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The Texan Scouts Joseph A. Altsheler

Fannin's Camp

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A great cheer burst from the young recruits. They thought victory complete already, but Ned knew that the Mexicans would not abandon the enterprise. General Urrea, after another futile charge, repulsed in the same deadly manner, withdrew some distance, but posted a strong line of sentinels about the church.

Having much food and water the recruits rejoiced again and thought themselves secure, but Ned noticed a look of consternation on the face of Ward, and he divined the cause.

"It must be the ammunition, Colonel," he said in a whisper.

"It is," replied Ward. "We have only three or four rounds left. We could not possibly repel another attack."

"Then," said young Fulton, "there is nothing to do but for us to slip out at night, and try to cut our way through."

"That is so," said Ward. "The Mexican general doubtless will not expect any such move on our part, and we may get away."

He said nothing of his plan to the recruits until the darkness came, and then the state of the powder horns and the bullet pouches was announced. Most of the men had supposed that they alone were suffering from the shortage, and something like despair came over them when they found that they were practically without weapons. They were more than willing to leave the church, as soon as the night deepened, and seek refuge over the prairie.

"You think that we can break through?" said Ward to Ned.

"I have no doubt of it," replied Ned, "but in any event it seems to me, Colonel, that we ought to try it. All the valor and devotion of the men in the Alamo did not suffice to save them. We cannot hold the place against a determined assault."

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"That is undoubtedly true," said Ward, "and flushed by the success that they have had elsewhere it seems likely to me that the Mexicans will make such an attack very soon."

"In any event," said Ned, "we are isolated here, cut off from Fannin, and exposed to imminent destruction."

"We start at midnight," said Ward.

Ned climbed upon the walls, and examined all the surrounding country. He saw lights in the wood, and now and then he discerned the figures of Mexican horsemen, riding in a circle about the church, members of the patrol that had been left by General Urrea. He did not think it a difficult thing to cut through this patrol, but the Texans, in their flight, must become disorganized to a certain extent. Nevertheless it was the only alternative.

The men were drawn up at the appointed time, and Ward told them briefly what they were to do. They must keep as well together as possible, and the plan was to make their way to Victoria, where they expected to rejoin Fannin. They gave calabashes of water and provisions to several men too badly wounded to move, and left them to the mercy of the Mexicans, a mercy that did not exist, as Urrea's troops massacred them the moment they entered the church.

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The Texan Scouts
Joseph A. Altsheler

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