Part of an old map of the San Jacinto area from the Texas Revolution

Veteran Bio

Texian Location:  Participant

The Kemp Sketch

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REDD, WILLIAM DAVIS -- Born in Georgia. Due to the fact that he arrived in Texas after March 2, 1836, he was on November 1, 1838 issued Second Class Headright Certificate No._____ for one-third of a league of land. As a matter of fact, he came to Texas in April, 1836 with Mirabeau B. Lamar.

Lamar at Harrisburg, April 10, 1836, wrote to his brother J. J. Lamar at Macon, Georgia:

"I leave here in the morning for the army; a dreadful battle is to be fought in three or four days on the Brazos, decisive of the fate of Texas; I shall of course have to be in it. Wm. D. Redd of Columbus is with me..."

That Lamar and Redd were warm friends is indicated by the letters from Redd to Lamar in the Lamar Papers.

Mr. Redd was a member of Captain William H. Smith's cavalry company at San Jacinto, one of the two companies commanded by Lamar. He was, on _____, issued land for having participated in the battle. He did not apply for land due him for his service immediately prior to and after the battle. He was issued Bounty Certificate No. 1641 for 1280 acres of land for having served in the army from September 1, 1836 to December 16, 1837 "having resigned his commission as Colonel."

Mr. Redd retired from the army and returned to his home at Columbus, Georgia where he read law and was admitted to the bar. On February 8, 1838 in a lengthy letter to General Lamar, he stated that he fully intended to return to Texas and if a commission could be secured for him he would re-enter the army.

He also wrote of his love affair and the determination of his and "Sarah's" to be married in spite of the opposition offered by Sarah's father, "Old Mike". Quoting from his letter:

"You have I dare say come to the very flattering conclusion that I have forgotten to return to Texas the rich inheritance of my early adoption, but a few days more will show that it is a point on which me resolution is fixed, and that resolution is inflexable. My proceeding letter has not screned a sylable in the course of my suit with Sarah. You know Old Mike is still as inflexable, and morose as I am ardent and determined..."

"By an unremiting application to books since our last meeting, I was admitted to the practice of law at our last Superior Court after a much stricter examination that I had. anticipated..."

"Should you incidentally meet a suitable situation for myself in the military way, advise me for a re-entrance of the army, but as a private it would be rather repugnant to my inclination..."

The following letter not in the published Lamar Papers was written by Mr. Redd at Columbus, Georgia, March 27, 1838 to General Lamar:

"Dear General
This communication I have an unexpected opportunity of sending by your brother to whom I have just been introduced. He leaves at eight this morning... I have written repeatedly imploring your council. I have not received one line, no not one!

Before I wrote you a detailed account of a conditional matrimonial engagement now under existence with myself and Miss S(arah) C. Perry. I also told you of the unbending opposition of her ungenerous parents. She is to my great discomfiture vaccillating on this matter than under other circumstances I would have her but I yielded. One time she seems willing to oppose her parents' will by consummating this marriage, and at another she pleads eternal fidelity to their dictates... She shall be mine, Genl. A word of advice would be happily received...

.... I shall come on so soon as I receive advise from you. If old Ben Smith has not paid you the amount I requested, call on Lively and... torn

Yours &c
Wm. D. Redd"

P.S.: Since I have written the above Miss Perry Jeter asked that before I sealed this, remember them with much love to you.

Wm. D. Redd"

The Secret Journals of the Senate of the Republic of Texas disclose that President Lamar nominated Redd as a captain of a company for the frontier regiment, January 24, 1839 and that the Senate promptly confirmed the nomination. Captain Redd was in command of Company A of the 1st Regiment of Infantry stationed at San Antonio when the Council House Fight occurred there March 19, 1840 and he participated in this engagement which resulted in seven Texans being killed and eight wounded while the Comanche Indians had thirty-seven killed, and twenty-seven made prisoners.

The following letter not published in the Lamar Papers was written from Columbus, Georgia, October 3, 1840 to General Lamar by Charles A. Redd:

"Genl. Lamar,
Yourself and Lieutenant Lee have been written to in relation to brother William's affairs in Texas, and as yet no answer has been received from either of you... I now sake you as a friend to let me know the situation of brother's estate...

.... Let me know what has become of the horse Shark No. 1, which brother carried from this place to Texas?

Brother had some valuable papers which I wish forwarded to the family (directly to myself or any one of the family) at this place as soon as possible.

Have brother's apparel (and especially his watch) forwarded to me by an early opportunity, and the family wish them not for their value, but as a memorial of himself.

See General, that brother's grave is secured from all interruption? ...

I have the honor to be, with great respect, yours,

Chas. A. Redd."

Colonel Wells and Captain Redd were buried just outside the Catholic Cemetery, San Antonio. Their graves are lost. The cemetery was on the land now known as Milam Square. It received its present name due to the fact that Ben Milam is also buried there.

The incidents leading up to the duel fought by Colonel Redd and Colonel Lysander Wells is described in the published memoirs of Mrs. Mary A. Maverick, who at the age of twenty-two was an eye witness to the "Council House Fight." The following is copied from her book:

"Several incidents occured soon after the fight on the 19th, which together with other incidents much later, I will narrate:

On March 28th between two hundred and fifty and three hundred Comanches under a dashing young chief, Isimanica, cane close to the edge of the town where the main body halted and Chief Isimanica with another warrior rode daringly into the public square and circled around it, then rode some distance down Commerce Street and back, shouting all the while, offering fight and heaping abuse and insults upon the Americans. Isimanica was in full war paint, and almost naked. He stopped longest in Black's saloon, at the north east corner of the square; he shouted defiance, he rose in his stirrups, shook his clenched fist, raved and foamed at the mouth. The citizens, through an interpreter, told him the soldiers were all down the river at Mission San Jose and if he went there Colonel (William S.) Fisher wood give him fight enough.

Isimanica took his braves to San Jose and with fearless daring bantered the soldiers for a fight. colonel Fisher was lying on a sick bed and Captain Redd, the next in rank, was in command. He said to the chief: "We have made a twelve day truce with your people in order to exchange prisoners. My country's honor is pledged, as well as my own, to keep the truce, and I will not break it. Remain here three days or return in three days and the truce will be over. We burn to fight you." Isimanica called him liar, coward and other opprobrious names, and hung around for sometime, but at last the Indians left and did not return. Captain Redd remained. calm and unmoved, but his men could with the greatest difficulty be restrained and in fact some of them were ordered into the Mission church and the door guarded.

When Captain Lysander Wells, a non-commissioned officer, who was in town, heard of it, he wrote Captain Redd an insulting letter in which he called him a 'dastardly coward,' and alluded to a certain 'petticoat government' under which he intimated the Captain was restrained. This allusion had reference to a young woman who, dressed in boy's apparel, had followed Redd from Georgia and was now living with him. This letter of Well's was signed, much to their shame, by several others in San Antonio. About this time Colonel Fisher removed his entire force of three companies to the Alamo in San Antonio; Redd challenged Wells to mortal combat, and one morning at six o'clock they met where Ursuline Convent now stands. Redd said: 'I aim for your heart', and Wells answered: 'And I for your brains.' They fired. Redd sprang high into the air and fell dead with a bullett in his brain. Wells was shot near the heart, but lived two weeks, in great torture, begging every one near him to dispatch him, or furnish him with a pistol that he might kill himself and end his agony; Dr. (Edward) Weidman nursed him tenderly. In Captain Redd's pocket was found a marriage license and certificate showing that he was wedded to the girl before mentioned -- also letters to members of his own and her families, speaking of her in the tenderest manner, and asking then to protect and provide for her. She was heartbroken and went to his funeral in black --and soon returned to her family.

These men were both brave and tried soldiers! What a sad ending to their young and promising lives, and that too, when cruel and relentless savages daily committed atrocities about us"

Written by Louis W. Kemp, between 1930 and 1952. Please note that typographical and factual errors have not been corrected from the original sketches. The biographies have been scanned from the original typescripts, a process that sometimes allows for mistakes in the new text. Researchers should verify the accuracy of the texts' contents through other sources before quoting in publications. Additional information on the veteran may be available in the Herzstein Library.

Battle Statistics

  • Died in Battle: No
  • Rank: Private
  • Company: Capt. William H. Smith

Personal Statistics

  • Date of Birth: 1810?
  • Birthplace: Georgia
  • Origin: Georgia, Columbus
  • Came to Texas: 1836 Apr
  • Date of Death: 1840 May 7
  • Burial Place: outside Catholic Cemetery, San Antonio, Texas
  • Comments: Friend of Mirabeau Lamar; killed in duel w/ Lysander Wells
  • Donation Certificate: 305
  • Wife: Sarah C. Perry