Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/283

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Colonel Theodore O'Hara. 277

best friends General Cass, who is the greatest statesman in the

world, and Mr. W , who is the poorest." Mr. W. saw the point

at once, and joined in the merriment it occasioned. On the march to Texas he had a negro woman for a cook, who was sometimes very free in her criticisms, affording great amusement to her listeners, and no one could help hearing her, as her cooking place was only a short distance off.

Captain Charles E. Travis, son of William B. Travis, the hero of the Alamo, in Texas, was also a captain in the regiment, and was tried at Fort Mason for something which occurred at Jefferson Bar- racks. O'Hara was an important witness at this trial, While at Fort Mason a fight occurred with some Indians, who had murdered a white man and a negro boy on the Cibolo, which gave O'Hara great pleasure, and under date of April 2, 1856, he wrote to B. Gratz Brown, then editing the St. Louis Democrat, as follows :

"The captain charged up the hill, and a volley from his carbines was the first notification to the savages that their avenger of their late barbarities was near. The Indians, completely surprised and panic- struck by the suddenness and fury of the assault, offered but little resistance. They fled in all directions, leaving several dead, and their camp and all their property behind. Captain Brackett pur- sued them in every direction with his men as long as he could track them, and doubtless many more were wounded and perhaps killed. The camp which Captain Brackett captured was quite an argosy of valuable property which those Indians had robbed from the whites, as well as of the various things which constitute the legitimate pro- perty of the savages in the way of arms, implements, ornaments, etc. Captain Brackett returned to Fort Mason loaded down with the spoils and trophies of victory, and has no doubt received, as he well deserved, abundant congratulations and applause for having so handsomely performed one of the most successful and brilliant ex- ploits which the annals of our border warfare with the savages record."

This letter is given as a specimen of O'Hara's style, and because very few letters of his are known to exist. He was a clear writer, and expressed his views well on all subjects. It is strange there are so few of his letters, as he wrote a great deal at one time or another, but seems to have treasured up nothing. He was contented while in the army with doing his duty well, and cared more for that than anything else. He was a natural writer, and had been an editor, or