Chapter Six ~ Notes
1. Although Somervell decided to advance upon Laredo, due south, he initially took up a southeasterly line of march along the Presidio Road, with the intention of confusing any Mexican spies in the Bexar area. Haynes, Soldiers of Misfortune, 48.
2. The militia forces along the lower river had been apprised of the Texans' march well in advance. John C. Hays' ranger company had captured two rancheros below the Nueces River, but one escaped and presumably headed for Laredo to give the alarm. By the time the Texans arrived, the Mexican garrison had withdrawn across the river. Ibid., 51.
3. Green's foray across the Rio Grande was undertaken without orders from Somervell or any other member of his officer staff. Upon his return, Somervell issued a directive instructing sentries to stop anyone from leaving camp without permission from company commanders. Ibid., 54.
4. It seems highly unlikely that the men who plundered Laredo would have refrained from wholesale robbery had Somervell provided them with a list of items the army required. Anglo-Texans had long been under the misimpression that the impoverished towns along the Rio Grande were rich in plunder, and more than a few members of the expedition appear to have joined the campaign less interested in making war than in winning spoils. One volunteer wrote that the looters "came loaded with as various and motley an assortment of pillage as was ever brought within the lines of a civilized force. Blankets, beds, and bed-clothes, cooking utensils of various design; horses, mules, and asses; beeves, veals, and muttons; poultry of every genus of ornithology; honey, bread, flour, sugar, and coffee; saddles and bridles; coats, hats, and every other specimen of male apparel known amongst the Mexicans; with miscellaneous decorations in use amongst the gentler sex, that our blushing muse forbids us to catalogue....[They] looked more like a troop of equestrian harlequins, than brave and manly soldiers...." William Preston Stapp, The Prisoners of Perote, 18-l9.
5. Not all the Texans who remained in camp were so willing to exculpate the looters. Said one: "Here was a Town, on the soil claimed by Texas, its inhabitants, claiming to be Texians, [who] had opened their doors to us, as to friends...and yet, those inhabitants were not safe in the possession of their private property. Suffice it to say, Texas must wear a stain for the conduct of a few disorderly volunteers." Several years later, Houston alleged that Green had been the first to take part in the pillage, a charge that Green branded "a dirty lie." No other account of the episode mentions Green as one of the looters. McCutchan, Mier Expedition Diary, 25; "Speech on Thomas Jefferson Green," Williams and Barker, eds., Houston Writings 6:77-78; Green, Reply [of] Gen. Green, 48.
6. Although Somervell ordered all goods stolen from Laredo to be deposited near the camp guard fire, some of the looters managed to hide "their ill gotten gains," said one volunteer, until things "blew over." Adams, "Diary," 46.
7. The Militia Law of January 18, 1841, allowed Texas troops to elect company captains; it did not, however, allow them to choose their highest-ranking officers, as Green suggests here. Gammel, Laws of Texas 2:497-498.
8. Green's assessment of the expedition's success had Somervell acted aggressively seems optimistic, although a strong case can be made that a speedy attack upon the towns along the lower river would indeed have caught Mexican forces in disarray. A decided advantage in the Texans' favor was the unaccountably timid leadership of Isidro Reyes, commander of the Army of the North, who by early December had yet to take effective measures to block Somervell's advance. Instead of moving his troops southward when it became clear that Presidio was not Somervell's objective, Reyes continued to concentrate his forces along the upper river, far away from any enemy activity. This left Laredo, Guerrero, and Mier protected only by the militia units under