War of the Rebellion: Serial 041 Page 0442 W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., LA., TEX., N. MEX.

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CHAP. XXXVIII.

the company to be gotten together as possible, and informed them that we were about to fall back, and asked such as were willing to share our fate to step to the front. With the exception of Lieutenant Burris, not one did so. I then directed all such as would not go-I was not in position to compel them-to stack their arms; all who had any did so, and the company disbanded, and doubtless two-thirds of their number are now actively opposed to us.

After the train moved off, I proceeded to ascertain the number of men left, and found the aggregate, including the brigadier-general and his staff, the commissioned and non-commissioned officers of my staff, the commissioned officers and men, to be 79. With this force we awaited the development of the plans of the enemy. At 3 p. m. an express from Captain Taylor announced the fact of from 200 to 300 horses having been crossed from Brazos Island to the mainland, and that a number of men accompanied them, the supposition being, of course, that there were as many men as there were horses. I immediately ordered "To horse," and the general readily and eagerly agreed to my proposition to proceed immediately to the month of the river and endeavor to capture or at least stampede the horses.

The general at once determined to head our small command, but, whilst engaged in giving directions to Major [Charles] Russell to destroy the buildings at Fort Brown in case we should not return by a certain hour, another express came galloping up with the information from Captain Taylor that the enemy's cavalry in force were rapidly advancing on Brownsville, and that not a moment's time was to be lost if we expected to evacuate, and that he had taken to the chaparral, and would meet the command toward the Arroyo Colorado. The information thus received being positive, the enemy being immensely superior to us in numbers, the whole country being disaffected and filled with hundreds and hundreds of our most bitter enemies, the order was immediately given to burn up the post and to destroy such cotton as could not be immediately floated across the Rio Grande. This was done; the buildings were burned; several hundred bales of cotton were thrown into the river, and were in the main floated across; and I burned about 200 bales in the yard near Freeport.

After this had been accomplished, under the groans and hisses of certainly not less than 400 renegades on the other side of the river, the command was formed at Freeport, where the general commanding, feeling and knowing that the several trains that had been sent forward by the Arroyo Colorado road would, if left unprotected, be certainly cut off and destroyed, determined upon that course which is always most bitter to the soldier, viz, a retreat without a fight, unless the latter could be obtained in the defense of our retreat we passed almost in sight of his legions, and were, as we now know, surrounded at all hours, day and night, by a hostile and ruthless foe numbering probably ten times our number.

In company with the brigadier-general commanding, we continued our march to this place, intercepting and turning back all trains loaded with cotton; destroying by fire, from each load, a sufficient number of bales to enable the teams to cross the sand with the balance. In performing this duty, my command was necessarily very much scattered, so as to cover the numerous roads leading across the desert. I am satisfied that but few teams evaded us. I arrived at Santa Gertrudes on the 8th. Since then, continual scouts have been kept out bringing up wagons and teams loaded with cotton, and the road has showed one