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The Córdova-Flores Incident

were met by Captain James P. Ownsby[81]  in command of some thirty six-months rangers, well-provided with provisions. They, followed by Colonel Burleson with another party, had started to the relief of the Andrews-Rice party as soon as word had come in to Austin and Bastrop by the men who had abandoned Captain Andrews' command after the cedar brake incident. It had been feared that so small a group of Texans in pursuit of a large body of Mexicans might be slain, if it should succeed in overtaking the enemy.

When Captain Ownsby's militiamen discovered a large caballada of horses approaching driven by a few men wearing Mexican sombreros (taken from the enemy), they believed they had intercepted the Mexican party rumored to be in that general area. Ownsby, therefore, quickly ordered his men to dismount and fire, but was prevailed upon by one of his men, who suspected that the approaching party were Texans, to cancel the order to fire. The two parties met at a point between the battleground where Flores had been defeated and the South Fork of the San Gabriel. As Rice's men came up and salutations were exchanged, some of Ownsby's men commenced talking about a division of the spoils, "one fellow laying claim to one horse another to this one, and so on until finally Lieutenant Rice's party began to think they were in earnest about the matter, which up to this time they looked upon as a joke."[82]  Perceiving that Ownsby's men were serious in making their claims to a share in the spoils, Rice's party told them that they had fought the Mexicans for the property and would fight again before they divided with the newcomers. This declaration offended Ownsby's men, who, perceiving that they were not to be permitted to share in the division of the spoils, refused to share their provisions with Rice's men, notwithstanding the fact that they had been without food for two days and nights. Furthermore, the fatigued pursuers of the country's enemies were denied the privilege of camping with those who came to their relief, and were thus compelled to mount their own guard all night to protect the horses they had captured and claimed as their own personal, rather than public, property.

Early the next morning (May 18) Rice's men started for Austin. After traveling some distance and just as they were ascending Pilot

81. In the summer of 1839 Captain James P. Ownsby commanded a volunteer company from Austin under Colonel Edward Burleson in the Cherokee War. Brown, Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas, p. 67. See Appendix for a Muster Roll of Captain J. P. Ownsby's Company, March 2-Sept. 9, 1839. [Ed: pp. 551-553]

82. Wilbarger, Indian Depredations in Texas, p. 165.

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