Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

TREASON OF GENERAL TWIGGS.

265

-agreeing, by resolution, to share in the crime of plundering the National Government by accepting a portion of the money which the Louisiana politicians had stolen from the Mint and Custom House at New Orleans, the Convention adjourned. At that time vigorous preparations for war were seen on every band. Volunteers, even from Tennessee, offered their services. In many places in the Gulf States enlistments went rapidly on; and by the first of April, probably twenty thousand names were on the rolls of the growing insurgent army.

The conspirators of Texas, we have observed, were represented in the Convention at Montgomery. The people of that State had lately suffered the most flagrant wrongs at the hands of disloyal men; and that Commonwealth had been the theater of an act of treachery of the vilest and most injurious nature, performed by the veteran soldier, General David E. Twiggs, of Georgia, who was next in rank to Lieutenant-General Scott, in the Army of the Republic

We have observed that the conspirators and disloyal politicians of Texas had placed the people of that State, who, by an overwhelming majority, were for the Union, in an attitude of rebellion before the close of February, and that the Revolutionary Committee had appointed Messrs. Devine and Maverick, Commissioners to treat with General Twiggs, the Commander of the Department, for the surrender into their hands of all the property of the National Government under his control. Twiggs was a favorite of the Administration, and his conduct denotes that he was in complicity with the conspirators at Washington.

[graphic]

DAVID E. TWIGGS.

1 See page 185.

2 The proceedings of this Convention, and of the “Provisional Government of the Confederate States," have never been printed. The original manuscripts were discovered by some of General Wilson's command at Athens, in Georgia, after the downfall of the rebellion. They were in three boxes, in one of the recitation-rooms of the University of Georgia. A correspondent of the Nero York Herald, writing from Athens, on the 19th of June, 1865, gives the following interesting history of these papers, which consist of journals, correspondence, et cætera :

** As the Provisional Congress was about to expire, à proposition was made that the journals should be published. This was objected to, on the ground of furnishing much valuable information, and a law was passed anthorizing and requiring the President of the Congress, Howell Cobb, to have three copies made of all the journals. He was at that time in the Army, commanding the Sixteenth Georgia Regiment, and down on tho Peninsula, below Richmond. He at once engaged J. D. Hooper, former clerk, to undertake the job. Whatever were his hinderances it is not known; but he did very little, and after having them on hand for a long time, died. They were then shipped to a gentleman in Georgia, with a request to complete the work. Papers were missing, requiring months to find; materials hard to get, and the work, therefore, never was completed. They there at one time held in Atlanta, but the Unionists coming too near, were hurried off to West Point, Georgia. There a strong rumor of a raid springing up, they were carried to Tallapoosa County, Alabama, on a plantation. In marching from Dadeville to Loachapoka, General Rousseau passed within four miles of the house where they were ; and when his men were destroying the railroad at Notasulys, and were having the little fight near Chehaw, the boxes were hid out in the woods, two miles off, and were watched by two negro men. They were then removed to Augusta, Georgia, and thence, when Sherman came, tearing down throngh Georgia like a wild horse, they were pushed along into the npper part of South Carolina. Thence in the spring they were brought over to this place." These journals are among the archives of the “ Confederate Government," at Washington City.

1SS.

3 See

266

TWIGGS SUSPECTED AND SUPERSEDED.

He was placed in command of the Department of Texas only a few weeks before he committed the treasonable act we are about to record. For forty years he had served his Government acceptably, and was honored with its confidence; but the virus that poisoned so many noble characters, destroyed the life of his patriotism. Not content with deserting his flag himself, he tried to seduce his officers from their allegiance. He began by talking gloomily of the future, and expressing doubts of the ability of the Government to maintain its authority. He soon spoke disparagingly of that Government; and finally he said to his officers :-" The Union will be at an end in less than sixty days, and if you have any pay due you, you had better get it at once, for it is the last you will ever get.”

Intimations of Twiggs's disloyalty had reached the Secretary of War, Holt, and on the 18th of January, in a general order, the veteran was relieved from the command of the Department of Texas, and it was turned over to Colonel Carlos A. Waite, of the First Regiment of Infantry. But the anticipated mischief was accomplished before the order could perform its intended work. When the Commissioners were informed of its arrival at Twiggs's head-quarters, at the Alamo, in the city of San Antonio, they took

measures to prevent its reaching Colonel Waite, whose regimental headquarters was at the least sixty miles distant, on the Verde Creek, a branch of the Guadaloupe River. But the vigilance and activity of the patriotic Colonel Nichols, Twiggs's Assistant Adjutant-General, who watched his chief with the keen eye of full suspicion, foiled them. He duplicated the

orders, and sent two couriers by different routes. One of them was captured and taken back to San Antonio, and the other reached Waite, with the order, on the 17th of February

Twiggs was cautious and had adroitly avoided committing himself to treason in writing. He always said to the impatient Commissioners :-“I will give up every thing." But the time had now arrived when temporizing must end. He was ready to act; but he must have a decent excuse for his surrendering the force under his immediate command, which consisted of only two skeleton companies under Captains King and Smith. Other troops had been ordered away from San Antonio by Twiggs when the danger of revolution became pressing, and they might be called to put down insurrection.

[graphic]

THE ALAMO.

1 This is a very old building. It was a church, erected by the Spaniards, and was afterward converted into a fortress. There, during the war for the independence of Texas, many Americans, who had joined the Texans in the struggle, were massacred by the Mexicans. Among those who fell were Colonel David Crockett, and Colonel Bowie, the inventor of the famous bowie-knife, so much used by desperadoes in the Southwest.

SURRENDER OF NATIONAL FORCES TO INSURGENTS.

267

The excuse for Twiggs was readily found. Ben. McCulloch, the famous Texan Ranger, was stationed at Sequin, not far off. The Commissioners employed him to prepare and lead a sufficient military force to capture the National troops in San Antonio. He received directions to that effect on the 9th, and he at • February,

1861. once pushed forward toward the city with almost a thousand men. He was joined, near the town, by two hundred Knights of the Golden Circle, who went out well armed and equipped, each having forty rounds of ammunition.

At two o'clock on Sunday morning, the 16th, two hundred mounted men, led by McCulloch, rushed into the city, breaking the slumbers of the inhabitants with unearthly yells. These

BEN, M'CULLOCH. were soon followed by about five bundred more. They took possession of the Main Plaza, a large vacant square in the center of the city, and placed guards over the Arsenal, the park of artillery, and the Government buildings. A traitor in the Quartermaster's Department, named Edgar, had, at the first dash into the city, taken possession of the Alamo.'

General Twiggs and Colonel Nichols met McCulloch in the Main Plaza, where terms of surrender were soon agreed to; and there, at noon,' was fully consummated the treasonable act which Twiggs February 16, had commenced by negotiation so early as the 7th. He surrendered all the National forces in Texas, numbering about two thousand five hundred, and composed of thirty-seven companies. Fifteen companies of infantry and five of artillery were on the line of the Rio Grande, and the other seventeen were in the interior. With the troops Twiggs surrendered public stores and munitions of war, valued, at their cost, at one million two hundred thousand dollars. Beside these, be surrendered all the forts, arsenals, and other military posts within the limits of his command, including Fort Davis, in the great cañon of the Lympia Mountains, on the San Antonio and San Diego mail-route, five hundred miles from the former city. It was then the head-quarters of the Eighth Regiment of Infantry, and, because of its situation in the midst of the country of the plundering Mescularo Apaches, and in the path of the marauding Comanches into Mexico, it was a post of great importance.

[graphic]

Galveston Neros, February 22, 1861. Sketch of Secession Times in Texas : by J. P. Newcomb, editor of the Alamo Express, page 11. Texas, and its Late Military Occupation and Evacuation : by an Officer of the Army.

On that day, Twiggs issued an order to his troops, informing them that the "Secession Act had passed the Convention" of the State, to take effect on the 2d day of March; but that he could not say what disposition would be made of the troops. He promised to remain with them until something was done, and make them as comfortable as possible. He seems to have made up his mind, as soon as the Secession Ordinance was passed, to betray his troops and the public property into the hands of the public enemy.

S Their value in Texas is much greater, and worth to the State at least a million and a half of dollars." – San Antonio Herald, February 23.

268

DISPOSAL OF TROOPS IN TEXAS.

1861.

By tbis act Twiggs deprived bis Government of the most effective portion of its Regular Army, in strict accordance with the plans of his employers,

Davis and Floyd. When the Government was informed of his actual treason, an order was issued," directing him to be “ dis

missed from the Army of the United States, for treachery to the flag of his country." Earlier than this, “Charity Lodge” of the - Sons of

Malta," in New Orleans, who had heard of his infamy, expelled February 25.

him from their order by unanimous vote. On the 4th of March the Secession Convention of Louisiana, that had assembled that day, resolved to unite with the citizens of New Orleans in honoring Twiggs with a public reception. That honor was conferred eight days after he was dismissed from the service of his country for a high crime. On the 18th, Twiggs issued a general order, in which he announced

the fact of the surrender of his forces, and directed the garrisons • February

of all the posts, after they should be handed over to agents of the insurgents, to make their way to the sea-coast as speedily as possible, where,

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]

according to the terms made with the Commissioners, they would be allowed to leave the State, taking with them their arms, clothing, and necessary stores. With this order went out a circular from the Commissioners, in the name of the State of Texas, whose authority they had usurped, in which they solemnly agreed that the troops should have every assistance, in the way of transportation and otherwise, for leaving the State, for, they said, "they are our friends, who have hitherto afforded us all the protection in their power; and it is our duty to see that no insult or indignity is offered them.” It is apparent that at that very time the conspirators had determined to cast every obstacle in the way of the betrayed men on their way to the coast, and their departure from it, with the hope of persuading a portion of them to join the insurgents. In this they were mistaken. In all the vicissitudes to which

1 The Charleston Courier, on the 18th of May, 1861, published a letter written by General Twiggs th President Buchanan, threatening to visit Lancaster, and call him to a personal account for branding him as a traitor. “This was personal," he said, "and I shall treat it as such-not through the papers--but in person."

A SAD DAY AT SAN ANTONIO.

269

they were afterward exposed, the private soldiers and most of the officers remained true to the old flag. The writer saw some of them at midsuinmer in Fort Hamilton, at the entrance to New York Bay; and never was a curse by "bell, book, and candle,” more sincerely uttered, than were those that fell from the compressed lips of these betrayed soldiers. These troops were the first who left Texas. They came from posts on the line of the Rio

[graphic][merged small]

a 1846-1848.

1861.

Grande, and embarked in the Daniel Webster at Point Isabel, a place of much note in the history of the war with Mexico. They arrived at Fort Hamilton on the 30th of March, 1861.

At five o'clock on the erening of the 16th, the little band of National troops in San Antonio marched sullenly out of the city, to the tune of "The Red, White, and Blue,” and encamped at San Pedro February, Springs, two miles from the Plaza, there to remain until the arrival of Colonel Waite. They were followed by a crowd of sorrowing citizens. The tears of strong men were mingled with those of delicate women, when they saw the old flag disappear; and sullen, gloom hung over the town that night, and for many days.' San Antonio was full of loyal men, and so was the State. There was wide-spread sorrow when the calamity of Twiggs's treason became known. It was a calamity for the nation, , and it was a special calamity for the Texans, for these troops, now about to leave them, had been their protectors against the incursions of the savage Indian tribes, that were hanging, like a portentous cloud, along their frontier. The surrendered forts were to be garrisoned by Texas militia, but in these the people had little confidence.

Colonel Waite, who started for San Antonio, with an escort of fifteen cavalry, immediately after receiving his order from the War Department, arrived there early in the afternoon of the 18th. McCulloch had stationed troops on the regular route to intercept him. By taking by-paths he eluded them. But he was a few hours too late. Twiggs had consummated his treason, and Texan soldiers occupied the post. Waite was compelled to recognize the capitulation. Sadly he rode out to San Pedro Springs, joined the little handful of National troops there, and, on the following day,' assumed the command of the department.

© February 19.

Already Twiggs's order for the evacuation of the posts in Texas had been sent, but

1 Secession Times in Texus, page 11.

« AnteriorContinuar »