The Great Indian Raid of 1840 – Victoria, Linnville, Plum Creek

Angered by the slaying of his peace party, when negotiations with Texian officials had broken down, Comanche War Chief Buffalo Hump brought together some 600 warriors in late July and early August of 1840  and headed southeast (from the Lubbock area) toward the coast, raiding villages and ranches along the way.

The raiders first appeared at Victoria without warning on the afternoon of August 6.  Initially, when crossing Spring Creek, they were mistaken for friendly Lipans.  The locals quickly discovered their error.  For the Comanches killed a number of slaves working in fields and also some whites who were unable to reach Victoria. They captured over 1,500 horses belonging to area residents and to some Mexican horse traders who had arrived with a large herd. The Indians surrounded the town, but the settlers' defensive efforts prevented the town's sacking.

With their spoils the Indians then left Victoria and thundered toward Linnville, a key port city founded in 1831 (aka New Port) located about 3-1/2 miles north of present-day Port Lavaca.


On August 8, the Comanches surrounded  Linnville and began pillaging the stores and houses.  The surprised people of Linnville fled to the water and were saved by remaining aboard small boats and a schooner.

Goods valued at $300,000 were at Linnville at the time of the raid; many items were en route from New Orleans to San Antonio.  After loading the plunder onto pack mules the raiders, attired in their booty, finally retired in the afternoon with some 3,000 horses and a number of captives.

Twenty-three settlers are known to have been killed in the Victoria-Linnville raid, including eight blacks and one Mexican.

As the plundeing on the place was taking place, the Texian Rangers were regrouping, led by Matthew Caldwell and Ed Burleson. As the Comanche War Party was trying to get back to their homes in the northwest , the Texians  confronted the Indians at Good's Crossing on Plum Creek, near the modern town of Lockhart (about 27 miles south of Austin). Texas history says the Texans won this battle, although the Indians got away with most of their plunder.

The Great Raid of 1840 is considered to be the largest Indian Raid ever made on the territories that now compose the United States.   Linnville was destroyed.  But its surviving residents established what is now Port Lavaca.