impatient under the lassitude of an idle camp," he informed Memucan Hunt, an agent in the United States. "They want employment, and we have concluded to give it to them. An expedition against Matamoros is resolved on, and we are now busily engaged in arranging matters for it. The troops will probably commence their march in about two weeks." Major Thomas W. Ward was sent to New Orleans to recruit volunteers in an unofficial and indirect way, for the laws of the United States would not have permitted a foreign government to establish an official recruiting station within its boundaries.
Hearing rumors at Nacogdoches that the Texan army was itself about to march upon Matamoros "to reciprocate the friendly feelings manifest for us," and that Huston had advanced with some five hundred men to San Patricio where he had taken up a position near the Nueces, General Houston wrote Rusk that he saw "no reason in support of the project. I cannot see what can be gained by it." Should the Texan army succeed in taking Matamoros, it would be difficult to hold the place against an aroused Mexican citizenry who could be expected to put forth every effort to expel an invader from a port upon which so large a portion of the Mexican people were dependent for commerce. Cooperation by sea would be necessary. Furthermore, Mexico might avail herself of the absence of any sizable military force in Texas to launch a counter-invasion by way of Laredo and San Antonio, or, using transports and supported by warships, she might seize the country's principal seaports. The most sanguine expectations of spoils from the enemy could not possibly be an adequate compensation for such a wild adventure. "The great object of our Military operations," declared Houston, "ought to be to guard our frontier against invasion, and to resist it if attempted. . . . I am, therefore, most positively opposed to any movement of this kind. . . . hazard nothing -- let us act on the defensive."
Two weeks later Houston again wrote Rusk a long letter opposing any movement of the Texan army toward the Río Grande. He pointed
Same to Same, Velasco, Sept. 3, 1836; all in Executive Department Journals (Texas), Mar. 1836-Sept. 1838[Ed: -Sept. 1836], pp. 143-144, 149, 152.
47. David G. Burnet to Memucan Hunt, Aug. 18, 1836, in Binkley (ed.), Official Correspondence of the Texan Revolution, II, 946.
48. Telegraph and Texas Register, Aug. 23, 1836.
49. Bancroft, History of Texas and the North Mexican States, II, 290.
50. Sam Houston to Gen. [Thomas J.] Rusk, Nacogdoches, Aug. 8, 1836, in Writings of Sam Houston, I, 436-439.