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Frontier Raids, Threats, and Counter-Threats of Invasion

wounded so severely that his recovery at the end of the year (1841) was considered doubtful.

The citizens of Victoria assembled in a public meeting at the Pavilion on September 20 with S. O. Tarpley as chairman and G. Everrette as secretary, for the purpose of providing for their own defense and of soliciting the authorities at Austin for assistance from a blood-thirsty Mexican foe who have carried into captivity "some six or eight valuable citizens" and plundered the town of Refugio of much property. The citizens of Victoria proceeded to create a committee of vigilance of six persons, whose duties were: (1) "to visit every house [in the town], ascertain as near as possible the state of the arms, and the quantity or number on hand, and if in order for actual and immediate use and service"; (2) to establish and provide support for a night guard; (3) to provide for continuation of the recently embodied spy company, but if this company were not in readiness, then for the immediate creation of another; and (4) to petition the Secretary of War for fifty stands of guns, one six-pound field piece, and a supply of ammunition.[18]

A verbal report of the sacking of Refugio reached Austin on Saturday, September 25, and immediately, in consequence of this new attack upon the frontier, Colonel Peter Hansbrough Bell, adjutant general of the Texas militia, was instructed by the War Department to inquire into the affair at Refugio and report to the government at Austin. He was ordered to take whatever steps he deemed "necessary for the future protection of Refugio and other exposed towns and settlements on the western frontier."

You are hereby further ordered to report to the Government, as early as practicable, your opinion, as to the influence which the Trade no[w] carried on with the Mexicans upon the Río Grande, has in producing the difficulties arising in the west -- and whether said trade should be closed, or still continued.

It is the object of the Executive to clear the Country of its enemies, and to repel them when, and wherever they make their appearance; and for this purpose you are invested with ful[l] powers to raise whatever force is necessary to this end -- to appoint your own Quarter Masters, and other officers, and to give receipts for such supplies as you may procure for the support & subsistence of your force. But whilst the Executive is thus anxious

18. Report of a Public Meeting at Victoria, September 20, 1841, in Texas Sentinel (Austin), Oct. 14, 1841; G. Everrette, Secretary of the Committee of Vigilance, to Branch T. Archer, Secretary of War, Victoria, Sept. 21, 1841, in ibid.

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