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SURRENDER OF NATIONAL FORCES TO INSURGENTS.
The excuse for Twiggs was readily found. Ben. McCulloch, the famous Texan Ranger, was stationed at Seguin, not far off. The Commissioners employed him to prepare and lead a sufficient military force to capture the National troops in San Antonio. He
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 were soon followed by about five hundred 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, he 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 Mescnlaro Apaches, and in the path of the marauding Comanches into Mexico, it was a post of great importance.
1 Galreston News, 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.
* 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.
DISPOSAL OF TROOPS IN TEXAS.
By this act Twiggs deprived his 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 a March 1, actual treason, an order was issued," directing him to be "dismissed from the Army of the United States, for treachery to the flag of his country." Earlier than this, "Charity Lodge" of the " Knights 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,
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 to 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.
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 midsummer 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
Point Isabel, a place of
Grande, and embarked in the Daniel Webster at much note in the history of the war with Mexico. at Fort Hamilton on the 30th of March, 1861. At five o'clock on the evening 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 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.
Twiggs's order for the evacuation of the posts in Texas had been sent, but
1 Secession Times in Texas, page 11.
FORTS SURRENDERED BY TWIGGS.
some of these were so distant and isolated, and the traveling so difficult at that season of the year, that it was several weeks before the order reached them. One of these is Fort Arbuckle, in Franklin County, situated west
from Arkansas, on the False Wachita River. It protects the northern frontiers of the State from the forays of the wild Comanches. At the time we are considering, it was garrisoned by detachments from the First Cavalry and one company of the First Infantry Regiment. Another was Fort
Wachita, sixty miles southeasterly from Fort Arbuckle, and, like it, on the Indian Reserve. It was garrisoned by two companies of the First Cavalry Regiment. Near this post, in the autumn of 1858, Major Earle Van Dorn, a gallant officer of the National Army, who appears for the first time, in
connection with Twiggs's treason, as an enemy of his country, had a successful battle with a band of warlike Comanches. Another important post was Fort Lancaster, on the mail-route between San Antonio to San Diego,
FAITHLESSNESS AND PATRIOTISM.
in the midst of the remarkable table-lands near the junction of Live Oak Creek and the Pecos River. It is a place of much importance, for it protects the great ford of the Pecos, where nearly all the trains from Texas cross it, on their way to California. These are really mere military posts rather than forts, quite sufficient in strength, however, for the uses of the service in that region. The military power under Twiggs's control was ample, with the co-operation of the Union citizens, to hold the State firmly in a position of loyalty to the National Government, and to defy the ArchConspirator at Montgomery, who, before Texas had become a member of the "Confederacy," wrote, through his so-called Secretary of War, to the Texas Convention, that if, after a reasonable time, the United States Government should refuse to withdraw the troops, "all the powers of the Southern Confederacy should be used to expel them."
Colonel Waite found himself at once entangled in most serious embarrassments. In violation of the terms of Twiggs's treaty for surrender, adequate means of transportation for the troops in the interior were withheld; and officers born in Slave-labor States, such as Lieutenant Thornton Washington, Major Larkin Smith, and others, in whom he confided, betrayed their trusts in a most shameful manner, and joined the insurgents.
Captain Hill, who commanded Fort Brown, on the Rio Grande, opposite
Matamoras, refused to obey the order of Twiggs to evacuate it, and prepared to defend it. He soon found that he could not hold it with the small force under his command, and he was compelled to yield. The troops along the line of the Rio Grande soon left the country, but those in the interior, who made their way slowly toward the coast, became involved in great difficulties.
Toward the middle of April, Major Earle Van Dorn, who was a favorite in the army, of that department, appeared in Texas with the commission of a colonel, from Jefferson Davis. He was a native of Mississippi. He had abandoned his flag, and was now in the employment of its enemies. He was there to secure for the use of the insurgent army, by persuasion and glowing promises of great good to themselves, the remnant of the betrayed forces of the Republic, or to make them useless to their Government. Simultaneously with his appearance, the newspapers in the interest of the conspirators teemed with arguments to show that the National soldiers were absolved from their allegiance, because the "Union was dissolved;" and Van Dorn held out brilliant temptations to win them to his standard. His labor was vain.