Today in History:

24 Series II Volume I- Serial 114 - Prisoners of War


munication with him. His dispatches, containing the postscript added to the original addressed to Colonel Waite, were opened by Captain King and sent to Major Larkin Smith, at Green Lake. Major Smith immediately dispatched an officer with them to intercept Lieutenant Collins on his way to Colonel Waite, at San Antonio, with orders to deliver them in person if he missed Lieutenant Collins.

Major Smith, in a letter of March 29 and in a memorandum, gives his reasons why the instructions in the dispatches could not be complied with, and why the embarkation of certain troops in readiness was not stopped:

Unless he has organized one within a few days (three) Governor Houston nor any other executive authority has any force in arms in defense of the Federal Government. Should an intrenched camp be established near Indianola the troops yet to arrive, especially those to come from the remote posts, will have their supplies cut off and be subjected to opposition from the whole State.

The only fresh water near Indianola is at Green Lake, about twenty miles off. There are no tools, ammunition, or horses with the six companies of cavalry. Colonel Waite has promised to carry out the agreement in good faith. All preparations are made to embark the companies on the steamer. If they should be delayed suspicious would arise among persons attached to the Southern Confederation on the spot; some officers and many men would leave. There was an officer (late of the U. S. Army, now of the Confederate, at Indianola) who had offered advanced rank to United States officers who would leave, and a change of plan would have turned those inclined to waver. It may be remarked that though the loss of such individuals might be small to the Government the disorganizing effect would be dangerous.

The following companies of the Second Cavalry and First Infantry, under command of Captain King, First Infantry, left the wharf at Powder Horn at 10 a. m. the 30th March, and at 3 p. m. had ne the steamship Coatzcoalcos: Cavalry, six companies, dismounted; infantry, three companies - King's, Caldwell's, and Carpenter's; in all, about 610 officers and men.

The infantry companies of Captains Caldwell and Carpenter are to be landed at Key West. The steamship (transports) Empire City and Star of the West were off the pass. The U. S. steamer Mohawk (convoy) arrived off the pass at Indianola at 12 m. March 29 and took up a position to command the entrance.

Major Larkin Smith remained encamped at Green Lake March 30, the only company left there.

Colonel Waite writes at San Antonio, March 27:

In case difficulty between the General Government and the seceding States should result in hostilities there is reason to apprehend that an attempt may be made to prevent the embarkation of the troops and to detain them as prisoners of war. This can only be effected by their seizing and removing all lighters, preventing transports of light draft entering the bay at Indianola, and by cutting off our supplies of provisions, &c.

This is the colonel's reason for concentrating the troops at Green Lake. Colonel Waite reports that, besides the troops above enumerated, two companies Eighth Infantry and four companies Third Infantry were on their way to Green Lake, "and that probably before the end of the month (March) four additional companies will arrive at San Antonio on their way to Green Lake. * The remainder of the com-


*There were thirty-three companies in Texas. Seven companies would reach Green Lake by the 15th or 20th of April, as above. - [Inserted in red ink by General Townsend.]