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Formation of Republic of the Río Grande

"the hour is come. . . . The liberty and felicity of this Republic [of the Río Grande] are nigh at hand. Let one part be organized quickly and the others will follow its example."[17]

Canales remained at Guerrero until February 18, when it was reported that Arista was advancing from Cadereyta toward that place. He then headed up the river to Presidio del Río Grande, which place he entered on March 3 without opposition. The inhabitants of Coahuila and Durango, farther to the west, did not rally to his standard in great numbers as he had expected, but instead gave evidence of succumbing to the frantic appeals of Generals Arista and Reyes, couched in the most patriotic strains, "to rally to the standard of war, in order to save the country from the traitors, pirates, rebels and savages whose sole aim," they said, "are to rob you of your wives, your children, lay waste your Farms, burn and destroy your property, change your laws, in fine enslave you like they would the black man."[18]

At Presidio the seventy-four Texans in the Federalist army proposed that Canales establish his headquarters on the Nueces where there would be a better opportunity to recruit Texans, who had definitely proven themselves the heroes in the battle of the Alamo (Alcantro, El Cántaro). When Canales refused to agree to this proposition, sixty of the Texans under the command of Colonel Jordan returned home, taking different routes and suffering much on the way. After Jordan's departure, Canales sent Zapata's small force of thirty men of the Guerrero Squadron, including 12 Anglo-Texans, on detached duty to Santa Rita de Morelos to gather money, corn, and other effects,[19]

17. Lic. [Antonio] Canales, General in Chief of the Conventional Army, to the Troops under his Command, City of Guerrero, Feb. 8, 1840, in Colorado Gazette and Advertiser, March 28, 1840.

18. Quoted in A. S. Wright to William Bryan, City of Mexico, Dec. 27, 1839, in George P. Garrison (ed.), Diplomatic Correspondence of Texas, in Annual Report of the American Historical Association, 1908, II, 520-522.

19. There is some indication that the real reason for the division of the Federalist force at this point was a quarrel between Zapata and Canales. Their differences must not have been serious, however, for Canales soon went to the relief of Zapata. "Information derived from [Augustin] Soto [Alcalde of Laredo], in Lamar Papers, VI, 116, 121; Lic. A. Canales to His Excellency, the President of the Provisional Government of the Northern Frontier of the Mexican Republic, Conventional Army, General-in-Chief, Río Grande, near Fernando, March 26, 1840, in Texas Sentinel (Austin), May 9, 1840 (trans. by José María J. Carbajal of the Federal Army). Canales says Zapata's force numbered 39 men.

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