*Note: The photo above is not of Pink Ayers and Balaam, the mule; it was provided by the Texas Gillespie County Historical Society.

On August 5, 1873, there was a battle with Mescalero Apaches in Llano County, Texas, that became known as the battle of Packsaddle Mountain.

Apache raiders had stolen cattle from the ranch of James Moss, and Moss decided to strike back. With his brothers and five other ranchers, he proposed to take the fight to the Apaches and drive them off. Among the ranchers was a man named Pink Ayers. Unlike the others, Pink Ayers had not been in an Indian fight before, but he decided to join Moss and his group of ranchers. Also, unlike the others, Pink Ayers was not mounted on a horse. He was mounted on a mule named Balaam.

The group of ranchers found the Apaches and caught them by surprise; they were gorging themselves on the meat of stolen cattle. Moss, Ayers, and the others ran off the warrior assigned to guard the horses and thus cut the raiders off from their mounts. They closed in on the rest of the Apaches, and some shots were fired by both sides. One of the shots creased Balaam.

Balaam bellowed in protest and charged forward into the Apaches with flying hooves and snapping teeth. The Apaches got off several shots, but seemed mostly intent on escaping Balaam’s anger. Ayers was shot in “a less glorious portion of his anatomy”, according to later reports, but both Ayers and Balaam stayed in the fight. The ranchers were able to advance during the melee caused by Balaam and succeeded in driving the Apaches back, eventually winning the battle of Packsaddle Mountain.

Balaam had his wounds dressed and was given a good meal after the fight. Ayers also received treatment for the wound in his “hip”. It was the last Indian battle in Llano County.