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Mission Refugio

Capture of King and Ward at Mission Refugio
by Sam Houston Dixon in Romance and Tragedy of Texas History 

The story of the cruel and savage massacre of the brave men of Captain King and Colonel Ward's commands is another chapter in the history of Mexican vengeance and brutality.....These inhuman brutalities were fresh in the minds of the victorious Texans at San Jacinto, and every shot fired by them into the fleeing army of Santa Anna was an inspiration for vengeance.

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Shortly after Colonel Fannin at Goliad learned of General Urrea's capture of San Patricio, he dispatched Captain Aaron King with twenty-eight men to Refugio, to remove certain families from that town to a place of safety. Fannin instructed King to return to Goliad as soon as he had performed this mission. Instead of hastening back to Goliad as instructed, he dispatched a messenger to Fannin asking for additional troops as he was threatened with an attack of Urrea's advance. Accordingly, Fannin sent Colonel William Ward with one hundred and twelve men to King's assistance. Colonel Ward joined King on the afternoon of March 13 (1836). Previous to Colonel Ward's arrival at Refugio, Captain King had been attacked by the advance troops of Urrea's command, but he had repulsed them. During the night of March 13, a large force of Mexicans attacked the mission where King's men were lodged, but they were repulsed with heavy loss. The next morning his sentinels advised him that there was a large force of Mexicans near the place. This information caused Colonel Ward to abandon his plans agreed upon the night before, to start on his return march to Goliad. About ten o'clock on the morning of the 14th, he sent a party of fifteen men to the river to secure for the troops two barrels of water. While filling the barrels, they were fired upon by Urrea's army of about a thousand men. The carts containing the water were hurried to the mission. The Mexicans followed them firing as they advanced. Seeing that they intended to attack the mission, Colonel Ward instructed his men to reserve their fire until they approached within rifle range. This they did. When the Texans opened fire on the advancing Mexicans, they fell back in great disorder, leaving many dead and wounded on the field. The Mexicans rallied several times, but were driven back each time with heavy losses. The engagements lasted until about four p. m., when the Mexicans retreated, leaving between four and five hundred of their dead upon the field. The Texans had only three men wounded.

An order was received the night following the attack by Urrea, instructing Ward to abandon the mission and retreat toward Victoria, where Fannin would join him. At twelve at night Ward, with his force, left the mission on his retreat to Victoria. They marched through the swamps and woods. On account of the character of the ground, the Mexican cavalry could not follow. They reached the San Antonio River on the third day. They crossed the river on the 19th and continued their march toward Victoria. That afternoon they heard firing between Fannin and the Mexicans under Urrea. Ward made an attempt to rejoin Fannin but darkness overtaking him, he camped for the night in the Guadalupe River bottom. On the morning of March 21, Colonel Ward set out toward Victoria where he was to rejoin Fannin, but on reaching Victoria he found the place in the possession of the Mexicans. Fannin had set out to meet Colonel Ward as he promised, but he and his command surrendered to Urrea, and were carried back to Goliad. That night Ward marched toward Dimmit's Point on the Lavaca River, near Matagorda Bay. The following day, March 22, he halted his command for rest. They were within two miles of their destination. He sent two men to the point to ascertain who held that place. These two men were made captives by a body of Mexicans belonging to Urrea's command. They also surrounded Ward's force. The two prisoners hallooed to the Texans and told them of the number of Mexicans, suggesting that Colonel Ward see General Urrea regarding terms of surrender. Accordingly, Colonel Ward, accompanied by Major Mitchell and Captain Ticknor of his command, sought General Urrea. He was told by Urrea that if he would surrender as prisoners of war, he and his men would be marched to Capano and from there shipped to New Orleans, or be retained as prisoners of war and be exchanged.

On returning to the camp of the Texans, Colonel Ward advised his men of the proposition made by Urrea and addressing his men, he told them he opposed surrender. He told them it was the same enemy they had beaten at Refugio; that he thought the chances of escape equally as good as they were then. He was very emphatic that he thought resistance better than surrendering as he feared in that event they would all be butchered. The matter was submitted to his command. A large majority favored surrendering. Colonel Ward told them, however, that their wishes should govern, "but," he said, "if you are destroyed, do not blame me."  sdct

Colonel Ward, accompanied by Major Mitchell and Captain Ticknor, forthwith called on General Urrea and the terms of capitulation were quickly agreed upon, being the same as General Urrea had promised on the first visit. The men were marched in line and their arms turned over to the Mexican officers. They were placed under a strong guard and on the next morning, March 23, they were marched to Goliad. There Colonel Ward found Faunin and his command prisoners. On the 27, Colonel Ward and his men were marched out with Fannin's men and shot in violation of the terms of surrender. Captain King had become separated from Colonel Ward's command. He attempted to make his way to Goliad. On the 16th of March he was surrounded in the open prairie by the Mexicans to whom he surrendered. A few hours later he and his men were formed in line and shot. This occurred about half a mile from the old mission at Goliad. They were stripped by the Mexicans of their clothing and their bodies left as prey for wild beasts.

These inhuman brutalities were fresh in the minds of the victorious Texans at San Jacinto, and every shot fired by them into the fleeing army of Santa Anna was an inspiration for vengeance.


Account of Ward and King at Mission Refugio by Joseph W. Andrews
Joseph W. Andrews was a a part of Col. Ward's contingent who escaped from Mission Refugio, he was left on the Guadalupe River the night of 21 Mar and escaped execution.  From The Lamar Papers, no. 2809.

Joseph W. Andrews, born & raised Hancock Co. near the Ogachee river--Came to Texas with Ward---landed at Velasco---fall 1836 [1835]---Went with Ward to Copano, landed [unreadable] to Refugio---went from Velasco to Copano on the Columbia [W]ard was in the Columbia with 125 or 30 men---Wardsworth [Wordsworth] went at the same time in another vessel; all landed on the same day at Copano.

When they all got to the mission Refugio, they there [gree]ted their officers---Fannin who had sailed in the Columbia with Ward was elected Colonel; Ward Lieut. Colonol; Warren Michel [Mitchell] (from Geo.) Major. Isaac Tichnor from Mongom Ala, was Capt. &c---

Warren Mitchel [Mitchell], Goodwin Mitchel [Mitchell], Edwin Mitchel [Mitchell] were brothers from Geo.   Warren & Goodwin fell with Fannin; Edwin fell at the Alamo Robert Mitchel [Mitchell], their brother, came after their fall; and was in the Battle of Sanjacinto---

Staid about 3 weeks at Refugio, then marched to Goliad---Soon after arri[unreadable] who joined [unreadable] shortly after Fannin's arrival at Goliad---Shackelford & Bradford, from Kentucky---about the same time---King had about 25 men from Kentucky; Shackelford 65 men "Red Rovers" from North Alabama; Bradford about 25 men from Kentucky---They were all at Goliad, under the command---Several companies were there also---all amounting to about 550 effective men---

King was dispatched to the mission Refugio to aid some families there to get off---King with his 25 men was encountered the enemy at Refugio---Mexicans about 200---King in the fight captured 30 Mexican prisoners---He was in the Mission with his men and his prisoners; still, however, encompassed by a force greatly superior to his, he send to Fannin, at Goliad, for assistance Fannin sent Ward to his relief---Ward took with him, Warren Mitchel Isaac Tichnor, and Wardsworth, with about 102 men. On arriving at the Mission on the 15th February, a difficulty ensued between King and Ward. King, though a captain merely, wanted the command of the whole party; this Ward, as a matter of course, could not allow; he having upwards of 100 men as well as being Lieutenant Colonel. King thought he ought to have the Command, because he had had a fight with the enemy, and had been first at Refugio. Not obtaining the command, he, left the mission, taking with him his own men, about 25, and 18 of Bradford's men. Bradford remain with the remainder of his men, with Ward in the mission---King marched six miles below the mission to some Mexican ranches---Whilst King was there, the Mexicans, about 7 or 8 hundred under Urrea attacked Ward in the Mission---The fight lasted from 1 to 2 hours. The Mexicans were repulsed---When the Mexicans were thus repulsed; King hearing the report of the cannon in the fight, made for the mission to aid Ward; when he had got in about 3/4 of a mile of the Mission, the Mexicans, attacked him---They fought at least 2 hours; during which time, the enemy placed their cannon upon the mission, to prevent Ward from coming out to King's assistance---King was finally conquered & captured---In two hours after King's capture, the Mexicans with their consolidated force charged upon the mission to capture Ward; this charge last 4 hours without intermission From the first attack of Urea on the mission, to the closing one he had been reinforced---reinforcements had been coming in during the whole day---  sdct

About the first attack on the mission Ward finding the enemy much greater than was expected, dispatched a messenger to Fannin, to send assistance to him---Ward left Goliad on the 14th Febry---to aid King, expecting to meet not more than 2 or 3 hundred enmy. he found them 7 or 8 hundred strong; and during the day had encreased to upwards of 12 hundred---He left Goliad 2 oclk, at night; landed at the mission on the 15th---Some 3 or four days previous to Ward's departure from Goliad, Fannin had given p[asspor]ts to a Mexican Captain and 18 of his men, to retire from the Country---He had expressed a desire to leave and avoid the war---On the 15th February when Ward reached Goliad, Capt. Tichnor proposed that night to go and attack the enemy's camp, which was about 3/4 miles off---Tichnor took 14 men with him; they crept up slily upon the enemy; and firing on them & keeping it up for a few rounds, retired in safety to the mission without the loss of a man or having one wounded---The next morning, the Mexican had left this encampment, when Ward went out to see what damage had been done to them by Tichnor, and found 22 killed; amongst whom was the Captain to whom Fannin had given a passport at Goliad---80$ was found in his pocket---The Mexicans fled, at the attack of Tichnor leaving their horses still tied. These horses saddle bridles &c were brought to the mission---The Enemy, however kept augmenting that day, and at 8 or 9 oclk commenced their first attack on the mission---King assailed it---fight lasted 1 to 2 hours; King coming to the mission was assailed; fought 2 hours or more; was captued; they then (after resting awhile) assailed the mission a second time---fought 4 hours; the enemy was repulsed; on one or two hours more, they came to a third charge on the mission; this attack resulted in nothig---the enemy squandered about charging va[rious lo]cations---

In the first attack on the mission, no loss by the Texans; in the second [Thomas G.] Weeks, a lad from Mississippi, was mortally wounded in the breast; & Hall, from Hall County Geo was wounded in the leg; it happenig when he had gone out to cut the saddle off a horse; & Ayres brotherinlaw [Abraham H. Osborn] was wouded in shoulder---In the third, no damage done; Ward being only slightly grazed on the head---This attack lasted until night, when the foe withdrew, and placed fires all round the Mission about 100 yds apart, & 400 yds from the mission.

All this night Ward waited in suspense to hear from Fannin, to whom he had sent for reinforcemt---About 12 oclk this night, An irishman came to Ward, and gave him [a] paper. He said that he was a prisoner in Urea's army, and that urea had sent him to Ward with that paper. The paper on being read, proved to be Fannin's answer to Ward's application for assistance---The Irishman said that the despatch had been captured from the bearers, who were killed. This paper was read---the purport of it was this---that he Fannin had just recd. orders from Genl. Houston to blow up the fort at Goliad and retreat to Victoria where he Houston would meet him; and in consequence he Fannin could send no help to Ward, and that Ward must make his retreat in the best way he could.

The Irishman told ward that he was instructed by urea to say that he would be reinforced the next day with heavy artillery, and would batter down the mission, & shew no quarter if Ward did not surrender---Ward dis[miss]ed the Irishman telling him to say to Urea that he would not surrender, & that he could sell his life as dear as Urea could his &c---The Irishman was dismissed---soon after he left, one of King's men, who had makde his escape, appeared and came into the mission---A consultation was now held; and was determed to force a retreat---Leaving the mission through one of the windows, they marched in silence between two of the fires unmolested by the foe; meeting with Centinel. They had to leave their wounded. Also another man by the name of Woods; who believing that he was only waked to be placed on guard refused to get up; he was left. There was in this mission at the time of retreat 6 or 7 or 8 women and 5 or 6 children. Ward would not allow them to be wakened, for fear that they would commence screaming. From these women it was afterwares ascertained, that the wounded & [Samuel] Wood also were put to death. The wounded were only Weeks, [Anderson] Ray, & Ayres brotherinlaw---

when the retreat commenced, Ward aimed for Copano; but never could strike the right road. They wandered all night; and in the course of their rambles came back upon the enemies fires 3 times. About an hour before day break they found themselves at a Creek in some few miles of the mission They found a Bridge across the Creek & then for the first time ascertained where they were. At this Bridge they saw by si[gn]s that the enemy had crossed it in pursuit of them. They then had to change their direction; and instead of making for Copano, struck through the prairie, aiming for Victoria---The first day they marched on slowly, without interruption; on the second day the same; but on the third day in the evening, they suffered greatly for the want of water. David Hott     Dick Rutchles, Butler, Bright, & a dutchman, in advance in search of water. They were to go to some timber in sight; and if water was there, they were to hoist a signal. This was 1 or 2 oclk in the evening. The advance made no signal; but that evenig the men found water near where they had halted to rest; they remained there all that night. The next being the fourth day, they took up their, line of march. (The dutchman who had gone in search of water; the others went on, & escaped)---On the fourth night, Ward encamped on the Santonio river, below Fagan's Ranch; on the 5th mornig they started up the river; 5 or 6 miles trying to cross; but failed; went again to Fagan's rancho; killed some cattle there; went down in the swamp to cook, & found at Fagan's ranch 2 irish boys; who told that their fathers were about one mile off. Ward sent a file of men after them; the boys going along; in a short time they returned; and agreed to pilot Ward to Victoria; but desired that they might be allowed to visit their families & say good bye; this was allowed them; but they never returned. and Ward had to proceed alone---  sdct

On the night of the 6th they reached the Guadalupe, Wadworth [W.A.O. Wadsworth]   Sam Mays, Jos. Wilson, and Jos. Tatum, went up to Mexican houses & Tatum brought some provisions back to Tichnor, the balance, (Mays, Wordsworth, & Wilson) went on to victoria, & was captured; Wilson being killed in the fight---On the 7th day Ward, hearing of this & that the foe was in Victoria, retreated back into the Guadalupe timber there, they lay, until night, when he started for Labaca; travelled all night; at 9 oclk in the monig searched for cattle. They came running in announcing the approach of the enemy---Council was held. Ward was for fight; but the most were for surrendering; the Mexicans hoisted a white flag---The surrender was made. They were to be treated as prisoners of war; and were to be sent back to the U S---They were marched to Victoria; thence to Goliad where they met with Fannin and his men all prisoners---At Victoria Tom Smith Columbus Geo; Pierce Hammock Macon Geo; [William] Cubelo Wilkinson, Macon Geo; Jno. C. P. Kennimore, Columbus Geo; Jas. B.F. Mordica [Mordecai] Savannah; Jas Naily [James Neely]   Wordsworth Com.   Thos. Stewart, and others were taken out as carpenters and saved---


Report of Lewis T. Ayers on the fate of Capt. King's Group at Refugio

...having lost our way......loaded their guns to shoot us but.....two Germans among the prisoners the execution was postponed at the request of a Col. in the enemy's service who was a German by birth...... ..My wife however with four children was aided by some Mexican officers who were opposed to the barbarous....murdering [of] prisoners......the General agreed to save my life.......after receiving a severe lecture on.....my hostility to Mexico....to let politics alone......The rest of our party were barbarously shot, stripped naked and left on the prairie.....

I placed myself under the command of Capt. King who went in a different route from the remainder of the force, our party consisting of only 28 men after marching for several ranches which were deserted, and at about 12 o'clock came in sight of the Mission when to our utter surprise we discovered what proved to be the whole of Gen. Urrea's division of 1500 men in possession of the town. Our friends to the number of 120 men were in the Church, my family and others were also in it. The moment we saw the enemy, we were discovered by them, and a party of Horsemen amounting to upwards of 100 men galloped to cut off our retreat to a piece of woods to which we hasted about 600 yards when we reached there we found our -number reduced to 22 men by the desertion of 6. We had time before attacked to choose a good fighting position, and for each man to have his station assigned to him, which was maintained by all throughout an engagement of about one half hour, when the enemy retreated with about 20 killed and a large number wounded. After an interval of about one hour we were again attacked by about 200 of the enemy in two parties opening a cross fire upon us, we still maintained our ground and after an hour of hard fighting we compelled them to retreat. One of our party was killed within 3 feet of me, and four were wounded, the number of the enemy killed and wounded was very large, but I have not been able to learn the number. Towards night we were attacked a third time from the opposite side of the river, Capt. King then directed us to lie close, protecting ourselves as much as possible by the woods, and not to fire again, holding ourselves in readiness for an expected attack on our side of the river, which however did not take place, the enemy after wasting as I suppose all their powder and ball and without doing us any personal injury, retired. I was saved from death in the second engagement by a ball glancing from one of a pair of pistols which I wore in front, they were given me by Capt. King. When night came on it was very dark, not a star to be seen, we crossed the river at the battle ground, where it was not considered fordable, the water reached my chin, there was a ford just above and one just below us but we expected the enemy would guard them, the banks were so steep that we had to assist each other in the ascent, the wounded accompanied us with much pain. We wandered about all night endeavoring to reach Goliad, but when day dawned on the 14th [15] we found ourselves only about 3 miles from the Mission, having lost our way. We hurried on about two miles further, when we were attacked by a party of Mexicans, and were compelled to surrender, our guns being most of them wet, and having no chance to retreat. We were then marched back to the Mission, tied together two by two, the rope at the same time connecting up altogether, after which we were marched about one mile, where we found a body of the enemy drawn up to receive us, we also found a few friends, who had been picked up one by one, making in the whole 33 men. The Soldiers loaded their guns to shoot us but in consequence of there being two Germans among the prisoners the execution was postponed at the request of a Col. in the enemy's service who was a German by birth. Our treatment during the next 24 hours was most brutal and barbarous. I had not asked for neither did I expect any mercy at the hands of the enemy. My wife however with four children presented herself to Gen. Urrea and excited his sympathy by their tears, she was aided by some Mexican officers who were opposed to the barbarous course persued of murdering prisoners, and the General agreed to save my life, which was done, and I was given in some degree my liberty, after receiving a severe lecture on account of my hostility to Mexico and charging me to behave myself better in the future and let politics alone-I merely bowed and said nothing.

I learned from Rebecca that Lieut. Col. Ward after having defended the Church from several attacks made upon it and destroying at least 50 or 60 or the enemy had made his retreat at night, the same night we were endeavoring to do the same. The enemy had for a number of hours fired a piece of Artillery at the Church 17 balls had penetrated the roof the walls were too strong to be battered down. Several families besides mine were there but not injured.  sdct

According to the report made by the few survivors of Cols. Ward party who soon fell into enemy hands, Mrs. Ayers manifested throughout the siege much courage and presence of mind, she encouraged the men and showed no fear. Abram [her brother-Abram Osborne] took an active part in the battle and was wounded in the breast by a spent ball. . . . The Mexican officers were polite not only to my wife to whom more than ordinary respect and attention was shown, but to all families. I should have mentioned that the two Germans and myself are the only survivors of the 33, one of these Germans soon after died from his wounds. The rest of our party were barbarously shot, stripped naked and left on the prairie about one mile from the Mission. . .

Journal Entries of Lewis Ayers
From The Lamar Papers no. 336

has been quartered in the church during my stay in this place the army has had no medicins but what was furnished by me I announced on my arrival that; I had a general sepply of medicins and that an army could be supplid without money on application to me I have also attended on several sick volunteers and prscribed for them only one has died and he was in the last stg of the consumption when I visited him; news has been receivd of Col Grants surprising Rodir[gus] and taking them all prisoners they were taken to San Patricio when Rodirgus was set at liberty upon his parole of honor the scoundrel broke his parrole and fled Johnson Grant & Co have gone with their men on a secrete expedition Capt King called upon me at midnight to inform me of the contense of a letter just received from Col Fanin informing him of the Mexican army having taken possession of Baxer the Texians had posesion of the alamo and orderng King to march immediately to Goliad which he did n[ext] moning I forgot to mention that James Power [left?] him about the 20th for Washington to attend the convention and that I sent by him my resignation of the office of collector at the same time remembering my promice to Major Sutherland:

Sunday the 27th, a young man arrived from San Patricio bringing the inteligence that Col Johnson & Capt Person with about 25 men had returned from their expodition into Tamilipus and that on the morning of the 21, before day break they were attackd by surpris[e] by a large Mexicn force whilst they ware as[leep] and divided in 3 houses Person was, kiled after sur[ren]dering The volunteers fo[ught] a few minutes and killed several of the enemy 5 ocloc P. M. Mr. Fole and one other man just arrived having made their escape the news brout this morning alarmed our citizens to such a degree that by nine ocloc several of the families had left and by eleven all of them except two and mine leaving most of their effect behind them Just about sunst I went to a house to look at some 4/4 american sheeting and s[ome] corn which Martin Power Esqr requested me to take charge of and beged me very hard to say nothing about it as it had been confided to him as a great secrete I told him I should inform the town immediately for the citizens lives had been exposed throught the villany of the Auamiontoes I had just entered when one Reos rode ill) and said that Mr James Power sent him to take them away I staid however and looked over the 4/4 sheeting and saw him take 3 ps. of about 50 yds each and one ps. I should suppose contained about 25 Yds, he also took away a part [of] The corn, and said he would return and take away the balance-----12 oclock I was aroused by the trampling of horses feet near tho house, got up and opened the door when four men came up to the hous and called for whiskey Mrs. Foley who remains in my family having some for sale got up and supplied them after lighting a candle, They were Victorianna Guards spies Pomuna Malloy a brother of Mrs. Power and an Irishman a Black Smith who shewed my house I requested Mrs. Foley to inform the brother of Mrs. Power of the sheeting and soon, he said in reply to Mrs. Foley that his sister had not autborized Reos to take those things  sdct

28th. Walked out early and found the 3 Mexicans above mentioned taking away the sheeting, There was no corn and I think not so much sheeting as last night, I think that Reos must have come back and taken away the corn and some more of the sheeting after I saw him in the evening, There has been a good deal o[f] plundering during the day by the Mexicans and Indians, Feather beds opened and feathers scattered to the winds, for the purpose of ascertaining if there was any money secreted in them In the morning a party of 7 Rancheros came armed to my house for the purpose of plunder, but seeing Mrs. Foley my brother in law A Horborn and myself all well armed they did not think it best to attempt it and were quite civil---27th. took from some Mexicans who encamped in my yard a market which they had robbed from one of the deserted houses, perhaps I had better hav[e] let them have it for they swear vengeance, and----have been informed that they have been end[eavor]ing to obtain the consent of their leader [???]labapos to rob and murder me which he has refu[sed] some horses have been taken out of the town heavily loaded with plunder this day---

March 1st. Recd. information from an undoubted source that my family would be much safer were I absent that the Rancheros in consequence of the active part I have taken in the present struggle, are determined to take my life and rob my house my wife is much alarmed and urges me very hard to leave her for a place of safety but if I leave my family I shall go to the Army---

March 2d. I walked out this morning [and saw] a man [who was] approaching the hou[se] with great caution, I went towards him and called him to me he proved to be a volunteer by name Moses, who made his escape from an engagement which took place Yesterday about 20 miles beyond San Patricio between the other portions of the small force which composed the party of Col Johnson Grant &c Col Grant commanded and was killed as also Major Morris and most of the men I took Moses to my house and gave him his breakfast after which I went with him to Goliad, one hors[e] carried our baggage one alternately riding one after another we arrived at Goliad about 8 oclock, I presented myself immediately to Col. Fanning and was well recd messed with him his suit---and Capt. Westover Wallace McIntyre King Georg Leint Gates and des. Feild

I informed Col Fanning of the fact that I had exerted myself in vain to procure teams to remove my family to a place of security for weeks, and hoped if it could be done without injury to the public service that he would assist me in procuring them he promised me he would the teams are now engaged in hauling public stores from the Lavaca as son as that is done I am [told] I can have them

March 5th. The Mexicans are according to the information just received closely investing the Alamo but the garrison is determined to resist to the last they however called for aid; Col Fanin 3 or 4 days before my arrival undertook to march 300 men to their aid but as I am informed all the force here insisted upon goin with them and none would consent to stay except the regulas who wished to go but would obey orders under such circumstances. Col F called a council of officers and it was concluded that the enemy ware in force a San Patricio and the army in such a peculiar state of mind it was best to keep them together and advisable to remain in their their situation

10 Feby [March]. The teams arrived from the Lavacker with supplies last night Col

F than told me he would send carts under a guard to remove my and such other families as might be at the mition and may wish to remove Capt King started about 9 ock with about 28 or 30 men as a guard I should accompany them but have recivd from Col Fanin

acting as commander in chief the appointment of acting assistant quarter master Genl. and I am only waiting for a horse to be procure when I shal enter upon the discharge of the douties of my office by [unreadable] Dimits Cockses point &c and called the public stoor to gether in some suitable situation for proper defence and security.

11th. Feby [March]. A council of officers were held this morning in consequence of an express arriving from Gonzales with annother call for assistance to be rendered to the brave defenders of the alamo I understand three hundred men will mar there to morrow. I shoul[d] have stated have stated 4 day since that it has been decided to march with 300 men to San Patricio which expedition had failed for the same reason as the first for Baxar all the volunteers insisted on going in the expedition

March 12th. 1 oclock A. M. An express has just arrived from Capt King calling for assistance having been detained here for want of a Horse untill this time I have volunteered my services and Col. Fannin has consented---I ought to have stated that I had been told by Col. F. to take any Horse I could find, in censequence I had got up several one at a time when some volunteer officer or private would claim them and be permitted by Col. F. to take them away for sake of union and peace while at the same tim[e] he thought it all important that I should m[ake] all possible haste in commencing the discharge [of] my duties Lieut Col Ward has been despatched with 120 men to Refugio to the relief of King towards sun set we reached Refugio and was welcomed by King and men with open arms I found my family Mrs. Hill and family Mrs. Deiderich Mr. Hearn & family Mrs. Brown & family & John Scott & family in the church or in Scotts House  sdct

I am informed that my wife by the advice of Mr. Henry Foley who has been with them for 6 weeks and of her Brot[her] A Horsborn had been induced to accept the invitation of [Es]tevan Lopes and a Mexican officer to go over the River to Lopes Ranch for protection Lopes lives about 1 mile from the mission Capt King went on his arrival over there with Carts for Mrs. Hill and family and Mrs. Ayers & family soon after their arrival at the Ranch 6 mexicans came up 5 of whom were recognised as part of those who had been plundering at the Mission. one made his escape the other 4 & judge Incarnation Basques of Goliad who was detaind for being in bad compa [ny] were made prisnors leaving a small guard assisting in leading the carts & securig prisnors Capt King went with the remainder say 18 or 20 men with Mr. Foley & Thos. Scott son of John Scott of the Mission down to Lopes, low ranch for the purpose of chastising some ranchers who were said to be, those who had been also plundering in refusio on their approaching the house they were fired upon some Indians and Mexicans troops were lying in ambush under a small Hill Thos Scott as it might of been expected from his fathers previous conduck ran and join the enemy giving them of course full information of the small force oppose to them

[Endorsed] Part of Ayer's Journal

 


L. T. Pease Narrative on Ward's Battle at Mission Refugio
From Texas and The Texans by Henry Stuart Foote 1841

....Ward himself......was never long absent from this outpost; he......ranked with the band, and none could be more expert in using the rifle.....Ward and his little brothers, (as he now called them, for they were all mere striplings in appearance, mostly under the age of eighteen,) stood undaunted......the blankets of the foes they had slain, and in these they wrapped their dying comrades, and bid them farewell for ever.

Col. Ward, with about one hundred men of the Georgia battalion, arrived at the Mission on the evening of the 13th of March. A single salute from their rifles served to drive off the enemy, who had invested King in his position, which. was the ruins of a stone church. Having marched during the day twenty-five miles, and most of the way in wet prairie, with the water often ankle deep, they were too greatly fatigued to think of returning the same night. Orders were given to commence their return march at daybreak, the next morning; and after posting sentinels the men were permitted to sleep on their arms. On mustering in the morning, a report of one of the sentinels excited suspicions that the enemy had returned into the neighbourhood, accompanied with a much larger force, and it was thought most prudent to send out a reconnoitering party, preceding the march of the main body. Accordingly Capt. King, with his company, was sent forward. A discharge of musketry was soon after heard in the direction they had taken. Ward and his men immediately pressed forward to the relief of the advance, but at a distance of only a few hundred yards they were met in front by a body of Mexicans of six or eight hundred men. At the same instant, they discovered a body of cavalry moving at some distance in flank in order to fall upon their rear, and cut off their retreat to the Mission. A moment's deliberation determined them to retreat again to the walls of the Mission house, and by reserving their fire they kept the cavalry at a distance, and reached the walls without loss.

Preparations were immediately set about to defend them. selves against an assault, as the large force of the enemy rendered it very certain that this would soon be attempted. On three sides of the church there was nothing to cover the approach of an enemy, but in advancing to make an assault, he must be exposed to the deadly aim of the garrison, the moment he came within rifle shot. On the fourth side was the church-yard, of some fifty yards in length, walled in. From the end of this the ground sloped for some distance. This would cover the advance of an enemy until it became necessary to scale the wall, and then there were some tombs within that would still partially cover them in a nearer approach to the walls of the church.

This point must therefore be defended by a force posted in the yard. Bullock's company, consisting of about thirty-five men, then without a commissioned officer present, but acting as a band of brothers, volunteered for this dangerous service. Ward himself, although looking well to his duty as commandant of the battalion, was never long absent from this outpost; he scarcely affected to assume the command, but ranked with the band, and none could be more expert in using the rifle.  sdct

The order of defence was promptly adopted, and not less promptly executed. The force of the enemy, having been increased by the arrival of another reinforcement, now exceeded thirteen hundred, including the cavalry. At eight o'clock, they were seen advancing briskly to the assault from all points at the same instant. Upon the unenclosed sides of the building the enemy opened a fire, on reaching musket shot distance. On the side of the yard, they were discovered marching slowly and silently in close column, intending to draw up unperceived, and spring upon their prey from the yard at the moment when be was bard pressed by their companions, and wholly occupied by the attack from that quarter.

Ward had ordered his men not to hazard an ineffectual shot, but that every man should reserve his fire until sure of his aim, and he was obeyed to the letter. At the first discharge of rifles from the building, as many Mexicans bit the dust. This produced some confusion in the Mexican ranks, and one or two parties retreated, but others recovered and made a rush towards the building. A second discharge from within, not less fatal than the first, cut down the foremost ranks and put the survivors to flight. Meantime, the contest had commenced on the side of the yard. The Mexican column had pressed forward as soon as the firing commenced on the other quarters; at something less than one hundred yards, they received the fire of the little band, until then concealed behind the wall. Several of the front ranks fell, almost in a body, as many, perhaps, by the panic as by the bullets; the remaining ranks fell back a few yards, but a further retreat was stopped by the efforts of a few brave officers. The column now displayed, and detachments from the two wings advanced to attack the yard in flank, while the centre once more moved forward to the attack in front. Ward and his little brothers, (as he now called them, for they were all mere striplings in appearance, mostly under the age of eighteen,) stood undaunted, pouring quick and deadly volleys upon the front, regardless of the threatened attack upon their flank, which they left to the care of their companions within the church; and these having now driven the first assailants beyond the reach of their rifles, were at full leisure to attend to the attack on that quarter, and the flankers now falling rapidly from their oblique fire, and unrestrained by the presence of any superior officer, fled like frightened deer, beyond the reach of danger. The contest was more obstinate in front, where several officers made a desperate effort to lead their men to the charge; many had fallen within a few yards of the wall, but every attempt to reach it proved ineffectual, and these men finding that they were maintaining the contest alone, while their companions had retreated out of danger, turned back with the rest.

The Texans having resisted this attack so gallantly and successfully, and with such terrible effects to the enemy, flattered themselves that they should remain unmolested during the remainder of the day. But in this they were mistaken. The pride of the Mexican officers, many of whom had been long in service, was excessively wounded by the result of the attempted assault, which in view of the great inequality in numbers, was felt to be disgraceful to the Mexican arms. The Mexican loss in the first attack had been little short of three hundred in killed and wounded, yet it was followed up in two hours by a second, and in the course of the day by a third attempt to dislodge the hundred volunteers from their crazy walls, but at each time with far less vigour than the first, and with as little success, but with much less loss in their own ranks.

Night now coming on, the Mexicans, after posting sentinels around the Mission, to prevent the escape of the besieged, retired to their camp, distant only five or six hundred yards. The Texans, finding their ammunition nearly exhausted, (which with all their care in husbanding it, would not have held out through the last assault, had it been as vigorous as the first,) determined to retreat during the night. This they effected unnoticed, or at least, unmolested, by the enemy. Not a man of the hundred volunteers had been killed in these repeated assaults; three only had been severely wounded ;-these were from among the little band of brothers, who had so gallantly defended the outpost during the long day's strife, and the most daring of the band. The acknowledged Mexican loss was four hundred men killed and wounded.

[The three men were left in the church;-their companions being unprovided with the means of taking them along.]

We parted with tears and sobs.  When night came on, and the enemy had retired, they began to feel that hunger and thirst which a long day's work, without food or drink, could not fail to create. They had provided themselves with a tierce of water in the morning from a spring some four hundred yards distant, but this had been tapped and drawn off by the Mexican bullets on the first assault. The poor wounded boys now begged as a last favour of their companions, to fill their gourds with water before leaving them. The Mexicans had posted a strong guard at the spring, but the appeal of their stricken brothers was not to be resisted, and they marched in a body, determined to reach the fountain or perish in the attempt. After exchanging a volley, the Mexicans left them in possession of the spring; each then filled his gourd and returned unhurt to their companions. Four of the Mexican guard had fallen at the spring; they brought also the blankets of the foes they had slain, and in these they wrapped their dying comrades, and bid them farewell for ever.  sdct

 


Ward and King at Refugio by Colonist Sabina Brown Fox
From Kathyrn Stoner O'Connor's Presidio La Bahia

......Carlos de la Garza.....brought them back all in a row tied to one rope.....left them in front of the church.......foot-soldiers came.....and there shot them....We could hear the shooting.......thus ended Capt. King and his fighting at the Mission of Refugio.....My hopes were to save the poor wounded boy by telling them that he was my boy and not a soldier.......went to make him a cup of tea......Mexicans [were] wiping the blood off their swords.......[I] said, "My poor boy"....[they] replied; "Here you got no boy"........

In the Spring of 1836 we lived in the midst of alarms. Louis Ayers and others went up to the old fort at La Bahia for help to move the families up there for safety, and returned in two or three days, late in the evening with about twenty-five or thirty men under the command of Capt. King, and they camped around the old church where most of the families were.

When at supper time they heard that there was a band of the enemy on a ranch ten or twelve miles below the Mission, they said to one another "Jolly, now for a fight; maybe they will come tonight," but morning came and no Mexicans, much to the disappointment of the Texans who were starving for a fight. And then they began clamoring "If they can't come we can go there;" and away they went. All day past and nothing was heard, and on the third day about noon down below the Mission on the river where there was a high bluff, we could see the horsemen running up and down and could hear the shooting and see the smoke. In this way it lasted until dark when all was quiet with the exception of beating a drum on the river. When morning came Carlos de la Garza and his rancheros hunted the trail and before noon he brought them back all in a row tied to one rope; of the poor fellows had no hats, and left them in front of the church for half an hour when foot-soldiers came and marched them up to the La Bahia road to the slope of the hill below the grave-yard and there shot them. We could hear the shooting and see the poor fellows lying on the ground and thus ended Capt. King and his fighting at the Mission of Refugio. Capt. King in crossing the river got every grain of' his powder wet and thus could not make any fight at Martinez Mott, the place where the Mexicans caught him, afterwards called Nine Mile Point, and now called Westville.

Capt. King and his men were killed on Friday [sic] and on Saturday Col. Ward left the old fort (La Bahia) with one hundred men, and arriving at the Mission that night between sun-down and dark. At the head of a little gully, that puts out from the river above the church, the Mexicans had a camp and Ward and his men, who were called Georgia Rattlers ran into this camp unexpectedly and then the row began. They drove the Mexicans back to the river in a panic, and a horse with a saddle on ran very nearly into the church and disturbed the families who were cooking their supper. On came Ward with his Georgia Rattlers and inquired for Capt. King, and one red-head that wore a white palmetto hat told them that he was not the keeper of Capt. King and some more words took place and he quietly walked out to the enemy.

At daylight the fun began for the whole Mexican army tried to take the gallant little band of Georgians out of the old church and failed three times in that day. The first attack was made from the river where their camp was, and their cannon was where Jack Brown has his blacksmith shop. In the gray light of the morning they began shooting with their cannon at the old church, this they kept up for about two hours and they came on foot and on horseback thick as the grass growing out of the ground. When they got within reach of the Georgians' rifles the fight began and the Mexicans began to waver backward and forward and finally ran back to the river leaving the hill south of the church literally strewn with their dead and wounded.  sdct

About noon they came back again with the red-headed fellow with the white hat to guide them and the Georgians would say: "Shoot the red-headed man with the white hat," and I felt so sorry for poor Mrs. --------, but they came this time from below where Tom Finessy lives and were all on foot in three lines, one behind the other, and they attacked on the east side of the church. As before they wavered back and forward and finally ran back to the flat and left the ground covered with their dead. This was the hardest fight of the day and sulphur smoke rose high in the air and rifles of the Georgians rattled like shot in a gourd, and they whooped for joy when they saw the Mexicans fall, but they did not get that red-headed fellow they wanted so bad.

About three o'clock that afternoon they brought a cannon (a little one) and planted it at some bushes where Tom Finessy has his calf pen, and there was a new excitement among the men for they cried out that the Mexicans were shooting hot shot at us and were trying to set the roof on fire over our heads. And then there was another excitement; a call for volunteers to go into the belfry to pay their respects to the Mexican artillery-men who made the Mexicans fall thick and fast around that little cannon. And then there was another call for volunteers to go out and take that little cannon from them and about nine or ten volunteered to go out in the face of hundreds and try. Out they went over heaps of dead Mexicans while their comrades in the belfry were dropping Mexicans thick and fast around the cannon. They reached it and took it without losing a single man and rolled it into the church and a yell went up that seemed to shake the rafters of the house.

At this stage of the fight Col. Ward came leading a child by the hand saying: "Keep this child from among the men or it will be killed," and he sent for the wounded out of the belfry for the women to nurse and they brought a mere boy, wounded in the hip, and one with his ankle broken and his name was Cale, and one was dying. All was quiet for a little while until nearly dark when an old citizen from the San Antonio river came in with a note for Ward from Fannin to fall back and meet him at Victoria, and Ward asked the old sinner to guide him across the prairie that night and he said "By Gi, you have forgotten the story of old dog Tray found in bad company," and walked out where the red-headed fellow was.

Ward and his men left the church after dark. It was dark and raining from the north, and they left their wounded in care of the women. All was quiet until morning when the Mexicans came running in. My hopes were to save the poor wounded boy by telling them that he was my boy and not a soldier, and the first that came passed him by and repassed him for nearly an hour. When she went to make him a cup of tea, there were two dirty Mexicans wiping the blood off their swords and the poor boy was breathing his last; she said, "My poor boy," and one of them replied; "Here you got no boy," and very grave suspicion rested on that redheaded fellow.

After they had robbed us of everything of value they commanded to pile up their dead, which made a pile as big as twenty cords of wood. Poland had fenced in his town lot with a ditch four feet deep and four feet wide, they began to drag their dead into it and throw them in and filled it to the top then they raked the dirt in on it and this caused his lot to be marked with a ridge, and thus ended King and Ward at the old Mission of Refugio.   sdct

 


With the Georgia Battalion--Samuel G. Hardaway's Account
From Texas and The Texans by Henry Stuart Foote 1841

.....David I. Holt, of Macon, and a few others, left the company in search of water, and we never saw them again.....in the evening heard the firing between Colonel Fannin and the Mexicans......distant about ten miles....attempted to get to them......next morning....attacked by a force of 600 cavalry.....every man was told to take care of himself.....never saw Colonel Ward or the company.....a woman....readily gave me some milk, cheese and dried beef.....told me in broken English, that they were all Mexican soldiers, and I had better leave as soon as possible.....[met] Andrews, Moses and Tresvant....[and] spies from General Houston's camp.....

..........a letter was received from Columbus, Georgia, containing the following statement from one of the survivors of the Goliad massacre. The writer of it is said to have been only fifteen years old when the occurrences described by him took place, and is just twenty-one now. I saw him a few weeks since, as I passed through the county where he resides, and found him a young gentleman of high respectability, and both successfully and extensively engaged in operations connected with the cotton trade--Henry Stuart Foote.

From the Macon Messenger. TEXAS. The annexed letter of Samuel G. Hardaway, we trust, will prove interesting to our readers. It is the only account that has been communicated for publication, of the leading events in the expedition to Texas under Major Ward. Although the writer cannot give an account of the final fate of our unfortunate friends, yet his last knowledge of them leaves them in such a situation that there can be no doubt of their capture in the manner as heretofore published. And from the statements and affidavits of those who escaped the treacherous and horrible massacre of Col. Fannin's battalion, their fate is beyond a question. Their friends are left with this only consolation, that they sustained the character of brave and determined soldiers: and that they rendered valuable services to the sacred cause of Freedom, during their brief career. Georgia will long be proud of furnishing such soldiers in such a cause, and Texas grateful for their aid.  sdct

Hardaway, the narrator, is a youth little over sixteen years of age, and son of James H. Hardaway, of this city. His statements may be relied on as strictly correct in every particular he relates, that comes within his personal knowledge.

Macon, June 6, 1836. Dr. Robert Collins Sir: As you were principally instrumental in sending out the company of Volunteers to Texas, under the command of Colonel Ward, and furnishing the means of the expedition, and as there is no officer remaining of the company to tell their fate, and being myself the last man of the Original company who made an escape from the enemy previous to the capture and massacre of the Georgia Battalion, I think it proper to give you a plain history of the expedition so far as I am able. It is known to you that we marched from here in the latter part of November of last year, and proceeded to New Orleans; by the usual route from there we embarked on the schooner Pennsylvania, and after being out eleven days, were landed at Velasco, a port of Texas on the Gulf of Mexico, about 400 or 500 miles from New Orleans. Here we remained about a month; nothing extraordinary occurring beyond the usual camp duty, there being at that time but few Mexicans in the country.

From here we sailed to Copano, which is another port still further on the coast towards Matamoros. There we landed and marched up to the Mission, as it is commonly called, 12 or 15 miles from the coast. Here we remained about three weeks, and then went up to Goliad, about 27 miles further into the interior. Here we took possession of the Fort and remained in it until the 13th March, when Colonel Ward and the Georgia Battalion were ordered to march in haste to the Mission to relieve Captain King, who, with about 30 men, was down there endeavouring to protect some families, but who had been surrounded by the enemy, and his situation had become desperate. We marched at 3 o'clock in the morning, and arrived at the Mission about 2 o'clock of the same day; and as we expected, found Captain King and his company in the Church and a large company of Mexicans in sight across the river. We succeeded in getting to the Church where we remained till night, when we crossed the river by fording it at a shallow place, and made an attack on them, and completely routed them, killing about 25 with no loss on our side. We then returned to the Church, and early next morning again went out to the Mexican camp, where we saw a few Mexicans endeavouring to carry off their dead, but they made their escape on our approach. From here we went about two miles to a ranch, and burnt the houses and provisions.

By this time the enemy began to reinforce so fast in our sight that we had to return forthwith to the Church, and at which we were very soon attacked by their whole force; but having blockaded all the entrances with the images, benches, pews, &c., we had greatly the advantage in position: they came up bravely for a while, received our rifle balls, fell and were carried off, and others took their place, but after a while we could see that it was with great difficulty the officers could whip up their soldiers with their swords to make a charge. This continued until towards evening, when they retired a short distance, but not out of sight. We then started an express to Colonel Fannin to let him know that we were nearly out of ammunition, (having only taken 36 rounds from Goliad,) and were still surrounded by a large Mexican force. A Mr. Murphy and a Mr. Rodgers, both I think of Captain Wadsworth's company, were to carry the express, both of whom were pursued by the enemy's cavalry and taken, and I suppose shot. An express from Colonel Fannin to us was also taken. In this battle we got 3 wounded, none killed. The loss of the enemy was variously stated, but believed to be not less than 200, though it was reported more. Captain King's company whom we went down to relieve, had gone out early in the morning before the battle commenced, to a ranch, a few miles distant, and were taken by the enemy, and afterwards all shot but two, who made their escape. That night we made our escape from the Church, and after travelling through the woods and swamps, where the cavalry could not well pursue us, on the third day we reached St. Antonio river. sdct

On the second day after leaving the Mission, David I. Holt, of Macon, and a few others, left the company in search of water, and we never saw them again, but now understand they succeeded in getting in safe. That night we lay in the swamp: next morning crossed the river and made our way towards Victoria, and in the evening heard the firing between Colonel Fannin and the Mexicans, apparently distant about ten miles---we attempted to get to them, but night came on and the guns ceased to fire, and we could not proceed, but got into the Guadaloupe swamp where we remained all night, and on leaving it and entering a prairie next morning, we were attacked by a force of 600 cavalry. We fired about three rounds at them when our powder gave out and we had not a load left; we then retreated back to the swamp, and every man was told to take care of himself. We there got scattered, and I never saw Colonel Ward or the company again, but understood that at night while I was asleep in the cane, that he rallied all the men he could, and made his way towards Demit's Landing, but was next day overtaken by the Mexican Cavalry, and having no ammunition, surrendered as prisoners of war, and was carried back to Goliad, and all shot as has been heretofore published. In this battle Wm. L. Wilkinson, of this city, was supposed to be killed.

On awaking next morning I found myself alone in a swamp, in a country full of Mexicans, near 200 miles from the main army of the Texans, and thirteen or fourteen hundred miles from my home, then without a mouthful of provision for five or six days. nor was there any prospect of any, except a few wild onions which I could get in the swamp. I remained in this swamp all day and all night : next morning went out and took a small path which I discovered, and kept it for about two miles, came to a Mexican house where I saw several Mexicans in and about the house, but being forced by hunger, I determined to go in and ask for something to eat, let the consequences be what they might. On entering the house one of the men rose and offered me his chair: I asked a woman who was in the house for something to eat; she readily gave me some milk, cheese and dried beef. The men with their guns all looked astonished, and in a few minutes all left the house and appeared to be looking over the country in every direction, I presume expecting an attack from a large force, of which they thought I was the spy. As soon as they all left the house, the woman told me in broken English, that they were all Mexican soldiers, and I had better leave as soon as possible. In a few minutes we saw them returning towards the house, and the woman urged me to start; I did so, and ran towards a swamp which I saw 200 or 300 yards distant; as I run they fired 12 or 15 guns at me, but without effect: they pursued me to the swamp, but I escaped them. I kept in the swamp all day: that night I heard the drum beating at Victoria. Next morning I went near enough to see the Mexican cavalry; I then returned to the swamp and kept it all day, that night went out and made my way up the river until I reached a crossing place, and here I overtook three men that had made their escape from the enemy in the swamp at the same time I did, but whom I had not seen before since we retreated and scattered in the swamp: their names were Andrews, Moses and Tresvant. We here got some meal from a house which had been left by the enemy. We remained here all night, and next day made our way through the woods towards the Colorado river, and that night got to a place where the Mexican army had camped a night or two before: here we remained all night, and next morning we reached the river and crossed it on a bale of cotton which we found on the bank, and about two miles above where the enemy were crossing at the same time. We lay in the swamp that day--at night we heard the drum, but supposing it was the enemy, would not go to it. Next morning Moses and myself ventured to go in sight of the camp to see who they were, and soon discovered they were Mexicans; we retreated, and in a short distance saw six horsemen charging towards us; we discovered they were Americans and did not run---they came up, and much to our relief, we found they were spies from General Houston's camp; their names were Cawmack and Johnson, from Tennessee, Shipman and Lapham, of Texas, and two others that I did not know. They were astonished to see us at that place, and when I say we were glad to see them, I but feebly express the feelings of my heart. I was then without hat or shoes, and only a few rags for clothing.

While we were here narrating our adventure, and waiting for one of the company who we had got to go back a short distance after Andrews, we were attacked and fired upon by a small scouting party of Mexicans, but at such a distance as to do us no injury; but upon their seeing that we had got among some trees and were prepared to give them a fire, they retreated and left. We then left that place, and the spies carried us to General Houston's army, where we arrived, I think, on the 2d day of April, our appearance being such as to excite the sympathy of every soldier---and on meeting some gentlemen who had known us in this country, the noble tear of compassion was seen to trickle freely on their cheeks. We here received all the kindness we desired, and remained with the army, and fought under General Houston, in Captain Baker's company, in the memorable battle of the 21st April, in which Santa Anna was captured, half his men slain and the other half taken prisoners. Incredible as it may appear, this battle was fought with only about 700 effective men, while the enemy had double that number. The loss on our side was only 6 or 7 killed, and about 20 wounded; among the latter was our Captain and General Houston. The fight commenced in the afternoon about 3 or 4 o'clock, by two six pounders on our side, and a long twelve pound brass piece by the enemy: but by some fortunate shot at the very beginning we silenced their big gun, and pressed down upon them, continuing the fire from our artillery, and receiving the fire from their small arms which was doing us no injury, as they seemed to shoot above us. When we reached within about fifty yards of them we fired two or three rounds from our deadly rifles, which seemed to produce a tremendous effect, and at this moment a charge from all quarters was ordered, and our men rushed upon them with fury and desperation, and with pistols, guns and cutlasses, the destruction of human life was speedy and immense. As soon as we had time to look we saw the white flag was hoisted and the Mexicans had thrown down their arms, and were running in every direction. As soon, however, as the call for quarters was heard and the white flag seen by the commanders, the work of death was stopped, and the balance taken prisoners. Santa Anna himself made his escape that evening, but was taken next morning in a common citizen's dress, about 10 miles from the camp; he was not recognized until he was brought in, but when the prisoners saw him they tipped their hats and exclaimed in their own language, " Santa Anna is alive." The appearance of the battle-ground can better be imagined than described. Piles and clusters of their dead and dying lay in every direction: indeed the ground was literally covered. But the recollection of the dreadful massacre of our brave companions at the Alamo and Goliad in a great manner relieved our feelings from the horrors of the scene.

On the 30th April I left the camp under a furlough from General Houston, for four months, and proceeded over land to Natchitoches, where I arrived after eight days travelling on foot; from there I took the usual route by steamboats, via New Orleans and Mobile, to Montgomery, Ala. There I understood that a war had broken out with the Creek Indians, and that it would be extremely dangerous to attempt to pass on the stage route through the nation to Columbus; but being anxious to reach home, and finding there a party of about fifteen others who wished to come through, we determined to make the attempt. On Sunday evening, the 15th May, we left there in two mail stages, passed on that night, and next day early reached Tuskegee. There we got breakfast, and learnt there was great trouble with the Indians: we then passed on to the next stand and found that it had been plundered. As we continued on, we found every house and place plundered or burnt, and some burning, until we reached Thorn's Stand, about 20 miles from Columbus; there we saw the houses in flames, and after we had got a short distance off, no injury was done. Our drivers then put whip to their horses and run them nearly half a mile, when we came upon the stages that had been taken the day before, so piled up across the road, with the dead horses and one dead white man, that we could not pass, and the stages were therefore stopped, and we saw the Indians in close pursuit; the drivers and passengers loosed the horses from the stages, and as soon as possible, all who could get on them, mounted and made a start, but in a few minutes they were fired upon by a considerable party of Indians, who seemed to be coming in upon all sides.

Not having been so fortunate as to get horses, myself, a Mr. Hallet of New York, a Mr. Williams, Hamil and Lackey, were all on foot running after the horses. The two latter were killed, and the moment after they were shot I ran directly through were the Indians were that had fired, and as I passed two or three others fired at me, but without effect. I made the best of my way towards a swamp, which I saw distant 300 or 400 yards, and discovered I was pursued by two Indians. Just before I reached the swamp I turned and discharged my musket at the foremost, who was within 40 or 50 yards of me; I saw him fall, but before I entered the swamp, I saw him rise again. The skeleton of this Indian was found after the war was over. The other Indian ran up to him and stopped a few minutes, during which time I had got in the swamp and reloaded my gun: he then came down to the swamp and appeared to be searching for me, and while he was in the act of parting the cane, I shot him in the body, not more than 15 or 20 yards distant: he fell dead. I remained in this swamp three days, living on green whortleberries, going out every night, but could not find any road until Thursday night; I got into the road near where the stages were left, and travelled all night back towards Tuskegee, and arrived there on Friday morning about sunrise. Here I was received by General Woodard and treated kindly. I remained here two days, and then went back to Montgomery, and from there, in company with two gentlemen, took the upper route through the nation, on horseback, and on the third day crossed the Chattahoochee, and again set my foot on the soil of Georgia. Very respectfully, Your most obedient servant, SAMUEL G. HARDAWAY.

The writer of this was a boy of 15 years of age when he entered the army with Captain Ward's company. He will be 2l sometime this month. ROBT. G. HARDAWAY, February 1, 1841. Uncle of S. G. Hardaway.  sdct

 


At Mission Refugio Related by Henry Scott
From the narration in Refugio by Hobart Huson based on Henry Scott's narration

On the morning of the 15th at dawn, when General Urrea approached the mission, he noticed the absence of the Texians and ordered the place to be occupied. He states that he found six wounded men, four others, some colonist families, and several Mexicans "who had been commandeered."

"When the Texians marched out they left the Mexican prisoners in the church. One of them was named Cobian. He was an influential man among his people. With his knowledge and, no doubt, his consent, the ladies placed Osborne on a mattress and covered him with another, throwing some things on top. Cobian met two Mexican officers who had charge of the detachment sent to take possession of the church and begged them to prevent the soldiers from harming the women and children. They assented; Cobian accompanied them. He and the officers stationed themselves near the colonist families and did not permit the soldiers to molest them.  When the measured tread of the soldiery was heard the colonists cuddled closer to one another and shuddered with apprehension. Infuriated by the tremendous losses they had sustained the day before, the soldiers rushed upon the wounded Texian soldiers and their care-takers and bayoneted them with brutal cruelty." Henry Scott relates, "The scene was harassing; the muttered curses of vengeance against the 'diablos Tejanos'; the groans of the dying, the fears that they might discover Mr. Ayers' brother-in-law Osborne and kill him in the presence of his wife and children; made a wonderful impression upon my boyish brain. The horrors and anguish of that night stand out in bold relief as vivid realities to this moment. I imagine I see and feel them now."  sdct

Mrs. Scott and three grown ladies managed to carry the two mattresses, between which Osborne was concealed, to the home of John Scott, one of the few houses left standing near the mission. Cobian and the two Mexican officers (who pretended ignorance of the contents of the load) accompanied them. The officers placed a guard at the house with orders to allow no soldiers to enter. By request of Mrs. Ayers (or Mrs. Osborne) Cobian went to General Urrea and asked him to call upon these ladies. The general and Cobian returned together. Mrs. Osborne met them at the door and fell at the general's feet, saying she had a favor to ask of him. "What is it, madam?"    "My husband is in this house---I fear he is wounded mortally. I beg you to save him from the fury of your soldiers." The general asked where the husband was, and Mrs. Osborne conducted him and Cobian to the room where Osborne was lying. General Urrea requested to see the wounds. Mrs. Osborne turned down the cover and exposed the wounds. An ounce ball had entered near one nipple and passed out near the spine. The Mexican general sent his surgeon to attend Osborne. The surgeon cared for him until Urrea's army had left for Goliad.

All of the colonists, men and women, who were in the mission were spared from death, with the exception of Antonio Sayle, who it will be remembered had shot the ranchero Rios, during the battle. The Mexican prisoners had witnessed this act of Sayle's and reported it to General Urrea. Cobian does not appear to have interceded for him, but Colonel J. J. Holzinger, one of Urrea's officer's did, as Sayle seems to have been of German extraction.  Colonel Holzinger tried to offset the representations of the local Mexicans with the argument that Sayle was a good gunsmith and his services were badly needed by the Mexican army. The influence of the local Mexicans prevailed and Sayle was taken out and shot. Henry Scott says, "In passing through the outskirts of town several days after found a body much decomposed and we thought it might have been Silers."  sdct


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