The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959 Page: 310
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
to the orders of the governor and council." During the winter,
when every effort should have been made to weld the Texans and
the newly arrived groups of volunteers into responsible, dis-
ciplined, and cohesive organizations, the government itself made
any respect for authority impossible: there was no authority to
respect. The designated commander in chief was reduced to an
itinerant propagandist, forced to go from camp to camp in an
effort to persuade the men and officers to give up the idea of
attacking Matamoros and to fall back to positions from which they
could not be defeated in detail.
The third error the Texans made, again related to the preced-
ing two in effects, was relying on officers elected by those under
them. The system was a product of the time and place, but it
could not be relied on to place in command positions men who
could lead troops in battle. Military responsibility and commen-
surate authority can be delegated from superior to subordinates
it there is central authority to hold the subordinates accountable
for their performance, but they can hardly be delegated from
subordinates to superior except in terms of self-interest.
There were other conditions than those of choice which ad-
versely affected the control of Texas' military forces. The most
important of these was a lack of men, and from it came the need
of relying on foreign volunteers, a doubly ironic fact since the
two conspicuous victories of the Revolution were won by the
settlers. Slow communication between Texas and the United
States made any plan of recruiting slow to start, hard to stop, and
cumbersome to administer. Although many of the volunteers re-
mained in Texas, some to become distinguished citizens, they
came as adventurers, whether motivated by idealism or desire for
personal gain, and had been denied the humanizing influence of
living together under tyranny, which can make men for a time
willing to sacrifice personal advantage for common good. Too
many of the men came to fight another peoples' war for what
was in it for themselves.
Another condition the Texans faced among both the settlers and
the foreign volunteers was an attitude of independence, if not
actual lawlessness. At the time, the United States Army, as the
4IGammel, Laws of Texas, I, 543.
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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/m1/373/: accessed January 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.