The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 5, July 1901 - April, 1902 Page: 67
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Notes and Fragments.
unate men who, in 1842, banded together for the invasion of Mex-
ico, and became known in history as the Mier expedition.
The term "Decimated Mier Prisoners" is aptly applied to those
of this expedition, who having been made prisoners by the Mexi-
cans, were marched to the Hacienda Salado, where an escape was
planned and effected. After enduring untold hardships most of
them were recaptured, and having been brought back to Salado,
were granted a commutation of the sentence of death, and were
allowed the privilege of deciding their fate after the manner of a
lottery. The prisoners numbered one hundred and seventeen; so,
that number of beans, seventeen of which were black, the rest
white, were placed in a jar and held over the heads of the unfort-
unate men, and they were compelled to draw, each a single bean,
knowing that the black ones represented the death of seventeen of
their number. No more cruel device could have been conceived;
the situation was one to try the fortitude of the most heroic, and
some of the prisoners were mere boys, but instances of self-sacrifice
were not wanting, and all met their fate bravely. They had
learned the lesson of the stoic; they feared not to die, but feared
a coward's death.
Relics of this most tragic event are extremely rare; hence the
value attached to the following letter from one of the prisoners to
his mother, written just after drawing a black bean, and about half
an hour before he was led out blindfolded to be shot. It was writ-
ten on coarse paper with a pen and ink, and in a firm hand. The
execution took place March 25th, 1843:
"I write you under the most awful feelings that a son ever
addressed a mother, for in half hour my doom will be finished
on earth, for I am doomed to die by the hands of the Mexicans for
our late attempt to escape the [torn out] G. Santa Anna that every
tenth man should be shot. We drew lots. I was one of the unfort-
unates. I cannot say anything more. I die, I hope, with firm-
ness. Farewell, may God bless you, and may He in this my last
hour, forgive and pardon all my sins. A. D. Headenberge will
should he be [blot] able to inform you. Farewell,
"Your affectionate son,
"R. H. DUNHAM."
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 5, July 1901 - April, 1902, periodical, 1902; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101021/m1/73/: accessed February 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.