Rendezvous at the Alamo: Highlights in the Lives of Bowie, Crockett, and Travis

By Virgil E. Baugh | Go to book overview

Chapter 9
The Still-Restless Guns -- Bowie Enters the Alamo

JAMES BOWIE'S brief association with one of two Matamoras expeditions furnishes another example of the type of frustration that dogged his military career. The circumstances require some explanation, not because of the abortive character of the expedition, but rather to show that none of what occurred was his fault.

To begin with, there was almost incredible confusion in the civil and military governments in the latter part of 1835 and early in 1836. This confusion came about largely because of a split between Governor Henry Smith and the Council of the Provisional Government. Their functions overlapped, and there was almost nothing on which they could agree. They quarreled constantly, and Governor Smith, being a man of violent temper, used abusive language to the Council. Goaded beyond endurance, its members finally impeached him.

The Council was conservative and made up mainly of men representing the "peace party," who thought open revolution was not then expedient, preferring a cautious, wait-and-see policy. They thought it possible to win over a certain sympathetic segment of Mexicans to the Texan cause. Governor Smith, on the other hand, was with the "independence" or "war party," impatient to take military action at once to secure independence. From the first, the Council decided military moves without consulting either the Governor or Sam Houston, the commander in chief. The Governor naturally regarded himself as the one to make such decisions and did so. The result was conflict and almost complete

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