasion a mule failed to show up, having strayed, and that night the Indians made a raid through the valley and carried him off, also a horse belonging to Monroe Surber. Captain Coldwell followed the Indians far to the west, over the rugged mountains, but failed to overtake them, as they scattered and went various ways.

"At this time Lon Spencer and a companion, whose name cannot now be recalled, were out on the head draws of the South Llano hunting game or mustangs, and saw two Indians coming towards them a long way off, and ambushed them. When they came within gunshot each selected his man to shoot at, and both fired. Spencer killed his Indian, but the other man missed, and one got away. Now it happened that these two Indians had the mule and horse which were stolen at Center Point, and they were recovered. Spencer brought back the recaptured property, and also the scalp of the Indian and his rigging.

"In 1876 another company was organized with Captain Coldwell as commander. Their scouting territory was the same as before, and they did a great deal of it. On one scout of ten days, while returning, they came upon some cattlemen at Painted Rocks, on the South Llano, who were carrying a herd to Kansas. They informed the rangers that the Indians made a raid on another cow outfit at Green Lake, six miles above, and captured eleven head of their horses. Captain Coldwell at once repaired to the scene with his scouts and took the trail. Their only chance for carrying water was in canteens, and as the Indians had gone out through a dry country, the captain cautioned the men to be saving with the water. It was warm weather in April, and the water soon gave out. On the second day, at night, a dry camp was made in a draw, and the men were suffering very much with thirst. They looked bad—skin dry and lips swollen. During the night they were very restless, and moaning in their sleep. Some arose and scratched in the dry gravel of the draw, trying to find moisture. Aleck Merrit, the trailer, had walked a great deal in following the trail, and had long since used up all of his water, and was suffering more than the others, who had ridden their horses. Captain Coldwell and Dr. Nowlin were lying on their blankets together, a little apart from the rest, and were commenting on the long distance Merrit had walked and trailed and expressed an opinion that he was certainly more thirsty than the balance. The captain had preserved some water in his canteen for an extreme emergency if it came, and now called Merrit and made known to him the fact, and offered him some of the water and explained to him the reason. The unselfish and true Texas ranger refused it, because he thought it would look wrong in him to accept it when the other boys had none, and went back to his pallet and suffered on through the following day. When water was found the men could not very well be restrained, and many of them drank until they were sick. Eighteen Indians had camped here the night before, as was indicated by the imprint of their bodies in the rank grass where they slept. Just below, in the same little valley, a like number had spent the night and held a bunch of horses there. It is likely well enough that the rangers did not come into contact with this band, numbering thirty-six to their twelve, in the famished and weakened condition they were in. The scout was held here two days.

"George Beakley's horse had given out and was not able to keep on the trail of the Indians, and the captain did not want to leave him alone, so a return towards camp was made, Beakley riding a pack mule and slowly leading his jaded horse.The captain had Rankers on both sides while on the move, and one of these, William Layton, became lost from the command. He was seen during the greater part of the day, but finally he was missed and the command halted. The captain got on an elevated place and searched for him with a spy glass, but could not discover him. He hated to leave the man, but it was useless to go back to hunt for him, as they could not even guess where to look. The grass was fired with the hope that the smoke might be seen by him and to some extent guide him, and the scout moved on. The men would soon be out of water again, and it was twenty-five miles back to it. Provisions were left in a tree, so that if the lost ranger should strike their trail he could find it. Two nights passed before anything was seen or heard of him and he was about given up as lost in fact, when on the third day he overtook them. He had crossed the trail of the rangers once and did not see it, and turned back when he discovered that he was going too low down the country. His horse took the trail when he came to where the grass was burned, and followed it as true as the needle to the pole. It was at the next water that the provisions were left at the tree, and by the time he reached that place they were very acceptable to the hungry ranger. Layton had not been in the service very long. An old time Texas ranger would not have gotten into such a scrape as that.

"In the following December Captain Coldwell was put in command of Company A, which acted as escort to Major Jones, and was almost constantly employed in going from one post to another, inspecting paying off, etc.

"In 1877 Major Jones, with Captain Coidwell's command, Pat Dolan's and Frank Moore's companies, were ordered to concentrate. Captain Dolan was in Nueces Canyon and Captain Frank Moore was on the Llano, where Junction City is now. The purpose of assembling the rangers was to round up the whole country around the heads of the Nueces and Llanos, and arrest every man in it. This part of the country had become headquarters for all the desperadoes, outlaws, horse and cattle thieves, and fugitives from justice in the whole Southwest and from the East, and the intention of apprehending every man was to be certain to get the right ones, as the rangers could not distinguish the guilty parties. Each man was examined and he had to give a satisfactory account of himself before he was turned loose. Forty men out of this round-up proved to be the persons wanted, and they were carried to Junction City and there confined in shackles in a place called the "bull pen." Junction City was just being laid off. There were only a few houses there—no jail or court-house—although it was designated as the county seat of Kimble county. Judge Blackburn had arrived there to hold court, and the rangers remained to give protection in case of any of the outlawry kind gave trouble. But these at the time were all in durance vile in the "bull pen," and everything passed off smoothly during this first term of court in Kimble county. Court was held under a large live oak tree, and to give color to this primitive court of justice in the wilderness, a swarm of wild bees were working in the tree under which were assembled judge and jury, lawyers and witnesses. The arrested men were all turned over to the civil authorities.

"After this Captain Coldwell went to Frio town and operated in surrounding counties, capturing outlaws and desperate characters in that part of the country. During this service he and his scouts apprehended more than forty men and brought them to justice.

"The last rangers were different from the first—the Indian-fighting rangers. Many of them were detectives from other states and different parts of this state. The first ones were of the cowboy style—good riders, trailers, and shots, wearing leggings, many of them, and buckskin. The last ones, however, did splendid work in their line, which was fraught with as much danger as fighting Indians. This service was continued by Captain Coldwell until 1879.

"Governor Roberts was in the executive chair during the last mentioned date, and Major Jones was made adjutant-general, and Captain Coldwell quartermaster of the frontier battalion. His business was to make tours of inspection, furnish rations, and recommend changes of men or companies from one place to another. During this service information was received that lawless characters were operating south of Fort Davis, in the Chenati Mountains, where there were no rangers. General Jones ordered Sergt. Ed Sieker to take four men and one Mexican guide and repair to the scene. As these men figure in a fight with the outlaws in which one of them lost his life, their names will be given as follows: Sam Henry, Tom Carson, L. B. Caruthers, __ Bingham, and the Mexican, name not known. At Fort Davis Sergeant Sieker learned that the most daring of the desperadoes were four in number, one of whom was Jesse Evans, from New Mexico. They would rob stores in daylight in Fort Davis and terrorize the citizens generally, and the latter had offered a reward of $500 for their capture. The rangers learned through a negro named Louis, who occupied a netural position between the two parties, that the outlaws' stronghold was in the Chenati Mountains. He also told the latter that the rangers were after them. They believed the negro was wholly on their side, and that their position was not known. They told him if only four rangers came to hunt for them he need not put himself to the trouble to inform them, but to keep them posted in regard to a larger force.

"From the fort the rangers went south about eighty miles to near the Rio Grande, on a little creek in the Chenati range, and there, while hunting for trails, discovered four men on horseback above them. As this corresponded to the number of men they were hunting, and in their range, they turned and started towards them. The outlaws, for such they were, turned and ran, and soon commenced firing at the rangers who were in pursuit. This settled their identity, and Sergeant Seiker and his men put their horses to the utmost speed to overhaul them, firing as they went. The chase lasted two miles, until the outlaws came to a mountain which was flat on top, but on the opposite side was a ledge of rock four feet in height which ran around the circle of the mountain. The fugitives went up the mountain, across its flat crest, down the ledge to near the base, and there dismounted, tied their horses, and came back to the ledge and took a position behind it to fight the rangers. When Sergeant Sieker and his men arrived at the mountain and found out the position of the desperadoes, they went up near the crest, dismounted, tied their horses, and advanced to assault their position on foot. The Mexican had stopped back with the pack mule. The rangers deployed as they went, but were soon fired on, and a desperate charge was made across the open ground, in which Bingham was killed. His comrades were charging straight ahead, firing rapidly with their winchesters, and did not notice his fall. The bullets flew so thick along the rim of the ledge that it was death to an outlaw to get his face above it.

"The leader, Jesse Evans, kept his head above, and was fired at by Sergeant Sieker, who was charging straight toward their position, but his first ball hit the rock in front of him too low. For an instant the outlaw ducked his head and then raised it again, but only to receive a ball between the eyes from the winchester of the sergeant. The other three became rattled when he fell and ran around under the ledge, keeping their heads below, and almost ran against the muzzle of Tom Carson's gun, who had charged to the brink of the ledge and was looking over, with his gun cocked and finger on the trigger, trying to see them. Before he could fire, they begged for their life and began to throw down their arms. The other rangers congregated at this point, and Sergeant Sicker ordered them to hand up their guns and pistols and come out from under the ledge. This all happened in a very short time, and now for the first time it was discovered that Bingham was killed. The others then wanted to kill the prisoners, but were prevented by the sergeant. The sad duty of burying the dead comrade consumed several hours, as they had nothing to dig with but Bowie knives. The horses of the outlaws were brought up, on which they were mounted, securely tied, and the rangers took their departure, leaving the dead desperado under the ledge where he fell. The trip back to Fort Davis was made without further incident, and the captives put in jail there.

“To take into consideration the disadvantage under which the rangers had to charge across open ground upon a sheltered position of desperate men, armed with the best repeating guns and the numbers nearly equal, and the rapidity with which they made themselves masters of the situation, this fight has but few equals in any warfare.

"The jail at Fort Davis was of Mexican model, and was a regular dungeon. The main building was square and made of dobies, with rooms in the center and doors opening on the outside in the courtyard. The jail was in one corner of the building, and blasted out of solid rock to a proper depth and then covered over the top by strong timbers securely fastened. The egress was by a trap door. No light was in there. Into this place of utter darkness the captured outlaws were placed.

"At this time Captain Coldwell had just arrived, having been sent down there by General Jones to ascertain if any more men were needed at that place. Finding the necessity, General Jones was informed of the fact, and Captain Charles L. Neville and his men were sent. The rangers were quartered at the court and jail enclosure, and some of them stood guard there all of the time. The citizens of this place and Fort Stockton greatly rejoiced at changes which had been wrought, and had a great respect and admiration for the Texas rangers. Before this they were afraid to open their mouths in condemnation of the lawless acts which were constantly being committed in their midst. Men were murdered by these desperadoes on the least provocation. The $500 reward which they had offered for the apprehension of the four leaders of the gang they cheerfully paid to the five rangers, or to the four survivors of the desperate battle. Of course such service as this was expected of rangers without any compensation except their monthly pay, and it was not for any reward that they ran the bandits down and captured them, and they did not expect anything. They accepted the gift in the spirit in which it was given. The donation was from wealthy men—merchants and stockmen. "After the incident above narrated Captain Coldwell was ordered by General Jones to Ysleta to inspect the company of Capt. George W. Baylor. At this time Victorio, the famous Mescalero Apache chief, was in Old Mexico, south of the Rio Grande, with a strong band of desperate warriors. He had been fighting the United States troops in New Mexico, and getting the worst of it had run down in there for safety. His presence there being a menace to citizens of Mexico, troops were sent up from Chihuahua by order of the Mexican government to attack him. Officers of the United States troops in Texas, believing that if he was driven out of Mexico he would cross the Rio Grande into Texas, had troops scattered through the mountains at all the watering places to intercept him. Colonel Grierson was in command of these forces, with headquarters at Eagle Springs, forty-five miles east of Fort Quitman, on the Rio Grande. On the El Paso stage route a buckboard was run one day, and a "jerky," or two-seated hack, the next. Captain Coldwell went down from Fort Davis on the "jerky." The Captain only had his revolver, but one of his men put a Winchester in the vehicle, saying he might see Indians on the route. A man named Baker was the driver. Nothing of interest occurred on the trip down, and they arrived all right at Ysleta. Several days were spent here attending to business, and then the start was made on the return trip to Fort Davis. At Fort Quitman news was received that the Mexican forces had fought Victorio his band, making a stand-off affair, and had gone back to Chihuahua, and also that after the fight Vittorio had crossed the river and was now in Texas. Captain Coldwell now knew the trip back to Fort Davis would be fraught with much anger. Besides himself in the “jerky" was one negro soldier, a boy named Graham on his way to Fort Davis to act as hostler there, and the driver. The latter thought the Indians would attack them at Quitman Canyon, but if they passed that place all right they might get safely through. They expected to meet the buckboard at dusk at Eighteen Mile Water Hole, where a short halt was made to get water. In the evening five men were seen on large horses, who at a distance had the appearance of United States soldiers on account of the horses. One came towards them a short distance and then went back. The captain now felt somewhat relieved, thinking the country was being patrolled by the regular troops. About dusk the water hole was reached, but Baker and his buckboard were not there. This caused some uneasiness, but Captain Coldwell got out and said he would fill a vessel with water and they would continue their journey. I will here describe the peculiar team which worked to the vehicle. They were small mules, and had been trained to run all the time on the road, and when they were harnessed and turned loose from the hitching post they started off at once in a gallop, and could not be stopped quietly until they reached the next station. So when Captain Coldwell alighted and was filling his canteen the driver had let the mules run around in a circle until he was ready to mount again. One startling fact which the captain and his party were not aware of at the time, was that on this very day a battle had been fought with Victorio's and in a few hundred yards of this water hole, in a little canyon just back of it, in which a squad of the tenth Cavalry had been routed with the loss of five or six men and horses and they had retreated back to Eagle Springs. The dead horses were lying almost in view of the road, and the men in the valley back, who had been taken for United States soldiers, were scouts of Victorio mounted on cavalry horses which they had captured. It had been agreed by the party in the hack, if the Indians came upon them, that the driver would give his gun to the boy Graham and let the team run in the road, and the balance to fight the Indians as they went, unless a mule was killed, and then to stand and fight to the best advantage, but with little hope of ever coming clear. If they had known what was ahead the situation at this time would have been more desperate. The non-appearance of Baker with the buckboard was ominous. After leaving the water hole the mules in the "jerky" went at a lively rate for three miles and then shied at something by the road. It was the buckboard with one mule dead, the other gone, and beside it lay two dead men—the driver Baker, and a passenger. They were evidently killed about sundown, as they should have been at the waterhole at the sametime the other vehicle was there. No doubt they ran and fought the Indians until one mule was killed, and then died beside the vehicle. Very little time was taken to look around there. The situation was appalling for the captain and his party. Indians were all over the country, battles were being fought and men were being killed in various places. The driver was told to slow down his team. The captain sat with his Winchester in his hand, admonished the men to keep cool, have their guns in readiness, and to keep close watch on both sides of the road; they were in for it, and must face the situation and get out of it the best they could. They arrived at Eagle Springs alright and reported the killing of the men in the buckboard. Baker was warned by the soldiers who had fought the battle near the water hole not to start on his trip, and they told him he was certain to be killed there. For four days Victorio's band swarmed along the road, and finally crossed it at Van Horn's Pass and went in the direction of Rattlesnake Springs. The troops being informed of the route, went around them and laid an ambush at the springs. Here impatient, restless men spoiled all, as is the case on so many occasions of ambuscades. Firing commenced too soon, and the Indians turned back and re-crossed the Rio Grande, at the same place where they did in coming over. Victorio was quite a general; he knew the Mexican troops were gone by this time, and the coast would be clear on that side.

"In the following winter Captain Baylor came down from Ysleta with his men to investigate the killing of one man and the wounding of another in the Quitman Pass. At the time Captain Neville came down from Fort Davis with his men, and the two commands met at Eagle Springs. The combined forces now, after finding the trail of the Indians, which were Victorio and his band, again followed in rapid pursuit to the Guadalupe Mountains, and here located the camp of the Indians by their smoke and surrounded them. A fight ensued, but the hostiles soon discovered that it was a considerable force of Texas rangers that was upon them, and began to scatter and break through the cordon and got away. Six were killed on the ground and many wounded. One wounded squaw was captured and brought back. Some of the United States officers paid the rangers a compliment when they returned by saying they had done more good in ten days than the United States troops had all summer. Victorio was finally killed and his band scattered.

"Captain Coldwell's service ended on the frontier in 1883.

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