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The Narrative of Robert Hancock Hunter 1860
"I wish this to be published for it is most all persnell, of myself. Your Father "
Robert Hancock Hunter (1813-1902), son of pioneer Texian physician Johnson Calhoun Hunter (1787-1855), was a resident of Guadalupe County near Seguin in 1845 and in 1880 a resident of Flatonia in Fayette County where he died in 1902. The original narrative is in the Texas State Archives. The original narrative contains almost no punctuation and paragraphing, it was edited and printed for the Texas Centennial in 1936 by Beulah Gayle Green (Edna, TX) and edited and published by William D. Wittliff (Austin, TX) in 1966. Collector John H. Jenkins III considered this one of the basic Texas books and author Carlos Castañeda said it was "the best account of the San Jacinto campaign left by a veteran." The narrative below retains the original spelling, but uses the punctuation and paragraphing of Wittliff with some modifications and headings added by current editor, W.L. McKeehan (Photo: Robert Hancock Hunter and greatgrandchildren Maude, Edna and William Burke. Courtesy of descendant Terry Frierson).
Arrival, shipwreck, eating roasted alligator in Mexican Texas 1822. I, R. H. Hunter, was born May first 1813 in Ohio in a little town Circleville in Pickaway Planes. I was a bout 4 years old when Father moved to Missouri, & in April 1822 come to Texas & on the 7th day of April we landed in San Jacinto Bay. We came a round by water in a small boat or a scow.
As we were sailing a long the coast, we spide a small boat on the beach, & went in shore at the Mouth of the Mamantough. There we stade 5 or 6 days, & fixt up the little schooner & we corked her up tite, put in the old mast that was broke down, & pute in something to eat that day, & tide our little Scow be hinde & set sale for Galveston with all of our goods & chattels in the Scow. While out a peace, a south east gale blowed up, & we come on untill a bout 8 or 9 oclock, when our scow broke loos & went a shore, & we come on to the mouth of what is now cald Taylors Bayou. There we campt. I Father & Jack our Saylor, went back to git the Scow. When tha got there, Old Yokham & a bout 30 men was there, & no scow, & the men all drunk on Pa's rum. He had a barrel of Rum on the scow, & he had to come a way the best he could, & got nothing. He lost every thing we had. Pa got back the next evening. He was gon two days, & we had nothing to eat. Jack kild an aligator, & rosted the tale, & we eat it, & not a drop of water to drink. Pa saved 4 trunks out of the scow, & in one of them was a bolt of domestic. Pa took it, & spread it out on the grass, and got it wet with due, & rung it in a bucket & that saved us untill we got to Galveston that evening.
When we got to Galveston we found 5 large emagrant ships laying at ancor in the harber. Capt John Roch & his big black ship was laying at ancor. He fiard a cannon to bring us too. When Pa came to Texas in 1821, he got acquainted with old man Anson Taylor on the Trinity & old man Taylor was on Capt Rochs ship, & knew Pa, & with his speaking trumpet cald us a long side & Capt Roch let down a chir & took us a board. Us little ones, was hungry. We had not eat anything for 3 days but the aligator tall. The Cook was at the Caboos a cooking. He had a pot of rice seting by. The old irishman ast us if we were not hungery, & we the children told him yesser. He gave us some spoons, & we piched in to the rice. Pa came around & seen us, children children what are you doing there. The old irishman hollered out, let them a lone, I put them thare. Tha are hungery let them eat. That rice et good. We stade with Capt Roch that night.
Home at New Washington on San Jacinto Bay. Next morning, Capt Roch gave Pa a half barrel of pork & sack of rice, half barrel of flower, & a sack of French brown sea bread. When we left, we took 2 fameleys a bord of us, & sailed up to San Jacinto bay, landed at what is now cald new Washington, the 7 day of April 1822. Pa put us up a big sail tent, & he left us there, & he went back to Galveston, & brought all of them fameleys to shore. He made a bout a hundred dollars a trip. The Tankaway Indians, & Cronks, ware hostile & troubled the whites. Tha lernt how to give a signal, by putting up a white flag. There was two fameleys come up from Galveston in two small boats. The Cronks put a white flag on the beach at little seder Bayou & the boats went a shore. The Cronks run on them & kild them, 3 men 2 wimmen & 4 or 5 children. One man got a way, by jumping out in to the bay swiming & wading a bout 4 or 5 miles a cross to the point, & came a round to Pas. Pa & a man by the name of Fowler, got in thare boats & collected some 10 or 15 men, & went down to little seder Bayou that night, & found the Indians, a kooking the peoples hands & feet & eating & dancing. The whites lay close in the grass by them untill day light, & fiard in to them, & kild 15 or 20 of them, & the balance left. Tha never bothered us any more.
Pa before this, went over to the Trinity & bought 2 cows & calvs from old man Anson Taylor. He gave one hundred dollars for them, & brought them home, & it was prairie a cross from our house, south to Galveston bay, one mile & quarter, & I would have to go over thare & drive the cows home. Sometimes I would stay late, & Pa would git his old gun & go after me, thinking the Indians had me. Wheare we lived we could see the indians fires over on the beach at little seder bayou.
We had a little field of 8 or 10 acres, & pa got some sugar cane from Attakapas & we planted it & rased fine cane & we would ship the cane up to Harrisburg & exchange to old man Stafford for corn. Mr. Stafford would bring his corn from the Brassos where he lived to Harrisburg. We had a big canoe that we shipt our cane up in, & we would exchange cane for corn. One time Brother John & myself tuck up a boat load of cane to Harrisburg & got our corn, & come down to the Bay, & a September gale set in & the wind was very high, & the waves was running high. Pa was on the bank at home, with a white sheat, a waveing it to us to turn up the bay. I steard to the nearst land, a bout 2 miles a bove home, & we got a bout 20 feet of the shore, & we went under, but our boat was under such head way that we run her on the bank. We got our corn all wet, & had to shuck it all out, up on the beach. Every other year we could make corn on the bay.
Pa sent me up to Harrisburg with a shovel or a senter plow to have sharpened. While up thare, a cold norther come, & I went down to uncle Billy Vinces. I stade thare 2 days. The norther broke a little the second day, & in the mean time, my horse got a way from me. Mr. Vince let me have a horse, & I started home. Mr. Vince rapt me up in a blanket & an over coat. It was 25 miles home. I got a bout half way home, when the norther sprung up a fresh, rained & sleted, & my lasy horse, I could not git him a long, & I got so cold that I had no fealing. The Icicles, hung to my hat brim so that I could hardly see my way. I finely got home. I rode up to the gate, & Pa come out to git some wood, & saw me. He cald me to git down. I heard him, but I could not speak. He came to me & took me off the horse & stude me on the ground & I fell over. He took me up & carried me in to the house. Mr. Linch was in, & he told tha to bring him to the fire. Pa told them to bring in a tub of water that was out under the eave. Tha don so & broak the ice, & pa put me down in the water & thawed the ice, before he could git my cloes off. My moccasins was froze to my feet. Pa gave me some alcohol & put me to bed. That was in the evening, & I knowed nothing untill next day at twelve oclock when I woke up. I was all right.
Trading with the Coushattas and visits to San Antonio. Pa ust to traid up the San Jancinto river with the Coshatta Indians, would buy deer skins bare skins coon skins & all kinde & bares oil. I all ways went with him. We went in a boat. The old chief Francisco treated us fine. When we would leave them, Francisco would give us as much bare meat as we wanted to take home with us. He would say to pa, for you scaw & poppass. Pa would take his bare deer skins & oil to Attakapas & sell them for sugar, molases, rum, red flannel broad cloth, for the indians. Pa don write smart traiding with the indians, (Coshatta).
I think in August of the year, Pa went out to San Antonio. He hired a Coshatta indian to guide him out thare. He got his money & medicine that he left thare in 1821, & bought a drove of horses & mules, & came home by the way of Labadle. Thare he was robbed of his money, $1300 dollars all in gold. He brought his horses 50 head, home. When he left for San Antonio he hired his little schooner to a Mr. Scott on the bay to go to New Orleans, & Scott lost the schooner, & Pa never got any thing for her. He took his horses & Mules to Attakapas & bought a sloop with them. He took a sloop load of corn from old man George Orrs on the Trinity River, where Liberty now is, & took it to Attakapas, La, & brought back sugar & molases & rum.
Now all this time Mother & us children remained on San Jacinto Bay, what is now cald New Washington, surrounded by the Tonks & Towkaway Indians, Mother & 5 children. I was the oldest. We could see 25 or 30 indians over on the beach south of us, on little Seder Bayou 7 or 8 miles from us, & could see them for weeks at a time. I would go out in the evening to drive up the cows, (we had 2 cows). Sometimes I would stay a late & Ma would go out in edge of the prieria & caul me, & when Pa was at home, he would go out on the prieria with his gun to look for me.
Shipping cotton, trapped on Galveston Island, learning Spanish. Father shipped the first cotton that was ever shipped from Texas, to Attakapas, La. He shipped it from the Brassos River, in the seed. I think that was in 1824. The next trip, he got cast away on the west end of Galveston island, on an island or mane land. He lay thare 21 days & had nothing to eat but fish & oysters. Capt Decrow was running a little sloop from the Brassos to San Jacinto Bay & Pa seen him twice pas by, & rased a white flag but Mr Decrow thought it was Indians & would not go in. The third time he past, Pa & his man Fowler, got some dirft logs, & tide them to geather, & started to cut Mr. Decrow off, & went out, & past the point of Galveston & was going on out to see, in to the brakers in the Gulph. Mr Decrow seen that tha was white men & put out for them, & took them off the raft, & bought them up to San Jacinto home.
Father was the Doctor on the Bay at that time, & don a goodeal of the surveying at that time on the Bay. When Father went to San Antonio for his money & medicines & brought his horses in, he got a young Mexican boy with him. He lemt me to talk Mexican, & in a very short time I could talk as good as he could. The Mexicans would bring in horses & mares in to sell, & I would have to interpit for them. Tha give 4 choise mares for a cow & calf. Pa has bought good horses for 3 & 4 dollars a peace.
Life in current Fort Bend County on the Brazos. We lived 7 years on the Bay. Father sold his land thare to two men, one by the name of Cloper, & the other by the name of Louis. He got 25 cents pr acre. Pa got a bout 30 head of cows & calves from them, & then we moved to the Brassos in Fort Bend County where Pa bought two hundred acres of land from a Mr. Alex McCoy. I belive Pa paid 4 cows & calves for the land. We drove 40 head of cattle to thi Brassos. Pa cut a big pole 20 feet lon, & put it up a gainst 2 trees, & cut some long poles, & put one end on the ridge pole & the other end on the ground, & split out lathing & put on the poles & split out 3 foot boards, & covered it. It made a good house, & we lived in it 3 or 4 years. We then went in to the cane brake & cut cane & cleared us up a field. We planted our corn with hand spikes & axes for 3 years before we could plow it, for the cane roots. We made from 40 to 60 bushels of corn per acre, & good big corn. After we got to plowing, we planted cotton. We made a bale & half of cotton to the acre. Pa sold his cotton 5 or 6 cents a lb. Pa bought a negro woman, Ana, from old man Brown in Sanphilop, & then next year he bought a nother woman off Brown, Anas daughter Harriet. I believe it was 3 years, he bought 2 negroes Freeman & Seger, & the next year he bought a woman Mary, a African.
Father shipped fifty nine bales of cotton down the Brassos River, on 2 large canoes maid out of 2 large cotton wood trees, with a platform on them. James McCoy, & a Dutchman, Pa & myself, we started on Christmas morning 1834, got down the River, by Mr Henry Jones, & our boat run on a snag, & turned over. We got wet & colde, & we had no way to git off, & we hoop & hollowed & one of Mr. Jones men came to bank. He got a skift & came to us, & took us off, & we cut the cotton loose & floated it a shore. The River had bin very high that summer, & the banke was mudy. We got a yoak of oxen from Mr Jones, & chanes & rope & hauld the cotton up on the bank, & the next spring, I belive it was the last week in March, James Mc Coy & myself took a canoe & went down to the cotton, rolde it in to the River, & floated it down to Columbia & hauld it out, & Father sold it to Night & White for 3 dollars a bale. In the Runaway Scrape, Father drove 5 or 6 hundred head of cattle down to San Jacinto ferry to cross, but thare was so many people thare that he could not cross, & had to leave them to the mercy of both Armies, & the most of them were killed. We got a bout a hundred twenty five or thirty head. San Jacinto ferry was the place General Houston fought Sant Anna.
The Battle and Siege of Bexar, the Grass Fight, attempt to relieve the Alamo, muster at Gonzales. I believe it was in October 1835, I volenterd to go to San Antonio to fight General Coss. We whipt him out, & I was dischard & came home. While I was at San Antonio, Capt James Perry went out on a Scout, & I went with him. We were out 5 days. We took some beef with us, but it spoiled, & we threw it a way the first day, & we had nothing to eat. One of the Boys kild a turkey, & we et that. We came in the 5th day in the evening. Tha were killing beevs at camps. We rode up to the pen, & went in to the beef, cut & rough, & I cut off a peaes of col fat & eat it. I tought it was the best meat I ever et. I was at the grass fite. After we whipt General Coss, we ware dischard & came home, but it was a short time untill Sant Anna came to San Antonio, & Leutenant Colonel W. B. Travis Commander of the Alamo sent a dispach to San Felipe & Brazoria for help, that Santa Anna had San Antonio & he wanted help, that he would hold the Alamo. A Currer came to our place on the Brassos in Fort Bend Co. He shoed his dispach, stating that Colonel Travis wanted men to defend the Alamo. Brother John, Robert Mc Anella and his brother Pleasant Mc Anella, & Merdeth Tunget and myself, was on the top the ginn house nailing on shingles. Father said Well Boys who of you is going to Travis. I said, I am one, & the balance all said I with you. The Currer said that Capt. John Bird was taking up a Company at San Felipa, & wanted every man that was going to meet him there at midnight. This was a bout 4 oclock in the evening, & we had to go a bout 30 miles. We got our horses & extry suit of clothes & some grub & guns, & left for camp We got thare about 2 oclock in the morning.
We left next morning with 65 men for the Alamo. We got as far as the Benard, campt & organized that night. Mrs Orbane a French lady & a nother lady, the name is forgoten, made a fine large flag, & sent it to Capt Birds Co. Next morning, we left under Capt John Bird. There was a Company of 32 men made up from Gonzales. The first of March they got in the Alamo threw the enemy safe to Travis. We got on as far as what is cald the Big Hill on Peach Creek. There was a good many of the Boys a long that never seen a hill much biger than a sand mound. I called to Capt Bird, less stop on the top of that big hill & let the Boys see them big hills yonder, the Capola hills. The Capt said we havent time. I said well our waggon is a good ways behind, wate untill it come up. He said well. We had an old man with us, I have forgotten his name, he said Capt, we need not go by Gonzales, we will lose ten miles. Cross the San Mareas, a bout one mile from here & there is a good road on the Gaudaloupe, & good crossing. I have bin that way several times. While we were there talking we saw a currier coming from Peach Creek. The Capt said well Boys we wate & see who that is. It may be that we get some news. The currier come up, & he said what company is this, & he was told that it was Bird company. I have a dispatch for you. He handed the dispatch to Bird, & he red it, & he said Boys bad news, the Alamo has fallen, this dispatch is from General Sam Houston at Gonzales. He ordered the Capt company to camp at Peach Creek, & that he would join him next morning on the retreat east, (if we had gon the streat road threw to San Antonio we would have gon right in to Sant Annas Army, we would sheared the same fate of poor Travis & his men). Capt Birds company ordered to act as rear gard, of general Houston Army.
Distributing tobacco and making room for fleeing Alamo Widows, Beason's Ferry. That same morning two women with 5 children with bundles of clothing on there heads came up. The Capt ast them, which way are you going. We are trying to git a way from the Mexicans, (there husbands was kild in the Alamo). The Capt ast them if they had no waggons. They said, yes, our horses was out on the prire, & we could not finde them, & we left our supper on the table, & we took what little clothing we could carry & our children & left. The Capt had his own waggon & team. Colonel Knight & White of San Felipe put 2 large tobacco boxes in our waggon & the Capt told Leuitenant McCallister to throw them boxes out of the waggon & give room for those women & children. Hell Capt that tobacco was given to the company. I was sitting on the waggon toung, & the Capt said to me Bob give me that ax, & I give it to him. The boxes was too large for one man to handle, so he took the ax & chopt the boxes to peaces, & throw it out on the ground & cald his men to come & git there tabacco. They took what they wanted. A bout this time General Houstons army come a long, & the Capt haled them, Boys dont you want some tobacco. They holloid out yes. Here help yourselves, & they took all the tobacco. That gave room for the women & children, so we got them all a bord. General Houston Army past on, & we fell in rear gard.
Nothing much occurd untill we got to the Colorado at Mr. Beasins ferry. There General Houston had some cotton wood trees cut down on the east side of the Colorado, for brest work. We campt there 5 days. In the meantime 5 or 6 fameley came up from below, to cross the river at Beason ferry. Capt Bird & Capt Easin or Easlens Company was trying to cross a large hird of sheep over the river, but we faled. At this time the Mexicans marched up on the hill a bout one mile from us, & fired a cannon at us but over shot us. We then crossed over, & tide our horses back in the woods, & campt be hinde the cotton wood logs, & be fore we crossed over 4 or 5 of the Boys went up a bout a half mile up the river to Mr Beasins house. He had a smoke hous full of fine bacon. General Houston had it garded, & only one man there, we told him that we wanted some bacon. He said well you cant git it. We said, why you. He said that Houston had it garded. We said by you a lone. He said there is 10 of us. Where is the balance of your men. They have gon be hinde that hill to git a shot at them Mexicans. Well we want some bacon, & we are goin to have it. He said, I cant keep you from it. There was 5 of us, we got down & broke the door down, got us a middlen a peace cut each one in 2 peaces, & tide them to geather & put a way our horses & was a bout to mount. We looked over toward the Mexicans & seen the Boys running down towards us & the Mexicans after them & we were cut off from the ferry, & we had run about a quarter up the river to a ford. The water was a bout knee deep, so we all crosed over, safe. The Mexicans came down to the house, & went back. The next morning some of the Boys went over to git some bacon, & the house was burnt down, the house was smoking. Dont know whether the Mexicans got the bacon or not, or whether General Houston had it burnt. I never learnt.
Court martial and crossing the Brazos at Groce's Plantation. A bout 8 or 9 oclock we left for the Brassos a bove San Felipe, & went up the river, opposit Mr jarred Groses, & campt 5 or 6 day on a big lake, a bout 2 miles from the river. The first 3 or 4 days, we burnt up all the wood, & a man went out threw the lines to git some wood. The gard would not let him pass. He said that he would go & did go, & the gard reported him to head quarters. He was Cort marsheld, & condemed to be shot. The hole Army was marched out to the ground, & the grave was dug & a coffin was there, & the Army was formed in a half circle a round the grave. Th man was blindfoled, & made to kneel on the ground by the coffin, & there 12 men to shoot him. The oficer gave comand, he said present arms, take ame. Just at that moment, Colonel Hockley was coming in a lope from camp, holloing, halt, halt, halt, & the oficer said order arms. Colonel Hockley rode up and said Lieutenant here is repreave. I have forgotton the mans name.
Deaf Smith rode in to camp a bout that time, & reported general Sant Anna was at San Felipe. General Houston ordered Capt Bird & Capt Mosley Baker to recanorter Sant Anna a bout San Felipe. They went down on the East side of the river. There was some of us Boys on the sick list, & did not go with the company. Capt Bird got down as far as San Felipe, & found a barrel of whiskey. He staid with it to take care of it, & Lieutenant McCallister took charch of the company & went on down with Mosley Baker as far as Richmond. Baker stade 2 or 3 days & came back & joined us at Dunchoes, & McCallister & men never got to us untill the next day after the battle of San Jacinto. When Baker & Bird left for San Felipe the Yellow Stone, Steam Boat, was loading cotton at Mr Groces landin. General Houston prest the steamer in to servise, to cross the Army over the river. The Brassos river was very high, level with its banks. The Capt of Steam Boat unloaded the cotton on the bank, & the Capt took us, the Army, over the river.
Confrontation with Mrs. Mann over her oxen. We were all day a crossing the river with our waggons, horses & oxen. Then we moved on out. Mr Dunahoes, & Mrs Mann, with her two waggons & teams was at Mr Groces. General Houston, got a yoke of oxen from Mrs Mann to help the cannon a long. There had bin a greatdel of rain & roads was very bad. Mrs Mann said to general Houston, general, if you are going on the Nacogdoches road you can have my oxen, but if you go the other to Harrisburg you have them, for I want them myself. Houston said well I am the Nacogdoches road but he did not say how far he would go on it. Any how the oxen come, & we started. A bout 6 miles on the road they forked, & the Harrisburg road turned to the right, all most rightagle down east & we got a bout 10 or 12 miles down the road, and Mrs Mann over took us, out on the big prairie wallow & full of water, & a very hot day. She rode up to the general & said, general you tole me a d-m lie, you said that was going on the Nacogdoches road. Sir I want my oxen. Well Mrs Man cant spare them. We cant git our cannon a long with out them dont care a d-m for your cannon, I want my oxen. She had a pare of holster pistols on her saddle pummel & a very large kinfe on her saddle. She turned a round to the oxen, & jumpt down with knife & cut the raw hide tug that the chane was tide with. The log chane hook was broke & it was tide with raw hide. No body said a word. She jumpt on her horse with whipin hand, & away she went in a lope with her oxen. Capt Rover rode up to general Houston, & said general we cant git a long with out them oxen, the cannon is don boged down. Well we have to get a long the best we can, the general said. Well general I will go and bring them back. He said well. The Capt & a nother man started back for the oxen. The Capt got a hundred yeard or so, & the general up in his saddle, & hollowed, Capt Rover that woman will fite. The Capt said d-m her fiteing.
Houston jumpt down off his horse and said come Boys, les git this cannon out of the mud. The mud was very near over his boot top. He put his shoulder to wheel, and 8 or 10 men more lade holt, & out she come, & on we went, & got down a bout 6 miles & campt at big mot of timber. A bout 9 or 10 o'clock Capt Rover came in to camp, & he did not bring any oxen Boys hollowed out, hai Capt where is your oxen. She would not let me have them. How come yore shirt tore so, & some of the Boys would say how come your shirt tore so, & some of the boys would say Mrs Mann tore it off him. What was that for. She wanted it for baby rags. Capt Rover was our waggon master.
With the rear guard at Harrisburg and the Battle of San Jacinto. Well next morning we put out & got down in a bout 6 miles of Harrisburg, & campt, at a little mot of timber, & next morning got to the river oposit Harrisburg & campt. A bout an hour or so afte camping Deaf Smith come in to camp, & brought word of Sant Anna. He was going down for New Washington, on the San Jacin Bay. Houston gave orders to move at day light in the morning, at the brake of day. All up, breakfast over, the general told Major McNutt to gard the bagage waggon. The word was fall in, fall in & the cannon was hiched up & the lines formed & we got started. Major Mc Nutt haled the general, you ordered me to gard the bagage, what will I gard with. Where is your men. Here. How many. 10 or 12. Well call a detale & there was 10 men from each company. Merideth Hunget two other Boys & myself was together with a capt & we was called out & had to stay with the waggons. The Army went on down to San Jacinto. That evening Ben Fulcher & James Wells come in to camp with a prisiner, a currer with dispaches to Sant Anna. Major Mc Nutt sent them on down to Houston. The Major was a frade to gard him, & chaned him to tree. He was the liveles sort of fellow. All next day we had a heap fun with him. Every one that could taulk Spanish was around him, develing him. We had him in camp 2 nights, & the next day whish was the 21, General Coss past on down threw Harrisburg, & Major McNutt gave orders not to fire a gun, but be quiet. One of the Boys below camp a peace fired a cros at them, & Cosss Men fired at us & wounded one of our men in the ancle, & they set fire to the town & burned down the steam mill. Coss went down to crost the bridge 2 or 3 hours befor it was burnt. Sant Anna had come up from New Washington & camp on the rige. When Coss got in to Sant Annas Camp, a bout 3 oclock in the evening, we hered a cannon fire, & a nother & a nother, three fired in sussesston, & stopt. About 2 minutes a nother fired, & the little twin sisters comenced. They popt like popcorn in a oven, & we could here the small arms very plane. Our prisiner was the livelest fellow you ever seen while the cannon was firing. As soon as the big gun stopt, he becum sulkey & would not talk. We wanted to know what was the mater. It was a long time before he would talk, & he said that Sant Anna was whipt. How do you know. I dont here his guns.
The next day on the field of San Jacinto. Between sun down & dark, a currer come up & brought the word, & by times in the morning we were under way for the Battle ground a bout 8 miles distant. We got thear a bout 11 oclock, & we went out to the Battle ground & looked at the ded Mexicans. Where there cannon stud for a bout 12 or 15 feet the Mexicans lay 3 or 4 deck. They did git to fire there cannon but 3 times. Our men shot them down as fast as they could git to the gun. Our men took there loded gun, turned it on them & shot them with their own gun, & they give up. General Houston gave orders not to kill any more but to take prisners. Capt Easlen said Boys take prisners, you know how to take prisners, take them with the but of your guns, club guns, & said remember the Alamo & remember Laberde, & club guns, right & left, & nocked there brains out. The Mexicans would fall down on there kneens, & say me no Alamo me no Laberde. There was a mudy laggune, a bout 4 or 5 hundred yeards south of the Battle field a bout 15 or 20 yeards wide, & the Mexicans broke, & they run for that laggune & man & horse went in head & ears to the bottom, in a bout 18 feet of boly mud. It was said that Sant Annas money chest was throwed in there, & a pasel of us Boys went & cut out some poles 6 or 7 feet long, probed down to finde the money & we could not finde bottom, & got some poles 10 or 12 feet long. We could feel the ded horses, & I expect men, but no bottom, & we gave it up. That laggune was full of men & horses for a bout 20 or 30 feet up & down it, & non of them ever got out. I think there bones are laying there yet.
The land that the Battle was fought on was the property of a widow woman Mrs McCormac an irish woman. She came to camp to see General Houston. She wanted to know if he was a going to take them ded Mexicans off my leg. They hant me the longes day I live. Houston told her no, he wanted Sant Anna to bury them, & he would not. Sant Anna said that it was not a Battle, that he cald it a massacre. Plage on him. What did he call the Alamo & Laberde.
Guarding the prisoner Santa Anna. I seen Joel W Roberson & Silvester & Bostic bringing Sant Anna. They come by the Mexicans that was under gard. You could not have heard it thunder for the shouts from the prisoners, exclaming, vive, vive, vive, Sant Anna. That was that Sant Anna lived, was a live. The men took Sant Anna down to General Houston, & Sant Anna asked in Spanish if there was any one present that could speak Spanish, & Moses Austin Bryant, & a little man by the name of Baker, responded, & Sant Anna asked for Almonta. Baker went up to the gard and cald for Almonta, & he got up & answered to his name. When Almonta got there, it looked like the hole Army had geathered there. General Houston ordered Sant Annas tent to be put up, & it was put in a bout 10 or 12 feet of Houstons tent. There was a large tree had bloed up by the roots, Houston tent was on one side of the log, & Sant Anna tent was on other of log. I & Merdith Tunget, stud by that log & garded Sant Anna. It come to our lot to gard him several times.
General Wool from the Mexican Army at Richmond come under a flag of truce to Houston & to see Sant Anna. Houston told Wool that he had made a treaty with Sant Anna. Wool said you cant make a treaty with a prisoner, Sant Anna is a prisner. Houston said I have & it shall stand. General Wool stade that night, & next morning a bout 9 or 10 oclock in the morning he left for Richmond in Fort Bend Co, & the next day a bout 3 oclock in the evening the Mexicans baggae took fire. The baggae was all geathered up & piled all in one big pile, saddles, blankets, & all kind of clothing gun powder, araphahoes or pack saddles. Thare was small Boy looking at the pistols & snaping them, & the gard told him that he mite do some damage & to leave. The Boy said that they were not loaded, & one went off a moest the guns. The powder was scatered all over the ground. He was snaping the pistole in a mongst a pile of guns & set the hole pile a fire, & it was for a few minutes like a little battle. Tunget & myself was on gard that day, & we were garden Sant Anna. We were by the log that was bifore Sant Annas door when the firing comenced on the hill, & Sant Anna broke for the doore. We jurked up our guns, & presented them at his brest, & tolde him to halt. He got within 2 feet of the door, & stopt, & looked up strate in our eyes. We had our guns cocked on him. In a minute we seen what it was. Every body jumpt for his gun, caws we thought that Col Ugawtechea & General Fillasola, & General Wool had come from Richmond & had attacked us. We did not know what Wool & Sant Anna had talked a bout from the time that Wool left the morning before, at 9 or 10 oclock in the morning & 3 in the evening when the fire took place, would make it about 28 or 30 hours, which wold give them plenty of time to come from Richmond, a bout 30 miles. There is one thing a bout it, I know we were pritty badley scared.
We stade at the battle ground 5 or 6 days & the ded Mexicans began to smell so that we moved camp. We moved up the River to Dr Pattrick place a bout 6 miles. General Sam Houston gave us a big talk, or a speech & a Farewell & he left for Galveston, on his way to New Orleans for Medical treatment of his leg or ancle, where he was shot in the Battle at San Jacinto, on the 21 day of April 1836.
Lieutenant McAlister, & Capt Birds Company never got in to camps untill the next day after the Battle was fought. They had to cros over the burnt brige on Vineces bayo, & they put in 2 big fine logs, swam there horses over, & then walked over on the logs. My Brother John had the measels, & he was on the log. It turned over, & he had his gun & wallet with him, & when he fell in to Buyo 12 feet water he dropt his gun. They got his wallet & clothes out. He went back & dove down to the bottom, & got his gun. He took sick all of a suden, & the Boys took him up to Mr Vinces house, & made a fire, & 2 men stade with him & they came to camp, & the Lieutenant McAlister told me. I got my horse & put out for him. When I got there, they had left for camp on a nother road, & I mist them. When I got to camp, I found him very sick. I got Dr. Youin to him. The steam boat had just come up from Galveston, & the Dr told me to go & see if I could git some whiskey, & make him a stew or a hot toddy, & I went down to the boat. I could not git it, & got my Lieutenant & went back, but of no use. I could not git it. I got a bottle of cider, for which I pade $2.00. Brother John was very very sick, & I sleep with him all the time, & I never had the meassels, but I never took them.
Return to Fort Bend and encounter with Capt. Baker. The day before we left camp for the West, Ben Fulcher & James Wells, come in from the Brasos Fort Bend. They were sent to Richmond, to see if the Mexican Army had moved off West, or not. They had left. Fulcher & Wells come by our place, & they told me that Father had not got back yet, & he had some fine corn, & the cattle was distroying it. I went to Lieutenant McAlister, & got a furlow to go by & see to the place. Brother John & myself went there & fond Capt Mosley Baker there with his hole company, & his horses all in the yeard, & one end of the corn crib tore down, & all of his horses in the corn, & 30 or 40 head of hogs in the corn, & I got to snorting & cussing & Baker wanted to know what athority I had to order him off the place. I told him that was my fathers place, & that I had the right to take care of it. Just at that time Capt James Perry came up behind me, & slapt me on the shoulders & said, go to it Bob. I look behind me & there was my old Capt. I never was so glad in my life. Capt Perry said, Capt Baker this Dr Hunters Son, & he has a right to defend his property & further Capt Baker, all of the famelys in this cuntry is depending on this corn for there bread. Is this Dr Hunter place. I said yes. Well, I know the Dr. They left that evening & Capt Perry, Johnnie & myself set in & put up the corn, & pached up the crib as well as we could, & fixt the fence, & drove out the cattle. My horse took sick, & I could not ride him. I had to join the Army at Richmond next day. Capt Perry said Bob go up to Mr Cartrights & git one of his horses, I know Mr Cartright wont care. I went & got one, but it was wilde, & out pitched the world. Next morning, Brother John & myself saddled up & left for the Army over at Richmond. In the evening, I staked my mare out, & we campt a bove Richmond on the bluff. The priria come bluff up the river, & I staked my mare in a few feet of the bank, & in the morning I went to git the mare, & she was gon. I went to the bank & looked down, & she was seting down in the mud & water half way to her hips, hanging by the rope. The rope was long enough to reach from the stake to the water. She looked to me like she was ded. I cald some of the Boys close by to help me, & we went down to her, & she was a live. We shoved her out in the water, & made her swim down the River 4 or 5 hundred yeard before we could finde a place to git her up. It gentled her. I saddled her up, & she never jumpt a bit.
I was taken very sick, with bowel complaint, & Lieutenant McAlister told me that I had better go home, that I would not be needed, that we were just going on to see the Mexicans off out of the country, & I would advise you to go home. I will give a discharge to you, & have it counter signed by general Rusk & Felix Houston, & it will be all right. I did so, got my discharge, & left Brother John with Army, & went home, crost the River, & calculated to go to Mr Cartrights. I heard that he had got home, & I would stay there untill father got home, but on my way home I met Brother Thomas, going to Richmond to Thomas Bordens to git some salt. Thare was 3 or 4 hundred bushels of salt & the Mexican burnt the gin down & there was the salt in a grate pile. Tomas told me that father & sister Harriet & black Harriet had come home. I was proud, to git home. I was very sick for several days. We all eat super & breakfast on the table with clabbord for dishes, & drank coffee in our camp cups. When father left in what is cald the runaway scrape, he took all of his kitchen & tabble ware over in the bottom in a cane brak & hid it. We went over next morning, & got all the pots & dishes, & some tools & one thing & a nother that he had hid in the cane brake.
When the people got home, some of them found something that they had left, & some found nothing, & a good many, no bread. They heard that Father had corn, & Father let every one have what they wanted, at 50 cents a bushel. Some of the fameleys had lost everything, & Father gave them corn & did not charge them anything. Down the Brassos corn sold for one dollar a bushel, & up at Fosters & on up to San Felipe a dollar a bushel.
Return to the Sabine for the family, meeting Alamo Widow Floyd. Well, the Army left for the west. At Texana they were disbanded & Brother John came home, & in September Brother Thomas & myself went to the Sabine for Mother & the children. They were at Claiborne West on the bank of the Sabine River. I got up the teams. We had 4 yoak of oxen & big waggon & 2 horses & buggy. I drove the ox waggon & Thomas the buggie. We got to Naches, & campt & Mrs Floyed drove up & asked if she could camp with us. Yes. She was from San Antonio. Her husband was kild in the Alamo, & she was now tryin to git back. We started. Next morning took Naches bottom, & we got a bout half mile & run over a stump. The water was from a foot to eighteen inches deep, & new cut road & as the brush was piled on ach side of the road. My waggon tipt over on a broush pile, & did not spill anything out. I took lead steers & took my chanes & rope & tide one end to a fore wheel & the other to the hinde wheel, & my chanes I hiched to my rope, & pulled my waggon all over right & then we went on a bout 4 miles, water all the way & come to a hichory ridge. We just got out of the water, & Mrs. Floyeds cart broke down, one wheel mashed all to peaces. The wheel was roten I looked at it. We all stopt. Mrs Floyed was crying, & did not know what to do. I went to mother, & told her that I thought I could fix it. Well Robert if you think you can go at it, we must try & git her a long if we can. She had 2 old, very old negroes, man & a woman, & she had a young man by the name of Uria Anderson to drive her cart, by her haulin his trunk a long. I said Mr Anderson, you cut 2 or 3 of them little hichorys down. I took masure off the tyer, & told the old negro to heat it. I had my chest of tools in the waggon, & I had plenty of tools. I comenced & chisled the old roten spokes out. I cut some little hichory poles, cut them the right lengh for spokes, trimed them & drove them in the hub. Anderson split his peaces. I struk a circukel on my spokes, sawed them off, bowed my fellows, & put them, & slapt on the tyer, & cooled her off, & started, & we campt at the River that night.
We traveld 7 miles that day & filled a cart wheel with green sapplings. We here had to ferry down a barge 5 miles to the River Naches, & we had to drive our oxen threw sypers swamp 5 miles to the River to swim them over. We got all over but my lead steers sulked in the River, & I got on the yoak & pushed there head under water, & they made a plung, & struke me in the temple with his horne, & I fel off in the water. The oxen went a shore, & I floated down a peace & struck a vine that was hanging from a tree that was hanging over the River & grabed the vine, clum up to the top of the water, I had swallowed, & when got to my self, I was hanging to the vine, as sick as I could live. Mr Anderson was back on the bank & he could not swim a lick, & the River between us. He hollowed a cros to me to look out, for the alagator was in 10 or 15 feet of me. I splashed water at him, & he sunk. I drawed my feet up on the vine, & gave a push & I went a shore, a bout 15 feet, & lay there a bout 2 hours, sick as a dog, & throwing up. I had hobbled my oxen, & I had to bring them over one at a time. The last one, I did not hobble, & no boat in 5 miles of us & that a ferry flat, & it 5 miles up the buyo. I hollowed a cros to Anderson to git the ropes & tiye them togeaher & come out in the water as far as he could, & I would try & swim to him, & he faled to throw the ropes to me & I started & got about 1/4 over, & I give out, & commenced sinking. I thought of treding water & turned my feet down, & was in four feat of water. There was a ridge or bar in the middle of the River. Well, I expect there was 20 alagaters in the River. We got back to the waggons after dark.
It took us all day to bring the 3 waggons down & git over, & I had to pay the ferry man 7 dollars to cros us, & I did not have a cent. Mrs Floyed had some money, & I got it from her, & I paid it when we got home. We campt at the pririe a bout a quarter of a mile. Next day we got to the pine-ilands, & there Mrs Floydes other wheel gave way. Old man Yoakum lived at Pine-ilands, & he had a wooden cart & tryed to swap our cart for it, & he wanted 15 dollar to boot. I told Mrs Floyde that I would not give it. Well what will we do. Well, said I, hold on a little. I said Mr Anderson git your ax & we can cut one of those pines. Mr Yoakum said, I dont want any of them cut down. Said I, all right. It was six miles back to a point of timber on the Nataches bottom. Mr Anderson take a yoak of oxen a chane & go to that point & cut me a big log, as much as the oxen can pull. He got back a little before night. I split spokes & fellows out of it & by 12 oclock next day we are on our way. Just as we left Mr Yoakum come down & said, well I see you are in rather a bad fix. If you want to swap, I will take 10 dollars to boot. I said no, I have the wheel, so I think she will go all wright. He looked at it, ah no that wont go 5 miles, & leave you in the big priria. You had better take me up. I said no that wheel will go all right, & did take her home to Gonzales.
Well we got on to what is cald Willow Mares & there 2 of them one a bout half a mile, the other a bout 2 hundred yeards, & when we got there, it took us all day to cros. We had to dobble teams & 50 yeards at a time. You could not see the hub of the waggon wheels, & went on to the next. It was the same way. Well we all got over safe, & then on to Liberty on trinity, & then on down the River, to a bout 7 miles of its mouth. There we crost at a ferry boat. We crost the Trinity River & what is cald old river. All over safe, we went on to Little seder Bayo, & there we had to go around the mouth of that bayo on the west a bout one mile & half. It was staked all the way around, & the water was a bout one foot deep. With our oxen, we had to take one waggon at a time, and all hands at that. The oxen was afraid of the water, & all over it took us 2 days to git to San Jacinto Ferry. All over safe, we put out for the Brassos Fort Bend Co. & in two days & half we made it home. We went threw the Battle ground & seen lots of Mexicans bones. After we got home & rested up some, I took Mrs Floyeds cart & huded off most of the surples, bark & wood, & made it some tighter. It was an auffel looking cart. Well Father ground her 5 bushels of meal, & we kild a beef & barbacued it, gave her as much as she wanted, & left for home in Gonzales. She wrote back to us, or to Mother, & said that old cart last her safe home, & she was thankfull.
Well our Army went up to Texana & was all distchard & went home. Well, belive this closes my carrer, of the Texas war. I wish this to be published for it is most all persnell, of myself. Your Father
The Grass Fight at Bexar. P.S. I omited a little itom the grass fite. I was at the grass fite, at San Antonio in 1835. The Battle was foght in a small pririe on the Bank of a hollow. There was a bout 75 or 80 mules, with packs of hay on them. You could see the mules noses & feet. We took advantage of the pack mules, & got on the mexicans befor they seen us. The Mexicans backed down in the hollow, which was a bout 10 or 12 feet deep. We were not more than 15 feet a part. We shot at a angle of a bout 45 degrees down at them & we kild some 35 or 40 Mexicans. We got a man slightly wounded. A Mr Murphy was hit with a spent ball, from a cross firing, from a reinforcement of Mexicans from town. He was hit in the fore head. He stagered over on Daniel Perry, our Capts Brother. I was standing next to Perry. Perry said are you hurt. He said no, & put his hand up on his forred, & then behinde, & looked at his hand. Blood threw & threw by gad, & commenced loding his gun. We had to leave on doubble quick, a bout 15 hundred Cavelry, wright on us. Washeres was up on a tornt of a ridge, & he would wave his hat the way for us to go. In the chaperal we could not see the Mexicans, but he could, & gave us signs how to go. We got down to the River at a ford, & just as we got over, the whole Cavelry tried to cut us off from the ford. We gave them a shot or two, but I tell you we got on dubble quick. Capt Perry & Capt Eberley of Brasoria, we had a bout 150 men, & our guns no a count, little dobble barrels shot guns. Some men had rifels. I had a Harperferry yauger. The lock was tide on with a buck skin string & the stock & barrel was tide to geather with buckskin strings, & the Mexicans had fine muskets. We had a bad show for our lives, 8 or 10 men to one, a ganst us, but I tell you we pulled threw. After we took General Coss & the town of San Antonio we were all dischard, & come home, & were cald out agane to meat Sant Anna. This I have stated before.
Addendum probably added in later years:
Land bounty for pay and its disposition. For all of our troubles, in our Mexican war, the soulders got well paid. We got a 320 acre certificate, for services at San Antonio in 1835, & 320 acre land certificate for services rendered at San Jacinto April 1836 & we also got a 640 acre certificate for a gift, & exicuton could run a ganst it, to have to hold it for yourself & your children for ever. The next year after this was granted to the soldiers, the legislator change the law, for this reason, that the government had no money for the soldiers, & volenters from the old states, that came to help us, was all dischared, & they all got those land certificates. They had to be located in Texas. The soldiers could not use them, in the old states. Therefor, they had to sell them for what they could git. They would let merchants have 320 acre certificates for a par of pants & the 640 acre certificate. Then we could all sell our 640 acre certificate.
In 1874, the Legislator granted the soldiers a cupon bond, for 9 hundred dollars. The cupons bond was numbered, from one to 30, & cut out a cupon, & send to Austin & the comptrolo would send you 90 dollars this way every year until the 30 years run out, but the Legislator made no approprition to pay off those cupons, & the merchants & speculators, begin to buy those bonds, at a bout 50 cents on the dollar & got down to 25 cents on a dollar. The banker took them at a bout 25 or 30 cents on the dollar. Old uncle John Linn tryed to keep me from selling mine, but I was to big a fool to listen at him, & he said that the Legislator would make appropration & pay them all off, but we would not believe it. I sold mine & got 50 cents on the dollar, & next year the Legislator made an appropration to pay off those bonds. Was a preamum given of 21/2 to 30 dollars on a cupon. Mine was gone, & in 1885, the Legislator made an approption of twelve hundred & eighty acres of land, for each old soulder. I sold mine for 25 cents per acre. I got 320 dollars for it. I located 320 acre certificate up at the driping springs in Galaspa, Co. I sold it for one dollar per acre, & is now worth 30 dollars per acre. I sold my 640 acre gift, on the plumb creek, sold it for one half for 50 cents, an acre, & the other half for one dollar per acre, & It it now worth 35 dollars per acre. It lays in 4 miles of Lockhart. I sold 1 Labore of land on the Brassos, on irons Creek, 4 miles of old San Felipt, a havy peach & cane brake. I sold it for one dollar per acre. I bought a hundred & thirty acres of land on the Sangeranamo in Gaudeloupe Co, 2 miles below Seguine, for one dollar per acre, & my Father in law, & myself put up a saw mill & grist mill on it. I made a goodeal of money on it, & lost a goodeal money on it, & we sold the mills for 30 dollars. Heigh water washed it all a way. The man that bought it rebuild it, & finley the hole concern washed, all washed off, & in 3 or 4 years after words I sold my land for 6 dollars per acre, to a duchman. He has bin ofered time & a gane, 30 dollars per acre, & will not take it. I had one third of League of land up on pecan buge in Brown Co, 1476 acres. I gave that to my children, so that lets me out of all my land business, except one hundred & sixty 4 acres over on the Yeguas in Lee, Co.