McCarthy’s description of Comanche warriors dressed in stovepipe hats and carrying umbellas is a detail made no less bizarre by having a basis in historical fact. During the Great Raid of 1840, Comanche warriors ransacked the Texan port town of Linnville, emptying the stores and warehouses of their inventories, including a shipment of top hats and umbrellas on their way to San Antonio.
Historian James Thomas DeShields provides this description of the Comanche warriors with their Linnville plunder:
Several of the Indian chiefs charged up in front of the Texans and hurled defiant arrows at them. One of these daring chiefs rode a fine horse with a fine American bridle, with a red ribbon eight or ten feet long tied to the end of his horse. He was dressed in elegant style from the goods plundered at Victoria and Linville, with a high-top silk hat, fine pair of boots, leather gloves and an elegant broad-cloth coat hind-part before him with brass buttons shining brightly up and down his back. When he first made his appearance he carried a large umbrella stretched.
You can see another depiction of the Comanche Linnville raiders in Howard Terpning's painting Comanche Spoilers. Click here to see the painting.