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Federalist Wars: Second Phase

garrison at Monterey had been re-enforced by sixteen hundred men. As a matter of fact, Arista did not reach Monterey until the day after Canales' arrival at Guadalupe, and even then not in full strength. If Canales had pushed on rapidly from Cadereyta it is possible that even in spite of the delay at the Zacate Pass he might have been able to enter Monterey without much difficulty. After a report from his scouts and upon the insistence of the trigger-happy Texans, Canales advanced to El Rancho de los Talayotes, two leagues beyond Guadalupe and slightly less than one from Monterey, where his army, variously estimated at from 1,000 to 1,250 men supported by four pieces of artillery, halted and hastily threw up a breastwork, expecting a close engagement from General Arista's troops who were rumored to be approaching.[161]

With Arista's arrival at Monterey, a brief exchange of correspondence ensued between the two leaders of the contending forces, but failing to convince Canales of the errors of his ways, Arista decided to show his strength.[162]  Believing himself sufficiently strengthened by the arrival on the 26th of the Second Brigade, he prepared to attack the Federalist forces. Leaving behind three hundred regulars and two hundred defensores under Reyes, the governor of Coahuila, to protect the city, he left Monterey with Ortega in the afternoon of the 29th with a thousand men and four pieces of artillery. As he advanced toward Guadalupe, he encountered on December 30 a portion of the Federal army in a narrow well-concealed defile near Talayotes, three miles from Monterey. He charged them with his cavalry and put them to flight. After fleeing some distance in order to draw Arista further from the city, the Federalists formed in a cane field, where, entrenched, they opened fire with their cannon upon the pursuing Centralists, who came to a sudden halt and fell back out of the range of fire. The Federal entrenchments were manned by four hundred infantrymen, supported by the four field pieces which had been taken from Pavón. The remainder of the Federalist troops were deployed slightly to the rear at the foot of a hillock eager to join the affray. Arista dared not

161. Ibid.; Alessio Robles, Coahuila y Texas, II, 217 n.; D. W. Smith to John Forsyth, Matamoros, Jan. 17, 1840, in Consular Dispatches (Matamoros), microfilm, ms.; El Ancla, Feb. 28, 1840; El Diario del Gobierno (Mexico City), Jan. 12, 1840.

162. Mariano Arista, El Comandante general de Tamaulipas y en gefe del Division auxiliar del Norte, á Ministro de la guerra y marina, Dec. 28, 1839, in El Ancla, Feb. 28, 1840.

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