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Marauders and Frontier Trade and Life

among the Texan prisoners exchanged. The prisoners were held to September 14, during which time they were boarded by William Snodgrass at a cost of $10 per day for twenty-eight days.[4]

Based on information obtained from Captain Corsco and his men and several Irish settlers at the southern extremity of Padre Island, it was estimated that the whole Mexican force on the Río Grande did not exceed three hundred troops, distributed as follows: one hundred regular infantry in Matamoros; fifty men, part infantry and part cavalry, under Colonel Fernández at Camargo -- the cavalry horses were said to be so poor they could scarcely walk; forty rancheros on the Arroyo Colorado under Colonel Villareal; and higher up and north of the Río Grande were an estimated fifty to a hundred men under Colonel Ramírez ranging the country as a robber band -- "a terror to the traders of either party." No doubt the weakness of the Mexican military position along the line of the Río Grande was due to the outbreak of revolutionary disturbances in the interior of Mexico.

In spite of Arista's attitude and repeated orders from the Mexican authorities against the conduct of trade with Texas,[5]  wagons loaded with beans, sugar, flour, leather, shoes, saddles, and silver bars molded in sand, each embracing $50 to $60 of pure silver, continued to cross the prairies to be exchanged for calico (bleached and unbleached), tobacco, and American hardware. The trade persisted, although the

4. Petition of William Snodgrass [being a] Claim of Wm. Snodgrass to Com[mittee] on Military Affairs, Memorials and Petitions (Texas), ms. Snodgrass claimed that he boarded the prisoners from August 17-September 14, 1841 (28 days) at a cost of $10.00 a day, or $280. He presented his claim for reimbursement December 24, 1841, to the House of Representatives, where it was referred to the Committee on Military Affairs, and payment was ordered by a joint Resolution of Congress, approved by President Houston on January 29, 1842. Harriet Smither (ed.), Journals of the Sixth Congress of the Republic of Texas, II, 211; III, 494.

5. Jesús Cárdenas, Prefecto del distrito del Norte en el Departamento de Tamaulipas, á todos sus habitantes, Mier, Jan. 6, 1842, Matamoros Archives, 1840-1842, XL (photostat), broadside. Cárdenas, former president of the Republic of the Río Grande, announced that in accordance with the orders of the Minister of War and Marine of November 26, 1841, and of General Arista of December 26, 1841, the inhabitants of Laredo who traded with the Texans, as reported by D. Francisco Calvillo, would be sentenced to eight years in the regular army at Tampico and those not suitable for service in the army would be confined in the presidio de Matamoros. See also, Jesús Cárdenas en Cuidad Guerrero ál Alcalde de Matamoros, Feb. 12, 1842, concerning the apprehended "contrabandistas," in ibid., and Mariano Arista to D. Pedro de Ampudia, Army of the North, Dec. 26, 1841, no. 450, in El Honor Nacional (Matamoros), Dec. 27, 1841.

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