renew the campaign he would willingly and forcefully meet the challenge.
W. P. Benson, one of the prisoners captured at San Patricio in February 1836 by General Urrea's forces, arrived in Texas early in April by way of New Orleans after a long confinement at Matamoros. He gave the number of Mexican troops there as mustering between 3,600 and 3,800 men with only about 400 horses, "very old and very poor, and no grain to feed them." General Woll was "almost constantly engaged in superintending a Monte-bank." "A regiment of volunteers rushed to join the troops at Matamoros lately," commented the editor of the Telegraph, "all well handcuffed and urged onward by the well applied whips of two regiments of regulars." The express mail between Mexico City and Matamoros was captured near Monterey in April by a Texan named J. Powell and brought to Houston on May 10, giving further information concerning the deplorable condition of the Mexican army.
As real danger of an invasion by Mexico waned, even though talk of renewing the Texas campaign continued in that country, Houston planned to curtail heavy expenditures and a mushrooming debt by reducing the huge military outlay of the Republic. Furthermore, Huston's failure to maintain discipline in the army no doubt caused some dissatisfaction on the part of the President, and the vociferous agitation carried on by many persons within and without the army for an attack upon Matamoros found little sympathy with a President who sought to promote peace and prosperity for the young nation. Having been promised letters of marque and reprisal by the President, Samuel A. Plummer and Huston were reported secretly planning "to cause a lawless invasion of Mexico, commencing at Matamoros and extending to Tampico" with General Huston at the head of the band. An excellent steamship had already been procured for the expedition. The fiery factions in the army, easily stirred to turbulence and mutiny by the demagogues in the camp, threatened to become more terrible to the Republic than to its enemies. In March Huston started for New Orleans to raise men and money for the army. He stopped at the seat of government to confer with the administration, and from there on March 28 wrote General Johnston:
99. Telegraph and Texas Register, April 4, 1837.
100. J. Pinckney Henderson to Sam Houston, New Orleans, July 30, 1837, State Department Letterbook, no. 2, ms., pp. 57-58.