The Texas in the Civil War Message Board

"The Quantrell Gangs"

While researching in our Brownwood Public Library's Locked Case of
rare books, I found the following excerpt in "Early Days in Central
Texas" by F.M. Cross, Second Edition, 1910, pages 114, 115, & 116.



The Quantrell men, who made several raids into Texas about the close
of the war, were parties who had left the old states and drifted onto
the frontier. They were in most cases deserters from the army and
were led by a man by the name of Quantrell. In Arkansas they made up
a considerable company, picking up all the hard customers they met
who wanted to get over into Mexico. When they reached the Texas line
they divided up into squads, ten or fifteen in a bunch, going through
the western part of the state. They knew that the men were about all
away with the army and that they could pick up all the good horses
they could find on the way, and get through to the border without
being disturbed in the transaction. They would have a good stake
when they landed in Mexico and sold the horses they had gathered up,
as they never took anything but the very best animals.
One small bunch of these men came through Comanche County and passed
Mr. Watson's place about ten miles west of the town. They took the
best horses he had and went from there over into San Saba County, and
were traveling up the San Saba River when they saw a small bunch of
good horses grazing out in the valley, about three hundred yards from
a house. They made a round-up and began to rope them in. The owner,
who was sick in bed, sent his little boy out to see what they meant.
The little boy told them that they were his father's horses and to
let them alone; they asked him for his father's name and he told them
it was Ketchup. They replied with an oath that he would never ketch-
up with his horses, and just led them off.
Some time after that another squad of these Quantrell men, some
eighteen in number, passed through the country, following much the
same trail. They had gotten through the settlements when they were
seen by a man in the upper edge of Burnet County. He sent a runner
to Camp San Saba, and Capt. Cook sent a scout out who struck the
trail of the gang in the upper edge of Llano County, and followed it
on to old Fort McKavett, where they caught up with them. It was just
at sundown and they had made camp. They all sprang to their feet and
ordered the scout to halt, which they did at a distance of about
eighty yards. The eighteen men faced thirty of the soldiers and
asked them what they wanted. The officer answered: "We are a scout
of soldiers and have been on your trail three days; we want to
investigate your business in this country;" at the same time ordering
them to stack their arms. The leader of the gang stepped in front of
his men and said: "If you are Confederate authority, we will
surrender, but if you are militia, we will die at the breech of our
guns." So our lieutenant made out that he was a Confederate officer,
and that if they could satisfy Capt. Cook that they were alright,
they would be turned loose. They then surrendered as prisoners and
were brought back to Camp San Saba and kept under guard for eight
days. They soon discovered after getting into camp that they would
be sent to Austin and turned over to the authorities, but on the
night before they were to start, having gotten chummy with some of
the boys who were detailed to act as guard, they escaped with their
help and reached the Mexican border, having had several hours the
start of the soldiers who were in pursuit. This was the last time
these Quantrell men were ever heard of in Texas and it was the last
that was ever heard of the two soldiers who went with them."



Messages In This Thread

"The Quantrell Gangs"
Re: "The Quantrell Gangs"
Re: "The Quantrell Gangs"
Re: "The Quantrell Gangs"
Re: "The Quantrell Gangs"
Re: "The Quantrell Gangs"
Re: "The Quantrell Gangs"
Re: "The Quantrell Gangs"
Re: "The Quantrell Gangs"