SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS
Republic of Texas
[Reprinted verbatim from Lamego, Gen. Miguel A. Sanchez. The Second Mexican-Texas War 1841-1843. Hill Junior College Monograph 7, Texian Press, Waco, TX, 1972. Brackets are from the current author, WLM].
An important part of Mexican expeditions against Texas was conducted by a rather unusual and picturesque officer in Mexican services. Despite his German sounding name [thought to originally be the French Gaul with similar pronuciation. Gen. Woll is referred to as of Belgian origin by some authors], Gen. Woll claims to be a Frenchman born in Saint Germain en Laye, some 10 kilometers- 6 and 1/4 miles- west of Paris, on 2 December 1795. His military career commenced in 1813, at the age of 18, as a "Distinguished Private" in the 2nd Guard Regiment that took part in the defense of Paris against the enemies of Napoleon in 1814, until the surrender of the city on March 31st. Promoted to Sublieutenant on 14 April 1814, he was transferred to the 4th Battalion, 10th National Guard Legion and promoted to Captain on April 17th, where he remained until the end of 1815, deciding on that day to desert, because of "much persecution as a Bonapartist". [Texian Robert Hall remarked in his memoirs that Gen. Woll boasted of learning the principles of war from French Napoleonic General Nicholas-Jean Soult].
He emigrated to the U. S. of America and enlisted in the army as Sergeant Major, later acting as Field Adjutant to Gen. Winfield Scott. While in New York in this capacity, he fell in with the adventurous Spanish General Francisco Javier Mina who promoted him to Lt. Colonel on 3 July 1816 and attached him to the General Staff. He accompanied this General in an expedition against New Spain. Shortly after making a landing at the Soto la Marina sand bar on 15 April 1817, he was sent on to New Orleans aboard the Congress Mexicano vessel, with the commission to pick up and transport a body of volunteers, but by the time he returned to Soto la Marina, Gen. Mina had already moved up into the interior of Mexico, while the fort they had built at Soto la Marina, had already been captured by the Spaniards. Woll then converted the Congreso Mexicano into a raider, undertaking various cruises and encounters with Spanish naval craft. Some time later, when news reached him of the capture and execution of Gen. Mina by the Spanish authorities, he returned to New Orleans and from there to Mexico, where he lived as a civilian until independence was won.
In 1823, he applied to the Mexican government for recognition of his previous rank of Lt. Colonel of Infantry, and reinstatement without pay, but permitting him to wear a uniform and take advantage of the military exemption laws. This application was granted him in 1826 with the appointment to Lt. Colonel in retirement, attached as Aide de Camp to Gen. Jose Ma. Lobato, with whom he participated in the revolt that broke out in Mexico City on 30 November 1828, recorded in history as the "Courthouse Mutiny". This incident led to Gen. Vicente Guerrero's election to the national presidency, whereupon Woll was promoted to Active Lt. Colonel on 22 July 1829, with unlimited furlough at 1/3 of his regular pay. Three weeks later, on August 15th, he was called back into active service for the duration of the campaign against the Spaniards, who had returned to invade Mexico again. On this expedition, he served as Aide de Camp to the Commander in Chief of the Mexican troops, Brigade Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, taking part in the assault on Tampico in Tamaulipas on August 21st, and in the assault on the coastal fort on September l1th. He sustained a wound in this action, and was promoted to full Infantry Colonel.
In 1832, as Second in Command of the Jalisco Division under Gen. Jose de la Cuesta, he captured the city of Zamora by storm, hastening immediately afterward to the relief of the Guadalajara garrison where, with his 200 men, he defeated an enemy force of 800 on November 13th. In recognition of these actions, he was promoted to the rank of General as of that date. In October 1833, while leading a Brigade of the Army of Operations under command of Gen. Santa Anna, he took part in the siege of Guanajuato then in the power of the mutinous Generals Mariano Arista and Gabriel Duran. After capturing Mellando Point, he moved on to Jalisco, where he was appointed Commandant General of Colima and later Military Commandant of Tepic and San Blas. Again in 1835 he was appointed Commandant General of Queretaro, whence he moved with the Army of Operations organized and commanded by Gen. Santa Anna, against the militia units of Zacatecas, who had declared themselves in revolt against the General Government. Woll took personal part in this celebrated battle of 11 May 1835 at the town of Guadalupe, and in the capture of the city of Zacatecas that concluded this campaign
In 1836, he marched with the Army of Operations to the Texas campaign, again under command of Gen. Santa Anna, with the commission of Quartermaster, and after the San Jacinto disaster in April of that year, he was sent by Gen. Filisola to the Texas camp, to study the arrangements made between Santa Anna and the Texans, a mission he completed in the face of many adversities and dangers.
Afterward, he remained with the Army of the North as Commandant of the Second Division, then as Second in Command and finally as Commander in Chief, having been promoted to Active Brigade General on 17 October 1841. In 1842, as Commandant of the Second Division of this Army Corps, he undertook the expedition against San Antonio de Bejar, leading 850 rank and file, with whom he captured that outpost on 11 September 1842, after two hours of intense musketry fire, rounding up 150 prisoners. On the return to his base camp at Rio Grande, he defeated the Texans again at Salado creek on September 18th, and at Arroyo Hondo on the 22nd. In recognition of his leadership in this incursion, he was awarded a plaque designed exclusively for him. It was a gold edged circle of dark blue enamel with a white 5-point Texas star, its top point broken off, all this surrounded with a burst of gold rays, 4 inches in diameter (File XI/481.3/297-1843). [The foregoing section is particularly noteworthy as representative of the Mexican historical view of the capture of San Antonio, the subsequent Battle of Salado (which included the Dawson Massacre), pursuit by Republic of Texas militiamen to the Rio Grande, confrontation at the Arroyo Hondo and the Battle of Mier.-WLM]
Curiously, throughout his career in the Mexican army, he [Woll] conserved a certain loyalty toward France and the United States, and never took up arms against these two countries. He did not take part in the Mexican-American war of 1846-1848, having since June 1845 applied for a leave of absence for reasons of health. A one-year leave was granted him, which he spent in Montauban in France, taking a cure for acute arthritis in its medicinal baths. In June 1846, he obtained an extension of this leave for two more years. But by 1848, when he did not ask for a new extension, and did not report back for duty, he was dismissed as a deserter.
It was not until 1853 when he could return to Mexico, after Gen. Santa Anna had revoked his dismissal and, instead, promoted him to Division General as of 25 December 1853. In 1854 he was appointed Commander in Chief of the Army of the Interior and on his way to Mexico City, following a call for help in the vicinity of Toluca, he engaged in battle at Merced de las Huertas and won another victory. In 1855 he was Governor and Commandant General of the Departments of Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon and Coahuila, but saw himself again obliged to leave the country under pressure of war, making his way to France.
He returned to Mexico in 1857, when called back to fill the post of Commandant General of the Department of Michoacan. In May 1859, as Division General, he went to Guadalajara to take charge there as Governor and Military Commandant. While passing through Irapuato, he successfully aided reactionary Gen. Tomas Mejia, by persecuting liberal forces from Irapuato to Calera. On August 30th 1859, he took part in the attack on Leon City, and the following December, as Commander in Chief of the First Army Corps of the conservative forces he stayed on as Governor of Jalisco State, where he was attacked in May 1860, by republican Gen. Lopez Uraga at the head of an army of 10,000 men, whom Woll managed to beat back with only 4,500 at his command. On the 26th of this same month, having been wounded in the left leg, he had to turn over command of his troops to Gen. Severo Castillo, retiring to San Blas harbor, whence he took a vessel to California, but after hearing of the defeat of Gen. Castillo in Guadalajara, he decided to leave for France again.
Retired from all public activity in Mexico, he returned nevertheless at the beginning of 1863 and offered his services to imperialist Gen. Almonte, with his last rank and commission. He was included in the Committee of Notables, and in the deputation that sailed for Europe to offer the imperial crown of Mexico to Archduke Maximilian of Hapsburg who, after being proclaimed Emperor of Mexico, appointed Gen. Woll to serve as Field Adjutant.
Around the middle of 1865, he was sent to France on a special commission by Emperor Maximilian, and never again returned to tread Mexican soil. After the fall of the empire, he stayed on in Montauban, where he died peacefully in bed early in 1875, at the ripe age of 80 years.
REPORT FROM GEN. ADRIAN WOLL TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR AND NAVY ISIDRO REYES CONCERNING THE OCCUPATION OF BEXAR, SEPTEMBER 20,1842.
Army of the North Corps, Commander in Chief.
Most. Excel. Sir: On the 10th, at 2 oclock in the afternoon, the Division under my command halted at the Leon creek, at approximately 3 leagues - 12 miles - distance from San Antonio de Bejar ; the spies who had been sent out and who just returned, assured me that there was no notice whatever within the town concerning our expedition, which could be believed, as our march was made across the desert, overcoming all obstacles, cutting open a road through the forest, traversing the head of the Ugalde [Uvalde] Canyon, and following the head of the Ugalde Canyon, and following the slope of the San Saba hills, so that the Texan scouts, reporting from La Leona and the Nueces River that no sound could be heard along the customary roads from Rio Grande and Laredo to Bejar city, the enemies had abandoned themselves to confidence to such an extent, that the Court Justices appointed by the so-called Government of Texas, had arrived to open the court sessions.
In view of this, appropriate measures were taken, and orders were issued to continue the march at 7 o'clock at night, favored by the darkness, then to pull up in the vicinity of the city, occupy all avenues of access and await daylight to make the entry, managing to apprehend the said members of the court. In the midst of these movements, one of our sentries returned, accompanied by four inhabitants of Bejar who declared that they came in commission from the population, to implore me not to enter the city, because they might be forced by the Texans to join them in offering resistance, from which I understood with sorrow that the gossip of one of our spies to a woman had revealed our arrival, of which no news had reached the city until that moment, nor even the slightest suspicion. I recognized the urgency of not losing any more time; the commissioners were put under arrest and the march was at once resumed, leaving the equipment and the commissary stores with a force of 50 soldiers from the Presidial Companies under command of Capt. Francisco Castaneda. Halt was called at the edge of the cemetery, some detachments of the Bejar and Rio Grande Defenders, and Presidial soldiers, were stationed at the Alamo and around all the outskirts of the city. The Santa Anna Battalion led by Col. Sebastian Moro del Moral, with one artillery piece, formed a column supported by another one under Brevet Colonel, Lt. Col. Cayetano Montero, consisting of the two squadrons of the Santa Anna regular Cavalry Regiment and one cannon from the mounted brigade. Orders were issued that at the signal of a cannon shot fired at dawn, all detachments were to sound Reveille, arresting any individual who might be leaving the city, while the aforementioned column would march in battle formation to the second square, called the City Hall Plaza, Sir Juan N. Seguin occupying at the same time the other square with the remainder of the Defenders of his Corps.
All this being thus disposed, daybreak was awaited; and while it dawned, one of our spies reported that a redoubt had been built and embrasures opened in the wails of the homes fronting the church, and in others that form the first block of the street leading to the Alamo. Suddenly, the call of Reveille was heard, and the thought arises that it was sounded by our own detachments; an order is given to fire the cannon shot, and the column commences its march to the sound of music. But, alas, the Reveille that was heard, had been sounded by the enemy. I at once deployed the skirmishers and, accompanied by my General Staff, set out on horseback at the head of the column; a dense fog was the cause that our skirmishers, on entering the square, turned to the right, while the rest of us, including myself and the Staff, continued straight ahead; on arriving at the middle of the block, the enemy opened a most rapid fire that, killing a drummer, wounded the horses of three of my Adjutants and the mount of my Major General. I immediately sent Capt. Marcelo Torreblanca with 50 men of his company to occupy the church tower; Capt. Ignacio Ruiz with his company deployed in the houses in front of the enemy; Brevet Battalion Commandant, Capt. Ildefonso Vega was sent with another company to occupy a house situated on the right flank, while Capt., likewise breveted to Battalion Commandant Juan Garrido, was taking another one on the opposite flank, all of them at once executing these orders. The artillery pieces, led by Lt. Manuel del Frago advanced and were emplaced to advantage. Although all this was executed with rapidity and precision, the Texans, emboldened because the column had come to a halt, made the air resound with "hurrays", cheering for Texas! But their joy lasted only a few moments and their disappointment would be horrible, because at the same time as our fire broke upon them from all sides, the day cleared . . . and the surrounded enemy saw himself hemmed in tightly, in the understanding that with their fire totally silenced, they would all be put to the knife in their entrenchments that were already being taken by our valiant Infantry. Just then, seeing a white flag rise, I ordered cease fire.
Some emissaries appeared before me, offering to turn over their arms if permitted to retire to their homes; I answered that is they did not surrender unconditionally, we would exterminate them without exception. They asked for time to consult with the others, which they were permitted to do, returning to announce that they accepted their lot. Moved by humanity, and to let them see Mexican generosity, I guaranteed their life, and they proceeded to the delivery of their arms. The Texan flag they had struck, was pulled out from under a heap of stones where they tried to hide it; it is the same I had the honor to remit through my Adjutant, Lt. Antonio Villagra. Unfortunately, a heavy fog favored the flight of a large number of enemies who made their escape by the back of the houses, crossing the river and some tall corn stands, and gained the woods while the other ones had been hoisting the white flag; so that only 32 fell as prisoners into our hands, and although various parties were at once sent out in pursuit of the fugitives, it was not possible to apprehend a single one of them. The enemy suffered only 12 dead and three wounded (the latter threw themselves into the river and escaped) for the reason that, entrenched and covered behind a parapet, he did not present a target to the shots of our intrepid soldiers. Our losses were perceptible, because in addition to one man dead, we have twenty wounded, as Y.E. [Your Excellency] will verify from the accompanying Roll Call.
It behooves me to recommend to Y.E. the Staff and Company Officers, and the rank and file distinguished in this action, and although all of them behaved in an admirable way, the most worthy of praise being that they executed without confusion and with great precision all the movements they were ordered to perform, I cannot do less but call Y.E. attention to the Lt. Col. of the Santa Anna Battalion, Sir Sebastian Moro del Moral who on this occasion furnished new proof of his renown valor; the Lt. Col. of the same Battalion, Mariano Fernandez, and the Artillery Lieutenant Manuel del Frago merit all the consideration of the Supreme Government for the gallantry and serenity they displayed; the Captains Ignacio Ruiz and Marcelo Torreblanca, and the ones breveted to Battalion Commandants, Ildefonso Vega and Juan Garrido revealed themselves as valiant and intelligent officers; the Lieutenants breveted to Captians, Pioquinto Gomez, Guadalupe Cardenas, and those without brevet grades, Dario Magallanes and Jose del Carmen Hory have complied with their duties in dignity; the Second Adjutant of the Santa Anna Battalion, Jose Ma. Sanchez, and the Subadjutant Anselmo Jugrez behaved with valor communicating orders to the Companies of their Battalion; the former's horse was hit by five bullets; the Sublieutenants Ignacio Martinez, Geronimo Rosales, Rafael Sanchez and Juan Velez followed the example given by the Staff Officers, and they themselves passed it on to their troops. The Artillery Corps was worthily represented in the persons of the above mentioned Lieutenant Manuel del Frago and Ensign Zeferino Rodriguez, who stood firmly at the foot of their guns and stoutly continued directing their fire with precision, although they saw four gunners, two drivers and a mule go down wounded. The Major General of the Division, Brevet Lt. Colonel, Squadron Commandant Juan Fernandez, whose horse had been wounded, and the Quartermaster Brevet Colonel, Capt. José Ma. Carrasco who, after having deployed his general activity with much zeal and talent in the fulfillment of his functions, as I already had the honor of reporting to Y.E., both accompanied me at the hour of peril and distinguished themselves at my side; the Captain of regular Cavalry Andres Videgaray, the Lieutenants Antonio Villagra and José Cevallos, the Ensign Tomas Santa Cruz, the Brevet Battalion Commandant, Lt. Luis Vidal, Captain Ambrosio Martinez and Ensign José Washington Eayrs, all my Adjutants, have shown the noblest behavior, and the horses of the last three were shot under them. No less worthy of praise are Sublieutenant Felix Esquivel, Ensigns José Ma. Ugartechea, and the Brevet Lt. Mario Zurita, the Major General's Adjutant, as well as the First Lt. of the Lampazos Company, Bernardo Cavazos as the Quartermaster's Adjutant. Brevet Colonel, Lt. Col. Cayetano Montero upheld his well deserved reputation.
I particularly recommend to Y.E. the Lt. Francisco Borja, the Santa Anna Regimental Adjutant; the Brevet Captains, Presidial Lieutenants Francisco Herrera and Juan Rodriguez who behaved to my full satisfaction, I also recommend to Y.E., so you may kindly do the same before the Supreme Government, Mr. Juan N. Seguin, Commandant of the Bejar Defenders, who lent his most important services during the march and in combat; as well as the Brevet Lt. Colonel, Capt. of the same Defenders, Antonio Perez, their Captains Manuel Leal, Manuel Carbajal, and Lt. Leandro Arreola; and also the Brevet Squadron Commandant, Capt. of the Rio Grande Defenders, Mr. Manuel Quinto de Luna; their Capt. Manuel Flores, and another of the same rank, Vicente Cordova of Nacogdoches. I call Y.E. attention to the medical practitioner Guillermo Ortiz, who had a thigh traversed by a rifle ball, and his determined advocacy in favor of the mother of the drummer Antonio Pineda who died in defense of the Fatherland. Drum Major José Ma. Sanchez, 2nd Sergeant Bartolo Sugrez, Corporal Feliciano Martinez, buglers Miguel Gracia and Miguel Rosales; privates Basilio Rodriguez, Bruno Carvajal, Joaquin Arriaga, José Ma. Hernandez, Candelario Faro, Gregorio Guzman, José Ma. Becerril Trinidad, José Ma. Cantero, José Ma. Ramirez, Alejandro Mendieta, José Gracia and Francisco Elogio of the Santa Anna Battalion, as well as those of the foot artillery Estanislao Valle and Mariano Ramirez, who were all wounded, although most of them very lightly, but giving an example of the greatest valor equally so the Contract Musician José Ma. Gomez.
Finally, I cannot but declare to Y.E., that without a single exception, all the men belonging to this Division have behaved as worthy Mexicans, not claiming for myself any other merit but the honor of having led such valiant soldiers, nor any other expectation but that of having complied with Y.E. instructions, under orders of the Most Excel. General and President, the immortal Sir Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. And I have the honor of passing this on the Y.E. for your superior cognizance, declaring that the recommendations voiced by Gen. Woll as to the gentlemen Staff and Company Officers who had distinguished themselves in beating the Texas rebels occupying the city of Bejar, are worthy of being taken into consideration by the Supreme Government, since as Y.E. may perceive, they executed movements in front of the enemy and under his fire, with such rapidity and good order that, as a result, the enemy surrendered unconditionally. The zeal and enthusiasm with which these officers prepared themselves to execute another raid, and the steadfastness and sufferings with which they overcame all difficulties and privations of a new, and hence hardly transmittable approach, are virtues possessed only by those chiefs and officers who, desiring to comply with their duty, overcome any sacrifice whatever; and those who serve in the Second Division, have now proven to be of just that type. And it was true that, under such gallant chiefs, the valiant soldiers whose warlike zeal requires only worthy leadership, would reap laurels that can never fade.
Col Sir Sebastian Moro del Moral who commands the Santa Anna Battalion, Lt. Col. Mariano Fernandez, the four Captains Juan Garrido, Ignacio Ruiz, Marcelo Torreblanca and Ildefonso Vega, the Adjutant of the said Battalion, Lt. José Ma. Sanchez whose horse was hit by five rifle shots, and all other Subalterns of these Companies fulfilled with fine valor the commissions entrusted to them according to the report I have enclosed. The Artillery officers, Lt. Manuel del Frago and Ensign Zeferino Rodriguez behaved in a manner that earned from the pen of Gen. Woll this honorific recommendation: "They worthily represented the National Artillery Corps", and I can therefore add nothing more to this illustrious expression, on which I am sure His Excel., the glorious General who presides over the Republic will know how to confer its full value. Though Brevet Colonel Sir Cayetano Montero, the Santa Anna regimental Adjutant, Lt. Francisco Borja, and the Brevet Presidial Captains, Lt. Francisco Herrera and Lt. Juan Rodriguez are already recommended by the Commanding General of the Second Division, and I can only second these citations, I permit myself to present to Y.E., that the said Lt. Borja is one of those officers who merit every consideration from the Supreme Government, but whose merits, unfortunately, had never earned any rewards; he had fought in Texas ever since 1825 and had participated in all armed actions sustained by our troops in that Department, including the campaign undertaken under the command of H.E. the actual President; and he continued to serve in these Departments always fulfilling his duties with the precision and activity of a veteran officer.
Mr. Juan Nepomuceno Seguin, did likewise fulfill this time what he had offered to the government, and what his friends had expected of his steadfast character and his well accredited valor; having drawn his sword, he fights under the Mexican flag, and the Fatherland can expect a great deal from this honorable citizen in the forthcoming conquest of the usurped territory, with his talent, bravery and vast knowledge of the Department of Texas; I beg Y.E. to recommend earnestly to the Supreme Government, the merits of Mr. Seguin, as well as the particular ones earned by Brevet Lt. Colonel, Capt. Antonio Perez, the Captains Manuel Leal and Manuel Carbajal, also Lt. Leandro Arreola, all of them of the Bejar Defenders commanded by Juan Seguin. The Squadron Commandant, breveted Captain of the Rio Grande Defenders, Manuel Quinto de Luna, in no way failed in the earlier favorable and very high concept we have of him; always valiant, always ready to march and fight, whether against the wild Indians, or the dissidents who wage war on this frontier, as well as the usurpers of Mexican territory; not one single time had he shrunk from peril, but over and over again whenever the government or its officers had summoned him to battle, he always came flying to take part, not only in person, but bringing with him his ranch hands, relatives and friends; and when it became necessary, he mounted them on his own horses. This Squadron Commandant, Mr. Manuel Quinto de Luna, Y.E., is one of the best servants the government has on this frontier, and I consider it an honor to make this request to Y.E., that you kindly draw the attention of H. Excel. the President, to this brave and patrotic citizen.
I also second the recommendation of Captains Manuel Flores and Vicente Cordova, since these officers leading our friends the Caddo and Cherokee Indians, hold promise of very good services, whether against the Comanches, or against the Texan adventurers. The Staff of General Sir Adrian Woll equally deserves a special mention, since their duties made them at all times serve in the greatest danger while communicating the orders they were commissioned to transmit across the zone of fire; it was for this reason that Lt. Antonio Villagra received his wound, and the Major General, Brevet Lt. Col., Squadron Commandant Sir Juan Fernandez, and the Adjutants Ambrosio Martinez, Luis Vidal and José Washington Eayrs had their horses shot under them. Brevet Colonel, Sapper Capt. José Ma. Carrasco has earned a particular merit in this raid, laying out the camps, breaking open roads and levelling the crossings of various streams; by separate message of the same date, which I am remitting with the diary and the croquis of the stages and camp sites passed by the Second Division, I recommend to Y.E. this important service of Col. Carrasco; for the moment, I limit myself to tell Y.E. that Col. Carrasco has proved this time that he is just as capable directing sapper labors, as he is valiant in front of the enemy. This entire General Staff personnel deserves the consideration of the Supreme Government. I also consider it my duty to declare to Y.E., for cognizance by H. Excel. the President, that Capt. Ambrosio Martinez, Brevet Captains, Lt. Pioquinto Gomez who is now retired but helps in the work of my Secretariat, as well as Ensigns José Washington Eayrs and Tomas Santa Cruz, my own Adjutants with approval of the Supreme Government, had requested me with utmost urgency that I permit them to march with this Division, as they were anxious to fight the enemies of Mexico, and not being able to deny them such patriotic an application, I gave them the permission and they went forth, the first three with the Staff of the Divisional Commanding General, and the last one attached to a Company of the Santa Anna Battalion. According to the said General, all of them fulfilled their wish, fighting gallantly. Finally, I only have to draw Y.E. attention, with the request to kindly submit it to H. Excel. the General and President, regarding the widowed mother of drummer Pineda, slain in Bejar by the enemies of our integrity; this stalwart boy fed from his pay the poor and unfortunate widow; he is no more and his mother is left with only the generosity of the Supreme Government on which to keep alive; I am sure that she will not be deprived of this her only hope.
The Practicant, Mr. Guillermo Ortiz, and the rank and file whom Gen. Woll mentions in his report, and who are listed in the enclosed Roll Call, offer to Y.E. through our conduct, asking you to have the kindness of presenting to H. E. the President, the blood they have spilled through their heroic wounds opened by the enemy rifles; this offering, presented by their patriotism to the National Government is most valuable, and the illustrious General who now directs the destinies of Mexico, and who himself has defended National Independence and Honor spilling his own blood over there in Vera Cruz, will accept with good grace this blood of the valiant men, dispensing to those who had the honor of losing it, any such grace as he should consider them worthy of; and especially the said Mr. Guillermo Ortiz who for the past 7 years has been doing frontier service, enjoying the approval of all the commandants under whom he served, having always displayed uncommon valor throughout all that time.
I ought to recommend to H. Excel. the President, the merits of the General, my 2nd in command, Sir Adrian Woll; but I omit this recommendation, because his valor being as widely known in the Army as his vast knowledge and uncommon energy, I would perhaps appear to put in doubt the distinguished service of this worthy General, so that I shall limit myself only to saying that Y. E. consider, and transmit to the appreciation of H. Excel. the President, that Gen. Woll has fully lived up this time to what was expected of a General as well deserving as he is. Please accept the assurance of my distinguished appreciation and respect.
God and Liberty. General Headquarters in San Fernando de Rosas. 20 September 1842. (Signed) ISIDRO REYES. To H.E. the Secretary of War.
(From Lamego, Gen. Miguel A. Sanchez. The Second Mexican-Texas War 1841-1843. Hill Junior College Monograph 7, Texian Press, Waco, TX, 1972, copied from the original in File Nr. 1735, sheets 31, to 38 of the Historical Archives, Mexican National Defense Ministry).
Most Excel. Sir: In the afternoon of the 18th inst., the Division under my command should have started out on its march to Rio Grande and San Fernando; we had taken this city (Bejar) by force, compelling its presumptuous defenders to surrender unconditionally; 150 horsemen had scouted the Guadalupe River up to the Gonzalez River, without any other incident than putting to death three Texans who tried to defend themselves against our skirmishers; the 16th of September, glorious anniversary of our National Independence, was solemnly celebrated, an event that had been forgotten in this city for the last six years; our spies had again confirmed the news we already had, that neither in Goliad, nor Copano or Corpus Cristi was there any enemy force to be seen. Our mission was completed.
Unfortunately, the scouts sent out along the road that leads from this city toward Seguin village, did not do their duty, and reported to me that there was no news as far as the Cibolo. Consequently, although secretly warned that some enemy parties were approaching along the said road, I could not decide to believe it, since our spies and scouting parties continually sent out mornings and evenings toward the Salado, were returning without having seen any enemy; nevertheless, counseled by plain prudence, I ordered that the horse and mule herds belonging to the Division, should rest every night within corrals located in the center of the town; the troops confined to barracks, were kept at hand for whatever might happen. No sooner did the advance and reconnoitering parties that used to report at dawn of every day what they had explored in every direction, return, when from the post at the Alamo, where the Santa Annas Regiment had been quartered, the trumpet call of "Enemy" was sounded, immediately followed by the one of "General Assembly." Instantly, I mounted my horse and rode off toward the said point, after warning the chiefs of all units that their troops remain in formation in front of their quarters, until my further orders. Reaching the Alamo, while the Santa Anna dragoons were already saddling, I rode forward, accompanied by the Major General, the Quartermaster, and by my Adjutants, over the Seguin road, and seeing not more than some 12 or 15 enemies, I sent ahead Brevet Lt. Colonel, Capt. of the Bejar Defenders Antonio Perez with 25 of his men, supported by 60 Presidial soldiers under Capt. Francisco Castaneda; seeing that the enemy turned suddenly and fell in with another group in the strength of possibly 50 or 60 men, all of whom then retreated in a certain order, although with great haste; thinking that this could be a stratagem to draw me into some ambush, I ordered Col. Sebastain Moro del Moral to take charge of the post with half of his Battalion, while I marched ahead with 200 Infantry, 100 dragoons of the Santa Anna squadrons, and two Artillery pieces; meantime the Bejar and Rio Grande Defenders had joined the Perez unit, so that added to the Capt. Castaneda detachment, they counted 130 men whom I ordered to follow the enemy and keep him under fire without leaving him time to organize, while sending me continual reports; all this was executed with great precision, until reaching the Salado creek at a distance of 3 leagues - 12 miles - from the city, the Texans suddenly veered off into the woods, and I learned that they had assembled a strength of about 300 men under Col. Caldwell, who had the intention of setting himself up during the day in the inextricable position at a water hole close to the city, there to await the numerous parties he had notified to join up with him from all directions, and then to attack us.
In view of such information, it became urgent to prevent the enemies' reunion, putting fear into them with an armed action, and although my instructions prohibited me attacking them in the woods, the case had become so pressing, that I decided to go ahead just the same; to this effect, I reconnoitered the terrain minutely, and crossing Salado creek more downstream, I assembled in rear of the enemy in two lines, the first consisting of 200 Infantry of the Santa Anna Battalion with a cannon of the Light Brigade; to my left, I placed the Bejar and Rio Grande Defenders, and to my right, Capt. Castaneda's Presidial soldiers, extended by 25 more men under Brevet Capt. Francisco Herrera; this line-up gave me the advantage of cutting the enemy off completely from any retreat toward his reinforcements, and of being able to maneuver my Cavalry over a fairly clear terrain; I left the part of the woods and the stream that faces Bejar, without any troops, in the thought that the Texans would not try to escape in that direction, and if they did, it would have been easy to intercept them.
In the beginning, the enemy would come out of the densest part of the woods and daringly open fire against our entire front; but having ordered our Defenders and Presidials to dismount, and having deployed a skirmish line of 50 infantrymen, we advanced palm by palm across the underbrush, until the enemy, thrown back, did not return to present himself past the stream; in this position, I ordered all our skirmishers to halt, and sent out scouts for some distance over the Seguin road. The report was sent me that nothing had happened there, except that one enemy had left the woods and had escaped in that direction thanks to the excellent mount he rode; considering that it was getting late, I resolved to give the signal agreed upon, which was a cannon shot, and ordered to sound "Attack!" It is impossible for me to describe to Y.E. [Your Excellency] with what gallantry the action was joined by our valiant men who stormed into the woods, irrespective of the rapid fire with which the enemy received them at first, but who pursued and attacked with unequalled intrepidity, lost terrain and, befuddled, no longer sustained anything but a languid defense that could not last much longer, because I intended to lead into the fight, 100 more infantrymen of the 150 I had in reserve, when suddenly a report was sent to me, that in our rear, on the way from Seguin, an enemy force of not less than 150 to 200 men was arriving. The game was critical; there was no time to lose, and after having convinced myself of the truth of that message, I immediately made my decision; I sent at once Brevet Colonel Cayetano Montero, commandant of the Santa Anna Regiment, to march against this new enemy with one Squadron, trying to overwhelm him on his right, while meantime, my Quartermaster, Brevet Colonel José Ma. Carrasco was ordered to make the 2nd Squadron advance under Brevet Colonel Pedro Rangel, and execute the same maneuver against the enemy's left; and I instructed the Major Gen., Brevet Lt. Col., Squadron Commandant Juan Fernandez, to move the light artillery piece to the middle of these squadrons with utmost speed. I was asked for ammunition for the Cavalry, but replied that our dragoons had lances and sabers with which to stab and hack away.
These audacious soldiers, led by their intrepid chief, advanced at a gallop against the wooded mound captured by the Texans; the light piece, expertly served sustained a steady fire and was gaining ground; and on reaching the first trees of the mound, our dragoons dismounted, encouraged by their chiefs and officers, particularly the Brevet Colonels Cayetano Montero, Pedro Rangel and José Ma. Carrasco, and entering the wood, started cutting down every enemy they encountered. A quarter hour later all was finished. Meantime, the advantages obtained in the forest had been conserved, the enemy did not return our fire any more. However, not knowing as yet the result of what had happened at my rear guard, and wishing to be prepared for any eventuality in view of the approaching night, I ordered to sound "Assembly," which was executed with great reluctance by our valiant men who did not want to let our prey escape; the enemy did not dare to molest them, since taking advantage of the circumstances and of the darkness, he penetrated deeper into the forest, fleeing terrified far out of the sight of our soldiers. [The foregoing action obviously refers to the Dawson Massacre in numerous Texian versions of the engagement--WLM].
It was then that I received the report sent by Colonels Montero and Carrasco, and a short while later the said officers rejoined me with the two squadrons that had covered themselves with glory. Whereupon, I instructed to sound "Reveille" again, cheers were resounding for Mexico and for the illustrious General Santa Anna, our wounded were picked up and immediately sent back to the city with my instructions to Dr. Montanari who had accompanied us throughout this brilliant day's work. Roll was called of all the participating units, while the enemy remains were being collected. In the meantime, the bulk of our troops rested on their arms in the same order and place they had been occupying throughout the duration of this action. At 10 o'clock that night, we set out on our march, since as I had the honor of notifying Y.E., our exhausted troops did not taste food all through the day; it was necessary to allow them some rest, and so it was that we entered anew into the city, to the sound of Reveilles and the tolling of bells, at 12 o'clock that night. The enemy's loss was considerable, because apart of the 120 who died at the hands of our Cavalry, and the 15 prisoners we took, more than 60 of his corpses remained stretched out dead in the forest; the number of his wounded must be immense, but since these were taken along on the retreat, we could only recover five of them. On our part, we had 29 dead and 58 wounded; this so great and deplorable loss will testify to Y.E. how embattled these actions had been, which a part of this Second Division has sustained simultaneously and with so much glory.
Captain Vicente Cordoba, of Nacogdoches, died as he had always lived, defending his Fatherland! Officers Francisco Castaneda of the Bahia Company, and my Adjutant Ambrosio Martinez, as well as Capt. Manuel Flores of the Rio Grande Defenders, and the Ensigns Victor Manero and Bartolo Olascuagua, both of the Santa Anna Cavalry Regiment, were all wounded; may I draw Y.E. attention to these valiant men, hoping that you will kindly recommend them to the Supreme Government. Although all men of the Division under my command have behaved with the honor and boldness that distinguishes them, I cannot but cite among those who took out most conspicuously, Brevet Colonel, Lt. Col. Cayetano Montero, the Brevet Colonels Pedro Rangel and José Ma. Carrasco; right next to them, Brevet Lt. Col., Squadron Commandant Juan Fernandez, Major General of the Division; Captains Antonio Ramirez, Macedonio Soria, Andres Mena and Francisco Lopez; the Lieutenants Francisco Borja, Francisco Plaza, Luis Pardihas, as also Ensigns Andres Sierra, Santiago Zuhiga, Mariano Zurita, Dionisio Bravo, José Ma. Delgado, Camilo Anguiano, José Ma. Robles, José Ma. Torres, Sabino Zepeda, Felix Espinosa and Cristobal Castro, all of them belonging to the invincible Santa Anna Regiment. Particular mention is due to Capt. Andres Videgaray, Lt. José Ceballos, Ensigns José Washington Eayrs and Tomas Santa Cruz, who as my Adjutants have carried my orders defying all peril, with a promptness, intelligence and bravery that do them great honor. Sublieutenant Felix Esquivel, Ensign José Ma. Ugartechea and Lt. Bernardo Cavazos, Adjutants to the Major General the first two, and to the Quartermaster the latter, rendered good services, Artillery Lt. Manuel del Frago and Ensign of the same arm Zeferino Rodriguez, have behaved with dignity. Lt. Colonel Mariano Fernandez, at the head of his Infantry, displayed the same calm and valor he had always customarily shown; Brevet Captains, Battalion Commandants Juan Garrido and Ildefonso Vega, and the Subadjutant Anselmo Jugrez, as well as all the other subaltern officers, imitated the conduct of the above mentioned Colonel. I must particularly recommend to Y.E. the valiant Capt. Ignacio Ruiz and Sublieut. Pedro Martinez, who had thrown themselves against the enemy with unequalled fearlessness, while leading the Infantry skirmishers. The Presidial Capt. Francisco Castaneda, who sustained a grave wound, and Lt. breveted to Capt., Francisco Herrera, carried out my orders to full satisfaction.
Mr. Juan N. Seguin, Commandant of the Bejar Defenders, and the intrepid Brevet Lt. Colonel, Capt. Antonio Perez, the Captains Manuel Leal and Manuel Flores, have rendered important services; and so did Lieutenants Manuel Carbajal and Manuel Patiho. Finally, Y. E., I will conclude bringing it to your superior cognizance, that the behavior of all was such, as to cause admiration among the enemy prisoners themselves, who declared frightened, that they could not have imagined the Mexican soldier to fight with so much intrepidity and serenity.
I am looking forward to Y.E. kindly bringing all this to the knowledge of the Supreme Government, requesting H. E. the Secretary of War and Navy to assure our illustrious President, the immortal Gen. Santa Anna, that the heroes of the Second Division of the Army of the North Corps, will uphold with dignity, and even unto death, the honor of the National Arms. God and Liberty. San Antonio de Bejar at 6 o'clock in the morning of September 20th, 1842. Adrian Woll (Signature). To the Most Excel. Sir, the Commander in Chief.
(From Lamego, Gen. Miguel A. Sanchez. The Second Mexican-Texas War 1841-1843. Hill Junior College Monograph 7, Texian Press, Waco, TX, 1972 which was copied from a document, pages 49 to 58 of the booklet "Expedition Undertaken to Texas by Part of the Second Division of the Army of the North Corps", as published by General Adrian Woll, at Monterrey, in the year of 1842)
REPORT FROM GEN. ADRIAN WOLL BY GEN. ISIDRO REYES OF THE TEXAN ENCOUNTER ON THE MEDINA RIVER AND ARROYO HONDO TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR AND NAVY, SEPTEMBER 28, 1842.
Army of the North Corps. Commanding General. Most Excel. Sir: General Sir Adrian Woll, with the date of the 20th inst., from the left bank of the Medina River, tells me what I copy: Most Excel. Sir: Having reached this point at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, where my Division encamped, I was surprised to learn that more than 150 carts belonging to Mexican families resident in Bexar, loaded with furniture and whatever little else was left to these unfortunate by Texan rapacity, were travelling to find refuge in the valleys located on the other side of the Rio Bravo del Norte, driven by fear that the volunteers, on returning to Bejar after it had been evacuated by our troops, will want to take revenge of these defenseless families for the ignominy of their defeats. In addition to the carts, a numerous herd of cattle is following, and not wanting to leave so many Mexicans and their belongings exposed to being sacrificed by the enemy, I decided to remain here all day tomorrow in this camp, to give them time to advance under the protection of my Division as their rear guard. Which I have the honor of reporting to Y.E. [Your Excellency] for your superior cognizance, and if you see fit, to pass this on to the knowledge of H. Excel. the President, adding that I approved the request of Gen. Woll to remain on the Medina River, until the cart train of the families that had emigrated from Bejar, reach his advance guard, for their protection, kindly accept Y.E. the sincere assurances of my respect and consideration.
God and Liberty. General Headquarters in San Fernando de Presas, 28 September 1842. Isidro Reyes (Signature). To the Most Excel. Sir, the Secretary of War and Navy.
(From Lamego, Gen. Miguel A. Sanchez. The Second Mexican-Texas War 1841-1843. Hill Junior College Monograph 7, Texian Press, Waco, TX, 1972, copied from the original existing in File Nr. 1731, sheet 23 of the Historical Archives, Mexican National Defense Ministry.)
Army of the North Corps. Commander in Chief. Most Excel. Sir: General Sir Adrian Woll, in a note of the 22nd inst., out of his camp on the Rio Hondo, tells me what I copy here: The enemy numbering some 600 men, composed of smaller parties that arrived from settlements on the Navidad, Vaca, Colorado and Brazos Rivers, thinking in their delusion that they could with impunity attack the Division under my command, was severely punished this afternoon. Having received notice, after encamping at this point, that the Texans were overtaking some of the carts that halted at a distance of a quarter league - one mile - and have captured the parish priest Refugio de la Garza of Bejar, and Chaplain of the Rio Grande Company, revealing that in the knowledge of the two strong detachments that were dispatched to escort the prisoners and our wounded for their better security, which considerably diminished the strength of the Division, reduced now to barely 500 men, they had planned to attack us in the hope of taking me and my other field and company officers as prisoners, later to exchange us for the men they had lost as captives seized with arms in their hands.
Whereupon I immediately countermarched with 100 infantrymen, a light cannon and 50 horsemen, leaving the camp under command of Colonel Sebastian Moro del Moral, while sending ahead Capt. Agaten Quiñones with ten of his scouts, to open fire against the Texans as soon as he saw them, but with the expressed order of retreating and drawing the enemy toward me. Said officer complied exactly with my orders, and the Texan advance guard of some 100 men, emboldened by the retreat of said Captain Quiñones, was already charging with great vehemence, when the fire of our Infantry and of the cannon compelled them to flee in haste, leaving behind some dead horses and carrying five wounded off with them, among them a Captain who, as I learned, died on reaching the bulk of the enemy force. The said crowd of Texans, terrified, split up in small fractions, and retreated fleeing in all directions toward their homes. In the midst of this confusion, the priest Refugio de la Garza and three Mexican owners of the carts that had fallen behind, and whom these barbarians had mistreated inhumanly, managed to escape and presented themselves to me shortly after reaching my camp, with trusses still tying their arms. Without any additional news, I am bringing to Y.E. superior cognizance, that I shall continue my march tomorrow.
I have the honor of placing this before Y.E., for the information of H. Excel. the President, as to the incidents that occurred during the withdrawal of the Division that, after chasing off those who dared to come up and fire on the rear guard, in accordance with the enclosed report, continued without further incident whatever; so that calculating the leisurely stages of its march, the column ought to reach the left bank of the Rio Bravo on the 30th, commencing to cross the river on that same date. May Y.E. kindly accept the considerations of my most distinguished appreciation and respect.
God and Liberty. General Headquarters in San Fernando, 28 September 1842. Isidro Reyes (Signature). To His Excel., the Secretary of War and Navy.
(From Lamego, Gen. Miguel A. Sanchez. The Second Mexican-Texas War 1841-1843. Hill Junior College Monograph 7, Texian Press, Waco, TX, 1972, copied a reprint in the "Government Bulletin of the Mexican Republic", dated 4 October 1842)
From Juan Seguin. To General Adrian Woll. Camp at Cibolo Creek, September 14,1842. The scouts on the left flank, under the command of Don Manuel Carbajal, lieutenant of the first company of the Defenders Regiment discovered on Cibolo Creek two leagues from this road three Texans and a Mexican who, having been ordered to place themselves in obedience to the supreme government, instead of doing so grabbed their weapons and attacked the detachment. The scouting party, giving battle, killed the three Texans, excepting the Mexican who from the first placed himself at the disposal of the Supreme Government and remains with the detachment. I have the honor to tell Your Lordship that two thirds of the horse herd belonging to Captain Francisco Herrera's squadron has arrived here tired. The same is true of the greater part of mounts belonging to the Defenders under my command. Despite this great obstacle, we continue our march in order to carry out, as well as may be possible, Your Lordship's superior order. In making this communication to Your Lordship, we have the honor to offer our consideration and respect. God and liberty. Juan Nepomuceno Seguin
[Dr. Launcelot Smithers was among the three Texans who were killed in this action at Sulphur Springs, now Sutherland Springs, Wilson County. This event later gave rise to extensive and variable accounts of Seguin as a vendictive murderer with motive to cover up a mortgage he had made on some of his land as well as traitor to Texas. It is clear he was not personally present at this action--WLM]
SONS OF DEWITT COLONY TEXAS