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Doc. 197.-Major Sprague's letter.

San Antonio, Texas, April 24, 1861.
Dear Sir:--Since my last letter events have culminated here so rapidly it is impossible for me to narrate them in detail. To myself, the most important event is my arrest as a prisoner of war. The decided measures adopted in Washington towards the Confederate States alarmed the authorities at Montgomery, when orders were transmitted to arrest and disarm the United States troops en route out of Texas, under the agreement made by Gen. Twiggs, and to arrest the United States officers on duty in San Antonio, “as prisoners of war.” The sacred engagement made by Texas that the [283] entire command serving in that State should pass out unmolested has been disregarded, and Texas, through her recently acknowledged government, has participated in this most graceless act. Fifteen officers have been arrested and marched through, the streets of San Antonia, surrounded by a guard of Texas volunteers. Most of these officers have served from five to ten years protecting the frontier. When coming into the seceding States, in February last, on my way to New Mexico, I had serious apprehensions of the present result, and endeavored by timely application to the proper authorities to avoid it, but was unsuccessful, and here I am, “a prisoner of war.” If taken in conflict, or in any honorable mode of warfare, I would not grumble; but to be crushed in this manner, a victim to the treachery of others, is more than man can bear. I have served for twenty-two years under our flag, and seen it go up and down with the rising and setting sun, and have witnessed its blessings; with a proud heart, in all parts of our country. To this Union I am devoted, and though for a time my sword nay rest in its scabbard, yet my tongue, heart, intellect, and pen shall be devoted to an eternal warfare against those who, with vindictive spleen and pretended wrongs, would destroy this Government, under which we have lived and prospered so many years.

Political parties and questions are now at an end; the negro has gone under, neck and heels, and it becomes every man who cherishes his home to stand by the Union. We have paroles offered obligating us not to bear arms during what they, the enemy, call the war, unless exchanged, or to remain close prisoners of war. All communication with the States, by mail or otherwise, is cut off, and the entire country is under the control of ranging volunteers. The officers and men, though removed from all connection with the Government, and entreated by the agents of the Confederate States to join their cause, with the prospect of increased rank and pay, have remained true to their colors, in the firm conviction in the ability and patriotism of the people to redress our wrongs. Shall we remain here as prisoners, or take a parole and trust to luck? That is the question.

I give you a few of the heavy items received by the last mail from New Orleans, which are certainly not encouraging to prisoners of war in a foreign land, viz.: President Lincoln fled from Washington; Gen. Scott resigned and joined the Confederate States; Tennessee, Kentucky, Maryland, and Virginia out of the Union; the Seventh New York Regiment cut up en route through Baltimore for Washington; fifty thousand men from the South surrounding Washington, and the women and children notified to leave; Gosport navy-yard taken by Virginia after a sharp conflict-forty Union men killed. How true the foregoing is we are yet to learn, doubtful if we ever know the truth if depending upon the newspapers received here. It is thus that the citizens of this section are taught to believe that the Government of the United States is at an end. I send this by a friend, who will put it in the first reliable post-office--probably St. Louis.

Another item has just come to hand through the stage way-bill from Indianola, on the coast, one hundred and fifty miles distant. The Star of the West, awaiting the arrival of the United States troops to embark to New York, has been stolen by the Secessionists, and the troops under Major Sibley, while on board lighters off the bar, have been surrounded by two armed steamers from New Orleans containing six hundred men, with artillery, and made prisoners of war. The officers and men, it is said, have taken paroles. Here again the attempt was made to seduce them from their colors by rank and pay, but without success. It is thus events accumulate around us, sad and disastrous indeed, but our faith is firm. We may be discouraged, treated with indignity, our Government derided, even our allegiance, under these disasters, ridiculed; still there is an unwavering fidelity to our Union among the officers and soldiers of the army in this quarter which cannot be questioned nor surpassed. It looks rather dark at present, but daylight is breaking, even in this remote and foreign land. I never thought the time would come when I should be a stranger among my own country-men. I fear there is a worm planted within our bosoms that will never die.

As ever, truly yours,

--National Intelligencer, May 27.

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