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Mexican Threats and Texan Military

law "providing for the defence of the frontier" required the President to order out a sufficient number of mounted gunmen from each brigade to commence active operations against the hostile Indians on the frontier and to place at the disposal of a quartermaster, appointed by the major general, $20,000 to take care of the expenses. The President considered the law an infringement upon his constitutional prerogative to call out the militia when he should deem it necessary to do so, and believed that the appointment of a quartermaster by the major general would encroach upon the constitutional grant of power to the President and Senate.[113] 

The day the December 1837 militia law was passed over the President's veto Congress proceeded to elect the officers contemplated under it. For major general, it elected Thomas J. Rusk; for brigadier general of the First Brigade (district west of the Brazos), Edward Burleson; for the Second Brigade (district lying between the Brazos and the Trinity), Moseley Baker; for the Third Brigade (district east of the Trinity and to the Sabine), Kelsey H. Douglass; for the Fourth Brigade (district north of the Sabine and up to the Red River), John H. Dyer; and as adjutant general, Hugh McLeod."[114]  A year later Congress, with the approval of the President, declared that in the absence of regularly commissioned officers the militiamen were to choose their own officers and Congress pledged itself "to ratify and legalize all such elections."[115] 

Every free able-bodied male citizen of the Republic over seventeen and under fifty years of age, unless exempt according to law, was subject to militia duty and was required to enroll in a militia company within a specified period of time of coming of age, of becoming a citizen, or of entering the district. Within ten days after enrolling, he was to "provide himself with a good musket, a sufficient bayonet and belt, six flints, knapsack and cartridge box, with twenty-four suitable ball cartridges; or with a good rifle, yauger, or shot gun, knapsack, shot pouch, powder horn, fifty balls suitable to the calibre of his gun, and half a pound of powder."[116] 

The organization of the militia proceeded slowly under the law of

113. Same to Same, Executive Department, City of Houston, Texas, May 25, 1838, in ibid., II, 238-240.

114. Texas Congress, Journal of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Texas; Called Session of September 25, 1837, and Regular Session, commencing November 6, 1837, p. 291.

115. Gammel (ed.), Laws of Texas, II, 5.

116. Ibid., I, 1427-1428.

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