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Capture and Death of Dimitt

the goods, but not the tobacco, was loaded on two vessels in the bay, and the remainder was packed away on mules. According to Arista's proclamation, the tobacco was not subject to division among the captors but became the property of the government. One of the vessels appropriated by the Mexicans was described as a "boat," found in the bay, managed by a decrepit old man named Manuel; the other was a lagoon skiff, which was seen approaching on the day following the capture of Dimitt and was taken without resistance. Its crew was tied up and held captive.

While these events were transpiring, the remainder of the Mexican party under Captain Sánchez reconnoitered carefully along the shore to learn if other enemies were in the vicinity, and, if so, in what force. Finding no signs of an enemy. Sánchez and his men passed to the island adjoining to take precautionary measures without delay and to keep news of their arrival from spreading, for fear that superior Texan forces, known to be a short distance away, would come to attack him.

During the afternoon of the 4th, Sánchez learned that at a place, three miles distant, called Sal de la Nación, several Texans were working.[13]  The Texans working the salt deposits were said to be well armed. Fearing that should the smallness of his force become known to them he might be attacked, the Mexican captain decided to take the initiative and see if he could surprise and capture them. For this purpose he dispatched Lieutenant Chipita and five of his most trusted men, who succeeded in capturing the six men at the salt lagoon.

The Mexican troops spent the night in the vicinity of Kinney's rancho. During the evening Captain Sánchez and Lieutenant Chipita visited the ranch, but nothing at the ranch was disturbed, nor was any person connected with that establishment or in the employment of Kinney and Aubrey molested.[14]  About daylight they returned from Colonel Kinney's with bottles of whiskey, pilot bread, and other supplies. Thompson later stated under oath that Don Juan, a trader who arrived about the same time as the Mexican force from the Río Grande, remarked to Sánchez that he had been up to Colonel Kinney's, to which "the Captain merely replied with a laugh."[15]

After spending a night of uneasiness and constant vigilance, the Mexican party prepared to return to Matamoros on the afternoon of

13. El Ancla, July 12, 1841.

14. Telegraph and Texas Register, July 14 and 21, 1841.

15. "William Thompson's Affidavit, Republic of Texas, Victoria County, July 10, 1841," ibid., Aug. 11, 1841.

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