The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 23, July 1919 - April, 1920 Page: 113
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The Somervell Ezpedition to the Rio Grande, 184 113
confidence in cannon on a march; they will do on a retreat, where
the forces are nearly equal, but they embarrass the advance of an
army; and if pressed hard on a retreat, the great aversion that
troops have to leave their artillery, may induce delay, and embar-
rass all the movements of the army. Our greatest reliance will
be upon light troops, and the celerity of our movements. Hence
the necessity of discipline and subordination. You will therefore
receive no troops into service, but such as will be subordinate to
your orders and the rules of' war.
You will receive no troops into your command but such as will
march across the Rio Grande under your orders if required by you
to do so. If you cross the Rio Grande you must suffer no sur-
prise, but be always on the alert. Let your arms be inspected
night and morning, and your scouts always on the lookout.*
You will be controlled by the rules of the most civilized warfare,
and you will find the advantage of exercising great humanity to-
wards the common people. In battle let the enemy feel the fierce-
ness of just resentment and retribution.
The orders of the government of the 15th ult. having been dis-
regarded by those who have gone to Bexar, in never having reported
or communicated with the Department of War, the Executive will
not recognize their conduct, and you alone will be held responsible
to the government, and sustained by its resources, you will report
as often as possible your operations.
You may rely upon the gallant Hays and his companions; and
I desire that you should obtain his services and cooperation, and
assure him and all the brave and subordinate men in the field, that
the hopes of the country and the confidence of the Executive point
to them as objects of constant solicitude. Insubordination and a
disregard of command will bring ruin and disgrace upon our arms.
God speed you.
I have the honor to be your obedient servant,
An important sidelight is cast upon this order by the following
excerpt from instructions from Secretary of State Jones to the
Texan Charge d'Affaires Van Zandt at Washington:
The present policy of the government towards Mexico is to
stand on the defensive. This policy has been strictly pursued as
far as practicable, and will be continued. Texas has not the means
necessary to carry on offensive operations against her enemy. The
late Campaign under Gen. Somervell was not projected or recom-
mended by the President. It was merely sanctioned to satisfy
popular clamor, and as the volunteers under him wished to cross
the Rio Grande and were determined to do so right or wrong to
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 23, July 1919 - April, 1920, periodical, 1919; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101075/m1/119/: accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.