Matamoros and the Texas Revolution

By Craig H. Roell | Go to book overview

8.
EPILOGUE: HERÓICA
MATAMOROS

“May Saint James destroy the enemy so that when we come again to Matamoros
no hateful
gringo face will offend our eyes.”

—Don Santiago de Mendoza y Soría, character in Caballero by Jovita
González and Eve Raleigh1

FROM THE MEXICAN POINT OF VIEW, regardless of Houston’s victory at San Jacinto, the capture of Santa Anna, and the resulting Treaties of Velasco, Texas had been stolen by Anglos masquerading as colonists defending the Constitution of 1824 whose true intent was to annex Texas to the United States. In Sea of Mud, Gregg J. Dimmick exposes a number of issues that kept the demoralized Mexican army, having endured the mar de lodo and humiliating retreat back to Matamoros, from attempting a counterattack back into Texas, including accusations of blame between commanding generals Filisola and Urrea. In a frenzy of scapegoating, both generals published ultra-critical judgments of each other in 1838, resulting in a loss of focus, which in turn compounded a flurry of new confrontations in Mexico City between centralists and federalists in Santa Anna’s absence. Even so, as Will Fowler asserts in his biography of Santa Anna, the captured president-general had “used all his powers of persuasion to come up with a treaty in which he did not commit himself to anything binding.” Rather, the crafty fox “found a ‘decorous’ way out, which did not tie or bind the nation to recognizing the Texans’ demands.”2

Mexico did not recognize Texas independence, despite recognition of the new republic by the United States, England, and France. Rather, the centralist Mexican government launched several military expeditions from Matamoros into Texas in the 1840s to reassert rightful control against what historian Arturo Zárate-Ruiz calls “los bandidos texanos” (the Texan bandits). Centralists also tried to utilize Indian alliances to stir up dissension and strife in Texas. There is evidence that the infamous Great Comanche Raid of 1840, which terrorized the Guadalupe River valley with plundering, burning, killing settlers, and stealing horses, was part of

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