Colonel Fisher elected Commander. The Writer appointed Commander of the Flotilla. Descent of the Rio Grande. Capture of Carancawa Indians with a British Flag. Occupation of Mier. Requisition for Provision. Arrest of the Alcalde. Enemy's Appearance. Council of War. Order of Battle.
The twelve hundred men who had been at Bexar one month previously, ready and anxious to pursue and engage the enemy, were now reduced down to three hundred and four.* After consultation with the officers and most influential men, it was agreed that Colonel William S. Fisher1 should be elected commander, he having been in the Federal War with Canales some two years before, and knew the country upon the Rio Grande better than any other officer present; and that the army had the perfect right to elect their commander, is evident from the law of January, 1840.2 The author was appointed to take command of the flotilla of boats,3 then numbering six large barges, each capable of transporting 125 men, and several smaller ones, used as tenders, and to proceed down the river pari passu with the land forces, the land and river forces usually meeting at night [see plate facing page 32]. The lamented George W. Bonnell4 and Dr. Richard F. Brennem,5 both of whom had survived the perils of the Santa Fé Expedition, who possessed the most exalted patriotism,  and who longed for an opportunity of retaliating their injuries upon the enemy, were appointed, the former first lieutenant of the Navy, as our flotilla was familiarly called, and the latter surgeon. Texas has met a heavy loss in the untimely end of these true patriots - they, in the prime of life, were brave to a fault, talented and patriotic upon principle - for the love of country and the love of liberty. We shall have occasion hereafter to speak more particularly of the manner in which they met their end, but on no occasion could their names be mentioned by us without an humble testimonial of respect for their worth. In the "Navy" other appointments were made, to wit, commandants to each boat, and Samuel C. Lyon sailing-master of the flag-boat, which was known by the red flag at the mast-head, the same which we had hoisted in Mexico opposite Laredo and Guerrero. Two of the large boats, with several of smaller size, were burned for want of men to occupy them, and the expedition proceeded down the splendid and heretofore imperfectly-known river Bravo.
In Texas, a popular opinion has prevailed that the Rio Grande was a rapid stream, full of shoals and rocks, subject to go almost dry in the fall, and fordable at any point. So far from this being true, we descended it at a low stage of water - on few occasions does it get lower - and never found any place at which
* See Muster Roll, No. I., in Appendix.