HOUSTON AND HOUSTONIANS 87
several of the most prominent of them. Buck's passion always
got the best of him and he was always at a disadvantage in consequence.
When the war broke out there were several companies organ
ized in Houston and at nearby points. These troops were for
service along the Rio Grande and in New Mexico and in Arizona
Buck was among the first to volunteer. I am not certain, but I
think he and Frank Le Mott were in Captain I. C. Stafford's
company, which was the first company to leave Houston. There
were a lot of mighty good men in that company and there were
some pretty tough ones, too. Among them were several gamblers
and desperate men who had always been accustomed to
have their way about everything, and to act as they pleased..
These could not understand the necessary restraints that were
placed on a soldier, and before a week had expired they were
for kicking over the traces. The company, with other companies,
was placed under command of General John R. Baylor,
a born soldier and fighter. He started in at once to establish
discipline, but he had hard work. The men gambled constantly
and there were several shooting scrapes among them. Nearly
every day somebody got shot. Finally General Baylor prepared
an order which he had posted and also read at dress parade,
announcing that the next man who was aggressor in a shooting
scrape would be tried by drumhead court-martial and shot. That
very evening Buck Stacey shot the sergeant of the company.
He was arrested and put in the guard house. That night the
sergeant died. The next morning Baylor called a drumhead
court-martial, Buck was tried, convicted and shot. VWhen he
first realized that Baylor was in earnest and was going to shoot
him sure enough his nerve gave way and he broke down. Then
when he saw his end was inevitable he braced up and when the
fatal moment came he faced the firing squad as coolly and bravely
as if he were not the least interested in what they were about
to do. He was ten times more self-possessed than any one on
the ground, and died with his eyes open, facing his executioners.
He refused to let them blind his eyes, but stood calmly facing
the firing squad.
That execution brought order out of chaos and established
discipline in a way that nothing else could have done. The men
realized that when Baylor said anything he meant it and that
if he said he would punish certain offenses with death he would
keep his word if he had to shoot every man in the regiment.
The command became one of the best in the trans-Mississippi
department, and did fine work for the four years of the war.
Tom Clarke, who was killed in San Antonio, enlisted 4n the
Bayou City Guards, the crack infantry company from Houston
that formed part of the Fifth Texas regiment of Hood's Brigade
in Virginia. How Clarke ever got out of the company And back
to Texas I never knew.. He did get back and afterwards joined
Captain W. M. Stafford's company of artillery. He had not been
with that company long before he slipped into San Antonio,
Young, Samuel Oliver. True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young.. Galveston, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24646/. Accessed November 28, 2015.