Page:Notes of the Mexican war 1846-47-48.djvu/188

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

Directly over the great moat, fronting these cells or arches, at a distance of sixty feet, is an interior range of square buildings two stories high, in which the officers and soldiers of the garrison are quartered; also, in many cases their wives and families live in this castle. The inner range is the centre court, or plaza, five hundred feet square, well paved, and used for military drills, parades, and executions if there is any. In fact, the castle is almost a town by itself, and originally cost Spain many years of hard labor, and besides many millions of dollars to build it to its perfection.

In this very castle our present gallant Capt. Samuel H. Walker, and many other distinguished Texas Rangers, captured by Gen. Santa Anna, and marched hundreds of miles, receiving treatment which killed several of their comrades on the way, were imprisoned in one of these cold, dark and dismal cells of these dens of a tyrant.

They were not only imprisoned, as prisoners of war should be treated, but loaded down with irons, and degraded to the lowest menial employment, with a chain weighing twenty pounds, and only some three or four feet in length, linked by the ankle to one of their companions in misery.

They were compelled, with others, to remove the filth and offal from the castle every morning in hand-barrows, and after that work was done they had to pack in stones and sand to repave the fortification for a distance of something like a mile, being all the time closely and well guarded by a file of Mexican soldiers on either side of the gang, and treated with indignity and abuse.

At 6 o'clock, p.m., they were all locked up in their dark cells, there to remain until 6 o'clock in the morning, passing the night without beds, only the cold flag-stone floor, with no covering but worn-out, filthy and ragged clothing and a few miserable blankets which they had among themselves when captured.

Thus, they have passed many restless nights of misery; sometimes caused by cold, rheumatism, cramps, colic, and all such-like sufferings of the companions to whom they were chained to.