The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963 Page: 29
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Five Texas Frontier Companies
to a subordinate commander, Colonel Harney's calls, too, were
valid, although his use of the companies seemed directed more
at self-aggrandizement than at meeting the need for which they
The difficulties of the five frontier companies came not from
the legality of their call, but from the flaws in human nature.
General Taylor gave another the responsibility for the Indian
frontier because he knew its direction was beyond his capability,
and he nominally granted commensurate authority. Yet there is
evidence that he could not completely release the reins. While
Lieutenant Colonel Fauntleroy was commanding at San Antonio,
the general felt free to express his opinion that the frontier com-
panies were likely not needed, although he had no personal
knowledge of the Texas Indian frontier and such a suggestion
had almost the effect of an order. When he finally ordered the
companies discharged if they had been inducted, he avoided the
question of need and based his decision on the question of term
Even when General Wool arrived at San Antonio, General
Taylor did not resist the urge to intervene by stating his opinion
that the companies which Colonel Harney had called would be
unnecessary. In fact General Taylor seems never to have had the
slightest grasp of the problem of the western frontier. He ex-
pressed more concern over Comanche raids south of the Rio
Grande than over those north of it.
If General Taylor had trouble in relinquishing control to a
subordinate, Colonel Harney's actions can be accepted as ex-
plaining how such an attitude might come into being. His strip-
ping the frontier of the companies which he had called for its
protection so that he could make a pointless and unauthorized
expedition to the Rio Grande cannot be defended.
Finally, a procedural matter added to the delay in mustering
the companies of Captain Smith and Captain Stapp. When the
department of war decided that Colonel Harney's original in-
structions should be carried out, the letter directing the action
was sent to a person rather than to a position. If the instructions
had been sent to the commanding officer of the garrison at San
Antonio, instead of to Lieutenant Colonel Fauntleroy, they would
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963, periodical, 1963; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101196/m1/41/?rotate=90: accessed June 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.