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Mexican Threats and Texan Military

By the amended act of 1837 the counties were to be divided into militia precincts, varying in number according to the number of men subject to militia duty. One militia company of not less than fifty-six men, rank and file, was to be raised in each precinct. After the militia had been organized it was the duty of the colonel of each regiment, through his adjutant,

. . . to visit the respective company beats, and cause, by lots, the privates of said beats to be enrolled in class number one, two, and three, which class shall be liable, in the order in which they stand, to be called into actual service by the president, to serve for any period of time not less than three months, nor longer than six . . . and no class shall serve twice until all the others have been called out.[109] 

The same division of newly enrolled members into three categories was thereafter to be made by the captain and his officers by lot.

The President had authority, when he thought necessary, to call into the service of the Republic any part of the militia that he deemed expedient, subject to the limitation that a "tour of duty" was to be estimated at three months and that no militia might be required to serve more than two "tours" without discharge. When in service the militia was to be governed by the articles of war and the rules and regulations adopted for the army,[110]  and was to receive the same pay and rations as the army. The penalty established in the law of 1836 for failure "to perform a tour of duty when called on" was a fine of $100, but by an amendment of June 7, 1837,[111]  this penalty was repealed and thereafter personal responsibility for rendering service became more lax. A further weakening of the militia laws occurred in May 1838, when another enactment was passed over President Houston's veto, divesting the executive of all power over the militia and conferring his "constitutional rights" upon the major general.[112]  The

109. Ibid., I, 1427-1428.

110. Houston, Rules and Regulations for the Direction of the Army and Navy of Texas; also found in the Telegraph and Texas Register, May 12, 16, and 19, 1838, under the following caption: "Rules and Regulations of the Different Departments of Government and of the Army and Navy"; and in Writings of Sam Houston, IV, 39-43.

111. Gammel (ed.), Laws of Texas, I, 1300.

112. Sam Houston to the House of Representatives, Washington, January 14, 1843, in Writings of Sam Houston, III, 292-297. The writer has been unable to locate the law of May 1838.

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