For Texas and Freedom (2) (e)
In this second of three stories in his series about the westward growth of the United States, E. H. Staffelbach picks up the tale of Pierre Garonne as he and his friends enter the fight to wrest Texas from the threat of a Mexican takeover by the dictator Santa Anna. Though born in New Orleans of French aristocratic heritage, Pierre has been living in France on recently restored family estates. Unexpectedly, he and Buckeye, his Delaware “brother,” find themselves making a hasty departure for America—yet Pierre is pleased with the opportunity to renew his allegiance to the land of his birth. Charged by President Andrew Jackson with messages for General Sam Houston, the beleaguered commander of the American forces in Texas, Pierre and Buckeye eagerly set forth. Their journey from Washington, by river and trail, is fraught with danger from Santa Anna’s spies. Along the way two orphans join Pierre: a young wagon trail pioneer, Jed Hawk, and Juan, whose father has been shot and scalped by “El Tigre,” the feared Mexican bandit in the pay of Santa Anna.
As Buckeye heads west towards the Tetons, carrying letters to the winter camp of Oak, Hiram, Henry and Guess, Pierre and Jed plunge into the midst of the confusion and frustration of the effort to pull together forces to face Santa Anna. After serving as scouts for the brave handful of men besieged in San Antonio’s Alamo Mission, but sent away before its famous battle, the young men are charged by General Houston to scout behind the Mexican troops’ lines. The suspense of the story increases as Pierre, Jed and Juan penetrate deeper into the territory held by Santa Anna, until finally Pierre is kidnapped by El Tigre’s band: how will he manage to escape in time to inform Houston of Santa Anna’s alarmingly clever battle plans? The tale concludes with the decisive Battle of San Jacinto. Narrated in Staffelbach’s vivid style, the story brings alive an important part of American history, the struggle between tyranny and democracy.
Original Book: 271 pages