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Rumors of Invasion

through Colonel Kinney, notified General Arista that the men taken at Refugio were unoffending citizens, and not soldiers, they were released.[13]  At this time Arista was rumored contemplating rising against Santa Anna and had no desire to offend the Texans. Reports from the Río Grande said he was fortifying San Fernando de Rosas and other towns.[14]

In consequence of the raid on Refugio, a company, known as the "San Patricio Rangers," was organized "for the mutual protection of our persons, property and civil and religious liberties" at Camp Independence, west of the Nueces River, May 18, 1841. The party included twenty-four men, headed by James P. Ownsby as Captain. Ewen Cameron and John H. Yerby, who formerly resided at Austin were among the privates.[15]  It was stipulated that all spoils taken were to be held jointly until equally divided. A member was liable to the forfeiture of one-eighth to one-fourth of his share of the booty for breach of discipline or neglect of duty.[16]  This company was apparently organized without authorization from the government.

The "San Patricio Rangers" made one successful sally not upon the Mexican raiders, but upon a party of traders, capturing goods, cash, and horses amounting to one thousand dollars, and murdering the eight Mexicans whom they had taken without resistance.[17]  The thieves then fell out among themselves over a division of the booty. One man withdrew from the group and the remainder divided into two parties -- one under Yerby and the majority under Ownsby. Ownsby's raiders descended to the Río Grande, and near Para encountered sixty to seventy Mexicans under Colonel Ramírez. A fight ensued in which

War II, vol. II, chap. 24, p. 4; John J. Linn, Reminiscences of Fifty Years in Texas, pp. 310-311.

13. Lamar Papers, IV, pt. I, 214. A. S. Wright to William Bryan, Mexico City, Dec. 25, 1839, in Garrison (ed.), Diplomatic Correspondence of Texas, 1908, II, 518-520.

14. "P. S. 23 May" to R[euben] M[armaduke] P[otter] to Editor of the Morning Star (Houston), Béxar, May 22, 1841, quoted in Telegraph and Texas Register, June 9, 1841.

15. A list of the "rangers" may be found in Frederick C. Chabot, Corpus Christi and Lipantitlán, pp. 31-32.

16. [Statement of Colonel H. L. Kinney], Lamar Papers, no. 2421, ms.; John T. Price to Branch T. Archer, Secretary of War and Navy, Victoria, July 2, 1841, Army Papers (Texas), ms.

17. Ibid.

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