in the Federalist Wars: Final Phase
IN COMPANY WITH Captain Howard and Lieutenant Houghton, Colonel
Henry Karnes arrived in Austin on June 13, conferred with the Secretary of
War, and hurried on to Houston to confer with Lamar concerning increased
Indian depredations in the vicinity of Béxar, partly brought on by Centralist
agents operating among the Comanches. His conference with Lamar resulted
in the order to raise a regiment of volunteers "to operate immediately upon
the extreme western frontier, with the view of establishing permanently the
national jurisdiction to the Río Bravo, and securing the territory of Texas
from any further violation, by an enemy who are now stationed in
considerable force within our borders, at
Laredo." Karnes was told that in
the event regular troops were called into service to operate in the same area
jointly with him, under an officer of equal grade as his, the command would
devolve upon the colonel of the regular service until a brigadier general
should be appointed to take charge of the combined force. The President
hoped that an adequate number of volunteers could be raised without the
necessity of having to use any of the regulars, "whose services will be wanted
in another direction."
The selection of Karnes for this most delicate task was a credit to Lamar's
administrative ability. Not only would the choice instill confidence in the
average westerner, but Karnes could be depended upon to support the policy
of the government without becoming embroiled in Federalist machinations.
Born in Tennessee on September 8, 1812, Henry Wax Karnes came to Texas
from Arkansas in 1835 and joined the Texan revolutionary volunteers at
Mission Concepción and par-
1. H. W. Karnes' Call for Volunteers, Houston, June 24, 1840, in
Telegraph and Texas Register (Houston), July 1, 1840; Brazos Courier
(Brazoria), June 30, 1840.
2. Mirabeau B. Lamar to Col. [Henry W.] Karnes, Galveston, June 23, 1840,
in Record of Executive Documents, from the 10th December 1838 to the
14th December, 1841, ms., p. 196.