Page:Boissonnas, Un Vaincu, English, 1875.djvu/38

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Among the Indian tribes having taken refuge along the frontier of Texas, the most famous and most powerful was the Comanches. Better than the Pawnees or the Apaches, with whom they had often associated in looting, the Comanches had managed to preserve their war customs as well as their traditions of respect for the Chiefs, of contempt for death, traditions which had, in the past, made the strength of their savage tribe.

The Comanches, at the time Colonel Lee was in charge of restraining them, could still muster ten thousand seasoned horsemen. For a single Regiment, divided into Platoons, extended over a long distance, such adversaries were not to be disdained. Colonel Lee was not one of those men who hurry to outlaw people or things they do not understand. Before using force, before committing those hideous massacres of which one has too many examples, he tried a pacific campaign among the Comanches and spared no effort to attract the Chiefs and establish with them an atmosphere of friendship capable, on specific occasions, of preventing bloody encounters, the memory of which only stirred up hate.

Scorning the greatest perils, for the Indian guile would not avoid committing a profitable murder, so long as it was possible, the Colonel visited, one after the other, the principal campsites of his Comanche neighbors. As a token of peace and trust, he never came but with a