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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Alathew Caldwell a#d the Zexas
SaNta e expedition
M ATHEW CALDWELL came to Texas in 1831 and settled at
Gonzales in Green DeWitt's colony. His dark hair and
whiskers were splotched with gray patches, so the fron-
tiersmen, seeing a trait in common with the paint horse, named
Caldwell "Old Paint." Caldwell County was probably named in
his honor. He was also called the "Paul Revere of the Texas Rev-
olution" because it was he who aroused the Anglo-Americans of
the neighboring settlements when the Mexicans came to reclaim
the cannon furnished to the citizens of Gonzales for use against
the Indians. The Anglo force was large enough to challenge the
Mexicans by flying the flag with the picture of the cannon and
the words "Come and 'Take It." Caldwell was also in the force,
led by Ben Milam, that captured San Antonio.
As a representative to the meeting at Washington-on-the-Brazos,
Caldwell signed both the Declaration of Independence and the
Constitution. During the administration of Mirabeau B. Lamar,
Caldwell participated in the Council House Fight at San Antonio,
led one of the companies against the Comanche at Plum Creek,
and headed a ranging company on the frontier.
In 1841 he joined the Texan Santa Fe Expedition as captain
of an infantry company. It was Caldwell who, when the expedi-
tion got lost, was appointed leader of a spy company to have
charge of reconnaissance in general and particularly to scout the
area ahead for the best routes and watering places. On his return
to Texas, he commanded a force which defeated General Adrian
Woll at Salado. The glory of the victory was, however, clouded
when Caldwell failed to co-operate with other officers and annihi-
late the retreating army.
The following letter was written by Caldwell when he was
recovering from smallpox at Guanajuato in Mexico. It relates a
part of the Texan Santa Fe Expedition not told by any other


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 6, 2016.

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