The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959 Page: 40
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
selection of Somervell to replace Burleson as the commander of
all troops at Bexar was a move on Houston's part to restrain this
overzealous militia from committing Texas to a war. President
Houston maintained that Burleson could not hold the dual role
of vice president and commander of the troops.34 This presup-
poses that no other irregularities ever occurred in the Texas gov-
ernment. Houston, however, could have made Burleson com-
mander-in-chief as easily as the secretary of state became an emis-
sary seeking a loan,"5 had he really been bent upon offensive war.
Somervell had been a lieutenant colonel under Burleson at San
Jacinto, and thus his character and military knowledge were
known to Houston. Somervell, although personally brave, was
timorous and reluctant to make immediate decisive decisions.
He unwittingly performed the part that Houston had assigned
him. He reached San Antonio on March i8, and found the troops
there unwilling to have Burleson replaced in command. This
predilection on the part of the Texan troops to disobey orders was
well known to Houston since he had experienced it himself in
1836 and 1837. He had laid great stress in his orders to Somervell
upon the absolute necessity for the maintenance of discipline and
obedience."6 Somervell was faced immediately with the task of
commanding troops who would not obey his orders.
By mid-March it was obvious that the Vasquez raid was just
that and not a prelude to an all-out attempt by Mexico to re-
conquer Texas. On March 18, 1842, therefore, Houston ordered
those men who were needed on the farms to be discharged."3
Following this order, the personal situation in the army command
became so strained that Somervell abandoned San Antonio and
the troops to Burleson's command. Now that the immediate dan-
ger of invasion was past, President Houston ignored Burleson
at San Antonio. Left without orders to move against Mexico and
weakened by the discharges of the men needed on the farms,
Burleson became more restive. Finally, after hearing nothing
34Houston to Daingerfield, April 1, 1842, in Williams and Barker (eds.), Writings
of Houston, III, 15.
8aAnson Jones as secretary of state became a special commissioner to the United
States. Letter of appointment from Houston to Jones, June 1o, 1842, ibid., 66.
36Houston to Somervell, March lo, 1842, ibid., II, 492-493.
37Houston to Somervell, March 18, 1842, ibid., 509-510.
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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/m1/58/: accessed August 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.