March 19th, 1840 -- Council House Fight irreparably damages Comanche-white relations
On this day in 1840, Republic of Texas soldiers killed some thirty Penateka Comanche leaders and warriors and five women and children in the Council House Fight in San Antonio. The Comanches had come to San Antonio seeking to make peace. Texas officials had demanded that the Comanches return all captives, but the Penatekas brought only a few prisoners, including the severely abused Matilda Lockhart. After a dispute about the other captives, Texas soldiers entered the Council House, where the peace talks were being held, and informed the assembled chiefs that they were to be held as hostages until the remaining captives were released. The Comanche chiefs attempted to escape and called to their fellow tribesmen outside the house for help. In the ensuing melee, the soldiers killed most of the Comanches who remained in the Council House courtyard. Six whites were killed and twenty wounded as well. Texas authorities freed a single Comanche woman with orders to secure the release of the remaining white captives in exchange for twenty-seven Comanches captured in the fight. The Penateka leaders refused to respond to Texas demands, and most of the Texans' captives escaped. The Council House Fight outraged Comanche sensibilities, for they considered ambassadors immune from acts of war. Led by Buffalo Hump, the Penatekas retaliated by raiding deep into Texas. Comanche hatred of Texans deepened and contributed much to the violence of the frontier.