Benjamin R. Milam to Francis W. Johnson, 07-05-1835

Summary: Recounting political disturbances in Monclova.

Punto Lampasos, July 5, 1835.

Dear Johnson,

I hope you spent the 4th July pleasantly with your friends who feel some reverence for the day. As to myself, I can not say I enjoyed it. I got a bottle of vino muscale and drank to the Federal Constitution in all parts of America. I had no countrymen to join me or perhaps I should have done better.

We left Monclova on the 29 of May, and were taken prisoners on the 5th of June, at night, after we had encamped about eight leagues northwest of San Fernando. The troops had been viewing our march for the last day, and knew the only chance we had for water and placed themselves in a situation to take possession of our horses as soon as it was dusk. In this situation we were obliged to surrender to twenty five men—or savages as we may more properly call them. Capt Galan and Liut: Roderiguiz [Rodriguez] commanded the party. They will be long remembered by your humble servant.

We were taken to San Fernando and kept in close confinement for one week—not permitted to write or speak to any person except in the presence of an officer, and then but in the Spanish language. From there we were taken to Rio Grande, where we were treated something better by Capt Barigan from Rio Grande to this place. At present we are under the charge of Col: Altapa, who is a gentleman and an officer, and gives every indulgence we ask for. From here we expect to be sent to Monterey to stand our trial, and I hope to be set at liberty. But all is uncertainty. The whole of this part of the state has and will support the Central Government. The Interior from the last information we have, has fallen into the Central system, Santanna is Dictator—the Constitution is thrown away and ridiculed by those who used to call themselves Federal Republicans.

The plan for the dissolution and destruction is laid, and every preparation is making for its execution. In the last ten days two hundred troops have left this quarter for San Antonio; and from the test information I can collect two thousand more will be on their march in a few weeks. Their intention is to gain the friendship of the different tribes of Indians; and, if possible to get the slaves to revolt. These plans of barbarity and injustice will make a wilderness of Texas, and beggars of its inhabitants, if they do not unite and act with promptitude and decision. If the Federal system is lost in Texas, what will be our situation? worse than that of the most degraded slaves. The hopes of the Republican party here are all on Texas. I trust they will not be deceived. The people of Texas will never submit to a Dictator.

B R Milam