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Federalist Wars: Second Phase

"I am Bernardo Gutiérrez," said the captive simply. "Knowing the character of the uncle, I doubt not that I will be treated with humanity by the nephew."[75]

After shaking hands with the distinguished captive, Ross ordered that he be treated kindly, and rode off to direct the work of bringing in the fugitive garrison. In the meantime, Gutiérrez seated himself on a pile of baggage to await the pleasure of his captors. Later in the afternoon, Canales, with a detachment of Indians and Mexicans, entered Ross' camp.

Seeing Gutiérrez there, the Federalist chief strode toward him exclaiming, "Ha! I see the traitor! You shall not escape your deserts!" With this he lunged at the captive with his sword, while his followers fell upon the aged and defenseless hero and tore off his clothing [and buttons]. Gutiérrez's two sons, who were in the victorious army, appealed to Colonel Ross to save their father's life. Ross immediately came to the scene and stopped the maltreatment of the prisoner, and curtly rebuked Canales.

After that, the stories vary. Some accounts say that Ross immediately granted the old man his freedom; whereas, others say he was freed after the battle of Alcantro (Alamo). However, in spite of this kind treatment, on October 22 Gutiérrez wrote Zapata in reference to the obstinate recklessness of the Federalists in continuing their revolutionary designs, and asserted that in obtaining the services of foreign auxiliaries, the Federalists were "transforming themselves by such a horrible step, from residents [citizens] to traitors." He declared that in spite of his age (65) and bad health he had accepted the military command of Guerrero with a sworn statement not to put down his arms until death or the salvation of the national honor and integrity of the nation's territory.[76]

In the capture of Guerrero, the Federalists lost none of their men, but the Centralists not only lost a quantity of baggage, arms, ammunition, but also had twenty men killed and many more drowned in

75. Huson, "Iron Men," pp. 88-89; Jarrett, Gutiérrez de Lara; Mexican Texan, p. 67.

76. José Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara to Antonio Zapata, Oct. 22, 1839, reprinted from Alcance al Seminario Politico, Oct. 31, 1839, in Gaceta de Tampico, Nov. 23, 1839. This letter was transmitted to Zapata by Cárdenas, mutual friend of both. See also, "Information derived from Major [Richard] Roman, in Lamar Papers, VI, 136-138.

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