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Federalist Wars: Second Phase

In the same message to Congress, on November 12, 1839, Lamar declared that one of the best safeguards to the frontier was a well organized militia. "Its entire disorganization when I came into office and the difficulties experienced in organizing it since," he complained, "owing in some degree to the sparseness of our population, but mainly to the general repugnance which is felt to the performance of militia duty unless an immediate call to the field is intended have rendered that most important arm of National defence in great degree, unavailable." He found sufficient patriotism among the citizens of the country to cause them to rush to the battlefield whenever the enemy put in his appearance, but this was not enough. The country needed a well organized and well disciplined military establishment, but, in the end, he said, the chief reliance against sudden invasion must be placed upon the militia. In attempting to conform to the law enacted by the last Congress[152]  for the organization of the militia, the President stated,

I have most ardently endeavoured to make it a bulwark indeed, and every measure has been adopted, which it has been thought might be conducive to that end. But although these efforts have not resulted as satisfactorily as was desired yet the work is now progressing with an energy which assures us that it will in a short time be accomplished to as great an extent as the scattered condition and the habits of our population will admit. Complete success however, may not be expected so long as a law leaves it optional with individuals to conform to its requirements or not, as it may chance to comport with their feelings or conveniences.

By November 1839, the organization of the militia had progressed through the formation of companies in twenty-four counties. In seven counties the companies were still incomplete.[153]  Of the twenty-four counties in which the militia had been organized, muster rolls had been forwarded to the Adjutant General's Department, representing 4,620 men organized into 111 companies.

Not only was there the problem of organizing an effective militia, but there was also the problem of raising the regular force contemplated by the law of the last Congress. In raising the latter force,

152. Third Congress. See Gammel (ed.), Laws of Texas, II, 88.

153. H. McLeod to A. Sidney Johnston, Adjutant-General's Office, Austin, November 9, 1839, in Smither (ed.), Journals of the Fourth Congress of the Republic of Texas, III, 81-82; printed separately under title: [Texas Adjutant General] Report of the Adjutant-General, November, 1839. Printed by order of Congress.

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