Five Texas Frontier Companies
required to serve to three months in any one year," but by re-
sponding to two or three calls, most of the men remained on
active service until General Taylor requested four regiments from
Texas in April, 1846.
When hostilities started on the Rio Grande, General Taylor
realized that from such a remote area he could not directly super-
vise the defense of the Indian frontier of Texas. He therefore dele-
gated to Colonel William S. Harney at San Antonio, then com-
manding the 2nd Dragoon Regiment, the authority to call on the
governor of Texas for troops to hold the Indians in check. With
what turned out to be little regard for protecting the Texans from
savage depredations, Colonel Harney soon called seven com-
panies." Texans learned, however, that the companies were being
concentrated in San Antonio for a projected move to the Rio
Grande, instead of being extended along the state's western limits.
In this situation Lieutenant Governor A. C. Horton, acting in
the absence of Governor J. Pinckney Henderson, commanding
the Texas volunteers on the Rio Grande, wrote Colonel
Harney on June 20 to urge the need of frontier units. The colonel
promptly agreed to call five companies each with fifty privates and
a normal complement of officers and non-commissioned officers,
to be stationed at locations which the governor should designate
in the following areas: on the Trinity, on the Brazos, on Little
River, near San Antonio, and near Castroville. One last para-
graph in the letter suggests that the colonel may have had a
second adventure to the south in mind. He added that, although
the companies would normally operate from their stations, they
should be informed that they were "no less liable at any time to
be called to any part of the country."7
Section 5 of the act of May 13, 1846, Congress' one-day delib-
eration on how to win a war without an adequate army in being,
made clear the customary method of handling volunteers at the
time. The men who offered their services to the country were
5Tfueman Cross (ed.), Military Laws of the United States; to Which Is Prefixed
the Constitution of the United States (Washington, 1825), 258-259-
eTaylor to Adjutant General of the Army, June 2, 1846, House Executive Doc-
uments, 29th Cong., 2nd Sess. (Serial No. 500oo), Document No. 119, p. 32.
THarney to Horton, June 26, 1846 (MS., Executive Record Book, Archives,
Texas State Library), III/28, pp. 49-50.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101196/. Accessed May 28, 2016.