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

A Texas Expedition into Mexico, 1840

The first night Arista spent at Los Fresnos, and he was en-
camped on the Arroyo Colorado the second night when news
reached him that some Texan ships were nearing Brazos Santiago,
the port of Matamoros. He decided it would be prudent to return
to Matamoros to investigate, and did so, reaching Matamoros on
September i, 1840. The next day Ampudia marched to the mouth
of the Rio Grande with five hundred men and two artillery pieces,
where he remained until September i1, returning to Matamoros
to report to Arista that the Texan vessels had retired.1
The abortive expedition of Mariano Arista across the Rio
Grande had a two-fold effect on the revolutionists. When Arista
first crossed the river, the provisional government of the Republic
of the Rio Grande, by this time obviously more remarkable for
its mobility than for anything else, fled again inside Texas.'2
Then, Arista's return to Matamoros was the signal apparently for
the advance of the federalist forces under Canales and Jordan
toward the Rio Grande.1s
Of Canales' plan little is known, but subsequent events indi-
cate that he intended to sever the line of communication between
Monterrey and Matamoros, and to take Ciudad Victoria, capital
of Tamaulipas. In mid-September, he ordered Jordan to move
from the Nueces with a vanguard of ninety men to scout the ter-
ritory east of the Rio Grande. Canales would follow shortly with
the main force.
Jordan proceeded with his men toward the Rio Grande as or-
dered. On the march, however, he was overtaken by Juan N.
Molano with orders from Canales that Jordan was to advance
"Ilbid.; General in Chief to the First Division, August 3o, 1840, Semanario
Politico del Gobierno de Nuevo Len, September io, 1840. General Edwin More-
house, of the Texas army, reported a slightly different version of the incident of
Arista's return to Matamoros. On the second night out of Matamoros, a "large por-
tion of the men declared for federalism, Arista in appearance followed their example
and persuaded them to stack their arms; this was no sooner done than they were
immediately made prisoners by that portion of the army which still remained
faithful, and Arista again declared himself a Centralist. About the time this under-
plot was being enacted, an express reached the camp from Matamoros with intelli-
gence that the citizens had united with the troops and declared in favor of the
Federalists."-Austin City Gazette, September 16, 1840o.
1Arista to the First Division, August 3o, 1840, Semanario Politico del Gobierno
de Nuevo Ledn, September io, 1840.
1sAustin City Gazette, September 16, 1840o.

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 October 23, 2014.