The Search for Champ d'Asile
[End Page 198]
One of the enduring mysteries of Texas history is the location of the short-lived French colony Champ d'Asile (meaning "Field of Refuge"). Founded in the spring of 1818 on the east bank of the Trinity River by exiled Napoleonic soldiers, it was abandoned after only four or five months when word came that Spanish troops, under Captain Juan de Castañeda, had set out from San Antonio to destroy it. Fortunately, one of Castañeda's engineers drew a detailed map of the settlement prior to its destruction. His troops spent two days in late October 1818 burning it to the ground.1
Although La Salle had first hoisted France's flag more than a century and half earlier in what one day would become Texas, this second French incursion came at a critical time in a tension-filled location. Spain claimed the area, but there was also uncertainty about whether the Louisiana Purchase had placed it within United States boundaries. Champ d'Asile thus quickly became a complicating development that highlighted a number of troublesome issues. French historian Inès Murat accurately described it as "a no-man's land . . . where diplomats and strategists were engaged in the historical process of ideological and economic conflict."2 [End Page 199]
Creating what has been described as "international consternation," involving even the president of the United States, this settlement of exiles began as quite an adventure. After the fall of Napoleon in 1815, several of his followers, facing treason charges in France, immigrated to the United States. Having received a land grant in Alabama from a sympathetic U.S. Congress, they established the Society for the Cultivation of the Vine and Olive. When this agricultural venture failed, one of Napoleon's most favored generals, Charles Lallemand, planned a new colony and met with a group of French exiles in Galveston, some of whom had arrived by ship from Philadelphia. In May 1818, in several boats supplied by the privateer Jean Lafitte who was operating out of Galveston at that time, they spent two days crossing a stormy Galveston Bay to the mouth of the Trinity River. There they split into two groups. One contingent, led by Lafitte's men, went upriver in boats, while the other, following Lallemand, walked up the east bank of the river on a trek that took six days.3
Lallemand's purposes have long been debated. Some historians believe that his goal was to enlarge the settlement's numbers, invade Mexico, and place Napoleon's brother Joseph on the throne. Others speculate that he wanted to slip into Mexico and raid some of its northern silver mines. Several have even suggested that he hoped to raise a force large enough to rescue Napoleon from exile. However, Lallemand repeatedly insisted that he and his followers simply wanted to establish a place where they could live in peace. As he stated: "We war against no one and harbor no hostile intentions. We ask peace and friendship of all those who live around us . . . We respect the religion, laws and customs of civilized countries . . . We want to live in freedom, hard work, and peace. We shall make ourselves useful where we can and return good for good."4
Regardless of Lallemand's actual intent, his bold venture into a region vigorously claimed by both the United States and Spain was highly celebrated in France. Champ d'Asile was portrayed as a beautiful, bucolic place. Songs and poems were composed, books written, and paintings rendered with fanciful descriptions of life in this idyllic environment. Some even portrayed palm trees and scenic mountains in Southeast Texas. [End Page 200] French citizens were regaled with stories of glorious adventures in this romantic setting.5
The reality, however, did not match the picturesque images. According to the Spanish engineer's drawing, at least twenty-five rough-hewn wooden structures were built not far from the river's east bank to accommodate a population of approximately two hundred men. The colony began in the spring and continued into summertime in hot, humid Southeast Texas, with alligators in the Trinity and swarms of mosquitoes. Also, while nearby Coushatta tribes were peaceful and helpful, other less friendly Native Americans roamed the area. Making matters worse, these soldiers, much like their predecessors in Alabama, were not farmers. They knew little about raising crops and for survival had to depend primarily on what they could kill or catch in the river. With hopes of increasing their numbers growing dimmer and with word that Spanish troops were on the way, they gathered their belongings, climbed into waiting canoes and returned down the Trinity River to Galveston, where a disastrous hurricane swamped the island. From there these downtrodden survivors scattered. Some set out for Alexandria, Louisiana, some for Nacogdoches, while many struggled to get to New Orleans and eventually returned to France.6
Thus ended Champ d'Asile, but not the search for the location of this quixotic venture. Years of speculation and debate about the site of Champ d'Asile have focused on several areas of the river consistent with the described high ground, especially two Texas river towns: Liberty and Moss Bluff. In 2002, a group of avocational archeologists and several members of the Houston Archeological Society, including longtime stewards selected by the Texas Historical Commission, formed a team to begin a renewed search. Within a short time the Texas Historical Commission would become directly involved. That assistance continues today, fourteen years later.7 [End Page 201]
After examining a number of riverbank possibilities and conducting several futile ground searches in the Moss Bluff area, a few miles south of Liberty, the team focused on a Liberty site long thought to be the location. For instance, in 1937, the Texas Centennial Marker Committee placed a Champ d'Asile monument on Highway 90 in Liberty on the east bank of the Trinity River. Local historians and descendants of early Liberty families who had passed down to them the exciting story of Napoleonic soldiers having come to their future town site had long believed this to be the location of Champ d'Asile. To commemorate this historic place, a delegation came from France to participate in the marker dedication.8
Although definitive archeological proof has not yet been established because of the changing course of the river and the creation of a lake at the site, a strong "preponderance of evidence" case can be made that this was the location. Archival, geographical, site selection, as well as archeological evidence point to Liberty. The most compelling archival evidence is found in the journal and daily log recorded by Captain Castañeda on his journey to find the fort. Having set out from San Antonio with his troops on September 16, 1818, he reached the Trinity River on October 9. Before crossing, he dispatched several envoys to Atascosito, a small Spanish outpost across the river (widely agreed to be near present-day Liberty) to see if the settlement was there or nearby. Two days later, having received no response from his envoys, Castañeda led his weary troops across the river. He wrote that "at dawn" the next morning, October 12, "I began the march anew" and "at 8 in the morning I arrived at Atascosito" where he found no sign of the settlement. Castañeda then continued an eastward march and "after traveling a short while" encountered three of his scouts who reported that they had found the abandoned Champ d'Asile and had spent the previous night there.9
This is significant. Castañeda said that only "a short while" after leaving Atascosito that morning, he encountered his scouts who had just come from Champ d'Asile which, according to that time frame, would not have been far from Atascosito. This would place the settlement near Liberty. They reported that they had followed a "well worn" footpath "six or seven [End Page 202] leagues" down to the "lagunas" (small lakes) near current Wallisville, Texas. This six or seven leagues, approximately eighteen miles, is the distance from the lakes to Liberty.10
While the Spanish searched from the west, far to the east in Washington, D.C., even the president of the United States became involved with locating Champ d'Asile. On May 13, 1818, a good portion of President James Monroe's cabinet meeting was spent trying to determine what should be done about this French incursion and possible actions by the Spanish on land the United States claimed. The cabinet session resulted in Secretary of State John Quincy Adams sending George Graham, chief clerk of the War Department, and former acting secretary of war, to find the settlement, learn the facts, and submit a report. By late August or early September, Graham finally arrived in Galveston and met with both Lallemand and Lafitte. Belatedly reporting to Adams in November, he concluded that although there was some question about the exact location of Champ d'Asile, it was probably located "at the Orcoquises bluffs about 18 miles above the mouth of the Trinity." Archives indicate that though the Orcoquisac Mission was near the mouth of the Trinity, the Orcoquisac settlement and bluff were at Liberty.11
A substantial amount of additional archival evidence reinforces this location. Marcel Moraud, a professor at Rice Institute (now University) who researched and lectured about Champ d'Asile for many years, claimed that it was at least as far upriver as Liberty. Jesse Reeves, in his Napoleonic Exiles in America, concluded that Champ d'Asile was "about thirty miles from the Gulf up the Trinity River," matching the river mileage to Liberty. And equally important, two exiles identified only as Hartmann and Millard who participated in the adventure, recorded that Champ d'Asile was located "about twenty leagues from the Gulf of Mexico." In their journal, widely distributed in France and later the United States, they provided an invaluable description of the structures, life at Champ d'Asile, and their eventual hasty departure.12 [End Page 203]
Additionally, Tilpah Orr, wife of George Orr, who is generally recognized as the first Anglo settler in the area, lived in a home near Atascosito in the 1820s. She recalled riding with another early settler "a few miles south to view the ruins of the site where four hundred of Napoleon's followers had settled eight years earlier in a community called Champ d'Asile." With George Orr's home site being approximately three miles north of current-day Liberty, a journey "a few miles south" could match the river site near the historical marker.13
Other accounts, while not pinpointing the exact site, place its location at least as far upriver as Liberty. Eugene Maissin, in his study of the French in Mexico and Texas, claims it was "fifty miles from the Gulf of Mexico on the banks of the Trinity." Antonio Martínez, Spanish governor of Texas, said it was "in the vicinity of Atascosito" which would place it near Liberty, and Harris Gaylord Warren contended that "the fort was 11 leagues from the mouth of the Trinity." The Spanish consul at New Orleans placed Champ d'Asile at twelve leagues from the mouth of the river. Moreover, historian Carlos Castañeda placed Champ d'Asile "some twenty leagues upstream from the mouth of the Trinity." And especially significant, an 1829 French map identified "Champ d'Axile Abandonne" farther upriver near Liberty.14
The investigations of a French visitor who sought Champ d'Asile twenty-one years after its abandonment gives further evidence of Liberty as the likely site. On an 1839 trip to the North America, journalist Frederic Gaillardet set out to find what remained of Champ d'Asile. Gaillardet, a respected French newspaper publisher and journalist, began his search by coming to the mouth of the Trinity River. From there, he said "I went inland along the banks of the Trinity River as far as the town of Liberty," not finding any evidence along the way. There Gaillardet found a French-speaking Canadian who led him to a site where "not far from this very town of Liberty, I was at last privileged to rediscover the location of Champ d'Asile." Of the structures, he said, "There remains not a trace." [End Page 204]
[End Page 205] Just before leaving, his guide pointed to some trees and letters carved into a trunk. "I went closer," said Gaillardet, "and after discovering and deciphering these letters, deformed by sap and by the passage of time, I was able with the help of my guide to make out the words, not with ease but at least with reasonable certainty: honneur et patrie. This motto is all that remains today of Champ d'Asile, Texas."15
Curiously, abandoned railroad rails also provide pertinent information. In 1858 a large load of wrought iron rails was shipped from England to Liberty for a proposed line to Livingston, Texas. They were unloaded on the east bank of the Trinity River just north of the current Highway 90 and railroad bridges. The project never materialized, and the rails remained there for years, eventually sinking into the ground. Dave Tevis, grandson of some of the area's earliest settlers, said he was told by "old-timers" that the railroad iron was buried at the north end of the fort built by the "Old Guard generals of Napoleon's army in 1818." The location of these rails was confirmed in the 1920s by a Houston salvaging company that found and recovered many of them. Tevis's statement reinforces information pointing to the Liberty Highway 90 site.16
The archival evidence, though strong, was not the only reason to search at Liberty. Geographical features were also critical. For instance, at least two sources of water were important for any early settlement. The Liberty site had not only the Trinity River but also an abundant, consistently-flowing spring near the river. It became known as the "Champ d'Asile Spring." Gunnar Brune, in his extensive study, Springs of Texas, said: "In Liberty, on the east bank of the Trinity River, just south of Highway 90, can still be seen the Champ d'Asile Springs." Brune found the spring still flowing in 1975. In addition to this significant feature, the site also had the advantage of being located conveniently close to the Atascosito Road. Long a major Spanish thoroughfare, it passed through South Texas and, following the curve of the coast, crossed the Trinity River three miles north of current downtown Liberty. From there it continued eastward into Louisiana. Even though the French might not have wanted to advertise their presence by locating on the Atascosito Road, they could have benefited from being close enough to use it when necessary. From this site the Atascosito Road was easily accessible.17 [End Page 206]
The Highway 90 location, on a high bluff, provided not only good drainage but also clear visibility of the river in both directions. Situated on a bend in the river corresponding closely to the drawing by Castañeda's engineer, it afforded a clear view of an approaching enemy. The site also fits the description of Champ d'Asile occupants who said that the land was on two distinct levels, the lower part on the north end and the higher elevation on the south, with forests surrounding a portion of the area and a wide plain on one side. Unfortunately, much of the highest ground, shown in a 1912 topographical map to have been forty feet above the river, was removed in the 1970s during excavation for sand. This is now a lake, so if this was the Champ d'Asile site, some or much of it has been lost.18
Liberty is situated on the second high bluff upriver from Galveston Bay. This is noteworthy because several researchers have pointed to Moss Bluff, a small community approximately twelve miles south of Liberty, as the likely site of Champ d'Asile. Though not as high as Liberty, it is the first bluff upriver from Galveston Bay. However, it does not match the distance from the mouth of the river as described by Hartmann and Millard, as well as other accounts previously cited. Moreover, no archeological evidence has been found there and, most important, that location cannot be squared with the statement of Castañeda's envoys that the settlement was six or seven leagues from the lakes.19
Confusion about the location of the colony also stemmed from the Spanish government's early belief that the French exiles were at a place called Cayo Gallardo along a creek near Moss Bluff that Stephen F. Austin in his 1822 map of Texas labeled "Gallardo." Even though Cayo Gallardo's location is unknown today, Castañeda's envoys found it and reported that Champ d'Asile was not there.20
Also relevant is evidence indicating that Lallemand preselected the site rather than simply going upriver looking for the first piece of high ground he spotted. He spent six days walking up the east bank to meet the contingent of exiles who had come by boat to the same location. They knew where to meet. Rice University Professor Marcel Moraud reinforced the suggestion that Lallemand determined the site in advance by contending that Lallemand "resolved to place his assembled veterans in a region of Texas which had been described to him by an inhabitant of Boston." This [End Page 207] man "had given the place he recommended on the banks of the Trinity River a rather idealized description," said Moraud. He claimed "it was a country combining the useful with the agreeable, with a very mild climate, fertile soils, a rich vegetation; of enchanting scenic aspects." Supporting claim is the statement by longtime Champ d'Asile researcher Betje Klier that Lallemand "received competent advice from his best friend, Arsène Lacarrière-Latour, who had surveyed and mapped southeast Texas, and from the Lafitte brothers, whom he knew from Saint-Domingue or had met in Philadelphia with their mutual friend Latour."21
Additionally significant is the fact that after the town of Liberty was founded in 1831, the future Highway 90 bridge site became a riverboat landing. Called "the lower landing," it had features well suited for boats to dock and passengers to be able to board and disembark. It would have provided the same advantages for occupants of Champ d'Asile.22
In addition to all the archival evidence, there are numerous relevant archeological findings. Because the fort was burned to the ground by the Spanish, traces of this fire would be important. In the 1970s, when landowner Charles Fisher Jr. was excavating sand from the site, he observed a burned log at a depth corresponding with Champ d'Asile. Also, at the high bluff on the south end of the site, a layer of burned material was found in the exposed river bank. From this deposit, chunks of the material were removed and sent to Rice University for testing, whereby it was determined that these were the remains of a fire. Then, in 2012, after flooding eroded the bank, two logs buried six-to-eight feet below the current surface became exposed, one bearing apparent axe cutting. Sections of these logs were sent to Baylor University for testing and dating. Test results indicated that the logs were definitely pre-Civil War and, more specifically, could date to the Champ d'Asile time period.23
Apparently, after Champ d'Asile was abandoned in 1818, a meat packing plant occupied the property for some years before the Civil War, during which Confederates built a redoubt nearby. By the 1890s Liberty resident Charles Fisher owned the property and constructed a sawmill on it that lasted into the early twentieth century. Since that time, one tenant [End Page 208]
[End Page 209] family briefly occupied a small house there, set far back from the river.24 This is the only known dwelling in the area after 1818, and it has never been developed for mass residential use.
Several circumstances make it difficult to find French artifacts at the site. First, since Champ d'Asile occupants did not come directly from France and obtained most of their supplies in the United States, many of their possessions were not French. Other than uniforms, most items most likely would have been purchased in America. Also important is the fact that upon receiving word that a contingent of Spanish soldiers was heading their way, Champ d'Asile's occupants reported that they gathered their belongings into "baggage" and packed them into boats before leaving. Another development affecting the archeological search at this site was Charles Fisher's sawmill. For several years this operation produced many metal objects: pieces of machinery, hardware of various sorts, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of objects that make metal detecting difficult. Even a magnetometer search proved hard to analyze because of so much metal in the ground.25
However, this does not preclude finding relevant artifacts. Because nails were not used in constructing the buildings, the absence of them, particularly burned ones corresponding to the destruction of the fort, is understandable. However, one nail found near the river bank was especially significant. Made of a copper alloy, it was valuable in shipbuilding and especially powder kegs, because this metal would not spark and cause an explosion. By the time of Champ d'Asile this kind of nail had been used for years. It could well have been used in the settlement. This early discovery led to extensive searches at the Liberty site over the next decade. Also found in subsequent archeological exploration and dating to the 1818 time period or earlier were an axe head, horse and mule shoes, musket balls and fragments of numerous hand-forged metal items that could have pre-dated Champ d'Asile.26
Perhaps the most significant finds came in 2013 and 2014. Ceramics, uncovered seventy or eighty feet from the river, some dating to the late eighteenth century, could well pertain to Champ d'Asile. Found approximately [End Page 210] three feet below the current surface were pearlware and Gaudy Dutch fragments with brightly colored flowers, belying the fact that they had been buried for almost two centuries. One critical piece, bearing a specific datable design, dates from 1813 to 1834. Produced in England, these ceramics were widely available not only in Europe, where future Champ d'Asile occupants could have obtained them, but also in major American coastal ports.27
The search for Champ d'Asile continues, and while its site may not be definitively determined without conclusive archeological evidence, the case that it was located on the east bank of the Trinity River at Liberty, near the 1937 centennial marker, is remarkably convincing. Strong archival, historical, geographical, and archival findings point to Liberty as the site of this long-sought, Napoleonic-inspired French colony in what would eighteen years later become the Republic of Texas. [End Page 211]
David Murph is an ordained minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and was Director of Church Relations at Texas Christian University. He is author of Before Texas Changed: A Fort Worth Boyhood (Texas Christian University Press, 2006).
1. Fannie E. Ratchford (ed.), The Story of Champ d'Asile as Told by Two of the Colonists, trans. Donald Joseph (Dallas: Book Club of Texas, 1937; reprint, Austin: Steck-Vaughan Company, 1969), 10–11. This account of Champ d'Asile is based on recollections of two men identified as Hartmann and Millard. There is some question of whether both men were participants in the colony, but there is general agreement that at least one was. See "Journal of Captain don Juan de Castañeda, Submitted to Commandant General and to Governor Antonio Martínez," trans. Adán Benavides, pp. 3–5 (hereafter cited as Castañeda Journal), Nacogdoches Archives (Sam Houston Library and Research Center, Liberty, Texas.)
2. Betje Black Klier, "Champ d'Asile, Texas," in The French in Texas: History, Migration, Culture, ed. François Lagarde (Austin: University of Texas Press), 79–97; Jesse S. Reeves, The Napoleonic Exiles in America: A Study in American Diplomatic History, 1815–1819 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1905), 93–104; Inès Murat, Napoleon and the American Dream (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, 1981) 127 (quotation); Rafe Blaufarb, Bonapartists in the Borderlands: French Exiles and Refugees on the Gulf Coast, 1815–1835 (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2005), 106.
3. James L. Haley, Passionate Nation: The Epic History of Texas (New York: Free Press, 2006), 60; Marcel Moraud, "Champ d'Asile," trans. Thomas G. Rice (lecture, Rice Institute, 1952), pp. 1–3 (copy in possession of author) and Le Champ d'Asile au Texas (Houston: Rice Institute, 1952); Philadelphia's American Daily Advertiser, Aug. 4, 1818; Harris Gaylord Warren, The Sword Was Their Passport: A History of American Filibustering in the Mexican Revolution (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1943), 84; Emilio Ocampo, The Emperor's Last Campaign: A Napoleonic Empire in America (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2009), 217–218; Ratchford (ed.), The Story of Champ d'Asile, 10–11.
4. Miriam Partlow, Liberty, Liberty County and the Atascosito District (Austin: Pemberton Press, 1974), 54; Klier, "Champ d'Asile, Texas," 85, 89; Reeves, Napoleonic Exiles in America, 85; "French Immigrants," Niles' Weekly Register, Aug. 18, 1818, 394; Blaufarb, Bonapartists in the Borderlands, 106, 113; Poulson's American Daily Advertiser, Aug. 4, 1818; Warren, The Sword Was Their Passport, 196; Ratchford (ed.), The Story of Champ d'Asile, 133.
5. Partlow, Liberty, Liberty County and the Atascosito District, 54; Kent Gardien, "Take Pity on Our Glory: Men of Champ d'Asile," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 87 (January 1984): 245; Blaufarb, Bonapartists in the Borderlands, 105; Klier, "Champ d'Asile, Texas," 90; Tony E. Duty, "Champ d'Asile, Texana 10 (November 1972): 87; Maurice Soulie, To Free the Chained Eagle, unpublished translation by Patricia Blake Shepherd and James L. Shepherd III, p 155 (Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center, Liberty, Texas); Murat, Napoleon and the American Dream, 145–147. An example of the idealized portrayal of Champ d'Asile can be found in the frontispiece to Hartmann and Millard, Le Texas, ou Notice Historique Sur le Champ D'Texas (Paris: Houdin, 1819), a copy of which can be found at the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center, Liberty, Texas. Songs about Champ d'Asile include Naudet, "Le Champ d'Asile" and "Champ d'Asile" (Field of Refuge), translated by James Shepherd III (Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center, Liberty, Texas).
6. Klier, Champ d'Asile, Texas," 87; Reeves, Napoleonic Exiles in America, 91; Gardein, "Take Pity on Our Glory," 248; Ratchford (ed.), The Story of Champ d'Asile, 140, 146–147; Murat, Napoleon and the American Dream, 144; Soulie, To Free the Chained Eagle, 155; Poulson's American Daily Advertiser, December 12, 1818.
7. Jean L. Epperson, "Where Was Champ d'Asile?," Lafitte Society Chronicles 5 (August 1999): 16–17. Former Texas Governor Price Daniel, having conducted extensive historical research on Champ d'Asile from the 1940s to the early 1980s in both Europe and the United States, believed it was located at present-day Liberty. He worked closely with the Texas Historical Commission, whose archeologists Jeff Durst and Kerry Nichols continue to supervise this project.
8. Partlow, Liberty, Liberty County and the Atascosito District, 53; Price Daniel to Hon. J. Delalande, Jan. 12, 1945, Price Daniel Papers (Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center, Liberty, Texas); Liberty Vindicator, Mar. 31, Apr. 7, 1937; Moraud, Le Champ d'Asile au Texas, 30. Arlene Pickett, descendant of one of these early families, supported the long-held belief that the site was near Liberty in Historic Liberty County (Dallas: Tardy Publishing Company, 1936).
9. Castañeda Journal, pp. 3–5 (quotation); Charles Fisher Jr. to Jean Murph, 2004, interview (transcript in possession of the author.)
10. The customary Spanish league was 2.6 miles. William C. Foster to David Murph, Mar. 10, 2004, e-mail (copy in possession of the author); Castañeda Journal, pp, 4–5 (quotations); William C. Foster (ed.), The La Salle Expedition to Texas: The Journal of Henri Joutel, 1684–1687 (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1998), 36. Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, The Journal and Ordeal of Cabeza de Vaca: His Account of the Disastrous First European Expedition of the American Southwest (Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications, 2003), 17.
11. William C. Davis, The Pirates Lafitte: The Treacherous World of the Corsairs of the Gulf (Orlando: Harcourt, 2005), 367; Walter Pritchard (ed.), George Graham's Mission to Galveston in 1818," Louisiana Historical Quarterly 20 (1937): 630–632, 642 (quotation); Charles Francis Adams (ed.), Memoirs of John Quincy Adams, Comprising Portions of His Diary from 1795 to 1848 (12 vols.; Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Co., 1848–1875), IV, 19.
12. Marcel Moraud, unpublished manuscript (copy in possession of author); Reeves, Napoleonic Exiles in America, 83 (first quotation); Ratchford (ed.), The Story of Champ d'Asile, 126 (second quotation); Eugene Maissin, "The French in Mexico and Texas, 1838–1839," trans. James L. Shepherd (Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center, Liberty, Texas). Maissin stated that "the colony was founded fifty miles from the Gulf of Mexico on the banks of the Trinity."
13. Camilla Davis Trammell, Seven Pines: Its Occupants and Their Letters, 1825–1872 (Houston: n.p, 1986), 4–5.
14. Maissin, "The French in Mexico and Texas, 1838–1839" (first quotation). Maissin may have been measuring the distance from Galveston. Stanley Faye contended that Champ d'Asile was "some twenty-five miles by the winding river in "The Great Stroke of Pierre Lafitte," Louisiana Historical Quarterly 23 (July 1940), 470. In a July 29, 1818, letter, Spanish Governor Antonio Martínez said the commandant at La Bahía reported that three members of the "Cochate nation" claimed they had been to the Atascosito area and observed a party of "about 100 men" working "from morning to noon on a stockade"; see Virginia Taylor (ed.), The Letters of Antonio Martínez: Last Spanish Governor of Texas, 1817–1822 (Austin: Texas State Library, 1957), 160–161 (second quotation). See also Harris Gaylord Warren, "New Spain and the Filibusters, 1812–1821" (Ph.D. diss., Northwestern University, 1937), 3 (third quotation); Ratchford (ed.), The Story of Champ d'Asile, 18; Carlos E. Castañeda, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas, 1519–1936: Vol. 6, Transition Period, the Fight for Freedom, 1810–1836 (New York: Arno Press, 1976), 152 (fourth quotation); Reeves, Napoleonic Exiles in America, 83; Carte des Etats-Unis de Mexique (Paris, 1829; fifth quotation).
15. Frederick Gaillardet, Sketches of Early Texas and Louisiana (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1966), 123, 129–131.
16. Partlow, Liberty, Liberty County and the Atascosito District, 61; Dave Tevis to Price Daniel and Charles Fisher Jr., interview (quotation; Sam Houston Library and Research Center, Liberty, Texas); Fisher to Jean Murph, 2001.
17. Jay Blaine to David Murph, May 18, 2013, interview (notes in possession of author); Gunnar Brune, The Springs of Texas (privately published, 1981), 292–293 (quotation); Partlow, Liberty, Liberty County and the Atascosito District, 20, 107, 197, 230, 302. The Atascosito Road was surveyed in 1956. A copy of the survey in Partlow, Liberty, Liberty County and the Atascosito District, 20. See also "Plat of the Re-establishment of the Atascosita Road" (Sam Houston Library and Research Center, Liberty, Texas).
18. Partlow, Liberty, Liberty County and the Atascosito District, 58 "Confederate Map of the Town of Liberty and Vicinity," 1865 (Sam Houston Library and Research Center, Liberty, Texas); US Army Corps of Engineers Trinity River, 1912–1915, US Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District, Fort Worth, Texas; Ratchford (ed.), The Story of Champ d'Asile, 131.
19. Epperson, "Where Was Champ d'Asile?," 16–17; Davis, The Pirates Lafitte, 610. U.S. Geological Survey, Moss Bluff, Texas, 1974; United States Geological Survey, Liberty, Texas, Provisional Edition, 1974.
20. Stephen F. Austin, "Mapa topográfico de la provincia de Texas," ca. 1822 (Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.); Castañeda Journal, p. 5.
21. Moraud said the location was "on the right bank of the Trinity at is intersection with the Spanish route known as the Atascosito Road." Moraud, Champ d'Asile," 8, 10; Klier. "Champ d'Asile, Texas, 85–86 (second quotation); Poulson's American Daily Advertiser, June 8, 1818; Reeves, Napoleonic Exiles in America, 83, Partlow, Liberty, Liberty County and the Atascosito District, 57, Murat, Napoleon and the American Dream, 126.
22. Confederate Map of the Town of Liberty and Vicinity," 1865; Charles Fisher Jr. to Jean Murph, Apr. 11, 2004, interview (transcript in possession of the author).
23. Charles Fisher Jr. to Jean Murph, Apr. 13, 2004, interview (transcript in possession of the author); Jacquelyn Duke, "Report on Log Found along Trinity River near Liberty, TX," June 13, 2012; Duke, "Report on Additional Logs Found along Trinity River near Liberty, TX," Dec. 5, 2012 (reports in possession of the author). The author would also like to recognize the efforts of Sheldon Kindall in locating the burned material.
24. Charles Fisher III to David Murph, May 17, 2014, and Nov. 20, 2014, interviews (notes in possession of the author); Frank Jordan to David Murph, Nov. 20, 2014, interview (notes in possession of the author).
25. New Orleans was one of the cities where Charles Lallemand purchased supplies and equipment. Blaufarb, Bonapartists in the Borderlands; Murat, Napoleon and the American Dream, 81, 177; Klier, "Champ d'Asile, Texas," 85; Ratchford (ed.), The Story of Champ d'Asile, 117–125, 147; Davis, The Pirates Lafitte, 351–352; Partlow, Liberty, Liberty County and the Atascosito District, 56; Fisher to Murph, May 17, 2014 (interview); magnetometer search conducted by the Texas Historical Commission, Apr. 8–9, 2011.
26. Ratchford (ed.), The Story of Champ d'Asile, 131. A copper alloy nail was found in 2005 approximately ten feet from the river bank. Although not definitively connected to Champ d'Asile, these items have been identified by archeologist Jay Blaine as possibly belonging to or predating the time of the Champ d'Asile settlement.
27. This shell-edge earthenware displayed a "bud" motif that identifies its time period. See George L. Miller, Patricia Samford, Ellen Shlasko, and Andrew Madsen, "Telling Time for Archaeologists," Northeast Historical Archaeology Journal 29 (2000): 1–22.