Stephen F Austin to James Bowie and James Fannin, 10-31-1835

Summary: Instructions and discussion. Plans for desertion of Mexican troops

Head Quarters on the Canal above Bexar Oct. 31st 1835

To Colo. James Bowie and Capn. Fanning,

I have taken a position on the Alamo Canal at the mouth of a dry gully about one mile from town,—There is one, a little nearer, but it can not be occupied to day— I have certain information that all the surplus horses except about 250 or 200, were started to Laredo last night. The number that left is reported at 900 head— The escort does not exceed twenty or thirty men

I have dispatched Capn. Travis with 50 men to overtake and capture them— He has good guides and I have no doubt will succeed—

I have to inform you that a servant of Antonio de la Garza came into camp today bringing a proposition from the greater part of the S. Fernando Company of Cavalry, and the one of Rio-Grande—to desert— This man was sent to procure a guarantee for them, when they come out— I have given the guarantee and have now to communicate, to you the mode in which they will come out to us—when etc.— He says they will be obliged to come in the day time, upon some occasion of alarm, when they are ordered out,— These troops are stationed in the house of Padilla in one of the lower labors which Col.° Bowie understands the situation of— It would be well then for you to morrow to make a diversion on that side, so as to produce the necessary stir; so that they may be ordered out, and thus give these men the chance to come out as it were on duty and then escape— They will present themselves with the britch of their guns advanced or a white flag— Padilla has many acquaintances in those companies, who sent in Garza's servant (Jose Ortis) to have an understanding with him as to the guarantee and the mode of joining us.—

In regard to the measure of harassing the enemy to night as was spoken of, before we parted, by simultaneous firing on the town, I have today thot I am obliged to decline it; owing partly to the condition of the men here at present, having lost so much sleep last night; and partly to the difficulty of crossing the river from here, so as to cooperate in time with the men on foot— As you will make a diversion tomorrow for the purpose of bringing out the Deserters, you will therefore decline anything of the kind tonight unless you think it better to proceed on your part— If you think so you can act as you think best, in that respect, but without expecting any cooperation from this quarter, for the reason I have mentioned— I will however mention that a few men from here may probably fire on the Alamo, which is you know on this side of the River—about moon down

As there is abundance of corn here, you can use that brought by Seguin for your Detachment.

I wish you to send to Seguins Ranch for some rockets that are there— 2 or 3 dozen— In Spanish they are called quetes pronounced quates—we may want them—

Please to give me your opinions and those of your officers as to the mode of further operation on the enemy.

By order

S. F. Austin [Rubric]

W. D. C. Hall Adjt Gen.

Dispatch the bearer with your answer to night as soon possible

S. F. A.

I wish your opinions as to storming or besieging—

S. F. Austin [Rubric]