The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 268
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
detached for duty elsewhere, and by the middle of July they were scat-
tered to posts along the Rio Grande and to duty stations as far away as
Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida.29
The men of the First Texas Cavalry, on the other hand, were overjoyed
to learn that they were leaving Austin for Fort Sam Houston in San Anto-
nio. "The news was received by cheer after cheer by the troops," wrote
one trooper. "Life in Camp Mabry has been so monotonous that almost
any kind of change would be hailed with delight." According to widely
circulated, and readily accepted, rumors, the cavalrymen would receive
their last few items of equipment in San Antonio, and then they would
ship out for San Francisco and the buildup of American forces destined
for the Philippines. Like their comrades in the Third Infantry, however,
they were headed instead for disappointment. By late June, approxi-
mately half of the companies found themselves "doomed to be banished
to the lonely little forts and stockades along the raging Rio Grande" to be
on the alert for any Mexican attempt to invade Texas. In spite of several
instances of Mexican Texans coming forward to enlist, there were some
troubling indications of unrest. On the very day that Congress declared
war, Mexicans in Piedras Negras collected $4,500 and sent it to Spain for
its war effort against the United States. A couple of Spanish-language
newspapers in San Antonio openly espoused sympathy for Spain. One
even went so far as to comment that the recently announced death of an
American soldier had saved the Spanish a bullet that could be used on
someone else. And in DeWitt and adjoining counties, armed bands of
Mexicans were said to be terrorizing citizens and promising to take ad-
vantage of the present situation to wrest Texas away from the United
States for Mexico.0
Early reaction to the camp in Mobile-named for Maj. Gen. John J.
Coppinger-was fairly positive. A soldier of the Second Texas indeed
called it a "model camp" as he praised the "two fine streams of cold, clear,
spring water" that flowed "through the tented field, furnishing fine water
for bathing and for horses. Every company has a hydrant," he continued,
"with plenty of spring water from the famous and fine capital springs near
by." Only ten days later another observer had a completely different opin-
ion of this seemingly healthful resort. This man described the camp as
"situated in and upon swamps, surrounded on two sides by more swamps,
and a light rain floods the camp. ... Each morning the miasmatic vapors
ascend in clouds from the entire camp grounds, and are so dense they are
not dispersed by the sun until a late hour, this being the main cause of the
sickness in camps, which seems to be on the increase."'
"') Galveston Daly News, June 5, 1898.
40 Ibid., Apr 27, 28, May 20,June 9 (ist quotation), 22 (2nd quotation), 1898
"' Ibid.,June 8 (1st quotation), 17 (2nd quotation), 1898.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/320/: accessed May 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.