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Capture and Death of Dimitt

Bravo."[69]  Sutherland was accused of having been an officer in the battle of San Jacinto, but Dimitt's crime was not stated in the report forwarded by the American consul from Matamoros; however, several of the prisoners were charged only with being in his company. Dimitt's crime was great, as he had been among the first to raise the flag of independence at Goliad, and the New Orleans Commercial Bulletin, reporting the news from Matamoros, says he was charged also with "selling goods to degraded Mexicans, who afterwards smuggled them into the Mexican provinces."[70]

The mistreatment of Mexican traders in Texas and the vicissitudes of recent political developments in Mexico[71]  seem to have reacted against the Texas prisoners. The precarious position of Bustamante's government, whose cause had been flatteringly supported by Arista who was at this time negotiating with agents from Texas, may have caused the government to order the "odious Texians" on to the capital.

From Monterey the prisoners, plus three or four other Texans, were sent on toward Mexico City in irons and under a heavy guard commanded by Captain Chaffind. After a day's journey, the Captain ordered their irons removed. The Texans were inclined to go peacefully to Mexico, said Thomas Pratt, and "would have done so had it not been for the severe treatment they had received on the road and the representations that were made to them daily." There were all sorts of rumors afloat among their guard concerning the ultimate fate of the prisoners. They were told that they were to be sent to the mines, that at Mexico City they would be shot, that they would never reach San Luis Potosí, that they would be massacred on the road, and many other things. Thus, it was no wonder that by the time they reached Saltillo, they were determined to make an effort to escape.

Just beyond Saltillo, at the Hacienda de Agua Nuevo, on September 10 an unsuccessful attempt was made to drug the guards by adding morphine to a quantity of mescal which they had purchased for their

69. Pedro de Ampudia to [D. W.] Smith, Army of the North, First Division, Second Brigade, Sept. 24, 1841, copy enclosed in D. W. Smith to Webster, Matamoros, Sept. 26, 1841, in Consular Dispatches (Matamoros), ms., microfilm. See also Austin City Gazette quoted in Telegraph and Texas Register, Sept. 29, 1841; Thomas Pratt to Richard Pakenham, Jan. 30, 1841 [1842]; Same to Same, Feb. 6, 1842, in English-Mexican Diplomatic Correspondence, 1841-1842, Public Records Office, London, England.

70. Quoted in Telegraph and Texas Register, Aug. 25. 1841.

71. Discussed on pp. 437-443, 473.

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