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Federalist Wars: Final Phase

comprising the Second Division. Here plans were laid for intercepting and defeating the Federalists and their "unspeakable" foreign auxiliaries. It was agreed that Reyes, in command of the 650 cavalrymen of the Second Division should pursue Canales who was reported advancing toward China; that Arista should advance to the relief of Victoria with the First Brigade of the First Division of 700 men and four pieces of artillery; and that Vasquez, with the Second Brigade of 300 men and three pieces of artillery should remain to accord protection to Monterey and Saltillo.

In the meantime the Federalists were on the move. While en route to the Río Grande, Jordan was overtaken by a small force of Federalists under Colonel Juan N. Molano, brother-in-law of Canales,[59]  with orders to advance as far as China, on the San Juan, to get horses. The López-Molano-Jordan force crossed the Río Grande near Clay Davis' rancho on September 7, reported Molano,[60]  with 350 men, of whom 120 were "strangers," meaning "foreigners" or "Texans." The Ancla at Matamoros, however, reported that this force numbered 400 "bandits," 300 of whom were foreigners;[61]  actually, it numbered only some 110 Anglo-Americans comprising Jordan's company and about 150 Mexicans under López and Molano. Near the Río Grande they caught two Centralist spies, whom they carried ultimately to China, tried by court-martial and shot. Although mistrustful of their wily comrades, the reckless Texans moved on, capturing Guerrero, Mier, Camargo, and China on the Río San Juan. By striking southward from the Río Grande settlements they hoped that new companies might be recruited and arms, ammunition, and money collected. At China they found no horses. Molano caused Jordan to believe that the inhabitants had run them off at the approach of the Federalists, and that they could be found in a town close by. Thus the Texans were lured on from place to place, following first one dimly marked trail and then another in their search for horses. Often they found the trails ran away into infinity to be lost southward in mountain passes of naked rock, hot by day and cold by night. Near one of the towns the Texans forced a small detachment

59. "Information derived from Anson G. Neal," in Lamar Papers, VI, 107.

60. Juan Nepomuceno Molano a Señores Editores del Ancla, Matamoros, Marzo 1o de 1841, in El Ancla, March 15, 1841; "Statement of P. F. Bowman, Buffalo, N. Y.," in Lamar Papers, IV, pt. I, 239.

61. Sept. 28, 1840. October 12, 1840, El Ancla printed a report from one of Arista's officers saying that Molano's force at Victoria numbered 400 men, including 150 "colonials" (Texans).

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