Today in History:

11 Series I Volume IV- Serial 4 - Operations in the South and West

Page 11(Official Records Volume 4)


Lynde said: "Colonel Baylor, to avoid bloodshed, I conditionally surrender this whole force to you, on condition that offices and their families shall be protected from insult and private property be respected." nearly every officer protested earnestly, and even violently, against this base surrender; but Major Lynde said: "I am commander of these forces, and I take upon my shoulders the responsibility of my action in the matter." The altercation by Major Lynde's subordinates became so violent that Colonel Baylor asked who was commander of that force and responsible for their action, when Major Lynde again repeated as above. The adjutant then read aloud, by Major Lynde's order, the terms of the surrender as made by him, when I insisted that the officers and men should be allowed to select any route they might choose in leaving the country, and this was readily granted.

We remained where we were during the night, suffering greatly for want of water. The next day we marched to Las Cruces, on the Rio Grande, 20 miles distant. The following day (the 29th) all the public property in our charge was turned over to the rebel forces. On the 1st of August the oath was administered to all the men and officers.

Numbers 4. Report and statement of Asst. Surg. J. Cooper McKee, U. S. Army.

ALBUQUERQUE, N. MEX., August 16, 1861.

SIR: I hereby inclose, through you, tot he honorable Secretary of War, my parole of honor, given at Las Cruces, N. Mex., to the commanding officer of the Texas troops, after the base surrender of our forces by Major Lynde, of the Seventh U. S. Infantry (on the 27th July, 1861).

I also inclose a copy of an order to destroy my property. I made the destruction as complete as possible without the aid of fire. This I was forbidden to use. I am unable to make out any return of my property,a s in the confusion my retained copy of last year's return was lost. I will be under the necessity of waiting until my arrival in Washington.

I also report that my hospital steward, Charles E. Filtzwilliams, chose to remain with the Texans as a prisoner of war. All paroled troops, officers and men, are ordered to Fort Union, preparatory to leaving for Fort Leavenworth, Kans.

I would be under deep obligations tot he Surgeon-General if he would have me exchanged immediately, as I am anxious to be again in active service.

I am unable to express to you the deep grief, mortification, and pain I, with the other officers, have endured from this cowardly surrender of a brave and true command to an inferior force of the enemy, without having one word to say of firing a single shot. I, among other officers, entered my solemn protest against the surrender, but we were peremptorily told by Major Lynde that he was the commanding officer. To see old soldiers and strong men weep like children, men who had faced the battle's storm in the Mexican war, is a sight that I hope I may never again be present at. A braver or truer command could not be found than that which has in this case been made the victim of cowardice and imbecility.

The number of women in this command should receive the rigid scrutiny of the War Department, as five officers had their wives and