The Settling Doom
ON JANUARY 6, 1836, Col. James C. Neill, in command of the Texan forces at San Antonio, wrote a letter to Governor Henry Smith and the General Council that was to split them and their adherents into warring camps and to affect directly the already desperate military situation. He described with stark realism the military plight of the garrison: the need for 100, or even 200, more soldiers than the 104 stationed there; their ragged and destitute condition; the need for medical supplies; and, above all, the lack of money. Two hundred men who had volunteered to protect the town had already deserted. He could not guarantee more would not follow unless they, the Governor and the Council, would "ameliorate our condition."
Governor Smith received the Neill letter on January 9. The subsequent events have been related elsewhere in this book: how he excoriated the General Council and blamed it for the state of military unpreparedness; how the insulted Council impeached him and recognized the Lieutenant Governor in his place; and how they succeeded in stripping him of much of his power. As Reuben M. Potter put it, Governor and General Council
...repudiated each other, and each claimed the obedience which was generally not given to either. Invasion was impending, and there seemed to be little more than anarchy to meet it.1
On January 14 Colonel Neill wrote Sam Houston for the third time about the same matters he had dealt with in his letter of the 6th to the Governor, protesting that
Fourteen days has expired since I commenced informing my superior officers of my situation, and not even an item of news have I received from any quarters.2