June 27, 2022

Daily Dose of Texas History - June 27, 1874 - The Second Battle of Adobe Walls

Daily Dose of Texas History - June 27, 1874 - The Second Battle of Adobe Walls

In 1874 a group of buffalo hunters were camped about a mile from the site of where representatives of the trading firm of Bent, St. Vrain and Company had established a trading post in the 1840s. 

Ten years later the encamped buffalo hunters, hide men and merchants fought the Second Battle of Adobe Walls on June 27, 1874. The hide hunters had built a number of log buildings and surrounded it with an eight foot high corral fence made from cottonwood tree trunks that they had harvested from nearby creeks. They had two stores, a blacksmith shop, and a saloon. The location served as a place for the buffalo hunters to sell their hides and stock up with supplies.

The Plains tribes were not happy with the situation. The Adobe Walls camp violated the terms of the Medicine Lodge Treaty.

A young Comanche prophet named Isa-tai called for the People to gather for a Sun Dance where he called for vengeance. He claimed they would be invulnerable to the bullets of the hunters. Quanah Parker and hundreds of others answered the call.

Near dawn most of the hunters were trying to repair a ridgepole in Hnrahan’s saloon when the Comanches, Kiowas, and Cheyennes led by Quanah Parker and Isa-tai attacked. There were twenty-eight men, including Bat Masterson and Billy Dixon and one woman, Hannah Olds who worked as a cook, in the camp. When the attack began they sought protection of cover in Jim Hanrahan’s Saloon. Myers and Leonard’s Store and Wright’s Store

They lost two men in the first attack, two teamster brothers that had been sleeping outside in their wagon.  The attackers also killed a Newfoundland dog. All three were scalped.

The attacks continued until about noon, killing another man. A fourth defender accidentally killed himself by the discharge of his own gun.

The attackers then set siege for about four or five days. They did not launch anymore attacks but set siege for about four or five days. It must have been a grim and tense period of time.

It was on the second day that Willie Dixon made his famous shot. A group of fifteen to twenty Cheyennes appeared on a high mesa overlooking the post and from a distance of seven-eighths of a mile away Dixon fired, shooting one of the warriors off of his horse with his Sharps rifle. He hit the ground before the sound of the shot reached the group. Dixon himself must have been amazed.

Word spread and other buffalo hunters came to the rescue. By the fifth day, when the Plains attackers withdrew from the fight, there were more than 100 defenders at Adobe Walls. The warriors had lost about thirty men, not being invulnerable to the bullets. Quanah himself was wounded and Isa-Tai had his horse shot out from under him. The defenders decorated the corral with twelve Plains warriors heads.

Not long after the Second Battle of Adobe Walls, the United States military launched the Red River War of 1874 to 1875, which led to the Plains tribes settling on the reservations near Fort Sill in Indian Territory. 

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