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The Texan Scouts Joseph A. Altsheler

The Race For The Boat

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They slept in the timber until about 10 o'clock, and then resumed their ride northward, still holding to the opinion that the peripatetic Texan government would be found at Harrisburg, or somewhere in its vicinity. In the afternoon they encountered a Mexican force of eight mounted men, and attacked with such vigor that Ned and Will, riding double, were never able to get into the fight. Two of the Mexicans fell, and the rest got away. The Texans were unharmed.

The Panther, after a chase, captured one of the horses, and brought him back for Ned. They also secured the arms of the fallen Mexicans, one of these weapons being an American rifle, which Ned was quite sure had belonged to a slaughtered recruit at Goliad. They also found a letter in one of the Mexican haversacks. It was from General Urrea to General Santa Anna, and the Panther and his comrades inferred from the direction in which its bearer had been riding that the dictator himself had left San Antonio, and was marching eastward with the main Mexican army.

"I have to inform you," ran a part of the letter, "that your orders in regard to the rebels at Goliad were carried out, in my absence, by the brave and most excellent Colonel Portilla. They were all executed, except a few who escaped under cover of the smoke to the timber, but our cavalrymen are sure to find in time every one of these, and inflict upon them the justice that you have ordered.

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"I shall march north, expecting to meet your excellency, and I trust that I shall have further good news to report to you. There are now no rebel forces worthy of the name. We shall sweep the country clean. I shall send detachments to take any Americans who may land at the ports, and, coöperating with you, I feel assured, also, that we shall capture every member of the rebel government. In another month there will not be a single Texan in arms against us."

Ned read the letter aloud, translating into English as he went, and when he finished the Panther burst into a scornful laugh.

"So, the rebels are all killed, or about to be killed!" he said. "An' there won't be one Texan in arms a month from now! I'm willin' to give my word that here are six of us who will be in arms then, roarin' an' rippin' an' t'arin'! They'll sweep the country clean, will they? They'll need a bigger broom for that job than any that was ever made in Mexico!"

The others made comment in like fashion, but young Fulton was silent. His resolution was immutable, and it required no words to assert it.

"I guess we'd better take this letter with us an' give it to Sam Houston," said "Deaf" Smith. "Houston has been criticized a lot for not gatherin' his forces together an' attackin' the Mexicans, but he ain't had any forces to gather, an' talk has never been much good against cannon balls an' bullets. Still, he's the only man we've got to fall back on."

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The Texan Scouts
Joseph A. Altsheler

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