The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956 Page: 20
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
to the governor on March io that on the first and second days of
the month some two hundred Indians were in the vicinity of
Matamoros. They were raiding the ranches immediately outside
the jurisdiction of Matamoros, on the north side of the river.
The Indians had killed five men and driven off from where they
were pastured six leagues from the city, all the horses which had
been recovered from the Texans and the Indians the previous
year. Among other damages, the Indians wantonly killed a hun-
dred head of cattle. The alcalde appealed to the military com-
mander in the city, who assured him that, if only the army had
the horses, it would send out a detachment to free some men who
had been captured in an exposed camp, to punish the Indians,
and to recover what had been stolen. Because of the lack of horses
(for the Indians had made away with them), the raiders were
allowed to retire.19
Clearly the problem was serious. "It is impossible," wrote
Alcalde Guerra, "for the villages to punish the Indians ... A few
can be killed, but more would come-and we lose a few men we
cannot spare.""20 Since little help seemed to come from the govern-
ment, the settlements on the Rio Grande were faced with the
necessity of protecting themselves-the age-old recourse of frontier
settlements. The municipality of Laredo serves as one illustration
of local efforts for defense. A meeting of the people was called on
February 13, 1837, to discuss methods by which the savages
could be controlled, for it was manifest that the commandant
general had been unsuccessful and it was mandatory that the
attacks be repelled. The plan that evolved was: Each of the towns
along the Rio Grande between Laredo and Matamoros would
raise a force of at least fifty men, exclusive of the garrisons, by
April 1. These men would be mounted and equipped de boca y
guerra, well enough to campaign two or three months until the
enemy was defeated in its own camps (not too far distant, it was
observed, judging from the frequency of the raids). The com-
mandant general of Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon would be ap-
prised of the action, and would be asked to supply ammunition
to those towns lacking a sufficient quantity.21
19Molano to Governor, Matamoros, March 1o, 1837, in ibid., March 25, 1837.
2zGuerra to Governor, Reynosa, March 6, 1837, in ibid., March 25, 1837.
21Basilio Benavides to Governor, Laredo, February 27, 1837, in ibid., March 25,
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956, periodical, 1956; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101162/m1/32/: accessed November 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.