The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 29, July 1925 - April, 1926 Page: 20
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Texas for men unless it was absolutely necessary.4 Jones's report
of November, 1849, gave 1205 men on the Indian frontier in Texas.
These were located at thirteen posts, all but two of which were
in the southwestern part of Texas, between the Rio Grande and
the Colorado River.5 The Gazette for October, 1849, said the
force for the frontier, which extended for about two thousand
miles, was "the five mounted companies" consisting altogether of
some two hundred and fifty men.6 The next month the Gazette
made the criticism that nominally the force was adequate, but that
the total number of mounted troops was only three hundred, not
more than half of which could be employed in active duty. There
were two frontiers to be protected with this force; one was the Rio
Grande valley, and the other, the Nueces.7 These three hundred
were entirely inadequate, and as a result of this decrease in num-
bers, the Indians began a series of depredations.8
The Type of Federal Troops Employed in Texas.-The type of
troops which the General Government employed in Texas was
faulty in two respects. In the first place, a large portion of the
troops engaged on the Indian frontier was composed of raw re-
cruits who had had no experience in Indian warfare, and who
knew nothing of the country, without the knowledge of which even
the most expert and experienced trooper was severely handicapped.
This was Governor Bell's criticism shortly after the war with
Mexico.' To what extent Governor Bell was justified in his criti-
cism, can hardly be determined. The charge of inexperience was
not nearly so commonly brought against the Federal troops as
that of the use of infantry against the Indians. The Gazette in
1849 said, "The idea of repelling mounted Indians, the most
expert horsemen in the world, with a force of foot soldiers, is here
looked upon as exceedingly ridiculous."10 Mr. Winkler quotes this
criticism which was made in 1853: "Can your honorable body,"
the I-ouse of Representatives, "conceive of anything more absurd
4Ibid., pp. 139-140.
'Ibid., pp. 182-183.
'Texas State Gazette, October 27, 1847.
'Ibid., December 29, 1849.
8Winkler, in Johnson-Barker, Texas and Texans, I, 510.
ITebid., I, 511.
"oTexas State Gazette, October 27, 1849.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 29, July 1925 - April, 1926, periodical, 1926; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117141/m1/28/: accessed May 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.