The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961 Page: 290
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Houston, where he set up recruiting headquarters and appealed
to loyal "Texians" to take up arms. By February 18 he had about
500 eager volunteers in six companies." At dawn the next day, the
troops marched to Galveston, boarded the steamer General Rusk
and the schooner Shark and sailed down the coast to the island
Brazos de Santiago, a United States stronghold several miles above
Brownsville. Hoping for a fight, the Texans stormed ashore on
February 21 to find only twelve defenders who struck their colors
without the firing of a shot. The victorious Southerners then
converged on the parade grounds to shout and wave their rifles
as the Lone Star Flag was run up the flagpole to the boom of a
Colonel Ford witnessed the change of flags with mixed emotions,
for he felt a loyalty to the United States as well as to Texas. A
native of South Carolina, he had grown up in Tennessee and then
set out for Texas in 1836, arriving only days after San Jacinto.
In the early years of the Republic he had successive careers as a
doctor and an Indian fighter on the frontier. The inadequacy of
frontier defense and the possibility of another death struggle with
Mexico convinced Ford that Texas' best course was with the
United States. Elected to Congress in 1844, he worked hard for
annexation, and when war broke out with Mexico, he enlisted in
the United States Army. In the Mexico City campaign, he served
as adjutant and surgeon for a Texas Ranger regiment under
Colonel John C. (Jack) Hays. It was in this capacity that Ford
acquired his famous nickname. His main duty was to make death
certificates for troops killed in action. He had the habit of com-
pleting each report with "Rest in Peace" after his signature, but
as the number of fatalities increased, he abbreviated the phrase
to "R.I.P." The initials stuck. Until his death, Ford was known
as "Rip" or "Old Rip" by those who knew and respected him.
After the war, Ford became a journalist, but unable to suppress
his love for combat, he soon joined the Texas Rangers to fight
the Indians, rising to the rank of senior captain of all state forces
3Ford, Memoirs, V, 997; Dudley G. Wooten (ed.), A Comprehensive History of
Texas (2 vols.; Dallas, 1898), II, 520.
aFord to J. C. Robertson, February 22, 1861, Oficial Records, ser. I, vol. LIII,
651-652; James Thompson to G. D. Bailey, February 22, 1861, ibid., vol. I, 537-538.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961, periodical, 1961; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101190/m1/322/: accessed April 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.