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Federalist Wars: Final Phase

Having concluded his arrangements with Molano, Montoya, now full of confidence of impending victory, hastily dashed off a note to General Arista, declaring, "the foreigners against whom I have directed all my means, must perish today; you will tell me whether I shall shoot all, or only those who come last"[116]  to surrender.

When it was announced, or assumed, in the Federalist camp that Molano was being retained as a prisoner, López "cried out for . . . [his] rescue and urged Jordan to charge upon the foe." Jordan declared that he did not care to act hastily, but would like to know more about the strength, position, and design of the enemy before going into battle. He called in his scouts, and moved to a point where he could get a better view of the whole force of his opponent. With López, he chose a position for battle, and awaited the advance of the Centralists, but they did not move. Each side waited for the other to advance. As the day wore on Molano sent messengers at regular intervals reporting alternately progress and delay in the negotiations. About 2 o'clock in the afternoon a considerable re-enforcement belonging to General Montoya's command was received by the Centralists, and preparations were immediately made for an attack upon the Federal lines. The Centralists, besides possessing two cannons, now numbered over 1,000 men, of whom 400 were cavalry; whereas the Federal army had dropped to 150 mounted rancheros, 75 Mexican infantrymen, and 110 Texans, mounted, numbering in all less than a third of their opponents."[117]

Under these circumstances López now proposed that the Texans and Mexicans fight separately, and said "that he would move around the hill and attack the Enemy in the rear whilst Jordan charged him in front." The movements were to be carried out simultaneously, López pressing upon the rear and Jordan pushing upon them in front. The fire of the guns was to be the signal for Jordan to attack. López then formed the Federal troops in double column, the Texans in the rear, and ordered them to march to the right. The Mexican Federalist cavalry was to attack the enemy's right, while the Americans, as infantry, reported Jordan, were to advance to the enemy's left.[118]

At 2:30 p.m. the Federalists began their advance. The head of the

116. Quoted in Telegraph and Texas Register, Dec. 16, 1840.

117. Yoakum, History of Texas, II, 294.

118. S. W. Jordan to Gen. Lic. Canales, Laredo, Nov. 2, 1840, in Telegraph and Texas Register, Dec. 16, 1840; typed copy in John S. Ford, "Memoirs," II, 238-241, ms.

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