The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 12, July 1908 - April, 1909 Page: 69
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Recollections of S. F. Sparks.
some," and I took the lids off the vessels that contained the chicken
and the bread, and told them to help themselves. Rusk drew his
knife first, and all the others followed suit, except Houston, who had
not taken his eyes off me all this time. Finally he said, "Sparks,
I hate to punish you; you have been a good soldier, never shirking
your duty, but I will have to punish you." I said, "General, I will
submit to whatever you put upon me." Rusk, said, "General, if
you don't come on we'll eat all the dinner. We have not had such
a dinner since we left home. Sparks is a good cook."
Then the General drew his knife, and attacked the dinner. After
he had eaten a short time, General Rusk said, "General Houston,
it is a maxim in law that 'he who partakes of stolen property,
knowing it to be such, is guilty with the thief.' " General Houston
replied, "No one wants any of your law phrases." After the meal
General Houston said, "Sparks, I'll not punish you for this offense,
but if you are guilty of it the second time I will double the pun-
The next morning we took up the line of march for Harrisburg,
arriving there about four o'clock in the afternoon, tired and hun-
gry, so we all scattered to look for something to eat. Deaf Smith,
our trusty spy, came up on his horse at about half speed, and re-
ported a large body of Mexicans just around a point of timber,
and that they were marching on us. Then we heard Houston's
voice, "To arms! To arms! The enemy is upon us !" And our
men were in line in less time than it takes to tell it.
Harrisburg was fired the day before, and was still burning.
Houston had arranged this false alarm to see if he could depend
on the volunteers; he had all the time been afraid of them in a
close place. But when he saw Sherman's regiment of volunteers
in line of battle, as quick as Burleson's regiment of regulars, he
said to General Rusk that he would take Santa Anna's trail the
next day, and give him battle as soon as he could overtake him.
That night we heard that Santa Anna was three miles below us,
camped in a lane. Houston called for three hundred volunteers
to swim Buffalo Bayou, and go down to attack Santa Anna. I was
one of the volunteers, and we began to try to swim our horses, but
whenever we got to where the light shone on the water (all along
the opposite bank the buildings were still burning) our horses
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 12, July 1908 - April, 1909, periodical, 1909; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101048/m1/77/: accessed March 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.