shall be taken the volunteers shall be paid their dues. . . . All booty that may be taken from the troops of the centralists shall be valued and distributed among the troops occupied or employed on each particular occasion; except the arms, munitions, and other things relating to the military service.
Captain Price reached Victoria on or just before March 24 and commenced his recruiting operations. It was expected that he would be ready to start for the Río Grande around the 7th or 8th of April with one hundred volunteers. Already, however, probably with the idea of forestalling further desertion from the Texan military units either for the purpose of joining in an expedition against northern Mexico or of simply abandoning the Texan service, Lamar had issued an "Address to the Soldiers of the Army" on March 14, 1840, in which he emphasized that "A soldier's duty should be a soldier's pride" and that fidelity to one's country was "the first great principle of all duty." Desertion, he declared, is "the highest of all crimes which a soldier can commit and most deserving the punishment of death." He warned that the severity of the law should be meted out to future deserters, but offered a pardon to all persons now classed as deserters if they should voluntarily return to duty.
Meanwhile, as Arista continued to advance after reaching Guerrero, Cárdenas fled through the chaparral towards the Nueces, taking up his position at Lake Espantosa on the Nueces, ultimately moving to Casa Blanca, on the lower Nueces which had been designated by Lamar as a check-point for Mexican traders.
Arista's First Brigade was commanded by General Isidro Reyes, second in command of the Army of the North, re-enforced by a section under Captain Juan Galán and two pieces of artillery. Reyes' unit
24. _______ to W. D. Wallach, Victoria, March 24, 1840, in Colorado Gazette and Advertiser, March 28, 1840, W. D. Wallach was a civil engineer at Matagorda and editor of the Gazette.
25. Mirabeau B. Lamar's "Address to the Soldiers of the Army," March 14, 1840, Executive Department, Austin, March 14, 1840, in Record of Executive Documents from the 10th December, 1838, to the 14th December, 1841, ms.; [Address to the army on the subject of desertion, dated:] Executive Department, Austin, March 14, 1840. [Text begins:] Soldiers: I am constrained by feelings of deep regret and mortification, to address you in the language of admonition . . ., broadside.
26. Telegraph and Texas Register, April 8, 1840.