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Formation of Republic of the Río Grande

would wait a half hour, with his watch in hand, for the surrender. If it did not take place within that time, he would attack until he had destroyed him.

The messenger was sent; the half hour and a quarter more passed, then Arista gave the signal to attack. The attacking force consisted of three columns of cavalry; the center force made up of two columns of 150 men each under Brevet Lieutenant Colonel José Tato and Captain Juan José Galán, and another of 100 from the 7th Regiment under its commander Cayetano Montero, with the artillery, composed of two six-pounders and one four-pounder. On the right were 120 infantrymen of the 4th Regiment under Captain Antonio Gonzáles Davila, and on the left 100 men from the veteran cavalry from Tampico under Captain Juan Beneneli. The entire force was commanded by General Ampudia, and was assigned to attack the enemy's center.

The reserve on the left was composed of the 7th Cavalry commanded by Arista, himself, and on the right was the 11th Infantry of 200 men commanded by General Reyes. The remaining forces of General Reyes guarded Zapata and the other prisoners. Captain Allen reported that Arista's force amounted to 1,300 men; whereas, Canales had only 400 men.[38]

Canales' troops were in front of the town of Morelos, protected by a grove of chaparral and two acequias that cut across the field. He had drawn his men together in the shape of a small triangle, defended by his three pieces of artillery which were under the direction of Captain Tomás Bonilla, Captain Orisanto Misa, and Lieutenant Gustave. At 11:30 a.m. the attack began with the two wings of the Centralist force moving quickly to their assignments. The Federalists fought bravely, although hopelessly outnumbered. Planting themselves around their three pieces of artillery, they held their fire until the enemy approached within thirty yards, when they opened a heavy discharge of cannister and grape, cutting down the Centralists in scores. In consequence, it became necessary for Arista after an hour of firing to send in the 7th Cavalry. At about 1:30 in the afternoon the Federalist ranks broke in complete rout. Quarter was neither asked nor offered.

38. "Facts of the Overthrow of Canales derived from Captain Allen of the Federal Army," from the Richmond Telescope, April 18, 1840, in Telegraph and Texas Register, April 29, 1840; W. F. O. to W. D. Wallach, Bastrop, May 5, 1840, in Colorado Gazette and Advertiser, May 23, 1840, says Canales' force at Morelos numbered only 180, which figure seems to be exceedingly low.

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