Headquarters, Camp West of Brazos, March 31, 1836

Dear Fellow Texians,

General Houston has decided to remain at this place in order to receive reinforcements and supplies. He has written Rusk, Secretary of War, requesting flour, sugar and coffee, on packhorses. Wagons could not make the trip with any speed. Rumors are threatening our very survival. The rumors spread by deserters have the country in great turmoil. The rumors of troops arriving for reinforcement, but never arriving, have us in an anxious state. Rumors that the enemy had crossed the Colorado caused the citizens of San Felipe two nights since, to set fire to their town and reduced it to ashes. Houston denies ordering such an act. General Houston has issued a message directly to the people of the country in order to ease the panic and to clarify rumors.

Spies, I believe including Deaf Smith, arrived this afternoon at four o’clock and reported the enemy, only 800 to 1,000 men strong, are now within a few miles of San Felipe. They have only 30 cavalry and can be easily whipped, if confronted. We have somewhere between seven and eight hundred effective men that can provide the challenge.

The continued rain is a test to our constitution. Discourage all negative remarks you encounter. Houston would have fought at the Colorado, in fact, that was his plan for March 27th, but the report of Fannin’s capture and the report of reinforcements to the enemy, caused our retreat. Our time will come, and we will be victorious. Encourage all volunteers to quickly arrive at this place. Supply ships with provisions to our ports, but direct that they should come by packhorse, not wagons to our camp. The weather and roads are the worse I have every seen.

Respectfully yours, Alexander Horton, aide-de-camp

Headquarters, Camp West of Brazos, April 1, 1836

Dear Fellow Texians,

Inspector General George W. Hockley has written T. R. Rush, Secretary of War, to report the arrival of our army to this place. It is a secure and effective place with excellent water from a nearby lake. We are located about three-quarters of a mile from Col. Groce’s ferry and are in a position to cross the Brazos if the need should occur. The steamboat Yellowstone is presently at Groce’s taking on cotton and General Houston has ordered that it be taken in charge of for the use of the army, whether for crossing or rapidly descending the river to confront the enemy. Major Cooke is on board and has taken command of the vessel.

The general camp orders have been relaxed during our movement, but will be reinstated as soon as the men have rested, washed their clothes and arranged their arms. One death occurred as we crossed Mill Creek due to his exposure to snow (?) and cold. The spirits of the men are otherwise generally high. Because of the rains and the poor condition of the roads, the enemy, if it desires to follow us to this place, will take several days at best to arrive, and we will be ready,

A few cases of measles have been reported and a hospital has been established on the other side of the Brazos in order to reduce the risk to the rest of the army.

Respectfully yours, Alexander Horton, aide-de-camp

Headquarters, Camp West of Brazos, April 2, 1836

Dear Fellow Texians,

A deserter from the enemy entered our camp last night and has reported that there is great dissatisfaction in the enemy camp due to their great want of the necessities of life. With the current estimated strength, the condition of their animals, the dissatisfaction of the individual soldiers, the burden of civilians traveling with the company, and the damnable weather and resulting impassible roads, we do not fear an immediate engagement. Time is on our side. Volunteers are in movement to our place and supplies should begin to arrive.

Dr. James Phelps has been assigned to the commissary department of the field hospital and has taken it upon himself to address Sec. Rusk concerning the destitute condition of supplies, especially for the sick. He threatens to close the hospital if supplies are not immediately forthcoming. With measles in camp, that would cause more injury than the enemy can inflict at this time.

Morale is generally strong, but the General has issued warning against named individuals who might be spies for the enemy, or that would give aid and comfort to them. A court martial was convened this date and Private Scales was charged with threatening Lt. Miller with a loaded weapon and for deserting the guard house on the evening of the 27th. Private John T. Garner was likewise arraigned. He was charged with disobedience of two direct orders. Both were found guilty as charged and both cared to Suffer Death by Shooting. General Houston approved the order and set the sentence of execution for the 4th inst. Capt. Roman’s company is to provide the detail to carry the sentence into effect. Upon certification by Dr. W. M. Bomar as to the mental condition of Private Scales, General Houston accepted the recommendation of mercy. But he was compelled to state that this was to be an exception to the rule. The man who abandons his post is more dangerous to the security of the army than a loss of twenty men from the battle lines.

Respectfully yours, Alexander Horton, aide-de-camp

Headquarters, Camp West of Brazos, April 3, 1836

Dear Fellow Texians,

General Houston sent his papers today to S. P. Carson at Harrisburg with his servant, Willis. In this way the General has relieved himself of two worries, that of packing around his papers and the dealing with Willis, who does him no good in this situation.

The young Mr. Zavala has arrived and informed us that Secretary Rusk will join the camp shortly. His arrival will lift the spirits of the men. Eighty Redlanders have arrived on the opposite bank of the Brazos and will join us as transportation allows. The arrival of others is daily expected. The army is being reorganized to include the new volunteers and each man will be assigned to some Company.

Tonight an express arrived with unpleasant news. As reported earlier, Col. Fannin and his command were forced to surrender to a superior Mexican force. Fannin negotiated an agreement that they would be treated as prisoners of war and in eight days would be sent to New Orleans on parole. General Austin had accepted General Cos and the Mexican surrender at Bexar back in late December under similar terms. The godless tyrant General Santa Anna revoked the surrender agreement and in a surprise move, killed all of the prisoners, including Fannin. Our initial disbelief was quickly followed with a fury of anger not often seen in civilized men.

Now is the time for our friends to step forward and to avenge the wrongs, which have been inflicted on our honorable comrades. General Houston proclaims that the day of just retribution ought not to be deferred.

Respectfully yours, Alexander Horton, aide-de-camp

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