The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 52, July 1948 - April, 1949 Page: 102
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
opposite bank is Mexican soil. Some arrangements for defense should
therefore be made and barracks provided for at least a regiment of
men. The present force is entirely inadequate.
The Government does not own the ground occupied by Fort Brown,
and it ought now to be secured. The title is in dispute, but that, I
learn, would constitute no serious obstacle to the purchase, as a law
of Texas, passed in 1849, provides for such cases. I have no Digest of
the laws of Texas to refer to, but understand the act in relation to
sites required by the General Government within the State for mili-
tary purposes, is to the following effect:-If the owner of the land
which the United States want refuses to sell, the agent of the Govern-
ment goes before the Judge of the District Court and makes known
the state of the case. The Judge is then required to empanel a jury
who will fix the price of the land, which price is paid over to the
owner, who gives a good title. Where no owners can be found, or the
title is in litigation, the agent of the government applies to the Judge
as above; a jury is empanelled, the price fixed, and the amount paid
into the hands of a State or County officer, where it is retained until
owners of the land are found. The person to whom the money is
paid over is required to give a title which the law makes good.
The garrison of Fort Brown consists of Light Company B, 4th
Artillery (recently remounted) and Company K, same regiment,
commanded by the junior Major thereof, Bvt. Lieut. Col. Lucian B.
Webster.41 I reviewed and inspected the command July 3d, and the
strength on parade was as follows:-
Field & Staff. Maj. L. B. Webster, (Bvt. Lt. Col.) and Surgeon S.
Company B. Capt. J. W. Phelps,43 1st Lieuts. H. M. Whiting44
& E. Hayes,45 and 52 men.
41Lucian Bonaparte Webster graduated from the Military Academy in 1823. He
was breveted major on September 23, 1846, for gallantry at Monterrey, and
lieutenant colonel on February 23, 1847, for gallantry at Buena Vista. He died on
November 4, 1853. Ibid., o1013.
42Samuel Preston Moore was made a major surgeon on April go, 1849, and
resigned his commission on February 25, 1861. He was a surgeon general in the
Confederate States Army from 1861 to 1865. He died on May 31, 1889. Ibid., 723.
4aJohn Wolcott Phelps graduated from the Military Academy in 1836, and
resigned his commission on November 4, 1859. He became a colonel in the 1st
Vermont Infantry on May 9, 1861, and was made brigadier general in the Volun-
teers on May 17, 1861. He died on February 2, 1885. Ibid., 788.
44Henry Macomb Whiting graduated from the Military Academy in 1842, and
was breveted first lieutenant on February 23, 1847, for gallantry at Buena Vista.
He died on October 8, 1853. Ibid., o1030.
45Edmund Hayes graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1846.
He died on November 25, 1853. Ibid., 515.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 52, July 1948 - April, 1949, periodical, 1949; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101121/m1/110/: accessed January 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.