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The San Antonio Council House Fight

President Mirabeau Lamar insisted the permanent solution to the Indian problem was to expel the tribes from Texas and to kill those who refused to leave peacefully.

Lamar authorized the use of force to drive the Cherokees out of the Republic. In July, 1839, the Cherokees were forced to leave behind homes, livestock, and crops. The militia then sent additional tribes out of Texas.

President Lamar hoped to drive the Comanches out, but they did not cooperate.

Lamar ordered attacks on Comanche hunting parties and a few villages. These attacks convinced the Comanches that the fighting carried a high price. So in January, 1840, Comanche war chiefs met with the commander of the Texas Rangers, Colonel Henry Karnes. The chiefs told Karnes that all the Comanche bands were ready to negotiate a peace treaty. Karnes agreed to meet on the condition that the Comanches return their two hundred white captives. The war chiefs agreed.

Fearing the Comanches would fail to keep their promise, the commander of the Texas Army sent troops to San Antonio to capture the Indians at the meeting and hold them hostage if the white captives were not returned.

On March 19, 1840, sixty-five Comanches paraded into the streets of San Antonio, led by twelve war chiefs and the great peace chief, Muguara. They only brought two captives. Although they held thirteen more captives in their camp, they hoped to get a higher price by returning them one at a time.

The Texans were furious. Muguara and the war chiefs were told they would be imprisoned until the rest of the white captives were released.

The Comanches responded with war cries and chaos. Muguara was killed instantly, and none of the Comanches escaped. About thirty women and children were taken prisoner and the rest killed. Six Texans were killed.

A squaw was sent to the Comanche camp with a warning; unless the white captives returned to San Antonio within twelve days, all the Comanche prisoners would be killed. The squaw never returned.

Later, it became known that the loss of so many warriors and leaders was so serious a blow for the Comanche that they killed all thirteen of the white captives.


Source: The San Antonio Council House Fight
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