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Growth of War Spirit in the West

passing through the country, and could be brought together when there was some important point to attack.

The best point to redizvous would be at La Casa Blanca on the Nueces; where there is an abundance of the very best pasturage for horses and cattle, good water and a healthy region.

I am so little acquainted with the military tallent of that country, that it would be difficult for me to select a leader. The man is not in my knowing who possessess sufficient qualification to command such an expedition as is in contemplation -- he must be a good tactician, a good disciplinarian, affable and courtious, possessed of much firmness, great energy, quick of apprehension, and much reflection. Find such an one and he will lead 5,000 men through the Mexican Republic.

Again, in February 1842, it was reported at Corpus Christi and San Patricio that the Mexicans to the number of three hundred were collecting at a point some thirty miles below the Nueces. An express was sent to Victoria for aid, but none was forthcoming.[88]  In the meantime, a hunter came in to Kinney's rancho to report seeing thirty Mexicans cross the Nueces, going east. Cairns and a few of his men were still around, although he had discharged his company some time previous to this. Cairns and six companions headed up the Nueces River about March 1 on a reconnaissance and ran into trouble.

"It is believed here," wrote the President on February 15, shortly after his arrival in Houston, "and I do not doubt the truth of the assertion, that Santa Anna intends, and will if he can, send a large force, and station it upon the Río Grande," from which cavalry parties will be sent out to "annoy" and "assail all frontier points." The predatory incursions may be expected to "bear off such goods and citizens, as they may think will do us greatest injury. If this should not be done within one year," he informed his private secretary, "I'll answer, that we shall have peace upon our Río Grande border!"[89] 

Let the battalions of the redoubtable Santa Anna come, declared the President's private secretary, "they will be the heralds of their own destruction. Their presence on our soil will but precipitate their in-

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

89. Houston to Washington D. Miller, Houston, Feb. 15, 1842, in Writings of Sam Houston, II, 484-485.

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