Notes and Documents
Erhard's reminiscences of the Texan Santa Fe Expedition
EDITOR FREE PRESS: In a series of letters I intend to give your
readers portions of the history of the Santa Fe expedition not con-
tained in George Wilkins Kendall's two volumes. Mine will com-
mence, where the command from necessity separated, and he, Ken-
dall, starting off in advance, could not know the history of the main
command under Gen. McLeod.
Again, my narrative relating principally on my personal experience,
I being the only prisoner in the hospital of San Luis Potosi, in State
of same name, and also released there, my fate and history is en-
tirely different from the rest of the prisoners, for I never was in the
city of Mexico, nor at Perote or Vera Cruz, nor was I chained like
the balance of my companions.
To explain to those who are not conversant with the history of
the Republic of Texas nor have read George Wilkins Kendall's de-
scription of the Santa Fe Expedition, I will have to make some
introductory remarks, to explain the aim and object of said expe-
dition, and the authority under which it started.
Under the treaty of Sam Houston and Santa Anna, after the latter
was taken prisoner by the Texans, Santa Anna ceded all the ter-
ritory this side of the Rio Grande to Texas.
The regular army of Texas was disbanded in 1840. General Mira-
beau Lamar being president of the Republic of Texas, started the
Santa Fe expedition by virtue of this authority.
He invited merchants of Texas to open a trade with New Mexico,
for at that time that trade, as well as that of Chihuahua, was under
the control of merchants of St. Louis, Mo. Texas being in nearer
proximity ought by right have had that important trade. President
Lamar appointed commissioners of treaty, only wishing to claim the
country this side of the Rio Grande according to treaty, and also
wishing to establish commercial relations with New Mexico. Under
these auspices the expedition started from Austin about the middle
of June, 1841.
But my future will show, that neither Santa Anna regarded the
2Other primary accounts of the expedition include: George Wilkins Kendall,
Narrative of the Texan Santa Fe Expedition (2 vols.; New York, 1844); Thomas
Falconer, Expedition to Santa Fe (New Orleans, 1842); Peter Gallagher and
Stephen Hoyle, "Journal of the Santa Fe Expedition," in H. Bailey Carroll, The
Texan Santa Fe Trail (Canyon, 1951), 169-179; H. Bailey Carroll (ed.), "George
W. Grover's 'Minutes of Adventure from June, 1841'," Panhandle-Plains Historical
Review, IX, 28-42; Peter Gallagher, Dairy for 1841-1842 (MS. in possession of
H. Bailey Carroll, Austin). For secondary accounts of the expedition see: Noel M.
Loomis, The Texan-Santa Fe Pioneers (Norman, 1958), and Carroll, The Texan
Santa Fe Trail, which contains a detailed study of the route followed by the
expedition and a discussion of the primary sources.
Erhard's spelling and punctuation have been retained throughout.
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 October 22, 2014.