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Federalist Wars: Second Phase

Roman, Hill, and others, numbering approximately fifty. Ross and Sweitzer, having left the army before the raising of the siege, reached Austin on December 15, but received a cool reception from the Texas authorities, whose official attitude in the internecine war in Mexico was that of strict neutrality, and who were inclined to believe that Ross and his men had deserted when they joined the Federalists and were entitled to less consideration than if they had been dishonorably discharged from the public service. The government refused to sanction any of Ross' acts, or to pay any of his soldiers.[137]  After all, this "wild adventure" of a handful of reckless characters could easily result in the concentration of a strong Mexican force on the northern frontier which would make it necessary to maintain a corresponding body of Texans near at hand to watch their movements and to protect the exposed border. The public interest could be very definitely affected by its citizens' privately levying war beyond the boundaries of the Republic.

The effects of Ross' action was clearly presented by the New Orleans Commercial Bulletin:

It is expected that the [Mexican] government will immediately concentrate its whole disposable military force upon Matamoros. The terror of the Texian flag waving on the West bank of the Río del Norte, will arouse the energies of the whole nation. Under the circumstances, it would not be surprising if the wild adventure of Colonel Ross should bring about very important results. The Mexicans may regard the denial of having authorized the proceedings of Col. Ross as an artifice or stratagem to hide their actual participation in, or instigation of the outrage. In this event, actual hostilities between the two countries will he resumed -- war will be waged in earnest, and the struggle so long pending be brought to a speedy issue.

Hill," in Lamar Papers, VI, 135; Huson, "Iron men," 73; Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 178; Colorado Gazette and Advertiser, Jan. 11, 1840; Edward J. Wilson and G. L. Postlethwaite to the Public [Lexington, Ky.], quoted from the Lexington Intelligencer in the Telegraph and Texas Register, Nov. 12, 1836; see also comment by the editor of the Telegraph on the Wilson-Postlethwaite letter in ibid.

137. Quoted in Colorado Gazette and Advertiser, Dec. 21, 1839. For additional information on Sweitzer and Ross, see Telegraph and Texas Register, Dec. 25, 1839; "Recollections of Capt. Newcomb," in Lamar Papers, VI, 123; Yoakum, History of Texas, II, 274; Victor M. Rose, The Life and Services of Gen. Ben McCulloch, pp. 50-54. Captain Benjamin Hill claimed that he, Ross, and Roman had been dispatched as emissaries to Texas to raise new recruits.

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