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Frontier Raids, Threats, and Counter-Threats of Invasion

pended by his heels and quite dead" at Burke's Hollow,[14]  six miles south of the Mission, where the Mexicans paused briefly. While the unit rested here, "Sabina Brown, who was then the wife of Michael Fox, one of the prisoners, came up with the party," having followed her husband on foot all the way from town. Crazed with grief, the poor woman pleaded for his release. One of Agatón's men struck her on the head with his pistol, which proved too much for the bandit chief, cruel as he was; so, he graciously freed Michael Fox and permitted them both to return to Refugio.[15]

News of the raid spread quickly and Texans were soon in pursuit of the marauders. A party of about twenty-five Texan volunteers from the region from the San Antonio River to beyond Aransas quickly assembled under the leadership of Captain Cairns and took up the trail the day after the sacking of Refugio, but failed to overtake them. Agatón's party left Texas by way of Laredo and carried its prisoners to Lampazos, where they were subsequently released by order of General Rafael Vasquez. Several of the released men requested passports to visit Arista's headquarters at Monterey to ask for redress, but their request was rejected and the unhappy men returned home to report that the country west of the Río Grande was in a wretched condition. The garrisons were small and the soldiers were reported to be "ill armed, ill clothed, and so cowardly" that they could afford little protection to the unfortunate rancheros who were constantly subjected to the inroads of the warlike Comanches and other Indians.[16]  Arista was reported at Monterey with seven to eight hundred men under his command; Vasquez was at Lampazos with three hundred men; and forty soldiers were said to be at Laredo.

Upon Agatón's return to Mexico, he was summoned to Arista's headquarters at Monterey to "answer for the outrage he had committed, as he had express orders not to injure any Texian citizens east of the Nueces."[17]  Unable to justify his conduct, it was said, he was placed under guard until his punishment could be determined. In the meantime, he attempted to escape and was shot by one of the guards and

14. Huson, "Refugio," vol. II, chap. 23, p. 14. Ryals was apparently hung by his heels and then shot. See Goodman, "A Statement of Facts, Washington, Feby 10, 1843," in W. D. Miller Papers, 1833-1860, ms. Huson says that Ryals was tied to a horse's tail and dragged to death, as well as riddled with bullets.

15. Huson, "Refugio," vol. II, chap. 23, p. 14.

16. Telegraph and Texas Register, Dec. 8, 1841.

17. Ibid., Jan. 5, 1842.

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