The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 274
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Antonio Zouave, averred that he was "mighty glad when the train pulled
out, and I must say, I don't want no more Miami in my life."40
The reaction of Miamians to the departure of the troops was mixed.
The men of the First Texas had apparently endeared themselves to many
of the locals. "Officers and men alike," editorialized the local newspaper,
"were found to be gentlemen of the finest type." Not all the men from the
Second Texas, however, enjoyed this same noble reputation, as they were
reported to have been involved in some racial incidents that targeted the
residents of Miami's "Colored Town." Sensational early reports were that
some members of the Second Texas and a few of the Louisiana soldiers
had engaged in a gun battle with some black civilians on the night ofJuly
So. One of the Texans was reported killed and two other soldiers wound-
ed before order was restored. Later, a different version became public.
Apparently a black Miamian and a white soldier got into an argument
over a counterfeit coin. When the civilian attempted to strike the soldier,
a passing teamster intervened. And when the black man drew a revolver
the teamster shot it out of his hand. A crowd of soldiers quickly assembled
and some of them fired their pistols into the air, ostensibly to frighten
other nearby blacks. Colonel Openheimer dispatched a couple of officers
and some enlisted men to investigate, and they arrested nine blacks and
confiscated a shotgun and three pistols. One soldier assured his mother
in a letter home that no Texans were involved. He, in fact, had been one
of the men detailed to arrest the troublemakers, who were from the Sec-
ond Alabama Volunteers-not the Second Texas.41
The Texans found Jacksonville to be a welcome change from Miami.
The camp was situated about three miles from the center of town in Fair-
field Park on the broad St.John's River. The water was shallow close to the
banks, and the sandy bottom made it an ideal place for bathing or simply
Within a few days of the Texans' arrival at their new campsite, Spain
and the United States agreed on an armistice, and any chance to earn mil-
itary glory disappeared. Henry Mathews, a soldier in the First Texas and a
regular correspondent for his hometown Galveston Daily News, informed
its readers on August 24 that 30 percent of his regiment favored breaking
up the unit and returning to Texas. The next day he upped his estimate
to 50 percent who "would hail with great delight an order to disband, so
completely have they become disgusted with the situation, while the re-
mainder have grown quite indifferent and await with patience a definite
0 Koenigsberg, Southern Martyrs, 185 (1st quotation); Gentzen Diary, Aug. 11, 1898 (2nd quo-
" Miami Metropolis, Aug. 12, 1898, as cited by Thomas, "Camp Hell," 153, 154 (quotation),
Galveston Daily News, July 15, 17, 26, 1898; William B. Smith to his mother, from Miami, July 16,
1898, Spanish American War Survey (U.S. Army Military History Institute, Carlisle, Penn.; cited
hereafter as Spanish American War Survey).
42 Galveston Daily News, Aug. 14, 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/m1/326/: accessed November 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.