The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959 Page: 301
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The Problem of Command in the Texas Army
Emphasis was on recruiters who could secure the able-bodied,
not on such intangibles as leadership, honesty, and courage, nor
on such tangibles as military experience. Hence the commanders
tended to be adventurers who sought to promote themselves
first--the cause second, if at all. Since Texas was easier to reach
by water than by land, the chief theater of the recruiters was the
Mississippi-Ohio valley, whose cities did not possess the most
stable young unattached men in the land. Such sense of military
duty as they had almost certainly stopped at the company level.
Neither officers nor enlisted men could have any strong sense of
obligation to a frequently strife-torn government which did not
supply them well, and patriotism for a land they had just entered
would have been a paradox.
The greater part of the disciplinary problems, from private to
general, was among the volunteers, nor were these problems long
in showing up after the men began to arrive. On Christmas Day
of 1835, six companies announced that they would not serve
under the laws that applied to the regular army.9 Sam Houston,
writing the next day to Governor Henry Smith, stated that the
men in a company from Alabama and another from Kentucky
showed "great discontent, and a disposition to abandon our
cause." He found slight consolation in the fact that, although
the troops in San Antonio had no discipline, everything was
quiet.1o In transmitting the muster rolls for the Alabama and
Kentucky companies on December 3go, Houston said that he had
had much trouble in getting the volunteers to enlist for any
definite time. He had compromised on three months, not an
authorized term, but still hoped to persuade the men to extend
the period to the duration of the war."1
Bad as discipline at the company level was, its effects were not
nearly so disastrous as the effects of lack of control at what may
be called the command level. At the time when General Houston
was trying to persuade the troops to withdraw from San Antonio,
the General Council unanimously voted a resolution encourag-
ing the siege.12 Although General Houston had been commander
lOAmelia W. Williams and Eugene C. Barker (eds.), The Writings of Sam Hous-
ton, 1813-1863 (8 vols.; Austin, 1938-1943), I, 325.
11Houston to Smith, December 30, 1835, ibid., I, 328.
12Gammel, Laws of Texas, I, 552.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959, periodical, 1959; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/m1/364/: accessed May 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.