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Frontier Raids, Threats, and Counter-Threats of Invasion

Texian patriot who would not advocate a similar policy, in the event of a serious invasion? Who would be content with simply repelling the invaders; and then to relapse into the inert, and, so far as peace is concerned, unproductive quietude of the last five years? If there be such, he and I differ essentially, as to the most efficient and expeditious means of securing what we all desire, the peace, independence and happiness of Texas. I could not be satisfied with a mere repulsion of the invading host; and then to give our faithless enemy another five years of undisturbed tranquility to reanimate his drooping spirits; replenish his exhausted coffers; and again, at a convenient season, to marshal his recruited forces for another desolating inroad. No! I would not. If our citizens must again be impelled to the battlefield, I would not remit our labors, until the great work of the revolution should be accomplished; and the hardened pride of Mexico be humbled in the dust, before the banner of Texian freedom.[43]

For a brief spell after Bell's visit all was quiet on the frontier, until some time in November when the Texan spies on the Nueces discovered a party of Mexicans collecting some thirty miles away.[44]  Their movements were carefully observed for several weeks by the Texan scouts. Finally, it was announced that the Mexican force was advancing toward Corpus Christi. The cannon was drawn up in front of the gate of Kinney's post, "well charged and man[n]ed."[45]  Late in the evening of December 23, Cairns' men, numbering some twenty-eight, re-enforced by twenty-five citizens, ordered the Mexicans into the post, disarmed them, and placed their horses under a strong guard for two days; when becoming convinced of their peaceful intentions, they were permitted to trade and leave. After the Mexicans had been gone several days, reported Goodman, "Capt. Carnes with some volunteer citizens, proceed[ed] west in order to rout the Enemy."[46]  Discovering a camp, Cairns' party of twenty men charged it, thinking it was the enemy, but found that the camp was that of a small party of traders. After running some distance, the traders halted and indicated they desired not to fight, but Cairns again charged them, killing one.

43. David G. Burnet to the Senate, Saturday Morning, Dec. 4, 1841, in ibid., I, 92-97.

44. Goodman, "A Statement of Facts, Washington, Feby 10, 1843," in W. D. Miller Papers, 1833-1860, ms.

45. Ibid.

46. Ibid.; _______ to William L. Hunter of Goliad [in Austin], Victoria, Dec. 24, 1841, in Daily Bulletin, Dec. 31, 1841.

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