PPHM Owned Battle Sites
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PPHM Owned Battle Sites

The Second Battle of Adobe Walls Site

The second battle of Adobe Walls occurred on June 27, 1874, when 300-700 Cheyennes, Comanches, and Kiowas, under the leadership of Quanah Parker, attacked a buffalo hunters' camp, built in the spring of that year in what is now Hutchinson County (about a mile from the ruins of a trading post known as Adobe Walls). Most of the hunters at the camp were awake repairing a broken ridgepole when the Indians charged at dawn. The defenders, 28 men and one woman, gathered in Jim Hanrahan, Charlie Myers, Leonard's Store, Charles Rath and Wright's Store repelled the initial charge with a loss of only two men. Another was lost in later charges, which continued until about noon, and a fourth man was accidentally killed by the discharge of his own shotgun. The Native Americans, who had been urged into the fight by medicine man Isa-tai, tried a siege for four or five days but made no other attacks.

On the second day, when a group of 15 or 20 Cheyennes appeared on a mesa overlooking the post about 7/8 of a mile away, William (Billy) Dixon, allegedly shot one of the Cheyennes off his horse. By the fifth day, more than 100 buffalo hunters were at Adobe Walls, and the Native Americans left. This fight led to the Red River War of 1874–75. In 1924, W. T. Coble, owner of the Turkey Track Ranch, donated the battle site to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society, which erected a monument on the site that same year. In 1975, the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum began a systematic archaeological excavation of the largely undisturbed site.

For directions to the site, click here.

The Buffalo Wallow Fight Site

During the Red River War, on Sept. 10, 1874, Col. Nelson A. Miles sent scouts (Billy Dixon and Amos Chapman) and four enlisted men (Sgt. Z. T. Woodhall and privates Peter Rath, John Harrington, and George W. Smith) to a camp supply in Indian territory. On the morning of Sept. 12, near the Washita River in Hemphill County, they were surrounded by over 125 Comanche and Kiowa warriors. Their horses stampeded away, with the men's haversacks, canteens, coats, and blankets. Smith, Harrington and Woodhall were wounded, and Chapman's left knee was shattered by a bullet. This occurred before all of the men, with the exception of Smith and Chapman, took shelter in a buffalo wallow. Dixon carried Chapman back to the safety of the wallow amid intense gunfire.

The five men suffered from hunger, thirst, and wounds. A thunderstorm brought temporary relief, but a blue norther caused a severe drop in temperature. During a lull in the fight, Rath and Dixon carried Smith (shot through the lungs) back to the wallow, where he died. At nightfall, the Indians disappeared, probably due to an approaching column of U.S. 8th Cavalry. Smith was buried in the wallow. Chapman's leg was amputated above the knee. All of the men received the Medal of Honor for bravery. Some years later, Congress revoked the medals of Chapman and Dixon since they were civilian scouts. Dixon refused to surrender his medal which is now on display at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum. In 1925, a granite monument was erected on the Buffalo Wallow site when the site was donated to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society.
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