The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959 Page: 500
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
vious that Santa Anna's selecting Bexar as a center of operations
was not the wisest move. The Mexicans learned, following a dis-
astrous crossing of this desert land, that Bxar was "almost in-
significant and almost desolated, first by a blockade of nearly three
months, and afterward by the abandonment of the greater part
of its inhabitants.""48
While the bulk of the army crossed the Rio Grande at points
above the coast, General Jos6 Urrea united with other forces at
Matamoros and left for San Patricio, Texas, on February 18, 1836.
He had been reinforced by some soldiers raised in the area. At
Matamoros, the same old story unfolded. The residents of the
area had scarcely enough to provide for their own needs, much
less to supply an army.44
The transportation statistics for Santa Anna's troop movement
were formidable. The army used 1,8oo mules, of which 8oo were
contracted and i,ooo were secured by order. There were 1,833
four-wheeled wagons and over 200 two-wheeled carts pulled by
oxen. In addition, there were the mules and carts of the specula-
tors, loaded with "supplies, liquors and other effects."4'
Although this was certainly burden enough for an invading
army of some 6,00o soldiers, the movement was further hampered
by the presence of camp followers attached, in one way or another,
to the soldiery." Many of the soldiers brought along their de-
pendent relatives, often a parent or a younger brother, and many
took their wives or sweethearts along for the excursion which
proved to be anything but a holiday. The circumstances invited
tragedy, and it was not long in coming. The land and the weather
took their tolls.47 Even when rancheros and others along the way
4sFilisola, Memorias, II, 339.
44An account of Urrea's army in this area can be found in David Martell
Vigness, The Lower Rio Grande Valley, 1836-1846 (Master's thesis, University of
Texas, 1948), 34-42. The best source for details is Josh Urrea, "Diary of the Military
Operations of the Division Which Under His Command Campaigned in Texas,"
in Castafieda, The Mexican Side of the Texan Revolution, 207-283.
45Filisola, Memorias, II, 338.
46Jos6 Juan Sanchez-Navarro, ayudante inspector of Nuevo Le6n and Tamauli-
pas, noted in his diary that the battalions, though of good quality, were over-
loaded with women and children and baggage. See Carlos Sinchez-Navarro, La
Guerra de Tejas, 137.
47Martinez Caro, "True Account," in Castafieda, The Mexican Side of the Texan
Revolution, loo-1oi, gives a general, and a specific, idea of the hardships facing
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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/m1/597/: accessed March 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.