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Texan Participation
in the Federalist Wars: Final Phase

IN COMPANY WITH Captain Howard and Lieutenant Houghton, Colonel Henry Karnes arrived in Austin on June 13, conferred with the Secretary of War, and hurried on to Houston to confer with Lamar concerning increased Indian depredations in the vicinity of Béxar, partly brought on by Centralist agents operating among the Comanches. His conference with Lamar resulted in the order to raise a regiment of volunteers "to operate immediately upon the extreme western frontier, with the view of establishing permanently the national jurisdiction to the Río Bravo, and securing the territory of Texas from any further violation, by an enemy who are now stationed in considerable force within our borders, at Laredo."[1]  Karnes was told that in the event regular troops were called into service to operate in the same area jointly with him, under an officer of equal grade as his, the command would devolve upon the colonel of the regular service until a brigadier general should be appointed to take charge of the combined force. The President hoped that an adequate number of volunteers could be raised without the necessity of having to use any of the regulars, "whose services will be wanted in another direction."[2]

The selection of Karnes for this most delicate task was a credit to Lamar's administrative ability. Not only would the choice instill confidence in the average westerner, but Karnes could be depended upon to support the policy of the government without becoming embroiled in Federalist machinations. Born in Tennessee on September 8, 1812, Henry Wax Karnes came to Texas from Arkansas in 1835 and joined the Texan revolutionary volunteers at Mission Concepción and par-

1. H. W. Karnes' Call for Volunteers, Houston, June 24, 1840, in Telegraph and Texas Register (Houston), July 1, 1840; Brazos Courier (Brazoria), June 30, 1840.

2. Mirabeau B. Lamar to Col. [Henry W.] Karnes, Galveston, June 23, 1840, in Record of Executive Documents, from the 10th December 1838 to the 14th December, 1841, ms., p. 196.

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