The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961 Page: 300
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
not willing to go hungry, deserted.45 Nevertheless, Ford and Dick-
inson were not discouraged. They continued to urge the people
to support them "in the name of patriotism, of liberty, and all
that is dear to man." They offered fifty dollars apiece to men who
would enlist and "defend their homes & property, their wives
and their little ones against the brutal assaults of an enemy
who respects neither age, sex or condition, who plunder ... the
Slowly the number of volunteers returned to a thousand. Ford
continued to call for men. By mid-March there were 1,300 poorly
armed troops and the colonel was ready to move, hoping that
additional recruits could be picked up on the march. "With the
help of God," he would drive the Yankees into the Gulf.4"
At daybreak on March 18, 1864, the Cavalry of the West trotted
out of San Antonio to seek out the enemy troops, who were re-
ported to be holding a line from Ringgold Barracks to Corpus
Christi.48 Because of the lack of forage, movement was in two
columns, one under Ford, the other under Lieutenant Colonel
Daniel Showalter. The line of march carried them southward to a
point near Pleasanton, then along the meandering Atascosa River
to its confluence with the Rio Frio and Nueces, and finally down to
Camp San Fernando, a Confederate outpost commanded by Major
While encamped at San Fernando, Ford received the alarming
report of a Yankee raid on Laredo, the headquarters of Colonel
Santos Benavides' regiment and the center of the Mexican trade
at that time. The report stated that at 3 P.M. on March 19, 200
Federal cavalry led by Colonel E. J. Davis galloped with pistols
blazing down the streets of the town to swamp Benavides' sixty
Texans, who fired from behind crude barricades in the plaza.
Hot fighting, much of it hand-to-hand, lasted until nightfall,
when the Confederates crying the "Texan yell" repulsed a final
4Ford, Memoirs, VI, 11-12; Ford to Turner, February 5, 1864, Oficial Records,
ser. I, vol. XXXIV, pt. II, 946-947.
46Ford to Mat Nolan, March 5, 1864, Ford Letter Books, I, 48; San Antonio
Weekly Herald, March 19, 1864.
47Oficial Records, ser. I, vol. XXXIV, pt. II, 947, 1074-1075.
4aSan Antonio Weekly Herald, March 19, 1864.
49Roberts, "Texas," Confederate Military History, XI, 123.
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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/m1/332/: accessed January 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.