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Archival Communications Fannin and Goliad Aug 1835-Mar 1836
ARCHER/AUSTIN to FANNIN To Col. J.W. Fannin Jr. Sir You are appointed as a confidential agent by the committee of safety and correspondence of the Jurisdiction of Columbia, to prceed to San Felipe and use your utmost exertions to persuade Wyly Martin and all other persons with whom you may have influence to co-operate with us in the call of a consultation of all Texas, through her representatives. Velasco, 20th Augt 1835 B T Archer, Chrm. Wm. T. Austin, Secy Committee of Safety & Correspondence
FANNIN to BELTON Velasco. Rio Brasos. Prov. Texas 27th August 1835 Major Belton USA Mobile Point My Dear MajorAllow me to recall to your mind our short, but to me, pleasant acquaintance When I saw you, but for a few moments last winter in Mobile, we had some conversation in regard to this interesting country, when it was suggested by me that we should probably require aid from our friends in the U. States, & particularly from a few of the experienced officers. To this you made no direct reply as to yourselfnor indeed did I then expect to need it so soon, or I should then have pressed you farther on the subject. The time is near at handnay has arrived, when we have to look around us and prepare, with out limited resources, for fight. I am well satisfied that you have not been an idle spectator of what has been passing in the Interior states of this Republic, and of course, it would be superflous for me to go into a detail of all the grievances the people of Texas have suffered, until forbearance is no longer a virtue; and we now have the dread alternatives presented to us, "of a tame submission to the subversion of our Constitutional rights and acquiescence to Military rule, or like men (& free born white men too) fight to the knife." It is scarcely necessary for me to say which horn of the dilema, will be laid hold of, and with what pertinacity that hold will be maintained. We have no men to spare, but each man is a host. Our preparation is now poor but hope soon that it will be bettered. There are but few Muskets and only some 6 or 8 pieces of artillery, & few ball &c but 1000 fathom of chain cable; and at least 4000 Rifles. If you can get a Map, you will see that we are well fortified to the westthere being a distance of some 200 miles of a perfect barren desert, & only six watering holes in the whole route They now have but one armed vessel (Montezuma) and she mounting one Pivot gun We are threatened with a desent by water and land of 10,000 troopsand there has already arrived at Bexar (formerly San Antonio) some 1500 or 2000 men & 20 pieces of Artillery The water party cannot, & we are credibly informed, will not sail to co-operate with them before Novr via Galveston Bay &c. To meet this imposing force, we are now preparinghaving organized the National Guards into Companies; and sent orders to the U States for arms & munitions; and united in the call of a Convention of the People on the 15th October next. That Convention will Declare us Independent, for the reason that we cannot go for the old wreck of a Republic, that having been subverted, a Centralism substituted in its stead & acquiesced in by the other StatesLetters of marque will be issued (applications are already rec'd from old & gallant officers) and we will have afloat a sufficient naval force to guard our coast and cripple their trade from the Campeachy banks to N. Orleans The land party will, thus closed in, be an easy prey. Thus, my dear Major, have I given you an outline of our affairs & those of the enemy. And now comes the main object of this communication, to wit. Will you authorize me to use your name at the approaching convention, or at any subsequent time, as an officer qualified & willing to command as brave a set of backwoodsmen as ever were led to battle? The truth is, we are more deficient in suitable materials for officers, than we are in soldiersand all being Americans, will be willing nay, anxious,to receive an officer of reputation. I hope to hear from you by the vessel which will return soon and or any other time you may be pleased write me, & make such suggestions as you may think advantageouswhich will be confidential or otherwise, agreeable to your request. "When the hurly burly is begun" we will be glad to see as many West Point boys as can be sparedmany of whom are known to me, & by whom I am known as J. W. Walkermy maternal Grand-father's name, & by whom I was raised and adopted, & whose name I then bore. By handing your letters to Messrs. Dobson & Williams of Mobile, or forwd to N. Orleans to care of T. Toby & Brother, I will receive them regularly My last voyage from the Island of Cuba (with 152) succeeded admirably. Yr Friend &c J. W. Fannin Jr
BELTON to FANNIN Fort Morgan Ala. Sept. 23,1835 My dear colonel, I hasten to give you an early acknowledgement of yours dated 27. August 1835. It discusses matters of great moment, in many points of view, but principally as respects the probabilities of success, and the means for effecting it in the struggle which now seems imminent. I am much indebted and gratified for the generous opinions you have formed of my gualifications for the emergency, and to give effcient aid to your noble enterprise. To be a successful chief requires at least many advantages, which I have not, and would necessarily be slow in acquiring: Some of them are truly obstacles: but zeal and affection for the cause might make head against them, but there are many men among you, whose local information would tell better than mere technical knowledge. You do not say that you have as yet a combined organization, in effecting this, good assistance is necessary to make head against St. Anna's forces, verry good cavalry and fair artillery are necessary, particularly light batteries; these two arms requires sturdy chiefs, and the latter, all quackery apart, some little science and instruction. Riflemen too, if they can be brought to steady duty, but it may prove a risque, too late to remedy, to rely, in a country of pampas and prairie on a force whose best movements depend on the most finished Drill we have, and the point perdu of which is the difficulty of &c, assembling them, and bringing them into close action1 mean practicallyit has been thus in all times the principles of war, as you know, are unchangeable, as those of any science called fixed, If your convention act coolly and with discrimination there must be found men, who have everything in jeopardy, and a right above all right most sacred when acquired, the right of self or representative Government, among these, you must find those on whom to build hope and command Success, two important elemants, passion and prinicple are thus combined. I have just consulted an indifferent map San Antonio seems to be a short way from you, but the country you describe as difficult. The Dictator has at leisure all the resources of the Government, and will at first press you hard, I fear, an early and energetic use of maratime means, may check him in his communications, which being forced to be over land must prove difficult. He has however well chosen his time, but the despotism of these Dictators is rarely permanent. To join you, however, for which I confess a great inclination is to me a step of great importance, a furlo' for some time and permission to leave the U. States is clogged with forms and difficulties, and a considerable delay would occur: to discard as nothing domestic reasons & duties, being assiduously engaged with education of an only son for West Point or a profession, a resignation too from our service on entering yours would be necessary, and indeed would follow as a matter of course, and many military responsibilities not easily shaken off, or settled up are pending. To your convention among many other obvious duties [it belongs] to organize a constitutional and administrative government, suited to your enfanchised State. A successful resistance brings with it an immediate necessity for authority, Laws & order, without which mere mere military success does not radiate beyond the field of Battle, skillful and faithful financial chiefs are only next to military men in such contests, and there is no lack in the adversary of these high qualities, saving political virtue and honor, have your previous works on convention, attained maturity and strength? are laws based upon conventional proceedings? in wholesome respect and vigor. Pray write me and more fully on the points so slightly adverted to between us. I write hastily to meet a chance opportunity via New Orleans and address to Messrs Toby & Brothers, With great respect & esteem Truly Yours Francis S. Belt on P. S. I can be at New Orleans six or 8 days every month, while I am stationed [here] and if I can be of use in selecting or inspecting arms &c or military stores, I will attend to it with pleasure, so my actual expenses only being paid. I fear that like Carolina much trash might be put on you, in haste F. S. B. Colo. J. W. Fannin Jr. Velasco Texas.
FANNIN to MILLS Cana Creek Sept. 18, 1835 David Mills, Dr. Sir Letters have been reed. express from citizens residing at or near Copeno informing the citizens of Matagorda, that the armed vessel Vera Crusanna had arrived and was landing arms and ammunition and that they were to wait the arrival of two vessels with 400 troops, which are expected soon Gen. Martin Perfecto De Cos is on board and I suppose the expected force with what is at Bexar is to form a small body-guard with which he purposes visiting San Felippe. We have determined here to raise a sufficient force to justify a reasonable belief that we can succeed, in an effort to secure at least the arms and ammunition and if to be found the troops. You know we are weak in numbers, tho, thank God, united in council and firm resolve to be free or die. Hence I am instructed by our fellow citizens to convey to our friends on Brazos and Bernard the information and our consequent resolution and to ask their speedy and efficient cooperation. It is proposed to organize and collect the people of Cana and Bay Prairie and rendesvous at Robertson Ferry on Colorado River on Monday 28 Inst and proceed from thence to James Carr's residence on the Lavaca when proper information will be reed. to guide our future perations We have only to ask of you and our friends to use your influence and accustomed diligence in collecting volunteers and spreading the intelligence as rapidly as possible. Dispatch confidential messengers to Velasco, Columbia, Col Halls neighborhood and San Felippi. The last named can join the party at Carrs [James Kerr's], and I am particularly anxious for some of the citizens to have an opportunity of confronting Genl. Cos Mercers and Menefee's settlement will also turn out and should not be neglected I will attend personally to Matagorda and Bay Prairie and will see that suitable spies and scouts are sent ahead to afford us information upon which we can rely, send copies of this to Archer, Wharton and McKenney and to Hall and Bengham and Johnson, Baker and P. Jack. J. W. Fannin Junr.
FANNIN to AUSTIN Gonzales October 6 1835 12 o'clock at night Dr. Col You will receive important dispatches by the Bearer that Col. Ugartachea and probably Gen. Cos are now on their march here, with all their forces to take the Gun if it is not delivered You will see by Ugartachea's letter to you, he proposes a sort of compromise. That will give us an opportunity to entertain him a little while, upon the Suggestion that you are sent for, until we can get in more ment. We who subscribe this, request you earnestly to come on immediately, bringing all the aid you possible Can we want powder and lead. Do all you can to sent on instantly as much as possible. J.W. Fannin Jr. (et al.)
FANNIN to JONES 21 Oct from near Bexar to A.H. Jones in Goliad concerning supplies.
For period related to Siege of Bexar, the Bowie/Fannin partnership, see related Archival Letters and Documents.
FANNIN to SMITH Matagorda 11 Dec concerning the American schooner Hannah Elizabeth
AUSTIN to FANNIN Head Quarters before Bexar Nov. 22, 1835 Capt. J.W. Fannin having represented to me that the absolute necessity of returning home, I have granted to him an honorable discharge and have to say theat he has uniformly discharged his duty as a soldier and as an officer. S.F. Austin Comdr. in Chief
FANNIN to SHARP ET AL Municipality of Matagorda Dec 18/35 By virtue of the authority in me vested by the Governor and General Council of Texas, I hereby authorise and appoint C. R. Sharp, J. W. E. Wallace and A. L. Clements Sub Agents to raise men and arms and to procure Horses and forward the same to the Sect of War. Hereby ordering them to cause all private property to be valued and certificates to be issued to the proper owners, that they may be accounted for if not returned in as good plight as received. J. W. Fannin, Jr. Agent Provl Govt Texas To Messrs. C. R. Sharp J. W. E. Wallace A. L. Clements We do authorise
HOUSTON to FANNIN Head Quarters Washington 20 Decr 1835 Sir You will on receipt of this proceed without delay to Matagorda and there establish your Head Quarters for a recruiting Rendezvous you will report your arrival there to Head Quarters. Enclosed you have printed Instructions for officers on the Recruiting Service you will furnish each officer with a copy of the same also is a list of officers ordered to report themselves for duty to you Blank Enlistments are also furnished to you for the use of the recruiting service of these you will furnish each officer a sufficient quantity for immediate use. If necessary you will have more printed at the nearest establishment. You will order the Officers on recruiting service to any points you deem best for the interests of the service and you will cause some subalterns the best qualified for that duty to direct the recruits & also the officers. You will instruct the officers at all events they must return to your command by the first of March. The discipline & system of Instruction you are particularly to notice & much is expected from your known skill & capability. By order of Sam Houston commander in Chief of the Army Geo. W. Poe acting Adjutant Genl To Col. J. W. Fannin Jr. 1st Regt Artillery P. S. You will detail a competent subaltern to procure Rations Quarters &c for the recruits enlisted at the several Rendezvous within your district.
WARD et al to FANNIN To Col. J. W. Fannin: Sir: In compliance with a resolution adopted at a meeting of the commissioned and non-commissined officers of the Georgia battalion, we beg leave, in the name of that meeting, to tender its unfeigned and heartfelt gratitude for the kindness and cordiality with which you have been pleased to greet us and our companions in arms upon the shores of Texas. Be assured, sir, that a welcome from any other source, however kind or respectable, could not have given rise to prouder feelings. As Americans we hail you as the champion of Liberty! As Georgians we hail you as a brother, and recur with pleasing sensations to the home of your and our nativity. When first we knew and admired you, actuated by that inborn love of liberty and detestation of tyranny, peculiar to the American character, and recently so eminently developed in you, we paused not to calculate the cost, but with arms in bands, at once resolved to unite with our brethren of Texas, and share their destiny. And although, sir, it constituted the zenith of our ambition, as the sons of Georgia, to add to that bright star in the American confederacy, the honor of having acted a companion's part in the cause of suffering Texas, yet we were unconscious of the fat, until since we left home, that our wishes in that regard, were in a great measure realized, and that Georgia's honor and chivalry stood proudly vindicated in your person. The intelligence met us, and, like a beacon of light, at once cheered our hopes and illuminated our pathway. But, without being unnecessarily tedious, the undersigned beg leave in conclusion to assure you not only in behalf of the meeting we represent, but of the "Georgia battalion" generally, that it is deeply sensible to the kind partialtiy which you have exhibited for the State we claim to represent, in the advancement which you have been pleased to make of their brethren in arms, to posts of honor and preferment. Accept, dear sir, our sincere and heartfelt regard. William Ward, Major. Warren J. Mitchell, M. D., Regimental Surgeon. W. A. O. Wadsworth, Captain. David I. Holt, Quartermaster. Henderson Cohart, Assistant. James C. Wynn, Captain. Urich J. Bullock, Captain. December 23, 1835.
FANNIN to WARD et al To Messrs. Wm. Ward and others, members of the Committee of the Georgia Battalion: Gentlemen: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of yours conveying to me, in the kindest and most flattering manner, the sentiments of the Georgia battalion. The welcome I have extended towards you, was one of duty, but I must add, also, one of proud satisfaction. My heart must cease its pulsations, ere I forget myself a "Georgian" or neglect her warm-hearted sons, in whatever clime we may meet. The love of liberty, with them, is an innate principle, and "grows with their growth, and strengthens with their strength." Born, raised and educated in the school of liberal principles and free institutions, and recognizing no other system of political economy, save that bequeathed to posterity by Washington, and more recently inculcated by Jefferson, you have promptly and nobly met my own expectations, in marching to their "rescue" in this western wilderness of promise. In the name and in behalf of the people of Texas I greet you as brothers in arms, thrice welcome because strangers to most of her inhabitatns, and, owing to your geographical situation, unacquainted with the many advantages it really so eminently possesses. You have left "home and its many endearments" to embark in their cause and make it your own. The days of chivalry are past, but not their recollection. Many a bold knight performed wondrous deeds of arms in the cause of the holy cross and under the most sacred banner. Many were the lances shivered, and rich the blood shed, simply to gratify some proud beauty, and obtain a crown from her fair hand, or some other token of favor. The conservation of the Georgia battalion, in the cause of Texas, is a striking proof and carries with it infallible evidence of their legitimate descent from the true stock of 1776. The same love of liberty and detestation of tyranny, so boldly exemplified in the sires, is now to be found, and, I hope soon to be acted out, in the sons. No longer can the questions be asked of me, "Where are your friends? What are they doing for the cause of Liberty? Where are your Georgia volunteers?" The answer is made by the shrill sound of the fife, the soul-stirring beat of the drum, and the flash of the bright sun on your brither arms. As a Texian, devoted to the cause, all hail! As a Georgian, reared in the midst of you, and recurring to the days of "Auld lang syne," with a proud and swelling heart, all hail! Let me say to you, go on in the good work, prospering and to prosper. Prepare yourselves by suitable discipline to withstand the onset of an enemy, and to command respect and admiration for the Georgia battalion. What small distinction I have obtained for myself, and the brave men I have had the honor to command, and to which you so kindly refer, was the result of discipline. It gives confidence and will insure success. Let me entreat you, as one who feels a deep and abiding interest in each and every one of you, to bear in mind this charge and then you will be always ready. Let me exhort you to look to the past and remember the "Brazos Guards," and first division of the army of the people, which I have had the honor and good fortune to lead to victory, and profit thereby, [At Concepcion, October 28, 1835.] ***Assuring you that, in whatever situation in life I may be cast, this day, with its connecting circumstances, will ever be cherished by your friend and fellow-citizen. J. W. Fannin, Jr. Velasco, Dec. 25th, 1835.
HOUSTON to FANNIN Head Quarters Washington 30th Decr 1835 To Col J. W. Fannin Artillery Sir If possible I wish you to report in person at headquarters as soon as practicable after the receipt of this order You can detail such officer of your command as you may deem proper to succeed you during your absence from the district which has been assigned to you Lieut Colo Neil has been ordered in command of the Post of Bejar The detail being special and at the time indespensable he will remain until further orders. I have the honor to be Your Obdnt Servant Sam Houston Commander in Chief of the Army
[Addressed:] To Col. J. W. Fannin Brazoria Texas Capt. Poe [Endorsed:] Gen'l Houston to Fannin left in my hands by Fannin The above is in the handwriting of Capt. Geo. W. PoeA.A. General who delivered this order to Col. Fannin by whom it was ignored A. J. H. [Andrew Jackson Houston] 7/2/23 Filed 13th June 1835 D. P. Richardson
HOUSTON to FANNIN Sir Today's intelligence through a private source, has reached me (Doct. J. B. Miller) that several hundred volunteers, are at the mouth of the Brasos, and one or Two Companies at Matagorda:! understand further that those at Velasco, have formed a Battalion and await ordersIf these are facts, I wish you to communicate to the officer in Command, that all volunteers for the present, are ordered to Copano, and there to construct such improvements for the preservation of the supplies ordered to that point, as may be requisite. Not failing at the same time to make the Necessary preparations for the defence should it be attacked. It is ordered that the volunteers remain in posse [ssjion of the station (meaning in command of the post) until such time as they will receive orders to advance, which will be at the earliest possible dayat the same time, consulting the comfort of the troops, and a successful issue of a Campaign. Let no campaign be undertaken without orders. Colo Wyatt with about seventy men is on His march from this place to Copano, and will unite with those at the mouth of the river, and at Matagordathe Major elected to the command of Battalion, will asume the Command of the Station, until a Regiment is organized agreeably to the laws on the subject of the auxiliary Corps of the army. Captain Poe will furnish you with a Copy issued of this date; on the subject of Reports &c. and you will please to Communicate the same to the officers Commanding the Volunteers. The Volunteers may rely upon my presence at Copano, by the earliest moment that a campaign should open for the success of the army, and the good of the country. Tents will be necessary at Copano, (or Refugio;) where it may be most proper to station the Troops. Be pleased to make my best salutations to all Volunteers. Sam Houston Comdr in Chief of the Army. [Addressed:] To Colonel J. W. Fannin, Velasco, Texas, Capt. Geo W. Poe. [Endorsed:] Gen Houston to Fanning. Left in my hands by Fanning Filed 13th June 1837. D. P. Richardson.
FANNIN to KERR San Felipe, December, 1835. Major James Kerr, Member of the Council: Sir: In conformity with your request, I herewith submit my views in regard to the true interests of Texas, both politically and in a military point of view. Allow me to say that I am farther induced to this course, as I am direct from the army (at San Antonio) and feel satisfied that I speak the sentiments and wishes of the brave men now battling for the liberties and independence of Texas. 1st. I would most respectfully urge the calling of another convention of the sovereign people of Texas, by the Governor and Council, clothed with as full powers as the people themselves possess, that they may, then and there, act as circumstances and our peculiar necessities may then require. It is useless for me to go into a labored discussion to prove the absolute necessity of this course. It must be apparent to every reflecting mind. Let me add that the army now in the field feel indignant at the idea of the same members who have recently been in session, adjourning and meeting again, without submiting the decision of their sovereigns what they had done and receive an approval of their labors. It was expected that a severance of all political ties between Coahuila and Texas would have immediately followed by adoption of a separate State constitution, under the constitution of 1824, to be submitted to the people for ratification or rejection, or, secondly, a Declaration of Independence . . . .With respect to the military, one major-general has been elected. His command, of course, in a military point of view, would be a divisionsay two brigades. If two brigades, you should then appoint two brigadier-generals .... J. W. Fannin
FANNIN to PUBLIC ATTENTION, VOLUNTEERS! To the West, face: March! An expedition to the west has been ordered by the General Council, and the Volunteers from Bexar, Goliad, Velasco, and elsewhere, are ordered to rendezvous at San Patricio, between the 24th and 27th instant, and report to the officer in command. The fleet convoy will sail from Velasco, under my charge, on or about the 18th, and all who feel disposed to join it, and aid in keeping the war out of Texas, and at the same time cripple the enemy in their resources at home, are invited to enter the ranks forthwith. J. W. Fannin, Jr. January 8th, 1836.
FANNIN to ROBINSON Velasco, January 21, 1836. To his Excellency James W. Robinson, Governor, and General Council of Texas. I had the honor on yesterday, to make a hurried report of my proceedings up to that date, and can now only confirm the same by saying that I think we will sail for Copano this evening, if the state of weather will admit of our crossing the bar. I have at this place about two hundred and fifty men, and nearly one hundred in waiting at Matagorda Pass, who came out on the Brutus, and under command of captain Shackleford, from North Alabama. Our fleet will call, and all go down to Aransas in company; and GOD willing, and the weather fair, I hope to make a favorable report to you from Copano by the 27th inst. I have employed the schooners Columbus and Flora as tenders, being of light draught of water, and can pass up to the landing with safety. I shall take the two four-pound brass field pieces left by general Mexia, and two other pieces to be left for the use of the fortifications, being or to be erected at Copano. I have sent forward proper officers to procure and have in readiness carts and teams to transport the necessary provisions and camp equipage; and trust that no delay will be experienced in making rapid progress to the point of destination. With regard to any anticipated difficuties with the general-in-chief, you need have no sort of apprehensions; I shall never make any myself. The object in view, will be the governing principle; and should general Houston be ready and willing to take command, and march direct ahead, and execute your orders, and the volunteers are, willing to submit to it, or a reasonable part, of them, I shall not say nay, but will do all in my power to produce harmony and concert of action, and will go forward in any, capacity. You will all allow that we already have too much division; and one cause of complaint is this very expedition, and that it is intended to displace general Houston. Not, one member of your body, or any man living, can impute to me such motives by any past act or word; and I am resolved, that no future one shall be so intended. But rest assured of one thing, I will go where you have sent me, and will do what you have ordered me, if possible. Let me again call your attention to ordering all of our provisions to Copano, as also volunteers. Inform our agents and commercial men in New Orleans, that they may ship there: also the fortifying of Galveston Island and the Pas Cavallo at Matagorda Bay; there are sufficient cannon here to do it, and prevent the enemy taking possession and making a descent into the heart of the country, and destroying our towns and commerce. A company at each place will be amply sufficient for all present use; and by ditching, and the use of drift logs lying at hand, strong field temporary fortifications can be erected, which will forbid the disembarkment of an hostile force on our shores. Volunteers for one or two months, for the express occasion, can be raised, and these are the only safe dependance to be relied on at present. It is folly to speak of waiting for regular troops to do it. You may rely upon it, that we will not have one thousand of them in Texas, by May; and if this expedition prospers as contemplated, you need not desire it. I am forced to say, that I dread a large regular army in this country, or an auxiliary one of volunteers, if commanded and used as contempleted by some. I have seen a letter from "his excellency Henry Smith, Governor of Texas," to an officer commanding the volunteers, urging him and his men to attend particularly to the elections, and to suspect and distruct all who were in anywise opposed to their voting, and an immediate declaration of independence. All such were denounced in the bitterest terms, as traitors to the country; and your own honorable body were declared a corrupt, unprincipled set of men who had sold themselves to the opposition or antiadministration men. The following is nearly, if not the precise language used: "There is a deep-laid plan to confuse me, and my government; but I am aware of all their movements, and have anticipated them, and will counteract them. The opposition are strong and have money and means, and my council are needy and corrupt. They are engaged in it." In speaking of the labor he has to encounter, and difficulty he has to undergo, he very patriotically alludes to the late volunteer army of Texas, composed mostly of the free citizens of Texas; and, as far as I am informed and believe, of as good, if not the best men in the country, in the following strain; "A Mob.nick-named an army, has just been disbanded amongst us, and I am threatened with assassination by an internal enemy at home," (the mob volunteer army,) " and an external enemy from abroad." Who the external enemy is, we are left to conjecture only: probably Santa Anna himself may be in disguise and playing the "incog," to accomplish the downfall of the government, which certainly would be finished if "His Excellency" should go by the board. He is the Government, and no better sacrifice can be offered at the shrine of Centralism, than his blood: and the illustrious hero of Tampico will, most unquestionably, make all reasonable efforts to perform the wondrous feat and thereby enthrone himself in the hearts, and affections, and fears of admiring countrymen. But His Excellency continues; "I am fully apprised of their designs, and will entangle them in their own works, and ere long, throw them a fall which will break their own Damned Necks, and they shall welter in their Own Blood." This language is used in reference to the Free Citizens, Volunteers of Texas, who turned out without orders or organization, to meet and repel an invading enemy, and sustained the honor and fame of the American Character, and have driven from our borders four times their number of regulars, and them well armed and equipped, with artillery, cavalry, &c., and with loss of only five men in killed. This is the "unkindest cut of all," and I am forced to say has been the sole cause of my noticing the communication at present, though the base slander against the representatives of their very volunteers, is an uncalled-for as it is false and unjust, not to say, undignified.
The letter is addressed to major William Ward, of the Georgia battalion, who is at present reluctant to give a copy, or I should forward it to you for use. It will be remembered that he is a stranger to Governor Smith, having just arrived in the country. Certificates of citizenship were forwarded with all the necessary instructions with regard to voting for members to the approaching election for delegates to the convention. It is unnecessary for me to detail further circumstances. The leading facts are presented to you, and I think, call for for your action. The people of Texas should be fully apprised of the acts and doings of their public agents. I shall procure the letter or a copy; but if he can deny either the letter, the language, nay, the words, or sentiments, let him do it, and double falsehood and perjury will be added to the catalogue of his offences and misdemeanors. In haste, I am as ever, with sentiments of high consideration, Your obedient servant, J. W. Fannin, jr., Agent Provincial Government
FANNIN to APPLETON (Captain of Schooner Flora) Velasco 22nd. January 1836 Sir You will forthwith place your vessel in sailing orders and take on board Captns. Tickners and Guerreas companies and such baggage & provisions as may be, to guard them, and hold yourself subject to my orders--to proceed from this port Given under my hand & Seal &c. &c. J.W. Fanning Jr. Seal Col Comt Agt. Provl Govt. Texas
FANNIN to ROBINSON Aransas Bay 28th. Jany 1836 To/His Excellency James W Robinson Gent. Council of Texas I have the honor to inform you that, agreeable to the last Communication from Velasco- I sailed & arrived here safe some days or so after- but the wind being ahead Cannot go up until a change I have about 200 men-& 80 more waiting at Matagorda and am informed that since I left Brazos, the Liberty & four sails under convoy, with men & Munitions & Provisions &c had arrived there- and will be here tomorrow I have contracted for the Pilots to remain here to bring in all vessels ordered here, having the Texas private signal- We find from 7 to 12 feet water Rest assured that I will do all in my power to promote the public service, regardless of consequences- or of my own personal safety- It is rumored in New Orleans- and from Genl. Mexia, writes me, the report & his information stated that Santa Anna was in Matamoras I will not give an opinion- but simply suggest that if it be correct we may expect a vigorous onset- & speedily Will it not be prudent- nay is it not necessary to order out all the disposable force of Texas-from East North & South-to concentrate on Bejar, Goliad and Nueces &c and that forthwith If this is not done- you may not be supprised to hear of your officers being compelled to make,retrograde movements- if they do not suffer the most disasterous defeats- Aid them and the brave men, who are in the field- Do your duty as you have done, and you need not fear the consequences- "Westward- Ho," should not be the order of the day- and watch word by night A Company at Galvaston & Matagorda to fortify the passes- is requisite- the ballance we need here- and West I recd. a few minutes before I sailed I read a letter from "Henry Smith", a copy of which I ordered made out- & forwd. to you- It was nearly equal to the one I referd to in my last- & from which I quoted- You will see from the back, that he reports an Express from Bejar, saying 2500 Mexicans were advancing to retake the Post- I suspect the Cause of this rumor- and will be gouverned by such orders, emenating, from such Persons, as may be above suspicion, as may be recd. at the Copeno-or Refugio-. I will make farther report from that point- and trusting that you will take my suggestions into consideration & act on them promptly- I am as ever, With High consideration Yr obt servt J W Fannin Jr Agt Provl. Govt On board sch Invincible [Addressed:] His Excellency James W. Robinson Govr. of Texas G Smith Genl. Council of Texas San Felipe
FANNIN to ROBINSON. Copano-Texas, 4th. Feby 1836 To/ His Excellency James W. Robinson Govr. of Texas Genl. Council I have the honor to inform you, that I have succeeded in desenbarking my men, and have marched them up to the Mission of Refugio, a distance of fifteen miles- I have not yet succeeded in getting Carts and Teams, to transport our baggage - tho, I hope to have them tomorrow-or the next day---I have been daily expecting the arrival of the Liberty and convoy, with stores, men &c- having been informed by Capt Brown of the Invincible that they were to follow him in one or two days I have made temporary appointments of Branch Pilots, fo[r] this port- and given into the hands, the pilot Boat, left here by the Mexicans, and which I conceive to be public property-They are ordered to be at the Bar-and have been provided with the necessary provisions &c- I take the liberty of suggesting the proproety of making them a monthly allowance for some few months, exclusive of the usual charges on vessels- For the reason that there is not trade enough to pay them in four months for the labour of one month I recd. an express from Col. Johnson this day, under dayt 2d. Feby- He is at San patricio a distance of 50 miles, with only about 100 men- They are waiting my arrival, when we will take up the line of march for Rio Grande -I learn from Col. Johnson, that Col. Gonzales has 240 men-and Capt Placadon 47- and some other Mexican officer, some considerable force and all are in wait for my advance, and stationed near Peubla-Also about 400 more ready to join us, on this side Rio Grande I herewith give you an extract. from Col. Johnsons communication, 33, refered to, in relation to the movements of the enemy; and what we may hope for, from this quarter--"By advices from Monterey of the 18th. ult.- and from. Matamoras of the 20th, ult- I learn that Santa Anna was in Saltillo with 2300 men, and a good train of artly- That on his imprudently advancing so far, the states of Zacatecas and Guadalaxara. en mass, had taken to arms in his rear, and that the movement agt. the Central Govt. was likely to form general throughout the nationThe troops which occupied Laredo have retired to Saltillo & Monclova- those at Rio Grande (town) it is supposed will likewise make a retrograde movement, and their numbers by no means important in any case.- Disaffection has crept into the arch tyrants ranks- 20@30 men desert daily, & tho Matamoras is almost entirely without a Garrison, he is afraid to send off assistance, least they whould revolt on leaving his Camp.- Our friends, the liberals of Tamaulipas, are arriving in all quarters, and will form a most respectable addition ot our force Every thing looks most propitious, and unless our head strong countrymen, by a premature Declaration of Independence, rouse the jealousy of the Federal party victory is secured and by one blow, we may calculate over throwing the Tyrant. Santa Anna & his minions The forces you have and those here and about 350 under Gonzales & Canales- together with the certain assistance we will receive from all parts of Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon, will prove amply sufficient to give the most important blow that has ever been struck in the Republic- and place Texas in a situation to dictate to the neighboring states- A small detachment of my Division (20 men) under Col. Grant took on the night of the 3oth. ult, Capt. Rodriguez & his compy (26 men) with all their Horses (50) arms etc without the loss of a man- which leaves the road clear from Nueces to Rio Grande Matamoras is poorly supplied with troops-out friends are in power- I have reason to believe, that is a quick movement is made, not a shot will be fired I dispatched a courier, on my first landing, and finding that Genl. Houston had suddenly left for San Felipe, to Bejar & Goliad and recommended to Lt Col. Neill to remove all the Cannon form that Post, to Victoria & Gonzalis, except barely enough to protect the alamo- but to maintain his position until farther orders, or an enimy of a superior forc[e] rendered it a matter of necessity, to make a retreat- If it be true that Santa Anna is in the predicnient just represented, there is no necessity at present for either- but it [is] safe, to do the first, even now I shall proceed west- and must beg of you to order the naval force to co-operate with me before Matamoras, between 20th & 28th. inst." It is useless for me to urge the necessity- It is to apparent to require a second word- I have the private & counter signals of all except the Brutus- and Can Comm[unica]te with them [daily.] I herewith enclose for your advice, a memorandum of expenses & Dfts drawn by me, for transportation of troops, provisions &c- and will make out, before marching a regular a/c etc. In haste, I have the honor to subscribe myself Yr obt servt. JWFannin Jr. Col. Comt. & Agt. Prov Govt [Addressed:] Public Service FORWARD To/ His Excellency James. W. Robinson Govr. of Texas & Genl. Council San Felipe
MORRIS to FANNIN. San Patricio, Feb. 6th 1836 Dear Sir: Don Placido Benavides has just arrived, & brings disagreeable intelligence. Gonzales' command is entirely dispersed, and twenty two men taken prisoners. Three hundred Cavalry and three hundred infantry have arrived at Matamoras, which in addition to the Garrison makes the effective force now there 1000 men, and more are expected shortly. Cos and all his officers from Bejar are raising troops to march on Texas. One thousand men are already on the Rio Frio. One thousand more on the march near the Rio Grande destined for some point of Texas; and forces are gathering rapidly in all directions for the same object. It is believed that an attack is intended on Goliad and Bejar simultaneously.
Roderigus has broken his parole since 5 o'clock this evening and as I have but 18 effective men here and no horses, I could not pursue him. The Inhabitants of Tamaulipas are generally in favor of (1824) but are so much oppressed by the military, that many of the principal men having been arrested they are completely fettered. Santa Anna caused a report to be set afloat that he was with the troops at Matamoras, but it is ascertained beyond all doubt that he is on the way to the Rio Grande for the purpose of pushing on those forces. Don Placido deems it of the utmost importance that troops be sent to Bejar as well as others retained in this direction and also assures me that Santa Anna wishes to draw the troops of Texas out to Matamoras in hopes to throw a strong force in their rear while he makes his attack on the upper part of the Colonies. This information he received from the first alcalde of Matamoras. He has been within 20 leagues of the town and corresponded with him. The people of Tamaulipas as well as those of the Rio Grande complain much of Dimitt's Proclamation, and would have acted with more decision were it not for that act, but they fear it is now almost impossible; but are still anxious for the cause. The Cavalry are the choice troops from the interior, they are armed, every one, with lance musket, pistols and sword and Santa Anna has sworn to Take Texas or lose Mexico.
Doct. Grant has been out two days with thirty men. I feel very anxious about him. I intended to have sent you more wagons tomorrow morning early, and in fact had the oxen yoked to start before day-light but shall now await your further orders. Cos is actually with Seizma and also Ugartchiers. They have 1000 spare horse and a large number of pack mules. It is with regret, but I am absolutely obliged to give Doct. Joit your horse to carry him with this. Yours most sincerely, Robert Morris.
P.S. To raise funds and provisions, Cos causes each man to give an inventory of all he possesses with valuation of each article on which he demands one per cent, every twenty days, he then sends two men to make the appraisement over, and if he finds that they make a return higher than the owners, he demands three per cent in liew of one; and each family has to furnish a fanega of corn also, every twenty days and even causes the women to grind it, without respect to station. His soldiers have assassinated many of the most influential citizens, and the wives and daughters are prostituted---the whole country is given up to the troops to induce them forward. R. M. To James W. Fannin, Jr.] [to James W. Fannin, Jr.]
FANNIN to ROBINSON. To His Excellency J. W. Robinson, and General Council. Mission of Refugio, February 7th, 10 o'clock, P. M. I have to communicate to you, and through you to the people of Texas, the enclosed express just received from the advance Division of the volunteer army.
You will readily discover the great difference between this information and that contained in my report of the 3d instant. The first was then supposed to be entitled to credit, and accordingly made the subject of a communication:-I cannot now question the correctness of the last. Not the least doubt should any longer be entertained, by any friend of Texas, of the design of Santa Anna to overrun the country, and expel or exterminate every white man within its borders. May I be permitted to ask of them in sober earnestness, "Why halt ye between two opinions. Your soil is again to be polluted by the footsteps of the hirelings of all unprincipled Despot! Will the freemen of Texas calmly fold their arms. and await until the approach of their deadly enemy compels them to protect their own firesides? Can it be possible that they-that any American-can so far forget the honour of their mothers wives, and daughters, as not to fly to their rifles, and march to meet the Tyrant, and avenge the insults and wrongs inflicted on his own country-women on the Rio Grande? What call be expected for the Fair daughters of chaste white women, when their own country-women are prostituted by a licensed soldiery, as an inducement to push forward into the Colonies, where they may find fairer game?
The question would seem to be useless; but when I tell you, that out of more than four hundred men at and near this post, I doubt if twenty-five citizens of Texas can be mustered in the ranks-nay, I am informed, whilst writing the above, that there is not half that number;-does not this fact bespeak all indifference, and criminal apathy, truly alarming? We calculate upon the service of our volunteer friends, to aid in the defence and protection of our soil. Do the citizens of Texas reflect for a moment, that these men, many of whom have served since November last, have not received the first cent's wages, and are now nearly naked, and many of them barefooted, or what is tantamount to it? Could they hear the just complaints and taunting remarks in regard to the absence of the old settlers and owners of the soil, and total neglect in the officers of the Government, not providing them with even the necessaries of life, this our main stay would not be so confidently relied on! Will you allow me to recommend the issuing of general orders, to be sent by express to every part of Texas, commanding the civic militia, under their present organization, to turn out, and march forthwith to the seat of war? At the same time call upon all volunteers to do the same, taking care to apprise our friends in the United States of our true situation, that a sufficient inducement may be held out to draw them to our standard, in this hour of trial. It is generally believed in the United States that the war is over, and indeed our own citizens seem to have indulged the same hope. We are now undeceived, and unless a turn out in mass be made, and that speedily, the force now in the field cannot keep the invaders in check long enough to prevent the fury of the war's being felt in the heart of the country-if ever Santa Anna crosses the Guadaloupe with 5,000 men, we have to fight east of the Brazos. if not the Trinity! I feel certain that, even in that event, his army would inevitably perish or surrender. But, should we not prevent such a dreadful catastrophe, and rally, to the rescue, every freeman of Texas? Evince your determination to live free or perish in the ditch.
In order to provide for the wants of the men, appoint contractors, and have established on the different routes west, depots, for beef, cattle, salt, &c., and such provisions as may be obtained, that the men may be pushed forward without delay.. to such points as may be deemed most exposed. In the mean time, I would respectfully recommend such measures be taken, as to form a corps of reserve on Colorado, at or between Bastrop and Gonzales, and also the Navidad and La Baca, in order to protect the settlers, and cover the advance, in case an enemy with a superior force should leave them in the rear, and march forward, calculating much upon our weakness and unprepared state of defence, and expecting much from our inexperience and division of forces, which might be dispersed in detail, and leave the country an easy prey to the arch-Tyrant. It is useless to controvert the fact that our true strength and geographical situation are well known to Santa Anna. This expedition against Texas has long since been determined by Santa Anna; and Colonel Almonte was sent to Texas for the express purpose of ascertaining these facts, which you will see from his report he faithfully executed. In order to meet all the exigencies, allow me to urge you not to permit too many cavalry. But few horsemen will be requisite on the west side of Guadaloupe; and experience has convinced me that the service will not be promoted by having any number of them: and extensive frauds, practised upon the government, in remuncrating the owners for property never lost or destroyed in the service, and not unfrequently sold several times, on private account.
February 8, seven o'clock, A.M. May I also urge the limnediate necessity of causing suitable floating bridges, or boats, at private pass-ways, across all streams to the east of Guadaloupe calculated to stop the retreat of our forces, should it be our unfortunate lot to be compelled to make one. This would at the same time secure the easy passage of our reinforcements, provisions, arms &c. &c. It cannot be attended to, too soon, and I doubt not but the patriotic citizens, who have remained at home, will turn out readily and perform the work. I must also urge upon you the absolute necessity of providing coarse clothing, shoes, &c., for the troops first in the field, and the forwarding forthwith, powder, lead, &c. We have enough for the present force, for a short time, and the rise of 500 new muskets brought down by me from Brazos, which will be distributed to those capable of bearing arms and entering our ranks. I have not yet heard from the Bar, of the arrival of Col. Wharton, but trust I may to-day or to-morrow, and have pilots below in order to bring them up. I have sent forward a reinforcement to San Patricio, to bring off the artillery and order a concentration of the troops at Goliad, and shall make such disposition of my forces as to sustain Bexarand that post, and keep up a communication with the colonies. In the mean time, I would recommend that some government officer be sent to La Baca, to receive and forward stores, &c., and that point be selected for the present as our principal depot I would also urge the immediate removal of all the artillery from Bexar not requisite to the defence of that post. Such orders have alrady been issued to Colonel Neil, or rather such recommendations, provided he could procure the necessary teams. I now feel authorized to give orders to that effect, and shall forward an express to him this day. In conclusion, let me implore you to lose no time and spare no expense in spreading these tidings throughout Texas, and ordering out the militia "in mass. " Spare us, in God's name, from elections in camp; organize at home, and march forward in order, and good may result from it. I have barely time to say that an election was holden on yesterday for Colonel and Lieutenant Colonel, and that myself and Major Ward received nearly a unanimous vote. The returns have not yet been handed in, or I should make a report of it. Do let me hear from you often, and know what is doing for us-even though nothing, it is best for our own safety, and the ultimate security of the country, to know it at once, and provide for the exigencies, while we may. Look well to our coast: now is the time to use our small navy, and that to advantage, and unless soon afloat, we ma\ fear the worst. In haste, I have the honour to subscribe myself. with sentiments of high consideration, Your obedient servant, J. W. Fannin, Jr., Col. Com`t.
JOHNSON to FANNIN. Dear Fannin, [San Patricio, Feb. 9, 1836] It is of importa[nt t] hat you should be aware of the actual state of Matemoras more clearly than I can state in a public letter to avoid mens names being bandied about while they are still in the power of the enemy- If a force of 3 - 400 men is sent agst Matamoras, Vital Fernandez, who commands with 800 Tamaulipas troops, will immediately join you- And the whole of the frontier Towns will immediately follow- Lemas continues fine- & for the purpose of both acquiring essential informat, on & not incurring suspicion he has gone for a few days to Saltillo to visit Santa Ana will be back to Monterey in this- Time is precious & not a moment should be lost-
Fear nothing for Bexar or Goliad or any point of Texas if an attack is made on Matamoras- The enemy will be compeled to change his place of attack & we will maintain the war in his own Co[untry] & with his own means with every advantage on our side. [T]he true policy is to unite all your forces here, leaving small garrisons in Bexar & Goliad & proceed withour delay into the interior- With 150 @200 men I will engage to keep Santa Anas partizans in play from the Town of Riogrande to Reynosa, cut off any reinforcement he may wish to send to the coast & leave you thus to take possession of Matemoras & even Tampico if neces[sary] without his being able to send aid to these points- I can raise the whole country agst. him & then the interior must move so as to compel him to a retrogate movement- Your energies must be kept active to prevent reinforcements by sea & then you play a perfectly secure game. Quickness in your present movements will prove the salvation of Texas- delays at all times are dangerous but more particulatly so at this moment. All depends upon you & I feel convinced you will enter warmly upon your preparations & sp[e]edily advance By a letter recd. in Mier on the [?] ult. from a person of credit in Saltillo it appears that very serious movements in the States of Zacatecas & Guadalaxara agst. Santa Ana were likely to induce him to return incognito to the interior leaving the com[ma]nd of the Army to Genl. Felisola.- If this proves Correct, & from collateral evidence it appears probable, it will be equal to a victory to us as Felisola is an old woman- & Santa Ana will not retire unless the Wigwam is in serious uproar. [F. W. Johnson]
ROBINSON to FANNIN. Executive Department of Texas To Col. J. W. Fannin Jr. San Felipe de Austin Feb. 13th 1836 Dr. Sir. I recd. your of the 7 and 8 inst. on last evening by our friend Capt. Tarleton you refer to your letter of the 3d. inst. which I have not recd. or heard of- the only letter recd. from you at or near Copeno was of the 28th. ult. in Aransas Bay The information contained in Major Morris lett[er] & your own has been duly considered and attend to by myself & the advisory committee (there not being a quorum)- and 1/3 of the Militia will be ordered out to your support, and information of our situation & the pressing need of men will be sent to the United States, without delay.
You will occupy such points as you may in your opinion deem most advantageous it is desirable to maintain the Mission of Refugio, on account of receiving stores arriving at Copeno, it is proposed to occupy Gonzales and some point on the Labaca, to be occupied by the Reserve Army, & it would be well to order 2 or 3 pieces of spare Cannon to each of the points above indicated. Fortify & defend Goliad and Baxer if any opportunity fairly offers, give the enemy battle as he advances, but do not hazard much until you are reinforced [as] a defeat of your command would prove our ruin- all former orders given by my predecessor, Genl. Houston or myself, are so far countermanded as to render it compatible to now obey amy orders you may deem Expident- Capt. Tarleton leaves here on tomorrow for you when I will again write, this come by Capt. McLeod we have no money but all the means in our power will be put at your disposal. I am your most obt. svt. James W. Robinson Acting Governor & Commander in Chief of the Army of Texas
ROBINSON to FANNIN. San Felipe de Austin Feby. 13th. 1836 My Dr. Col. This moment I am informed that scouts sent out from San Antonio, who proceeded as far as Reo Freo, saw no troops and the scouts returned 2 days previous to your order reaching there, and further that a Mexican arived there from the Town of Reo Grand, and says that 1600 men were there,and had halted and were baking bread &c and was preparing to march upon San Antonio, as was reported, and that many of the men were daily deserting- I do not think the Enemy will atack eith San Antonio de Bexar or the Fortress of Goliad. But that he will endeavour to throw reinforcements into Matamoras is more than probable- Therefore you will always Keep in view the original objects of the campaign against the latter place, and dash upon it as soon as it is prudent to do so in your opinion. I am verbally informed that the Tamaulepas was lossed off Velasco bar, and that her cargo was sold at Auction three days since, and the Col J A Wharton was at Brazoria, and that no lives were lost, the men were Regulars from N. Orleans, say 150 men, and th[e] Julias Cezar was about to be chartered to carry out the men to Copano, and also a vague report has reached here that 400 men has arrived, at Velasco from N. York. I cannot vouch for the truth - Heaven prosper & your companion in Arms - I am yours truly Col. J. W. Fanning, Jr. James W. Robinson Commander of Volunteers Acting Governor
FANNIN to ROBINSON. Head Quarters Army of Texas His Excellency Goliad, 14th Feby 1836 James W. Robinson Gov Genl Council Since closing my dispatch, I have recd. a communication from Qr. Masr. Bennet, giving me intelligence of the return to Refugio of Capt. Frasier & his Company of Malitia, ordered out by me on the 11th inst, to take a Drove of Horses belonging to our Enemies- They secceeded in taking 60 Horses- thirty fit for service. I will have more and stock, and some prisoners too by the 18th inst in haste, I am, yrs &c. J. W. Fannin Jr. Col. Comt. Army of Texas. [Addressed: His Excellency James W. Robinson Govr. & Genl. Council San Felipe
FANNIN to ROBINSON. Head Quarters, Army of Texas. Fort Gollad, Feb. 16, 1836. To His Excellency, J. W. Robinson, And General Council. Since my communication of the 14th last., enclosing several documents, received from various sources, from the interior, in relation to the movements of Santa Anna, Mr. Pantallion and young Mr. Kuykendall have arrived here, only five days from Matamoras. Both of these gentlemen are known to me, and likewise to most of the people of middle Texas; and their statements. confirming in the smallest particular my former intelligence, may be confidently relied on. As these gentlemen will visit San Felipe, and can communicate fully with you, I will not go into a detailed account of the facts, &c., collected from them, but only draw your attention to the plan of the intended campaign against Texas.
It is designed to enter our country in three divisions - one to take Bexar, commanded by Generals Sezma, Filisola, and Cos-one against Goliad, under Urea, (recently Governor of Durango,) and Colonel Garay-the third under Santa Anna himself, to pass either above Bexar, or between that post and Goliad, and proceed directly into the heart of the colony, and there to fortify. I understand the General says he will not go into the Woods and swamps to find us, but proceed through open prairies to the centre of Texas, and immediately fortify, and let us come to him, and make the best fight we can, or that he will allow us. I only say to this, Amen-so might it be. Send from twelve to fifteen hundred men to Bexar immediately, and provisions plenty., and anywhere from five to eight hundred here, with like stores; and then a reserve army on the Colorado, to salute the General with a feu de joie, and then all will be well. I tell you, and must urge it upon you for the safety and protection of the families of the colonists, to go about getting this reserve organized. Guard well Bastrop, Gonzales, and some lower point on the Colorado, and have it so arranged that all the forces may be concentrated in two days, to defend the point selected to pass. Get your artillery ready, and have good teams, and high tip the country sonic heavy pieces in your train. He expects to cover his troops with his artillery, and has a large train. The militia from the east can form the corps of reserve while those nearer here can be pushed on forthwith to Bexar and this place.
Stir up the people, but do not allow them to come into camp unless organized. I never wish to see an election in a camp where I am responsible in any manuer. I have taken measures to forward provisions to Bexar, and forwarded orders there to-day to place that post in a state of defence, which if attended to will make it safe. If General Houston does not return to duty on the expiration of his furlough, and it meets your approbation, I shall make head quarters at Bexar, and take with rue such of the force as can be spared. I hope to have this place well secured by the time I can hear from you. If I do not go to Bexar, I would prefer the reserve army, and think I could do some service. In this, however, do with me, while a public servant, as you deem best. Bexar and Guadaloupe, and Colorado, I think will be the posts of danger and honour. A cross of honour and a pension of four dollars a month have been awarded to the hero and his men who defended Tampico, agreeable to rank; and the same pension to all who aid in expelling us from Texas. Provisions are very scarce in Matamoras and the adjoining country, and they must depend upon New Orleans. Where is your navy? Stop those ports, and they are ruined. Go ahead-rely on yourselves, and the arms of your men. No aid need be expected from Mexicans. I will make a full and complete return of all matters between this and the 22d and hope something good. Nothing certain from Johnson & Co. The artillery is on the way up here. Nothing from Colonel Wharton & co. I am your obedient servant, J. W. Fannin, Jr., Colonel.
FANNIN to ROBINSON [Mission of Refugio February 17, 1836] Not the least doubt should any longer be entertained, by any friend of Texas, of the design of Santa Anna to overrun the country and overrun or exterminate every white man within its borders. May I be permitted to ask of them in sober earnestness, "Why halt ye between two opinions?" Your soil is again to be polluted by the footsteps of the hirelings of an unprincipled despot. Will the freemen of Texas calmly fold their arms, and wait until the approach of their deadly enemy compels them to protect their own firesides?...It is useless to controvert the fact that our true strength and geographical situation are well known to Santa Anna. This expedition against Texas has long since been determined by Santa Anna; and Colonel Almonte was sent to Texas for the express purpose of ascertaining these facts, which, you will see from his report, he faithfully executed.... In conclusion, let me implore you to lose no time and spare no expense in spreading these tidings throughout Texas, and ordering out the militia "IN MASS." Spare us, in God's name, from elections in camp. Organize at home, and march forward in order and good may result from it. I have barely time to say that an election was holden on yesterday for Colonel and Lieut.-Colonel and that myself and Maj. Ward received nearly a unanimous vote.... In hast, I have the honor to subscribe myself with sentiments of high consideration. Your obedient servant, J. W. Fannin, Jr., Col. Commanding. [To James W. Robinson]
FANNIN to ROBINSON. [February 21, 1836] It affords me some little satisfaction to discover that you have so promptly met my expectations, and taken the first sure steps yet taken to force the militia to the field. But you will allow me to say, I am yet a sceptic, and do not calculate to see any considerable force in the field, until those already there are either sacrificed, or forced to make a retrograde movement, Do not believe, for a moment, that I have any such idea at present, or ever had....
I am fortifying here, so as to make the place tenable for a reasonable force.... I have caused a trench to be dug five feet from the old wall, and picketed in, and, four feet from that, another ditch, six feet wide, and four deep, to fill in from the picketing to the wall-and Artillery placed to defend it, &c.; also one new block-house, and old ones enlarged and strengthened; also one masked battery with old gun-barrels, &c.; lastly, though not the least important, a new sally-port to water, and a ditch from it to a natural ravine, into which I can back the water. and have my men entirely covered from the walls to water, which never can be cut off. This will all be completed, and nine pieces of Artillery mounted by "the Ides of March ......
I have caused the Old Priest, and thirteen soldiers, including one lieutenant, (who belonged to Captain Saverago's company) and who have been making their brags, sending their couriers, &c. to be made prisoners and forward a roll of narnes, tender of service, &c. I will forward them all soon. and refer you to Colonel James Powers for particulars. All I shall say is, secure well all prisoners, and suffer none to go on parole. This man of God is the blackest of old villains,-a murderer, adulterer, &c., and his influence is almost unbounded. I hope you will soon release me from the army, at least as an officer. But whilst I am in command, both private and public enemies shall be attended to. There is more danger from these spies, who are so intimately acquainted with the country, than from twenty times the number of armed soldiers. I again tell you, we must not rely on Mexicans. It would be a fatal delusion. Give us a flag to fight under, as unlike theirs as possible. We need one, and have nothing to make it of, and hope the Convention will furnish a new one, in time to hoist it in defiance of Santa Anna. Do send some money, and clothes, and shoes, for the soldiers. [James W. Fannin, Jr.] [To James W. Robinson] P.S. In relieving guard yesterday, the corporal marched off bare-footed. Many of the men are so near naked, that only certain parts of their body are covered. I will send you the Padre, to officiate as your chaplain, during the Convention.
FANNIN to ROBINSON. [February 22, 1836] [Dear Sir:] You will pardon me for not giving you more of my time, when I tell you that I have too much to do, to suffer me to copy even my communications. I have been greatly troubled to get my militia to work or do any kind of garrison duty: but I am now happy to say, that I have got them quite well satisfied, and being well-disciplined, and doing good work. The fortress will be completely regulated by 3d March--and in anticipation, I have this day, christened it Fort Defiance. We had a Lottery, placing Milam, Defiance, and Independence in the wheel: when Defiance was drawn out. It was objected to Milam, that Bexar should receive the honour of being called after him, as his bones are there; and Independence it was thought, would look like army dictation. Dame Fortune settled the matter for us, and Defiance it is.
I am critically situated. General Houston is absent on furlough, and neither myself nor army have received any orders as to who should assume the command. It is my right; and, in many respects, I have done so, where I was convinced the public weal required it. I well know that many men of influence view me with an envious eye, and either desire my station, or my disgrace. The first, they are welcome to and many thanks for taking it off my hands. The second will be harder to effect. Will you allow me to say to you, and my friends of the old or new Convention, that I am not desirous of retaining the present, or receiving any other appointment in the army? I did not seek. in any manner, the one I hold, and, you well know, had resolved not to accept and but for Colonel Barnet and Clements, and Kerr, would have declined. I am a better judge of my military abilities than others, and if I am qualified to command an army, I have not found it out. I well know I am a better company officer than most men now in Texas, and might I do with Regulars &-c for a Regiment. But this does not constitute me a commander. I also conscientiously believe that we have none fit for it now in the country; at least their talents have not been developed. With such as have been in the field since October, I do not fear comparison. But this is not the thing. I think you can get several first-rate officers from the United States. Do not cherish the hope of getting an officer now in service there with subaltern appointments. If you make offers of any such, give the field-offices at once, no matter who is left out. In organizing the army, do not say that the Major General shall be Commander-in-Chief. it may be necessary to appoint some such man as Carrol or Ripley, and no Major-General in Texas ought to complain of having such men raised over him. Leave room that it can be done, if an opportunity offer, and necessity requires it. I would recommend a War Bureau, and an experienced, energetic man at the head of it. Guard well the Constitution, and avoid such parts of that of the United States as have caused so much contention, and given rise to such various constructions.
Secure all kinds of property, and invite the cotton and sugar-grower into your country. The right of suffrage and the Judiciary will have your especial care, and I hope will be strictly attended to. Will you allow me to call your attention to some young men, the best qualified men I have ever seen in Texas, Captains Wm. G. Cook, and N. R. Brister, both of the New Orleans Greys---John S. Brooks, and Joseph M. Chadwell, who have each served since the 24th of December, as Adjutant and Sergeant-Major, decidedly the best officers I know of, having received a Military education, and each of some experience; also, Joseph Cardle and Thomas Barton, the first a regular graduate at the Point, and nine years In U.S. Army; the latter, seven years in U.S. Marines, and wishes to be in Artillery, if possible; also, Lieut. Hugh McLeod., U.S. Army, now waiting at Fort Jesup, and his horse ready and resignation written, and did once start.... If my family get in, I should like to join them.... After near eighteen months absence, nothing but dire necessity can keep me from my wife and children. Write me, and tell me how you get on. What from Archer, Austin and Co., &c.,& [James W. Fannin, Jr.] [To James W. Robinson]
Included with above letter in Jenkins Papers of the Texas Revolution: A day or two after this last letter, Colonel Fannin received intelligence of the actual advance of the enemy to the neighbourhood of the Texan boundary. Colonels Johnson and Grant, in the vicinage of San Patricio, encountered the van of the right division of the invading army and nearly their whole company were cut off. Of this unhappy mischance, Colonel Johnson. who with two or three others, were the only survivors, brought the first tidings. It was on the first of March that Colonel Fannin wrote to the Governor and Council of Texas, thus:-"I am pleased to inform you of the arrival, last night. of Colonel Johnson, Messrs. Tone, Toler and Miller, who were so fortunate as to escape from San Patricio. They can give no information as to the remainder of their companions except of Mr. Beek, who also escaped and is below.... From all I can learn, we have to play a desperate game on both sides: life. liberty, and property-the honour of' our families and ancestors on the one;-a Throne and Power Supreme on the other. Much larger preparations have been made, and are making, (than expected) to insure the conquest and expulsion of every man who speaks the English language, from Mexican soil....General Ramirez Sezma has command of the division approaching, or already in, Texas, and probably in Bexar. I have not sufficient information as to who comes here, or as to number, or time of approach.... Some troops are approaching from Laredo, the advance of which we suppose to be the party who attacked and routed our countrymen at San Patricio. I am now pretty well prepared to make battle. I have nearly completed my fortifications, and have beef enough for twenty days, and will have more. I hope soon to have coffee., clothing, and some ammunition. I learn from several sources, that as soon as Bexar is retaken, they next march here, and thus complete their chain of communication to the Interior and Gulf. I am resolved to await your orders, let the consequence be what it may. But I say to you, candidly and without the fear of Mexican arms, that unless the people of Texas, forthwith, turn out in mass, agreeably to my plan of the 8th ult, those now in the field will be sacrificed, and the battles that should be fought here, will be fought East of the Brasos, and probably the Trinity. I should be pleased to have one more cxpress from Washington, and if we are not to be sustained in a proper manner, and in good time, receive orders to fall back to the Provisions, and on the Colonies, and let us all go together. I again repeat to you, that I consider myself bound to await your orders. I cannot, in a military point of view, be considered now as acting commander-in-chief, as I have never received orders to that effect, nor has the army.
Again, I received furlough to the first of April. Again, I am the chosen Commander of this Regiment of Volunteers. Lastly, I have orders from you not to make a retrograde movement, but to await orders and reinforcements. If a large force gets here, and in possession of the provisions and stores of Matagorda Bay, being all now in Texas, it will be a desperate game for us all. I would, therefore, urge the adoption of such measures as may secure them, and without delay. I have no doubt the enemy at Bexar are already apprized of their location; and knowing our weakness, and want of cavalry, may, and I fear will, make a dash between us and Provisions, and secure them.... If ... I am desirous to be erased from the list of officers, or expectants of office, and have leave to bring off my brave foreign volunteers, in the best manner I may be able. If we should fail in the effort, and fall a sacrifice to the criminal indifference, cold and unpardonable apathy and neglect of there are people ... who will bestow censure where it is due, and, peradventure, drop a tear over our memory. In a note to this letter, he says:-"Santa Anna has not, and cannot bring here exceeding five thousand men, unless he obtain aid from the South, which it is believed he cannot do. If a general turn out be made, we can make a clean turn, and then sow and reap our grain in quiet, and rid the world of a tyrant. In a second note, he says:-"I have 420 men, and as many spare muskets, but no men to back them."
TRAVIS & BOWIE to FANNIN. [To J. W. Fannin Jr.] [23 Feb 1836] ....We have removed all our men into the Alamo, where we will make such resistance as is due to our honour, and that of the country, until we can get assistance from you, which we expect you to forward immediately. In this extremity, we hope you will send us all the men you can spare promptly. We have one hundred and forty-six men, who are determined never to retreat. We have but little provisions, but enough to serve us till you and your men arrive. We deem it unnecessary to repeat to a brave officer, who knows his duty, that we call on him for assistance ...[W. Barret Travis] [James Bowie]
FANNIN to ROBINSON. Head Quarters Army of Texas Fort Defiance Goliad Feby 25, 1836. To the Actg. Govr. & Council of the Provl. Govt. of Texas. Herewith you have my account currect with the provisional Govt. of expenditures made under my authority as Agent- You also have a list of Drafts drawn on the Prov: Govt. & a list of Receipts sundry persons which will explain themselves The sum of two hundred & ten Dollars paid H. Foley will be charged to the Georgia Battalion of Volunteers, (being for articles furnished them for private purposes, to wit seventy gallons of Brandy) and will be deducted from their pay You will perceive that the amount of one Hundred Dollars is to be deducted from the pay of several officers by reference to the Memorandum of Drafts. The amt of Cash advanced to Capts. Cool, & Burke & private G. F. Leonard is in the same situation and will be deducted from their pay by the proper officer- also the amt. $15.- each from Ball & Simpson as per rects. & a/c.
I have to remark in reference to the Amt. of Two thousand (2,000) Dollars received from Gay by Col. F. W. Johnson, that before declining the appointment of agent by Col. J. he received this amount ($2,000) in the presence of Col. Wm. Pettus & Thomas F. McKinney for which he has not accounted to me or funrished a voucher or evidence of expenditure I send also the account of Capt. Jack Shackleford of the Red Rovers for settlement. Very Respectfully Your obet. Servt. J. W. Fannin Jr. Col Comt Army Texas & Agt. Provl. Govt P. S. I enclose duplicates of Drfts drawn- vouchers &c with the exception of a few expenditures made for the public service in expresses &c JWF
--I am well aware that my present movement toward Bexar is any thing but a military one. The appeal of Cols. Travis & Bowie cannot however pass unnoticed- particularly by troops now on the field Sanguine, chivalrous Volunteers- Much must be risked to relieve the besieged- If however I hear of the fall of Bexar before I reach them, I shall retire on this place & complete the fortification now in state of forwardness & prepare for a vigorous defence, waiting anxiously in any event for the arrival of reinforcements from the Interior I leave from 80 to 100 men for the present defence of this place with the expectation of a speedy reinforcement from Matagorda &c J. W. Fannin Jr. [Addressed: ] Public Service His Excellency James W. Robinson Actg Govr. & Genl. Council Texas Washington Express
ACCOUNT. The Government of Texas in Acct. with Jack Shackelford
Captain of the Red Rovers from Alabama.
I certify on honer that the above Acct. is correct and that the sum charged is below the actual sum paid out-many of the vouchers were deposited in a blank book and a cask containing the same was stolen from on board the Brutus-Fifty of the Muskets were brought to Goliad nine in bad shape were left in Texanna in the care of Messer J. Menefee and Co. I had first to execute a bond to the Col. of Lawrence County assestng for the cost charg'd before the muskets were taken away. Approved and recommended for Payt. Jack Shackelford Capt. 25th Feby 1836 Col. Comg. ayt. Provl. Govt.
FANNIN to ROBINSON. [February 26, 1836] [Dear Sir: ] I have to report that yesterday, after making all the preparations possible, we took up our line of March (about three hundred strong, and four peices of artillery), towards Bexar, to the relief of those brave men now shut up in the Alamo, and to raise the siege, leaving Captain Westover in command of this post. Within two hundred yards of town (Goliad), one of the wagons broke down, and it was necessary to double teams in order to draw the artillery across the river, each piece having but one yoke of oxen. Not a particle of bread stuff, with the exception of half a tierce of rice, with us,-no beef, with the exception of a small portion which had been dried-and, not a head of cattle, except those used to draw the artillery, the ammunition, etc., and it was impossible to obtain any until we should arrive at Seguin's Rancho, seventy miles from this place. After crossing the river, the troops encamped .... This morning whilst here I received a note from the officer commanding the volunteers requesting, in the name of the officers of his command, a Council of War, on the subject of the expedition to Bexar, which, of course, was granted. The Council of War consisted of all the commissioned officers of the command and it was by them unanimously determined, that, inasmuch as a proper supply of provisions and means of transportation could not be had; and, as it was impossible, with our present means, to carry the artillery with us, and as by leaving Fort Defiance without a proper garrison, it might fall into the hands of the enemy, with the provisions, etc., now at Matagorda, Dimmitt's Landing and Cox's Point and on the way to meet us; and, as by report of our spies (send out by Col. Bowers) we may expect an attack upon this place, it was deemed expedient to return to this post and complete the fortifications, etc., etc....I sent an express to Gonzales to apprize the committee there of our return. J. W. Fannin. [To James W. Robinson]
FANNIN to MIMS. Goliad, 28th Feby 1836. Mr. Jos. Mims The advise I gave you a few days back is too true- The enemy have the town of Bejar, with a large force- and I fear will soon have our brave countrymen in the Alamo. Another force is near me- and crossed the river yesterday morning, and attacked a party by surprise, under Col. Johnson, and routed them, killing Capt. Pearson, and several others after they had surrendered. I have about 420 men here, and if I can get provisions in tomorrow or next day, can maintain myself against any force. I will never give up the ship, while there is a pea in the ditch. If I am whipped, it will be well done-and you may never expect to see me. I hope to see all Texas in arms soon, if not, we lose our homes, and must go east of the Trinity for awhile. Look to our property-save it for my family, whatever may be my fate.
I expect some in about this time, by Coghy and wish you to receive and take care of it. I now tell you, be always ready. I have not as much confidence in the people of Texas as I once had. They have been called on and entreated to fly to arms and prevent what has now been done. I have but three citizens in the ranks, and tho' I have called on them for six weeks, not one yet arrived, and no assistance in bringing me provisions, even Texans refused me. I feel too indignant to say more about them. If I was honorably out their service, I would never re-enter it. But I must now play a bold game-I will go the whole hog. If I am lost, be the censure on the right head, and may my wife & children and children's children curse the sluggards for ever. I am too mad, and too much to do-any thing but fight.
If my family arrive, send my wife this letter. Inquire of McKinney. Hoping for the best, being prepared for the worst, I am in a devil of a bad humor, Forever, J. W. Fannin.
FANNIN to ROBINSON. Head Quarters Army of Texas Fort Defiance Goliad Feby 28 1836 6 o'c P.M. To the Acting Governor, & Council of the Provisional Govt. of Texas I have to inform you that I have just received the unpleasant intelligence that Colo. Johnsons command were yesterday morning before day light surprised by the Enemy at San Patricio- I received my intelligence by express from Edwd. Gritten in the Mission del Refugio, who reports that Col. Johnson with two men had arrivd, on foot at a Rancho near that place- I also learn that two others had arrived at the Mission---Capt Pearson was shot down & others when asking for Quarters- From those who have escaped it is impossible to learn the strength of the army or the loss sustained by our countrymen
Mr. Gritten writes that Col. Johnson and his Companions will as soon as fresh horses can be procured proceed to this place They will probably arrive tomorrow morning This morning Col. Ferris left this post with a communication from me informing you of the return of the Troops to this place after crossing the River on the way to Bexar. The propriety of their retrogade movement will now be apparent. It is now obvious that the Enemy have entered Texas at two points, for the purpose of attacking Bexar & this place- The first has been attacked and we may expect the enemy here momentarily- Both places are importent- and this at this time particularly so- All our provisions are at Matagorda Dewitts Landing Coxes point & on the way here- We have not in the garrison supplies of Bread Stuff for a single day and as yet but little Beef and should our Supplies be cut off our situation will be, to say the least disagreeable- & in case we are not reinforced and a sufficient force sent to convey the provisions (as we have no means of transportation) when famine begins to look us in the face, we shall be compelled to cut our way through the enemy leaving the artillery & munitions of war in their hands- We hope, however for the best we hope that before this time the people have risen and are marching to the relief of Bexar & this post- but should the worst happen- on whose head should the burthen of censure fall- not on the heads of those brave men who have left their homes in the United States to aid us in our struggle for Liberty -but on those whose all is in Texas & who notwithstanding the repeated calls have remained at home without raising a finger to keep the Enemy from their thresholds- What must be the feelings of the Volunteers now shut in Bexar- & what will be those of this command if a sufficient force of the enemy should appear to besiege us here without provisions- Will not curses be heaped on the heads of the sluggards who remained at home with a knowledge of our situation
Our present force in Garrison is about four Hundred & twenty, including Guerra's company of Mexicans---(about five white citizens of Texas in this number I omitted to mention that the force on the Nueces was divided into two parties one under Col. Johnson---in the Village of San Patricio & the other under Col. Grant & Maj. Morris on the road above- of the fate of the latter party we know nothing---as yet. I am with respect & Consideration Yr. obt. servt. J. W. Fannin Jr. Col. Comt. &c. Superscription: If this can be fowd early, so as to overtake the Express sent off this morning, it will save much time---Col. Ferris went by Dimmitts landing with it---Speed---go at speed Forward with all dispatch and spread the alarm & call out the whole people to arms---to arms. [Addressed: To/His Excellency James W. Robinson Actg Govr and Genl. Council of Texas Washington Express
FANNIN to DESAUQUE and CHENOWETH. Head Quarters Army Texas 5 oclock, P.M. 1st mch 1836 Capts Desauque & Chenworth Yours of 28th ult. was recd. this evening & I hasten to answer it, aggreeable to previous arrangements I marched the troops the evening you left & with much difficulty got two waggons & partly across the river one mile above not having provisions but for one day and having only sixty seven men & no provisions for them in the Garrison Two waggons stalled & another could not be got over in this situation they were encamped for the night expecting trains from below The messenger dispached whilst you were here not having returned, about this time an express arrived from Matagorda giving us intelligence of the arrival of more provisions stores clothing &c and shortly afterwards another came in from San Patricio giving us the unpleasant information that our countrymen under the command of Col. Johnson were attacked and inhumanely murdered mostly after surrendering except five who have arrived here (last night) (To wit) Col. Johnson Love Miller Fuler & Beck
In this situation not able to go forward and what was then understood & believed to be a division or its advance to the west coming against this post a council of war was unanamously demanded of me by the Volunteer officers and granted of course it was resolved to be inexpedient to attempt to go forward and that we should return and complete the Fortification and await our doom until relcived whipped or we conquer I have some quantity of Beef cattle and hope soon to have more, and Flour, clothing &c I immediately forwarded an express to Washington Demitts Landing &c. and one after any provisions that might be on the way to Bexar and inform them of our movements also the committee of safety of Gonzales-I will soon bring to bear this place-which I think can be defended some time by 200 men and am informed by persons from Victoria that Col. Wharton crossed the Guadaloupe on Saturday with 270 men and 9 carts with about 70 Barrels flour and proceded toward Bejar-If you can find him or communicate with Gonzales and know how many volunteers will form a junction & if informed speedily I will push out 200 and cooperate-we shall not be able to bring two pieces of cannon
I think Wharton will try and go by Gonzales or if he saw my express and that was the day it passed Victoria, may endeavor to find me near where you are stationed I would advise you either to return here with the provisions or proceed to Gonzales and hold conferrence with the officers in command-I am in hourly expectation of either an attack or information of the near approach of the enemy I also hope to hear from St. Felipe & to learn that 1000 citizens are out-Mr. Royall informs me that our agents in N. O. gives information of large quantities of supplies being shipd for here by the Mexican Govt. and hence their desire to gain this place to keep up a chain of communication and cover the coast. It is equally important for us to retain it and cover our own scanty stock-Under all the circumstances I was unable to move and do trust no bad effects will follow I would risk life and all for our brave men in the Alamo, but circumstanced as I was and even now am I could not, do otherwise If you can communicate this to them and adopt the following cipher in your communications double the alphabet and uniformly an A. for Z. B. for Y. and X for C. &c & so vice versa inform all officers of this and should any despatches fall into their hands they will not be the gainers by it. Write me & forward by expresses in hast I am &c J. W. Fannin [addressed:] Capts. Desauque Chenoworth or other Volunteer Officers of Texas Cibolo or elsewhere
ROBINSON to FANNIN. Executive Department of Texas Washington March 6, 1836. To Col. J W Fannin Jr. Dr. Sir Yours of the 1st inst, is just recd. In answer permit us to say that unfortunately we are too much divided for the benefit of our country and promotion of the true interest to render you that effectual aid you so much need. Party spirit lays hold with her infernal fangs, upon everything that might be of any service to our country in thier deadly struggle for her rights. The spirit of party rages to an unprecedented hight, & its beter rancor is truly alarming & heartrending to any true friend to the country.
We however beleive that under the organic law we were and are yet clothed with the power that law gives, for some days however we have not acted officially, and in fact the very letters addressed to us by you are siezed by others and Read and comented upon before we are permitted to see them. Not withstanding this we feel that we are still legally in office & will continue to act untill superceded by some future government. In accordance with our official duty & our oaths we have to say & instruct you to use your own discretion to remain where you are or to retreet as you may think best for the safety of the brave Volunteers Under your command, & the Regulars & Militia, and the interest of our beloved country requires unless you shall be instructed otherwise by Genl. Houston who has been by this new convention confirmed & appointed commander in chief of the Army of Texas Militia & volunteers; as well as regulars.
The bearer can give you all other information nessesary as well as if it were here written. As we are informed that this new convention intends to form immediatly an other provitional Government, therefore. when you communicate again, it may be well for you to direct your communications to the Provitional Government of Texas This moment information has been given that about 30 men has thrown themselfs into Bears for its releif from Gonsales, that many more is on the way under Coll. Neill Genl. Barlison & to raise the siege if possible. Captn. Dimitt with 200 men I am informed are marching for your relief.--
Genl. Houston has been ordered to the Army by the convention forthwith, it is thought he will go to day or to [torn] not say how he may order his movements
The God of Battles shield your and our countryman from home in the field, is the parting adieu of your friends. James W. Robinson Acting Governor Alex. Thomson Geo. Pattillo John McMullen
FANNIN to MEXIA. Head Quarters Army of Texas, Ft. Defiance (Goliad) 11th March 18. Genl. Mexia Dr. Genl. I avail myself of the politeness of Capt. Guerra, (a soldier of 1824) who feels himself bound to retire from our services for reasons which will be appearant to you. I am pleased to say of him and his men, that since they have been under my my command, each and every one has done his duty---and owing to his and their peculiar situation, and political aspect of this newborn nation, so widely different from what it was when they entered its service; I have this day given them an Honorable discharge, with permission and passport to proceed to N. Orleans & c. We are in the midst of a Revolution the ending whereof, no one can foresee. Sa. Anna with 5000 men are in Bejar, and have been since 23rd ult., but has not been able to take the Alamo defended by only 146 men. If he does not get it in four days, he never will, as the people en mass are on their march to the relief of their friends-and in all this month, we will not have less than from 4 to 5000 Texicans under arms.
If 216 could & did take Bejar, how many of Sa. Annas men will be left then, should this force encounter him?? I know not as yet what has been the action of our Convention - but do not entertain a doubt but a Declaration of Independence will follow and shortly. This my dear sir [will] not interfere with your favourite project. You can go ahead with more safely, and may calculate upon aid from Texas---and her Volunteers. I know not how long I may remain in the service---circumstances unexpected and over which I had no control, have placed me, where I cannot retreat, but in disgrace. This I am not disposed to suffer - rather preferring to encounter death in any shape. If I had men, over whom I could exercise reasonable authority, I should glory in the present opportunity as I should most certainly do myself some credit, and the country great service; and teach Genl. Sa. Anna a lesson, which he might remember, and the states of Mexico profit by. I hope I may aid in it, as it is---and that I may hear from you to the west, waging battle for your injured and oppressed countrymen.
Do write me occasionally, addressed to the care of our friends McKinney & Williams. In the meantime, believe me, Dr Genl. to be yr friend & obt servt J. W. Fannin, Jr.
HOUSTON to FANNIN. Head Quarters, Gonzales, March 11, 1836. To James W. Fannin Sir: upon my arrival here this afternoon, the following intelligence was received through a Mexican, supposed to be friendly, which, however, was contradicted, in some parts, by another who arrived with him. It is, therefore, only given to you as a rumor, though I fear a melancholy portion of it will be found too true. He states that he left Fort San Antonio on Sunday, the 6th inst; that the Alamo (citidel) was attacked on that morning at the dawn of day, by about 2,500 men, and was carried a short time before sunrise with a loss of 520 men, Mexicans, killed and as many wounded. Col. Travis had only 150 effective men, out of his whole force of 187. After the fort was carried, seven men surrendered, and called for Gen Santa Anna and quarters. They were murdered by his order. Col. Bowie was sick in his bed, and was also murdered. The enemy expect reinforcements of 1,500 men under Gen. Cordiles, and 1,500 reserve to follow them. He also informed us, that Ugartechea has arrived with two million of dollars, for the payment of the troops, &c. The bodies of the Americans were burnt after the massacre, in alternate layers of wood and bodies. Lieutenant Dickinson, who had a wife and child in the fort, after having fought with desperate courage, tied his child to his back, leaped from the top of a two story building, and both were killed by the fall. I have but little doubt that the Alamo has fallen. Whether the above particulars are all true may be questionable. Sam Houston.
P.S. The wife of Lieut Dickinson is now in the possession of the officers of Santa Anna. The men, as you will perceive fought gallantly, and in corroberation of the truth of the fall of the Alamo, I have ascertained that Col. Travis intended firing signal guns at three different periods of each day, until. succor should arrive. The signal guns have not been fired since Sunday; and a scouting party have just returned, who approached within five or eight miles of the fort, and remained for eight hours. S. H.
HOUSTON to FANNIN. Headquarters, Gonzales, March 11, 1836. To Colonel J. W. Fannin, commanding at Goliad, Sir: On my arrival here this afternoon, the following intelligence was received through a Mexican, supposed to be friendly, though his account has been contradicted in some parts by another, who arrived with him. It is therefore only given to you as a rumor, though I fear a melancholy portion of it will be found true.
Anselmo Borgara states that he left the Alamo on Sunday, the 6th inst.; and is three days from Arroche's rancho: that the Alamo was attacked on Sunday morning at the dawn of day, by about two thousand three hundred men, and carried a short time before sunrise, with a loss of five hundred and twenty-one Mexicans killed, and as many wounded. Colonel Travis had only one hundred and fifty effective men out of his entire force of one hundred and eighty-seven. After the fort was carried, seven men surrendered, and call for Santa Anna and quarter. They were murdered by his order. Colonel Bowie was sick in bed, and also murdered. The enemy expect a reinforcement of fifteen hundred men under General Condelle, and a reserve of fifteen hundred to follow them. He also informs us that Ugartechea had arrived with two millions of specie for the payment of the troops. The bodies of the Americans were burnt after the massacre. Alternate layers of wood and bodies were laid together and set on fire. Lieutenant Dickinson, who had a wife and child in the fort, after having fought with desperate courage, tied his child to his back aild leaped from the top of a two story building. Both were killed by the fall. I have little doubt but that the Alamo has fallen- whether above particulars are all true may be questionable. You are therefore referred to the enclosed order I am, sir, &c., Sam Houston.
In corroboration of the truth of the fall of the Alamo, I have ascertained that Colonel Travis intended firing signal guns at three different periods of each day until succor should arrive. No signal guns have been heard since Sunday, though a scouting party have just returned who approached within twelve miles of it, and remained there forty-eight hours.
[Because of the discrepancies between these two printings of what is apparently the same letter, both variations are included.]
FANNIN to HORTON. Fuerte Defiance Marzo 14 de 1836. Al coronel A. C. Haton.-La de V de ayer la recibi bastante tarde: aviso a V. que tan pronto como se me reuna una partida de 200 hombres al mando del coronel. Ward, y que espero entre 9. by 10. de esta noche, marchare atropellando obstaculos para Victoria en cumplimiento de las ordenes del general Houston- Por lo tanto si no puede V. adelantarse hasta aqui, me aleanzara en el camino. Traiga V. todo el ganado, caballos, mulas y demas que pueda. Si no somos atacados aqui podemos serlo en el camino.- Jamas mancillaremos el honor de las armas de Tejas que tan bien han resplandecido en manos de los que voluntariamente ban caido victionas voluntarias en defense de su causa. Remita V. esta noclie mismo los wagines y bagages que le he pedido pues desco marchar o a lo menos estar pronto para verificarlo - Permanesca V firme en los principios que nos han tralso a Tejas.-Nuestro grito de guerra seu Tejas y libertad: morir o vencer: Travis y su rescate.-Con esto cumplo con las ordenes del general Houston, pero en tan criticas circunstancias y para el mejor acierto pido a V. su ayuda y cooperacion.-Me repito muy deberas y muy a la carrera su muy atento. - W. Fanning.
FANNIN to WHITE. Capitan Samuel A. White. - Fuerte Defiance Marzo 14 de 1836. -La de V. de 13 del corriente la recibi, y estoy verdaderamente convento de que V hoya anticipado nuestros deseos. Mandenos V. lo mas pronto posible las carreras y bueyes & c y ptonto nos reuniremos a V.: tenga V. listo el chalen con todos los viveres reunidos en un punto, bien el de Cox o Demunets que es donde se halla bastante madera y agua, y en que podremos fortificarnos y no suffir para defendernos, comunicando con mas presteza con las Colonias, y al mismo tiempo cubrir avanzadas y provisiones - Mi partida bajo las ordenes del coronel Ward no ha llegado, pero tan presto como llegue marcharemos para Victoria, cuyo punto cubrire cuanto me sea posible.---Mande V. un estraordinario para Matagorda y de V. orden para que se mande polvora y balas por el Colorado y de V. orden para que se mande polvora y balas por el Colorado para el ejercito. - George M. Collinsworth atendera a esto. Apresure V. municiones de fusil pues en tiempo de guerra son las mas necessarias. Muy de carrera su muy atento servidor- W. Fanning.
HOUSTON ARMY ORDERS Army Orders Head Quarters Colorado River March 17th, 1836. To Colonel J. W. Fannin Colonel J. W. Fannin, Jr., will take a position on the bay of Lavaca, or any other point best calculated for the protection of the provisions, ammunition, &c., at Coxe's point and Dimit's landing. The army now near Burnham^s, on the Colorado, will remain for a time, and, according to circumstances, fall down the river. Colonel Fannin will therefore hold himself in constant readiness to join the commander-in-chief. The Redlanders are already in motion, and will join the army as soon as possible. Regulars and volunteers are also on the march to headquarters. If Colonel Fannin can not maintain his position, he will fall back on the main armythe object of the movement now ordered being only for the protection of the arms, ammunition, &c. The present force on the Colorado numbers four hundred and twenty effective men. Should a permanent fortification be necessary on the bay of Lavaca, or other point, for the protection of the stores, &c., Colonel Fannin will judge of the expedience (with the command under him) of erecting them. The commanding general, not having detailed report of his force, can only order that such measures shall be taken as will be best for the good of the service and the protection of the country. Stock of all descriptions will be driven to the east side of the Colorado. Sam Houston Commander-in-chief of the Army
FANNIN to EDITORS. [James W. Fannin, Goliad, to the Editors of the Telegraph, San Felipe, March 17, 1836, stating that the Mexicans are in sight about five miles away, that he is preparing to resist "to the utmost," and that, "for want of time," he had not effected his retreat from Goliad, as ordered.]
GEN. SANTA ANNA to LT. COL. PORTILLA, Commandant at Golidad by courier from Bexar, 26 Mar 1836. Order dated 23 Mar. I am informed that there have been sent to you by General Urrea, two hundred and thirty-four prisoners, taken in the action of Encinal del Perdito on the 19th and 20th of the present month; and, as the supreme government has ordered that all foreigners taken with arms in their hands, making war upon the nation, shall be treated as pirates, I have been surprised that the circular of the said supreme government has not been fully complied with in this particular; I therefore order that you should give immediate effect to the said ordinance in respect to all those foreigners, who have yielded to the force of arms, having had the audacity to come and insult the Republic, to devastate with fire and sword, as has been the case in Goliad, causing vast detriment to our citizens; in a word, shedding the precious blood of Mexican citizens, whose only crime has been fidelity to their country. I trust that, in reply to this, you will inform me that public vengeance has been satisfied, by the punishment of such detestable delinquents. I transcribe the said decree of the government for your guidance, and, that you may strictly fulfill the same, in the zealous hope, that, for the future, the provisions of the supreme government may not for a moment be infringed.
PORTILLA to URREA. 26 Mar 1836. From the Commandant at Goliad to General Urrea. In compliance with the definitive orders of his excellency the general-in-chief, which I received direct, at four o'clock to-morrow morning the prisoners sent by you to this fortress will be shot. I have not ventured to execute the same sentence on those who surrendered to Colonel Vara, at Copano, being unacquainted with the particular circumstances of their surrender; and I trust you will be pleased to take upon yourself to save my responsibility in this regard, by informing me what I am to do with them. J. N. de Portilla. Goliad, March 26, 1836.