Letters From

Texas War Of Independance


NEW SERIES Vol. 4, No. 19

British, Colonial and Foreign Weekly Gazette

New-York, Saturday, May 7, 1836


From the New Orleans Bulletin, April 20

By the Levant, arrived this morning, we have the following information, which we think can be depended upon:

Col. Fannin evacuated Goliad on the 19th of March, by order of Gen. Houston, Commander-in-Chief; his force was between 340 and 350 men; about 8 miles of the fort, they were surrounded by the enemy with 2000 cavalry and infantry. The advanced guard were cut off, 28 in number. The attack was made by the enemy between 4 and 5 o'clock P.M. Fannin fought them until late in the evening, and repulsed them with a small loss on his part, while that of the enemy was 190 killed and many wounded. After the enemy had fallen back, Col. Fannin entrenched himself during the night. On the following morning the enemy showed a white flag. Fannin went out to meet the commanding General, who represented to Colo Fannin that he knew the force opposed to him - that he was entrenched in an open prairie without water, that he was surrounded, and that his men must perish, that he wished to show him quarter, &c. A capitulation was made with the usual forms of warfare; Col. Fannin was to lay down his arms and march back to Goliad, where they were to remain six or eight days as prisoners of war, to be Shipped to New Orleans from Copano. They surrendered on these conditions; on the 9th day after their arrival at Goliad, they were assured that a vessel was to receive them at Copano, to embark for New Orleans, and Col. Fannin marched out in file, the Mexicans each side of him. They were marched about five miles and the order was given to fire upon them. At the first fire nearly every man fell - a Mr. Hadden of Texas and three others succeeded in reaching some bushes about 100 yards distant. They were pursued by the enemy into the high grass, where they lost sight of them. He remained in the grass all night; in the morning he succedded in making his escape.

By the Levant we also have the information that the Indians on the Mexican frontier have risen in great force; that one American had been killed, and all was terror and confusion in the country. Gen. Gaines had advanced to the Sabine with about 700 men, and was collecting all of the forces of the country to attempt to stop the advance of the Indians. Report estimated them at 10,000 strong.

The subjoined document has just been issued by the Commander-in-Chief of the Texian army: - "Head Quarters, West of Brasos, March31st, 1836 "To the people of Brasos: "My encampment is preparing on the West side of the Brasos, where I shall wait for some supplies and reinforcements. My intention never has been to cross the Brasos, and the false reports spread are by men who have basely deserted the army of Texas.

"Let the men from the east press on to the army and cross over at Groces. If men will unite with the present force, we can defeat and capture the enemy, The army of the enemy has been represented at 10,000 to 30,000 men, when, indeed, it has never exceeded 3 or 4,000 in Texas; and the force that attacked Col. Fannin was onlyl500, and he had only 320 men. They fought him in the prairie, where he had no water and where they surrounded him. Their cavalry are not numerous as stated; and their Infantry are men pressed pressed into service and convicts taken from prisons. Their army is encumbered with women and children. Let the men of the East come to our aid, and bring all deserters with them. Aid from the J. States is landing on our coast. Capt. Brown, with one of our vessels, has taken a Mexican vessel, with 220 barrels flour, 300 kegs powder, and other supplies for the army. My spies report this morning that the observations made by them last night, would discover nothing of the enemy for ten mile3 beyond Bayou St. Bernard, 25 miles beyond San Felipe.

"The citizens of San Felipe, when they heard it rumoured that the enemy had crossed the Colorado, immediately set fire to their own houses reduced the place to ashes. Let the people not be any longer in dread of danger, if the men will only turn out like men.

SAM HOUSTON, Commanded-in-Chief.

"P.S. My spies have Just returned, and report the enemy within a few miles of San Felipe, 800 or 1000 men only, and only 30 cavalry. We will whip them soon, "4 O'clock, March 31."

"Natchitoches,. April 16.

"Since my last, I have been back to the Brasos I escaped captivity, and perhapd the honour of being shot, by a desperate effort, The whole of Texas is broken up. The human misery I have seen, cannot be described. The fugitives are now crossing the Sabine, but I fear many families in the rear must be cut off. Houston is encamped, by the latest intellegence, in the Brasos bottom, 20 miles from San Felipe. He has 2500 men, and is daily receivin reinforcements. The feeling of the army is good, and no one doubts his success. Gen.Gaines marched yes­terday for the Sabine."

We understand that Gen, Gaines has dispatched Captain Hitchcock to Santa Anna to ascertain whether he has invited the Indians from this side of the Boundary line between the U. States and Texas, to assist him in the war he has waged with the Texians. He goes of course with the flag of the United States to protect him. Should that not be respected, Santa Anna's days will be numbered, and their sands but few. - Mobile Mer,




VOL. XV111, No 5470

Davy Crockett is dead! He has often said that "he wished that he might be shot," and he has been. - Unquestionably he was a brave and daring man, rich in those qualifications which fit one to be a pioneer in a new country, and to head hardy spirits in the paths of enterprise. He was out of his element in Congress; - but he was an honest man; which is more than could be said of many who used to ridicule his homely good sense. He fell bravely, and he will be long remembered, as a patriot and a soldier, when recollections of his coarse eccen­tricities will have faded from every mind.

We have head one story of Crockett, which we do not remember to have seen in print; and if it has been, we crave indulgence for reproducing it, since it is so characteristic of the man. Being in a menagerie at Washington, he chanced to stand next a member of Congress, who was looking very earnestly at a monkey in a cage. This member who had given honest David some slight on the floor of the House, at which he took deep umbrage. Steadfastly beholding the monkey, he said to his companion, "if that there animal had spectacles on, he would look just like Col. . of Indiana, wouldn't he?" "What do you mean, sir?"said the gentleman, turning on his heel in a rage. -"Bless my eyes," responded Davy, -"I have got myself in a pretty fix. I have insulted a human being, and I must ask somebody's pardon: but I wish I nay be shot, if I know whether I cught to ask yours, or the monkey's" (Philad, Gaz.)

"Nacogdoches, April 3.2th, 1836

"To Gen. T.T.Mason, Fort Jessup.

"Dear Sir -

We hasten to inform you that the Infor­mation received before your departure, is confirmed. They encamped at the Sabine night before last, They have been pilotted by the Caddoes. Their combined force is formidable -we cannot ascertain their exact number. You know our condi­tion - comment is useless. Many women and children must fall victim to the merciless enemy. We all leave here to-day with the view of concentrating at Antogae or St. Augustine.

(Signed) R.W.IRVIN, Acting Com, of this Municipality."

"We are satisfied that the above information is correct, and that the movement intended is advisable. (Signed) E. Thimas, H. Raguet, I. Roberts, C. H. Simms, D.A.Hoffman. ( (Counter-Signed) A. Hotchkiss.

Letter to the Editor

"Fort Jessup, April 14th, I836. "Dear Sir - Nacogdoches had been abandoned,and by this hour, probably is in ruins; a detachment of the Mexican army, has by an extraordinary movement been united with the Indians of the North, whom it is reported are 1500 strong, and unless timely succor is obtained the country will be over-run, and the depredations and horrors which were so letely enacted in Floriad will now be renewed on the western border of our happy land, hundreds of families are rapidly fleeing the ruthless savages, who are hastening down upon them, and all is confusion between here and St. Augustine.

Gov. Quitman, the noble and brave Quitman, who merely went to explore the country, and lay out the promised land, has heedlessly found himself and his handful of devoted adherents, hemmed in by the Mexicans on one side and the cursed Indians of the other, and he is now rallying the scattered inhabitants, and forming a rear guard, to protect the unfortunate women and children, who are hurrying with all possible speed to the Sabine.

Gen Mason reached here express last evening - and Gen Gaines with just promptitude has ordered 8 or 10 Companies from this garrison to be on the line of march by 3o*clock P.M. and to reach the Sabine as early as possible. He will take command and thus add another laurel to the crown of glory which has so recently and justly earned in the East. The bugle once sounded and the line of march once commenced, it will not cease, I hope, until Mexico has fallen, or Texas is free

"Rouse up the friends of Texas with all possible haste and urge Florida volunteers on their return to take vessels and steamers, and embark for the Trinity and reach Robinson Crossing, as soon as possible, and protect the suffering inhabitants in that quarter - cut off the retreat of the Mexicans, and restore Gen Houston, who is now fighting his way, I hope, to victory, on the Banks of the Brasos - I shall continue on today till I reach my friend Quitman - dead or alive. God Grant he may be safe, and preserved for the future good of his country and Texas.

In great haste yours truly, F.B.S.


NEW SERIES Vol. 4, No. 2


Price, six dollars) Coelum, non mutant, qui trans mare current.


The old series contained Office. No/Cedar St

10 volumns and 30 numbers Near Broadway

NEW-YORK, Saturday, April 30, 1836


Pursuant to public notice previously given, a very large and respectable meeting of citizens convened at 8 o'clock on Tuesday evening, at Masonic Hall, to consider and adopt such measures, as might be legitimate and proper, in aid of the patriotic people of Texas, in their struggle to achieve their independence, from the tryannical government of Mexico.

On motion Samuel Swartwout, Esq. was unanimously appointed President; and Daniel Jackson, James Monroe, Alexander Hamilton, Charles A. Clinton, Silas M. Stillwell, and James Watson Webb, Vice Presidents; and Willis Hall, James C. Curtis, Asa P. Ufford, and William Van Wyck, Secretaries.

The objects of the meeting were briefly and appropriately stated by the President, when the meeting was addressed by Col. Wharton,one of the Texian Commissioners, in a speech of thrilling power and eloquence, in which he depicted in bold and glowing language, the wrongs, the injuries, and the sufferings and the noble struggle of the people of Texas, and in a strain of sublime and touching pathos, appealed to the feelings, and invoked the pecuniary assistance of the citizens of New York in behalf of his suffering countrymen, whom he declared might be exterminated but could never be conquered. His speech was received with thunders of applause,

August 23, 1945

From The Weekly Visitor of August 25, 1899

"Bay City will at last get a telephone line. It is expected to be completed by Sept, l5 or 16th. Projectors of the enterprise pro C.D.Kemp and Girard Harrison of Wharton County and Capt, Frank Rugeley and N.M.Vogelsang of Matagorda county. They held their final meeting at the prairie home of Mr. Kemp last Monday and let a contract for the line from Wharton to BayCity and elected the following officers for the first year: C.D.Kemp, president; Frank Rugeley, vice president; Girard Harrison, treasurer, and Vogelsang, secretary. The principal office will be in Bay City. The line will be first class. Good 18' cedar poles will be used and double wire. The county will follow instructions by the Southwestern Co,

Judge Simon Mussima la paid to have started the first newspaper in Matagorda in 1837. There were two other papers; the Matagorda Bulletin and Colorado Advertiser, J.W.J, Niles was editor of The Bulletin, He later went to Washington-on-the-Brazos and edited a paper there known as the Emigrant

W.D. Wallach was editor of the Colorado Gazette and Advertiser} James W. Dallam was editor of the Colorado Herald and Edward F, Gilbert of the Tribune, Dallam died of yellow fever in New Orleans and his paper was discontinued.

In the 1850's the Matagorda Gazette and Chronicle of the Times was published with Galen Hodges editor and publisher, (He was the maternal grandfather of A.H.Wadsworth).

An 1858 paper referred to a camp meeting at Wharton. "They say many of the hard ones have laid aside their wicked ways and determine to serve their Creator."

Office, 13 Nassau, Corner Pine St.

Thursday Evening, April l4th, 1836

Vol. XVIII. No.5466

Page 2, Col 3.

(from the Star)

Glorous News From Texas .-Extract of a letter dated New Orleans, March 29, 1836.

"In my next, I shall have the pleasure to advise you of the extermination of Santa Anna's army.

"The rumors of the day is, that he has offered to capitulate, and let us alone in the future, if a safe conduct for himself and his army, to the west of the Rio Grande be ceded to him. Not granted.

Further advices from the same place, state that the city of New Orleans has the appearance of military barracks; that the citizens are excited to the highest degree, and that they are determined to aid their struggling friends to the utmost extent against a foe, who have, by their savage barbarity, and violated faith to prisoners of war, excluded themselves from the privileges granted to civilized nations.

Advice's from Cantonment Jessup state --"The current of emigration to Texas is beyond all former precedent; not less than 70 men, on an average, have daily passed here for Texas, during the past week. The rumor stated in the above extract of a letter from New Orleans, is no doubt correct. Col. Fannin with 500 men was in the fort at Goliad, and a detachment of about 1000 men, of Santa Anna's army, has besie~ed him there. The volunteers from Matagorda, would march directly to that point, and by a simultan­eous sortie from the fort, and attack from the volunteers in the rear of the detachment, it was expected the enemy would be routed, and Col Fannin could then march with an increased force, and fall upon the rear of Santa Ana's main army near San Antonio. In confirmation of the above rumor, the Mobile Chronicle, of March 30th, contains a letter from W.C.White & Co., dated at Columbus, March 18th. (60 miles below San Felipe, about the same distance from Bexar, and 30 from Colorado,) which states that the loss of the Mexicans in the massacre of Alamo was over 1000 killed and wounded. That an attack was intended by Santa Anna,on the 19th, upon Goliad, which was garrisoned by 650 Texians, under Col. Fannin. The letter adds that a decided battle would be fought on or near the Colorado, to which place the headquarters of the army had been removed, and where Gen. Houston commanded in person. There were 1500 Texians in the field, and the numbers hourly increasing. We copy from the New Orleans Bee of the 29th ultimo, the following letter being the last written by Col. Travis, before the assault and capture of the Alamo of Bexar.

New Series Vol. 4. No.15


Sat., Apr. 9. 1836

From page 7 following a copy of the Texas Declaration of Independance:

Assult of St. Antonio - Official.

The following is the official account of the engagement which took place in the town of Bejar; a short account of which we published a few days since.

"Fort of the Alamo, Bejar, Texas, Feb 25.

To Major General Samuel Houston,

Sir - On the 23d of February, the enemy in large force entered the city of Bejar, which could not be prevented, as I had not sufficient force to occupy both positions. Col.Batres, the Adj. Major of President Santa Anna, demanded a surrender at discreation, calling us foreign rebels. I answered them with a cannon shot. Upon which the enemy commenced a Bombardment from a five inch howitzer, which together with a heavy cannonade, has been kept up incessantly ever since. I instantly sent expresses to Col Fannin, at Goliad, and to the people of Ganzales and San Philllpe. To-day,at 10 o'clock, AM some two, or three hundred crossed the river below, and came up under cover of the houses until they arrived within point blank shot, when we opened a heavy discharge of grape and cannister on them, together with a well directed fire from small arms, which forced them to halt and take shelter in the houses about 80 or a 100 yards from our batteries. The cation continued to rage for about two hours, when the enemy retreated in confucion, dragging off some of their dead or wounded.

"Resolved, That the States of Texas, having become severed from the confederation of Mexico by no act or fault of her own, and having driven by unequivocal acts of tyranny, which evidently aimed at her political annihilation, to defend herself by arms against the nation whose duty it was to protect her, has justly and righteously declared herself free, sovereign and independent, and that it is for the honour of a free and powerful nation like the United States, to be the first, to take her by the hand, and acknowledge her independence.

"Resolved, That the law which is paramount to all law, the great law of humanity, Justifies us in extending aid to the Texians, who are invaded by an army whose progress has hitherto been marked by atrocities unknown to civilized warfare, an army who wages a war of extermination, and whose savage chief swears to make her fertile soil a desert.

"Resolved, That a committee of sixteen be appointed, to solicit and receive donations, for the relief of the citizens of Texas, who are suffering from the ruthless warfare of Santa Anna, and that said committee be authorized to confer with the Commissioners and agents of Texas, as to the best method of afford­ing efficient aid to the people, and also to add to their number, and appoint Ward Committees, to act as a committee of correspond­ence, if deemed expedient."

The resolutions were seconded by a gentleman from Bunker's Hill, near Boston and William W. Campbell, Esq. in able and interesting speeches, and Col. J.W.Webb being loudly called for, addressed the meeting in a brief and appropriate speech. The resolutions were then unanimously adopted.

He was followed by Dr. Archer and Col. Austin, the other commissioners, who addressed the meeting it considerable length, and gave a history of the oppressions and tyrannies practiced upon the people of Texas, justified their efforts to establish their independence, compared their present struggle to the determined spirit of liberty that animated the fathers of our revolution to strike for liberty, and freemen's rights. Willis Hall, Esq. being loudly called for, after a number of prefatory remarks, which were loudly applauded, offered the following resolutions:- "Resolved, That the cause of Texas, is the cause of liberty; that her contest has been marked by all the features that char­acterise a brave people, struggling for their natural rights, and battling gloriously for freedom.

"Resolved, That we tender to the Texians our warm applause for the spirit with which they have resisted oppression; our admiration for the dauntless courage with which they have driven the tyrant from Ms strong holds; maintained the unequal fight against every advantage, Their spirit proves that they deserve to be free; Their courage, that they will be so. "Resolved, That we deeply sympathize with the Texians in their wrongs, in their sorrows over the graves of the heroes who have already fallen in their defence, -But let them be comforted, for such wrongs, such sufferings, and such blood, are the price of a nation's liberty.


Bexar, March 3, 1836.

Sir --

In the present confusion of the political authorities of the country, and in the absence of the comnander-in-chief, I beg leave to communicate to you the situation of the garrison. You have doubtless, already seen my official report of the action of the 25th ult. made on that day to Gen. Sam. Houston, together with various communications heretofore sent by express. I shall therefore confine myself to what has transpired since that date.

From the 25th to the present date, the enemy have kept up a bombardment from two howitzers, (one a five and a half inch and the other and the other an eight inch,) and a heavy cannonade from two long nine pounders, mounted on a battery on the opposite side of he river, at a distance of four hundred yards from our walls. During this period the enemy have been busily employed in encircling us with entrenched encampments on all sides, at the following distances, to wit: -

In Bexar, 4 hundred yards west; in Lavillera, 300 yards south; at the powder houset 1000 yards east by south; on the ditch, 800 yards north east; and at the old mill, 800 yards north. Not withstanding all this, a company of 32 men from Gonzales made their way into us on the morning of the 1st inst. at 3 O'clock, and Col. J.B.Bonham, a courier from Gonzales, got in this morning at 11 o'clock, without molestation. I have so fortified this place, that the walls are generally proof against cannon balls; and I shall continue to entrench on the outside, and strengthen the walls by throw­ing up the dirt. At least 200 shells have fallen inside of our works without having injured a single man; indeed, we have been so fortunate as to not lose a man from any cause, and we have killed many of the enemy. The spirits of my men are still high, although they have had much to depress them. - We have contended for ten days against an enemy whose numbers are variously estimated at from 1500 to 6000 men, with Gen, Ramirez Siesma and Col. Batres, the aide-de-camp of Santa Ana, at their head. A report was circulated that Santa Ana himself was the enemy, but I think it was false.

A reinforcement of about 1000 men is now entering Bexar from the west, and I think it? more than probable that Santa Ana is now in town, from the rejoicing we hear. Col Fannin is said to be on the march to this place with reinforcements, but I fear it is not true, as I have repeatedly sent to him for aid without receivin" any. Col Bondlam, my special messenger, arrived at. La Bahia 14 days ago, with a request for aid; on the arrival of the enemy in Bexar ten days ago, I sent an express to Col. Fannin which arrived at Goliad on the next day, urging him to send us reinforcements - none have yet arrived, I look to the colonies alone for aid: unless it arrives soon, I shall have to fight the enemy on his own terms, I will however do the best I can under the circumstances; I feel confident that the determind valor, and desperate courage, heretofore evinced by my men, will not fall them in the last struggle; and although they may be sacrificed to the vengance of a gothic enemy, the victory will cost the enemy so dear that it will be worse for him than a defeat.

I hope your honorable body will hasten reinforcements,-ammunition and provisions to our aid as soon as possible.

We have provisions for twenty days for the men we have; our supply of ammunition is limited. At least five hundred pounds of cannon powder, and two hundred rounds of six, nine, twelve and eighteen pound balls, ten kegs of rifle powder, and a supply of lead, should be sent without delay, under a sufficient guard.

If these things are promptly sent, and large reinforcements are hastened to this frontier, this neighborhood will be the great and decisive battle ground. The power of Santa Ana is to be met here, or in the colonies; we had better meet them here, than to suffer a war of desolation to range in our settlements. A blood-red banner waves from the church of Bexar, and in the camp above us, in token that the war is one of vengeance against rebels; they have declared them as such, and demanded that we should surrender at discretion, or that this garrison should be put to the sword. Their threats have had no influence on me, or my men, but to make all fight with desperation, and that high souled courage which characterizes the patriot who is willing to die in defence of his country's liberty, and his own honor.

The citizens of this municipality are all our enemies, except those who have joined us heretofore; we have but three Mexicans in the fort; those who have not joined us in this extremity, should be declared public enemies, and their property should aid in paying the expenses of the war.

The bearer of this will give your honorable body a statement more in detail, should he escape through the enemy's lines. GOD and TEXAS - VICTORY or DEATH!! Your Obed't Serv't W. Barrett Travis P.S. The enemy's troops are still arriving, and the rein­forcements will probably amount to two or three thousand.

During the action, the enemy kept up a continual bombardment, and discharge of balls, both grape and cannister. We know,from actual observation, that many of the enemy were killed and wounded - while we on our part, have not lost a man. Two or three of our men have been slightly scratched by pieces of rock, but not disabled, I take great pleasure in stating, that both officers and men, conducted themselves with firmness and bravery. Lieut. Simmons of Cavalry, acting as Infantry, and Captains Carey Dickerson, and Blair of artillery,rendered essential services, and Charles Despallier and Robert Rowe, gallantly sallied out and set fire to the houses, which afforded the enemy shelter, in the face of enemy's fire. Indeed the whole of the men, who were brought into action, conducted themselves with such undaunted heroism, that it would be injustice to discriminate. The Hon. David Crockett, was seen at all points, animating the men to do their duty. Our numbers are few, and then enemy still continues to approximate his works to ours. I have every reason to apprehend an attack from his whole force, very soon. But I shall hold out to the last extremity, hoping to receive reinforcements in a day or two. Do hasten on aid to me, as rapidly as possible - as from the superior numbers of the enemy, it will be impossible for us to keep them out much longer. If they overpower us, we fall a sacrifice to the shrine of our country, and we hope posterity and our country will do our memory justice.

Give me help, 0! my country! Victory or death!

W.Barret Travis, Lieut. Col. Commandant.
"The following gentlemen were appointed the committee, vis: John Ward,James B. Murray, John F. Sibell, Robert Emmet, John R. Livingston,Jun., Morgan L. Smith, Thomas E. Davis, Joseph L. Joseph, Eli Hart, William C. Wales, R.C.Wetmore, Issac L. Varian, Edward Curtis and McDonald Fraser; to whom were added the President, Vice President, and Secretaries of the meeting."

This page transcribed by Janet Barrett Hobizal in June 2007,

From a photo copies found at the Wharton County Historical Museum

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