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At Fort Clark, where I arrived on the 2nd of May, I learned that the mails had been detained for several days to prevent me from receiving information. It was reported by a stage passenger that the officers at San Antonio had been made prisoners of war. On all these subjects there were contradictory reports, and no information could be obtained which would warrant any hostile act on my part. Such supplies as were called for were readily furnished, and offers of services were proffered by the commanding officer. This did not look much like hostility, nor did I really suspect any. The garrison had been re-enforced (being about 200 men), the post fortified to some extent, guns loaded and matches lighted on our approach; yet there did not appear any hostile intent towards us, as the explanation for all this was, that they "had heard that I had orders to attack and take Fort Clark."
From this point rumors daily reached me, but so indefinite and contradictory as to afford no sure ground for hostile action on my part; and by taking such I could not know but I should be the first to break the treaty under which we were marching.
On reaching Uvalde on the 5th (near Fort Inge), I felt more apprehension of hostility, though rumors were still very contradictory. To attempt, from this point, to return to New Mexico for the purpose of saving the command, would have been impracticable, for I had but five days' rations, and our transportation was too much broken down to make the march without corn (which could not be had), even if everything but subsistence and ammunition had been abandoned. Behind us was the mounted force at Fort Clark, and a large mounted force said to be at San Antonio, reported to be from 700 to 2,000. At this time the only other method of escape left was to cross the Rio Grande, this being easy of accomplishment, but of very doubtful propriety, particularly as it was yet uncertain whether we should not only break the treaty with Texas, but also compromise the United States with Mexico by crossing troops into her soil.
On the 6th, while continuing our march, we heard that those companies at the coast had been disarmed, and that in all probability we would be also on our arrival there; that there would be a force of from 2,000 to 6,000 men against us. We then had no course open to us but to proceed, and unless overpowered by numbers, to endeavor to fight our way to the coast, with the hope that some way of escape would be opened to us. On the 17th we heard that there were not more than 700 men in San Antonio, and such a force I knew would not be able to overpower us; and still with strong hope that we might be able to advance successfully, I purchased (on the 8th) at Castroville a small additional supply of subsistence stores (all I could), enough for two days, which included the 12th instant, but could have been made to last several days, had I a reasonable prospect of seizing more in San Antonio. Before reaching Castroville I learned that there were troops encamped on the west side of the Leon, seven miles from San Antonio; that there were cavalry, infantry, and artillery, with four guns. I encamped on the 8th on the east of the Medina, opposite to Castroville. Late that evening I heard that the enemy would march to surround us in our camp, and I had before heard that a section of artillery was on the way down from Fort Clark, following on our rear; and there was further report that it would pass is that night on the way to San Antonio. To avoid surprise and be in possession of plenty of water, I marched that night at 12 o'clock to reach the Lioncito, six miles east of the Medina, and on my arrival there, finding no signs of the advance of the enemy, I marched on three miles farther to a point suggested
|Page 569||Chapter VII. REPORTS.|