Short Memoirs & Sketches from Old Texians
Santa Anna's First Interview with General Houston by H.P. Brewster. From Henry Foote's Texas and Texans, vol. 2, 1841. The following account of Santa Anna's first interview with General Houston, has been handed to me for insertion. It was written by H. P. Brewster, Esq., a gentleman, as I learn, of great respectability, in the State of South Carolina, and he signs himself "H. P. Brewster, of Laurens District." There are several pariculars stated by Mr. Brewster, in addition to the interview scene, which may gratify the curiosity of some of my readers.
H. P. BREWSTER, Laurens District, S. C.
"Señor God demme,"--Anecdote of the battle of San Jacinto. Lamar Papers No. 1666. On the day after the battle, a Mexican belonging to the Texan service who was dressed as an American, was reconnoitering the prisoners and on approaching a number of females who had been taken among the others, one of them throwing herself into the posture of a suppliant addressed him as follows; "Señor God demme (God damn) no me mata por el amor de Dios y por la villa cle su madrecita! " On being answered in her own language she turned to her sister & said, "Hermanita! mira! ese señor Godemme habla la lingua cristiana como nosotros!" [Mr. God damn don't kill me, for the love of God and for the life of your dear mother!---Look here sister this Mr. God damn speaks the Christian Language like us!]
Quien vive! En eso andamos, en ver quien vive.
Abram Gosnay, he aided Brown, Miller, Teal & Carnes off from Matamoros. [Endorsed] Anecdote of San Jacinto.
Adventures and Recollections of General Walter P. Lane. Starting from Wheeling, Va., in the fall of 1836, on my way to Texas, I stopped at Louisville, Ky., where my brother, Wade Lane, then lived. He partly put the notion of Texas out of my head, and gave me a clerkship in his house. He and I boarded at Chief Justice Marshall's. In a few months two gentlemen from Texas came to Louisville, Gen. Stephen F. Austin and Dr. Branch T. Archer. Judge Marshall introduced me to them, telling them of my wish to go to Texas. They invited me to their hotel and gave me all information about Texas, and letters to Gen. Sam. Houston and Gov. Smith. I started for New Orleans, via Red River, for Texas. On the way down I was put in a state-room with a nice, straightlaced Episcopal minister. Out of politeness I gave him the lower berth; (from boyhood till I was twenty-five years of age I was a somnambulist). Late in the night, in our room, I raised a fearful cry of "Murder!" "Indians, kill them, kill them." The old gentleman got out of his bed, but as he put his feet on the floor I fell down on top of him. He tried to shake me off, but I thought he was the "Big Brave." I was fighting in my sleep, and "pitched in" to him. He shouted "Murder! Help!" A party of young men, who were playing poker in the cabin, broke open the door, pulled me off of him, and abused me for attacking an old gentleman. I made no answer, when one of them---a doctor---flashed a candle before my eyes and said: "He is asleep." They woke me and I apologized to the minister; but nothing would induce him to sleep in that state-room, although I offered to vacate and get a bed somewhere else. He said "No; for you might come back in your sleep." So the steward made him a bed on the cabin floor.
I stayed in New Orleans a few days, saw some sights, and started for Natchitoches; thence on foot seventy-five miles to San Augustine, Texas. I reached the latter place with about six bits in my pocket. They were making up a company to join Gen. Houston, and a man who had joined and did not wish to go, gave me a fine horse, double-barreled gun, and a brace of pistols to take his place. I was all right, then; joined Capt. Kimbrough's company, and was unanimously elected 2nd sergeant next day. We marched to Nacogdoches, where the citizens begged Capt. K. to remain, as they daily expected an attack from the Cherokee Indians, who, it was said, had joined the Mexicans. We stayed a week, but as no Indians came, the Captain sent me on to Houston with dispatches, and a written order to press horses when mine gave out. I never tried that game but once. The second day my horse was tired, so I rode up to a house and told the owner I was compelled to press a fine horse I saw in the yard, showing him my dispatches and the order. He said: "Hold on a minute and I will show you an order against my horse being pressed." He went in the house and came out with his big son and two double-barreled shot guns, and told me to "git," or they would put thirty buck shot through me. I compromised; I told them if they resisted legal authority I had nothing further to say. They then told me to "git" down, stake my horse, and stay all night. The old man said to me at supper: "Sonny, never try that 'dodge' again in Texas." I did not.
After leaving Nacogdoches, on the third day, while going through a thicket, six Indians rode into the road in front of me and halted me. I came near falling off my horse, as they were the first Indians I had ever seen. One of them said "Howdy," rode up to me, and remarked: "You got good gun, me want to see him," and reached out for my double-barrel. I waved him back, and cocked one barrel, and told him: "No see." I pulled my horse to one side and went around them, when they all burst into a laugh and said: "White man skeered." God knows I was. They did not trouble me any further, much to my delight. I got to Houston's camp, at Gross' retreat, where he had some fifteen hundred men. He was in full march to fight Santa Anna. I gave him my letter from Gen. Austin and Dr. Archer. He treated me kindly---said "stay here with me." In a few minutes men came in and said: "General, we want a furlough; our families are in danger and we want to move." The General gave me the countersign and said: "Lane, pass them out of the line." In a couple of days I got tired of acting aid, and asked permission to join Capt. Henry Karns' spy company. We started in advance, crossed the Buffalo bayou at Lynchburg, and encamped on the other side. I was detailed as a sentinel that night---my first military performance.
The sergeant stationed me one-half mile from camp in a wood; told me to keep awake, as the Mexicans might be on me at any minute. He said: "You can hear their drums now." I did. I was pondering the situation, in front of the enemy, didn't know the way back to camp, and it was dark as pitch. Just then I heard a rush in front of me. Here they come, I thought. I got behind a tree, cocked both barrels, and cried: "Give the countersign, or I fire." A cow marched by me. I almost dropped in my tracks. Presently the relief came round. I heard the sergeant say: "Don't make a noise; I want to give that boy a 'skeer'." They could not see me. I got behind a tree and called "who comes there," three times, and "answer, or I'll shoot." The sergeant hallooed: "Hold, don't shoot; it's the relief." So I got even on that deal, and turned the laugh on the sergeant. Next night we marched down the bayou, opposite the enemy, camped on the bank in the timber; Santa Anna some two miles up on the prairie, his right wing in a skirt of timber, and in his rear San Jacinto Lake. Next morning news came that some fifty Mexicans were a mile below us foraging. Gen. Rusk, with two hundred men, went down and surprised them and took their boats, with supplies for their army, and compelled them to cross the bayou to escape capture. They got into a house on the opposite bank. Rusk asked for two men to swim over and bring a perogue back for the men to cross and capture them. Wm. Crittenden and myself volunteered. The stream was some one hundred yards wide. We neared the shore below the house. I was getting tired, but suddenly a big alligator put his head up, some ten feet from me, to see what was the matter. The surprise was mutual. The alligator dived in front of me, as I thought to get one of my hind legs, and I fairly flew ashore. We crept up under the bank and got one of the boats, the Mexicans firing at us till we got in mid-stream, when we got into it and rowed ashore. Rusk put in twenty men, who went over and captured the Mexicans without firing a gun. Just then the enemy opened on our camp with artillery. Rusk ordered us all to return to camp, as he thought the enemy was going to attack. We answered their fire with our two pieces---the twin sisters. The only damage done was that our Chief of Artillery, old Col. Neal, was wounded by a shell. He was asked, years afterwards, by a lady: "Colonel, where were you wounded?" He answered, like the Dutchman, who rushed in the house one night hallooing "I'm snake bit!" The woman asked "Where?" He answered: "I'm bit, and that is sufficient."
About 10 o'clock Deaf Smith said to me "Lane, Gen. Houston wants to know the enemy's force; you have a good horse, come with me." We went round to the rear of Santa Anna's camp. Smith pulled out his field glass, told me to hold his horse, and commenced counting tents to get an estimate of their numbers. We were three hundred yards off. The enemy ran out a company of soldiers and commenced firing on us. The balls whistled over our heads---greatly to my demoralization---but Smith did not notice them. Presently a company of cavalry dashed out. Smith, raising his glass, said: "Lane think them fellows are shooting at us; let us git." I never obeyed an order more cheerfully in my life, as for twenty minutes while under fire I expected to be murdered at each round. We got to camp and Smith reported to Gen. Houston.
That evening (20th of April 1836,) Col. Sherman went out to feel the enemy with some two hundred cavalry. We got in half a mile of their line, when their cavalry came out to interview us. They got within two hundred yards, halted and formed. The officers rode out in front, waved their swords and cried: "Mericannas, Vene Usted!" (come here.) We did. The word was passed: "Are all ready for a charge?" "All ready." "Charge!" rang out, and we went through them like a stroke of lightning, chased them back to their infantry, and then fell back out of their fire. They reinforced and followed us out, and challenged us again. We charged, routed and drove them back on their infantry the second time. My horse---a powerful animal---had got excited, and, having more zeal than discretion, took the bit in his teeth, and ran me headlong into the midst of the enemy, much to my disgust. The order was given to retreat. I was unanimously in favor of it, but my horse wanted to go through. A Mexican officer settled the difficulty by cutting at my head with his sabre. I threw up my gun and warded off the blow. My gun was empty. I drew a holster pistol, aimed at his head and pulled trigger. It missed fire; he tucked his head down to avoid the shot, when I hit him over the head with the pistol, knocking him senseless. Just then a big Mexican lancer charged me in the side, running me through the shoulder with his lance, observing: "Carajo Americana, (d--n the Americans) and knocked me ten feet off my horse. I fell on my head, stunned and senseless. Gen. Lamar rode up to succor me, shot the Mexican, and, thinking I was dead, fell back with the command. My comrades had got some forty yards, retreating, when I regained consciousness and my feet at the same time. Twenty Mexicans were round me when I rose, but it so surprised them to see a dead boy rise to his feet and run like a buck, that I got ten steps before they fired at me. Capt. Karns saw me coming, and ordered his company to wheel and fire on my pursuers, which they did, killing a few, when the balance halted. An old man told me: "son, get up behind; I recon' the old mar kin take us both out." I did. (She was a sorrel mare and thin in flesh; I would know her hide if it was dried on a fence even now, and she had the sharpest backbone it has ever been my fortune to straddle.) Gen. Houston, thinking we were bringing on a general engagement, sent out his infantry to support us. We got behind them, but, as the enemy retired, both parties went back to camp. Dr. Goode, our orderly sergeant, dressed my wound; it was not dangerous, but painful. The lance had gone nearly through my shoulder-blade.
Next day there was commotion in camp. Gen Cos had reinforced Santa Anna during the night with six hundred cavalry. The men wanted to fight. Gen. Filasola, with the main Mexican army, was some eighty miles off, and if he joined Santa Anna we would be "rubbed out." Gen. Houston wanted to wait a few days for reinforcements. He told them that he had couriers from several companies---all hurrying on that would be there in two days. He was right; but the men sent up their officers, demanding fight. So fight it was. We marched out about 4 o'clock in the afternoon to attack the enemy, to the tune, by drum and fife, of, "The Girl I Left Behind Me." When we got in half a mile of them their artillery and infantry opened on us, but as we were going up a slight ascent, they overshot us. We never fired a gun till we got within forty yards. The order rang out: "Halt, fire and charge." We did. In a second we were into them with guns, pistols and bowie knives, and there arose the cry of: "Remember the Alamo!" In a short time they were running like turkeys, whipped and discomfited. As we charged into them the General commanding the Tampico Battalion (their best troops) tried to rally his men, but could not. He drew himself up, faced us, and said in Spanish: "I have been in forty battles and never showed my back; I am too old to do it now." Gen. Rusk hallooed to his men: "don't shoot him," and knocked up some of their guns; but others ran round and riddled him with balls. I was sorry for him. He was an old Castillian gentleman, Gen. Castrillo.
As we charged through their camp I heard a row in a hospital tent. It was a countryman of mine. A wounded officer was lying on a cot, and four or five soldiers under it hiding, and my countryman was exclaiming to them: "Bring out the chist, or be J---- I'll blow ye brains out." It was a medicine chest; he thought it was the army treasury. I told him of his mistake and got him out. We chased the enemy to the lake; they took to water, like ducks, to swim across, our men firing at their heads. They had gone some fifty yards when some one cried for us to stop firing. We did so. He hailed the Mexicans in Spanish and told them to come back and we would not hurt them. They returned, and, as they neared the shore, he said: "Now boys, give it to them," which they did, killing some two hundred. I never fired a shot.
About sundown we returned to camp with the prisoners. Detachments of cavalry were sent out to capture more. They came in at all hours of the night and next day, with squads of prisoners. Two men would bring from ten to twenty. Late in the day some three men brought in a lot and put them in what we called the bull pen, which was a space enclosed with ropes and pack saddles round it a guard to keep them in. As these last were put in the pen there was a great outcry from the Mexicans of "Santa Anna, Presidenta Heneral!" Some of the officers who understood Spanish knew it was Santa Anna whom we had captured. He was in common soldier's uniform. He was taken to Gen. Houston's tent, under a strong guard. The General had ropes put around the tent to keep off the men while he interviewed him. The General was lying on a cot, with his leg broken. He pointed Santa Anna to a stool, and called for Moses Austin Bryan, his interpreter. Santa Anna was asked who he was. He clasped both hands over his knees to brace himself (for five hundred men with guns in their hands and vengeance in their eyes were glaring at him outside the ropes) and replied: "I am Don Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the Emperor of the North; but you, Gen. Houston, are greater than I am for you have conquered the Emperor of the North." The soldiers, remembering Fannin's massacre, the Alamo, and other defeats we had sustained, where our men had surrendered to superior numbers under the most solemn promise of being treated as prisoners of war, wanted then and there to take Santa Anna out and hang him. It was all Gen. Houston and others could do to keep them from it. Houston represented to them that now we could treat with Mexico, who would, through the influence of Santa Anna, grant us our independence. They consented, with great reluctance, to spare his life. Gen. Houston had a guard placed around Santa Anna's tent, day and night. A few days after the battle I was on guard, marching up and down in front of his tent. It was then I had my first interview with him. He was sitting in the door of his tent, smoking. He observed to me, blandly, in Spanish: "Sentinel, Yousta care for un Cigaro." I did not know a word of Spanish but I understood pretty quickly that he wanted to give me a cigar; which he did and a light also. That was the last private conference I ever had with Don Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.
The third day afterwards I was elected 2nd Lieutenant of Karns' Spy Company, quite an honor, too, for a 19-year old boy, for it was composed of such men as Deaf Smith, Walsh and Field Secrets, John Crocer, Perry Allsberry, and other famous scouts. Some two months before the battle of San Jacinto, my old friend, Col. Sam W. McKneely, was with a company down on the coast, near Copano. Their camp was surprised in the night by a large force of Mexicans. As he ran out he was struck on the back of his head with a sword by a Mexican, severing the scalp on the back of his head, which fell down on his shoulders. The blow knocked him senseless. When he recovered consciousness, he found that, verily, he was in the hands of the Phillistines, being tied hand and foot. The Mexicans sewed up his scalp, and a few days after he was sent a prisoner to Matamoras, where he was placed in a dungeon. He was tried by a court-martial as a rebel against the Mexican government, and sentenced to be shot. An Irish Catholic priest visited him the day before he was ordered to be executed, and finding that he believed in the tenets of his church, made interest with both the English and Mexican ladies of Matamoras to get him a respite. They all visited the commanding officer in a body and made a strong appeal to him. He, after much intercession, agreed to respite him until he could hear from Mexico. In due course he got an order: "Have McKneely shot in three days after receiving this order!" The ladies and Catholics formed in procession and besieged the commandant for a further reprieve. He, being a sympathetic man, and having a strong admiration for handsome ladies, could not refuse their appeal, and postponed the execution. The fact of the matter was that McKneely was a remarkably handsome young man, very tall, erect and finely proportioned, and made such a strong impression on the ladies, that they took a deep interest in him. In fact, he owed his reprieve to his good looks. But, in a few days, a new commandant took charge of Matamoras, who ordered the former officer to carry out his orders in relation to McKneely, and have him shot in three days, or he (the officer) would be sent to Mexico under charge of disobedience and broke. The new commandant, a sour old fellow, paid no attention to the appeals of the priesthood or the intercession of ladies, (he being a married man), but "put his foot down," and said McKneely should be shot next day. Luckily, news reached him that night of the defeat and capture of Santa Anna at San Jacinto. McKneely then felt as satisfied as a coon well knowing that we would murder Santa Anna and all our prisoners if a hair of his head was hurt. In a short time we sent commissioners to Matamoras who effected the release of McKneely and all the other prisoners.
A few days after the battle of San Jacinto, Col. Ed. Burleson started to find Gen. Filasola, near the San Bernard. He had some three hundred men. He had an order from Santa Anna for Filasola to surrender or vacate the country. We camped on the San Bernard one evening, and some of our men, who were in bathing, swam over, and happened to go through a skirt of willows on the other side, and saw Gen. Filasola's army encamped on the prairie. They came back and gave the alarm, when Col. Burleson and some others swam their horses over. We were drawn up opposite the ford, with orders, if we heard anything to swim over and succor them. In about an hour they came back. Filasola, after reading Santa Anna's letter and order, told Burleson he would give an answer next morning. At 9 o'clock next morning our officers went over again. In a few minutes Deaf Smith came back and told us Filasola had retreated in the night, and his camp was vacant. Quite a number of us swam over to see the enemy's camp. They had left tents, wagons, muskets, lances, scopets, and every thing they could not carry on pack mules, and cut-out at 12 o'clock the night before, burning the carriage of six pieces of artillery, and throwing the guns into a pond.
I was sauntering through the camp with others, when we came to some big wagons with covers on them. While looking at them, I picked up a lance, and, to exercise my juvenile arm, threw it at one of them, when a loud yell came from the wagon: "Por la amor de Dios no mortar usta dor!" ("For the love of God, don't kill us!") Some twenty sick and wounded Mexicans were in the wagons, having been left by their comrades. We gave them something to eat and treated them kindly. We sent a detachment to follow Filasola, and see that he did not damage the settlers in his retreat. He made a straight march for the Rio Grande, via San Antonio, and never "drew rein" till he got into Mexico.
We stayed encamped for some three months, pending negotiations with Mexico, when, getting sick, and the company breaking up, as there was no prospect of further active service, I applied for and got my discharge from Gen. Rusk. My discharge was most complimentary. Gen. Rusk said: "Although unusual in a discharge, I cannot help testifying to the gallantry of Lieut. Lane at the Battle of San Jacinto."
From The Adventures and Recollections of General Walter P. Lane, A San Jacinto Veteran, containing Sketches of the Texan, Mexican and Late Wars with Several Indian Fights Thrown In, News Messenger Pub. Co., Marshall, TX, 1928 (written about 1887).
Account of Military Movements March & April 1836, E. Morehouse. From The Lamar Papers, No. 1645. On the 5th of March 1836, I reported My Batallion to the Authorities at the Mouth of the River Brasos, (Velasco & was ordered to Coxes Point Matagorda Bay for the purpose of reinforcing Col Fannin,---The order was without a word put into execution, although many said it was madness---The winds being unfavorable kept our Brig at sea for some days when we fell in with the schooner of War Liberty having a prize which Capt Wm Brown had taken---The sea was heavy and the Pilot refused to go over the bar, when our Brig through my request was willing to attempt the bar,---The Liberty & the prize, called the Pelican was to follow---The Liberty was fortunate as well as our Brig---but the Prize was stranded The flour which composed the principal part of the cargo was principally saved---which had sustain [sic] the army at a time that necessity had the ascendency---
On my landing I recd information that Col Fannin had been defeated & the Enemy with their thousands were about taking possession of Matagorda when I recd orders to take up my march for Head Quarters on the river Colorado & had made some three days march when by express I was ordered to change my march for Columbia on the Brasos river, where or near it was supposed that the army would make a decided stand---on my arrival at Columbia I met with orders to proceed to Brazoria for the purpose of defending that place, but believing that the Enemy would not dare to attempt the extensive bottoms of the Brazos &c, & belivng [sic] that a general battle would have been fought first by the main army,---visited Major Parrot at Brazoria & requested that I migh have permission to go direct to Head Quarters, which was not complied with, but permitted me to dispatch a courier to Gen Huston & at the same time my comd should remain at Columbia, until! the return of the express---accordingly I dispatched Capt L. Cook, who returned on the 9th of april, with orders that I should reinforce Capt W. Martin at Fort Bend---The order having been recd in the Evening I gave orders to the flying & unfortunate families to cross the river without delay---but on the following morning I recd intelligence that the Enemy were crossing at Fort Bend and Capt. W. Martin had moved above, However I prd [pressed] onwards & my spies reported that the enemy to some thousands had possession of the communication to the army of Texas---
I encamped some 18 miles below the comd of Genl Cos---Genl Santa Ana having passed to the Town of Harrisburg which he burnt---Information I recd that Genl Houston was on his march to the river Trinitv and finding that my little hand of 150 were surrounded by some four thousand of the enemy with Santa Ana at the head concluded that the only salvation for them was to give Genl Cos a fight who had some 600 men under his coind at Fort Bend---When should I effect my wishes which was some four or five to one I could be able to have access to the Texian army---Yet entirely in the dark when I should find the same, as I had not communications from Gent H. save by the Husband flving in pursuit of his family---who repeatedly gave me information that Genl H. was tundoubtedly beyond the river Trinity---
I gave orders, that all should be in readiness at sun set with a sufficiency of rounds to attack Genl Cos no the following morning and agreeable to the same my comd and some of the Citizens, who held oiit the idea that it was a slaughter pen & I was too desperate a man & utter destruction would be the event and all the volunteers & many of the brave citizens were in readiness at the appointed hour and about sun set on the 29 of April we took up the line of march, about 11 o'clock we halted for the purpose of receiving information from our spies so that I could attack the enemy at day break---when to my astonishment and surprize I hea[r]d the sound of the enemies Bugle, which proved to be that Genl Cos was on his march & as I learned afterwards to reinforce Genl Santa Ana,---Genl Cos' movements being so sudden & having been thrown upon the mercies of the world, consequently knew not of the movements of even our own or that of the enemy---Finding that Gen] Cos had left his late encampment threw me into a difficulty, as I left my baggage at Majr Brighams place so that I should be able to make a forced march to attack Cos.---The enemy having decamped and belivng that Genl Huston was on the Trinity or Sabine river fell back for my sick baggage, when on the following morning my spies brought in sundry prisoners who gave me the first intelligence of a battle having been fought and won by the Texians---Having been so unfortunate as not to have participated in the first & great battle, concluded to give battle to Genls Urrea, Sizmas' & Filisolia who had possession of Columbia & Brazoria when I gave orders for my comd to make a forced march upon the above places---
A few hours before my arrival the enemy had Evacuated Columbia having a guard for the purpose of destroying the public & private stores, when my advancd guard fired upon them & fortunately saved the Town &c---Had I have been but a few hours Earlier I might have captured some 15 of the Mexican principal officers---as after they had given the order of march they leisurely visited the (Landing, (Marion) to make whatever discoveries that should offer for diserters &c &c
Anecdotes on the Battle of San Jacinto from General Thomas Rusk. From Henry Foote's Texas and Texans, vol. 2, 1841. "During the battle of San Jacinto," says General Rusk, when the first Regiment and the Regulars had advanced within about one hundred yards of the breast-work of the enemy, a charge was made by a division of the Mexicans, under the command of Colonel Cespedes, (I think) on our Artillery, which was, at this time, a little in advance. Mexican cannon, which had been previously directed towards our Cavalry, was now ordered to make way for the charging party upon our Artillery, and was pointed in the direction of the first Regiment. An attempt was made to fire it, but the man who held the match was shot down by one of our soldiers. The first Regiment, at that instant, with the most deafening yell I ever heard, charged upon the breast-work. Our cannon fired at the same moment, and the Mexicans at the breast-work and cannon, as well as their charging party, commenced an immediate and disorderly flight. General Castrillion, who was commanding the Mexican Artillery, was standing on the ammunition boxes, behind the piece, exposed from head to foot. He used every effort to keep his men to the gun; when he found that to be impossible, he folded up his arms, stood and looked sullenly, and without moving, upon our troops, who were advancing upon him, until they arrived at or near the breast-work. He was fifty yards in the rear of his retreating men; when he turned round deliberately, and walked slowly off: He had proceeded some thirty or forty steps, when he was shot, and fell. I examined him, after the battle, and found that several rifleballs had passed directly through his body. Castrillion was a Gauchepin, or European Spaniard; was said to be quite a gentlemanly, honourable man, and was a General of Artillery."
"At the close of the fight," continues General Rusk, "and just after sun-down, Colonel Almonte came out of the woods, and surrendered, with about two hundred and fifty men. There were, at that place, not exceeding ten or fifteen Americans; and none of them could speak the Mexican language well. The prisoners were standing in a body, and they were asked, in the Spanish language, if any of them could speak English. Almonte answered, in Spanish, that they could not. They were then told, in Spanish, to form, two and two deep, and march with us to camp. They formed, and commenced marching accordingly. Our few men were distributed around them, as a guard. Most of us were very much fatigued, and such was the condition of the Mexicans also. As we proceeded along in this way, one of our men, who was so much tired that he could scarcely walk, being incommoded by a Mexican who was walking immediately before him, and who had dropped out of the line of the prisoners, observed to the intruder, in English, 'God d---n you, if you don't get back into line, I'll * * * * * with my bayonet.' This conversation occurred near Almonte, who immediately told the prisoner who had been thus addressed, what had been said to him. I concluded that he, at least, must understand English very well, and that it was probably Almonte whom I saw before me. I, therefore, observed to him, 'You must be Colonel Almonte.' He replied in English, 'You speak well.' I then rode up to him, and gave him my hand, saying to him, 'It affords me great pleasure to see you, Colonel.' With great presence of mind, and with his customary politeness, he responded, 'The pleasure is reciprocal.'"
"During the fight, a Mexican officer found himself almost at the very muzzle of a rifle in the hands of one of our men. He begged for mercy, and happened at that moment to see a Mexican who was in our ranks, whose name was Manchaca, whom he had known for many years, at Bexar. He bellowed out to Manchaca, calling him a brother Mexican, and invoked him to save his life. Manchaca replied, 'No, d---n you, I'm no Mexican, I'm an American. Shoot him' and the soldier fired and killed him."
"Whilst the battle was in progress, the celebrated Deaf Smith, although on horseback, was with the infantry. When they got pretty near the enemy, Smith galloped on ahead, and dashed directly up to the Mexican line. Just as he reached it, his horse stumbled and fell, throwing him over his head among the enemy. Having dropped his sword in the fall, he jumped up, drew one of his belt pistols, presented it at the head of a Mexican, who was attempting to bayonet him, and the percussion-cap exploded without the pistol's going off. Upon which, Smith threw the pistol at the head of the Mexican, staggered him back, seized his gun, took it from him, and defended himself with it, until the infantry got up to his relief."
"A young man, by the name of Robbins, during the fight, dropped his gun, and, happening to run directly in contact with a Mexican soldier, who had also lost his gun, the Mexican seized Robbins, and, both being stout men, soon fell to the ground. Robbins managed, whilst contending on the earth, to get out a Bowie-knife, which he had in his belt, and quickly ended the contest, by cutting the Mexican's throat."
"About the commencement of the battle, Dr. Motley, a gentleman from Kentucky, and myself, were proximate to each other, near a corner of the enemy's breast-work. I saw Motley fall, and asked him if he was hurt. He replied, 'Yes, I believe I am mortally wounded.' I observed, 'Doctor, I will get some one to take care of you.' He responded, 'No; if you whip them, send back a man to assist me; but if you do not, I shall need no assistance.' He died the next day, perfectly resigned to his fate."
"On starting out from our camp to enter upon the attack, I saw an old gentleman, by the name of Curtis, carrying two guns. I asked him what was his reason for carrying more than one gun. He answered: 'D---n the Mexicans; they killed my son and son-in-law in the Alamo, and I intend to kill two of them for it, or be killed myself.' I saw the old man again, during the fight, and he told me he had killed his two men, and if he could find Santa Anna, he would cut a razor-strop out of his back."
"When the Mexicans were first driven from the point of woods where we encountered them, their officers tried to rally them, but the men cried, 'It's no use, it's no use, there are a thousand Americans in the woods.' When Santa Anna saw Almonte's division running past him, he called to a drummer, and ordered him to beat his drum. The drummer held up his hands and told him he was shot. He called out then to a trumpeter near him to sound his horn. The trumpeter replied that he, also, was shot. Just at that instant, a ball from one of our cannon struck a man who was standing near Santa Anna, taking off one side of his head. Santa Anna then exclaimed: 'D---n these Americans, I believe they will shoot us all.' These particulars I received from a little boy, who was one of our prisoners, and who said he was standing near Santa Anna at the time. He immediately mounted his horse, and commenced his flight."
"At the time that Santa Anna was brought into our camp," says the General [Rusk], "I was walking in company with young Zavala. We approached him together. Santa Anna recognized young Zavala at once, and advanced to meet him, with great apparent cordiality, uttering many expressions of kindness, such as are customary among Mexicans on such occasions; several of which I remember. Among other things, he exclaimed, 'Oh my friend, my friend, the son of my early friend' with which, and other exclamations in the same strain, he embraced young Zavala, with high indications of apparent feeling, and, I think, dropping a tear. Young Zavala returned his greeting with that deference which would have been due to his former rank and power; but, at the same time, emitting from his countenance an expression I have scarcely seen on any occasion besides. His look seemed to wither Santa Anna and staring him full in the face, he replied immediately, with great modesty, and something of a subdued tone, 'It has been so, Sir.' Santa Anna evinced plainly that he was much mortified."