|John Francis Lewis, conjectural portrait, 1950, of Micajah Autry, about to take aim at Santa Anna. (Courtesy The Alamo--Daughters of the Republic of Texas)|
Natchitoches Dec 13th 1835
My Dear Martha
About 20 minutes ago I landed at this place safely after considerable peril. About 20 men from Tennessee formed our squad at Memphis who all landed safely at the mouth of Red River. Major Eaton and Lady were on board the Pacific to whom I suppose I was favorably introduced by Mr. Childress from that however or from some reason Gov. Eaton paid me the most friendly and assiduous attention. Mrs. Eaton is moderately intelligent, extremely affected in her manners and never could have been overly handsome. I have not met with a more amiable and agreeable man than the Governor. By his persuasion a Major Arnold from Tennessee ( a cozen [sic] of Genl. Arnold) and myself left the rest of our company at the mouth of the Red River and went down to Orleans for the purpose of learning the true state of things in Texas as well as which would be the best probable rout. The result was that the war is still going on favourably to the Texians but it is thought that Santa Ana will make a descent with his whole forces in the Spring but there will be soldiers enough of the real grit in Texas by that time to overrun all Mexico. The only danger is starvation for the impulse to Texas both as to soldiers and moving families exceeds anything I have ever known. I have little doubt but that the army will receive ample supplies from Orleans both of provisions and munitions of war as the people of Texas have formed themselves into something like a government which will give them credit in Orleans. I have had many glowing descriptions of the Country by those who have been there. Be of good cheer my Dear Martha I am determined to provide a home in this delightful clime or perish in the We have between 400 and 500 miles to foot it to the seat of war for we cannot get horses but we have sworn allegiance to each other and will get along some how. Bodily sufferings I regard not they seem indeed rather to alleviate than augment my sorrows. For instance the Steam Boat Caspian one of the most splendid and swiftest boats in the western trade which we took from Orleans up the Red River ran against a tree at the dead hour of the night and the shock shivered the side on which I was lying in my berth into splinters and while others were screaming in frantic terror I was as cool and undismayed as I ever was at any moment of my life. The truth is I am desperate but not mad. The best condition one can can (sic) be in for the enterprise I have undertaken. The Small pox has recently broke out here very bad but I fear the Tavern bill a great worse such charges never were heard of and we have to stay here probably several days before we can procure a conveyance for our baggage. I suppose we shall join and buy a waggon. Write to me to this place all the letters you send by mail, perhaps the general intercourse from here to Texas will enable me to get them conveniently. Write me in Texas by every private opportunity and I will do the same. Tell Mr. Smith and brother Jack to write me. I send this by Mr. Sevier who promises to put it in the post office at Bolivar or Middleburg. it makes my heart sink to write these names but enough. Farewell my Dearest Martha. Keep my precious children for me and give my tender love to Amelia and Smith. M. Autry P.S. The company of young men that left Jackson before I did passed through here about 20 days ago. Charles Haskell got into a fracus with a man & killed him in this town. Stood his trial was acquitted & they have all gone on to St. Antone the seat of war. Charles was not in fault I learn.
Transcribed and submitted to Alamo de Parras by Brian Huberman
From the Woodson Research Center Collection at Rice University.