Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 9, Number 2, May, 1999 Page: 110
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
and with us stood next to Tom Green and "Old
Gotch," and if all our commanding generals
had been like him, we would have done much
better. Of this affair he says: "The danger to
be guarded against while operating on the river
was pointed viz: That the enemy might, from
transports, ethrow forces ashore both above and
below him, and at points where the swamps in
the rear were impassable; and this trap Waller
fell into. Most of his men escaped by abandon-
ing arms, horses, etc. Immunity from attack
for some days had made them careless. Noth-
ing compensates for absence of discipline; and
the constant watchfulness, even when danger
seems remote, that is necessary in war, can only
be secured by discipline which makes duty a
Of course, when he says "Immunity from
attack had made them careless," he means, the
men were careless, which is both unjust and
untrue, for there never was a braver or more
patriotic body of men, nor one more watchful,
or more obedient to military discipline, than
that battalion, and with one solitary exception
there was not a a more prudent set of officers
in any service, and that solitary exception was
Edwin Waller the lieutenant colonel command-
ing. Now, let's go at the facts here, and see
whether it was the carelessness of the men, or
their observance to discipline and obedience to
orders from their superior officer, that brought
about this reverse.
May 31, 1888
Davidson from Donna Anna
to the End of 1862
The battalion went down, and camped at
Barnet Carre, on the 6th, intending to watch
the Federal movements upon the river. On the
7th, Major Boone late in the evening with a
detachment was sent some twelve miles down
to burn a bridge across a bayou. With his ac-
custom vigor, he went down, burned the bridge,
and came back in the night and reported the
Federals advancing. Capt. January, the senior
captain, went to Col. Waller, and expostulated
with him and tried to get him to move. Waller
refused to stir. The officer of the day went to
him, and, as was his duty, suggested to him the
propriety of moving. Waller refused to stir. "On
the morning of the 8th, Capt. January went to
him again, for by this time the gun boats and
transports were in sight, though a long way off.
Waller still refused to move. Guard was
mounted and Lieut. R. S. Weiseger became
officer of the day; and, as his duty called on
him to make such suggestions, as he thought
proper to the commanding officer, he went to
Col. Waller, and suggested the propriety of
moving up the river, ahead of the gun boats,
until they struck a road leading out of the
swamps, which were impossible in their rear.
Col. Waller replied that every officer in the
battalion, seemed to be trying to command him;
that he did not come down there to run, and
was not going to do it. And in obedience to
military orders, and military discipline, that
battalion stood there for four hours, and watched
themselves surrounded by overwhelming, num-
bers. There was but two ways to get out with
their horses, one was by a road running out
from the river about four miles above them;
the by a similar road below them. In obedience
to military orders, and military discipline, they
stood there and saw themselves cut off from
both those roads. Every officer except Col.
Waller and every private in the battalion, well-
knowing all the time, just what was going to
happen, and knowing that they could only save
themselves from capture by abandoning their
horses, wading bogs and swimming bayous.
But Gen. Taylor has a theory-that theory,
being that military science, and discipline alone,
can accomplish anything; that every thing must
bend and bow to its careless edicts and man-
Here’s what’s next.
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 9, Number 2, May, 1999, periodical, May 1999; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151406/m1/62/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed October 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.