TYLER John (1790 - 1862). Message from the President ... December 3, 1844. Washington: Blair and Rives, 1844
8vo., (9 4/8 x 6 2/8 inches). 5 folding tables and one folding map (torn near mount). As issued without binding and untrimmed (stitching loose, a bit dusty).
Provenance: with the near contemporary ownership inscription of O.H. Fitch on the title-page.
Issued as 28th Congress, 2d Session. Tyler's message contains significant material on Texas, including the official correspondence regarding the Snively Expedition out of Texas and its capture by U.S. Dragoons under Cooks.
The Snively expedition was one of a series of forays in which Texas and Mexico engaged during the early period of the republic. "To retaliate for indignities heaped upon the Texans resulting from the Texan Santa Fe expedition, the Mier expedition, and Gen. Adrián Woll's raid on San Antonio, Jacob Snively, on January 28, 1843, petitioned the government of the republic for permission to organize and fit out an expedition for the purpose of intercepting and capturing the property of Mexican traders who might pass through territory claimed by Texas on the Santa Fe Trail... Snively moved his force south of the Arkansas, first to Mulberry Creek and eventually to the head of Crooked Creek. This position enabled the Texans to command the Cimarron branch of the Santa Fe Trail and at the same time to screen their own presence in the country... When the Texans struck the Santa Fe Trail about fifteen miles below the crossing they encountered 100 Mexican soldiers. In the ensuing engagement seventeen Mexicans were killed and eighty-two taken prisoner, while no Texans were injured.
"Long days of inactivity and reports from the spies indicating no prospect of encountering a caravan in the immediate future brought a feeling of general depression to the Texans. Friction in the command developed, and many of the men wanted to return home. Finally, on June 28 the prisoners were released, and the battalion dissolved. The mules, saddles, and arms taken from the Mexicans were divided among the Texans, who then organized themselves into two groups designated as the "mountaineers" and the "home boys." The home boys, about seventy-six in number, selected Eli Chandler, former adjutant of the expedition, as their leader, if indeed he had not already established his leadership by spearheading the opposition to Snively. Rather than heading for Texas, however, Chandler lead his followers back toward the Arkansas. It is possible that he was more interested in a separate command than in a return to Texas.
"The mountaineers, with Snively in command, also marched to the Arkansas, where on June 30 they were discovered by United States Dragoons under Capt. Philip St. George Cooke, who, largely as a result of the murder of Antonio José Chaves attributed to the Warfield expedition, had been sent to protect a Mexican caravan. Cooke sent for Snively, asked to see his papers, said that he believed the Texans were on United States territory, and told Snively that his men must be disarmed. Snively protested, without avail, that he was on Texas territory. Cooke then crossed over the Arkansas, surrounded the Texan camp, and ordered Snively's men to stack arms. Cooke first turned the Texans loose with only ten muskets for 170 men, but after reflection he returned to the Texan camp and on July 1 offered to escort all who wished to accompany him to Independence, Missouri. About fifty men accepted this offer; Snively and the others rejoined Chandler on July 2. Snively was still intent upon pursuing the Mexican caravan, which, the scouts reported on July 8, had crossed the Arkansas; but he found the majority of his command unwilling to pursue the undertaking further; so he resigned his command on July 9. Chandler and his men then set out for home. The remaining Texans, deciding to continue in their attempt to capture the caravan, elected Warfield as commander and set out on their march. Several of them later rejoined Chandler's party; less than seventy were still holding to the original purpose of the expedition on July 13, when they discovered what they thought to be a large body of Mexicans under Governor Manuel Armijo escorting the caravan. Believing their forces inadequate to the task of capturing the caravan, they abandoned further pursuit and started for home. Warfield resigned; Snively was reelected to command; and on August 6, the Texan force was disbanded at Fort Bird on the Trinity. The Texas government complained that Captain Cooke had invaded Texas territory in arresting Snively's forces, and finally the United States made a trifling appropriation for the Texans engaged in the expedition" (Handbook of Texas Online, H. Bailey Carroll, "Snively Expedition"). Streeter Texas 1552; Wagner-Camp 103n.