1865 August 5: The Latest News From Texas
The latest news from Texas comes from the August 5, 1865, issues of The Polk County Press and The Prescott Journal. The 4th Wisconsin Cavalry—including Company G, the Hudson City Guards—was part of the Union forces in Texas at this time.
From The Polk County Press:
The latest news from Texas is of the 22d inst.
It is stated that the Liberal General Cortinas¹ is at Brownsville, and is very hopeful for the Liberal cause, and looks upon the movement of the U. S. troops as advantageous. He has many Americans in his command, and speaks highly of their dash and bravery.
It is stated that the rebel General Kirby Smith and his party, which includes Gen. Magruder [John B. Magruder] and three or four ex-Governors of Louisiana and Texas who fled from the latter State with him, have been made prisoners and paroled by the Governor of Saltillo,² and that a considerable army train which they had with them was captured.
The battery of 6 guns which the rebels upon evacuating Brownsville, sold to the Imperialists for $1,700, was returned to the U. S. commander at that place on the 10th inst., by order of Maximilian.
It is said that in the interior of Texas the paroled soldiers are committing the grossest outrages in every direction, and keeping the peacebly disposed inhabitants continually in a condition of terror.
Twelve hundred French troops were landed in Mexico at Tampico³ in the beginning of this month, and there was a rumor that 10,000 more were on the way.
Gen. Sherman has gone to Texas, and will be absent sometime. [William T. Sherman]
Our troops are reported to be well supplied with commissary stores, and very healthy.
From The Prescott Journal:
B Y T E L E G R A P H.
NEW YORK, July 29.—The Herald’s Texas correspondent says that the large number of our national troops, intended to be stationed along the Rio Grande, had arrived at their destinations on the 12th inst., and formed a line of posts extending from the mouth of the stream to some distance above Brownsville.—The cavalry columns, under Generals Merritt [Wesley Merritt] and Custer [George Armstrong Custer], which left Shreveport and Alexandria, La., in the beginning of this month, were expected to reach the Texas frontier early in August.
The town of Brownsville, which, during the rebellion, was the great entre port4 for cotton from the interior of Texas, and where an immense business in the staple was transacted, is now deserted by the rebel merchants, who accumulated [large?] fortunes in a few months, and its business activity, except such as the presence of an army gives, has, for the present departed.
The battery of six guns, which the rebels, on evacuating Brownsville, sold to the Mexican Imperialists for $7,000, was returned to the United States commander of the place, on the 10th inst., by order of Maximilian.
It is said that in the interior of Texas, the paroled prisoners are committing the grossest outrages in every direction, and keeping the peaceably disposed inhabitants constantly in a condition of terror.
It is estimated that there remained in the State at the time it was occupied by the National troops, about 17,500 bales of cotton.
It is stated that the rebel and his party, which we suppose includes Gen. Magruder, and the three or four ex-Governors of Louisiana and Texas, who fled from the latter State with him, have been made prisoners and paroled by the Governor of Saltillo,² and that a considerable army train which they had with them was captured.
Twelve hundred French troops direct from France, were landed at Tampico, in the beginning of this month, and there was a rumor which did not gain much credence, that soon after they arrived, 2,000 more would com.
1. Juan Nepomuceno (Cheno) Cortina, or Cortinas, (1824-1894) grew up around Brownsville where his mother was one of the heirs of a large land grant. Cortina served in the Mexican War with the United States, serving as a part of an irregular cavalry during the battles of Resaca de la Palma and Palo Alto. Following the war, he returned to live north of the Rio Grande River. “During the period of French intervention in Mexico, Cortina helped to defend San Lorenzo at Puebla. He saw action at Matamoros and, envisioning himself as an independent and powerful caudillo, briefly cooperated with the imperialists. Later he fought in central Mexico and was at Querétaro at the execution of Maximilian. In 1863 Cortina proclaimed himself governor of Tamaulipas and was promoted to general of the Mexican Army of the North by President Benito Juárez.” For much more information on Cortina, see his entry in The Handbook of Texas, online on the Texas State Historical Association’s website (accessed August 6, 2015).
2. Saltillo is the capital and largest city of the northeastern Mexican state of Coahuila. The city is located about 250 miles (400 kilometres) south of Texas.
3. Tampico is a city and port in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.
4. This should have been entrepôt or entrepot, which is a port, city, or trading post where merchandise could be imported, stored and/or traded, often being exported again. This usage comes from the era of the sailing ship; modern French usage of the word means a warehouse.