More Twiggs’ Surrender history:

The secessionist committee of Public Safety both negotiated and prepared for violence:

A group of commissioners tried to convince General Twiggs to give up the arsenal. At the same time, they commissioned frontier hero Ben McCulloch a Colonel of Cavalry and had him raise a secessionist militia force.

Brevet Major-General David E. Twiggs

General Twiggs was a Georgian and a southern sympathizer, but his duty was clearly to retain all Federal property, and he was a professional officer who had served since the War of 1812. He also did not want to be the man to fire the first shot in a civil war. He reported the situation and asked Washington for guidance, but got none from the lame-duck Buchanan administration.

Eventually the commissioners decided General Twiggs would never give them what they desired by negotiation. They commanded Ben McCulloch to seize the San Antonio garrison.

Before dawn on Feb. 16th, about 1,000 Texan militia entered San Antonio and united with secessionist militia companies from the city. They surrounded the three garrison installations, which contained about 200 U.S. soldiers. A detail went to Twiggs’ house outside town and intercepted him as he drove his buggy to work. They stuck him up with a shotgun and brought him to the Plaza. Ben McCulloch demanded Twiggs surrender the garrison, and at first he refused. Finally he surrendered the installations in San Antonio and agreed in writing to evacuate all the forts in Texas, with the conditions that his troops would be allowed to take their individual weapons and light artillery to the coast near Corpus Christi, and then take ships to the North.

This silk flag, belonging to one of the militia companies, was hoisted over the Alamo. Funds to preserve it were all raised at past Twiggs events, and it has been restored and is displayed in the Alamo offices.  The flag is in the hands of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, who are in charge of the Alamo. Its original colors have faded.

 The commissioners of the Committee of Public Safety gained the arsenals and border forts, with many cannon, muskets, pistols, etc. and also all the logistical support of an army. Much of this material was later to be used by the ill-fated Sibley Expedition, an attempt to take Arizona and New Mexico for the Confederacy.

The U.S. soldiers in San Antonio marched out to the edge of town and spent two days at San Pedro Springs (now San Pedro park, west of San Antonio College and north of VIA Metropolitan Transit). Then they marched to the coast, to be joined by the far-flung garrisons as messengers carried the surrender order. Many of them served in the Civil War. However the evacuation of other garrisons took months. (It is 550 miles from Ft. Bliss in El Paso to San Antonio: Imagine doing that on foot!) Meanwhile the Confederacy was formed, and the confederate government sent Major Earl Van Dorn with an armed ship to capture the evacuating troops, in contravention of the Texas surrender agreement. Those who had not embarked were taken prisoner and spent the Civil War in a prison camp near Tyler, Texas.

General Twiggs was accused of treachery and fired. He joined the Confederate service, but died within six months without having taken an active part in the Civil War.

Ben McCulloch rose to Major-General and division commander, and was killed in action at the battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, in March 1862.

Earl Van Dorn commanded the Confederates at Pea Ridge, and blamed his subordinates for the defeat there. His army was then transferred east of the Mississippi, arriving too late for the battle of Shiloh. He went on to command in the unsuccessful and bloody Confederate attempt to retake Corinth in October 1862 (which we reenacted in 2005). Van Dorn was shot by a jealous husband in 1863.

Governor Sam Houston was deposed after he refused to swear allegiance to a secessionist government. He died during the war.