William Corner.

San Antonio de Bexar; a guide and history online

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taking place on the hill.

They occur as follows :

Drills. — Almo.st daily, the time varying with the season of the year. Dress
Parade, generally on Tuesday and Thursday at the hour before sun-.set. The
Monthly Muster and Inspection takes place on the last day of each month,
usually about 10 a. m., it is an iiiteresting sight. Guard Mount, with full band,
occurs daily about 8:30, a. m., l)ut the hour is sometimes changed during the in-
tense heat of summer.

The Organization of the Dei)artment and Post may be learned in great de-
tail from the Roster issued monthly from the office of the x\ssistant Adjutant
General of the Department.

The Arsenal is located far from the Post on South Flores street and may also
be reached by the Belknap line of street cars. It is commanded by an officer of
the Ordnance Corps, Major Babbitt, who constitutes one of the Department Com-
mander's Staff" and supplies the troops with ammunition and accoutrements.

At the Post are quartered Brigadier General Stanley, commanding the De-
partment, and his Personal and Departmental Staff's. Col. Black commanding
the Post with four troops of Cavalry, two Batteries of Light Artillery and six com-
panies of Infantry, and Col. Weeks Chici nuaitcrmaster, in charge of the De-
partment Depot and Offices.

The following is a list of the Po.st Conunanders. The history of the De-
partment is treated elsewhere.
Capt. N. Prime, lOth Infantry up to June. \s~:\, afterwards transferred to Fort

Ca])t. J. W. I'Vencli, Jul\-, \^~-'>. lield connnand until the rcinoxal of the troops

in August and SL-j)tend)er of the same year. Capt. iMench was transferred

to I'ort Clark.


Capt. vSfllers returned with the troops ( Co. I), Kith Infantry) in Auj;ust, In7">.

Capt. Wilson, April. Is77, Co. I-:, 10th Infantry.

Major McMillen, Deccniher li'th, 1^77, in command of four comi)anies of the
2nd Artillery at Camp Guilford Bailey (the lower portion of the present '"old"
post) with Capt. Patterson and Company A, 2()th Infantry, stationed in town.
Capt. Patterson and his Compan_\ were transferred to Fort Brown in June,


Col. Shaffer, June. ISSO, si.x: Companies, Ist Infantry, afterwards transferred to

Fort Davis.
Capt. Dicke}-, Uecember, 1S90, Co. E, 22nd Infantry, afterwards transferred to

New Mexico.
Col. Otis, October, 1888, two Troops, 8th Cavalry, increased by four companies,

l(]th Infxuitry. Col. Otis was transferred with the Sth Cavalry to Dakota in

October, 1887. Captain I,ancaster, commanding Battery "F," ord Artillery,

arrived in December, 1882 Capt. Lancaster was relieved in November,

ISSC), by Capt. Burbank — the Battery remaining here.
Col. vSmiih, May, 1888, the Kith Infantry left for Utah and were replaced by six

Companies of the 19th Infantry\
Col. Black, May, 18*)0, lUth Infantry leaves and are replaced by six Companies,

2;h-d Infantry; four troops, ord Cavalry and one Battery of Light Artillery.

These troops, with the Battery of Artillery before mentioned, now constitute

the Garrison of the Post of San Antonio.

Some Further Notes on Military Affairs.

Perhaps it is because of the Wars and rumors of Wars which have made up
so much of the life of San Autonio in the past, that everything military is popular
with its citizens. It is purposed in the following article to trace the history of
the present huge establishment from its birth in humble surroundings, thence
through a checkered career of weary wanderings to its final abode on Govern-
ment Hill.

That San Antonio is a natural strategic point, has been recognized by
Aboriginals, Spanish, French, Mexicans, Texans and both the National and Con-
federate Cjovernments ; thus its development has been but a natural growth,
sometimes aided, and sometimes impeded, by local intluences.

From the end of the seventeenth century, Spanish troops had marched and
counter-marched in the valley and acro.ss the country, taking promiscuous quar-
ters, as occasion demanded and opportunity offered. The French traversed the
country in 1714, and somewhat disturbed the sleepy security of the Spanish
soldiers, but nothing came of the raid. What a country Texas must have been
in those days for rapid campaigning I Little need for tents or nuich baggage.
Unlimited forage and game made the Quartermaster's office, in the olden time,
almost a sinecure. Enough Indians to keep the troops on the (]iii vivc, an occa-
sional lack of water or perhaps an excess from swollen streams, together with a
more frequent scarcity of corn, were the chief impediments to the annexations of
their Catholic and Chri.stian Majesties of Spain and France, — Catholic truly in
their territorial views.


The first permanent Barracks, in the city, were built on the north side of the
Military Plaza, in 177o, by Baron de Ripperda, and shortly after the seculariza-
tion of the Alamo, a company of volunteers from San Carlos dc Parras was
quartered in the building.

After a period of nearly forty years of peace, the Mexican revolutions and
Texas counter-revolutions plunged the province into a .series of military con-
vulsions between Repviblicans, Royalists, later Dictatorships and Texan patriots,
which culminated in the Fall of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto, a set-
tlement of the question only disturbed by two subsequent raids from across the
Rio Grande.

During all these disturbances, the color of the Military Post of San Antonio
varied with the fortunes, of war, and the soldiers billets were the desecrated
Missions and the homes of afflicted citizens. These expeditions are treated at
length in other portions of the work, and their terniination brings us to the period
of annexation in lS45-4(i, the occupation of Corpus Christi by Zachary Taylor
and his advance into Mexico.

These events led to action, on the part of the United States authorities, with
a view to establishing a permanent military post in San Antonio. Col. Harney
was on the ground as early as 1845; and in 1S46 the City Council (Bryan
Callaghan, the elder, being Mayor ; C. F. King, pro temp.) offered the Govern-
ment one hundred acres at San Pedro Springs for the purpo.se in question.. The
location at the Springs was not accepted, and for obvious reasons, the ground
being comparatively low and easily commanded ; so on March '2d, 1S4(), the
Council appointed a committee to reconsider, and on January 2d, 184/, the
records .say that the "grant" was "rescinded." In the meantime soldiers re-
mained in the city and, after a temporary sojourn in the Military Plaza, the Alamo
was occupied as a Quartermaster's Depot by Major Babbitt, this branch of ihe
service continuing there until 1878, with the exceptions of the period covered by
the Civil War and a subsequent removal of the troops to Austin, as noted

The United States held possession of this property pending a suit between
P.ishop Odin and the city, to try title, and demurred to a demand of the latter for
rent. The suit was won by the Bishop.

In islDthe Council again proposed a site for barracks on Military Plaza,
this offjr was rejected on the score of insufficient room, and besides, the grant
was to be hampered with conditions, an element in titles which the United States
never entertains. At this time. General Worth, commanding, lived at the James
homestead on Commerce street, where he died May 7th, 1841), of cholera. He
was buried near the Head of the River, his body afterwards being taken to New
York. He establi.shed a camp at the Concepcion Mission and another at the
Head of the River whose Springs are officially known as the Worth Springs.
The Headquarters were then established on the North side of Main Plaza. After
the war the Arsenal was removed from a building near the Veramendi House,
corner Houston and vSoledad street, to its presiMit home on Soulli 1-lores street,
whicli had been ]ire])aring fi)r it since is.V.I.


The following;- is a list of iuililar\' coiumaudatits from the first occupation of
San Antonio by the National troops :

Cvol. Marne\-, ISloC, ; General Worth, to IS 11) — he djang here of cholera ;
General Harney ; General Percival Smith, Headquarters at Corpus Christi ;
Albert Sydney Johnson, Headquarters, Vance House, San Antonio, to iSoJ.

General Twiggs* succeeded, but being unjustly court-martialed on a trivial
charge, Robert E. L^ee took command, entering the town February 21st, ISOO. He
had previously been with Jos. E. Johnston, Colonel commanding at Concho, Lee
being Lieutenant Colonel at the time. He remained only a few months, and
General Twiggs was again in command at the outbreak of the war; from him and
Col. Reeves, the public property was acquired by a committee of citizens consist-
ing of S. A. Maverick, P. N. Luckett and T. J. Devine. The same gentlemen
served to restore what they could at the close of the War in LS65.

After the War, the Headquarters were removed to the French I'uilding on
Main Plaza, and afterwards to Austin.

General Reynolds, commanding ISC)'.) to January, 1S72.

General Augur, conunanding January, 1S72, to March, 1S7-"), troops removed.
General Ord, commanding Ajn-il. iSTo, to December, ISSO, Headquarters
returned to San Antonio November, 1S7-").

General Augur, (2nd term) commanding January, 18S1, to October, ISSo.
General Mackenzie, commanding November, ISS:;, to Decem])er, 1SS3.
General Stanley, commanding May, 1SS4, to date.

Lieut. Col. Robt. E. Lee boarded at the Hostelry (kept by Mrs. Phillips,
where the St. Leonard now stands). General Twiggs lived near tlie Mi.ssion

There was some excitement in the city during the transfer of the property,
and mustering ot Volunteers and some talk of resistance, but everything
was arranged without blood-shed. Without reflecting on General Twiggs it is
undoubtedly a fact that his sympathies, at least, were with the citizens.

Taking up the history of the Headquarters proper, we find that in ls.")7 the
Headquarters were at the Vance House ; they remained there all through the
war, being then under the Stars and Bars. In 1S(;.''), the Federal Headquarters
were established in the "French Building" until they were removed to Austin in
LSGS), the troops following in August and September, LS7o.

The Headquarters returned to San Antonio in November of 1S7-'). and in
1S7S were established in a building erected for the purpose, by the Maverick
family, on Houston street (now the Maverick Hotel) ; and during the same
month, the Quartermaster's Depot on the Hill was completed, the reservation
having been acquired as noted in the foregoing article, beginning with the first

*There is an amusing anecdote coiuieetfil with tlie coiut-martialing of Gencml Twiggs which has
the advantage of being authentic. He had been ordered by the Secretary of War, to publish an order reflecting
upon himself. Discipline prevailed, but to save his amotir piopre, the Oeneral appended a statement of his own ,
in order, as he says, that " the antidote may go with the poison," the order was thus issued, despite the calmer
suggestions of his Adjutant-General, Col. Withers. Twiggs was court-martialed, escaped with a reprimand and
returned to the command of the Department.


donation by the citj'. February l(')th. 1S70, accepted by the General Government
in June. 1S71.

In IS?;', General Sheridan, W. \V. Belknap, Secretary of War, and
General Meyers came to San Antonio on business connected with the proper
establishment of the Headquarters of the Department of Texas. There was an
effort made to keep them in Austin or remove them to either Fort Worth or
Denison. All these projects fell to the ground.

On May Gth, 1875. W. W. Belknap ordered the work on the Quartermaster's
building to be commenced, and the appropriation previously voted by Congress, in
accordance with the acceptance of the land grant from the city, was directed to be
applied for. The magnificent Post resulting from this action has been already

The Posts of Texas were put in telegraphic communication with each other,
and the Government in 1876. Owing to the extension of railway lines and other
telegraphic companies, these wires were disposed of to the Erie Telegraph Com-
pany, December 6th, 1883.

In 1882, on behalf of the Belgian Government, Professor Housseau estab-
lished a station on Government Hill for the observation of the Transit of Venus
and for the collection of other astronomical data. The Professor came in August,
the Transit taking place December 20th. He succeeded in getting 120 measure-
ments, and Professor Hall, the American observer, obtained 204 photographs.

The distinguished men who have visited and commanded at the Post of San
Antonio, are personages whose lives and doings are part of a larger history than
that of this Department. They have come and gone, the blue and the gray, be-
fore and since the war. Theirs has been a record of duty performed, be it grap-
pling with a redskin or charging at Gettysburg. In the mesquite wilderness, with
none to note, they bore themselves as men and. even so, under the apple trees
at Appomattox with the world looking on.*

Somebody has said that the truly brave man is he that will do in solitude the
most daring deed he might conceive before men. Surely this is so, and men of
this kidney have made the Department what it is. They have guarded our
frontier and, aided by a gallant population, have settled the Indian question in
Texas. San Antonio, in the past, has seen much of the captured tribes— villains
of a most villainou= type— the last to be brought in being the notorious Geronimo
and his band. They were en route for location in Florida and were captured by
Captain Lawton after a long pursuit in the mountains of Arizona.

The present commander of the Department is Brigadier General Stank^y, a
gentleman who has endeared himself officially and personally to the Slate at
large. His stay has been marked by a constant exchange of friendly courtesies
with the people amongst whom he has come to dwell. His name also brings our
record to a close, and we trust it may be long l)efore another follows.

NOTK.-Col, Willicrs was tlie A.ljiilanl CciKral ol llic ncpailiiiciil in iSr.jS-y-d,,, strviiiK ii tlu- slalT of tlu-
following remarkable men : AU.ert Sydney Johnson, Oeneral Twiggs and that best beloved of men. Robert 1-
I,ee. The Adjutants C.eneral at Headquarters, after the War, were Colouels Wood and Taylor an.l (Unerals
Vincent and Kuggles. At the present time Col. Martin is the incumbent.

♦This is no figure of speech. Kil/.lnigh I,ee, as a Lieutenant under Van Dorn. was repot Ud mortally
wounded in an Indian finht. The parallel, moreover, applies to all.

ciirkciii-:s. 31


Roman Catholic. — The strongest body of Christians in the city is that
of the pioneer faith. The Roman Catholic Chnrches are well l)uilt and well
attended. Of course, the old Missions down the valley are of this Cluirch. Their
members are of many languages, as will be seen below. The city is the seat of a
Bishopric, of which the Rt. Rev. Bishop Neraz is the present inenmijent. The
following is a list of Churches :

Cathedral of vSan Fernando, (Si^anislij fronting Main Plaza ; reached ])y
Belknap cars.

St. Joseph's, (German ) north side of Hast Commerce street; Belknap cars.

vSt. Mary's, (Knglish) St. Mary's street.

St. Michael's, (Polish) :;•_'(» South Street.

Ursaline Convent Chapel, corner Augusta and Con\ent streets.

There is also a Chapel at Iht Santa Rosa Hospital. This Hospital is one
of the most important and beneficent of the fruits of Christianity in the town.
The other Catholic institutions are an Orphanage, a College for males, the Ursu-
line Conventual School for girls, and many parochial schools.

Episcopalian. — San Antonio is the seat of the Missionary Bishopric of
Western Texas, Rt. Rev. Bishop Johnston at present presiding over the see. The
Churches are :

St. Mark s, north side Travis Square, Rev. W. R. Richardson, Dean.

St. John's, northeast corner North Cherry and Puirnet streets.

St. lyuke's, northeast corner Zavalla and North Leona streets.

St. Paul's, south side GraN'son street, on Government Hill.

One of the results of Episcopalian effort is St. Mary's Hall, a high-class
school for girls.

Presbyterian. — First Presbyterian Church, corner of Houston and
North P'lores streets ; reached by Belknap cars, San Pedro and Flores Street

Madison Square Church, reached by Belknap cars, San Pedro and P'lores
Street lines.

Cuml)erland Presbxterian Church, ■")-!4 Soledad street.

P'ourth Ward Presbyterian Sunda\- School, A'-W) South Presa street.

Baptist. — First Baptist Church, Travis Scjuare.

Alamo Baptist Church, northeast corner Nacogdoches and Crockett streets.

Aransas Pass Mission, corner South P'lores and Herfif streets.

International Mission, corner P'rio and Hidalgo streets.

Sunset Mission, corner Burleson and Cherrv streets.


Methodist. — Methodist P^piscopal Church South, Travis Square.

Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church, southwest corner Avenue C. and Pecan

Methodist Ivpiscopal, south side Crosby street.

German Methodist Episcopal Church, 'I'M) Villita Street.

Mexican Methodist Episcopal Church, southwest corner Pecan and San
Fernando streets.

Tenth Street Methodist Church, .south side Tenth vStreet.

Jewish.— Temple Beth-I{l, Travis Square, a Synagogue the place of
worship of the influential Hebrew citizens. Rev. M. P. Jacobson, Rabbi.

The City Hospital. — In the we.stern part of the city. It may be, not
inaptly, mentioned here, as an evidence of the practical religion of the city

Many other denominations are represented, but this list will suffice for the
spiritual needs of the majority of visitors. It should be mentioned, however,
that the colored people have many places of worship — Catholic, Methodist and


Schools.— Education is well cared for in San Antonio. There are many
private institutions of great efficiency, for both sexes, and the denominational
establishments have been already noticed.

The Public Schools are the pride of the city. There are twelve school
buildings, all excellent, and under Superintendent Smith. There are about
seventy-five teachers of trained ability in charge of a scholastic population largely
in excess of that of any other city in the State.

The Central Grammar and High School is situated on Acequia street ;
Professor Schoch, Principal. It may be reached by the Belknap cars, San Pedro
Ime. There are, besides, eight Ward Schools for whites, and three for the colored
people. The colored people having, perhaps, most accommodation in proportion
to population, than the whites, were not the latter supplemented by the denom-
inational and ])rivate effort l)efore referred to.

The German-English School should be mentioned, as being an old established
high-class day school, and somewhat of a land mark. It is situated on South
Alamo .street, and may ])e reached by the Belknap line of street cars.

Eet us glance at the history of Public iCducation in San Antonio since the
good Mission Fathers gave up their labor of love and patriotism.

The first mention of an American Sch(M)l in Texas is in a document
in the Bexar County Records, dated July -'(th, IS'is, referring to the "McClure"
School. This was under Mexican rule, and was probably an institution started
f(jr the benefit of the growing Au-lo-Saxon colony. About tliis time there
exi.sted, also, a Spanish Public vSchool. on the ea.st line of the Military Pla/a, near
the Cathedral. After this, and until is;;'.>, education in San Antonio received


little attention. In that year the corporation evidently saw the necessity of a
system of Public Education, and the question aroused general interest, for we find
that on February 14th, 1889, J. H. Winchell proposed to the City Council to open
a public school on the first of March ensuing, and offers to teach all that may
enter therein, the English language, together with penmanship and arithmetic,
provided the number shall not exceed thirty pupils. All this for the .sum of $n

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Online LibraryWilliam CornerSan Antonio de Bexar; a guide and history → online text (page 5 of 22)