War of the Rebellion: Serial 001 Page 0572 OPERATIONS IN TEXAS AND NEW MEXICO. Chapter VII.

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No. 16. Reports of Colonel Earl Van Dorn, C. S. Army, of the surrender of the U. S. troops in Texas, and of his subsequent operations.


San Antonio, Tex., May 10, 1861.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that I met the last column of the United States troops in Texas yesterday at noon, on the El Paso road, about thirteen miles from this city, and that Colonel Reeve, the commanding officer, being satisfied of my greatly superior force, surrendered unconditionally. There were ten officers and three hundred and thirty-seven men, including thirty men who were captured some time since in San Antonio, by Captain James Duff, which I have heretofore neglected to report.

My command consisted of Colonel McCulloch's cavalry, viz: six companies, Captains Pitts, Tobin, Ashby, Bogges, Fry, and Nelson; a squadron of Colonel Ford's State troops, under Lieutenant-Colonel Baylor's command, viz, Captains Walker and Pyron; a battery of light artillery, Captain Edgar; a section of artillery, Captain Teel; two small detachments of horse, under Lieutenants Paul and Dwyer, and an independent detachment of cavalry, Captain Goode. All these troops I placed under the command of Colonel H. E. McCulloch. In addition to these there was a battalion of infantry raised for the occasion in San Antonio, under command of Lieutenant Colonel James Duff, Captains Maverick, Wilcox, Kampman, Navarro, and Prescott, Major John Carolan, in all about thirteen hundred men. I have been actuated in this instance by the same motive which induced me to bring an overwhelming force against the United States troops at Indianola, viz, a desire to arrest and disarm them without bloodshed.

All the arms other public property are now being turned over to officers appointed to receive them, and the officers and men are in camp at the San Pedro Springs near this city.

Having in consideration the proclamation of the President of the United States declaring certain persons "pirates" under the laws of the United States for seizures of vessels or good by persons acting by authority of the Confederate States, I have determined to hold these prisoners of war until I receive further instructions from you. If the officers prefer it I shall allow them to proceed to Montgomery on parole, to report to you for your decision.

I would not do justice to the troops under my command if I failed to report to you the admirable manner in which they conducted themselves throughout the expedition; the cheerful obedience to the orders of the officers elected over them; the discipline that was maintained in their camp, where judges, lawyers, mechanics, and laborers could be seen walking post as sentinels on the same rounds, all willing to do duty in a good cause, and at the close there was the delicacy of brave men, of soldiers, which checked everything like exultation over an unfortunate enemy whom a stern necessity had caused us to disarm. It was gratifying to me, as it is a pleasure to me to report to you, that the whole expedition passed off without one unpleasant incident.

The gentlemen who were at headquarters with me, to whom I am indebted for services cheerfully and promptly rendered, for which I owe them my thanks, were, Colonel P. N. Luckett, quartermaster-general of Texas, Major G. J. Howard, Mr. J. T. Ward, General James Willie, Dr. H. P. Howard, Mr. R. A. Howard, Mr. D. E. Tessier, Judges Fred. Tate