Letters from La Bahia previous page 1
Capt. B.H. Duval to Father William P. Duval. Goliad, March 9th, 1836 Dear Father, It has been some time since I have had an opty. of writing to you, A gentleman leaves here to day for the U. States but have my doubts if he gets fifty miles from this post as we are surrounded by Mexican troops- By last express, yesterday from San Antonio we learned that our little band of 200 still maintained their situation in the Alamo, the fort outside of the town- They have been fighting desperately there for 10 or 15 days against four or five thousand Mexicans Santa Anna is there himself and has there and in his vicinity at least six thousand troops Contrary to the expectation of every one he has invaded the Country when least expected- Not a Texian was in the held, nor has even one yet made his appearance at this post- The greater portion of the Mexican troops are mounted, and of course have greatly the advantage over us- We now muster at this post 400 strong, and from the preparations we have made shall be enabled to give any number a desperate fight- San Antonio I fear has fallen before this; -from its situation and construction, I cannot believe it possible so small a band could maintain it against such fearful odds- D. Crockett is one of the number in the fort- We are expecting an attack hourly. An express yesterday was chased in by 200 cavalry eighteen miles from this- Sixty miles south of this is another party of 650 who have been quartered at San Patricio for some days, waiting reinforcements. Several of our parties of 20 and 30 have been cut off by them-
As I anticipated, much dissention prevails among the Volunteers, Col. Fannin, now in command (Genl. Houston being absent), is unpopular- and nothing but the certainty of hard fighting, and that shortly, could have kept us together so long- I am popular with the army, and strange as you may think it could lead them or the majority of them where I choose- They have offered to give me every office from a Majority to Comdr. in Chief- I have seen enough to desire no office for the present in Texas higher than the one I hold- I have fifty men in my Company, who love me and who cannot be surpassed for boldness and chivalry- With such a band I will gain the laurels I may wear or die without any- I am situated at present with my company, in a strong stone house immediately across the street and opposite one of the bastions of the fort from the bastion I have built a Bridge to the top of the house on which is placed a Brass Six Pounder-the best and most commanding situation we have- before I am driven from it hundreds must perish- I have seen something of the country since I last wrote you having been out for some days at a time on several expeditions- It is decidedly a richer country than I expected to find, and must be more healthy than any other southern country at least this part of it- the country is high and dry tho generally level and the rivers, at least this, the San Antonio, descends with the velocity of a mountain stream- In many parts water and timber is too scarce, and the Northern winds are frequent and last from one to three days blowing with great violence. The climate of Florida I think is greatly preferable, but it can not be compared to this in point of soil- We have just learned from Washington (the seat of Govt. that they have declared Independence- If such be the fact of which I have no doubt-we must whip the Mexicans For young men who wisli to acquire distinction and forturne now is the time- Tell all who are friendly to the cause of Texas to lend a helping hand and that that, The little band of Volunteers now in the field must breast the storm and keep a powerful army in check until relief is at hand or all is lost- We want provisions arms & men. I have never seen such men as this army is composed of-no man ever thinks of retreat, or surrender, they must be exterminated to be whipped- Nothing can depress their ardour--we are frequently for days without anything but Bull beef to eat, and after working hard all day could you at night hear the boys crowing, gobling, barking, bellowing, laughing and singing you would think them the happiest and best fed men in the world--
Do all you can for Texas---Yr. affectionate son B. H. Duval N. B. If there sh [torn] in my letter that could benefit Texas make it public---To His Excely, Wm. P. Duval. [Addressed:] For His Excelly---Wm. P. Duval Tallahassee Florida
A.J. Ferguson from J. G. Ferguson, Executed by Centralista Mexican Forces at Goliad 27 March 1836. From a letter submitted by Mrs. Robbye F. House of 130 E. 12th St., Belton, Texas to author Kathyrn O'Conner and reprinted in The Presido La Bahia The letter was from her great uncle J. G. Ferguson to his brother, A. J. Ferguson:
Goliad, Texas March 2, 1836 Mr. A. J. Ferguson, Dear Brother---I am now within the walls of this town waiting for the enemy which we are expecting daily for they have already besieged San Antonio, only one hundred miles distant, and report tells us that 200 troops are coming on to attack this place. Our number of men consists of about 400, all of which are volunteers from the States, with the exception of 30 regulars. Our commander is Col. Fannin, and I am sorry to say, the majority of the soldiers do not like him, for what cause I do not know, without it is because they think he has not the interest of the country at heart, or that he wishes to become great without taking the proper steps to attain greatness.
On last Friday, February 26, we started to San Antonio to attack the enemy at that place but we only got two miles from town and camped for the night, and next morning a council of war was called when it was concluded that we had better return and put the town in a better state of defense, which upon the whole was a good policy, not only in that respect but others, one of which is this. All of our provisions in the bread line were as Campano and Dimmit's Point, forty miles below here and it was necessary that we should stay in order to keep the Mexicans from cutting off our supplies. Which no doubt would have been done; and they may do it yet for there are not troops at either place to hinder them from so doing.
Provisions are very scarce and have been. I have had to live three days at a time on bull beef and coffee but now our coffee has given out, and without new supplies, our bread will be out in a few days then it will be beef all the time. We are not prepared by any means to stand a siege, in as much as we neither have ammunition nor provisions, so you see we must make decisive battles. I think I stand a good chance for being seargeant-mate to the army at this place as soon as there is something to do in that line. The situation of the country is of high, dry character, no local causes for diseases of any kind and the land is of high rolling nature. We brothers may never meet on earth again, yet I pray God we may all meet in Heaven. Yes, Jack, though I am surrounded by wicked men, yet I still try to serve the Lord. Tell Nancy that I have heard from James and David Wright. They are both living and doing pretty well. I have not space on this sheet of paper to write you much more, so farewell. May God bless you and preserve you is my prayer for Christ's sake. J. G. Ferguson
J.C. Logan to Friend. Goliad Texas 24th Feby 1836 Most Respected friend I again take the liberty Of adressing a few lines to you to let you know That I am well at Present whoping that these Few lines may find you in the same. Our Company has just returned to this from San Patricio on the fronteer of Texas & in a few days are Going to march Bexar we have seen some Hard times in the country for the last 2 Month we have ben living Entirely on beef & We are all most naked as we are cuting Up tent cloth to make us Panteloons & Every man is his own Taylor in this Army & a good many of us are bare footed & worst of all the the Schooner that was bringing provision & clothes has been wrecked She was from New Orleans & bound to Copeno & we all undergo fatigue that we would not do if wer in the U.S. & all for the chance of up triping a few mexicans I did intend to return to the united states at this time but there is a force from mexico of about 7000 men marching to retake this Country again & our whole force at this time dont Exceed 800 men but we are willing to meet them when Ever they arive there is no corn nor flour in this country I have not heard from any of my friend since I left this Country the U. States this is one of the most desireble climates that I have Ever been in but I dont like to live (illegible) fronteer Country (illegible) more at present but Remains your OS Good Bye J C Logan [John C. Logan was a private in Capt. Pettus' Company of San Antonio Greys. He was captured and executed at Goliad on 27 Mar 1836--WLM]
Rufus K. Petty to Father Jesse Petty, believed executed by Centralista Mexican Forces at Goliad 27 March 1836, heirs denied bounty for service. Letter and documents in the Texas General Land Office. Petty and Rufus R. Jetty is thought to be the same man discussed in Harbert Davenport's Notes from an Unfinished Study of Fannin and his Men & Appendix: The Goliad Men. His heirs apparently never received title to his land for service.
Letter addressed to Jesse Petty, Belfast, Allegany Co., NY.
January 15th 1836, Nacogdoches, Texas.
No. 213 Rufus K. Petty Donation Bounty Application.
Presented by N.C. Raymond. [Note on cover: The name of R.K. Petty
does not appear on the Fannin Muster Roll or elsewhere. C/C6512].
Allegheny County. S.S. Lewis, H. Ford and John Reynolds and Thomas P. Alexander and William Byrne of the town of Belfast in the said County, being duly sworn depose and say that they were acquainted with Rufus K. Petty who formerly resided in the said town of Belfast in the said County in the sate of New York with Jesse Petty who is now in said town; and that said Rufus K. Petty acted in the capacity of Constable and Collector in said town, by the name of Rufus K. Petty and we have no doubt but that he was the son of Jesse Petty, these deponents further say that they have been acquainted with the said Rufus K. Petty for the term of fifteen or sixteen years, and said Rufus K. Petty left the said town of Belfast in October 1835. [Signed] John Reynolds, Lewis H. Ford, Thos. P. Alexander, Wm. Byrne. Sworn and subscribed this 2nd day of June 1837 before me. Oran W. Davis Justice. [Witnessed by Clerk 9th Jun 1837]
Mexican General to his Wife. Goliad, March 27, 1836. There are now in this place 250 prisoners awaiting their deaths as pirates and incendiaries, there being only two who did not participate in the latter crime. The images and saints in the church served them for fuel. There are in Guadaloupe 100 other prisoners who were taken at La Vaca. There is as yet no intelligence from the Divisions which marched for the towns of Austin and Nacogdoches: but I will send you the first news that may come from that quarter. This day, Palm Sunday, March 27, has been to me a season of heartfelt sorrow. At six in the morning the execution of 412 American prisoners was commenced and continued until eight, when the last of the number was shot. At eleven began the operation of burning the bodies. Who can tell when they will be consumed!! I assure you that the number of foreigners who have fallen in Texas during this campaign must exceed 1,000. We have still 80 of them left.