The Texas Almanac, for 1860, with Statistics, Historical and Biographical Sketches, &c., Relating to Texas. Page: 70
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70 TEXAS ALMANAC,
I do not pretend to have kept any journal of events as they happened on that
memorable occasion; nor could I call to mind with half the certainty the Dr. has,
many details or particulars, yet I will venture to make one correction in his descrip-
tion of the battle, not that I care a fig for Sam Houston. That the victory "was
won almost against the will of their Commander, who, when he could no longer
put off the action, finally yielded to the incessant demands by both officers and
men," is a sentiment in which I fully agree with the narrator.
On the day before the battle, (on the 20th April,) the two armies pitched their
camps within about a mile of each other. The Texians occupying the south bank
of Buffalo Bayou, somewhat protected by a narrow belt of timber growing th~reon.
The Mexicans took a commanding position, partly on the prairie and partly pro-
tected by some scattering post oaks. As the enemy had taken New-Washington
(Morgan's Point) in their route to Lynchburg, Gen. Houston was enabled to march
the Texians to intercept them. Hence a battle. But the skirmish that day result-
ing unpropitiously, there seemed to be some difference of opinion what ought to be
done; whether we should attack the enemy immediately, wait for a night attack,
or construct a floating bridge, on which to make a further retreat. The morning
of the 21st dawned, yet no decision had been made. A reinforcement was seen in
the early part of the day to enter the enemy's lines. They were throwing up
breastworks, evidently gaining strength every hour. "What are we going to
do?" was the all-absorbing question; yet mid-day came, and still the question was
unanswered. About this time the captains and field-officers were summoned to
consult as a council of war. Who instigated or was foremost in getting this up, I
don't pretend to say; but it was in the mouths of all, that "Wharton and Sherman
were for fight." Some two hours passed off while engaged in deliberating, and
upon the breaking up of the council and return of the captains to their respective
companies, inquiry at once is made, "What have you done ?" I well remember the
purport of the answer given by Captain Heard. "We've done nothing. We couldn't
agree." We are divided into three parties--one paity is in favor of building a raft
to get over the river (San Jacinto) upon; another is for waiting until break of day
in the morning to make the attack, while Wharton, Sherman, and others are for
fighting immediately. Thus we were again in suspense-men threatening to leave
and take care of themselves--our little army was just ready to break up and dis-
perse. All at once, Gen. Houston is seen walking deliberately up the bayou-
" What is he up to?" "Gentlemen," said he, in a clear and distinct voice, "Shall
we fight now, or wait till to-morrow morning ?" "Fight now I fight now I fight now!"
resounded from one end of the encampment to the other. This was a response so
decided that he could not mistake the sentiments of the soldiers. Some half-hour
after this, a parade was ordered, and we were drawn up in form for battle. The
cavalry occupying the extreme right, CoL Sherman's regiment the left, our artil-
lery, Burleson's regiment, and Millard's regulars, taking position between, so as to
come directly before the enemy's breastworks and artillery. The fighting com-
menced on our left. We marched in double file, with our arms trailed. When
within about two hundred and fifty yards of the enemy's lines, we were ordered to
fire. Some of the boys thinking the distance too great for their rifles to tell, re-
served their fire for a few paces. In a very short time, perhaps a minute, the firing
became general; smoke from the cannon and small arms rendered it almost impos-
sible to see the shape or size of our enemy. But on we pushed, pell-mell, helter
skelter, until after we drove the Mexicans from their breastworks and cannon.
Suddenly some one calls out "Halt I halt i" " Supposing it came from head-quar-
ters, in the absence of my captain, (who had then been slightly wounded,) I en-
deavored, as the second in command, to rally the members of our company (Baker's)
by ordering them to fall into line; but this I soon found to be impossible, for each
man appeared to be fighting and charging Mexicans on his own hook. No respect
was paid to the order to halt--at least, so little that it had no direct bearing upon
the movements either of the enemy or our own men. During this helter skelter,
every-fellow-for-himselffight, Texians and Mexicans became so mixed -up, it was
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The Galveston News. The Texas Almanac, for 1860, with Statistics, Historical and Biographical Sketches, &c., Relating to Texas., book, 1860~; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth123766/m1/72/: accessed November 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.