SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS
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Adventures of Benjamin Highsmith
Came to Texas in 1823.
"Uncle Ben" Highsmith, as he is familiarly called by all who know him, is one of the most interesting characters at this time (1899) in Southwest Texas. He lives in Bandera County, on Blanket Creek, between Sabinal and Frio Canyons. In 1897, when the writer went to interview the old veteran for the purpose of getting a sketch of his life for publication in the Galveston News, he found him sitting in front of his door, with his hat pulled down, shading his eyes, for he is nearly blind, and he has to almost feel his way when stirring about. His general health, however, is good, and he has one of the most remarkable memories of incidents, names, and dates. To my greeting, he called out
"How are you, Jack? I know your voice, but I can not see you. Get down."
Uncle Ben was born in Lincoln County, Mississippi, on the 11th day of September, 1817. His father, A. M. Highsmith, was in the British war of 1812, and served as scout and ranger. Mr. Highsmith came to Texas with his father in 1823, and crossed the Sabine River on a raft the day before Christmas of the above date. There were four other families along, thirty-three persons in all, and all relatives except one. The Highsmiths moved on up the country after landing on Texas soil, and first settled on the Colorado River two miles above the present town of La Grange, on the west side of the river. This place was afterwards called Manton's Big Spring. At that time it was called Castleman's Spring. It was named for John Castleman.
The Indians soon gave trouble, and these outside pioneers had to come back to the settlement below where lived the families of Zaddock Woods and Stephen Cottle. This settlement was finally abandoned on account of Indians, and all went to Rabb's Mill. The.settlement here and those who came for mutual protection now numbered six families. Bread was a very scarce article, as farming at this time was on a very small scale. The Comanche Indians, who had up to this time been on, friendly terms with the whites, now informed them that they must leave or they would come next moon and kill all of them. The settlers were not strong enough to disregard such a warning as this, and consequently broke up and scattered. Most of them went down to Old Caney and Columbus. The Cottles stopped at Jesse Burnham's and the Highsmiths at Elliot C. Buckner's. This was in 1829.
Mr. Highsmith first visited San Antonio in 1830. On this occasion he went on a trading trip in company with James Bowie, W. B. Travis, Ben McCulloch, Winslow Turner, Sam Highsmith, and George Kimble. They arrived there on the first day of April. It was far out on the frontier, and consisted of scattered grass-covered houses, mostly. After returning from this trip, Mr. Highsmith moved with the other members of the family to Cedar Lake and stopped on the Harrison place, and was the only family there at that time. In 1832 a disturbance commenced with the Mexicans, which culminated in the
The causes which brought about the collision were these: In 1831 Bustamante had overthrown Zacatecas who was President of Mexico, and who had formulated the famous Constitution of 1824, which guaranteed to Americans the right to govern themselves, Bustamante told his followers that it gave the Americans the right to govern Mexico also, and at once sent troops to garrison San Antonio, La Bahia, Velasco, Anahuac, and Nacogdoches. General Cos was sent to San Antonio, Filisola to La Bahia (Goliad), Ugartechea to Velasco, and Bradburn to Anahuac. Santa Anna now arose against Bustamante and the Americans espoused his cause, thinking he was their friend and would uphold the Constitution of 1824.
To show their fidelity to the cause of Santa Anna, the American settlers began to raise men to attack the garrisons which had been placed in the Texas towns by Bustamante. Capt. Elliot C. Buckner raised one of the companies and proceeded with other captains against Velasco. Uncle Ben joined this company, having to run away from home to do so on account of his youth, being then only 15 years of age. The following are the names of those who Mr. Highsmith can still remember who belonged to this company: Peter Powell, Joe and Horace Yeamans, Billy Kingston, Moses Morrison, Isaac Van Dorn, Hamilton Cook, Caleb R. Bostick, Tom Tone, Dan Ralls, Andrew Castleman, Leander Woods, and a Mexican named Hosea, who lived with Captain Buckner.
When the Americans under Buckner, about 100 in number, arrived at Velasco they went into the town at a full charge, and being supported by other troops the battle commenced with great fury. The Mexicans numbered about 500, and met the Americans with a heavy fire of musketry and artillery. In less than an hour the battle of Velasco was over and the Mexicans defeated. While many Mexicans were killed, the Americans did not come unscathed out of the fight. Out of Buckner's company, he himself was killed, the Mexican, Hosea, Leander Woods, and Andrew Castleman. One man of this company ran when the firing commenced, but soon checked up and seemed about to come back, but about this time the Mexican artillery fire commenced, and away he went again and returned not.
When the boys joked him about it afterwards he said:
About the middle of November, 1833, Ben Highsmith and his father were camped at Croft's prairie, eight miles below Bastrop, cutting logs to build a house, when the "stars fell," as that extraordinary meteoric display which occurred at that time was called,
In 1835 Santa Anna, who had overthrown Bustamante, was now President of Mexico, and wanted to govern Texas also. He went about to bring this to pass by ordering General Cos, his brother-in-law, who was still in command at San Antonio, to send a company of soldiers to Gonzales and bring off a little cannon which the Americans had in their possession, and which had been furnished them by the Mexican government for defense against the Indians. The settlers at Gonzales refused to give up the cannon, and the soldiers went back to San Antonio and reported the same to their commander. Another company was sent with an order from Santa Anna to take it by force. In the meantime a runner had been sent from Gonzales to the settlements on the Colorado, informing them of the action of the Mexican government, and calling on the settlers for assistance to repel with force this plain violation of the Constitution of 1824. The fact of the business was that Santa Anna had become alarmed at the number of Americans that were settling in Texas and wished to disarm and drive them out, although this immigration had been invited and extra inducements offered to get it, and these settlers were actual citizens of Mexico.
The appeal from Gonzales was responded to with alacrity by the Colorado men, and companies were formed and moved with great dispatch. Mr. Highsmith left his home on the Colorado, and on arriving at Gonzales joined the company of Capt. John Alley, the whole being under the command of Col. John H. Moore. The cannon in question was a small affair, had never been used by the settlers against an enemy and they had no balls to fit it, and did not know how it would shoot if occasion offered. However, they concluded to try it before the Mexicans came. John Sowell, a gunsmith of Gonzales, hammered out a ball on his anvil to fit the cannon, and it was loaded at his shop. Col. James Neill, an experienced artillerist, was present, and he aimed the gun at a small sycamore tree which grew on the bank of the Guadalupe River, about 300 yard distant from the shop. The tree was hit and considerably splintered, and part of the top fell off. When the Mexicans came they crossed the river above town and the settlers went up there before day to fight them, carrying the cannon with them which had been loaded with slugs at Sowells' shop. It was not yet daylight when they arrived in the vicinity of the Mexicans, and very foggy,---the strangest fog, Mr. Highsmith says, he ever saw. It was clear of the ground a short distance of hall a foot or more, and by lying down one could see the legs of the Mexicans, who were on the ground, and also that of the horses of those who were mounted, 150 yards away . Mr. Highsmith found this out by dropping something and stooping down to pick it up. He called the attention of Colonel Neill to this fact, and the colonel said that it beat anything in the fog line that he had ever witnessed. Colonel Neill had charge of the cannon, and was about to direct its fire on the Mexicans, when the battle very unexpectedly and accidentally commenced.
This was brought about by two scouts, one from each of the opposing forces, coming in contact and firing at each other at close range in the fog. The fight was of short duration. The cannon was fired five times, mixed with rifle shots, and the Mexicans retreated across the river. The fog lifted, and shots were exchanged after they crossed. Dr. John T. Tinsley got a fair bead on one who had stopped to take a look back, and, from the way he cursed in choice Spanish as he continued his retreat, must have hit him. The gunsmith John Sowell brought his shop apron full of slugs to the battleground to load the cannon with. The Mexicans continued their retreat to San Antonio, and most of the Colorado men went back home.
Captain Alley's company and a good many of the Gonzales men after the fight at Gonzales joined Gen. Stephen F. Austin, who, seeing war was inevitable now with Mexico, was raising a force to capture San Antonio. Mr. Highsmith remained with his company, and says one night the command camped on the Cibolo Creek while en route to assault the city, and that two of the men ate so many green pecans that it killed them. This was in the fall of 1835. General Austin went into camp on the San Antonio River below the city, and then sent Colonels Fannin and Bowie up to near the old Mission Concepcion with ninety-two men, as an advance guard. They went into camp in a pecan grove in a bend of the river and put out guards. Next morning about the break of day; as some of the men had arisen and were kindling fires, 400 Mexican Morales troops attacked them. It was foggy, and the Mexicans had advanced a nine-pound cannon and placed it in close range of the position of the Texans and commenced firing before the guards discovered them. At the first fire of the guns, one of the Texans sang out, "That cannon is ours!" Fannin and Bowie were cool, brave men, and soon had their small force well in hand and to some extent protected by the bank of the river, where they were told to form and shoot when they liked, and not to wait for orders. The cannon shots had no effect, as the Texans were sheltered also by pecan and hackberry trees. The rifles soon cleared the gunners from the piece, and as the fog lifted they could see the Mexican infantry coming with trailed arms to protect -it. This line was soon checked by, a deadly rifle fire, and then a portion of the Texans made a charge from their position and captured the cannon. The Mexican infantry fired and then retreated, but formed again and still continued to fire at longer range. The cannon was only fired three times before it was captured and brought into the Texan camp.
When the firing commenced Dave Kent, Jesse Robinson, and John Henry Brown had just arrived at the Mission San Jose with some beef cattle, and at once hurried to the battle. There has been some controversy as to who was in command of the Texans in this fight, Bowie or Fannin. Mr. Highsmith says that on the morning of the fight Bowie gave the order to "Get your guns, boys; here they come" when the Mexicans first fired on them. Only one man of the Americans was killed. His name was Richard Andrews. He and Ben Highsmith stood beside the same hackberry tree during the hottest of the fire, and Andrews exposed himself in getting a shot. His companion said, "Look out, Dick; they will hit you." He fired, however, and stepped back to reload, and then leaned from the tree again to look and to shoot. Highsmith said again, "Look out; you will get shot." About this time a ball struck the side of the tree, and, glancing, went through Andrews, going in at the right and coming out at the left side, lacerating the bowels in its progress. The wounded man lived until night and died in great agony. So great was his pain that he would place a finger in each bullet hole and try to tear them larger in the vain effort to get relief. He was buried on the battleground, under a large pecan tree. During the battle the Mexican cavalry was stationed back east in the prairie on the La Bahia road, about half a mile from the battleground, with their ropes ready to lasso the Texans when they were driven out of the timber across the open flats. The Mexicans had not learned yet what it was to round up a bunch of Texans. In the end the infantry and cavalry retreated back to San Antonio, with the loss of one cannon and about sixty men.
After the Concepcion fight General Austin came up with the main body of his troops and all moved to the head of the San Antonio River above the city and began to invest the place. General Burleson had arrived with the Colorado men, and Ben Milam. was also there. The Mexicans were in a precarious situation. They could not leave the city, and no supplies could reach them. Their cavalry horses were nearly starving. One night a party was sent out west of town to cut grass and bring it in for the horses. They succeeded in loading about fifty burros with the prairie grass, but daylight came upon them before they could get back to town, and they were discovered by Colonel Bowie, who with part of his men were on the lookout for a reinforcement which was expected, from Mexico to relieve the beleaguered city. Bowie at once attacked them, although a large force of soldiers was with the grass cutters. The Mexicans commenced a rapid retreat to town, followed by the yelling Texans, and a lively fight and chase took place. The grass-laden jacks kept the road, braying at every jump, and the Mexicans fired back as they ran. One Texan was hit a glancing shot in the forehead and he fell from his horse. When the suburbs of the town was reached the Texans turned back, as the firing was attracting a reinforcement with artillery. The fight commenced on the Alazan Creek, and the road to Castroville now crosses the battleground. A party came back to see about the man that fell from his horse, and he was found sitting on the bank of a small ravine and holding his forehead with both hands. One of the party, John McGuffin, said, "Hello, here; what are you doing? Catching your brains in your hands?" The wounded man was tenderly cared for and recovered. Uncle Ben was in the fight, but does not remember the man's name. In writing this sketch I only give accounts of battles that Mr. Highsmith participated in, and only allude to others in a general way.
General Somerville was present during the siege, and one day a sentinel named Winslow Turner made him mark time for trying to pass him without the countersign. It is more than likely the officer was trying the soldier to see what kind of a guard he was.
On the 5th day of December, 1835, while the siege was dragging slow and the men impatient and inactive, Col. Ben Milam called for volunteers to storm San Antonio. General Austin, who was not a military man, but a statesman, and who, was at the head of the great immigration scheme of bringing colonists from the States to Texas, had quit the service, and Gen. Edward Burleson was in command of the Texans now before San Antonio. When Milam made the call for men to enter the city 300 responded and were led in by Milam and Col. Frank W. Johnson. General Burleson held the reserves up at the old mill. Bowie also, with part of his men, was there ready to give assistance at a moment's notice. Mr. Highsmith went in with Milam, but was not by him when he was killed, being on the west side of Soledad Street, and the gallant old colonel was killed side at the Veramendi House. After Milam was killed Johnson took command and continued the assault to finish. Col. J. C. Neill made a demonstration against the Alamo with artillery to draw the attention of the Mexicans to the east side of the river, while Milam and his men were entering on the other.
Mr. Highsmith noticed two men get peculiar shots near him while a storming party were making their way toward the plaza. Sam Evitts was shot in the mouth and the ball came out under his right ear, and James Belden had his right eye shot out. Both men recovered. John Harvey was killed, and Captain Ware and "Deaf" Smith were wounded at the Veramendi House when Milam was killed. General Cos surrendered his men, and they were all paroled and sent back to Mexico. After the surrender many of the Texans went back home thinking the war was over. Colonel Fannin had been sent to La Bahia, or Goliad, before the taking, of San Antonio, and was in command there. Col. James Neill was placed in command of the Alamo until relieved by Col. William B. Travis. Mr. Highsmith stayed in the Alamo with Colonel Travis until the approach of Santa Anna from Mexico with a large army, and he was then sent by his commander with a dispatch to Colonel Fannin ordering that officer to blow up the fort at Goliad and come to him with his men. Mr. Highsmith was gone five days, and on his return Santa Anna's advance of 600 cavalry was on the east side of the river, riding around the Alamo and on the lookout for messengers whom they knew the Texan commander was sending from the doomed fort.
Mr. Highsmith sat on his horse on Powderhouse Hill and took in the situation. The Mexican flag was waving from the Church of Bexar across the river, and the flag of Travis from the Alamo. The country was open and nearly all prairie in the valley around San Antonio, and objects could be seen some distance from the elevated points. There was a great stir and perceptible activity in the town, and the forms of some of the doomed men at the Alamo could be plainly seen as from the walls of the fort they watched the Mexican cavalry. The daring messenger saw there was no chance for him to communicate with his gallant leader, and slowly rode north towards the San Antonio and Gonzales road. The Mexican cavalrymen saw him, and a dense body of them rode parallel with and closely watched him. Finally they spurred their horses into a gallop and came rapidly towards him. Highsmith took one last look towards the Alamo and the trapped heroes within, and then, turning his horse east, dashed off towards Gonzales. He is the last man alive today who talked with Bowie and Travis at the Alamo. The Mexicans pursued Uncle Ben six miles---two miles beyond the Salado Creek---and then gave up the chase. He went on to the Cibolo Creek, eighteen miles from San Antonio, and then halted on a ridge to rest his horse. While here his quick ear caught the sound of cannon as the dull boom was wafted across the prairie. The siege and bombardment of the Alamo had commenced. Mr. Highsmith thinks that David Crockett went into the Alamo with George Kimble, A. J. Kent, Abe Darst, Tom Jackson, Tom Mitchell, Wash Cottle, and two 16-year-old boys named Albert Fuqua and John Gaston. Crockett had a few men who came with him to Texas, and some think he did not come by Gonzales, but straight across from Bastrop to San Antonio. The men mentioned above all came from Gonzales and were led by Captain Kimble. The names are not all given here. There were thirty two of them in all. They came down the river in the night and fought their way into the Alamo by a sudden dash.
When Mr. Highsmith arrived at Gonzales he found Gen. Sam Houston there with about 300 men on his way to succor Travis, and Highsmiths report was the last reliable news before the fall. Scouts were sent back to within a few miles of San Antonio to listen for the signal gun which Travis said he would fire at sunup each morning as long as held the fort. On Monday morning, March 7, 1836, the scouts listened in vain for the welcome signal. The sun arose and began to mount into the heavens, and still no token came; all was silent in the west. The scouts mounted their horses and set off again for Gonzales to inform General Houston that the Alamo had fired her last gun. On the 6th the Alamo had been stormed and all the defenders perished.
When Mr. Highsmith reported to General Houston the situation at the Alamo, he sent Uncle Ben and a boy named David B. Kent again to Colonel Fannin, ordering him to demolish the fort of Goliad and retire to the east bank of the Guadalupe River and form a junction with him. When they arrived at Goliad and handed the message to Fannin he read it, but said nothing. When asked what reply they must carry back he said, "Tell him that I will not desert the fort." Colonel Fannin had made an attempt to join Travis at the Alamo, but his frail transportation carts had broken down and he had to return to Goliad, having no means to convey his supplies or artillery. The readers of Texas history are familiar with the terrible scenes that were enacted around the fort of Goliad after the departure of these last messengers to Fannin. A large Mexican army came and the commands of Ward, King, and others were massacred. Fannin attempted also to leave, but was cut off and surrounded in the Coleta prairie, and after a hard battle against largely superior numbers, surrendered the remnant of his command, who were then massacred, only a few escaping the general slaughter.
The young lad Kent, who was sent with Highsmith to Fannin, was the son of David Kent [Andrew Kent], who was killed in the Alamo. The writer has seen this messenger Kent, and had many talks with him. He died a few years ago in Frio Canyon, Uvalde County. Highsmith and Kent returned to Gonzales and found General Houston and his men still there, and made their report. Houston was greatly distressed, There was great commotion in town. Mrs. Dickinson had arrived and confirmed the report that the Alamo had fallen and its defenders been all slain. There was wailing and weeping among wives and mothers. The Gonzales men and boys to the number of thirty-two had perished with Travis. Mrs. Dickinson was the wife of Lieut. Almon Dickinson, who was killed in the Alamo. She had been spared and had made her way to Gonzales.
The Mexican army divided at San Antonio after the Alamo was taken, Santa Anna coming to Gonzales, Cos by Bastrop, and Urrea to Goliad. It was the latter that fought Fannin. Mr. Highsmith went on with the army from Gonzales, and blames General Houston for all things. In the first place, he said, they should have fought the Mexicans at the Colorado, as more men were together there than at any subsequent time, and that the burning of Gonzales, Columbus, San Felipe, Harrisburg, and New Washington by order of Houston was useless, as the Mexicans could have done no more. He said if the battle could have been fought at Columbus it would have saved much property. Be this as it may, however, all is well that ends well. The Texans under Houston, few as they were, gained a great and glorious victory when they did fight on the historic plain of San Jacinto.
Uncle Ben went into the battle in the company of Capt. William Ware. He says the dead Mexicans lay thickest around the breastwork and were considerably scattered on the prairie. The breastwork, he said, was composed of brush, dirt, packs, etc. A great many prisoners were taken, and he says they held them in camp that night by stretching ropes around the trees, building large fires so as to keep a good light, and by keeping guards posted on the outside circle of ropes. During the night the grass caught fire and burned among some boxes of captured paper cartridges, and many of them exploded. When the cartridges commenced to go off the Mexican prisoners, 700 in number, became greatly alarmed, not knowing the cause of the fusilade, and thinking the Texans had commenced to shoot the prisoners.
After the batttle and pursuit was over the wounded Mexicans, who were able to travel were marched to the camp of the Texans, some having to travel two miles. They never groaned or complained, and a casual observer would not have known they were wounded except for their bloody clothes. There were about 300 of them in all, and thirty of them died in the Texan camp that night. Mr. Highsmith says, from the amount of guns picked up on the field, there could not have been less than 2200 Mexicans in line of battle. Their line was twice the length of that of the Texans and more densely packed.
There was a man named Bob Love in the battle, and during the first charge the men were ordered to fall forward at the flash of the cannon to avoid the shots; but Love had not heard this order, and when the men went down at the flash he turned back and ran to camp and told the guard detail there, that all of Houstons men had been killed at the first fire except himself. He then went on towards the Sabine and told all the people that he saw the same tale. The date of the battle was April 21, 1836.
In 1838 Mr. Highsmith went out with a surveying party under the leadership of Captain Lynch. Their course was westward and they finally established their camp between Salt and Cherokee creeks, where the land lay which they wanted to run off. This place is now covered by Lampasas County. There were twenty-five white men in the party, including the hunters. Work progressed all right. Game was plentiful and no signs of Indians. Nothing occurred worthy of note until the morning, when preparations were being made to break up camp and return to the settlements, the work, having been completed. At this time the men were surprised and thrown into momentary confusion by the furious onslaught of about forty Indians who had approached their camp through some thickets. The most of the white men were frontiersmen and good Indian fighters, and order was soon restored and the Indians driven back to cover again by a well-directed rifle fire. The men had time to reload before another charge came, and the Indians were again driven off after circling around the position of the whites, yelling and discharging a good many arrows, but without much effect. This kind of fighting was kept up for nearly an hour, when the Comanches, seeing it was going to cost them too much to continue it longer drew off. There was but one white man killed, and that was the brave Captain Lynch. He was shot through the body with a ballet, and died instantly, without speaking. His body was buried on the battleground by his comrades, and they then returned to the settlement without further incident.
This is the name Mr. Highsmith gives to the disturbances which occurred along the Rio Grande in 1839. He says the Mexicans were raiding on the Americans who had commenced to settle on the lower Nueces between that stream and the Rio Grande. These Mexicans were in some force, and were led by one of their countrymen named Parbon. John N. Seguin, a Mexican of Spanish descent, but loyal to Texas at that time, raised a company of ninety-five men to go and fight Parbon and his party. Sixty of this company were Americans and the balance Mexicans. Mr. Highsmith, ever ready to go on an expedition, joined the force under Seguin. The latter had a fine ranch below San Antonio on the river of the same name. On a creek called Santiago, between San Patricio and Laredo, they met Parbon and his men, and a fight occurred in the brush and prickly pears. A parley was finally, agreed on and while this was in progress one of Parbon's men told Juan Cantu, who belonged to Seguin's company, that the latter intended to sell his company out. When the men heard this they broke up and came back to San Antonio. Captain Seguin had some trouble with the Americans near his ranch, and thinking he had been wronged by them, turned traitor to Texas, removed to Mexico and returned with the invading armies of Vasquez and Wall in 1842.
When Vasquez made his raid Mr. Highsmith joined the company of Capt. H. M. Childress. The Mexicans held San Antonio a few days and then went back to Mexico without a fight, not waiting until the Texans could assemble. The latter kept their forces in the city a while before disbanding. While here, Highsmith learned through Juan Cantu, who was loyal to the Texans, that Seguin was at the Calaveras ranch, thirty miles down the river, and applied to Captain Childress for twenty-five men to go and capture him. This was granted, and Captain Highsmith set out for the Calaveras ranch, guided by Juan Cantu. The party arrived at the ranch in the night and surrounded it. The owner, Calaveras, was called out and asked if Seguin was there. He said "No." "You lie," said Cantu, and proposed then and there to hang him. A rope was produced, put around his, neck, and he was drawn up, but was told he would be let down when he told where Seguin was. Calaveras, however, persisted in his first statement that Seguin was not there, and that he did not know where he was. He was drawn up three times, but finally released and left nearly dead. No doubt Seguin had been there, but was gone. Highsmith and his men went back to San Antonio and disbanded. It is a pity that Captain Seguin should have had any trouble with the Texans. He commanded a small company of Mexicans at San Jacinto, fighting against Santa Anna, and it was he and his men who collected the bones of the men who were killed and partly burned at the Alamo they buried these remains about seventy-five yards from the northeast corner of the Alamo.
In 1839 an attempt to remove the Cherokee Indians from East Texas to the Indian Territory, which had been set aside as the home of the Indian tribes, caused a short conflict, in which the Indians were defeated and the intentions of the government carried out. Two chiefs, Bowles and Big Mush, commanded the Indians, and the whites were led by Gen. Thomas J. Rusk. The battle was fought near Nacogdoches in a thick woods of pine, white oak, gum, etc. Both Indian chiefs were killed, and among the whites killed was Capt. John C. Crane, one of the captains under Milam at the storming of San Antonio in 1835, and who was well known to Mr. Highsmith, who was near him when he fell and helped to bury him. Uncle Ben in this fight belonged to Capt. Ed. Burleson's company.
In 1839 Gen. Vincent Cordova, a disaffected Mexican living at Nacogdoches, raised a motley crowd of Mexicans, Indians, and negroes and started to Mexico. Gen. Ed. Burleson got wind of him on the Colorado, and went with a company of rangers to intercept him. Ben Highsmith and Winslow Turner were members of the company. The trail of Cordova was struck between Webber's Prairie and Austin, and the band overtaken on Mill Creek, in Guadalupe County, about five miles east of the little village of Seguin, then just starting. It was a running fight and did not last long, as it was nearly sundown when it commenced. It could not be ascertained how many of the enemy were killed, as they fell as they ran and were badly scattered. The father of the writer lived at Seguin at the time, and was on the battleground next morning. He said there were two negroes, one Mexican, and one Indian dead on the ground where the fight first commenced. Cordova intended to capture and pillage Seguin. The dead Indian had his head cut off. Highsmith says that Dr. Venters, who was with the rangers, had a personal combat with an Indian and killed him. I have heard my father say that a doctor who was in this fight cut off the head of a dead Indian and carried it away with him for medical examination. Likely this was the one.
In 1839 the Comanche Indians in large force made a raid on the settlement below Austin, and after killing some of the Coleman family and robbing the house of Dr. Robinson in his absence, traveled a northerly course towards Brushy Creek, carrying one of the doctor's negroes with them. Mr. Highsmith was at Bastrop, and when he heard the news of the raid set out for Austin in company with his old comrade of many battles, Winslow Turner. When they arrived at Austin Capt. James Rogers was raising men to pursue the Indians, and the two Bastrop men joined him. Gen. Ed. Burleson, the Indian fighter and leader oil the Colorado, was away at the time. Captain Rogers with thirty men left Austin in pursuit and came up with the Indians twenty miles northeast from Austin, on Brushy Creek, not far from the present town of Taylor. The Indians saw the white men coming across the prairie and made ready to fight them. The Indians charged when Rogers and his men came near, and after firing the captain saw that his force was not sufficient to cope with them, especially on open ground, and ordered a retreat to a mott of timber on a hill. Here his intention was to dismount his men and take a flight. As soon as the men started the Indians followed with fearful yells, and by the time the timber was reached considerable confusion prevailed among the white men. Only three men dismounted in obedience to orders, and the balance passed on. Captain Rogers, seeing he could not carry out his plans, also passed on. The three men who had dismounted at the trees were Ben Highsmith, Winslow Turner, and Jacob Burleson. The Indians were crowding the settlers closely and firing at them, and the dismounted men, seeing the stand was not going to be made, hastily remounted and followed. Their order as they left the trees was Turner in front, Burleson next, and Highsmith last. About this time the Indians, who were close upon them, fired a volley with rifles. Highsmith felt the wind of a ball close to his ear, and at the same time saw the dust rise from the crown of Burlesons hat, who was directly in front of him. The next instant the gallant young man reeled and fell from his saddle, shot in the back of the head. The men were not to blame for making, this retreat as they were greatly outnumbered, and many more would have been slain had they stayed. Some were young men who had never seen Indians before.
The Indians did not pursue far, and the men all got together; and went back towards Austin. Captain Rogers was greatly dejected. Before getting back, however, they met Gen. Ed. Burleson coming rapidly with twenty men. He was informed of the disastrous fight, and that his brother Jacob was killed. General Burleson now took command of all the men and went back to give the Indians another fight. He, like Jack Hays, had never been defeated by Indians. They first went to the spot where Jake Burleson fell, and there found his body, stripped and badly mutilated. He was shot through the head, as Highsmith had told them, and his right hand and right foot cut off, scalped, and his heart cut out. The Indians went back to Brushy Creek and there strongly posted themselves. The creek here made an acute bend, and the. Indians were in the lower part of it and concealed from view except when some of them showed themselves in order to tell the movements of the white men.
General Burleson moved his men around the position of the Comanches and occupied the upper bend of the creek, and the fight soon commenced across the space between them, which was in short rifle range. The battle lasted a long time and was hotly contested-rifle against rifle. The Indians seemed to be nearly all armed with guns and were good shots, and still outnumbered the white men. The latter, some of whom were old Indian fighters, were cautions, exposing themselves as little as possible. The Indians did the same. They evidently recognized Burleson as their old enemy, and they dared not leave cover and charge his position. One Indian crawled out of the bed of the creek unperceived and took a position behind a large bunch of prickly pears, where he lay flat on the ground and watched his opportunity to shoot as some settler would expose some part of his body , he did execution, and it was some time before he was located, but the smoke of his gun finally betrayed him. Winslow Turner saw where the smoke came from, and quickly ascending a small tree at great risk of his life, got sight of the Indian, fired quickly, and came down again. The Comanche jumped at the crack of the gun and tumbled over the creek bank. This Indian had on Dr. Robinson's coat and vest, as was noticed when be jumped away from his position. The coat and vest were found when the fight was over, covered with blood and a bullet hole in them. The Indians, after losing many of their warriors, gave up the fight and retreated down the creek and then into the hills. They carried off their dead, but the bloody ground they occupied told the tale of their loss.
After the battle was over the loss of Burleson in killed was Jack Walters, Ed. Blakey, and James Gilleland. The latter was a Methodist preacher. Of the four men killed three were shot in the head. Gilleland was shot between the point of the shoulder with the ball ranging down and going through the lungs. Highsmith helped to carry Blakey to the house of Noah Smithwick, at Webber's Prairie, twenty miles distant from the battleground. Smithwick was brother-in-law of the wounded man. He carried the dying youth on a blanket stretched between two poles between a pair of horses. He was shot on the next evening, and died at sundown on the next evening. The other dead were carried off to their respective homes by friends. Heartrending scenes were enacted when the bloody remains were slowly brought to their homes by sorrowing comrades. Walters was a young man and his mother was a widow.
In 1840 a large body of Comanche Indians, about 500 in number, made a most daring raid through Texas and burned and sacked the town of Linnville on the coast. When the news of this raid was generally circulated men began to gather from all points where there was a settlement to intercept and fight them on their way back to the mountains from whence they came. Mr. Highsmith heard the news at his home in Bastrop, and at once saddled his horse, got his gun, and started. Among the leaders who were gathering men to fight the Indians were Felix Huston, Ed. Burleson, Jack Hays, Matthew Caldwell ("Old Paint"), and the McCullochs, Henry and Ben.
Mr. Highsmith joined the company of General Burleson. The Indians came up Peach Creek and then across Tinny's Prairie towards Plum Creek. Scouts kept Burleson informed as to the route of the Indians, and he cut across with his men to intercept and fight them at Plum Creek, but when he arrived there the Comanches had crossed the creek and were out in the prairie. They had many pack animals besides squaws and warriors, and presented an imposing spectacle as they moved along singing and exploiting on their horses, and altogether covering a mile in extent. Burleson moved out towards them and charged, commencing the fight with eighty-two men. The warriors divided and moved towards Burleson, firing and yelling, which was spiritedly replied to by the men from the Colorado. About this time a reinforcement arrived of 125 men under Gen. Felix Huston, who were following on the trail from below. The fight now became general and quite extended, as the Indians began to quail before the flre and to move off, following in the wake of the squaws and pack animals. Other reinforcements in small squads continued to arrive, attracted by the firing, to the course the battle was following. The pursuit lasted many miles, and wound up where the present town of Kyle is situated, between San Marcos and Austin. It commenced three miles east of the present town of Lockhart, in Caldwell County.
Many personal encounters took place during the long-extended and scattered battle. One Indian in the chase has his horse killed, and after leaving him and running a short distance on foot, returned to the dead horse to secure his bridle, but was killed and fell across the horse's neck with the bridle in his band. Another Indian presented a very humorous and grotesque appearance. When the stores at Linnville were looted this fellow proceeded to rig himself from head to foot in regular full dress, except the pants, having on a beegum hat, new calf boots over his naked legs, and a broadcloth long forked-tail coat, which was resplendent with a double row of brass buttons in front. This dusky dude, however, had no valet de chambre to put on his coat for him, and consequently got it on wrong, having the front behind and closely buttoned up to the back of his neck. He also had an umbrella hoisted, and was riding with head erect and a little thrown back, singing loudly, when the fight commenced. The sight of him and the humorous figure he was caused loud laughter among the Texans who were near him. He lost his hat and umbrella during the fight, but himself escaped, although fired at repeatedly. He was a dexterous rider and dodger. Mr. Highsmith saw a white woman lying under a tree with an arrow in her breast. Some men had dismounted beside her, and a doctor from Gonzales was extracting the arrow. One of the men was well known to Mr. Highsmith. He was Z. N. Morrell, the noted pioneer Baptist preacher. The wounded woman was a captive, and the Indians shot her when they commenced to run from the whites.
The horse, which was killed when the Indian also lost his life trying to save his bridle belonged to Colonel Bell, who was killed off of him at Kitchen's ranch as the Indians were coming back from Linnville. Several men shot at this Indian when he was killed, among whom were Mr. Highsmith and Andrew Sowell. The latter's ball hit the shield. During the charge across the hogwallow prairie many horses fell and threw their riders. Bones of Indians were found years after along the route of pursuit.
Soon after the Plum Creek battle President Houston comissioned the famous Jack Hays to raise a company of Texas rangers for the protection of the frontier against Indians and lawless characters. The latter were thick around San Antonio, and did pretty much as they pleased. Jack Hays at the time was a young surveyor, and not much known. He distinguished himself at the battle of Plum Creek. General Houston, who had been elected President of the young Republic of Texas, recognized his ability, and seeing the necessity of having such a man with a company of like spirits around him, at once put him in the field, and well did he sustain the trust and confidence which the hero of San Jacinto placed in him. Under Hays the Texas rangers gained a name and reputation which was world-wide.
Mr. Highsmith joined the company of Hays, and they were stationed at San Antonio. They soon established law and order in the Alamo City, and the name of Hays and his rangers soon become a terror to evildoers. The red man of the plains felt the weight of his mailed hand and learned to dread an encounter with him. In four pitched battles they were utterly routed, namely, Nueces Canyon, Pinta Trail Crossing, Enchanted Rock, and Bandera Pass. No account of these battles will be given in this sketch except those Mr. Highsmith was engaged in. The main scouting ground of the rangers was in the mountains west and northwest of San Antonio up the Guadalupe, Medina, Sabinal, Frio, and Nueces rivers.
In the spring of 1841 Captain Hays started on a scout with forty men. His camp at this time was seven miles west of San Antonio, on Leon Creek. They went a northwest direction up Medina River and camped for the night at a point about where the center of Bandera town now is. Guards were well posted, and the night passed without a disturbance. Some people would be surprised to know that the Texas rangers under Hays were many of them men of education and refinement. Around the campfire at night it was not uncommon to hear men quoting front the most popular poets and authors, and talking learnedly on ancient and modern history. It is true they looked rough in the garb they wore. The wide hat was to protect them from the sun in long scouts across the prairies. The leggings of buckskin or cowskin protected the legs from the thorny brush and cactus. The large clinking spurs put new life into a tardy pony if occasion demanded. The intention of Hays was to turn north round this place and go out through the famous Bandera Pass and into the Guadalupe valley, and then scout up the river to the. The pass was about ten miles from the night camp of the rangers.
After the rangers left camp and were riding over the open country towards the pass, which could be seen plainly, quite a different looking crowd were assembling there. A large band of Comanche Indians were also on the warpath, and had started across the country by way of the pass to the Medina valley. They arrived there first, and, seeing the rangers coming, laid in ambush and awaited there to fight them. The pass was named for General Bandera of the Spanish who was stationed at San Antonio when the missions were first built there. All of this country and Mexico then belonged to Spain. The pass was the home of the Apache Indians, and they raided upon San Antonio. General Bandera was ordered to follow them to their stronghold and chastise them. He found them at home in the pass and strongly fortified among the rocks. A long and desperate battle took place and many were killed on both sides, but at last the Spanish arms prevailed and the Indians gave way and retreated through the hills further towards the west. They never came back, but settled in New Mexico. Now, after the lapse of a century or more, another bloody battle was about to be fought here.
Hays and his men arrived at the pass about 11 o'clock in the morning and began to ride through it, as yet having seen no sign of Indians. The pass was 500 yards in length by 125 in width, and from 50 to 75 feet high on both sides, very steep, and covered with rocks and bushes. The Indian chief dismounted his men and placed them among the rocks and bushes on both sides of the pass, leaving their horses in the rear, and also concealed in a deep gulch which cut into the pass from. the west and well up upwards the north end. The first intimation the rangers had of the presence of Indians was being fired on by bullets and arrows on all sides, and the terrible warwhoop of the Comanche resounded through the gorge. For a few moments there was some confusion among the rangers on account of the plunging of frightened and wounded horses, who would turn and try to run back through the pass in spite almost of all their riders could do. This was a trying and most critical time and the Indians knew it. They charged down into the pass and almost mixed up with the rangers and plunging horses. The white men could not well use their guns and hold their horses, too. To add to the disadvantage and confusion, some of the rangers were killed and wounded and were falling from their horses. As soon as a horse would find himself free of his rider he would gallop madly back through the pass.
All this took place in less time than it takes to write, and it was the first time Jack Hays was ever caught in a trap; but he was equal to the occasion. His clear voice now rang out sharp and quick, "Steady there, boys; dismount and tie those horses .we can whip them; no doubt about that." Order was soon restored, and in a moment the rangers were on the ground, and the Indians were falling and giving back before a deadly rifle and pistol fire. They came again, however, and several hand to hand conflicts took place. Mr. Highsmith, who was in the fight, dismounted near a ranger named Sam Luckey, who was soon shot through by a bullet. It entered under the left shoulder blade and came out below the right hip. Highsmith caught him when he commenced falling and let down to the ground easy. At this time the rangers had fasten their horses near the south entrance of the pass and were fighting in front of them. The wounded Luckey called for water, and Highsmith gave him some out of a canteen. At this time the fight was raging and the pass was full of Indians, rangers, and horses. The Comanche chief during this close fight attacked Sergt. Kit Ackland and wounded him. Ackland also shot the chief with a pistol, and then they clinched and both went down. Both were large, powerful men, and the combat was terrific. Both had out their long knives and rolled over and over on the ground, each trying to avoid the thrust of the other and himself give the deadly wound. The ranger was finally the victor. He got up covered with blood and dirt, with the bloody knife in hand. The chief Jay dead literally cut to pieces.
Mr. Highsmith loaded and fired his rifle many times, and was finally wounded in the leg with an arrow. The wound did not disable him, but after getting the arrow out he continued to load and fire until the fight was over, which lasted an hour. The Indians finally gave way, retreated to the upper end of the pass, and left the rangers masters of the situation. It was a dear bought victory. Five rangers lay dead and as many more wounded. Many horses were also wounded and killed. Of the wounded were Highsmith, Ackland, Tom Galbreath, James Dunn ("Red"), Sam Luckey, and one other whose name is not now remembered. While the fight was going on some of the Indians were carrying their dead back to where their horses were, at the north end of the pass. Hays carried his dead and wounded men back to the south entrance of the pass, where there was a large water hole, and there spent the night burying the dead rangers and taking care of the wounded. The writer was not able to get the names of those killed except one, whose name was Jackson. It has been fifty-six years since the battle was fought', and Air. Highsmith can not now remember the others. At the time of the fight he had not been in the company long, and the names of Those killed were not as familiar to him as the survivors became in after years.
From the pass Hays carried his wounded men to San Antonio, where they could get good medical attention. Jack Hays never had a better crowd of fighting men than was with him in the Bandera Pass fight. Some of them are as follows: Sam Walker, Ad Gillispie, P. H. Bell, Ben McCulloch, Kit Ackland, Sam Luckey, James Dunn, Tom Galbreath, George Neill, Mike Chevallier. Some of these became noted men in after years, but were then all young Texas rangers. Sam Walker was a lieutenant-colonel in the Mexican war of 1846, and was killed at the battle of Humantla. Gillispie commanded a company also, and was killed at the storming of Monterey. Ben McCulloch commanded a company, and was also a Confederate general in the civil war, and was killed at the battle of Elkhorn. George Neill was the son of Col. James Neill, who commanded the artillery at the storming of San Antonio. Chevalier was a captain in the Mexican war, as was also Ackland. Sam Luckey was a famous humorist, singer, and story-teller around the campfires. P. H. Bell was afterwards Governor of Texas. Ben Highsmith participated in eighteen battles, and was the last man to carry a dispatch from Travis at the Alamo. All of them made records as good fighters.
The Comanches buried their chief at the upper end of the pass, and the spot can still be pointed out by some rocks that are over the grave.
In 1842 Mr. Highsmith was still a member of Jack Hays' ranging company, and stationed at San Antonio. In September Of the above year Gen. Adrian Wall [Woll] came from Mexico with about 1200 men and captured San Antonio. The rangers were out on a scout at the time, and failed to discover the approach of the Mexicans. Some of them came in, not being aware of the changed conditions, put up their horses, and were captured after soine slight resistance. The balance of the rangers had gone down the Medina River with Captain Rays, and when they came back discovered there were Mexican soldiers in town, and made their escape, although hotly pursued by a large body of cavalry. Mr. Highsmith was with this party with Hays. The rangers went into camp on the Salado, and Captain Hays sent runners to Seguin and Gonzales and other points informing the people of the situation and calling for help. Lieut. H. E. McCulloch was very active in spreading the news and raising men. Spies from the ranger camp kept watch on the Mexicans around San Antonio. The people east, as was their wont in face of danger, responded with alacrity, and soon Gen. Matthew Caldwell took the field with a force and established his camp on the Salado, seven miles northeast from San Antonio. Captain Hays was then sent with part of his rangers to draw the Mexicans out to Caldwell's position. They advanced to within half a mile of the Alamo, and cut up many antics on their horses in a bantering way to get the Mexican cavalry to pursue them. In this they succeeded, for soon 400 cavalry came out and charged them. A lively chase now commenced back to the position of Caldwell. Mr. Highsmith was not in this chase, but remembers the following names of those who were: H. E. McCulloch, Kit Ackland, Stuart Foley, Creed Taylor, Andrew Sowell, Big Foot Wallace, Ad Gillispie, Sam Waters, Sam Luckey, and a man named Jett who was killed in the battle which followed on the creek. The Mexican army soon came out and a severe battle was fought, in which Wall was defeated. Caldwell's force has been variously estimated. The writer once heard Gen. Henry McCulloch say that there were 201. Before the battle commenced, and while the Mexicans were preparing to charge, the Baptist preacher, Z. N. Morrell, asked permission of Caldwell to make the men a short talk. The request was granted and the general added, "I wish you would; it will do the boys good."
The preacher was listened to with profound respect, and he wound up the address with these words: "And now, boys, my impression before God is that we will win the fight." The men cheered their appreciation. The Mexicans made some desperate charges, but shot wild. Sometimes they would come within fifteen yards of the Texans, yelling like Indians. General Cordova, who had the fight with Burlesons rangers on Mill Creek in 1839, was killed in this fight by Wilson Randle of Seguin. John N. Seguin was also here in command of a company fighting the Texans. Capt. Nicholas Dawson from Fayette County, tried to get to Caldwell's position with fifty-two men, but was cut to pieces and himself and thirty-two of his men were killed and the balance captured, except two---Gonsolvo Woods and Aulcy Miller. Woods fought his way through the Mexicans and got to Caldwell; Miller went the other way to Seguin. Wall, being defeated by Caldwell, went back to San Antonio, but did not tarry there long, and set out for Mexico. He was followed by the Texans and overtaken, and a skirmish took place called
The Mexican army in their retreat from San Antonio traveled towards the foot of the mountains and crossed the Medina River two miles above the present town of Castroville, and then traveled up between two ravines to a high ridge near the Hondo River. The advance of the Texans was led by Jack Hays and his rangers, who crowded close on the rear of the retreating Mexicans. The Texans were badly scattered, coming on in companies under their respective leaders. This lack of order and a thorough understanding, in regard to commanders and plan of battle caused the pursuit to be a failure. Captain Hays and his men came upon the Mexicans at the ridge where they had halted to give battle, and he halted his men to await the arrival of the remainder of the American forces, but they came in disordered squads and the Mexican commander, seeing that he was not going to be immediately attacked, moved on across the Hondo and made another stand there. One battery was placed in position on the east side of the creek with twenty men with it , supported by infantry, and the main army formed in the flats on the west side with a cannon in position to bear upon any approach to the one on the east.
Captain Hays had sent a runner back to inform General Caldwell of the fact when the Mexicans made the first halt on the ridge. When the general came up he told Hays to follow on with his men, and when he came upon them again to charge and bring on the battle, and he would support him with the rest of the men. In the meantime Hays had sent Ben Highsmith, Sam Luckey, Tom Galbreath, and some others to follow close after Wall's army so that he could get accurate information as to the disposition of their forces in case a stand was made to fight. When the scouts arrived at a point a short distance above where the little village of New Fountain is now, in Medina County, they halted, for they were close upon the rear of the Mexicans. There was a great commotion among them they made a great deal of noise, a perfect babel. As rattling across the rocky bed of the Hondo, commands of teamsters and artillerymen shouting and cursing, mules braying, and the occasional yelling of a lot of Cherokee Indians who were with the Mexicans. While the rangers were sitting here on their horses listening to all this they were startled by a rifle shot, and Sam Luckey reeled in his saddle and would have fallen to the ground had not Ben Highsmith caught him. The shot came from a dry branch of the Verde Creek, and the spot was located by the smoke of the rifle of the hidden marksman. Some of the rangers charged in that direction, but only the glimpse of a fleeing Cherokee Indian who did the work could be seen. These Indians were good shots and armed with rifles. They did more damage to the Texans at Salado and at Dawson's massacre than the Mexicans.
Luckey was hit under the right shoulder blade, and the ball came out just below the left nipple, barely missing the heart. This shot was just the reverse to the one he received the year before at the Bandera Pass, and by a strange coincidence Ben Highsmith was near him on both occasions and caught him before falling, laid him down, and each time gave him water. Captain Hays and quite a lot of his men now came up, and he told the men that he was going to attack the rear guard of the enemy, and that the troops in the rear would support them. One man was left with the wounded Luckey, and the balance advanced to the attack. Hays soon found out the position of the enemy and told his men to charge and capture the battery on the east side of the creek, and then turn it upon the Mexicans beyond.
Quite a large force of Texans were now close by, and Hays though it was all right to make the charge. The men, about fifty in number, who now collected around their gallant captain to make this desperate charge were men who had been beside him in many bloody conflicts, and he knew they could be depended upon. One inducement that nerved the men to make this daring attack was the fact that in the Mexican lines on the other side of the creek, held as prisoners, were twelve of Dawson's men who had been captured at the massacre, many of the citizens of San Antonio, including members of the district court which was in session when the town was taken, and a few of Hays' rangers their own comrades. When all was ready Hays led the way and the charge commenced. The rangers fired as they went and were soon among the cannons, which raked them with grape shot as they came up. The work was short and quick at the guns. The men who worked them either ran or were killed. Some sought refuge under the pieces to avoid the fearful rush of the mounted rangers, and Mr. Highsmith says he saw Kit Ackland lean from his saddle with pistol in hand and shoot some of them between the spokes of the cannon wheels. Although the rangers had driven in this force and captured the guns, they could not hold them. They were exposed to a severe fire of musketry and also a cannon from the other side of the creek. In vain the rangers looked for help from the rear and listened for the answering shout to their wild yells as they were spurring their horses among the cannon and artillerymen. This help did not come, and after holding their position a short time they were forced to retreat. Mr. Highsmith rode his horse under a mesquite tree and stopped after the Mexicans had been killed and driven front the cannon. While here a solid shot from the cannon beyond the Hondo struck the top of the tree and cut it off. The fragments fell upon him and his horse, which badly frightened the latter, and he wheeled and ran off with the limbs hanging all over him.
The rangers wounded in the charge were Arch. Gibson, "Dutch" Perry, John Castleman, Anderson Herrell, and William G. Cook. Herrell's horse was badly wounded, and Nick Wren's horse was killed under him in forty yards of the cannon. A grape shot hit him in the breast and went lengthwise through him. Captain Hays' horse was also wounded. Big Foot Wallace was in the charge on a mule. While all this was going on there were more than 200 men a few hundred yards in the rear, idle spectators. It seems at the very last moment there was a misunderstanding as to who would lead the charge as commander of the whole force. The Baptist preacher, Z. N. Morrell, had a son who was a prisoner, having been captured with Dawson's men. He learned also in San Antonio that he was wounded. This man of God was in the desperate charge, hoping to rescue his son, and when the rangers, returned to the main body bitterly reproached the latter for not coming to their assistance. What was the feeling of the Texas prisoners when they saw the assault fail? No doubt some of the captured rangers recognized their comrades and captain when the cannon was taken in such a bold dash, and felt sure of their liberation.
No further attempt was made on the Mexican position, and some time during the night the Mexican commander continued his retreat. A council of the Texan officers was held and the pursuit abandoned. The volunteer companies scattered back to their various homes, and the rangers went back to their quarters at San Antonio. The failure to defeat General Wall on the Hondo caused the prisoners in his hands to spend three years in the dungeons of Mexico before they were released.
Mr. Highsmith was in the Somervell expedition in 1843, but came back with Captain Hays when the. expedition was abandonod, and missed the chance of drawing a bean for his life, as others did who selected commandeers and went on to the invasion of Mexico after the expedition was declared off.
SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS