At Camargo the Federalists tried to rally the inhabitants of the frontier states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, and Coahuila, while Canalizo at Matamoros on November 7 sought to rally the loyal Mexicans of the north, and particularly those of Matamoros, to the defense of the country.
Arriving within two or three miles of Matamoros at the beginning of December, the Federalists, numbering about 1,700 men, entrenched themselves on December 12. During the next two days the Federalist cavalry made several attacks on the enemy's outpost, driving the pickets up to the fortifications. The following day (December 15) Canales sent in a small party of cavalry -- sixteen Mexicans and seventeen Texans -- under Zapata to decoy the Centralists out from behind the entrenchments in the city. Zapata's cavalry rode up to the vicinity of the town, dismounted and charged one of the principal outposts, consisting of a battery of three artillery pieces manned and defended by one hundred men. After a spirited engagement of fifteen minutes, the Federalist decoy party, perceiving a strong re-enforcement joining the enemy fell back to their horses without the loss of a man, leaving thirteen of the enemy dead and seven wounded; but Canalizo, commander in chief of the northern division, with fifteen hundred soldiers and eighteen cannon at his disposal in the city, refused the invitation. Instead, he immediately withdrew all his outposts into the city, and redoubled his efforts to fortify the town. The thirteen Anglo-Federals, who were held prisoners in Matamoros, were employed from daylight to dark in work on the fortifications. Rumors were afloat that Anaya
124. El Gral. en Gefe de la Division del Norte [Valentín Canalizo] á los habitantes de sus departamentos, Cuartel General en Matamoros, Noviembre 7 de 1839, in La Brisa, Nov. 7, 1839.
125. An informant told the editor of the Telegraph and Texas Register, Dec. 18, 1839, that 2,500 Federalists had arrived within nine miles of the Matamoros fortifications and were preparing to assault the place the next day, that being the day after he left.
126. D. W. Smith to John Forsyth, Matamoros, Dec. 24, 1839, no. 161 in Consular Dispatches (U. S.), 1837-1839, (Matamoros), ms., microfilm; John F. C. Henderson and Thomas Jamison to [Editor of the Colorado Gazette and Advertiser], Jan. 8, 1840, in Colorado Gazette and Advertiser, Jan. 18, 1840, says the Federalist force under Canales numbered 1,400 strong, including 200 Anglo-Americans and 1,200 Mexican Federalists supported by the four pieces of artillery taken from Pavón.
127. Alessio Robles, Coahuila y Texas, II, 216; John F. C. Henderson and Thomas Jamison to [Editor of the Colorado Gazette and Advertiser], Jan. 8, 1840, in Colorado Gazette and Advertiser, Jan. 18, 1840. Henderson and Jamison, it was