SAM HOUSTON AND
CONTRIBUTED BY E. W. WINKLER
gubernatorial campaign of 1857, Hardin It. Runnels, the nominee of the
Democratic Party, was opposed by Sam Houston, who ran as an independent.
Williamson S. Oldham, one of the proprietors of the Texas State Gazette, the principal Democratic paper in the State, joined actively in the campaign that
resulted in the election of Runnels. On
several occasions he met
In a volume, entitled Five Years in Texas, by Thomas North, the writer describes a review of Colonel Moore's regiment by General Houston as witnessed by himself.2 This anecdote is repeated by General Houston's latest biographer.3Who originated it is doubtful; it is attributed to Tom Ochiltree. North's claims as an eyewitness appear to be an unwarranted assumption.
first year of the war Colonel Moore had organized a splendid regiment of eleven
hundred young men, volunteers mostly from
"Right about face." The regiment now facing the rear, the General cried out in stentorian tones of sarcasm: "Do you see anything of Judge Campbell or Williamson S. Oldham there?" "No," was the emphatic reply. `Well," said the General, "they are not found at the front, nor even at the rear."
"Right about; front face."
right. Do you see anything of Judge Campbell's son here?" "No, he has
"Eyes Left. Do you see anything of young Sam Houston here?" "Yes," was the thrilling response.
“Eyes front. Do you see anything of old Sam Houston here?" By this time the climax of excitement was reached, and regiment and citizens together responded, in thunder tones, "Yes!" and then united in a triple round of three times three and a tiger for the old hero. Thereupon he returned the Colonel his sword, with the remark, "There, Colonel, that will do, I leave you to manage the rest of the maneuvering," and retired from dress parade.
incident set forth above is imaginary appears also from the following brief extract
from the history of the Second Texas Infantry:
During the first four months, the regiment was quartered in cotton compresses and warehouses in the city of Galveston, and six hours every day, except Sunday, were spent in the most arduous drilling. . . .
December, 1861, the regiment was moved from
orders came for the regiment to report to General Van Dorn in
12, 1862, the regiment went by rail to
E. W. Winkler.
Hon. Wm. S. Oldham,
Sir, in hopes that my letter may reach you, before you leave
The subject on which I address you, I doubt not you will properly appreciate. My son Sam Houston volunteered for during the war, in Capt. Ashbel Smith's Company, in the regiment commanded by Col. Moore. He was absent at the time from home on business, when the company was partly raised, and organized. The offices were all filled, and no reorganization took place after the company was completed. Sam is 18 years of age, 6 feet high, and rather a well-made and good looking boy.
He was two
sessions at Col. Allen's Military school at
offered a situation of Brevet Lieut., if he would consent to be transferred,
and be stationed in
I will not close this communication, without assuring you, that I was gratified at your election to the senate, and at far as I understand, your senatorial action, I entirely approve it. Your advocacy of free trade, I regard not only as a statesman like measure, but indispensable to the wants, and condition of the Country, and I most heartily wish you success. It has been a subject of wonderment to me that it was not proclaimed, at the inauguration, of the Provisional Government of the Confederacy.
I am at this place on business, having recovered from my long indisposition. So far as I can hear amongst the people, you will be sustained in the course which you have taken. You have my sincere wishes, for your success, and happiness.
Very truly your friend
My amanuensis made a mistake and signed my name.
I could have procured any number of recommendations in favor of my son, had I thought it would be deemed necessary. But Col Wm. P. Rogers assured me it was only necessary to address you myself.
Hon. William S. Oldham.
During the recess in the last session of congress, I wrote you a letter, but presume it never reached you. My object in writing to you was to congratulate you upon your course in the senate. Your advocacy of the measure of receiving foreign goods duty free, I regard as a piece of pure statesmanship; and had that measure been adopted at the commencement of the provisional government our situation would have been infinitely better than it now it. It would have been offering an equivalent to those who might risk running the blockade. It was a wise measure and ought now to be adopted. I can perceive nothing but good resulting from the measure, and certainly no harm.
In addition to this, your opposition to the conscript Law, on the ground that Congress had not the power to pass it, argued on your part, that stifling honesty of purpose which distinguishes the statesman from the demagogue and time server. I presume your opposition was not very agreeable to the Administration.
do I hope that you may long continue to represent
There is a
young gentleman of this neighborhood, now a nurse in one of the hospitals in
If it is convenient for you to send me some sketches of the debates in Congress and any other news, I would be much obliged to you.
I am truly your sincere friend,
1 “Hon. Williamson S. Oldham," by
Five Years in
3 Williams, Sam
Houston and the War of
F only was raised in
5 Comprehensive History of Texas, II, 577-8.