Notes and Documents
the enemy was not so dangerous as they had apprehended,75 and
on Christmas morning they organized a party of fifteen men, who
marched out before day to attack the guard of some thirty men,
that were sent out every morning from the mission to relieve the
post on the river below the fort. They took up a position behind
a brush fence, within twenty yards of the road. Soon after sunrise,
the guard, all mounted approached, marching in single file. When
they arrived opposite their position the Americans and if their nerves
had been composed, should have killed man for man.'7 Their only
achievement, however, was one poor fellow thrown from his horse,
the rest of the party fleeing for life. He was brought in under great
excitement, expecting every moment to be massacred. After torment-
ing the poor devil until he was almost paralyzed with fear, they
turned him loose and dubbed him with the name of Christmas Gift.77
The Americans picked up courage and commenced a general system
of skirmishing.7" The enemy had formed a chain of pickets from their
encampment on the river to the quarters of their third division,
through a post oak forest-For their protection they had dug deep
pits in the sand, at each of which six or eight men were stationed.
The Americans would go out in parties of ten or twelve men in the
night, and fire into those pits-killing some, capturing the rest, and
marching them into the fort."9 They were kept under guard a few
days, and then liberated. Most of them returned to the enemy the
760ne of the foraging expeditions was managed by a Mexican named Savias,
who handled it so well that he was made a captain. Ibid., 148.
76If this is the same incident mentioned by Villars, the force of about one
hundred Americans killed and wounded several Spaniards and took some prisoners,
among whom was Corporal Tomas Examia who joined the Americans, was pro-
moted, and remained faithful. Ibid., 149.
77Hall says this incident took place on New Year's Day and the prisoner was
called New Year's Gift, as he joined the Americans on that day and proved a good
republican. Hall, The Mexican War of Independence in Texas, 1812-1813, ibid.,
IV, Pt. 1, 279.
78Hall states that this period of skirmishing extended from January 1, 1813,
to February lo. Ibid.
79Villars says that the Mexican companies under Delgado, Menchaca, and Sava
were very active in this harrassing of the Spaniards. Information derived from
John Villars, ibid., VI, 150.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101196/. Accessed June 2, 2015.