Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Remembering Capt. Claudius Buster


Claudius in 1886
Claudius Buster, the eldest son of this [William Woods Buster V and Margret Vaughn] couple, was born in Somerset, Kentucky, January 21, 1816, and came with his father to Texas in 1836. 

He fought Indians, fought Mexicans, in fact was a fighting Irishman always, but a gentleman in every sense of the word - culture and refinement inherent in him as well as the use of sword and firearms. A Shakespeare reader, a chess player, he had all the graces, was a soldier, a patriot. I remember him so well! He tried to teach us girls to walk gracefully ‘step on your toes before your heels' he'd say, 'don't hold to the banister walking downstairs’ (we slid down the banisters probably when he wasn’t around) ‘don’t stretch your hands and fingers, they will grow large.’  

You probably have all his history, an early Indian fighter, a dashing cavalry officer of the Mexican War, and believing so thoroughly in States Rights that he, over 45 years old, enlisted in the Civil War, feeling before, during, and after that fighting would not settle the difficulty, He bitterly resented the idea that the South fought to hold their slaves, that slavery was a disastrous economic failure and entailed a burden that the South would soon have thrown off of her own accord but for the radical element of the North. (I heard him say this.) I have lived to see so many of his ideas proven true.  He came home from the Civil War, entirely broke, utterly so, took a job as ‘deepo’ agent (just fancy, a hired man!) in Brenham and after a few years got his land titles straightened up (taxes then, same as now) resumed management of his farm and the care of his adored wife. 

*Sidenote: It is an interesting contradiction that he claimed that slavery was a burden of the South and yet he owned 34, age ranging from 1 year to 60 years.

His farm was five miles from Brenham, and the negro settlement, then called 'Camptown,' was between his farm (which had been his father’s) and Brenham. It was at this place I recall playing on the graves of his parents. It was a crude home-made fence of rails and unpainted pickets, about 8 feet square, no iron fence then, and Bessie Buster and I ate berries growing there and wondered if they would poison us on account of the bodies underneath.

-Bessie is the daughter of Jack Buster, granddaughter of Claudius.

Main Stree, Breham, TX
Following his release from prison, Claudius Buster returned to Brenham where he married Sarah Harris Garrett, the younger daughter of Hosea Garrett. Hosea presented them with a farm, a part of his own land holdings, and here their five children were born, William Garrett (1848-1914), Mary (1850-193 4), John Vaughan (1853-1902), Claudius (1-10-1856-9-27-1861), Charles W. (2-13-1863-11-19-1863). Though past the age of conscription, Claudius Buster enlisted in the Civil War, serving as Captain of Company C, Elmore’s Regiment, 20th Texas Infantry, Col Henry M. Elmore, Lt Col Leonard Anderson Abercrombie, Maj Robert E Bell.  Regiment organized in spring, I862, rank and file for most part consisted of middle aged men,heads of families, and many prominent citizens. Did not serve outside state. Stationed at Galveston, Sabine Pass, Niblett’s Bluff and Sabine River. Participated in capture of Galveston, Jan. 1, 1863.
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Claudius Buster, the eldest son of William Woods & Margaret Buster, was born in Somerset, Kentucky, January 21, 1816, and came with his father to Texas in 1836. "He fought Indians, fought Mexicans, in fact was a fighting Irishman always, but a gentleman in every sense of the word--culture and refinement inherent in him as well as the use of sword and firearms. A Shakespeare reader, a chess player, he had all the graces, was a soldier, a patriot. I remember him so well! He tried to teach us girls to walk gracefully--'step on your toes before your heels' he's say, 'don't hold to the banister walking downstairs' (we slid down the banisters probably when he wasn't around) 'don't stretch your hands and fingers, they will grow large.'

An early Indian fighter, a dashing cavalry officer of the Mexican War, and believing so thoroughly in States Rights that he, over 45 years old, enlisted in the Civil War, feeling before, during and after that fighting would not settle the difficulty. He bitterly resented the idea that the South fought to hold their slaves--that slavery was a disastrous economic failure entailed a burden that the South would soon have thrown off of her own accord but for the radical element of the North. (I heard him say this.) I have lived to see so many of his ideas proven true. He came home from the Civil War, entirely broke, utterly so, took a job as 'deepo' agent (just fancy, a hired man!) in Brenham and after a few years got his land titles straightened up (taxes then, same as now) resumed management of his farm and the care of his adored wife. His farm was 5 miles from Brenham, and the negro settlement then called 'Camptown' was between his farm (which had been his father's) and Brenham. It was at this place I recall playing on the graves of his parents. It was a crude, homemade fence of rails and unpainted pickets, about 8 feet square, no iron fence then, and Bessie Buster and I ate berries growing there and wondered if they would poison us on account of the bodies underneath. Bessie is the daughter of Jack Buster (Mama's brother) and Melissa Whisnant who died soon after the birth of Bessie. Mama 'nursed' Bessie (also me at the same time) and when she was weaned Grandmother Buster took her and her father till his second marriage. Those old graves did not look neglected, just vines growing everywhere. We scrambled over the fence and into the enclosure, maybe 5 years old, likely younger.

"We didn't visit our grandparents often, roads bad and distances seeming great then, and besides Grandmother Buster couldn't put up with Mama's noisy brood. The 3rd Grandmother Garrett was most tolerant, kind, patient, and good friends with Mama. So was her grandfather Garrett."

Claudius Buster was blessed with a strong sense of humor and enjoyed jokes on himself as he did on other people. His daughter, Mary Buster Estes, always enjoyed the following incident.

Wayne Bishop, a neighbor, was in love with Jane Buster, Claudius' sister, and Wayne, Jane and another sister went to a watermelon feast a few miles from home, the girls were riding the same horse. Their mother cautioned them to be home before dark because of the danger of Indians. They had such a nice time that they failed to start home early, so that darkness caught them on the road. They came galloping in home rather late in a state of excitement, all talking at the same time, telling of seeing some Indians after them as they crossed the branch not far from the house. One of them said there were two or three Indians--another thought there were at least five with bows and arrows and guns.

After they had told their stories, and the excitement had died down. Claudius yawned, stretched, and started for bed. Before closing the door behind himself, he turned and yelled "Vip! damn ye, Vip! Vip!" imitating Wayne's German accent. Claudius had dressed up like an Indian, used a broomstick for a gun, and chased them across the branch, then he took a short cut home. Wayne's horse could run faster than old Dobbin carrying the two girls. He would run off and leave them, then get ashamed and stop and yell "Whip! Whip!" until he got mad and was screaming "Vip! Damn you, Vip Damn Ye, Vip!" Jane lost interest in him after that, and the romance ended.


Notes from a manuscript obtained from Terri Buster 12 -3-97
Resource: http://worldconnect.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com
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Pesch P. 0. Washington County, Texas 
June 16th 1889 

Friend Jenkins, 

I received your letter yesterday of the 10th inst. asking me to give you the particulars of my recapture as a “prisoner” In Mexico after our charge and victory over our guard at Salado Feb. 11th, 1843. In as much as you have suggested a chapter in your contemplated work devoted to my connection with the “Mier Expedition” I am tempted to give you more than you asked for, and give you a brief sketch of my services in Texas from my advent into the Republic up to the present. If I should write too much to suit the character of your contemplated “book’ you can cull out such portions as suits you and discard the balance, and I assure you that by so doing you will give me no offense.  

In the first place I will state that I am a Kentuckian, that in the early part of 1836 the State of Kentucky was called upon for 1,000 volunteers by the U.S. to join Gen’l Gains then at Camp Sabine, ostensibly to control the U. S. Indians, but the real and true object was to assist Texas if necessary in repelling the Mexican Army under Gen'l Santa Anna then preparing to Invade Texas, The county In which I lived (Pulaski) on learning that such call was made, in one days time organized a company of 100 men. I was elected one of it’s Lieut.,the same evening started to Frankfort, our seat of government to report to the Governor. Although riding night and day I was too late. The quota was made up by counties living nearer. So you see my first effort to achieve military glory was a failure. Not satisfied with this we next made an effort to get up a company and come on our own hook, this also failed, but in the fall my father and myself came by land. 

Arriving in October meeting with quite a number of Texas families In Eastern Texas returning home from the “Runaway Scrape” which has a conspicuous place In Texas history. The battle of San Jacinto had been fought on the 21st of April so you see I missed another chance to win military laurels. In 1839 or 40 a party of Indians came down, camped on Pond-Creek south of where Waco now stands, threatening the frontier settlements near old Nashville on tire Brazos. Some 8 or 10 young men and myself went to their assistance but before our arrival, the Indians broke up camp and left without making an attack, thus another chance for fun was missed. Our trip turned into a still hunt for Buffalo, Bear, and Mustangs on our way home In Washington County.  

Texas Territory
In 1841 what is known as the Lewis Campaign was gotten up to go up the Colorado river in search of Comanche Indians who were becoming troublesome. Two small companies under Tom Green and ---- Jones. 100 white men and 12 Lipan [Apache] Indians as guides, all commanded by Mark R. Lewis left Austin in May. Our route was East of the Colorado, crossing the headwaters at the mouth of the San Saba, up that stream 30 or 40 miles, near the old Mission crossed to the north side and back to the Colorado and up that to the mouth of the Concho. Up that stream to near the head springs. On this river we found the camp of the Indians we were hunting but they had left it some weeks before we got there. Here old Castro our Lipan Chief and guide refused to follow their trail saying there was no water on this route. We now turned south passing the San Saba Springs, the head waters of the Llano, on to the head waters of the Nueces, down that stream some distance, thence back to Austin via San Antonio, having been gone about three months. In which time we had no general engagement with the indians but encountered several small bands of Comanches of whom we killed some 8 or 10. One of which though he had the appearance of an Indian was supposed to be a white man or an American. Although he was nearly as dark as an Indian he had some distinguishing marks of our race, and Old Castro said that he was a white child stolen by the Indians and that he was a Chief of the Comanches. One Indian woman was taken prisoner. The men would not surrender. Several were given the chance but they would fight till they were shot down. The woman prisoner was given to our Indian allies and was by them treated too shamefully to be narrated or reach by a Christian or civilized people. 

In this campaign was my first experience of living without bread. We never tasted bread from the time we left Austin until we got back to San Antonio. We lived on beef which we drove with us, coffee, wild meat, fish, and honey.  My next experience was in the spring of 1842. I was in what was known as the Vascus and the Woll campaign, then came the Somerville Campaign and the Mier Expedition.  We come now to a subject less understood by the present population of Texas than any portion of Texas history. I mean the motives and conduct of those men who participated in what is called the Mier Expedition and this want of a correct understanding of the subject is readily accounted for when we reflect that at that time there was a strong partisan feeling between some of the officers of our Republic and some of the leading men in the Expedition and the authors of our history were so partial to the former that they could not or did not do justice to the latter. 

I can with difficulty approach the subject with that degree of patience and fortunance that the importance and the truth of history demands. I have been asked the question by men whose integrity were entitled to respect “if the Expedition was authorized by our government” carrying with it the idea that they had been taught to believe that it was a kind of lawless filibustering crowd or mob whose motive was pillage or robbery. Can anyone wonder that I should be Indignant or sensitive when such motives as those were even hinted at. I could only answer that so far from that being the truth that the Congress of Texas which convened after our capture not only recognized our service but appropriated means to alleviate our suffering. (These means never reached our prisons however) We were also paid for our services by our Government, $605.00 to each prisoner after our return home. Subsequently a pension was granted to each amounting to $970.00 and in addition to this and better than all, our fellow citizens after return home elected many of us to positions of honor and trust.

Col. George Fisher
Col. Fisher our leader was appointed Collector of Customs at Galveston, some two or three elected to Congress, others to county offices, some of them doubtless in recognition of their service in that Expedition.  But a change has come over the citizens of today, how and why wrought I think I know but it would take more space than we can give. A population has come into power that “knew not Joseph.” The Mier Prisoner is not today appreciated by the present population of Texas as he was by his own peers who knew all the facts and those facts were fresh in the mind in that time. For instance, a few years since the legislature of Texas passed an act granting 1280 acres of land to all veterans, the “Mier Prisoners” not mentioned In the act, when it ought to have been well known that when the Veteran Association was organized and veterans classed as they were at first, and classification by themselves who best knew who were entitled to first honors, the Mier prisoner was classed in the first class. See minutes of the T.V.A. I care nothing for the land grant but to be overslawed or forgotten I felt hurt and I feel it yet.  

The trail Buster was taken on into Mexico
We will pass over our history from the 26th of Dec. 1842, the day on which the Battle at Mier commenced, a Battle which terminated in our being made Prisoners of War. Although we lost the vIctory after 18 hours fighting, no one who participated in it is ashamed of the fight. Those who had been in many battles before say they never saw men fight better and that is saying a great deal. It was my first battle, consequently I was not a good judge.  After our capture we were taken to Matamoras, thence to Monterey, to Saltillo, and thence to Salado, arriving there on the 10th of Feb. 1843. While at Matamoras we made it up to rise on the guard the first favorable opportunity. On two occasions we thought to make the effort, once before we reached Monterrey and again between that and Saltillo, but on each time was balked by untoward circumstances, but the Salado we carried our determination into effect. Here on the 11th of Feb.1843 was fought the battle of the viscus.  Our guard under the command of Gen’l Baragan consisted of infantry and cavalry in about equal numbers and outnumbered us about two to one. We made the charge at about sunrise and In about fifteen minutes the job was completed. We were guarded in an enclosed corner of the courtyard of about fifty yards square. 

Our quarters were enclosed on three sides by high walls, the fourth side by a wall about as high as a man’s shoulders on the outside of which and at the gate or door which led into the court yard mentioned were placed the sentinels on duty, the balance of the infantry not on immediate duty had stacked their arms near the center of this court yard and in full view of our men as they rushed out of our small enclosure through the small door into this yard. The men who first got out ran and seized these arms and distributed them to the men as they came out at the door, The infantry was taken by surprise and made but feeble resistance. At the center or large gate was stationed a stronger guard and they had time to prepare for resistance but they had time to fire but one volley before we were upon them. They gave way at once and about one half of the cavalry mounted and scampered off. We secured however about ninety head of their horses. We lost 4 or 5 men In the battle and they about the same number, Our men had been instructed not to kill any one unnecessarily as were compelled to leave in their hands 15 or 20 men, some wounded some sick, and some unwilling to risk the chance of escape and for their safety and for humanity's sake we spared all we could. All we wanted was our liberty, their arms, horses, and such other things as was deemed needful in our efforts to get home.  There was a small lot of money fell into our hands. 

Here the writer will state that after the action was over he made himself very busy In pointing out horses and directing the men to saddle up ready for the march and when starting time came no horse was left for him. Every man claimed the horse he saddled, He however found a little burro or jennie, the smallest he had ever seen under saddle. This be mounted and a better little traveling animal would be hard to find. The money part of our spoils was placed in my hands. This being sliver was soon found to be too heavy for my little burro together with a man’s weight. We would ride and/or rest each other on the march so that my little jennie always had a rider. On the first opportunity I made a distribution of our funds which amounted to 5 or 6 dollars each. When all were served I had about two shares left not being able to make the exact change. We left the ranch Salado about 10 or 11 o’clock and our first stop was at San Salvador, about 50 miles. Here we bought corn and fed our horses about midnight. 

We then traveled 12 or 15 miles and stopped to rest. The men dropped down in line and in ten minutes were all asleep.  Feb. 12th we resumed the march at daylight leaving the Saltillo road about 10 o’clock, bearing to the left for the Zackaticus road which we struck in about 10 miles. Thence turning to the left for the purpose of obtaining water at a hacienda which was in sight. We found the water tank near the house guarded by a few regular soldiers who hoisted a red flag and commenced firing at us at about 200 yards distance. Not wishing to be detained we marched on without seeming to notice them. The only damage their fire did was the wounding of one horse and the bursting of one of the men’s stirrups. Our course led in a N.W. direction, a trail over a mountain, after crossing which we found sufficient water to give us all a drink, the first we had had for about 20 hours. At six miles further came to water at a ranch where we found men in arms but did not stop to molest them. Continuing our course N, W, we crossed a mountain and into a deep valley in which we stopped to rest and sleep. 

In descending this mountain I lost my famous jennie. I had loaned her to a big nearsighted dutchman and in descending the mountain the burro had fallen and rolled from under him. It being a dark night, he could not find her.  Feb. 13th — This day we struck the Monclova road leading from Saltillo about 35 or 40 miles from that place. This day an Englishman, an American citizen, came to us and gave us good advice how to get out of the country, and if we had taken it, all would have went well but we did not. We had with us a few of Jourdan’s men who had been with him in the Federation War some two or three years before, and who had when he had been betrayed by his supposed Mexican friends made his escape through these mountains. 

We induced Capt. Cameron whom we had chosen as our leader, to follow Jourdan’s example. At the time Jourdan went through there was plenty of water but at this time there was none. They succeeded in getting through safe, we failed for want of water,  Feb. 14th — After leaving the road which we had been advised to keep, we struck off through the mountains so steep and rough that our horses made but slow progress. We found no watet and camped at night in a deep ravine.  Feb. 15th, — Some of the men found water a mile or two from camp. Here we decided to kill our horses and barbecue the meat and all take it afoot. Here was presented a scene which I shall never forget and which could only have been performed by the men under any other circumstance than a necessity. While some of the men were killing and butchering these faithful animals, others were building scaffold and fires for cooking. Our saddle wallets by cutting them in two were converted Into haversacks. About 3 o’clock we left this camp and at about 10 at night camped in a deep ravine without water.  

Feb. 16th — Our course still north, This day several of the men were left on the trail exhausted and here was commenced unfortunately the use of the palmetto juice.  Feb. 17th — At 12 M discovered some Mexican spies in a valley across which our course led, Here we changed our course a little to the east hoping to find water. No signal from any of our water hunters on this day. About 10 o’clock when a halt was made and some of the men pulling and trying to eat the prlckley pear leaf. I and a member of my company left the main party and struck off west in search of water. In about an hours walk my comrade John Toops became so faint that he was compelled to lie down under the shade of a bush. I would not leave him. When evening came and the sun sank behind a high mountain, Toops revived. 

We then went back to the trail.  We then found that a party of Mexican cavalry were on the trail. Consequently we cast off from them instead of trying to rejoin them. We took the back track. Toops in his weak state threw away his gun and cartridges, also his meat. I held on to my gun and part of the ammunition. Mine was a scoped which I had taken from a cavalryman and was lighter than his, a common musket. In two more days we came to a hole in a rock which contained about a barrel of water. This water Toops had found while straggling off from the main party some 5 or 6 days previous, at which time after drinking what he wanted, brought me a gourdful, which after taking one mouthful I divided out among the thirsting men as far as it would go. Notwithstanding, Toops gave out first and I had to wait on him. When we got back to the water, he was in better condition than I. My tongue was swollen so that I could not talk and with difficulty could walk. He went ahead and when he came to the water, which was about a quarter of a mile from the trail, he went back and hallowed for me and I followed him to his little hole of water. It was now the 8th day since I had had a good drink. It Is impossible to describe ones feelings while thus suffering. When we would come to a bed of dry sand in a hollow where there had been water in a wet season, we would scratch holes Into it and lie in it as you have seen hogs do to cool themselves.  

Now that we had found water it became necessary to exercise prudence and not drink too much. We had a tin cup and my first drink of about half pint felt cold in the stomach but unnatural. It was more like a dream of drinking than the reality. I think the stomach was coated so that the water did circulate or nourish the system. We then struck and built a fire and in our cup of water we put a small portion of meat and a piece of sugar (we had one picener and a piece of horse meat the size of one’s hand) thus we made stew and eat and drank that. After doing this, in a short time all was right. We then drank all we wanted and It did not hurt us.  We remained at this place about 24 hours. We filled our water gourds (we had two but one leaked) and left going down the ravine in an east direction between two high mountains. We soon emptied the leaking gourd on the first day and that night the other. Our progress was slow being too feeble to travel fact. The second night after leaving our water hole we came to a running creek clear and cool. I did not take time to dip it up in the cup but lay down to it and I drank until I was satisfied. I think I never enjoyed in all my life anything so well. 

Just before we came to the creek we crossed a big road, where it led to or from I do not know. After leaving the creek we went up on the side of a mountain about one half mile and lay down and slept til daylight. When we arose we were In full view of a large ranch, could see soldiers on horseback and men traveling on the road we had crossed in the night. We lost no time in getting farther back into the brush and out of sight. We soon got into a trail or small road leading east between two mountains and followed it until about 10 or 11 o’clock when we lay down by the side of the road to rest for we were yet very feeble. And while thus resting in fifteen feet of the road a Mexican came along driving a packed burro who never saw us or if so never turned his head. He appeared to be in a great hurry and going in the direction of the ranch near where we had slept. We left the road to our left, still traveling east came into a large valley or plain in which we found a tank around which was a good deal of sign of stock. 

We were not getting very hungry for while we were without water we could not eat and our little store that we had thrown away was exhausted. Soon we saw an ox coming through the bushes. I hid myself behind some brush and when he came near enough I shot him down. He commenced scuffling as tho he might get up. I dropped my gun, ran and caught him by the tail, held him down until Toops loaded the gun and shot him in the head, I still holding him. We now caught our cup full of blood which ran from the bullet hole in his head, made a fire, cooked and ate that first. How to get any other benefit from him was now a problem for we had no knife with which to skin and cut the flesh, when I thought of my gun which had a flint and steel lock and that the corner of the flint was sharp. With this flint we commenced operations, first by persistent scratching on the side of the ox and I never saw a thicker hide on any animal. We finally cut through the skin, a cut about a foot long, then cut at right angles about the same length. Now we peeled up the hide and got to the entrails. The skin was too tough to cut with the flint, but we got his liver. This we could manage, so without bread or salt we had a feast. 

We remained here about 24 hours when the buzzards began to collect we thought It best to leave. We now changed our course to N.E . We came to a herder’s camp, one lone man who appeared to be much alarmed at first but by making signs of friendship we soon quested his fears from him. We bought bread, milk and cheese. This was late in the evening. We went a few miles further then camped for the night.  The next day we crossed another big road running E & W on which we saw several Mexicans traveling but kept hid from them, We now went in a N direction crossing a very high mountain and on the N side of the mountain in a wide valley we came to a distillery where mescal is made from the Mygay plant. A cold rain falling, we stayed here half of one day and all night. We bought provisions here. So isolated was the place that the people did not seem to know or care who we were. There were 5 or 6 men and their families lived here. There was one Mexican who did not live here who manifested great friendship for us. He went with us several miles to show us how to get through a pass In the mountains and avoid the soldiers. 

San Juan River
After getting through the pass as he directed in the night, just before day we lay down to rest and sleep. The next morning we were in sight of two towns. Candalia was one and I have forgotten the name of the other. We made haste to get out of sight. This day we killed another beef. Having bought a knife, we had less trouble in getting something to eat. We next encountered a shepherd with whom we spent a night and from whom we bought a kid, another feast but the last, for we found nothing in crossing the plain or valley between the mountain and the Rio Grande. We were 3 or 4 days, I have forgotten which. We kept no journal and had lost the time, when we came to the San Juan river, a stream nearly as wide as the Rio Grande. There was a ranch in our course and we lay by until dark when we stealthily approached the ranch, found a canoe, crossed over and turned It adrift without seeing anyone. There are no settlements between the San Juan and the Rio Grande and now when our appetites had become ravenous, we could get nothing. 

I shot a deer down, hut before I could get to it, it got up and ran off. I shot a cow and a mustang but failed to get them. When we got to the road on the west bank of the river about 30 or 40 miles above Laredo, we walked down the road a few miles and came to an old deserted ranch where soldiers had encamped leaving pieces of rawhide and beef bones. These we were burning and eating when about ten Mexicans rode onto us. I had set my gun down inside of an old walled house without a roof and was cut off from that and a surrender was inevitable. This was in the evening. 

That night was the most uncomfortable I ever spent. We were tied hands and feet, placed on our backs then tied together, sentinels placed over us with orders to shoot us if we moved. The next day we were taken to Gen’l Wolls quarters on the west bank of the river opposite Laredo. Here we were kept a few days then sent to Guerraro, there kept some 8 or 10 days, then sent to Monterrey, and on to Saltillo. Here we were kept about three months. On our arrival at Saltillo we were guarded in soldier quarters but in a few days we were removed to the state prison, at first put into a room appropriate to those who had committed minor offenses. This room was so crowded that I felt like smothering. I called the jailor and told him I could not stand it. He took us out and placed us in another with high walls but no cover. Here I could breath and was a great improvement, but at night we were crowded into a close and crowded room with the felons of the state, robbers, murderers, and those who had committed the most heinous offenses. Here we remained some two weeks, let out in day time into the open court above mentioned.  


Santa Anna
About this time a new Governor came to Saltillo, Gen’I Biscinia of whom I made friend in rather a strange way. On the inside wall of our prison which was whitewashed one of the Mexican prisoners had painted what he conceived to be a picture of the Devil, an ugly thing it was. I borrowed his paint and brush and painted a chain and stake and fastening one end of the chain to the stake and the other to the DeviI's leg I wrote under it “chained 1000 anos or years. Soon after the Governor’s arrival, on visiting the prison this picture attracted the attention of his Excellency. He wanted to know who had chained the devil and done the writing under it. I was pointed out to him, he sent at once for an interpreter and I had a good long interview with him in which I protested against the treatment which I was receiving. I claimed to be a prisoner of war and not a felon, that I was incarcerated with and treated as one. He had myself and Toops taken out at once and guarded in soldier's quarters, and my treatment as long as we remained in that state was as kind as I could have expected, and the soldiers and officers all thought he was going to liberate me but an order came from Gen’I Santa Anna to send all prisoners on to Mexico. 

He furnished me a horse to ride as far as his state extended, thus I parted with the most gentlemanly officer and best friend I found in Mexico. After the sergeant who was sent to carry the horse back, if I got to ride I had my horse or burro to hire which times I could do. At San Louis Potosi we found Norman Woods and three or four others who had been left at that place sick. They were also sent on with me to the City. Here we joined our comrades at Tuca bayou working on the streets near Santa Anna’s palace. In about three months after my arrival in this city we were all sent to the Castle of Perote where we remained until our final liberation. I left home in Oct. 1842 and got back in Nov. 1844. Of the general treatment of the prisoners it is not necessary for me to speak, for that has gone into history long since.  Returning to my personal history I will state that soon after my arrival at home I was given a deputy clerkship in the County Clerk’s office where I remained until I married a daughter of Rev. Hosea Garrett, was twice elected Chief Justice of Washington County, engaged in farming, accumulated some property, commanded a company in the last war, had 30 negroes set free, have 2 sons and one daughter all doing well, wife and I have means enough to last as long as we live with God’s continued blessing.  

Respectfully Claudius Buster 
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James Armstrong was a member of the Mier Expedition, drew a white bean at the decimation, and was imprisoned in the Castle of Perote with Claudius Buster. In the letter which Claudius Buster wrote to his brother, John Vaughan Buster, he asked that his sister, Frances, not make an engagement until he returned. Upon their release from prison, Claudius introduced James Armstrong to Frances Buster, and they were married January 16, 1846.  James C. Armstrong surveyed and filed on 320 acres of land in Bell County, Texas. He preempted an adjoining 320 acres and entered the cattle business in 1845, selling his property In Washington County. Part of this property in Bell County Is owned by Curtis Armstrong, a grandson, and it has been in the family for 104 years at this writing. Curtis Armstrong holds the preemption certificate signed by Governor Pease.  In 1949, Mrs. George W. Birchfield, the eleventh of the twelve children of James C. arid Frances Buster Armstrong, set up two scholarship at Abilene Christian College in memory of her father and mother, the scholarships to be used by any descendants of these two, A Family Tree was prepared by Mrs. Birchfield, Mrs. Fay Riley, and Mr. Dee A. Armstrong in September, 1949, and this Information is reproduced below.  Francis Buster, born February 20, 1827, Pulaski County, Kentucky, moved to Texas in 1838, married January 16, 1846 to James C. Armstrong, son of Hugh C. and Nancy Armstrong, born October 8, 1816, In Overton, Tennessee, died In Bell County, May 10, 1888.

Resource: FamilySearch.org

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Mier Expedition: In the words of Capt. Claudius Buster

My next experience was in the spring of 1842.  I was in the Vasquez and Woll campaigns, and then in the Somerville campaign and the Mier Expedition.
Mier Expedition descending the Rio Grande

This brings us to the subject less understood of any other portion of Texas history.  I mean the motives and conduct of those men who participated in what is called the Mier Expedition.



The Mier prisoner is not today appreciated by the people of Texas as he was by his compeers, who knew all the facts.  For instance, a few years since the legislature of Texas passed an act granting 1280 acres of land to old veterans, the Mier prisoner was not mentioned in the act.  

We will pass over our history from Dec. 26, 1842, the day in which the battle of Mier commenced- a battle which terminated in our being made prisoners of war.  Although we lost the victory after fighting 18 hours, no one who participated in it is ashamed of it.  

After our capture, we were taken to Matamoras, thence to Monterrey, on to Saltillo and thence to Salado, arriving on Feb. 10 1843.  While at Matamoras, we made it up the rise on the guard the first favorable opportunity.  On two occasions we thought to make the effort- once before we reach to Monterrey and again between there Salado.  Each time were were balked by untoward circumstances.  At Salado, however, we were enabled to carry our determination into effect.  Here on Feb. 11, 1843, was fought “the Battle of the Rescue.” 

Our guard, under the command of Gen. Baragan, consisted of infantry & cavalry in about equal numbers- outnumbering us about 2 to 1.  We were guarded in an inclosed corner of the courtyard of about 50 yards square.  Our quarters were inclosed on 3 sides by high walls, the fourth side by a wall about as high as a man’s shoulders on the outside of which and at the yard gate or door which led into the courtyard mentioned were placed sentinels on duty.  The balance of the infantry not on immediate duty had stacked their arms near the center of this courtyard, and in full view of our men as they rushed out of our small inclosure through the small door of this yard.  The men who first got out ran and seized these arms and distributed them among the men as the came out of the door.  

The infantry was taken by surprize and made but feeble resistance.  At the outer or larger gate was stationed a stronger guard and they had time to prepare for resistance.  They succeeded in firing only one volley before we were upon them.  They gave way at once and about one-half of the cavalry mounted and scampered off.  We secured about 90 head of their horses.  We lost 4 or 5 men in battle, and they about the same number. Our men had been instructed not to kill anyone unnecessarily, as we were compelled to leave in their hands 15 or 20 men- some wounded, some sick, and few unwilling to risk the chances of escape.  All we wanted was liberty, including their arms, horses and such other things as were deemed needful in our efforts to get home.  A small amount of money fell out of hands, every man claimed a horse he saddled.  I found a little “burro”, the smartest I had every scene under the saddle.  This I mounted and a better little traveling animal would be hard to find.

The money part of our spoils was placed in my hands.  This being silver, was soon found to be too heavy for me.  We would ride and tie and rest each other on the march, so that my little “jinny” also had a rider.  As soon as possible I made a distribution of our funds, amounting $500 or $600 each.  When all were served I had near two shares left, not being able to make the exact change.  

We left the ranch Salado about 10 to 12 o’clock and our first stop was at San Salvador, about fifty miles.  We then traveled on 12 or 13 miles and stopped to rest.  The men dropped down in line and in 10 minutes all were asleep.  

Feb. 12 we resumed march at daylight leaving the Saltillo road about 10 o’clock, bearing to the left for the Zacatecas road, which we struck in about 10 miles, hence turning to the left for the purpose of obtaining water at a hacienda which was in sight.  We found the water tank near the house, guarded by a few regular [Mexican] soldiers, who hoisted a red flag and summoned firing at a distance of about 200 yards.  Not wishing to be detained we marched on, pretending not to see them.  The only harm their firing did us was the wounding of the one horse and the bursting of one man’s stirrup.


Informal Texan dress ware
Our course led us in a northern direction, along a trail over a mountain, after crossing which we found sufficient water for us all to take a good drink, the first we had enjoyed in about twenty hours.  Six miles further we came to water at another ranch, where we found men in arms, but did not stop to molest them.  Continuing our course, northwest, we crossed over a mountain into a deep valley.   Here we stopped to rest and sleep.  In descending this mountain, I lost my famous jinny.  I loaned her to a big nearsighted Dutchman.  Going down the steep mountain side the burro had failed and rolled from under him.  The night was a very dark one and he could not find her.  

On Feb. 13 we struck the Monclova road, leading from Saltillo- about 35 or 40 miles from that place.  This day an Englishman or an American citizen came to us and gave us good advice how to get out of the country.  If we had heeded his [advice] all would have been well, but for some reason we did not.  We had with us a few of Jordan’s men, who had been with him in the federation who some two or three part before, and who after his betrayal by his supposed Mexican friends, had made escape through these mountains.  These men induced Captain Cameron, whom we had chosen for our leader, to follow Jordan’s example. At the time Jordan went through there was plenty of water, but at this time there was none.  They succeeded getting through safe, while we failed for want of water.  

On Feb. 14, after leaving the road which we had been advised to keep, we struck off through the mountains, so steep and rough that our horses made but slow progress.  We found no water and at night we camped in a deep ravine.  On Feb. 15 some of the men found some water a mile or two from camp.  Here we decided to kill our horses, barbecue the meat, and all take it afoot.   

Here was presented a scene which I can never forget, and which could have been performed by our men only under circumstances of direst necessity. While some of the men were killing and butchering our faithful animals, others were building fires and scaffolds for cooking.  Our saddle wallets, by cutting them in two, were converted into haversacks.  About 3 o’clock we left camp and that night at 10 o’clock camped in a deep ravine without water.

On Feb. 16 our course was still north.  This day our real agony increased for several of our men were left on the trail exhausted, and here, unfortunately, we commenced the use of the palmetto juice.

Mexican regiment
Feb. 17 we discovered immediately on our course some Mexican spies in the valley.  This was about 12 o’clock.  We changed our course a little to the east, hoping to find water.  Alas, no signal came from any of our water hunters.  On this day a halt was made and some of our men pulled and tried to eat the prickly leaves.  John Toops, a member of my company, and myself left the main party and struck off west in search of water.  After an hour’s walk my comrade, John Toops, became so faint that he was compelled to lie down under the shade of the bush.  I would not leave him.  But when even came and the sun sank behind a high mountain, Toops revived.  We immediately made our way back to the trail.  Fancy our feelings when we found a company of Mexican cavalry was on the trail.  Consequently we were cut off from our main body of men.  So, instead of trying to rejoin them, we took the back track.  Toops in his weak state threw away his gun and cartridges, also his meat.  I held on to my gun and part of my ammunition. Mine was a scape taken from cavalryman, and was much lighter than his, a common musket. In two more days we come into a hole in a rock which contained about one barrel of water.  This water Toops had found 5 or 6 days before while straggling off from the main party.  At which time, after drinking what he wanted, he brought me a gourdful, which, after taking a mouthful, I divided out among the famishing men as far as it would go.  Notwithstanding Toops gave out first, and I had to wait on him, when we got back to this water he was in better condition than I was.

My tongue was swollen so that I could not talk and could walk only with great difficulty.  He went ahead and when he came to the water, which was about a quarter of a mile from the trail, he went back and hollered for me, and I hurried on with him to his little hole of water.  It was now about the 8th day since I had enjoyed a good drink.  It is impossible to describe one’s feelings while thus suffering.  When we would come to a bed of dry sand in a hollow, where there had been water in wet seasons, we would scratch holes in it and lie in it as you have seen hogs do to cool themselves.  Now that we have found water it became necessary to exercise prudence and not drink too much.  We had a tin cup and my first drink of half a pint felt very cool in my stomach, but unnatural.  It was more like a dream of drinking than reality.  I think the stomach was coated so that the water did not circulate nor nourish the system.  He then built a fire, and in our cups of water we put a small portion of meat and a little lump of sugar.  We had one palonca and a piece of horse meat the size of one’s hand. Thus we made stew and ate.  Very soon after eating this we were all right and enjoyed the delicious luxury of drinking all the water we wanted without injury.

We remained at this place about 24 hours.  We filled our water gourds- we had two, but one of them leaked.  Leaving, we went down the ravine in an eastern direction between two very high mountains.  We soon emptied the leaky gourd the first day and that night the other. Our progress was very slow for we were entirely too feeble to travel fast.  The second night after leaving our water hole, we came to a beautiful running creek.  I did not take time to dip it up in the cup, but lay down to it and drank until I was satisfied.  I think I never enjoyed anything so much.  Just before we came to the creek we crossed a big road leading when or where we knew not.  After leaving the creek we went up the side of the mountain about one-half mile and lay down and slept until daylight.  When we rose we were in full view a of lard ranch.  We could see soldiers and horseback and men traveling on the road we had crossed in the night.  We lost no time getting further back into the brush and out of sight.  We soon got into a trail or small road leading east between two mountains.  This we followed until 10 or 11 o’clock, when we lay down by the side of the road to rest for we were still very feeble.

While thus resting 15 feet of the road a Mexican came by driving a packed burro.  He passed on and never saw us, of if so, he never turned his head.  He appeared to be in a great hurry, going in the direction of the ranch, near which we had slept.  We left the road to our left, still traveling east, came into a large valley or plain, in which we found a tank, around which were a good many signs of stock.  We were now getting very hungry.  While we were without water we could not eat, and now our little store was exhausted.  Very soon we saw an ox coming through the bushes.  I hid myself behind some brush, and when he came near enough I shot him down.  He commenced scuffling as if he might get up.  I dropped my gun, ran and caught him by the tail, held him down until Toops loaded the gun and shot him in the head, I still holding him by the tail.  We now caught our cup full of blood which ran from the bullet hole from his head, made a fire, cooked and ate that first.  How to get any other benefit from him was now a problem, for we had no knife with which to skin and cut the flesh.  All at once I thought of my gun, which had a flint and steel lock.  The corner of the fling was sharp.  With this flint we commenced operations by persistent scratching on the side of the ox.  I never saw a thicker hide on any animal.  We finally cut thru the skin- a cut about a foot long.  Then we cut at right angles about the same length.  Now we peeled up the hide and got to the entrails.  The flesh was entirely too tough to cut with the flint, but we succeeded in getting his liver.  This we could manage very well, so without bread or salt we had a feast.  We remained here for about 24 hours, when the buzzards began to collect, and we thought it best to leave.  We now changed course northeast.

Mexican herder
We soon came to a herder’s camp- one man who appeared to be much alarmed at first, but by making signs of friendship we soon quieted his fears.  From him we bought bread, milk and cheese.  It was already late in the evening, but we went a few miles further, then camped for the night.  Next day we crossed another road running east and west, on which we saw several Mexicans traveling.  We kept hid from them, which made us go in a north direction, crossing a very high mountain.  On the north side of this mountain, we came to a distillery where mescal was made from the maguay plant.  A cold rain was falling and we stayed here half a day and night, and here we bought provisions.  So isolated was this place that people did not seem to know or care who we were.  Five or six men with their families lived here.  One man, a Mexican, did not live here at this place, but was there for a short time.  He manifested great interest in us.  He went with us for several miles to show us how to get through a pass in the mountains and avoid the soldiers.  After getting through a pass in the night as he directed, just before day we lay down to sleep.  Next morning we found ourselves in sight of two towns.  Candelia was one and I have forgotten the name of the other. We made haste to get out of sight.  

This day we killed another beef, and having bought a knife, we had less trouble getting something to eat.  Next we encountered a sheep herder, with whom we spent the night, and from whom we bought a kid.  This was another feast, but the last, for we found nothing in the crossing in the plain or valley between the mountains and Rio Grande.  We were 3 or 4 days- we kept no journal and had lost time.  When we came to the San Juan river, a stream nearly as wide as the Rio Grande, there was a ranch in our course and we lay till dark.  Then we stealthily approached the ranch, found a canoe, crossed over and turned it adrift without seeing anyone.  There are no settlements between the San Juan and Rio Grande, and now, when our appetite have become ravenous, we could get nothing.  I shot a deer down, and before I could get to it it got up and ran off.  Again I shot a cow and then a mustang but failed to get either of them.  

When we got to the road on the west bank of the river, about 30 or 40 miles up Laredo, we walked down the road a few miles and came to an old deserted ranch, where soldiers had encamped, leaving pieces of raw hide and been bones.  These were were roasting and eating, when suddenly about 10 Mexicans suddenly rode unto us.  I had set my gun down inside of an old walled house without a roof, from which we were hopelessly cut off.  A surrender was inevitable.  This occurred in the evening. That night was the most uncomfortable I ever spent.  We were tired hands and feet, placed on our backs and then tied together.  Sentinels were placed over us with orders to shoot us if we moved.  Next day we were taken to General Woll’s headquarters on the west bank of the river, opposite of Laredo.  Here we were kept a few days, then sent to Guerrero, but there some 8 to 10 days, then sent to Monterrey and onto Saltillo where we were kept about three months.  

On our arrival at Saltillo we were first guarded in soldier quarters, but in a few days we moved to the state prison.  We were first put into a room appropriated to those who had committed minor offenses.  This room was so much crowded that I felt smothering.  I called to the jailer and told him I could not stand in it.  He took us out and placed us another with high walls and not cover.  This was a great improvement, for here we could at least get our breath.  But at night we were crowded into the room again, and this time with the felons, murderers, robbers and those who had committed the most heinous offenses.   Here we remained some two weeks, let out into the daytime in the open court.  

Vintage devil
About this time a new governor came into Saltillo, General Biscinia, whom I made a friend in a peculiar way.  One of the Mexican prisoners had painted what he had conceived to be a picture of the devil…  It was an ugly thing.  I borrowed his paint and brush and painted a chain and stake, fastening one end of the chain to the stake and the other end of the chain to the devil’s leg.  Then I wrote under the hideous picture: “Chained for a 1000 years”.  Soon after the governor’s arrival, on visiting the prison, this picture attracted his attention.  He inquired: “Who chained the devil and put the writing there?”  I was pointed out to him.  He sent at once for an interpreter and I had a good, long interview with him, in which I protested the treatment I was receiving.  I claimed that I was a prisoner of war and not a felon; that I was incarcerated with and treated as one.  He had Toops and myself taken out at once and guarded in soldier’s quarters, and my treatment as long as we remained in that state was as kind as I could have expected.  The soldiers and all the officers thought he was going to liberate me, but an order came from General Santa Anna to send all prisoners to Mexico City.  He furnished me a horse to ride as far as his state extended.  Thus I parted with the best friend I found in Mexico.  

After the sergeant took my horse back if I got to ride if I had my own horse or burro to hire, which at times I could not do.  At San Luis Potosi we found Norman Woods and 3 or 4 others who had been left at this place sick.  There were also sent on with me to the city.  He we joined our comrades at Zuca bayou, working on the street of Santa Anna’s place.  In about 3 months we were all sent to the castle of Perote, where we remained until our final liberation.

I left home in October 1842 and got back in November 1844.  Of the general treatment of the prisoners it was unnecessary for me speak for that has long since gone into history.  Returning to my personal history, I will state that soon after my return home, I was given a deputy clerkship in the county clerk’s office, where I remained until a daughter of Rev. Hosoa Garrett.  Was twice elected chief justice of Washington County, engaged in farming, accumulated some property, commanded a company in the Civil War, had 30 negros set free, have two sons and one daughter, all doing well.  My wife and I have means enough to last as long as we live, with God’s continued blessing.

After our return home, our government paid for that service $605 to each Mier prisoner. Subsequently a pension was granted to each amounting $970.  In addition to this, and better than all, after our return our fellow citizens many of us to positions of honor and trust. Col. Fisher, our leader, was appointed collector of customs at Galveston; some 2 or 3 were elected to congress and others to county offices- some of them doubtless in recognition of their services on that expedition.

Claudius Buster

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Capt. Claudius Buster

PEROTE PRISONPerote Castle (originally the Castle of San Carlos), located in the Mexican state of Vera Cruz, was built over a seven-year period in the 1770s by the Spanish authorities in Mexico to guard one of their main trade routes and to serve as a depository for treasure awaiting shipment to Spain. The stone fortress, covering an estimated twenty-six acres and surrounded by a moat, was used by the Mexican government as a prison.
Mier Expedition
In the dungeons of Perote most of the Texas prisoners captured by Mexico in the days of the Republic of Texas were incarcerated. Texans imprisoned there were chiefly from three groups: the Texan Santa Fe expedition prisoners, the Nicholas Dawson prisoners, and the prisoners captured on the Mier expedition. Some of the 300-odd members of the Texan Santa Fe expedition were confined at Perote during the winter of 1841–42. Most of them were released at the general emancipation of the Santa Fe prisoners in June 1842. In December 1842 about fifty men captured in San Antonio by Adri├ín Woll were placed in Perote, and a few months later various detachments of the Mier prisoners, about 200 in all, were also incarcerated there.
President John Tyler
Despite the fact that they had surrendered as prisoners of war, the men were forced to perform common labor. They were, however, allowed to communicate with friends, to receive money and gifts, and to purchase supplies outside Perote Castle. Their plight aroused sympathy in Texas and in the United States, and in April 1843 President John Tyler instructed Waddy Thompson, United States minister in Mexico, to negotiate for release of the Texas prisoners and demand the release of any imprisoned citizens of the United States. The Texas Congress made appropriations for the relief of the men at Perote, but the money never reached the prisoners, many of whom came to feel that their country was forsaking them and that President Sam Houston was not making any effort to secure their release.
Groups of the Perote prisoners were released from time to time through the influence of Thompson and the British minister, Lord Packenham. On July 2, 1843, sixteen Texans escaped through a hole bored in the walls; eight were recaptured. On March 25, 1844, sixteen other men effected an escape through a tunnel; of these, seven were recaptured. On March 23, 1844, two days before, the Bexar prisoners had been released. On September 16, 1844, the remaining Texas prisoners, about 105, were released. Accurate records on the number who escaped, who were released through influence of friends, who died from disease, starvation, or exposure, and who were killed by Mexican guards are not available.

Capt. Claudius Buster
Castle of Perote, Mexico, March 1844
Claudius Buster in 1886

My Dear brother,

Were I writing to any other than one of the family I would have few materials out of which to compose a letter, being confined within prison walls, without change of scene, or of treatment.  But to you and the rest of our family I could write almost continually.  I feel an inexpressible concern for you all, but for you and Freeman, who are, as it were, just entering into the world, I feel more than an ordinary desire to render you that assistance and advice that an older brother of some experience is calculated to give, and which you so much need.

By speaking thus I do not mean to undervaluate the counsel of our dear and loving father and mother.  On the contrary, I would advise you to give the most particular heed to their counsel, and to be obedient to their every judgement. But still there are offices which none but a senior brother can fill, than which nothing would give me more pleasure.

I am sorry that it is not within my power to flatter you with the hope of seeing you all soon, for all that I know we may be liberated in a very short time.  The prospects, I must confess, looks very gloomy.  We see in the latest accounts from Texas that a bill was before the Congress authorizing the Major General to raise a volunteer army to invade the Rio Grande country, the design which is good, but I must think the effort a very lame one.  I am pretty well satisfied that an army will not be raised, but should it be the case, my advise to you is that you should stay home at present.  

My absence is as much as Mother should have to lament, and there are other weighty considerations which should prevent you from going on any campaign at your age in life. I speak from knowledge of the evil results.

I received on the 21st of last month a letter written by Mr. Hughes, dated Nov. 28th, a part of which bearing my Mother’s name.  It is impossible to imagine the emotions of my heart, on opening the letter, and seeing the name of a Strange being mailed at Mt. Vernon, having heard of much sickness in Texas, and having for upward of twelve months labored under serious apprehensions for the health of my parents, I looked again before I dared read and saw my mother’s name. Oh, thought I, It is my father who is dead… What feelings when I read and saw Father’s name as one living! My relief was inexpressible.  In a moment there flew into the mind of the charge of a depending family; on whom this charge developed, and on whom should the mind turn by yourself, Brother? It is an awful reflection, but a reasonable one.  This life with all its allurements is transient and fluctuating.  Prepare yourself for such an event, but we hope and pray that our parents may live to see all their children reared and settled in life.

I regret most seriously that it has been my ill-fortune to render my poor Father and Mother as much unhappiness as I have, but if I am permitted to get home, I think I shall never render the same unhappiness again.

Tell Reuben and Jane that I am pleased at their reunion, and I hope that each will perform the office of the strictest propriety of husband and wife, and my prayer is offered up for their happiness.

I wonder if you suppose that I do not want to hear Polly and Elizabeth and their families.  Elizabeth’s name was mentioned, but Poly’s was not.  Mr. Hughes and my warmest thanks for his favors and friendly promises, and I hope that he will never have reason to regret any advances he may make in my favor.  It is needless to say that we are almost destitute for clothing.  We get at this time enough to eat, but of very coarse diet; and very little alteration of our treatment since Mr. Bradley and J. Hill left; they can give a particular account.  Tell Mother that I have no chains on, but by no means a stranger to them.  I also have to work a little, which does not hurt anything by my feelings. The idea of being a servant to so degraded a people is as much as I can bear. But comparatively speaking, I have been much favored.  I also have great reason to be thankful for my good health, amid the much sufferings which we have experienced.

I have the unpleasant task to state that Campbell Davis died on the 18th day of February last.  He became much reduced in flesh and strength from a long spell of dysentery.  He became despondent and finally took laudanum, which took him off.  Campbell and Burrass I believe are all your acquaintance who have died here.  Twenty-two have been buried in this castle.  The health of the prisoners here better at this time than it has been since we have been here.  John Toops, Chas Hensley, James Armstrong, Edward and Richard Keene, Thomas L. Smith, G.W. Bush, and L.D.F. Edwards are in good health.  Also Col. William S. Fisher, Jos. McCutcheon, Dr. McMath, W.D.F. Harrison, and P. Lusk.  

I was much hurt to hear the deaths of our neighbors.  I assume that James Calvert died in the mountains.  I have not yet heard from him.  Major Pierson is in Mexico- well, the last account.

The following is a list of the men who were killed at Meir.
William H. Hannon, Lockermon, Jackson, Hopson, Bassett, Dickson, and John E. Jones of my company.  Dr. Towers and A. White of Cameron County; M. Cronigen, Jas. Berry and James Austin, of Reeces Company; Dr. Brenham, D. Rice, John Lyons, Fitzpatrick and Hagendon at the Baxor prisoners were killed at Salado, in the break of the guard.

The following are the names of those shot, or murdered, at the Salado March 25, 1843. James M. Ogden, McThomson, Henry Whaling, James Turnbull, Robert Dunham, James Torrey, Wm. Rowan, Thos. L. Jones, Robert Harris, Christopher Roberts, John Cash, Capt. Wm. Eastland, Patrick Mahan, W.C. Wing, L.D. Cook, J.L. Shepherd.
The names of all who died would require too much space.

Tell little Billy and Tempie that I want to see them very much, to be good children and learn their books.  Tell Margaret and Sally that I want to see them advance in learning and grace, as I know they must be in size.  Tell Frances that if is convenient I would like that she didn’t make any engagements till I return,  unless a very worthy object presents itself.

Sometimes I almost forget the features of the children.  Father will still do the best he can with my little affairs.  I still hope to get home sometime before….
Bid Mother to be of good cheer.  The God that has protected my so far will, I hope, conduct me home to you, and my constant prayer is to spare all of our lives so that we may meet again.

I have thought hard that you did not write to me sooner, but I know that it was not for want of feeling.  Do not be ashamed of your diction, nor Father of his clumsy writing.  I would rather have a letter from you than from Sam Houston, John Taylor or any king on earth!

As Mr. Hughes appears to be familiar in the neighborhood another letter at present to him is unnecessary.  I highly appreciate his favor of writing to me, and wish him to continue.  Give him my respects… My best wishes are tendered to all the neighbors and friends, Mrs. Cash, Mrs. Harrison, Mrs. Davis, Mrs. Shannon, and friends generally.  I close for the present… Heaven protect you all…

Farwell,
Claudius Buster

To John V. Buster,
P.S.  James Armstrong wants you to go to Mr. Rogers, and give him his respects.  Tell him he will be there as soon as God will permit.  G.W. Bush wishes to be remembered to all the friends.  G.B. Brush, of whom Mr. Hughes writes, is in tolerable health.  


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