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[69]

Col. John S. Ford discharged the State troops that had gone in the expedition on the lower Rio Grande in 1861, when their term of service expired, and was relieved by Colonel Luckett and his command, who remained for some time at Fort Brown. Colonel Ford was ordered to San Antonio by General Bee in May, 1862, and by his suggestion was placed on conscript duty at Austin, and there organized his command for the discharge of that duty, with Capt. Wm. E. Walsh, Henry Trask, lieutenant and adjutant; Wm. Stowe, quartermaster and commissary; and Dr. Rogers, surgeon. A camp of conscription was located near Tyler with Lieut. Willie Thomas in command, aided by Lieutenant Broker. Similar camps were established in different parts of the State from time to time. Their purpose was to hunt out persons liable to military duty that did not volunteer, and send them into some regiment. That fact itself caused many to volunteer, to escape arrest by the conscript force. There is now no means of telling the number and location of those camps and the operations performed by them, further than that it is known they were continued during the war.

Before the discharge of the State troops that were under command of Colonel Ford on the lower Rio Grande, other troops were sent there that were in the Confederate service, who occupied different posts in 1862 and 1863, and subsequently in what was called the Western subdis-trict, which extended from a line due south from San Antonio to the Rio Grande, and from its mouth up to Laredo. It was important to have the posts on the Gulf protected, as well as to have the posts on the Rio Grande garrisoned, to facilitate the trade across that river into Mexico, for the export of cotton, and the purchase of arms and munitions of war and commodities for the use of families in Texas.

The forces in the Western sub-district were distributed as follows in 1862:

Capt. L. C. Pyron, two cavalry companies at Columbus.

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