The treachery in Texas, the secession of Texas, and the arrest of the United States officers and soldiers serving in Texas. Read before the New-York Historical Society, June 25, 1861. By Major J. T. Sprague, U. S. A. Page: 29 of 36




tive but to submit without remonstrance to the
terms of capitulation agreed upon in San Antonio
on the eighteenth of February, 1861. To resist
would have been but a cruel forfeiture of the
lives of the brave men around them, who, regardless
of consequences, expressed their willingness
to die upon the soil. Temporary success might
have been accomplished, but before they could
have reached the coast for embarkation, they
would have been intercepted and decimated by
the thousands of Texas volunteers now effectively
armed with the materials of war plundered
from the Federal Government.
It was my fortune to reach San Antonio early
in the month of March, and to become a participator
in the results of these humiliating events.
I had escaped detection when passing through
the seceding States, in the hopes of joining my
command at Fort Bliss on the extreme frontier
of Texas. On the route of travel from Cincinnati
to New-Orleans by steamer, passengers were
greatly excited, discussing the political events of
the day. Men from the North and the South
then dared to communicate to each other their
hopes and fears upon the exciting events agitating
both sections of the country; and travellers,
in social conversation, unhesitatingly expressed
their devotion to the Union, and their anxiety
that the political dissensions, now so threatening,
should be amicably adjusted in despite the activity
of political organizations so fast involving their
States in secession and consequent ruin. The
telegraph was the means of keeping the cities and
towns bordering the Mississippi River in a constant
state of fermentation. At Memphis information
was received that Fort Sumter had been reenforced,
and that a war of extermination had been
declared by President Lincoln against the South.
At Natchez intelligence was in like manner communicated
that Fort Sumter had capitulated, and
that Mr. Lincoln had fled from Washington. Extras
from the various newspapers scattered these
reports into every county in the States. Bonfires
and cannon celebrated the one, while the former
only tended to exasperate the morbid tastes and
feelings of the populace, and to discard the long
cherished affection for the Union. These reports
were not contradicted nor were they designed to
be; false impressions were thus made upon the
minds of good and loyal men, and love for our
common country was turned to malignant hate
through the activity of malicious and designing
men. At New-Orleans the State Convention was
in session, and the grave question was being discussed,
as to whether the Constitution of the
Confederated States should be submitted to the
people. In common with others, supposed to be
friends, I expressed my views and wishes in regard
to the course of the Administration, vindicated
its justness, fairness, and liberality to all
parts of the Union, and declared my belief that
we would yet come together in harmony and interest.
I was informed in the course of the day
that nly opinions were treasonable and had been
reported to the Convention, and in order to avoid
detection, my judicious course was to leave the

city as early as practicable. Not wishing to be
annoyed, I left for San Antonio the next morning,
and the day after my arrival there, was informed
by the Committee of Public Safety that I would
not be permitted to proceed farther upon my
journey. An emissary from the Convention, I
learnt, had accompanied me from New-Orleans to
San Antonio. I found the city in the hands of
Texas, business was suspended, and the populace
still doubting to which Government they belonged,
waiting the crisis of portending events. The banner
of the " Lone Star" was flying from all the
public buildings, which, in a few days, was replaced
by the confederate flag. The authority of
the United States Government, civil and military,
was discarded, and the entire country was governed
by a vigilance committee, supported by volunteer
troops. )
Secession was accomplished; and the absence
of industry and cheerfulness so striking in this
beautiful and once enterprising town, told plainly,
but sadly, the despotism of error, and the inevitable
results from misguided public opinion. Col.
Waite was actively engaged in carrying out, in
good faith, the terms of capitulation which unfortunately
had fallen to his lot to execute. He was
without any instructions whatever from the Government
at Washington other than that transports
had been ordered from New-York to Texas
for the troops; he hastened their departure to
avoid that which was so much apprehendedcollision
and the shedding of blood. The troops
from the frontier, as fast as transportation could
be obtained, passed through San Antonio in detachments
for Indianola, the port of embarkation,
where it was expected transports would be awaiting
their arrival. Emissaries from the confederated
States hung upon their flanks and sought
their camps from day to day, endeavoring by
promises of pay and increased rank to induce
them to join their cause. To such solicitations
these brave and hardy veterans were unapproachable,
and declared their determination to serve
the Government they loved and honored, and to
sustain that flag which they had carried in triumph
through so many conflicts and perils.
When these troops, some twelve hundred, were
encamped at Indianola, a more direct and strenuous
effort was made to alienate them from their
loyalty. Col. E. Van Dorn, now of the confederate
army, but recently a captain in the Second
United States cavalry, was deputed by the authorities
of Montgomery to visit this camp to endeavor
to obtain both officers and men. To insure
success, he brought with him written authority
from the President of the confederated States,
guaranteeing increased rank and pay. His service
in Texas, his long association with the officers
and men, many of the latter of his own company
which he so recently abandoned, might, it was
supposed, induce many to join the govermnent
which he acknowledged, but after two days of
fruitless efforts, he abandoned the project, and
owned his mission a failure. These troops embarked
for New-York on the fifth of April, as dlid
also a detachment from the mouth of the Rio

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Sprague, John Titcomb. The treachery in Texas, the secession of Texas, and the arrest of the United States officers and soldiers serving in Texas. Read before the New-York Historical Society, June 25, 1861. By Major J. T. Sprague, U. S. A., book, 1862; New York. ( accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; .