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belonging to himself and Hill.  They are trying to take them up Red River.[14]  Hill's address will be Alexandria, La.

Here I found my sorrell horse -- in the hands of the press gang.  I knew him by moonlight, and took possession of him.

Sunday, April 24, 1836

At Ballous'.  Owing to the crowd of families now here, we could not conveniently cross the ferry today; bargained for flats to take us over in the morning.  Catlett's horse was missing this morning; hunted him all day unsuccessfully; concluded he was stolen; offered him the use of mine, as I had to take both along with me.

This is one of Lafitte's old stations.  Ballou is said to have been one of his confederates, likewise old Shote, at the Pine Islands.  Here stands an old shed, part of the shelter constructed for the African Negroes that he used to bring here.  It is now a shelter for cows.

We kept guard all night for the protection of our horses from the press gang, each man standing one hour.  About 1 o'clock in the morning Rains came riding up with the intelligence that Houston had had a battle with the Mexicans on the 21st, at Harrisburg; killed 500 and took all the rest, 650, prisoners.  Almonte prisoner, Cos killed, Houston wounded.  The letter was written with a pencil, signed John Reed, and addressed to Major Caldwell.  I do not fully believe it, but others do.  It is likely there has been a battle and a victory, but the result is too much wholesale.

Monday, April 25, 1836

Left Ballou's at half past 7 o'clock; $1.25, ferry $1.00, Dobie 50 cents.  Went down the river about one mile, turned the lower point of the island, and ferried up on the other side four miles; landed on the east side of the river; happy to find ourselves once more on Uncle Sam's land, and under the protection of his laws.

The island belongs to the United States, as the jurisdiction of the United States extends to the western bank of the Sabine.  It is said to be forty miles long, low and marshy, the trees hanging over into the water.  Every place on the low banks on the American side, where dry land could be found, was covered with fugitives, who were eager to hear news, and received the account of the victory with exclamations of joy.

Four miles from the Sabine, stopt at the house of Jas. Lyons, and dined.  Decent people.  Mrs. Lyons a very pretty woman.  Sixteen miles further brought us to Hardy Cowherd's, where we stopt and slept.  Mr. Cowherd is from North Carolina; he has a very fine plantation in the midst of a poor country.  A good

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The Diary of William Fairfax Gray, from Virginia to Texas, 1835-1837
Copyright 1997 William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas