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Formation of Republic of the Río Grande

numbered 650 men, and formed the vanguard of Arista's advance.[27]  On March 15 Arista left Guerrero and four days later was at Laredo, where he was joined by Captain Galán with 150 presidials. It was reported that when Arista crossed the river to Laredo, on the Texas side of the doubtful boundary, he remarked, "O famous Río Bravo del Norte, God only knows whether after this campaign in Texas, I shall recross you."[28]  Learning on the 20th that Canales was at San Fernando de Rosas, Reyes' brigade immediately advanced in that direction. On the road Reyes learned that Zapata was at Santa Rita de Morelos; so he dispatched eighty-eight of his best horsemen from the presidials of Río Grande and Lampazos to apprehend him. At two leagues from Morelos, Captain Galán was ordered to advance to the attack on March 24.

According to his instructions, Zapata was to have been absent one day from the main Federalist force; but, contrary to orders, he remained five days, apparently in anticipation of a Comanche Indian attack upon Morelos which had been rumored. Jesús Barrera, who was with Zapata at the time, tells how Zapata was tricked by the Centralists of Morelos, posing as ardent Federalists, into remaining at Morelos longer than he intended. As Zapata's men were saddling their mounts early in the morning to return to San Fernando to join Canales, the principal citizens of Morelos assembled around Zapata, expressing great surprise and hurt feelings that he intended to leave so soon his friends who were so anxious to serve him. After offering him every hospitality, they proposed to kill a beef for his men. "He yielded to their kindness, and ordered his men to dismount, saying that he would spend the day in Morelos. His horses were given to the care of those who had invited him to remain; and by them immediately delivered up to some soldiers, who until then had not made their appearance and whose being there, Zapata knew nothing of."[29]  Their supposed friends no sooner secured possession of the Federalists' horses than they opened fire upon Zapata and his men. Their shots missed Zapata, who took refuge in an adjoining house, where he was soon joined by as

27. El Ancla, Suplemento al num. 14, April 3, 1840.

28. Quoted in an extract of a letter of C. Van Ness to Adjutant and Inspector General [Hugh] McLeod, San Antonio, April 7, 1840, Telegraph and Texas Register, April 22, 1840; Texas Sentinel, April 15, 1840.

29. Jesús Bar[r]era's Account of the Battle of Morelos, in Lamar Papers, IV, 131-132.

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