Opening Campaign of the Texas Revolution
Having heard much of the vast prairies and surpassing beauties of Texas, I mounted my steed and arrived in Nacogdoches from Louisiana, in which town I spent the Christmas of 1830. I first delivered my introductory letters to Colonel Piedras, the commander of that post, and to some offer prominent citizens of the place. My object was to see something of a country of which I had heard so many glowing accounts. I set out for San Felipe in January, 1831, at which place I found our esteemed townsman, Colonel Sam M. Williams, to whom I delivered some letters, and who received me with open arms, inviting me to his house. I, however, took up may quarters with Mrs. Peyton, whose name has since become so familiar to Texans, and to whom I may again have occasion to refer. A few days afterward, I started for Brazoria, in company with Colonel Williams and others. Travel being my only business at the time, I found myself in New Orleans the next month (February), where I was in company with Captain Henry Austin and many other Texans with whom I had formed an acquaintance. I was induced again to return to Texas, and finally came over in the small schooner Martha, commanded by Captain James Spillman, and landed at Anahuac on the 22nd of March, 1831.
Having a good stock of medicines, I was at once employed Colonel Bradburn as surgeon of the Mexican garrison at place, then consisting of some 300 men. Being successful in my profession, I soon had more business than I could well attend to among the citizens and soldiers. Colonel James Morgan, with J. C. Reed, arrived soon after from New Orleans with a large stock of goods. The population of that region increased daily, and that increase brought with it the necessity of organizing Anahuac into a court district. For the accomplishment of this object, Stephen F. Austin advised that a petition, unanimously signed, should be sent to the capitals of Coahuila and Texas. Seventy-two signer were soon obtained, and among other things, the petition se forth the services rendered by the signers and the inhabitant along the Trinity River in quelling the Fredonian War, and prayed that a commission to be sent out to put them in possession of their lands. In return, a Mexican named Madeira was sent out with authority to issue titles. Having arrived at Atascasito, near the present town of Liberty, he stopped with Captain William Orr, a most excellent man and good citizen. A call having been duly made, a meeting was held at that place to select a county seat, and Smith's plantation and Moss's Bluff were the two places put in nomination.
A majority of three or four votes having been given in favor of Smith's place, it was publicly proclaimed the seat of justice and called Libertad. The requisite municipal officers were next elected; but this coming to the knowledge of Colonel Bradburn at Anahuac, he immediately had Madeiro arrested by a file of soldiers, and his next step was to send forth a proclamation, accompanied by a fife and drum, declaring that Libertad was abrogated, and that Anahuac was the county seat. The extraction of duties, contrary to the constitution 1824, was one of the earliest grounds of complaint among the colonists. About the 1st of May, 1832, meetings were held at Captain Dorsatt's house concerning the payment of such duties, and finally it was resolved that we would form ourselves into a company, privately for the purpose of resistance to this wrong, but ostensibly for self-protection against Comanches or the Indian tribes generally. We elected Patrick C. Jack our captain, but he was soon after arrested by Bradburn for accepting the commission, and put in confinement on board an American schooner then lying in the channel at Anahuac, under a Mexican guard. During his confinement on board we made many efforts to get him released. At last we succeeded.
One day Judge Williamson (Three-legged Willie) and I went to Bradburn to discuss the subject, and having been refused on two successive calls, we made a third call the same day. Willie became greatly excited, and swore in a style peculiar to himself that he had come for the last time, saying,
At last we were told that orders had already been issued for him to come on shore by 3 P.M. that day. We then bowed and left, and went forthwith about half a mile to the landing. Dr. Patrick was appointed by our company to receive Jack; and as he stepped on shore, he presented him with a rusty sword, as a signal of our respect, acknowledging him still as our captain. Two lines were formed by the company, through which he was conducted, when, with hats waving in the air and then three hearty cheers, we dispersed. Bradburn, hearing afterwards of the demonstrations of triumph, became much exasperated, and threatened to punish every one of us. Dr. Patrick had been appointed City Surveyor, and he was immediately dismissed, but as my services could not well be dispensed with, I was not molested. About this time W. B. Travis and Patrick C. Jack found their way to the neighborhood of the Hardins, who hospitably received them, as they did all strangers. They soon decided to make their future home in Anahuac, with a view to perfecting themselves in the Mexican languaga and laws. It was at this time that many slaves were advised to ask the freedom of the commander at Anahuac, who declared to them all that they were free and at liberty to go and come and to do as they pleased, like white people. This caused the owners, who were thus deprived of their property, to entertain ill feeling toward Bradburn.
The promised freedom to all slaves induced some to run away from Louisiana to Texas, and three of these soon presented themselves to Bradburn, by whom they were received. Shortly after, a young man named William M. Logan claimed them as runaways. But Bradburn refused to give the up, except upon proof and the authority of the Governor of Louisiana. Logan returned for the requisite documents, and soon came back with all the proofs in due form, and a requisition under the great seal of the Governor of Louisiana. This was one of the first causes of the Texas revolution. Bradburn told him that the documents would be examined and an answer given the next morning. The next morning Logan presented himself at the appointed hour, when h received for answer that the three Negroes had asked the protection of the Mexican flag, and to that end enlisted, and he (Bradburn) could not, therefore, give them up. This produced a feeling of alarm and indignation throughout the community. William B. Travis, who, it is supposed, had acquired a sufficient knowledge of law during the few months he had been studying, was consulted. His legal advice is only known by the events that followed.
Logan retired near Liberty. One morning soon after, great commotion was observed in the garrison. A few mounted cavalry were speedily paraded, and orders given them. I was reported that a fight with some parties was about to take place. Scouts in quick succession were sent out, and rumors were circulated that some enemies were within a few miles. For a whole night the garrison was under arms. But when morning came, the scene was changed---all was quiet. Every one inquired about the cause of the alarm. A week passed, and finally J. T. White and Silas Smith, of Turtle Bayou, made their appearance, and reported to Bradburn that they could make no discovery, though they had been as far as the Neches, and had spoken with many persons. Bradburn now discovered that he had been deceived. He called the officer of the guard and, finally, the sentinel, whose answers gave a clue to the whole of the excitement, about which we had been in profound ignorance. The sentinel said that, during one dark, rainy night some weeks previous a tall man wrapped in a big cloak had advanced toward him and when he had hailed him, the man had answered, "Amigo," and handed him a letter. The letter, being directed to Bradburn, was transferred to him the next day, and it was this that caused Bradburn's alarm. The letter stated that a magistrate on the Sabine was organizing a company of a hundred men to cross the Sabine for the purpose of taking the three Negroes to whom he had given protection by force. The letter purported to have been written by a friend, in order to give him timely warning. It was signed "Billew."
Now the query was: Who was the tall man covered with a cloak who had handed the letter to the sentinel? It was supposed to be Travis, and Bradburn doubtless believed the ruse had been played by Travis to make him give up the slaves. A day or two after, while Travis and Jack were in their office, a guard of thirteen soldiers appeared at the door, and took them to quarters as prisoners, without any explanation of the cause. While thus in confinement, Colonel James Morgan had them attended by one of his slaves. One morning, as their clothes were being carried in a bundle to be washed, the officer of the day made an examination of them, and a letter was found addressed to "O.P.Q., who was desired "to have a horse in readiness at a certain hour on Thursday night." This attempt at a rescue of the prisoners caused Bradburn much uneasiness, and he determined to secure his prisoners more effectually. During the time he was laying the foundation for a fort near Anahuac, a large brick-kiln had just been emptied, and all the masons and carpenters were forced to go down there to put it up for a prison. In the course of a week the work was completed, and two large cannon were placed on a platform near by. The two prisoners were now to be conducted to the new prison. The whole garrison was put under arms. The cavalry made a display at the head of the column. The letter to O.P.Q. had caused a line of sentries to be placed inside with the three prisoners who were thus doubly guarded. They were to be kept safe till the whole force of the garrison was ordered out, to conduct the prisoners to the new place of confinement.
As they were marched out, my heart became full when I considered the perils that awaited them in the hands of the tyrant. Standing upon my fence, I waved my hand to Travis, greeting him, bidding him to be of good cheer, and assuring him that help would soon be at hand. Both he and Jack returned my greeting with a bow, at which time I found it impossible to repress my feelings, in view of their possible fate. A ball was to be given under the auspices of Bradburn that very night who had fallen for the purpose of trapping some few of us, under suspicion. I was asked if I would go; but I said I could not after witnessing the sad sight of our friends being marched to prison under guard. However, after more mature reflection, I concluded it would be the most prudent policy to go. I was fully satisfied that I would be safe, as all the soldiers and officers appreciated my services too, much to permit me to suffer injury. Before sundown that; day, I learned that Colonel Morgan, James Lindsey, an two others would be taken prisoners if found there, and, that soldiers had been selected for the purpose. I communicated the information to the parties interested, and all agreed to be there, but that two should be on the watch. Some twenty ladies were present, and all was going on right merrily. Colonel Morgan was dancing with my wife when a soldier gave me the hint to look out; a wink to the colonel was enough. He left my wife standing on the floor, gave a leap from the room and was off, Lindsey and the others doing the same. There was, however, no confusion or disorder.
Immediately the soldiers were seen entering and surrounding the house, and I bade my wife to follow me. The officers came and begged me not to go, saying no harm was intended me. As I came to the outside door a gun was pointed at me by a sentinel, forbidding me to pass; but under the impulse of the moment, I knocked the soldier to one side with my fist and cleared the passage with a leap. As my wife was not allowed to follow, I re-entered the room a moment after, and found all in confusion. I agreed to stay a while longer. Finally, quiet being again restored, I passed out with my wife by another door guarded by two sentinels who did not venture to molest me. A day or two afterwards, Bradburn began to suspect Munroe Edwards as the person addressed by the letter to O.P.Q. and who was to provide the horse. Edwards was at the time acting as clerk to Messrs. Morgan and Reed, and, having just returned from Brazoria, had used imprudent language that induced me to warn him to be more circumspect or his fate would be sealed. The very next night the store was surrounded by soldiers. Hardly allowing him time to put on his clothes, they hurried him a prisoner to the guardhouse.
These doings, being reported, created much excitement throughout Austin's colony, and brought out some of the principal men to propose effectual measures of resistance. Soon after, Judge Jack came over in a yawl by way of San Luis Island; but it was with much difficulty that he was allowed to see his brother and Travis in prison. Although he was threatened by Pacho (who acted in the double capacity of second in command and State's Attorney), yet Jack declared he would not return without a personal interview with his brother. Opposition only made him more determined in his purpose, and he at last declared that he would see his brother at all hazards. Permission was finally granted, probably through apprehension that a refusal would occasion some trouble. The next day we escorted Jack back to his boat and as he left the shore, he assured us that he would be back in a few weeks to give us the help we so much needed. Several of us urged Bradburn to give the prisoners over to the civil authorities, to be duly tried for any offense they had committed, pledging ourselves that they should abide by the results of a trial. But all our entreaties were unavailing.
Word was finally brought to us that John Austin, Capta Martin and others, numbering some ninety men, had reached Liberty on their way to rescue the prisoners, who by the time had increased to seventeen in number. William H. Jack had been mainly instrumental in bringing these men, in confortuity with his promise when he had left. The Liberty boys always on hand in an emergency, joined Austin's Company increasing the number to 130. Bradburn, who was a shrewd Kentuckian by birth, was appraised of these doings, an immediately sent out his famous cavalry to scour the country and give us a fight. Our commander, having left Liberty concluded to halt on the north prong of Turtle Bayou. A picket guard of seven men having been sent out, they were advancing through a skirt of timber to have a view of the prairie beyond, where they saw some horses and men who they took for Bradburn's cavalry; being unseen themselves they left their horses tied, and, charging on them with their rifles while dismounted, they took the whole number (nineteen in all) prisoners and conducted them to the camp, Next day about noon our small company entered Anahuac to demand the surrender of the prisoners. This was June, 1832. A day or two previous, the small schooner Martha had arrived from the Rio Grande with Colonel Souverin, who had been sent as a political prisoner for favoring the cause of Santa Anna. On landing he soon learned the state of affairs, and tendered his services to us as our commander. He was taken to William Hardin's, but his services were declined. Having reported himself to Bradburn, by ten o'clock the next day he came with full power from Bradburn to treat with us. Austin, Martin, Jack, W.D.C. Hall and the others entered into an agreement to retire six miles from Anahuac and to deliver up all our prisoners on condition that Jack, Travis and the other American prisoners should be given up the following day in exchange. This agreement was put to the vote of the whole company, who were ordered to parade for that purpose, all those in favor of the proposition being required to shoulder arms. Ritson (known as "Jawbone") Morris of Clear Creek and myself dissented, begging the men to consider the risk we would run by giving up our prisoners first; and we urged that the exchange should be made at the same time, as Bradburn could not be depended on to keep his word.
But our arguments were unavailing; the majority ratified this agreement. Orders were accordingly given for our men to retire, when all left except the few who lived in Anahuac, our prisoners having been discharged. At about nine o'clock that night, some eight fires were, kindled and a guard was seen advancing, while a large force was employed m carying off a quantity of ammunition and stores of clothing belonging to Travis, and which had been in our possession that day. One of the sentinels told me the prisoners would be more lightly guarded, but would not be given up. At about midnight the fires were all extinguished, and all retired to the fort, having succeeded in securing all they wanted. At six o'clock the next morning, Austin came to me with a letter received from Bradburn, m which he declared the treaty had been broken, and that he would pillage the residents and seize the property of every man who had sided against him or acted with the rebels.
We immediately set off in a smart gallop, and found our little army encamped on the last prong of Turtle Bayou at the bridge. A meeting was called; I read the letter of the faithless Bradburn; a cry for volunteers was at once heard, and in less than ten minutes sixty of the men were again in their saddles, galloping off to prevent the threatened pillage. It was after this portion of the company had left that the remainder of the company called a meeting; and feeling the necessity for having some pretext for taking up arms, they decided to declare in favor of Santa Anna. A pronunciamento we agreed upon accordingly, which was signed by the alcalde H. B. Johnson, and others. This meeting has since been celebrated as the "Turtle Bayou meeting." A short time after, nearly all the company reached Anahuac again, every man being ready for a fight. They placed their horses in my backyard and prepared to take up positions for the conflict. The enemy's cavalry, with some infantry, were observed advancing with a four-pound cannon. Our advance post then fell back. The women became alarmed and were seen running in every direction to escape the range fire. The four-pound balls bounded over the ground and raised the dust among us. Captain Dorsatt, having put wife, two daughters and smaller children into a cart, started them for my house. They discovered they were in greater danger, and the women cried out to my wife, "Run, run, or you will be killed!" and the cart soon disappeared. Next were seen several other women running about with dishevelled hair, not knowing which way to go for safety.
About this time some of those claiming to command gave orders to retreat. I then directed my wife and the other women to take shelter under the bluff close by, but while they were going a ball cut some of the limbs of the trees over their heads, which induced them to keep on without stopping. The retreat was ordered until it was found the Mexicans had got between our men and their horses; and now the discovered to their surprise that they were to have no chance to fight, their officers continuing to order a retreat. One German declared he would retreat no farther, but advanced and fired upon the infantry from the corner of my fence but he was soon taken prisoner with some ten or fifteen other who were afterwards made to mold brick, and tramp the clay for making them, as a punishment. By night the women had reached Taylor White's, some miles distant. My wife was taken up by William H. Jack and rode behind him on his large American horse. We passed that night at Whites, who had been supplying all the company for some ten days, without a charge, with meat, corn meal and other provisions.
Having experienced the disadvantage of being without cannon, it was agreed the next morning that John Austin should go to Brazoria to bring the schooner Brazoria---belonging to him with the cannon at that place---for the purpose of landing the cannon at Double Bayou, so that we might be on something like equal terms with Bradburn. Accordingly, Austin went for the cannon; but Ugartachea, who commanded the fort at Velasco, having received orders from Bradburn not to permit any schooner to pass that place, notified Austin that he could proceed no farther. Austin expostulated with him, but to no effect, as Ugartachea said his orders were preemptory. As the guns of the fort commanded the river, there was no alternative left for Austin but to return or fight; and accordingly, the Brazorians having promptly come to his assistance, the battle of Velasco was then fought, the result of which was that Ugartachea was defeated and compelled to capitulate. On the morning of this fight, I was attending on Mrs. John M. Smith at the mouth of Turtle Bayou, where every gun was distinctly heard. We were at no loss to understand the cause, as we had been apprised the day before by Three-legged Willie that a fight would have to take place; and he assured the men who were waiting at Liberty that the result would be favorable, and that reinforcements might soon be expected from Brazoria. It was about this time that we learned of the arrival of Colonel Piedras with all his forces from Nacogdoches, he having been sent for by Bradburn to come to his assistance. Piedras had with him, also, a considerable number of Indian auxiliaries in his service. Piedras was a man of gentlemanly bearing and honorable principles, qualities that were wholly wanting in Bradburn. He came within a mile of our camp, in advance of his command, to learn of our object in the fortress at Anahuac. He at once said, "Gentlemen, if this all the cause of the trouble you shall have the prisoners, for I will immediately have them set at liberty." Whereupon H. B. Johnson, the alcade, William Hardin and some others went with Piedras to Anahuac to receive the prisoners. Meanwhile Piedras sent orders to his forces, some twenty miles above, to halt at the place of Mr. Fields and await for orders.
I may here revert to a circumstance that should not be omitted from the history of the times. During these difficulties Texas was not without her tories. A number of Americans and Germans had formed a company to aid Bradburn in carrying out his tyrannical measures. Some of these men were violently hostile to many of us, especially to Bill Hardin, who was foremost among us in resistance to Bradburn. The "Mexican-American company," so called, learning of the arrival of Hardin at Anahuac, declared they would have him, dead or alive. He had arrived at Anahuac just at night, and, in company with Johnson, stopped with Captain Dorsatt, who with family was then occupying my house for greater safety. At about ten o'clock at night, this tory company arrived; but they were seen coming, Johnson made his escape through the back door. Hardin, not having enough time, hid under two beds, Dorsatt's daughters lying on them, one on each side. The cry was heard, "We want Bill Hardin; let him come out!" Then they searched all through the house. "Here are shoes," said one. "Here is his hat," said another. "Get him out---he is in the house!" They looked everywhere, under the bed, the tables and in every corner. Finally, they pulled down the mosquito bar. A cry was heard, "Oh, shame, not disturb the girls!" Dorsatt became enraged and was preparing for a fight to defend his house, when an exclamation was heard: "Here he is! Here he is!" Hardin's head protruded a little at one end of the bed and he was recognized by his sandy hair. "Well," said he "boys, you have found me, but give me time to get out." "Make room for him," said they; and all prepared to secure him. A moment more and a crash was heard. Hardin, gathering all his strength, and with great presence of mind, broke through the weather boarding with a desperate effort and instantly disappeared through the side of the house. He made his way toward Liberty; and having caught a horse on the prairie, he arrived at Liberty by seven o'clock the next morning, a distance of twenty-five miles, riding without saddle or bridle.
The doings of these men were reported to Piedras, who ordered his cavalry to protect Dorsatt's family from similar outrages. He then set the American prisoners at liberty, as he had promised he would do; and then, to complete the full measure of justice to the colonists, he ordered Bradburn to be arrested, which was done. The night following, he gave the command of the garrison to Lieutenant Juan Corteniz, a worthy officer. The next day, Piedras ordered the tory company to be disbanded and to disperse within five days; and before that time had expired they were none of them to be seen. Travis, Jack, Edwards and the fourteen other prisoners, having been set at liberty and quiet being once more restored, Piedras returned to Nacogdoches; but on arriving there he found the citizens of the place in arms against his authority, as they had declared for Santa Anna. After a short skirmish he capitulated, and then he and his men were permitted to retire to San Antonio. Travis, being free, of course felt no great friendship toward Bradburn. The night after Piedras left, Bradburn required a guard from Corteniz, as he professed to fear assassination from Travis. Corteniz told some that he had so great a fear of Travis "that he ran to him like a benau [a deer] to be protected by a guard." He hid in corn cribs and the woods for two weeks, and at last was piloted to New Orleans by some byways. Great excitement prevailed there, as all these doings had been reported as fast as they had occurred. He found it necessary to ask the people of New Orleans, through the newspapers to suspend their opinion for a few days until he could recover from the fatigues of his journey, promising them he would lay before them the whole proceedings in Texas. Meanwhile, the Mexican consul chartered a vessel and sent him off to Vera Cruz.
The command having devolved on Lieutenant Corteniz, Travis received from him friendly treatment; but as for the Lieutenant Montero, who had guarded him at the time the company approached the fort for an assault, he would never forgive him for the harsh and cruel treatment he had received from his hands. Both Bradburn and Montero dreaded to see him at large hence, both hid for a good many days in the Double Bayou woods. Austin, having defeated Uguartichea at Velasco, permitted him to evacuate and retire to San Antonio; shortly after the Colonel Souverin, by a pronunciamento, assumed the command of the troops at Anahuac. The following fall having chartered two schooners of David and William Harris, he sailed the whole garrison to Tampico. By means of these two vessels (for which David and William Harris were never paid) we got rid of the Mexicans. The schooner Machanna (one of the two) was wrecked near the bar of Soto La Marina, but all the men were landed safely the other landed her men in Tampico. Thus was Anahuac finally relieved of the presence of the Mexican garrison and the soldiers from whom the inhabitants had suffered so much.
In order to guard against every error in the history of those early events that induced the first colonists of Texas to resort to arms in the defense of their rights and liberties, the narrative by Dr. Labadie was submitted to Colonel Francis W. Johnson, with the request that he make such comments and add such further particulars as he might deem necessary. The following is his reply:
I have read with much care and interest Dr. N. D. Labadie's manuscript in relation to the cause which led to open resistance in 1832, and fully concur in his statement of facts and circumstances leading to the first outbreak of hostilities. The usurpation of civil power and the arbitrary conduct of Colonel Bradburn in deposing the alcalde (Hugh B. Johnson) and the members of the ayuntamiento of the municipality of Liberty, and substituting, in their stead, creatures of his own-seizing, and appropriating to his own use, private property-arresting and imprisoning, without cause, citizens who claimed a trial before the civil authorities of the Jurisdiction, if guilty of any offense, are a few of many causes which might be enumerated, and led to resistance. Among the most prominent citizens arrested and held in prison by Bradburn were William B. Travis, Patrick C. Jack, Munroe Edwards, and Samuel T. Allen.
William H. Jack, of San Felipe de Austin, on learning that his brother Patrick C., together with others, had been arrested and imprisoned by order of Colonel Bradburn, commandant the post of Anahuac, proceeded to that place and waited on Colonel Bradburn for the purpose of ascertaining what, if an offense had been committed by his brother and the oth prisoners, and to obtain for them a trial before the civil authorities, or their release. In vain did he urge the necessity and justice of their immediate release or a trial before the proper authorities of the jurisdiction. No argument that Jack was master of had the least effect upon this petty tyrant, who with great effrontery informed Jack that the prisoner would be sent to Vera Cruz and tried by a military court. Mortified and pained to think that he could n release or get a trial for the prisoners, nor in any way better their painful situation, he returned to his home in San Felipe determined to make an appeal to the people of Austin colony. On his arrival at home he called together a few friends, and informed them of the results of his visit Bradburn, and his determination to appeal to the people. In this his friends agreed with him. The most prominent citizens of the place were consulted, and a plan of operations so agreed upon. Colonel William Pettus and William H. Jack were to proceed to the settlements of Fort Bend, Brazoria, et Robert M. Williamson was to visit the settlements of Mill Creek, Coles on the Goliad road and Washington, and give notice to the people of the wrongs and outrages committed by Bradburn, and solicit them to aid in subjecting the military tyrant to the civil authorities of the country.
Benjamin Tennell and Francis W. Johnson were to visit the settlements on Spring Creek, Buffalo Bayou, San Jacinto and Trinity as high up as Liberty. These arrangements being completed, Horatio Chinman, Esq., first constitutional alcalde of the jurisdiction of Austin, was informed of what had been done. Each one who had volunteered to rally the people proceeded on his routes. Wherever they went they were greeted, and the people responded to the call. Tennell and Johnson were the first to arrive at Liberty and communicate what was being done in Austin's colony and to solicit their co-operation. They joyously joined us, and made common cause. After consulting the alcalde---Hugh B. Johnson---and other citizens of Liberty, it was determined to meet at Minchey's, a few miles below Liberty, and there organize and concert such measures as the occasion required. As fast as the men from Austin's colony arrived, they were directed to Minchey's, where all were abundantly supplied by the, citizens. Some two or three days after the arrival of Tennell and Johnson at Liberty, a respectable number of men assembled at Minchey's where it was resolved that an armed force, composed of the citizens of Austin's colony and the jurisdiction of Liberty, should march upon Anahuac, take up a position, appoint a committee to wait on Colonel Bradburn and inform him of the object of the assemblage of the citizens before that place.
We organized by electing Francis W. Johnson first, Warren D. C. Hall second, and Thomas H. Bradey third, in command. This over, and necessary measures for sustaining the force taken, the troops were formed and took up the line of march to Anahuac. Sergeant Blackman, with sixteen men under the direction of Robert M. Williamson, formed the advance. Flankers were thrown out on each side. Thus we moved forward. We had not marched more than half the distance to Turtle Bayou when the advance came upon a party of Mexican cavalry. So completely were they surprised that not a gun was fired. We halted and encamped on the west side of Turtle Bayou---Whites' Crossing. While posting the guard, a miscreant, by the name of Haden---a creature of John M. Smith---shot and instantly killed Sergeant Blackman, and escaped under cover of night. The next morning we resumed our march and entered Anahuac at or before noon. As soon, thereafter, as our little force was properly posted, a committee, composed of alcaldes Austin and Johnson, G. B. McKinstry, H. K. Lewis, and Frances W. Johnson, was appointed, and proceeded to the fort. They were conducted, through the guard, to the quarters of Colonel Bradburn, and made known to him the object of their visit. The committee enforced their demand every argument they were masters of. Bradburn, after being driven to the well by argument, finally informed them that Colonel Souverin was the commander of the garrison. The gentleman, who had taken part in the conference, now, for the first time, was pointed out as the commanding officer. Not being able to effect anything peaceably, we informed Colonel Bradburn and Souverin that we would try what virtue there was in force, made our bows and returned to our camp, where we reported the result of our mission.
Thus matters remained until the following day, when some skirmishing took place, but resulted in no loss or injury. Several attempts were made to draw the enemy out, without success. On the third day it was determined to send a detachment to take a position opposite and within rifle shot of the fort. For this purpose the ground was examined and found practicable. By marching under the river bank the detachment would be covered, and reach the position assigned. The bank at that point, being high, completely covered the detachment from the fire of the fort. While arrangements were being made with this view, John A. Williams solicited an interview, which was granted. After expressing his regret at the turn things had taken, he stated that he had accompanied Colonel Souverin from Matamoras; that he had frequent conversations with him; and that he was devoted to the cause espoused by Santa Anna, and that he was using his influence with the garrison at Anahuac to declare Santa Anna; that he had been assured by Colonel Souverin that he was disposed to accommodate the citizens, and present difficulties could be amicable and satisfactorily arranged through commissioners. Williams, although strongly suspected of being favorable to Bradburn, manifested zeal and honesty that the Texans agreed to appoint commissioners to meet those of the fort at a time agreed upon (William Hardin's). The commissioners on our part were Capt. John Austin, Hugh B. Johnson, and Neyly Martin. Terms having been agreed upon, they were made known to the command. They were not such as had been expected and gave a good deal of dissatisfaction on account of the want of confidence in Mexican faith. Captain Martin assured the command that he had the utmost confidence in their good faith; that no one wearing an epaulet would be base enough to forfeit his plighted honor. This reconciled most of the men.
The command was then ordered to march to Taylor White's on Turtle Bayou, and there await the arrival of the commissioners and the Texan prisoners. A small party---from fifteen to thirty---remained with the commissioners. At an early hour the next day, firing was heard in the direction of Anahuac, and very soon after, an express arrived and informed us that the Mexicans had refused to comply with the terms agreed upon, and were marching out to attack the small party in Anahuac. The command was immediately put under marching order, and had advanced within some two miles when they were met by the commissioners and their small party retreating in good order. The enemy being in position, and occupying a piece of woodland, and with artillery to cover their lines, it was deemed prudent not to attack them under such disadvantageous circumstances. The command was faced about and marched back to Turtle Bayou. After consultation, a meeting was called and its object stated, whereupon a committee was appointed to draw up a preamble and resolutions declaratory of the wrongs and abuses committed by the chief magistrate of the nation and his minions, the military; and also of the determination of Texas to repel further aggressions by the military, and to maintain their rights under the Constitution of 1824. The committee having performed this duty, the preamble and resolutions were unanimously adopted by the meeting. Thus this little band boldly proclaimed their rights, and a determination to defend them, and called upon all Texas to join them.
In the evening of the same day we marched up to Dunman's. Here it was determined that Captain John Austin, Geroge B. McKinstry, and others, should proceed to Brazoria for the purpose of raising men and getting artillery and munitions, all of which to be transported by water, and landed at some suitable point near Anahuac. Colonel William Pettus and Robert M. Williamson were sent to San Felipe, for purpose of raising and forwarding men. In the meantime, the small force left in the field, were tooccupy such positions as would enable us to watch the moments of the enemy, and, if occasion offered, to strike a blow. From Dunman's we took a position at Mosses Spring, where a few days after, we were joined by Captain Abner Kuykendall and his company, of from forty to sixty men from Austin's colony. Small parties were daily arriving. Thus reinforced we marched forward again, and took up a position at Dunmans', where we were further reinforced by parties of Austin's colony, and from Bevil's Settlement, the Neches. Thus again we were enabled to resume offensive measures, and only awaited the arrival of artillery march upon Anahuac. Under this state of things, and at this point, we were visited by commissioners from the camp of Colonel Piedras who had marched with a part of his forces from Nacogdoches on a call from Colonel Bradburn. The conference with the commissioners resulted in nothing more than the information that Colonel Piedras was encamped some twenty miles north of Liberty. The commissioners were informed of objects and wishes, and an agreement to meet again, on a named, at James Martin's, near Liberty.
With the enemy in our front and rear, it was determined to take up a stronger position and, accordingly, we marchde to Mosses Spring, On the day appointed, the commissioners of Piedras were met at Martin's. Not being able to agree upon anything satisfactory and definite, the commissioners directed to say to Colonel Piedras that we would meet at or near his camp on a certain day, but that, in the meantime he was not to move forward or backward, as in either event it would be held hostile, and put an end to further negotiations. With a view to prevent a junction of the two forces, it was determined to take up a position near Martin's, where we could more effectually prevent such a union, and if need be, fight them in detail. Before leaving Mosses we received news, by express, of the battle of Velasco.
On the day appointed, Francis W. Johnson, Captain Randal Jones and James Lindsey, as commissioners, and Captain Francis Adams, as interpreter, met Colonel Piedras and his commissioners near their camp. The conference was conducted with all that politeness and courtesy characteristic of the Mexican gentleman. We were not long on agreeing on terms, which were that the prisoners should at once be released and delivered over to the alcalde at Liberty; that Bradburn should be put under arrest and the command given to the next senior officer. Colonel Piedras accompanied us that evening to Captain George Orr's, where he spent the night. The next morning, Colonel Piedras, accompanied by the alcalde, Hugh B. Johnson, passed our encampment. Being notified of their approach, the troops were drawn up in line and saluted them. In the evening of that day, they arrived at Anahuac, where, the next morning, he was released and turned over the Texan prisoners to the alcalde. Bradburn was put under arrest soon after the arrival of Colonel Piedras. During the night an attempt, it is believed, was made on the life of the alcalde and William Hardin by some of Bradburn's creatures. Johnson escaped with no clothing or covering but pants, shirts, and socks, and arrived at our camp at an early hour in the morning. Hardin arrived later on the same day. The arrival of these two men, and under the circumstances, created great excitement and distrust. A company, under Captain Peyton R. Splaner, was ordered out on the road to Anahuac to watch the movements of the enemy, and another detachment in the direction of Piedras' camp, with orders to report at the camp to be established on the west side of Trinity, near Duncan's Ferry. The reports stated that Colonel Piedras complied, to the letter, with his agreement and the Texan prisoners, once more admitted to enjoy free air and light of heaven, were greeted by their country men as they wended their way to Martin's. Thus ended the Anahuac Campaign, and the citizen soldiers returned to their respective homes. Yours respectfully, F. W. Johnson
SONS OF DEWITT