SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS
© 1997-2011, Wallace L. McKeehan, All Rights Reserved

Peter (Pedro) Ellis Bean 1783-1846

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Receiving a command under Gen. Morelos. We marched to the pass of the Sabana, which it was determined we should fortify. The work was commenced, but we were scarce of money for our men. I proposed to plunder Acapulco, for the fort was built to defend the bay, and her guns could not reach the town. The general agreed to it, and a large number of our men volunteered to go with me. We went in the night, and, after carrying the small guard at the hospital, the town was ours. We got about thirty thousand dollars in goods and about eight thousand dollars in money, which placed our camp in a flourishing condition. At this time the royalists had drawn off all the forces they could gather to contend with Hidalgo, Rayon, and others, who were in motion about Valladolid, and could not bring any great numbers against us. But they mustered a force of about three thousand royalists, and attacked our works at the pass of Sabana, which we had finished. This was in March 1811. But we drove them back with great loss. As we remained in our works, our loss was only one or two. This affair lasted two days, when they retreated. Here General Morelos left me with the main body of the troops, which he took to Tayupan. He returned again, and, with us the whole force, set out for Chilpanzingo. Before reaching there, we received news that the royalists were advancing to that place. General Morelos gave me the command of two hundred horsemen, with order's to go forward and occupy the town. I did so, but, at the end of three days, was forced to retreat. We took with us, however, all the effects of the king's party there, which again supplied our troops with cash. I informed Morelos that I was compelled to retreat by the superior force of the enemy. He approved the retreat. The next day we marched upon Chualco, where we had news that the royalists were marching rapidly to meet us. The next morning, about eight o'clock, they came in sight. We were in readiness, and advanced to meet them. There was, between the two armies, a deep gully, twenty feet wide, which, except in some particular places, was impassable. While the main body were fighting across the gully, I marched three hundred men through a piece of timber, and, without being perceived by the enemy, fell upon their rear. In an instant they were in confusion, and commenced their flight. Our army made their way, as they best could, across the gully. Their officers never tried to rally them, but they all fled. We pursued and cut them down for six miles. All their ammunition and three pieces of artillery fell into our hands. We had with us a large number of Mexican Indians, who pursued and butchered all they could overtake. I came up with them, and urged them to make prisoners, and not to kill. At this time there were, in twenty yards of me, two personal enemies. I advanced toward them, and ordered them to surrender. One of them made a push at me with his spear, and wounded me severely in the right thigh. Our Mexican Indians cut them to pieces in an instant. My horse was brought me, and I rode to camp; but, when I got there, my boot was filled with blood. I felt no great pain, but was weak and faint.

The next morning we marched into Chilpanzingo without opposition. Here we had news that the enemy was marching from the Mistaco on the Pacific to Acapulco. General Morelos sent me, with fifty mounted men, to look after them. I reached a garrison of two hundred and fifty of our party, on a mountain called Validaro. Close by the shore there were a hundred more. After six days' ride, my wound had made me very stiff and sore. However, in about six days after my arrival, I was informed, by a woman from Acapulco, that the governor himself was coming to attack the one hundred patriots that were on the coast. They were only nine miles distant. So I immediately started with two hundred men and two small guns from Validaro to join these men on the coast. The third day after our arrival, our pickets gave notice of their approach. I removed my force, consisting of three, hundred men, to a rocky bluff on the road, and formed a complete ambuscade. I sent out twenty-five men to give them battle, and then retreat in good order. All this was effected; and we got them so far into the net, that nearly their entire force, about equal to ours, was killed or taken; and, among the rest, the governor, my old friend, who had kept me so long in chains, was badly wounded. I sent him back to the Castle to die.

Conspiracy to take Acalpulco Castle.   After this battle, all the coast was, clear of the enemy, except the strong fort at Acapulco, which I was not able to take. In about a month, General Morelos visited my camp, and showed me a letter from the castle, stating that they had entered into a conspiracy [Bean says they "had an entrequi in the fort."  He meant an intriga--ED] in the fort to deliver it to us that on such a night, as a signal, they, would hoist a lantern to the top of the flagstaff, when Morelos should march his men and form them in sixty yards of the fort. He should then send one to let it be known be was there, when all the doors would be opened, the drawbridges let down, and the touch holes of the cannons filled with tallow. General Morelos was pleased with the plan, and the idea of possessing the fort. I told him I did not like the plan; for, if the soldiers were formed at the place stated, and the cannons of the fort brought to bear on it, it would be a conspiracy to kill all our men. He said, "Oh, no, it could not be so." I said it might not be the case, but it was dangerous to trust an enemy at any time. He said he wished to carry out the enterprise. I told him that, if I went into it, I preferred doing it in my way, and not according to their plan. He then left it to me to carry it out as I thought proper. The signal was given about an hour before day. I marched my men to the gate on the opposite side of the fort, and sent to inform them we were ready. They had previously placed fifty pieces of cannon, loaded with grape, so as to sweep the place where our men were to have been formed.  They opened their fire, which continued like an earthquake for thirty minutes. In this time we were safely retreating on the other side of the fort, at our leisure, in the dark. They thought, when daylight came, to find the ground covered with "insurgents," as they called us, but they found only the grass and herbs tore up! I asked General Morelos, next day, what be thought of the plan. He said God had protected us.  sdct

Erection of powder mills and production of powder for the insurgent forces.  As there was no possibility of taking the fort, and they would not come out and fight us, we marched back to Chilpanzingo without delay. After all these engagements, we were without ammunition. As there were large quantities of salt peter in the country, and I was the only one who understood the manufacture of powder, I set up a powder-mill. We obtained sulfur from a mine near Chilpanzingo. The Indian women ground the materials on their metates and I made the powder. At a place called Testla about six miles from Chilpanzingo, Don Miguel Bravo was attacked by the enemy, and defeated them though they encamped on their ground. That night he wrote us of his situation, and that he was out of ammunition. We set up all night at our powder-works, and the next morning Morelos sent him one hundred and fifty pounds of powder and took over to assist him six hundred of us. We attacked the enemy on one side and our friends on the other, and defeated them entirely, taking four hundred and sixty-five prisoners, three cannons, all their baggage, and ammunition. Among the prisoners was the man who had written that they would deliver up the castle. We put him to death four days afterward. For some months after this we were free from the enemy. Morelos, during this time, marched to Tenansingo and Tasco, which he took. I was engaged in providing ammunition. He then came to Cuautla Amilpas, which he concluded to fortify. While this was going on, I provided ammunition sufficient for a siege of six months.

The viceroy Calleja came with twelve thousand men and laid siege to the place. It was agreed by the leaders of the patriots that Morelos should stand a siege, and thus draw all the royalists from Mexico. Rayon, Cos, Vedisco, and Bravo, were to approach the besiegers from without, while Morelos was to sally out from the place; and thus, by one complete victory, we were to be complete masters of Mexico. The other patriot officers, seeing Morelos shut up, did not advance as they were to do, but left him to suffer hunger and fatigue until he was forced to leave the place in the night, which he hid by forcing his way through the besiegers, with a small loss of men, but of all his cannons and ammunition. During the two months of this siege, I had gone out with seventy men to support Chilpanziugo and provide ammunition. As my guard was too weak, I was forced to fly to Choltepec, forty miles from that place. In this time I had made about two thousand pounds of powder, and had repaired a number of old guns, all of which were of great service to Morelos when he retreated from Cuautla. We marched to relieve a portion of the patriots who, under the command of a lieutenant-colonel, were besieged in Huahuapan. We succeeded, and took two pieces of artillery and some muskets. We then marched to Tchuacan, which received us with the ringing of the church-bells. We remained here about two months, when we marched to attack Orizaba. We reached it in a march of three days, and took it by assault, with little loss.

Hearing that the royalists, under the command of General Avia, were advancing rapidly to give us battle, we left Orizaba in three days, and marched out to gain a position on the road where he would pass. He reached the place first. We made an effort to pass him, but he was well prepared, and gave us such a complete flogging, that he dispersed our forces. We saved our guns and ammunition with difficulty, and made our way to Teliuacan. Thence we marched to Huacaca, on the waters of the Pacific. In this march, the want of horses and provisions, and the bad and mountainous state of the roads, put us to great trouble. When we reached the beautiful plains of Huacaca, we summoned them to surrender, which they refused. At daylight, next morning, we attacked the city, and in two hours obtained possession. We took here a large quantity of property belonging to the king and the royalists, which we much needed. We also acquired a rich, province, which produces large quantities of cochineal. We remained here about a year, in which time I had erected a powder mill, and carried on successfully the manufacture of powder.[swdt]

Assualt on Acalpulco Fortress. At the end of this time, we marched with twelve thousand well-armed men to Chilpanzingo, and then to Acapulco, to try and get possession of the place. General Morelos, our commander-in-chief sent in a flag, demanding the surrender of the place. The letter was not signed by Morelos, but by me; the commandant of the fort answered as follows:

"If you will come and join his majesty's troops, you shall have a colonel's commission, and ten thousand dollars' reward." I presented it to General Morelos. He laughed when he read it, and said, "Why don't you go?" I said, "If you thought I would go, you would not say that." He then said, "You are right." With his leave, I then wrote as follows.

"SIR: I have had the pleasure of receiving your letter, dated December the 20th, 1812; and, in answer to the same, I have to state that I am very poor, but, for all that, your king has not money enough to buy me, or make me a friend to a tyrant, when I have been rocked in the cradle of liberty from infancy. Your ob't servant, BEAN."

We laid in about two miles of the fort for three or four days, when a deserter came to our camp, and told us that the enemy's women and children, with their sick, and an abundance of provisions, were on a small island, about a mile from the shore. As there were provisions on the island, it was deemed impracticable for us to starve out the fort; so we fell upon the plan of building a sufficient number of piraguas to pass over and take the island. We went to work to build the vessels; and while at it, General Morelos, being in bad health, went to Tehepan, leaving me in command of the business. I had a small party of men stationed just out of gunshot from the fort. They were very careless of the defense of the post. So, one morning, just at daybreak, when they were all lying down, the royalists came out of the fort and charged on them. They defeated them completely, and took from them two pieces of artillery. I heard the firing at my camp, got my troops in order, and marched with all speed; but, before I got there, they had returned to the fort, so that I could do nothing. I then stationed another guard at the same place, and attended to the making of the vessels. I soon had twenty made: they were rough and badly made, yet large, and would hold many men. I wrote to General Morelos that I was ready to pass to the island. He answered me, to go on; that his health was yet bad; that he would send me fifty mule-loads of corn, knowing that I had plenty of beef. I launched all my vessels; and one calm night, having placed in them about five hundred men, I passed over to the island, and landed just before day. At daylight I charged on the camp, and took it without the loss of a man. I found a guard of forty men, about two hundred women and children, and some old men sick. They informed me that two schooners would be there the next day. I then lashed my piraguas about three feet apart, four together, laid poles across them, and thus formed four floating platforms, or whatever you may call them, and took them to the point of the, island, to see if I could not prevent the schooners from coming out. sdct

They came out, and, seeing us, went back to the port, and got some small guns on board; and the next day came out again, to destroy my rafts. They came close to us, and opened a fire. We soon made them wish to retire. One of them did; but the other, having her mast shot away by a shot from a six-pounder I had found on the island, and having some of her men killed, they ran below, and, she drifted within twenty feet of us. We then boarded her with our four loose piraguas, fastened her to our raft, and took her men, nineteen in all, prisoners. The prisoners informed me that they were out of provisions, and would be forced to surrender within three days. Three of the women on the island asked leave to go to the fort. I told them they were all starving there, and if they went, they would suffer. They begged me to let them go, and said that they would tell the troops at the fort how kindly they would be treated if they surrendered, and that I had said I would not leave the place till I had taken the fort. I let them go. Sure enough, the next day a flag left, the fort, and made toward my camp on the shore. I sent from the island to meet them. They were two clergymen and one lieutenant. They said their commander had sent them to me, to state that he would surrender the fort if 1 would let him and his troops march out with their arms, and go and join the other troops of the king. I said, no; that if he would surrender it, and let all the arms and ammunition, and king's property, remain in the fort, then every man might take his clothes, baggage, and money enough to bear his expenses, and have a passport to join the king's troops wherever he pleased; but, if I found anything more taken, I would retain the commander as a prisoner……..

[There are four leaves, or eight pages, of the original manuscripts, missing here, viz., from page 197 to 204 of the original.  It may be proper to state that the place was at least surrendered, and the prisoners afterward shot by order of Morelos, to retaliate for the loss of General Matamoros--ED]

Miss Wakina's appeal for Bean's hand and abandonment of the insurgent cause.   "……..that my house is yours, and that my daughter who now sits in your presence esteems you, and, there is no doubt in my mind, would forsake her home and parents to follow you in the army, although she has been raised by kind parents, and never lacked anything of enjoyment this place could afford. She has disclosed her mind to me, and says you have promised, when the war is over, to make her your companion. It is, then, the wish of us all, that you stay with us. The whole of this city shall suffer death before you shall be hurt. We have now in the house for you a king's pardon, and the promise that you shall have the same command in the king's army that you now have. So, fulfil the promise to my daughter, marry her, make her happy, and yourself also. You well know of the defeat of Morelos, and that all the troops you commanded are lost; that the king's troops are daily increasing, and the patriots falling off. So, for your own happiness and mine, I hope you will, at your leisure, take all these things into consideration."

I said to her: "Dear madam, your offers are fair and friendly, for which I give you a thousand thanks. But no man of honor ought to change his coat to join a despotic monarch, and groan under the weight of chains which I have made a feeble attempt to break. True, I have not yet succeeded; but I hope to see this country flourish in the enjoyment of liberty, and the despot fly from our coasts. I can never think of changing my mind: I shall ever continue to raise my sword against the king while my life is spared, and he attempts to occupy this land."

Miss Wakina spoke: "You have visited my father's house, and I have been simple enough to think you had a regard for me, and would wish to make me happy. But now I see you are full of flattery, and do not return my regard for you. I will leave father, mother, and all, to go with you; and, as it would be a happiness to endure fatigue in your company, if you will not stay with us, I will follow you till death shall separate us."  sdct

I returned many thanks to this beautiful girl; and, as an objection to her going with me, told her that, if I should lose my life in any engagement, she would be left without parents or friend; that I had strong hopes I would shortly return, and then I would be more than willing to make her my own. I told her I thought she possessed more honor than to urge me to join the standard of a despot, and thus, for her sake, to make myself forever miserable. She then said she wished me to preserve my honor, and do what was right; that she would go into a convent, and await my return. I then gave this young angel a kiss, and left the room. I then returned to where the priests and friars were, who supposed that everything was ready. I told them I must ride, and that they could command me at all times, as could all men of liberal minds, although they might not join in the field of battle. There was silence for a moment: some wine was brought in---I took some, bid them adieu, and went out and mounted my horse. In this time the ladies were telling what I had said. A friar came out and took my horse by the reins, and said I must not go. I wished him to let go my horse. Miss Wakina came to the door, and told him that my principles were honorable, and not to incommode me; then, with tears in her eyes, she bid me farewell. The friar still held on to my horse, and would not let go till I put my spurs to him. I rode to the street; my few men mounted their horses; then all came up; I bid them a general farewell, and we started on the road for Quicaclau.

Encounter at Tentaclan against royalist Gen. Avio and interaction with Rayon.  The next day, about eleven o'clock, I came up with my mules, loaded with ammunition. I had two hundred followers, and only two thousand dollars, and knew not where to get more. In three days I reached Quicaclan. Here I was informed that General Rayon was in Tentaclan del Camino, only nine miles distant. I was by this much relieved, as it was gratifying to know that my small force were not all the republicans in the world. I mounted and marched with all possible speed, though the most of my pack mules were very tired. But when I reached Tentaclan, to my great surprise, Rayon had left that place the day before, and gone up a mountain to a place called San Pablo Solaclan. I stopped that night, and the next morning I received news that General Avio, a royalist, was on his way to that place, expecting to find General Rayon there. It was necessary for me, with my small force, to stand or run. My mules had all given out; and then, to escape the enemy, I would have to take up the mountain at the edge of the town, and leave my ammunition.

I wrote to Rayon that it was impossible for me to move; and to send me a reinforcement, and I could beat the enemy with ease so that we could then march to Tehacan without any danger, His answer was, for me to leave the place, and save what I could; that he should not send me any relief. I then commenced to pack and start my mules---all of which was owing to a want of valor in Rayon, who had run away from the same enemy before I came. I had started my packs with the pack men, but not my soldiers, and had sent out a small picket guard in the direction of the enemy. They returned, and reported that they would be there that evening. I sent back to Teotla and got forty men to reinforce my two hundred. I had with me Captain Simon Mendez, in whom I placed great confidence. I thought I would see what force the enemy had and if I could give him battle, I would do so; if not, I would retreat. It had been reported that they were a thousand strong. My mules were gone, and I had no artillery, except a small howitzer. The town was on a beautiful rise, so that I could see them when they approached within half a mile. When they came in sight, I saw they had about three hundred cavalry, two hundred infantry, and one piece of artillery. I marched to the outside of the town, to a small creek with high banks. There I stationed fifty men behind a rise, which concealed them from the enemy. As soon as their cavalry saw my advance, they charged. They were some time in the creek, so that I got two fires on them. My advance then fell back to my main line, on top of the hill. There we gave the enemy's cavalry such a beating, that they retreated, and reported to their infantry (who never reached the battleground) that my force was two thousand men! The whole body then fell back, and that night retreated to Coscoclan, leaving me quietly at Tentaclan. General Rayon, hearing of my success, came to my assistance when I did not need him. I then went with him to San Pablo Coscoclan. He then wanted me to come under his command. This was the first time I had ever seen him. I stated his wishes to my men; and they said I might do as I thought proper, but they would not follow me if I did. I did not like myself to go with him for I knew I would always be left to fight if any danger offered. So I told him I would meet him at the Lanas de Apan in six or seven days. So he left me, and marched for that place. But it was not my intention to meet him there. sdct

The second day after his departure, I received a letter from General Morelos, relating all his misfortunes, and requesting me, if I could pass to the United States, to do so as soon as possible; and see if I could make any arrangements to bring on a campaign against the province of Texas, and, if I could, to make some provision for a supply of arms. My situation was then desperate. When I left Huabaca, I had two thousand dollars. I had spent all this, in furnishing my men, excepting five hundred dollars. Knowing that, with money, in the United States, I could do much, and, without it, nothing, I was troubled. There were some rich patriots in Tehuacan; so, having left my men under command of Captain Simon Mendez, I went to see them, and stated my situation. As I was known there, and General Morelos was much esteemed, I found that the people would raise me all the money they could in a few days; and so my mind was relieved. In about ten days I received news that the citizens had made up ten thousand dollars for me to take with me. As soon as I could, I went to Huatusco, where there were stationed fifty patriots.

Meeting Gen. Victoria and journey to New Orleans.   Thence I continued my journey to the king's bridge, or Puente del Rey, where I found General Victoria and a man by the name of Ansures. I stayed with them one night, and proceeded to the town of Nautla, on the coast. This place was, at that time, commanded by a negro, named Philipia. I found here a large open boat, and, thought, by putting a deck on it, I could pass the gulf. After working at it five days, there came in sight a fine schooner, belonging to a company of privateers commanded by Lafitte and well known by the citizens of the United States. They lived on an island called Barrataria, below New Orleans. This schooner, called "The Tiger," was commanded by Captain Dominic, a Frenchman. I had under me in that place about seventy-five men. We made every signal, but could not get them to send their boat, although they lay to, and showed their colors. At that time they had Carthagenian colors, with which I was not acquainted. Toward evening they sailed southwest, toward Vera Cruz.

The second day after, we saw two sails coming up the coast, very close to the shore. With a good glass, I quickly found that the foremost vessel was the one that had left two days before. When she came opposite to us, she let fly the same colors as before. I had another craft than large piraguas, and could not think of venturing out, not knowing but she was a royalist. In this time the other vessel, which I found to be a large brig, came close alongside the schooner, and, hoisting English colors, the fight began between them. The schooner spread her sails, and played around the brig, until she had shot away her mainmast. The brig was then ungovernable. The schooner made off out of gunshot, and then lay to again. The brig sent out two large boats to board the schooner. As they came near, she sunk one of them, and the other was badly shattered. The brig having picked up her men from the wreck, the schooner made off toward New Orleans, and the brig returned a southwest course. The next morning, the guard on shore reported that there was a small schooner at the mouth of the river, a half-mile from the town. Filling the three piraguas with men, I went down to the schooner, and found her drifting toward the shore, but, as there was a calm, making no headway. I went out with two of my boats, and boarded and brought her in. This is the first vessel the Mexican nation ever owned. She had on board some flour and dried beef, which was of great service to us. I had a thought of fitting up this vessel for my voyage, but I found she was only a coaster, and had no compass or quadrant; and if she had, they would have been of no service to me, for I knew nothing of navigation, and had never been twenty miles from shore in my life. sdct

The next morning, a woman came down the coast to sell us some, fowls and eggs, and informed me that, six miles up, there was a schooner run close to shore; that her deck was covered with men, and she had no masts. Supposing it might be the enemy who had come out from Tampico, and was aiming to land and give me battle, I then set out with my small force to stop them from landing---knowing that on that open coast they would land with difficulty. When I approached near them, I concealed my men behind the sandbanks, and sent five men unarmed to the shore, that they might not be alarmed. The five men hailed them, and they sent out their boat for them. I then learned that this was "The Tiger;" that she had been so fortunate as to cripple the English brig, and get away from that afterward the crew of the schooner had got to drinking, and ran her on the shoal which extends out a great distance from shore. I learned that the Spaniards at Vera Cruz had promised the English captain two thousand dollars if he would capture the schooner; but he got well shattered, and did not take her as he expected. I was happy to find some of my country-men on board, and learned from them, for the first time, that the United States and England were at war. I then, sent for my small schooner I had found at the mouth of the river, and transported the crew of the Tiger and all on board of her to Nautla. We then prepared my little schooner, and took on as many of the crew of the Tiger as we could carry, and in ten days set sail for New Orleans. In thirteen days more I landed safely on Barrataria island. I left my small schooner in care of Lafitte, and got in old Frenchman to pilot me through some lakes, and land me on the Mississippi, about nine miles above New Orleans. I got a skiff from a gentleman by the name of Hearn, and a negro to row me down to the city. This was in 1814.

Joining the Battle of New Orleans.   I found my old acquaintance, William C. C. Claiborne, of Tennessee, was governor of New Orleans. But I did not remain long there. I went to Natchez, and thence to Natchitoches, to see what chance there was to renew the expedition of Bernardo Gutierres and Toledo. At Natchitoches I found a large number of poor fugitive Mexicans; but they had become dispirited, and had no desire to make a second attempt. I had not money enough to carry on an expedition, so I returned back to New Orleans. The day after my arrival, the American gunboats had been taken by an English squadron of Mobile; and, shortly after, great preparations were being made by General Andrew Jackson to defend New Orleans. I had known Jackson from my earliest recollection. I thought, although I had not been in the United States for fifteen years, that I would volunteer my services. I joined the company of Captain Maunsell White, of New Orleans, and was stationed at Bayou St. Johns.   News arrived that the British had landed below New Orleans. At three o'clock in the afternoon our company struck up the march, and overtook the rest of the army before they reached the battleground. (I shall not say much of this battle, as it is well known.) Next day, General Jackson asked me if I understood artillery [General Jackson knew the Beans well.  The scene between him and Jesse Bean, an uncle of Ellis P. Bean, forms part of our early history.---ED]. I told him I did. He then stationed me at a twenty-four pounder, a short distance from the levee, where I stood till the British retreated, except two days, in which I was showing Mr. William Brant, a brick-mason of New Orleans, how to erect a couple of air-furnaces for heating shot.  sdct

Return to Mexico and envoy to the US with Herrera and Almonte.  After the British had been defeated, and made their retreat, I asked leave of General Jackson to return to Mexico, which was granted. I obtained a small schooner in New Orleans, bought arms and ammunition as far as my means would allow, and started down the river. I could not go out at the Balize, because of some English vessels stationed there, I went out at what is called the Southwest pass. I again made my way to Nautla, taking on the voyage, a small Spanish schooner, loaded with corn and flour, and bound from Tampico to Vera Cruz. I carried her safely in. I then armed all the men I could, placed Villapinta in command of the coast, and set out on a journey of six hundred miles through the enemy's country to Purucan, where General Morelos was stationed. At this place, about three months previous to my arrival, General Matamoras had been taken and shot by the royalists. I performed this, long journey without any accident with only six men. When I arrived, Morelos said I was right---he ought not to have come on this expedition. He asked me what good news I brought from the United States. I related to him how I got there, and what I had done. I told him the United States were our friends and well-wishers; but they were then at war with Great Britain, which might be a reason why they could not do so much for us. It was then concluded to send an ambassador to the United States, and that I should return there with him. Twenty-five thousand dollars was all the money that could be raised for the purpose. General Morelos wished to come with us as far as the coast; but he had been appointed president of our small republic, yet in its struggle for freedom, and could not leave. Don Manuel de Herrera was appointed ambassador. Morelos sent with us his son Almonte, as far as New Orleans. When we reached the last-named place, we found that the United States would not acknowledge our independence. As we were not yet free from the Spanish yoke, this was right.

I left Herrera and Almonte, and returned to Mexico; but, before I reached.there, Morelos had been taken by the royalists and shot. I found the country was in a desperate situation; that a great number of the former patriots had gone over to the royalists, and obtained pardons. I went to Tehuacan, where General Terán was stationed. There I learned that Colonel Muscos was taken at Palo Blanco, near Huatusco. I returned to the latter place, where I had about fourteen hundred dollars in money. I packed it up, and started to meet General Victoria, who had gone down to the coast, a small distance from Vera Cruz.

[Author Wooten footnotes concerning Col. Juan Almonte: "Almonte (present Mexican minister to the United States) was an illegitimate son of Morelos, and was sent in care of Colonel Bean to the United States, to be educated. He was placed at school, and for some time remained there; but his father being killed, and his means failing, he became a clerk in the store of Puech and Bein, hardware merchants in New Orleans. He then left their employment, and joined Bernardo Gutierres at Compté on Red river. On receipt of the news of the treaty of Cordova, made in 1821 by Iturbide and O'Donoju he returned with Gutierres to Mexico by way of Matamoras. At the latter place Gutierres remained, being appointed first governor of Tamaulipas under the republic. Almonte made his way to the capital, to push his fortune; and, with the exception of his renowned master Santa Anna, no Mexican has met with a greater variety of adventures.---ED."]

Marriage and flight to the United States and Texas.   I took with me a young lady of fine family, who had lost all they had in the revolution.

[Wooten footnotes here "Senorita Anna Gorthas. She resided at her hacienda, at Branderrillas and was related to General Morelos."  He notes also at the end of the memoir "Note.  The lady to whom Colonel Bean was married, as stated on the previous page, was a most tender and devoted wife. She had by him no children. By the turn of affairs she became wealthy, and owned a fine hacienda three miles from Jalapa, where Colonel Bean died, on the 3d of October, 1846.---ED."  These notes refer to Doña Magdalena Falfan de los Godos, Bean's faithful Mexican wife throughout long absences in the United States and Texas and with whom he died--WLM].

I married her at a small town on my way, intending to ship her with me to the United States. My mules being fatigued, I stopped at a hacienda. The next day General Victoria came on, having with him but four men. He had been beaten by the royalists and was then on his retreat. He was entirely destitute of funds, not having a single dollar. I told him what I had, and proposed that we should unite and make a new effort. He said it was not worth while; that the people had got out of heart, and it would be better to go to some secret place and there wait till there was a change. He wanted me to join him; but I could not think of biding myself: besides, the very men who would bring me provisions would betray me into the hands of the enemy. I told him I would send my wife to her uncle at Jalapa, and make my way to the United States by land, if it took me two years; that I could do it by keeping in the mountains along the coast. All this must be done on foot, relying upon the chase for support. General Victoria said it was impossible for him to do it. The next morning he left me, and went into the mountains not far from Cordova, where he remained, living the life of a hermit.  sdct

I remained at the hacienda, recruiting my mules. Some patriot friends gave notice to some of the king's troops, stationed not far distant, where I was, and that I could be taken. Immediately there were a hundred men sent to apprehend me. They aimed to come upon me in the night, but the rocky cliffs they had to cross prevented them from reaching me that night. Next morning, I was walking in the yard, when I saw them coming. The four men I had with me were hunting my mules, so I was by myself. I told my wife to sit down and make herself easy, as they would not kill her, and that I should make my escape. I caught up my gun and sword, and started off, in my shirt-sleeves, and went along the side of the mountain, covered with brush and vines, with occasional rocky cliffs. I ascended one of them, and saw the king's troops catch my mules and horses, and-take my beef, which I was drying on ropes. They got all my property and money, except two hundred doubloons, which my wife saved by going for water, and burying it in the sand. Finding myself thus alone, with only my arms, and in my shirt and pantaloons, I started for help. I went to a place four miles distant, where there had been some men engaged in making liquor from the wild-cabbage, which grows there in abundance; but they were all gone, except an old man, who told me they had heard I was killed, and all my people taken. He then went with me to where they were bid down the creek. I found here twenty men. I then went on to a small patriot garrison twenty-five miles distant, and raised by night, in all, two hundred men. At daylight next day I marched for my old camp at the hacienda, hoping to defeat the royalists that had plundered me. But they had all left. I gave them chase, and only got sight of them as they were rising the hill to enter their fort. So they got in safe, and my hopes and chance were lost.

[At this point ended Col. Bean's memoirs of his experiences on the eve of Mexican Independence from Spain end and the story of his rich and unique, stranger-than-fiction life continues all the way back to his native Tennessee, in Mexican Texas, then the Republic of Texas, and finally his return to his faithful Doña Magdalena Falfan de los Godos at Hacienda La Banderilla, "to the arms of the one person who had given all and asked nothing" where he died in 1846--WLM]


Peter (Pedro) Ellis Bean 1783-1846
SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS
© 1997-2011, Wallace L. McKeehan, All Rights Reserved