Go to Page | Index | Contents 536     | Biblio. | Page- | Page+

Growth of War Spirit in the West

the Revolution; and if you will examine the muster rolls of that period the fighting men were but few from the large proportion of them being on useless recruiting service in the U. S. But even supposing 20 or 30,000 men could be raised to join the expedition, with means to overrun the country, it could not be held any length of time. It would take that number to garrison sufficient military posts to keep the Mexicans in subjection -- a task that will be found more difficult than many may imagine. . . . We can not keep the Comanches from forcing our frontier . . . and they fight mostly with bows and arrows. Mexicans are more advanced in the arts of warfare and when a foreign army shall have entered the heart of the nation, they will fight with a desperation not surpassed by Texians themselves. I know the Mexican reputed cowardice. I know they are cowards; but even a coward will fight desperately when driven to the wall. They will hover about your fortifications and camp with an eagle eye, and hang on the flanks, and rear of an army with the tenacity of a Seminole Indian, killing the soldiers by detail, and cutting of[f] subsistence untill the whole 20 or 30,000 shall have perished either by the sword or starvation.

In fact, taking into consideration what it has cost Texas to obtain and retain her independence, with the present value of the country, the whistle would be dearly paid for. . . . They can no more than the Indian conmingle with us, and will recede as we approach, untill time shall find the whole Mexican Republic peopled with an Anglo-American race. To render this more easy and hasten its consumation, as well as for Texian prosperity, we must compell them to acknowledge our independence, and be on peacible terms with us. This can be accomplished with our little navy to harrass their co[a]st and commerce; at the same time sending a military force of 4 or 5,000 men into the interior of the country, who shall take and destroy property as they go, and at the same time let them know our object is the peace and independence of our country, and that as soon as we have attained that object we would return to our homes. But even this should not be attempted untill the destiny of our Santa Fé friends shall be known. The Mexicans are an excitable people governed by demagogues, and should they be made to believe we will invade their country, especially with the object of conquest, they more than probably would be urged to acts of cruelty by some aspiring demagogue. Whereas, by remaining passive yet for a time our people may be released.

Should we ever come to the conclusion to invade the country, I think 5,000 men well equipped would be amply sufficient. With [the] exception of one or two instances Texians have conquered them ten to one, and by a little harder fighting it can be done twenty to one, which is probably a larger force than they could possibly bring into the field at once, and an army of that size divided into five divisions could be more easily subsisted while

Go to Page | Index | Contents 536     | Biblio. | Page- | Page+

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