There have also been rumors of an intended concentration of the troops at San Antonio, with a view to their disbandment. Lieutenant Graham, of my company, recently joined from leave of absence, informs me that in passing through New Orleans he was advised by Colonel Myers, son-in-law of General Twiggs, not to join his company; that the troops in Texas would not be allowed to leave the State, and that the general had been written to, or that there was a plan to concentrate the troops at San Antonio, to give all the officers who desired it permission to leave the department, and then to notify the President that he held the Army in Texas for the Southern republic.
I have just received two orders from the headquarters of the department (of which I inclose copies, lest you should not have received them),* and these orders, in conjunction with all the reports above referred to, leave so decided an impression on my mind that some unauthorized disposition of the troops is in contemplation, that I think I will be justified in refusing to move my command from this post on the order of General Twiggs, unless I am satisfied that he is acting under the orders of the General-in-Chief or the War Department.
It will, of course, be extremely unpleasant to disobey an order from department headquarters, but you will perceive therein an intention is foreshadowed of moving the troops, and at the same time an admission that no orders have been received.
If an order is issued moving command, I will believe that it is issued in bad faith to the Government, and I do not think I ought to hesitate to disobey it. I hope, however, that I will hear from you, either officially or unofficially. The vote in this State on the question of secession will be taken on the 23rd, and it is not probable that the result of the vote can be ascertained and disclosed before six weeks. Many of the precincts, such as El Paso, are very remote, so that, until the disclosed vote of the people is ascertained, the State, although nominally out of the Union on the 2nd of March next, is not really so.
I presume that the policy of the incoming administration will be developed immediately after the 4th of March, and if you will write me by the 8th of March, your letter will reach New Orleans in time for the steamer of the 15th of that month.
There are reports, too, of official letters being opened, and I would suggest that your letter be sent under an unofficial envelope.
Should it be the intention of the department to withdraw these troops after the secession of the State of Texas, of course it is obvious that Brazos Santiago is the port where to embark.
Very truly, yours,
B. H. HILL,
Captain, First Artillery.
P. S.-The steamer Arizona has just arrived at Brazos. She brings intelligence that the steamer General Rusk was about to leave Galveston with several hundred men to seize Brazos Santiago and the ordnance stores there. She was directed (the Arizona) by her owners to delay twenty-four [hours] at Indianola, in order that the Rusk should reach Brazos in advance of her. I have apprehended some lawless attack on Brazos, and a short time ago sent down an officer and twelve men. There is a large quantity of ordnance stores and ordnance
* See circular February 4 and order February 9, pp.587, 589.