The First Battle of Adobe Walls, in 1864, was a sort of full-dress rehearsal for the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876. At the former, Col. Kit Carson and a force of 400 attacked the winter camps of mostly Kiowas and Comanches and found himself facing as many as 3,000 Indians.
If not for his two cannons, which fired exploding shells and spooked the Indians, his column would almost certainly have been destroyed. Kit Carson and the First Battle of Adobe Walls: A Tale of Two Journeys (Texas Tech University Press, $34.95) is Alvin R. Lynn’s account of the 15 years he spent meticulously tracking Carson’s 200-mile expedition, uncovering more than 1,800 artifacts and correcting many historical errors. Lynn’s archaeological achievement is breathtaking: among his many discoveries was the Kiowa village Carson attacked, whose relics had rested undisturbed for 150 years.
– Sam Gwynne, author of Empire of the Summer Moon