Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 2, Number 2, May, 1992 Page: 82
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
The army ... marched down to a point opposite Beason's; here it made a halt for several
days. In the mean time General Sesma formed a camp on the west bank, where the town
of Columbus is now situated."
A detachment of some one hundred and fifty or two hundred men were left at Dewees'
ferry, and the main army encamped for several days on the east side of the Colorado, about
a mile (as near as I can recollect) from the river, and opposite Beason's.47
Burnet says that when Houston arrived at Beeson's, Sesma "took position on the right
bank of the Colorado" and that "Sesma was on the other side of the Colorado, within
striking distance."48 Sherman, quoting Colonel Benjamin Fort Smith, wrote that his
detachment was "stationed at Dewees crossing, about seven miles above the main
Taken together, these four accounts give scant evidence of the locations of
the crossings. Certainly, since the army was moving from north to south, Calder's
statement that a detachment was left at Dewees' ferry indicates that it was indeed north
of Beeson's. Burnet, in the 1860 Texas Almanac states
The enemy had placed himself in a bend of the river, about midway between the two fords
- Beason's and Dewees'. From the Texian camp to Dewees', around the bend was six to
seven miles: on a straight line crossing the river, not more than two miles.60
This statement could explain Sherman's estimate that Dewees' crossing was seven
miles north of Beeson's, where the main army was camped. It also gives a vital clue to
the locations of the two crossings: one was around a bend from the other. Unfortunately,
whether Beeson's was where Columbus is now or whether it was south of Columbus
at a spot in the Beeson league, it would be around a bend from any crossing three miles
to the north.
Houston's deployment of his troops, leaving a small unit at Dewees'
Crossing and encamping his main army at Beeson's, makes better strategic sense if
Beeson's Crossing was south of the present site of Columbus. From that location, the
larger unit could easily support the smaller in case of an attack. Further, the camps would
be a scant three miles apart while enemy camps on the opposite side of the river, because
of a long bend, would be much farther apart. If, however, Dewees' Crossing was north
of present-day Glidden and Beeson's was at the site of Columbus, it would be Houston's
army which would be forced to establish a communication line which was many miles
longer than the enemy's, neither unit could quickly support the other in case of attack,
and the main body of the army would be in a position that could be easily surrounded.
Despite Dewees' claim that the town of Columbus existed as early as
1835,61 it is quite clear that Beeson's Crossing was the predominant settlement in what
is now Colorado County at least until 1836, for the January 16, 1836 issue of the
Telegraph & Texas Register gave "from San Felipe by Beason's and Daniel's, to
46 Day, The Texas Almanac 1857-1873, p. 143.
47 ibid., p. 445.
48 ibid., p. 321 and 323. This article is unattributed, but has been believed for many years to have been
written by Burnet.
49 ibid., p. 372.
50 ibid., p. 321.
51 Dewees, Letters From An Early Settler of Texas, letter dated December 25, 1835, p. 153.
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 2, Number 2, May, 1992, periodical, May 1992; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151385/m1/14/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.