The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998 Page: 144
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
for the artillery, baggage wagons, and other heavy gear that Taylor had
to take with him to defeat the large Mexican army that must oppose
his advance at some unknown point?
Fortunately, General Taylor had two things working for him as he
occupied the lower Rio Grande and cast his eyes southward. First, he
had the services of a sizable contingent of Texas Rangers. These fearless
men were organized into spy companies and functioned as the army's
eyes and ears, always operating in advance of the main body of troops.
Hardened by a decade of deadly frontier fighting mostly from horseback
against hostile Indians and defiant Mexicans, these men proved invalu-
able to the Army of Occupation and to its success throughout the north-
ern campaign. Most noted among these Rangers, who disdained to dress
in army attire or act like regular soldiers, were John Coffee '"Jack" Hays,
Samuel Hamilton Walker, Benjamin McCulloch, Robert (often called
Richard) Addison Gillespie, John T. Price, Michael H. Chevaille, James
B. "Buck" Barry, John McMullen, Daniel Drake Henrie, William A. A.
"Bigfoot" Wallace, Christopher B. "Kit" Acklin, and a host of other
young Texians who were itching to avenge their wrongs and those that
kinsmen and friends had suffered at the hands of the hated "greasers."3
The other decisive advantage enjoyed by Taylor as he planned his
campaign was an important map that fell into his hands with the victory
at Resaca de la Palma. When General Arista was forced to flee the battle-
field he left behind an ornate tent full of plunder, among which was a
map of the Eastern Interior Department drawn for his use as the rank-
ing military figure of the north. This map, compiled at Arista's order,
offered an incredibly detailed picture of the states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo
Le6n, and Coahuila-far superior to Austin's published map of 1830 or
anything available to Americans in the meantime. This "Arista" map,
and how it figured into General Taylor's successful campaign of
1846-1847, will be examined in the following pages.
Like all exercises in historical cartography, this one is a complex tale
with many questions still unanswered. How, by whom, and exactly when
the prototype map came to be drawn is uncertain, but we do know that
it was drawn at Arista's orders and that it incorporated all the latest topo-
graphical information available by 1840. In addition to the most current
* Documentation for Ranger service in the Mexican War is rather extensive. See Walter
Prescott Webb, The Texas Rangers: A Century of Frontier Defense (Austin: University of Texas Press,
1989), 91-124, and his The Texas Rangers in the Mexican War (Austin: Jenkins Garrett Press,
1975); Frederick Wilkins, The Hghly Irregular Irregulars: Texas Rangers in the Mexican War (Austin:
Eakin Press, 1990); Charles Spurlin, Texas Veterans in the Mexican War. Muster Rolls of Texas
Military Units (Victoria, Tex.: Charles D. Spurlin, 1984); Henry W. Barton, Texas Volunteers in the
Mexican War (Waco: Texian Press, 1970); Stephen B. Oates, "Los Diablos Tejanos: The Texas
Rangers," in Odie B. Faulk and Joseph A. Stout Jr. (eds.), The Mexican War: Changing
Interpretations (Chicago: Swallow Press, 1973), 120-136.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998, periodical, 1998; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117155/m1/196/: accessed November 14, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.