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Federalist Wars: Final Phase

commanding the First Division of the Second Brigade, was sent out with five hundred men and two pieces of artillery to investigate. Ampudia was instructed to reconnoiter the coast from the Isle of Balli on the north to the bar of San José on the south.[50]  He remained at the mouth of the Río Grande until September 11, when he returned to the city to report that the Texan vessels had all retired.[51]

All this excitement seems to have been caused by the Texan Commodore E. W. Moore, who never lost an opportunity to worry the Mexican government. Moore had stationed three of his ships, the Austin, the San Bernard, and the San Jacinto off the coast of Vera Cruz within a few miles of the Castle of San Juan de Úlloa hoping to learn whether the Texan diplomatic agent, James Treat, sent under a United States passport to Mexico, was having any success in his negotiations for the recognition of Texas independence. Hearing a rumor from Tampico that Canales was advancing toward Matamoros at the head of two thousand troops,[52]  seven hundred of whom were Texans, Moore, left the San Bernard off Vera Cruz to maintain contact with Treat and sailed north in the Austin, accompanied by the San Jacinto. The latter he sent on to Galveston with communications for the Texan State Department, while with his flagship, the Austin, he laid off the mouth of the Río Grande for a number of days by way of making a demonstration against Matamoros. Even if there may not have been a preconcerted plan to cooperate with the Mexican Federalists, then preparing to advance from the Nueces, the presence of the Texan vessels

that owing to a large proportion of his men declaring for federalism, Arista appeared to follow their example and persuaded them to stack their arms. No sooner was this accomplished than they were immediately made prisoners by those who remained loyal and Arista again declared boldly in favor of the Centralists. About this time an express from Matamoros reached his camp with intelligence that the citizens had joined with the troops in declaring in favor of Federalism. This caused Arista's hasty return to the city. The writer has found no reliable data to corroborate these conclusions. It is highly improbable that the citizens of Matamoros would declare for Federalism at this late date when that cause was becoming increasingly unpopular in northern Mexico.

50. El Ancla, Sept. 21, 1840; Mariano Arista, El general en gefe del cuerpo de Ejército del Norte, á la 1a division, Cuartel general en Arroyo Colorado, Agosto 30 de 1840, broadside.

51. 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.

52. E. W. Moore to Louis P. Cooke, Texan Sloop of War Austin, Mouth of Tabacco River, Dec. 24, 1841 [1840?], in Harriet Smither (ed.), Journals of the Sixth Congress of the Republic of Texas, III, 373.

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