Go to Page | Index | Contents 383     | Biblio. | Page- | Page+

Invasion Excitement

some reports the troops were already on the march for the Nueces; whereas, other reports said they were awaiting the orders of Arista. A larger force was said to be on the march north from the interior of Mexico.[22]

Upon the receipt of the dispatch from San Antonio, Secretary of War Archer immediately ordered Major Howard to maintain scouts to the west and particularly to watch the crossings of the rivers to the west of San Antonio and to keep the War Department informed.[23]

Although anxious to comply with the instructions he had received, Howard complained from his headquarters at the Alamo that the horses at Post San Antonio were in such a poor condition that he could only carry out the orders very slowly. Besides, he had only one keg of musket powder on hand. His situation was expected to be some what improved with the arrival of Lieutenant Lewis' detachment the next day (December 17). Major Howard recommended that all communications between San Antonio and the Río Grande by traders be intercepted, "for I am certain," he said, "that the majority of them are Centralists, and our enemies."[24]  Some envelopes which he had found, "of letters carried in by them, addressed to suspicious individuals of this place, convinces me," he continued, "that the sooner the trade is stopped the better." He went on to say that he had received information that on the night of December 14 "a courier had arrived in town in great haste" from the Río Grande, and since then it had been rumored that Captain Arriola, Captain Antonio Pérez, and Colonel Seguin, all of Béxar, had accepted commissions in the Centralist service.[25]  In conclusion, Howard suggested the purchase of three or four good American horses to be used by the Texan spies. Such horses, he believed, could be obtained at San Antonio for $150-$200 in par money. The War Department however, had not one dollar at its command, and could not, the Secretary informed the President "extend to

22. Ibid.

23. This particular order has not been found, and the statements in this paragraph are based on information gleaned from the references listed in footnotes 24-26 of this chapter.

24. George T. Howard to Branch T. Archer, Post San Antonio, Dec. 16, 1840, Army Papers (Texas), ms.; also printed in Texas Congress, Journals of the House of Representatives, Fifth Congress, Appendix, pp. 374-375; David G. Burnet to the Senate and House of Representatives, Executive Department, Austin, Dec. 21, 1840, in ibid., p. 322.

25. Ibid., p. 322.

Go to Page | Index | Contents 383     | Biblio. | Page- | Page+

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