If the men and officers of the Texas Army had been just slightly less patient, if they had had just a pennyweight less respect for the chain of command, Texas and everything West of her, might be ruled from Mexico City today.
But General Houston was Commander-in-Chief of the army, and they respected the rank, even if they doubted the man. They would obey his orders to keep moving East.
But every day they were a little more reluctant, a little more angry and worried about the General's course of action, a little more ready to mutiny, turn and take on the Mexican Army wherever it might be found.
What they didn't understand (which Houston did through his network of spies) was that even if they managed to whip the force under Santa Anna, they would still have had the separate commands of Ramirez y Sesma, Urrea and Filisola to deal with.
They also didn't know that Houston had a plan, and that it had been hatched four years earlier in a meeting with Andrew Jackson at the White House.
Jackson wanted Texas for the United States. He had instructed his Minister to Mexico, Joel Poinsett (for whom the Poinsettia is named) to offer five million dollars for it in 1829. No deal. Well, if money wouldn't bring Texas under the stars and stripes, a little cunning and a show of force should do it.
In 1819, in a treaty with Spain, the Sabine had been established as the boundary between Texas and Louisiana. After his offer to buy Texas was rebuked, Jackson began pushing the claim that the Sabine was not the Sabine, but that the river called by that name in the treaty was in actuality the Neches. This was not a new idea, as American settlers had been saying so for a decade, but now it was given the force of policy.
So the spring of 1836 found Sam Houston carrying out President Jackson's scheme. He would lure Santa Anna into chasing his ragtag army across the Neches. There they would find General Edmund Gaines of the United States Army and fourteen companies of the Sixth Infantry with orders to defend the sovereignty of the United States and her border...the Neches.
And despite his troubles with the grousing army, Houston would likely have pulled it off...but then Santa Anna went chasing after President Burnett and the provisional government at Harrisburg.
The best laid plans of mice and men...