Fear, Force, and Leather: The Texas Prison System&rsquot;s First Hundred Years 1848-1948

John S. Besser on his confrontation with Texas State Troops, December 8, 1863

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John S. Besser, December 1863

On Monday the 5th inst a Mr. Parker who
I understand was a Private in Capt. Dickerman’s
Co. of 2d Cavalry regt State Troops—with a
Thomas E. Pelham, came to my office in Huntsville
Texas—desiring to get some Penitentiary goods to
make some thirty pants for said Regt.

I informed them that I could not let them have
it. That the Chief Quarter Master of the State
Troops[,] Captain E.W. Taylor at Houston[,] had
requisition on file in the office, approved
by Major Genl Magruder, also by the Executive
for over 117,000 yds. for the purpose of meeting
their needs, that if they would see him, there
was no doubt but they would be furnished,
or, if they would get a requisition from
him on me for the goods, it would afford
me pleasure to furnish them. They left
apparently satisfied. On the next morning
they returned—urging the necessity for the
goods[.] I to them—that I gave them
all the information in my power on the
subject, on the previous day[.] They then left.
About 4 P.M. they returned. Said Parker
did, with a person I understood afterward
was the Quarter Master (whose name I
did not get—But Mr. James Sorley of
Houston has) with a portion of the Reg’t—
variously estimated at from 100 to 250—to
take the goods by force.

I immediately seized a musket, and went

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John S. Besser on his confrontation with Texas State Troops, December 8, 1863. Correspondence Concerning the Penitentiary, Records Relating to the Penitentiary, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Page last modified: August 17, 2011