The early history of Galveston, by Dr. J. O. Dyer

The Early History of Galveston. 25
Vounteers arrived by the hundreds. The Mexican prisoners slept in
the open air for several weeks before they received shelter. The sick and
wounded were first cared for. Santa Anna and his aide, Colonel Almonte,
spent their first night in Galveston in a shelter made from an old ship's
cabin. A hut had been prepared for him near the fort, but he refused
to occupy it, fearing violence from the men of the army. A hut (one of
Hall's) was then given him close to the presidential hut. General Cos,
Colonel Bringas, Colonel Oceapecas, Colonel Potella apd Captain Delgado
all slept in the open until some tents arrived. Santa Anna was ill. He
was a rather good looking man with small eyes, bushy eyebrows, and a
firm mouth and chin. His lower lip protruded and his two front teeth
were missing. His manners were very pleasing, and he looked anything
but a tyrant. His skin was very sallow and he complained of fever. He
poke no English, but fairly well in French. As his baggage had not
arrived he was very seedy looking. He wore a cap, black boots, dirty
white linen trousers and a blue cotton coat. (Probably the clothes he wore
when captured.) He had changed his uniform for civilian's clothes in a
house encountered in his flight from the battlefield. On the 27th of April
he had written General Filsola to forward his "equipage." This probably
only reached him at Velasco. Whilst on Galveston Island Gen. Santa Anna
was provided with a few luxuries (sugar and wine) by Colonel Dyer, also
some Jalap and bitter bark. (Peruvian.) Santa Anna was not an ungrateful
man. History records where he later remembered kindness shown
to him as a prisoner. Later at Velasco he wrote a letter of thanks to
Colonel Dyer and sent him a saddle and saddle-blanket. (The saddle was
stolen in New Orleans in 1837.) The letter and blanket were presented to
Dyer's' sister, Mrs. H. D. Symonds of New York.
* * *
Gen. Sam Houston, when he arrived, was in bad shape. His ankle was
shattered by a musket ball, and he was carried on a litter. He was placed
in the hut with Colonels Hall and Dyer. Colonel Dyer gave him his last
blanket to lie upon (the other he had given the president's sick child).
Houston's ankle was much inflamed and suppurating. He moaned day
and night. There is no record of the medical gentleman who attended
Houston (if he had any). Colonel Hall applied crushed charcoal and
burned sugar as antiseptics. Houston remained in the hut from May 5
to May 11, when he sailed in the Flora for New Orleans. In the hut he
dictated his famous proclamation to the army. (Either Dyer or Hall wrote
it down for him.) From New Orleans, Houston was taken North by one
of the vessels of the Texas navy, some time later. The crushed bones of
his foot were removed and he recovered. In the meantime President Burnet
and the Cabinet became alarmed at rumors of a large Mexican fleet bought
in Europe, which was to rescue Santa Anna and capture the Cabinet on
Galveston Island. The government was moved on May 10, and Santa
Anna was taken along. Historians tell you that this was done owing to
lack of accommodations at Galveston. The real reason was that retreat
was possible for the army into the interior, whilst at Galveston the army
would have been at the mercy of a strong naval force. Velasco had less
accommodations than Galveston. Burnet wrote of his occupying a miser-

Dyer, Joseph O. The early history of Galveston, by Dr. J. O. Dyer. Galveston, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24651/. Accessed August 1, 2014.