War of the Rebellion: Serial 001 Page 0570 OPERATIONS IN TEXAS AND NEW MEXICO. Chapter VII.

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and brought to my memory by Lieutenant Z. R. Bliss, Eighth Infantry, called San Lucas Spring. There is quite a high hill a few hundred yards from the spring, having some houses, corrals, &c., which, together with the commanding position and a well of water in the yard, rendered this point a very strong one for a small command. This place is known as Allen's Hill. It is eight miles from where the enemy was encamped, and there I made a halt to await his advance, and parked the wagon train for defense; all of which preparations were made a little after sunrise on the 9th.

About 9 o'clock two officers approached, bearing a white flag and a message from Colonel Van Dorn, demanding an unconditional surrender of the United States troops under my command, stating that he had an "overwhelming force." I declined to surrender without the presentation of such a force or a report of an officer, whom I would select from my command, of its character and capacity of compelling a surrender. The advance of the enemy came in sight over a rise of ground about a mile distant, and as the whole force soon came in sight and continued in march down the long slope, Colonel Van Dorn's messenger returned to me with directions to say that "if that display of force was not sufficient I could send an officer to examine it." I replied that it was "not sufficient." I directed Lieutenant Bliss to proceed, conducted by the same necessary, to make a careful examination of the enemy. He was taken to a point so distant that nothing satisfactory could be ascertained, and he informed his conductors that he would "make no report upon such an examination." This being reported to Colonel Van Dorn, he permitted as close an examination as Lieutenant Bliss desired. The enemy had formed line on the low ground some half-mile in front of my position, perpendicular to and crossing the road, and neither could be plainly seen by the other in consequence of the high bushes which intervened. Lieutenant Bliss rode the whole length of the enemy's line within thirty yards, estimating the numbers and examining the character of his armament. He reported to me that the cavalry were armed with rifles and revolvers; the infantry with muskets (some rifle) and revolvers; that there were four of artillery, with from ten to twelve men each; that he estimated the force at 1,200 at least, and there might be 1,500 (since ascertained to be 1,400). With this force before me, an odds of about fire to one, being short of provisions, having no hope of re-enforcement, no means of leaving the coast, even should any portion of the command succeed in reaching it, and with every probability of utter annihilation in making the attempt, without any prospect of good to be attained, I deemed that stubborn resistance and consequent bloodshed and sacrifice of life would be inexcusable and criminal, and I therefore surrendered.

Colonel Van Dorn immediately withdrew his force, and permitted us to march to San Antonio with our arms and at our leisure. We arrived there on the 10th, and on the 11th an officer was sent to our camp to receive our arms and other public property, all of which was surrendered.

I will state here that we have been treated, in the circumstances of our capture, with generosity and delicacy, and harrowed and wounded as our feelings are, we have not had to bear personal contumely and insult.

I am, sir, yours, respectfully,


Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel, U. S. Army, Commanding.

Colonel L. THOMAS,

Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.