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Josiah Gregg

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It had been reported in Santa Fé as early as November, 1842, that a party of Texans [the previous year an armed negotiating party had crossed the border] were upon the Prairies, prepared to attack any Mexican traders who should cross the plains the succeeding spring; and as some Americans were accused of being spies, and in collusion with the Texans, many were ordered to Santa Fé for examination, occasioning a deal of trouble to several innocent persons. Than this, however, but little further attention was paid to the report, many believing it but another of those rumors of Texan invasion which had so often spread useless consternation through the country.
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p.227

 
Josiah Gregg

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About the first of May of the same year, a company of a hundred and seventy-five men, under one Col. Snively, was organized in the north of Texas, and set out... It was at first reported that they contemplated a descent upon Santa Fé; but their force was evidently too weak... Their prime object, therefore, seems to have been to attack and make reprisals upon the Mexicans engaged in the Santa Fé trade, who were expected to cross the Prairies during the months of May and June. After the arrival of the Texans upon the Arkansas, they were joined by Col. Warfield with a few followers. This officer, with about twenty men, had some time previously attacked the village of Mora (In the revolution of 1847, Mora was involved against the United States whose troops burned the town in reprisal.), on the Mexican frontier, killing five men (as was reported) and driving off a number of horses. They were afterwards followed by a party of Mexicans, however, who stampeded and carried away, not only their own horses, but those of the Texans. Being left afoot the latter burned their saddles, and walked to Bent's Fort, where they were disbanded; whence Warfield passed to Snively's camp, as before mentioned.

 
Josiah Gregg
 

Capt. Cook with his command soon after returned to the United States (As U. S. troops cannot go beyond our boundary, which, on this route is the Arkansas river, these escorts afford but little protection to the caravans. Such an extensive, uninhabitable waste as the great prairies are, ought certainly to be under maritime regulations. Some international arrangements should be made between the United States and Texas or Mexico (accordingly as the proprietorship of the region beyond our boundary may be settled), whereby the armies of either might indiscriminately range upon this desert, as ships of war upon the ocean.), and with him some forty of the disarmed Texans... A large portion of the Texans steered directly home from the Arkansas river; while from sixty to seventy men, who elected Warfield their commander, were organized for the pursuit and capture of the caravan, which had already passed on some days in advance towards Santa Fé. They pursued in the wake of the traders, it is said, as far as the Point of Rocks (twenty miles east of the crossing of the Colorado or Canadian), but made no attempt upon them — whence they returned direct to Texas. Thus terminated the 'Second Texan Santa Fé Expedition,' as it has been styled; and though not so disastrous as the first, it turned out nearly as unprofitable.

 
Josiah Gregg
 

The Texans now advanced along the Santa Fé road, beyond the sand hills south of the Arkansas, when they discovered that a party of Mexicans had passed towards the river. They soon came upon them, and a skirmish ensuing, eighteen Mexicans were killed, and as many wounded, five of whom afterwards died. The Texans suffered no injury, though the Mexicans were a hundred in number. The rest were all taken prisoners except two, who escaped and bore the news to Gen. Armijo, encamped with a large force at the Cold Spring, 140 miles beyond. As soon as the General received notice of the defeat of his vanguard, he broke up his camp most precipitately, and retreated to Santa Fé. A gentleman of the caravan which passed shortly afterward, informed me that spurs, lariats and other scraps of equipage, were found scattered in every direction about Armijo's camp — left by his troops in the hurly-burly of their precipitate retreat.

 
Josiah Gregg
 

We had for some days, while traveling along the course of the Canadian, been in anxious expectation of reaching a point from whence there was a cart-road to Santa Fé, made by the Ciboleros; but being constantly baffled and disappointed in this hope, serious apprehensions began to be entertained by some of the party that we might after all be utterly lost. In this emergency, one of our Mexicans who pretended to be a great deal wiser than the rest, insisted that we were pursuing a wrong direction, and that every day's march only took us further from Santa Fé. There appeared to be so much plausibility in his assertion, as he professed a perfect knowledge of all the country around, that many of our men were almost ready to mutiny,— to take the command from the hands of my brother and myself and lead us southward in search of the Colorado, into the fearful Llano Estacado, where we would probably have perished. But our observations of the latitude, which we took very frequently, as well as the course we were pursuing, completely contradicted the Mexican wiseacre. A few days afterwards we were overtaken by a party of Comancheros, or Mexican Comanche traders, when we had the satisfaction of learning that we were in the right track.

 
Josiah Gregg
 

So little apprehension appeared to exist, that, in February, 1843, Don Antonio José Chavez, of New Mexico, left Santa Fé for Independence, with but five servants, two wagons, and fifty-five mules. He had with him some ten or twelve thousand dollars in specie and gold bullion, besides a small lot of furs. ...about the tenth of April, ...he found himself near the Little Arkansas; at least a hundred miles within the territory of the United States. He was there met by fifteen men from the border of Missouri, professing to be Texan troops, under the command of one John McDaniel. This party had been collected, for the most part, on the frontier, by their leader, who was recently from Texas, from which government he professed to hold a captain's commission. They started, no doubt, with the intention of joining one Col. Warfield (also said to hold a Texan commission), who had been upon the Plains near the Mountains, with a small party, for several months — with the avowed intention of attacking the Mexican traders. Upon meeting Chavez, however, the party of McDaniel at once determined to make sure of the prize he was possessed of, rather than take their chances of a similar booty beyond the U. S. boundary. ...Lots were accordingly cast to determine which four of the party should be the cruel executioners; and their wretched victim was taken off a few rods and shot down in cold blood. ...five of the whole number (including three of the party that killed the man) effected their escape, but the other ten were arrested, committed, and sent to St. Louis for trial before the United States Court. It appears that those who were engaged in the killing of Chavez have since been convicted of murder; and the others, who were only concerned in the robbery, were found guilty of larceny, and sentenced to fine and imprisonment (John McDaniel and his brother David were both executed. ...The Texas government disclaimed all responsibility for McDaniel.).

 
Josiah Gregg
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