The boys had gone to a neighboring ranch to borrow an ax handle and had no idea Kiowas were raiding horses nearby in broad daylight. Both the Indians and boys were surprised to come face to face, and the Kiowas wasted no time snatching them.
Willie Ball was taken to a Comanche camp, and his cousin, Bud, ended up in a Kiowa camp.
The soldiers at Fort Richardson didn't receive word in time to track the Indians, but the U.S. Army began the process of getting the Ball children released.
A military commission of the U.S. Army met for a peace council with Kiowa and Comanche chiefs, who were warned that the Balls and three other Texas captives must be returned or the Indians would receive no reward.