The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959

A Texas Expedition into Mexico, 1840

ticularly in the unsuccessful march down the Rio Grande in No-
vember, 1839, with the vain hope of capturing Matamoros, and in
the abortive effort to capture Monterrey. Also there were Texans
in evidence when in January, 1840, the federalists decided finally
to create the long-contemplated Republic of the Rio Grande in
Laredo, with the appointment of a president (Jesis CArdenas),
other officials, and a council, as well as a commander-in-chief of
the armed forces, Antonio Canales.
The Mexican government, recognizing that the new republic
must be defeated by a show of force, ordered General Mariano
Arista to seek out and destroy the revolutionary army. This Arista
did; on March 24, 1840, a column of his army surprised and de-
stroyed the ablest of Canales' commanders, Colonel Antonio
Zapata, at Santa Rita de Morelos in Coahuila, while Arista himself
met and defeated Canales the following day.2 The provisional gov.
ernment, located first at Laredo, then in rapid succession at Guer-
rero and Casa Blanca (outside Laredo on Lake Espantoso), fled
to Victoria, Texas.3
It would seem that with the defeat of his two forces and the
flight of his government Antonio Canales would be given pause;
optimistically, however, he proceeded to Texas to try again to
raise men and money to prosecute the cause. Visiting San An-
tonio, Austin, Houston, and Galveston between early April and
late May, he finally appeared at San Patricio on the Nueces River
on June 1, 1840.4 His success can be judged by the eyewitness
2Battle account of Mariano Arista, El Ancla (Matamoros), April 24, 1840; An-
tonio Canales to President of the Provisional Government of the Northern Frontier
of the Republic of Mexico, March 26, 1840, Austin City Gazette, May 6, 1840.
3Jesds Cardenas to Mirabeau Lamar, April 8, 1840 (MS., Lamar Papers, Archives
Texas State Library). Cirdenas, perhaps the realist in the situation, wrote Lamar:
"The government has always considered Texas a land of refuge; and since it has
happened that part of the forces were destroyed in Coahuila last month, the gov-
ernment is now in this town arranging affairs, trusting that it will be well received.
These affairs are the establishment of peace and commercial relations, and the nego-
tiations with your government for aid in order that this government resume the
war against the government of Mexico."
Canales' itinerary can be fairly well followed in Cornelius Van Ness to Mirabeau
Buonaparte Lamar, April 2o, 1840, in Charles Adams Gulick, Jr., and others (eds.),
The Papers of Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar (6 vols.; Austin, 1921-1928), V, 413.
Cited hereafter as Lamar Papers; Juan Nepomuceno Seguin to Lamar, April 2o,
1840, ibid.; Henderson Yoakum, History of Texas from its First Settlement in 2685
to Its Annexation to the United States in x846 (2 vols.; New York, 1855), II, 290.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/. Accessed December 27, 2014.