The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979 Page: 341
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their rash act of invading Mexico without orders. None of the accounts
that have survived are complete, and most of them are by individuals
who did not experience the full period of confinement of expedition
members in Mexico.
One of the better and more readable, but incomplete, accounts of the
experiences was that of William Preston Stapp, who was released from
prison on May 16, 1844. Since its first publication in Philadelphia in
1845 (where it sold for twenty-five cents per copy), it has been reprinted
several times. First, it was reprinted serially in the La Grange Journal
between 1887-1888; then in 1933 the La Grange Journal produced a
facsimile edition; two years later The Steck Company (Austin, 1935)
printed a facsimile edition; and now we have a 1977 reprinting by the
University of Texas Press with a "Foreword" by Professor Joe B. Frantz.
The account is an interesting story of Stapp's personal adventure and
prison life in Mexico as an enlisted man-as contrasted to the account
given by General Thomas Jefferson Green (Journal of the Texian Ex-
pedition Against Mier, New York, 1845). who, owing to his status as an
officer, received much better treatment from his captors.
Stapp writes well, is very readable, and gives important information
about the Mier Expedition-the motives of the members; the battle of
Mier; the capture of the Texans; their long march to Mexico City and
beyond to Perote Castle; the decimation of those who overwhelmed
their guard at hacienda Salado and were subsequently reapprehended;
and prison life and enforced labor. His journal contains excellent
descriptive data of scenes and life in Mexico, though this background
was largely plagiarized from Mexico: As It Was and As It Is (1844), by
Brantz Mayer, who was secretary to the United States Legation in
Mexico from 1841 to 1842.
In trying to develop the setting and background for Stapp's Journal,
Professor Joe B. Frantz has erred in a number of his statements, only a
few of which can be pointed out here. His mention of "release money"
that "never arrived" is news to any student of the expedition. The Texas
Congress in February, 1844, appropriated funds for the "relief" of
Texan prisoners in Mexico, and, although there were delays in getting
the money through to them, the prisoners, near the end of their con-
finement, were beginning to receive these funds in small amounts so as
not to arouse the ire of the Mexican government. It is probable that
many of the prisoners did not know the source of the funds. The "Fore-
word" says that there was no "censorship," but the author overlooks
the fact that the men were afraid of being caught keeping diaries and
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979, periodical, 1978/1979; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101206/m1/393/: accessed August 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.