Rumors of Invasion
LAMAR RETURNED TO TAKE OVER the duties of President on March 5 [Ed: 1841]. About two weeks later, one of the late participants in the Federal army, Doctor Shields Booker, reached Austin fresh from Arista's headquarters to report that the Centralist commander had an army of four thousand troops already assembled for a campaign against Texas, and was daily expecting to be re-enforced by five thousand more, who "were said to be on their march from the mountains." Booker also stated that Arista's army was furnished with a park of artillery consisting of eighteen mounted guns and that it had five hundred mule packs of provisions deposited at one of the crossings of the Río Grande. Declared Lamar in a circular letter to the militia colonels throughout the Republic,
The avowed object of assembling this force by the Mexicans is an expedition against the Indians; but Doctor Booker feels perfectly satisfied that their real intention is to make a descent on Texas, and to take us by surprise. That such is the design of Arista . . . is rendered plausible and probable by the additional consideration that an army of nine thousand men and so large a park of artillery is altogether unsuited to the character and habits of the enemy which they pretend to move against. It is so inconsistent with the nature of Indian warfare as to leave but little doubt that the force has been organized for some other purpose than the avowed one. What that secret purpose may be remains to be developed; but we have sufficient grounds to believe that an attack upon this place or some other portion of our country is intended. It behooves us therefore to be on the alert and fully prepared to meet them. . . . It is not my intention to create any alarm; or to call out the militia unless it becomes absolutely necessary to repel a
1. Letter Addressed [by Mirabeau B. Lamar] to the Militia Colonels throughout the Republic, relative to Information received by Doc[to]r Booker of preparations for invasion by the Mexicans, Executive Department, City of Austin, March 22, 1841, Record of Executive Documents, from the 10th Dec. 1836 to the 14th Dec. 1841, ms.