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The Texan Scouts Joseph A. Altsheler

Fannin's Camp

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Ned now surmised the plan that the enemy had carried out. Instead of following the Texans through the forests and swamps they had gone straight to Victoria, knowing that the fugitives would make for that point. Where Fannin was he could not even guess, but it was certain that Ward and his men were left practically without ammunition to defend themselves as best they could against a horde of foes.

The hunted Texans sought the swamps of the Guadalupe, where Mexican cavalry could not follow them, but where they were soon overtaken by skirmishers. Hope was now oozing from the raw recruits. There seemed to be no place in the world for them. Hunted here and there they never found rest. But the most terrible fact of all was the lack of ammunition. Only a single round for every man was left, and they replied sparingly to the Mexican skirmishers.

They lay now in miry woods, and on the other side of them flowed the wide and yellow river. The men sought, often in vain, for firm spots on which they might rest. The food, like the ammunition, was all gone, and they were famished and weak. The scouts reported that the Mexicans were increasing every hour.

It was obvious to Ned that Ward must surrender. What could men without ammunition do against many times their number, well armed? He resolved that he would not be taken with them, and shortly before day he pulled through the mud to the edge of the Guadalupe. He undressed and made his clothes and rifle into a bundle. He had been very careful of his own ammunition, and he had a half dozen rounds left, which he also tied into the bundle.

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Then shoving a fallen log into the water he bestrode it, holding his precious pack high and dry. Paddling with one hand he was able to direct the log in a diagonal course across the stream. He toiled through another swamp on that shore, and, coming out upon a little prairie, dressed again.

He looked back toward the swamp in which the Texans lay, but he saw no lights and he heard no sounds there. He knew that within a short time they would be prisoners of the Mexicans. Everything seemed to be working for the benefit of Santa Anna. The indecision of the Texans and the scattering of their forces enabled the Mexicans to present overwhelming forces at all points. It seemed to Ned that fortune, which had worked in their favor until the capture of San Antonio, was now working against them steadily and with overwhelming power.

He gathered himself together as best he could, and began his journey southward. He believed that Fannin would be at Goliad or near it. Once more that feeling of vengeance hardened within him. The tremendous impression of the Alamo had not faded a particle, and now the incident of Ward, Refugio and the swamps of the Guadalupe was cumulative. Remembering what he had seen he did not believe that a single one of Ward's men would be spared when they were taken as they surely would be. There were humane men among the Mexicans, like Almonte, but the ruthless policy of Santa Anna was to spare no one, and Santa Anna held all the power.

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The Texan Scouts
Joseph A. Altsheler

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