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In spring 1858 Capt. John S. "Rip" Ford led a combined force of 102 Texas Rangers and 113 Indian allies, mainly Tonkawa, Anadarko, and Caddo, north from Texas against the Comanche. On May 12, 1858, the Rangers attacked a large Comanche village northwest of the Antelope Hills, on the north bank of the Canadian River near the mouth of Little Robe Creek in present Ellis County, Oklahoma.

A Comanche chief, Iron Jacket, wearing an old Spanish shirt of mail, rode forth to challenge the Rangers. His belief that his "medicine" and armor would protect him was shattered when he was killed by a bullet from the rifle of Anadarko and Caddo chief Jim Pockmark.The village was captured, and the battle became a running engagement between small groups and individual combatants as the Comanche fled. Reinforcements from neighboring Comanche villages arrived to challenge the invaders but were repulsed by the Texans, who began their return march south.

Although hailed as a great victory in Texas, the incursion violated federal law pertaining to the sovereignty of Indian Territory. The results revealed to the Indians that the Texans could bring war to the Comanches. The fight is also known as the Battle of Little Robe Creek.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Brad Agnew, "War Against the Comanches," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 49 (Summer 1971). Stan Hoig, "The Battle of Little Robe Creek," Oklahoma Today 17 (Spring 1967). Joseph B. Thoburn, "A Campaign of the Texas Rangers Against the Comanches," Sturm's Oklahoma Magazine 10 (July 1910). Walter Prescott Webb, The Texas Rangers: A Century of Frontier Defense (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1935).

Bob Rea

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