Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown. Page: 155 of 894
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INDIAN WARS AND PIONEERS OF TEXAS.
monly called the Consultation) in November, 1835.
He was also a volunteer in the first resistance to
the Mexicans at Gonzales and in the march upon
San Antonio in October.
In the campaign of 1836, he was early in the
field, and commanded one of the most gallant companies
on the field of San Jacinto, in which he won
the admiration of his comrades. He remained in
the army till late in the year, when he was called
into the Cabinet of President Houston to succeed
(en. Rusk as Secretary of War, thereby becoming
a colleague of Governor Henry Smith, Stephen F.
Austin and S. Rhoads Fisher in the same Cabinet,
soon to announce the death of Austin in the following
WAR DEPARTMENT, COLUMBIA, TEX.
"December 27, 1836.
"The father of Texas is no more. The first
pioneer of the wilderness has departed. Gen.
Stephen F. Austin, Secretary of State, expired this
day at half-past 12 o'clock, at Columbia.
"As a testimony of respect to hi hihigh standing,
undeviating moral rectitude, and as a mark of the
nation's gratitude for his untiring zeal and invaluable
services, all officers, civil and military, are
requested to wear crape on the right arm for the
space of thirty days. All officers commanding
posts. garrisons or detachments will, so soon as
information is received of the melancholy event,
cause twenty-three guns to be fired, with an interval
of five minutes between each, and also have the
garrison and regimental colors hung with black
during the space of mourning for the illustrious
"By order of the President.
W vM. S. FISIER,
Secretary of War."
The services of Col. Fisher were such that when
provision was made for a regular army by the Congress
of 1838-9, he was made Lieutenant-Colonel
of the only permanent regiment, of which the veteran
Burleson was made Colonel. In this capacity
he commanded the troops engaged in the Council
House fight with the Comanches, on the 19th of
March, 1840, and rendered other important services
to the frontier; but in the summer of 1840
he resigned to become a Colonel in the Mexican
Revolutionary or Federalist army in the short-lived
Republic of the Rio Grande. But the betrayal of
Jordan and his command at Saltillo, in October of
the same year, followed by the latter's successful
retreat to the Rio Grande
an achievement which
has been likened to that of Xenophon
by the disbandment of the Federal forces and
the triumph of centralism, upon which Col. Fisher
and his three hundred Amercian followers returned
His next appearance was as a Captain in the
Somervell expedition to the Rio Grande in the
autumn of 1842. The history of that campaign is
more or less familiar to the public. There were
seven hundred men. From Laredo two hundred
of them, under Capts. Jerome B. and E. S. C.
Robertson, returned home. At the mouth of the
Salado river, opposite Guerrero, another division
occurred. Two hundred of the men (of whom I
was one) returned home with and under the orders
of Gen. Somervell. The remaining three hundred
reorganized into a regiment and elected Col.
Fisher as their commander. They moved down
the river, crossed over and entered Mier, three
miles west of it, on the Arroyo Alcantra, leaving
forty of their number as a guard on the east bank
of the river. They entered the town at twilight on
the 25th of December, amid a blaze of cannon and
small arms, in the hands of twenty-seven hundred
Mexicans, commanded by Gen. Pedro de Ampudia,
and for nineteen hours fought one of the most
desperate battles in American annals
they had killed and wounded more than double
their own number, and till their ammunition was so
far exhausted as to render further resistance hopeless.
Then they capitulated, to become the famed
Mier prisoners, or " the Prisoners of Perote; "
to rise upon their guard in the interior of Mexico
and escape to the mountains--there to wander
without food or water till their tongues were
swollen and their strength exhausted, to become an
easy prey to their pursuers--then to be marched
back to the scene of their rescue, at the hacienda
of Salado, an(l there, under the order of Santa
Anna, each one blind-folded, to draw in the lottery
of Life or Death, from a covered jar in which
were seventeen black and a hundred and fifty-three
white beans. Every black bean drawn consigned
the drawer to death -one-tenth of the whole to
be shot for an act which commanded the admiration
of every true soldier in Europe and America,
not omitting those in Mexico, for Gen. Mexia
refused to execute the inhuman edict and resigned
his commission. But another took his place and
those seventeen men were murdered.
The entire imprisonment of the survivors (some
of whom being in advance, were not in the rescue
and therefore not in the drawing) covered a
period of twenty-two months. They were then released
and reached home about the close of 1844.
In 1845 Col. Fisher married a lady of great
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Brown, John Henry. Indian wars and pioneers of Texas / by John Henry Brown., book, ; Austin, Tex.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth6725/m1/155/: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .