From the Annals of the Panhandle –In 1874 Col.Ranald Mackenzie and the Fourth U.S. Cavalry attempted a surprise attack on Comanche, Cheyenne and Kiowa encampments in Palo Duro Canyon. Although known as the Battle of Palo Duro Canyon, the attack involved little loss of life as it was primarily a raid to seized Indian horses and property. Assisted by Tonkawa scouts, the cavalry wanted to surprise the Indians who were settling into their winter camps. However, the Indians were warned by the Comanche leader Red Warbonnet, who discovered the soldiers and fired a warning shot before being killed by the Tonkawas. Cheyenne chief Iron Shirt, Comanche leader Poor Buffalo, and the Kiowa chief were left in charge. The camps were located in various parts of the vast canyon which did not allow the Indians to mount a united defense. As a result most of the Indians retreated leaving behind over 1400 horses and most of their winter stores. Only three Comanche were killed as was one soldier. The BOPDC was the last major event in the Red River Wars and resulted in the confinement of southern Plains Indians in reservations in Indian Territory.
From the Annals of the Comanche – In 1871, a war party of more than 100 Kiowas, Comanches, Kiowa-Apaches, Arapahoes, and Cheyennes from the Fort Sill Reservation in Oklahoma attacked Henry Warren’s wagon train on the Butterfield Overland Mail route. The raiders killed the wagon master and six teamsters, but five others escaped. The raiders lost one dead and five wounded and returned to the reservation. One of the survivors reached Fort Richardson. When General Sherman and Colonel Ranald Mackenzie heard his first hand account, the Army moved to arrest the leaders of the raid, Chiefs Satank, Satanta, and Big Tree. Satank was killed while trying to escape. Chief Satanta and Big Tree were tried by civil courts in Texas (the first time Indians had been tried in civil courts), found guilty, and sentenced to hang. Governor Edmund Davis commuted the Indians’ sentences to life imprisonment. The raid caused General Sherman to change his opinion about conditions on the Texas frontier, thus ending his own defensive policy and the Quaker peace policy as well. Sherman ordered soldiers to begin offensive operations against all Indians found off the reservation, a policy that culminated in the Red River War of 1874-75 and the resulting end of Indian raids in North Texas.