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						191
                       Texas Refugees.

[newspaper clipping continued]
Gen. Butler is nowhere more popular not even in
Boston than among the poor of the Crescent City.
Col. Thorpe, his efficient officer, deservedly shares
this.  Hence the present action, and this notice
from					T. B. G.
		           

[newspaper clipping: first column]
Arrival of Texas Refugees at New Orleans
   The Story of the Escape of Eleven
  United States Soldiers A Fugitive s
  Diary.
From Our Special Correspondent.
			NEW-ORLEANS, Feb. 1, 1863.
  Previous advices have, I suppose, informed you
of the arrival of the propeller Kensington off this
port, from the Rio Grande, whither it was sent to
accomplish the removal of three hundred Texan ex-
iles men, women and children. The vessel reached
this place on the evening of the 29th of January.
Among the more interesting of the party were 11
soldiers belonging to the 8th U. S. regular infantry,
who, in conjunction with their comrades, were sur-
rendered to the Rebels by the treachery of Twiggs,
nearly two years ago.  The story of the escape of
the poor fellows is well worth relating.
  Their names are as follows:
  Sergeants Charles Douglas, Wisconsin, and Ira S.
Coan, New-York; Corporals Charles Worch, Ger-
man, Ed. Waller, Englishman; Musician Robert
Sanderson, New-York City; Privates Francis Brett,
Wisconsin, Stephen Connor, Illinois, Samuel Wil-
son, Pennsylvania, John Swart, New-York, Henry 
Burns, Michigan, Ernest Ceider, Saxony.
  When taken prisoners, on May 9, 1861, at St. Lucas
Springs, 16 miles west of San Antonio, they were
310 in number, commanded by Lieut.-Col. J. V. D.
Reeve of their regiment, and on their march toward
the coast, expecting to quit the State by the port of
Indianola, a proffer of safe transit having been ten-
dered them by Twiggs, the traitor.  Learning that
a large body of Confederates was advancing toward
them, they struck tents at 1, a. m., and pushed for
the city.  At daybreak upward of 2,100 Texans ap-
peared, led by Gen. Van Dorn.  Not knowing the
force of the enemy, our men arranged their baggage
wagons as a defense in the corral, and awaited
the onset.   The Rebels, with 700 cavalry and two
batteries, soon filed to the right and left of the road,
and formed in order of battle.  Presently a Col.
Wilcox appeared with a flag of truce, demanding
an unconditional surrender, which was reluctantly
acceded to by Col. Reeve, after Lieut. Bliss had
been allowed to ascertain the extent of the superi-
ority of the enemy s force.  Accordingly the 317
soldiers were marched into San Antonio under con-
voy of the Rebel, and there stacked their arms as
prisoners.
  After ten days guarded sojourn in camp, five
miles from town, at the head of the San Antonio
River, and twenty in that city, they consented to
give their paroles not to leave the county or to serve
again in the United States Army until duly ex-
changed.  Since then their experience has been of
the promiscuous order.  They were at Camp Van
Dorn, seven miles north-east of San Antonio, until 
Aug. 10, and at Salado for ten days subsequent, un-
der charge of a company of cavalry; at Camp Verde
at the beginning of December, at which place the
Rebels effected a division of their captives on the

[newspaper clipping: second column]
principle of assigning each of the seven Union com-
panies to a separate post.  Thus, Co. C was sent to
Camp Verde, Co. H to McChief, Co. T to Colorado,
Cos. B and K to Fort Chadburn, Co. F to Camp
Cooper, and Co. E to Fort Belknap.  This plan
lasted until April, 1862, when six companies were
brought together at Fort Mason, 85 miles from San
Antonio, where they continued until July, only Co.
C remaining at Camp Verde, to be, however, re-
united with the rest at San Antonio, the center
about which they seem to have revolved.
  From May to September, 1861, they declare they
were not badly treated, being supplied with fresh
beef and regular rations.  From the latter date to
the close of the year they experienced a direful
falling off in gastronomic luxuries, getting very
little salt or sugar, and less vegetables, to be subse-
quently renewed and to fail again, according to the
resources of their captors.  It was a weary and
monotonous existence, and having endured it for
seventeen dreary months these eleven men, now in
New-Orleans, resolved to escape and accomplished
it. 
  They left in four parties, crawling out after dark,
between guards.  I shall condense the narrative of
each to a mere skeleton, intending presently to
allow each hero to be his own historian.
  Sergeant Coan, with two others, possessing, at
starting, four pounds of corn bread each, mixed with
salt and water, and $6 as a common fund, succeeded
in reaching Monterey on the 18th of October, 1862,
remaining there till January 10, when the United 
State Consul sent them to Bagdad, on the Rio
Grande, from which place they came to this port on
the Kensington.
  The second party, originally 14 in number, left on
the same night as the first.  Ten were almost im-
mediately retaken, and punished by confinement in
double irons at San Antonio.  The remaining four,
Douglas, Sandeman, Swart and Ceider, followed
nearly the same route as Coan s party, only 60 miles
to the southward.  They got to Monterey during the
second week of December.
  The third party, comprising Brett and Burns, fled
on the 9th of November, 1862, into a wood, lying
concealed all the following day in a tree, and being
supplied with food by a woman, who brought them
cornmeal.  Marching by night and keeping hidden
by day (a precaution generally adopted by the rest
of the fugitives), they reached Brownsville in 12
days, and Monterey just before Christmas.
  The fourth party, Wilson and Connor, (completing
the 11,) seized the opportunity afforded by the re-
moval of the camp of their captors from San Antonio
to Fort Birney, 25 miles distance, to effect their es-
cape, not being missed in the confusion.
  Returning at night to the abandoned camp for the
purpose of digging up some fifty pounds of pro-
visions which they had secreted and buried, they
followed the route of the first party, arriving at
the appointed goal, Matamoras, on the 22d of De-
cember, 1862.
  Of course all of the men reached their destina-
tion in but a sorry plight, there to be kindly cared
for by the United States Consul, who clothed and
fed them.  They add the following particulars [words cutt off]
those of their comrades whom they left [words cut off]
  Steward Bergman and Privates McC[words cut off]
Vassenberger died in captivity.
  Sergeants Burke and Hill were [words cut off]
tempting to escape, their bodies being [words cut off]
their comrades at about 20 miles above [words cut off]
Page
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Twenty-One: page two hundred and seven
Description:Newspaper clipping written by Gunn for ''The New York Tribune,'' regarding the arrival of refugees from Texas in New Orleans.
Date:1863-02-01
Subject:Bergman; Bliss, Lieutenant; Brett, Francis; Burns, Henry; Burke, Sergeant; Butler, Benjamin F.; Ceider, Ernest; Civil War; Coan, Ira S.; Connor, Stephen; Douglas, Charles; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Hill, Sergeant; Journalism; Kensington (Ship); Military; New York tribune.; Prisoners of war (Union); Reeve, J.V.D.; Sanderson, Robert; Swart, John; Thorpe, Thomas B.; Twiggs, David Emanuel; Van Dorn, Earl; Vassenberger; Waller, Ed.; Wilcox, Colonel; Wilson, Samuel; Worch, Charles
Coverage (City/State):New Orleans, Louisiana; San Antonio, Texas
Scan Date:2010-11-18

 

Volume
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Twenty-One
Description:Includes Gunn's descriptions of his experiences as a war correspondent for ""The New York Tribune"" at New Orleans, Louisiana, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; boarding house living; a visit to the Rawlings family; a fight with Mr. Blankman at his boarding house; his journey on the North Star with the Banks expedition; the re-occupation of Baton Rouge by Union forces; a visit to a sugar plantation in Louisiana; and Fanny Fern's daughter Grace Thomson's death.
Subject:African Americans; Boardinghouses; Bohemians; Civil War; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Journalism; Military; Publishers and publishing; Transportation; Travel; Women
Coverage (City/State):New York, New York; New Orleans, Louisiana; Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Note:Thomas Butler Gunn was born February 15, 1826, in Banbury, England, and came to New York in 1849. During the Civil War he worked as a correspondent for the New York Tribune and the New York Evening Post. He returned to England in 1863, and died in Birmingham in April 1903. The collection includes twenty-one volumes of his diaries, including newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, sketches, and various other items inserted by Gunn. Diary entries date from July 7, 1849, to April 7, 1863, and include his experiences with the New York publishing and literary world, his descriptions of boarding houses, his travels throughout the United States, and his experiences traveling with the Federal army as a Civil War correspondent.
Publisher:Missouri History Museum
Rights:Copyright 2010 Missouri History Museum.
Source:Page images, transcriptions, and metadata of the Thomas Butler Gunn diaries have been provided by the Missouri History Museum.