War of the Rebellion: Serial 001 Page 0519 Chapter VII. REPORTS.

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No. 5. Report of Bvt. Major Larkin Smith, Eighth U. S. Infantry, of the seizure of U. S. property at San Antonio, Tex.

CAMP SAN PEDRO, TEX., February 23, 1861.

COLONEL: In compliance with instructions that I should report such information as I possess on the subject of the events which transpired in San Antonio on the 16th instant, I have the honor to state as follows:

For several days previous to the 16th there were many rumors of the formation of forces to take possession of the public property at the depots. They were not generally credited until the 14th,when move reliable information was received that a strong force of citizens was collecting from the counties to the east and northeast. This was confirmed on the 15th, and it was generally understood that several hundred men would enter the city the next morning. The orders given to the guard were, that they should not resist a large organized force, but to preserve the public property form depredation by individuals or any mob, as usual. The troops, consisting of Company I of the First, and A of the Eighth Infantry, were to form at quarters and await further orders in case of the approach of any considerable force.

At fifteen minutes of 4 o'clock on the morning of the 16th, I received a message from the officer of the day that a large armed force was entering the city. Repairing to my company quarters, a low, one story building, marked B on the accompanying plot,* situated in the yard used as a depot for ordnance, the men were formed, and ordered to remain at their quarters. I then proceeded to the Army offices in the building marked A, were officers were awaiting developments rather than orders, it being understood that no resistance would be made. A few minutes after, some eighty armed citizens took position across the street at the point C, and another party in the lot at H. Returning towards my company quarters, I found a strong party on the street leading to the plaza, some of them ascending the stairs to the second story of the ordnance building, D. Approaching them, I was accosted by two persons, who seemed surprised at being observed. One of them was announced as Colonel McCulloch. I informed him that the house on the corner was occupied by soldiers. He said he could not help that. I asked, "Perhaps you will tell me what you intend to do, " to which he replied that his force was in commanding positions, and would take possession of all the public property, after which, if anything was wanted, it would have to be asked of the commissioners, and that the persons of my men were secure, and would not be molested. During this conversation, he gave me to understand that the force on the east side of the river served to prevent my company and that of the First Infantry at F from uniting. In the mean time his people were mounting to the roof of the ordnance building, of the house adjoining on the south, and of the Masonic Hall at G. About one hour after this conversation, having heard that it was intended to demand the arms in the hands of our men, I sought Colonel McCulloch, and asked him if I had understood him rightly that the persons of the soldiers would not be molested. He answered, "Yes." I stated that they would consider their persons very much molested if their arms were interfered with. He replied, "That is a question for the commissioned

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*Omitted.

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