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: 4 of 36
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REBELLION RECORD, 1860-61.
pidity that friends were turned into active and
uncompromising foes. The officers and soldiers
soon found themselves prisoners of war in the
hands of their countrymen--as humiliating to
them as it has been found embarrassing to our
guards were placed in our
hands, to insure safe conduct out of Texas, and
through the confederated States. HIad these disastrouls
and most humiliating events been attributable
to our own acts, or had we been taken
prisoners upon the battle-field, we would not complain;
but thus to be sold into bondage, through
acts of traitors, and by usurpation, is too much to
be quietly endured, and we are not willing to be
crushed without an appeal to our countrymen, to
vindicate our cause, and to record historically
our fidelity to the Union.
Twenty-four years I have seen the flag of our
country go up and come down with the rising
and setting sun, guaranteeing peace and prosperity
throughout the land. I have seen it in a foreign
land, surmounting the white wings of commerce,
commanding the homage of the world. I
have folded its Stars and Stripes upon the breast
of many a cherished comrade and friend. I have
canried it from the Mississippi River to the Rocky
Mountains, surrounded by our laws and institutions,
when the emigrant mother, with her
little brood, would hover beneath its folds, as
night closed in upon the distant plain, and rest
in peace and security. I have seen it in the dark
hour of peril, when doubts and fears hung upon
the conflict, and greeted its returning rays with
victory perched upon its eagles.
In narrating events that have come under my
observation, it is not my desire or design to wound
the pride or feelings of any one. There are doubtless
those within the sound of my voice, who
ire identified with individuals conspicuous in the
events now passing around us. Men, who by
word or deed appear upon the stage of public life,
must expect criticism, often severe, sometimes
unmerited. The unfortunate but unavoidable
conflict, now convulsing our country, tears asunder
the ties of kindred and affection. Warm
hearts and tried friendships are shocked with the
epithet of rebel and traitor. My determination
is to state facts, and leave to public opinion and
to history the merited condemnation or praise.
There is no section of our country so strikingly
illustrative of the peculiar characteristics of our
people as the State of Texas. Within her limits
are citizens from every State in the Union, as
well as large numbers from foreign countries.
They bring with them the habits and sentiments
peculiar to their homes, and thus, unitedly, form
the basis of a hardy, vigorous, intelligent population.
The State is divided into, and is well
known as, Eastern and Western Texas. The former
extends from Austin, the capital, to the Sabine
River, well adapted to slave labor, produceing
cotton, sugar, and tobacco. The latter commences
at San Antonio, comprising the country
to the Rio Grande, thence down to the coast of
the Gulf of Mexico. Corn is raised in large quantities,
and the wide range of prairie-land induces
capitalists to embark extensively in the raising of
cattle, horses, and mules. The German population
is large, and distinguished for intelligence
and industry, and their opposition to slave labor,
and for which, by recent events, they have been
severely punished. The active hostility of Indians
upon this frontier so many years, has been
the means of inuring the settlers to privations
and dangers, and creating a roving and daring
class of men known as Texas Rangers. As it is
generally supposed an American is born a soldier,
so, in this section, every man is, by inheritance,
a Texas Ranger. With his horse, rifle, and powder-horn,
and ten days' subsistence in his saddlebags,
lie takes the field, confident of success. The
Ranger of the present day, however, is but an
imitator of those brave and resolute men, the
pioneers of Texas, now extinctk Witilin the
State there is a secret association, lnown as the
"K. G. Cs. "
Knights of the Golden Circle.
The headquarters are in San Antonio. In every
county there is a place of assemblage called the
Castle. Generals, colonels, majors, and captains
are assigned to the various stations. Meetings
are called, by orders from headquarters, and the
utmost promptness and system distinguish their
proceedings. The initiation fee is one dollar:
five degrees are conferred -divulging the designs
of the order costing thirty dollars. The funds
are placed in the hands of a treasurer, and applied,
under the direction of a select committee, to
the purchase of arms, accoutrements, and ammunition.
It is estimated, by competent authority,
that eight thousand men can be brought into the
field at four days' notice, well equipped. With
this display of force, and the harmony and secrecy
distinguishing the order, they hold in subjection
the sentiments and conduct of the entire
population of the State. At the Castles reports
are made in regard to individuals, their conduct
and opinions, and transmitted, for final action and
investigation, to the headquarters.*
The cordon of military posts along the frontier
of Texas, was established in the month of March,
1849. To sustain these there has been expended,
annually, within the State, from one million six
hundred thousand to two millions four hundred
thousand dollars. The line extends from Red River
to the Rio Grande, thence down the river to Fort
Brown, opposite the Mexican town of Matamoras.
The distance is about fourteen hundred miles.
Forts Worth, Cobb, Cooper, Chadbourne, Belknap,
McKevitt, Bliss, Quitman, Lancaster, Stockton,
Hudson, Clarke, Duncan, McIntosh, Ringgold,
and Camp Verde, are the most important positions,
at which are stationed from fifty to one
hundred and fifty men, artillery, cavalry, and infantry.
In the vicinity, are detached camps, designed
to intercept Indian war parties, going to
and from Mexico, and from the settlements. Snm
Antonio is the headquarters of the department,
as well as the general depot of supplies. The
nearest port to San Antonio is Camp Verde, sixty-five
miles; the most distant, Fort Bliss, six
* The object of this Institution is the protection and extension
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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. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6102/m1/4/?rotate=270: accessed June 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .