The Lost Gettysburg Address

The Lost Gettysburg Address by David T. Dixon

Book: The Lost Gettysburg Address by David T. Dixon Read Free Book Online
Authors: David T. Dixon
Tags: History
he became not just a national
figure but also a potential tool of the Lincoln administration. 2

CHAPTER EIGHT

Treachery and Treason
     
    C HARLES ANDERSON’S TEXAS EXPERIMENT WAS an abject
failure. “I am dead broke,” he complained toRufus King on
December 7. Since his bank account was overdrawn, Anderson
resolved to sell his cattle, lay off two of his vaqueros, and halt
construction on his house. The political crisis made loans almost
impossible to procure. Without a circle of wealthy friends to support him,
Anderson had few options. He begged King to get him two
thousand dollars on a twelve-month term, even if it meant mortgaging his
Dayton, Ohio, property. He owed fifteen hundred dollars on the
former arsenal property and his creditors were not inclined to wait. On
the political front, the excitement of the past month had died down.
What emerged was an interesting political alignment. The
non-slave-holders were pushing for secession, according to Anderson, while 70
percent of slaveholders supported the Union. Anderson hoped that
the Union could be saved. He could not imagine the depth of the
conspiracy in motion against it. 1
    The Knights of the Golden Circle (KGC) were already known to
Anderson when he gave his speech in Alamo Square. Founder GeorgeBickley lived in Cincinnati until he was chased out in the late 1850s.
As Anderson gazed down from the stage on the night of the Alamo
meeting, he saw blue cockade badges adorning numerous hats and
lapels. The Knights had organized in the mid-1850s as a secret
society promoting slave states in Mexico, Central America, and the
Caribbean. Members wanted U.S. slaveholding states to secede, join
these new territories, and form a new nation. The KGC proved to be
the match that lit the fire of Texas secession. San Antonio became the
headquarters for Knights of the Golden Circle activities in Texas by
1859, and every substantial town had a branch called a “castle.” U.S.
military experts claimed that the Knights could call up more than
eight thousand men on a few days’ notice. Their discipline was said
to be stricter than that of the legitimate army. Most of the key players
guiding the Texas secession drama were members or had close
connections with the covert militia. 2
    The town was also the headquarters of the U.S. Army’s Department
of Texas. In command wasLieutenant Colonel Robert E. Lee of the
First Cavalry. One of the most respected and accomplished officers
in the entire army, Lee was fresh off his capture ofJohn Brown’s
gang at Harpers Ferry when he was assigned to this new command
in February 1860. Lee and Charles Anderson were intimate friends.
Robert Anderson and Colonel Lee were the great favorites of GeneralWinfield Scott, for whom they served with distinction in the Mexican
War. Lee made frequent trips to the Anderson residence north of San
Antonio to attend dances and hunting parties. Officers in the San
Antonio garrison lived in private residences and had ample time for
leisure pursuits. Most socialized with the large circle of Union men
and their families, and there were balls and parties almost every
evening.Anderson’s handsome daughter Kitty danced with Lee
and other officers, but her heart was stolen by twenty-four-year-oldLieutenant William Graham Jones. After a brief courtship, the two
were engaged. 3
    Two opposing forces, one a formal army and the other a nascent
rebel militia, watched and plotted as developments on the national
scene evolved. The KGC plot was already in motion. Unbeknownst to
Lee or Anderson,Major General David E. Twiggs had already played
his first card the day after Lincoln’s election. Georgia native Twiggs
was on leave from his former command of the Department of Texas
and convalescing in New Orleans when he heard the electoral news.
Despite his poor health, Twiggs wrote immediately for orders and
was directed to resume command in San Antonio. He arrived back in
Texas on November 27, just three days after the Alamo meeting.

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