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Federalist Wars: Final Phase

ers of the land; . . . [and they] will treat us as slaves. Our women, our properties, the precious land of our fathers will be prey to their greedy and ravenous covetousness, and then you will know [it], if well out of season. . . . But no, it will not succeed! Long live God! Let us all die before we suffer such infamy, let us clutch the avenging sword, let us repel without a doubt the aggression.

Arista hastened north from Tampico on August 4 with troops to strengthen the defenses of Matamoros and other frontier towns expected to be the points of the anticipated Federalist attacks. In an effort to distract the Texans at home, Arista, upon leaving Tampico, issued a proclamation, calling upon the Cherokees, Shawnees, Wacoes, Kickapoos, Conchates [Coushatti?], and other tribes to put into execution their plans for attacking the Texas settlements.

I have received, with much pleasure, the news that you have united yourselves on the height of the Brazos . . . with the object of making war on the Texians, unjustly your enemies. These robbers have taken from you the land which Mexico gave you; and they are the same lands which she [Mexico] offers to you now. . . . It is necessary that you make common cause with the Mexicans [to recover them].[46]

On the 16th Arista was at Matamoros, and on the 27th[47]  of August he crossed the Río Bravo with eleven hundred men and five pieces of artillery, with the intention of marching through the desert to surprise the revolutionists in their lurking place.[48]  Eight hundred men remained as a garrison at Matamoros under General Pedro de Ampudia while Arista marched north into "no man's land," for a short distance. The first night out of Matamoros Arista camped at Los Fresnos. Nine infantrymen died from the excessive heat and forty became ill. The second night he camped on the Arroyo Colorado fifteen leagues from Matamoros, where he received a report that several Texan vessels were approaching Brazos Santiago, near the mouth of the Río Grande. Only too glad for the excuse to turn back, he returned at once to Matamoros, reaching there on September 1.[49]  The next day, General Ampudia,

46. Proclamation of Arista, Aug. 6, 1840, translated in Austin City Gazette, Nov. 4, 1840.

47. Itinerario de las campañas en Tamaulipas, Coahuila y N. León, desde 23 Febrero de 1839 hasta hoy 28 Marzo de 1841, in El Ancla, March 29, 1841.

48. El Ancla, Aug. 31, 1840, says Arista crossed the Río Bravo with 1,000 men.

49. A report in the Austin City Gazette, Sept. 16, 1840, based on intelligence received from Brigadier General Edwin Morehouse of the Texas Militia, declared

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