Stephen F. Austin to Militiamen, 05-01-1826

Summary: Address urging discipline and obedience during campaign against Waco and Tahuacano Indians.

[about May 1, 1826.]

F[ellow] S[itizens]

You are therefore now called upon to protect your own homes, your own property, to shield your wives and children from the arrows of a savage and merciless enemy—your adopted country now also called upon you to rally around the national flag and fight its enemies the Wacos and Tahuacanies—every honorable and ardent impulse Therefore that can animate the bosoms of free men burns in yours and urges you forward to meet the enemy—the defence of your firesides—of your wives and childen, your friendsyourselves— your property and your country, fellow S. the motives which have caused you to take up arms is a sufficient guarantee that you will use those arms as becomes brave men fighting in a just cause. You are decendants of freemen—the decendants of brave soldiers also Americans—the blood that fills your viens has warmed the hearts of those who fought in the American Revolution fought and conquered the oppressors of American Liberty. Perhaps the spirits of your Fathers watch over the conduct of their decendants, perhaps their eyes as well as those of your friends, your countrymen and your adopted Govt are upon you They see the great importance of the duties, before you, that the prosperity the safety of an infant and flourishing new colony depends in a great degree on your bravery and good conduct in this first effort to humble and punish our enemies. Shall their hopes, their prairs be disappointed—No. Your conduct since the first commencement of this colony, the union and determined spirit that now animates you are guarantees that the only obstacle to your complete tryumph will be the flight of your enemies before you can find them.

The depradations of your enemies the W. and T. indians and there hostile preparations, has driven us to the necessity of taking up arms in self defence. The frontier is menaced—The whole colony is threatened—under these circumstances it became my duty to call the militia to the frontier to repel the threatened attacks and to teach our enemies to fear and respect us.—It is with feelings of the deepest regret that I have yielded to a sense of duty in agreeing not to go out in person on this expedition, not because I think there is any necessity for my presence, or that the officers who command you will need my aid, but because I wish to share equally with you in all your labors, and all your fatigues in defending this colony—but my duty to the settlers in attending to the unfinished business of the Co. and completing the genl system for our defence which is in contemplation to adopt and the wishes of the people strongly urged upon me requires that I should remain at home. I shall not be idle in your absence. The command therefore of the expedition agreebly to the militia law devolves upon Capt A. C. B [Aylett C. Buckner] and the most prompt and attentive obedience to his orders is expected from all the officers and men composing the expedition.

Mr. John C. Quick has been appointed Adjutant during the expedition and it will be a part of his duty to drill the officers and men and instruct them in their duty under the orders of the Commander whenever it may be deemd necessary to do so—The utmost attention is necessary to this part of your duties—A body of armed men acting in union and with system are formidable, frequently irresistable and always prepared to act on the defensive, whilst the same body without discipline or system are incapable of acting efficiently on the offensive and fall an easy prey to an attacking force.

Your own security, your own strength and your own interests therefore requires that you should patiently and attentively attend to drilling, and apply all your leisure moments on the march to this highly important and essential branch of your duty—I present the Adjutant to you recommended by a long course of practice in military duties both as an officer of the U. S. regular army and of U. S. militia in active service, and also recommended as a man of honor and confidence and I feel no hesitation in believing that you will find him a valuable officer—and that you will strictly attend to his instructions—a rigid obedience to orders is the basis of all military discipline and organization—The officers who command you are responsible for their conduct to their superior and their duty as well as their honor imperiously requires strictest obedience to the orders issued to them so also with the privates, their duty as soldiers, and their honor as such, as good citizens, requires the most rigid attention and obedience or their part to the order they may receive from their officers

This is the commencement of hostile movements on our part in the only war of any consequence we have had since our settlement in this country, and I feel confident that your decisive conduct on this first expedition will so harrass our enemies that they will seek safety by humbling themselves and sue for peace—Much however very much depends on our first efforts—If we strike a decissive blow our future peace and security will probably be the result

friends and f—s I close by saying that your friends, your officers, and your country are confident that you will do your duty as soldiers fighting in a just cause, their prairs and blessings therefore go with you—their welcome and thanks will hail your tryumphant return.

[Stephen F. Austin.]