By Nicholas Decomps Labadie
Texas Almanac (1859)
A French Canadian physician, Labadie participated in the events before and after the Battle of San Jacinto, leaving what is arguably the most complete account of that historic campaign. On March 11, 1836, he joined the Liberty militia company. On April 6, at the Brazos River campsite near Jared Groce’s Bernardo Plantation, he won appointment as surgeon of the first regiment of regulars. There, he treated soldiers who had succumbed to a wide variety of illnesses. He later fought at San Jacinto as a member of Colonel Sidney Sherman’s regiment. Follow the fighting, he lay down his rifle and tended the wounded. Released from military duties in May 1836, he returned to his home to discover that fellow Texians had plundered most of his worldly possessions. In 1859, he published his reminiscences of the San Jacinto campaign in that year’s edition of the Texas Almanac. Yet, those recollections were to involve him in controversy and bitter litigation. John Forbes, commissary general of the Texas army at San Jacinto, sued Labadie for libel in the district court of Nacogdoches County. That suit dragged on until 1867—at which time, the presiding judge dismissed it. Nowadays, of course, few libraries house copies of the 1859 Texas Almanac. In 1967, James M. Day reprinted Labadie’s article in The Texas Almanac, 1857-1873: A Compendium of Texas History (Waco: Texian Press), but even it has become difficult to locate. Fortunately, Wallace L. McKeehan has included Labadie’s article on his website Sons of De Witt’s Colony, Texas. To access it follow this link.