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Federalist Wars: Second Phase

was on his way with three hundred Texans to assist in an assault upon the city.[128]

Upon regaining their horses, Zapata's men remounted and rode around the town in plain view of the enemy for about an hour, until the Centralist cavalry put in a tardy appearance, causing the Federalists to retreat to their own lines.

All intercourse between Matamoros and the Northern departments was effectively suspended and business of every description was completely paralyzed by the military operations in the north. For his support, Canales exacted one half of the import duty on goods and specie to and from the interior by placing small detachments of troops at various points on the roads.

After encamping four days before Matamoros and making several fruitless attempts to draw the Centralists out from behind their entrenchments, Canales became alarmed, alleging that superior Centralist re-enforcements were coming to the relief of the city's garrison. Doubtless he was aware of the government's concentration of troops in northern Mexico. On December 7 the Gaceta de Tampico reported the occupation of Saltillo by General Isidro Reyes, the arrival of General Mariano Arista at San Luis Potosí with a second body of troops, the presence of Manuel Romero in Tula with his lancers, and the landing of troops from Vera Cruz at Tampico. Besides, there were garrisons at Monterey and Matamoros. So in a council of war, Canales declared that since the Centralists would not come out to do battle, he did not think it wise to attack them in the city and, therefore, he intended to abandon the siege.

The failure of Canales to take Matamoros, reported "an officer in the Federal Army" in a letter published in the Houston Morning Star,[129]  was due first, to the re-enforcements that had reached the Centralist garrison at Matamoros before Canales' arrival; second, to the inadequate supplies of ammunition possessed by the Federalists for a long siege; third, to the superiority of the Centralist artillery (they possessing eighteen pieces of artillery to the four belonging to the Federalists); and, fourth, to the desire to draw the Centralists out of Matamoros by lifting the siege.

said, had gone to Mexico to look for their Negro slaves, who had gone off with the Mexican army when it withdrew from Texas.

128. La Brisa, Nov. 15, 1839.

129. March 31, 1840; Alessio Robles, Coahuila y Texas, II, 216.

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