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Image Courtesy, Wade Dillon Illustrations

If I Should Fall in Battle

In the fall of 1835, young John C. Logan left his home in Louisville, Kentucky and made his way south with a group of other adventurous men to join the fight for Texas independence. Along the way Logan wrote home sharing his thoughts and whereabouts, being especially attentive to distances traveled. Astounding to me is what he does not mention; how difficult it is to get there.

Our understanding of early 19th century American frontier soldiering and its hazards comes from reading books, watching movies, listening to lectures, and visiting historic places. These days of traveling in relative ease and comfort can numb us to the everyday misery Logan endured long before the fighting begins.

Logan writes nothing of the hardships, only his hopes and dreams. That moment would come in a letter* from Goliad, dated February 23, 1836, the last words he would ever write.

(*) This letter was posted on Historify.co in May of 2022. If you would like a copy, please message me below.

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Transcript

Washington Texas, 19 December, 1835

Dear Cousins,

Iagain take this opportunity of writing a few lines to you to let you know that I am still in the land of the living and in good health, and I sincerely hope that these few lines may find you and all your father’s family and all my relations in the same.

I have now traveled on foot 305 miles and its 200 miles distant yet to Fort San Antonio at Bejar. Last evening an express arrived here that the last manned fort has fallen in to our hands but I am sorry to say that our commander Colonel Milam and 5 privates has been killed in taken the last fort and it is expected that our next atack shall be on Matamoras near the mouth of the Rio Grande River and 200 miles distance from San Antonio.

Where we are now is a new town on the River Brazos and will be before long a place of some business. We leave here this evening and in 10 days expect to be at San Antonio. Since we crossed the river Trinity 70 miles back we have traveled over one of the fines Country I have ever seen.

If I live to see the liberty of this Country, it shall be some considerable length of time before I shall visit the United States again, and if I should fall in battle, there is seven hundred & 40 acres of land coming to me in this Country which I leave to you if you if think it worth your while to attend to it. For the law says if any person falls in battle that his relations can have his bounty of land and his monthly wages for the time he has served the Country, but I expect to see old Kentucky yet.

Please give my best respects to all your fathers family & all my relations. Give my best respects to Arnot Phillips.

No more at present but remains your affectionate cousin,

JC Logan

To Lewis & Nancy Zearing, Brownsboro, Oldham County, KY
P.S. When you write to me, direct [it] to, San Felipe de Austin, JC Logan,
of the Louisville Volunteers

Citation
Court of Claims File for John C. Logan, 17 August 1858, Court of Claims 004975, Records of the Court of Claims, Archives and Records Program, Texas General Land Office, Austin, TX

Why Historify?

I discovered the power of story as a history teacher, and the singular privilege of working at a Texas state archive filled with letters penned by common people whose thoughts, attitudes, and experiences reflect the times in which they lived.

Their stories are the heartbeat of history that give life to memory, and these letters are everywhere, in private collections, libraries, archives, and museums across the country, waiting to be discovered by an interested public.
This simple website was created as a free, uncomplicated, and time-saving introduction to the richness and value of historical sources, and as impetus for readers to explore history on their own.

Please join me as we study the past through the words of those who lived it, one life at a time, and thank you for being here.

Buck

Why Historify?

I discovered the power of story as a history teacher, and the singular privilege of working at a Texas state archive filled with letters penned by common people whose thoughts, attitudes, and experiences reflect the times in which they lived.

Their stories are the heartbeat of history that give life to memory, and these letters are everywhere, in private collections, libraries, archives, and museums across the country, waiting to be discovered by an interested public.
This simple website was created as a free, uncomplicated, and time-saving introduction to the richness and value of historical sources, and as impetus for readers to explore history on their own.

Please join me as we study the past through the words of those who lived it, one life at a time, and thank you for being here.

Buck

Comments are welcome