The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 28, July 1924 - April, 1925 Page: 46
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
might be compelled in self-defense to disregard the boundary in
seeking for and punishing those bandits."36 By a remarkable
coincidence, on the very day that these instructions were sent
from Washington, Minister of Foreign Affairs Vallarta in Mex-
ico City advised Mr. Foster that President Diaz would send a
prominent General to the frontier with a sufficient federal force
to compel obedience and co-operation from the local authorities
and that the General in command would "act in accord with Gen-
eral Ord in repressing outlawry on that frontier."87 This infor-
mation was not received in Washington until June 8; meanwhile
drastic action had been decided upon by the United States Gov-
ernment. On June 1, General Ord, at San Antonio, Texas, was
instructed, at his discretion, when in actual pursuit of or when
on a fresh trail of marauders "to follow them across the Rio
Grande and to overtake and punish them, as well as retake stolen
property taken from our citizens and found in their hands on
the Mexican side of the line.""8
1"Evarts to Foster, Washington, May 28, 1877, in House Reports, 45
Cong., 1 and 2 sess., 1877-78, III (serial no. 1824), doc. 701, p. 239. Also
in House Ex. Does., 45 Cong., 1 sess., I (serial no. 1773), doc. 13, p. 12.
"Foster to Evarts, Mexico, May 28, 1877, in House Ex. Does., 45 Cong.,
1 sess., I (serial no. 1773), doc. 13, p. 14.
*'McCrary to Sherman, Washington, June 1, 1877, in House Reports,
45 Cong., 1 and 2 sess., 1877-78, III (serial no. 1824), doe. 701, p. 241.
Also in House Rx. Does., 45 Cong., 1 sess., I (serial no. 1773), doe. 13,
Later developments show that the above orders were understood to
apply only to incursions of marauders and cattle thieves. On June 11,
1877, Colonel Shafter from Ft. Clark, Texas, forwarded information to
General Ord in San Antonio to the effect that some troops of General
Diaz, after defeating on Mexican soil some Lerdista troops, pursued the
latter into Texas and attacked, dispersed, and killed many of them.
Colonel Shafter asked for instructions as to whether he should cross the
Rio Grande in pursuit of the Mexican Federal troops and attack them
if he could overtake them (Shafter to Ord, Ft. Clark, June 11, 1877,
and Kelley to Acting Assistant Adjutant General, San Felipe, June 11,
in House E . Does., 45 Cong., 1 sess., I (serial no. 1773), doe. 13, p.
16). General Ord gave temporary instructions for the American troops
not to cross the Rio Grande (McCrary to Secretary of State, Washing-
ton, June 16, 1877, in ibid., p. 17), and referred the matter to the War
Department for definite action. On June 13 President Hayes made
permanent the order of General Ord for American troops not to cross
the Rio Grande in pursuit of Federal troops (Sheridan to Townsend,
Chicago, June 12, 1877, and Townsend to Sheridan, Washington, June
13, 1877, in ibid., pp. 16-17). A week later Secretary of State Evarts
instructed Mr. Foster to lose no time in remonstrating against the
crossing of the Rio Grande by Mexican Federal troops in pursuit of Ler-
distas "as a violation of the territory of the United States." He was
further instructed to say that the "United States will confidently expect
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 28, July 1924 - April, 1925, periodical, 1925; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101087/m1/50/: accessed July 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.