Later in the day another express from San Antonio was received at Houston. It discredited the rumor of an invasion. The Alamo had not been attacked. The "scare" in that quarter was attributed to a party of some fifty Mexican marauders stealing horses. However, according to the Texan commander at Béxar, things were beginning to bear a threatening aspect in that region. And to a friend, General Johnston wrote that from various sources there was reason to believe that "a heavy column [of the enemy] has already crossed the Río Grande."
Consequently, Johnston left Houston on the evening of December 31 and hurried west, planning to meet two hundred mounted volunteers at the Colorado and to proceed to San Antonio for a reconnaissance. When he reached Mercer's Ferry on the Colorado, however, he failed to find the force he had anticipated. The excitement had quickly subsided upon receipt of the news that the Mexican force reported to have invested San Antonio had turned out to be nothing more than a small band of marauders operating in the area. Johnston found only forty men at the Colorado ready to advance. After some delay in anticipation of the arrival of additional forces, Johnston, with scarcely enough men for a single company, headed westward from the Colorado on January 18 for Béxar. He was determined to visit that frontier point to gain first-hand information. Impatient with the appeasement policy of the administration, he declared confidentially to a friend, "Our Government wants energy and prudent foresight, which those intrusted with the liberties of a people should possess."
On January 20 Secretary of War Bee found it necessary to write Johnston that it would be useless to assemble troops without supplies; and a week later, fearing that Johnston might make a rash movement in the direction of the Río Grande, Bee informed him that the President was opposed to his taking up headquarters at any point beyond San Antonio. Adjutant General Hugh McLeod wrote Johnston very
verbatim from a slip in the Exchange Reading Room, New Orleans, in Telegraph and Texas Register, Dec. 30, 1837.
22. Albert Sidney Johnston to Edward D. Hobbs (of Louisville), City of Houston, Dec. 31, 1837, in Johnston, Life of Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, pp. 86-87.
25. Same to Same, Mercer's Ferry, Colorado River, Jan. 17, 1838, in ibid., p. 87.
27. Johnston, Life of Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, p. 87; Sam[uel A. Maverick] to [Mary A. Maverick], Béjar, March 13, 1838, in Rena Maverick Green (ed.),