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Mexican Threats and Texan Military

keeping up a brisk fire all the time. When the attacking force arrived within some 50 yards of the Texans, Smith ordered his men to commence firing.

After an engagement, lasting about forty-five minutes, the Mexicans withdrew, leaving ten of their number dead on the field and carrying off several wounded. Two Texans were wounded. Smith reported later to the Secretary of War that he decided not to attempt to enter Laredo after learning from a wounded Mexican left on the battlefield that a considerable enemy force was in the town. The Texans returned to San Antonio on the evening of March 26 with the twenty horses they had captured from the Mexicans and after a fatiguing march of ten days. "No shout of exultation welcomed our return to Béxar," reported Smith, "the inhabitants plainly evidencing that their sympathies were with the enemy."

Concerning the escapade, President Houston wrote to Colonel Henry W. Karnes, commander of the Texas cavalry on the frontier, as follows: I am afraid our friend Deaf Smith and his men have acted badly, if reports are true. . . . You will let him know if you should meet him that he is to draw no more goods on the merchants of San Antonio, for either his men or himself without your order."[98],  Houston's policy was not to antagonize the Mexicans, although if Mexico wished to

98. Sam Houston to Henry K.[W?] Karnes, Columbia, Texas, March 31, 1837 (Private), in Writings of Sam Houston, II, 76-78. See also Report of "Deaf" Smith to W. S. Fisher, Secretary of War, San Antonio de Béxar, March 27, 1837, in Army Papers (Texas), ms.; also in Telegraph and Texas Register, April 11, 1837; Defunciones, vol. II, p. 24, entries nos. 108-110, Archives of San Augustine Church, Laredo, ms.; Seb. S. Wilcox, "Laredo during the Texas Republic," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XLII (1938-1939), 98; J. D. Affleck, "History of John C. Hays," pt. I, p. 40, typed ms.; Ed. Kilman and Lou W. Kemp, Texas Musketeers: Stories of Early Texas Battles and Their Heroes, pp. 119-120; Jack Hays: The Intrepid Texas Ranger, pp. 3-6; Telegraph and Texas Register, March 17, 1838.

Smith reported that Captain Nicholas Dawson, late of the army, "by his cool and intrepid conduct afforded great encouragement to the younger soldiers," during the fight with the Mexicans before Laredo. On March 27 the men elected Dawson captain of the company. The following men comprised Smith's unit: Nicholas Dawson, Captain; D. W. Babcock, orderly sergeant; J. C. Boyd; Owen B. Hardiman; Daniel Winchell; Abm. Goshay; John L. Bray; J. F. Johnson; J. C. Morgan; W. Williams; Perry James; M. B. Lewis; C. W. Egery; Peter Conrad, slightly wounded; Antonio Lockmar; James M. Jett; Stephen Jett; George Dolson, slightly wounded; F. W. White; L. B. Henderson; James S. Lee, necessarily detained at San Antonio, privates.

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AFTER SAN JACINTO: The Texas-Mexican Frontier, 1836-1841
Joseph Milton Nance, 1963