The Texas revolution is best viewed as an event that happened during the civil warfare in Mexico. According to the political rebels, the conflict can be described in four phases. The first stage occurred in 1835 between the months of October to December. The political rebels began there campaign on October 2, 1835, when the colonist who had converged at Gonzales blocking the Centralist forces from getting a small cannon that was presented to the town as a defense against the constant attacks by the Indians. The defeat bolstered the followers of the revolt, who quickly seized Goliad and Lipantitlan. By the end of October, the colonialist had created a temporary army named the Army of the people and moved to San Antonio de Bexar and created a siege on Centralist garrison. Although they had many successes over the Centralist in many wars across the towns, the Centralist still hesitated to attack Bexar. Those colonists who left the army to return home were replaced by some from the United States who chose to freely join them. The volunteers were from New Orleans (Rathjen, 1998, 10).
The town was later seized by the insurgents on December 5 following a war that lasted for five days. Centralist garrison was conditionally released with a condition that they were to stop there participation that undermined the Centralist effort of rebuilding the 1824 Federal Constitution. A consultative meeting was called on November to shade light on the fight between the colonist and the Centralist. Delegates confirmed that the objective was to re-build the 1824 Federal Constitution. There was hope that the Federalists from other Mexican states would create a united front hence building a coalition to handle Santa Anna in war. The relation between the Mexicans Federalist and the Texans was weakened when General Jose Antonio Mexia failed to capture Tampico. A regular army was formed by the Consultation in an attempt to form an opposition. Sam Houston was placed as the chief commandant although he was not allowed to exercise power over the volunteer army thereby making him a commander without any army. In a bid to provide for the government of the people, Henry Smith was appointed as governor by the Consultants. They also appointed general council to offer advice (Rathjen, 1998, 16).
The second phase of the revolution occurred from December 1835 to February 1836. The unity that was there during the first phase started to deteriorate as a result of persistent wrangles between the insurgents. A serious disagreement grew between Smith and the General Council over an announcement by the governor concerning the breaking of the council. The General council then fought hard by making public the appointment of Governor James W. Robinson who was to take the place of Smith. The appointment created division among the insurgents and rivalry brew between them. The division extended to the military as well. Some had the view that success over the revolt was already achieved and there was no need for any further action. Others were satisfied that although the Centralist could try to force command over Texas that the campaign would not start again until spring. Another group called for the insurgents to extend there initiatives achieved through there prier victories by expanding the war in Mexico. There focus was on Metamoros, a city close to the mouth of Rio Grande where there was a customhouse. The seizer of Metamoros would ensure that insurgents were in possession of the customs and the war kept out of Texas (Mcenteer, 2004, 13). Following the removal of the Centralist garrison from San Antonio de Bexar, garrison was forced by the government not to leave the city. James C. Neill, the commander was rewarded as Lieutenant colonel for the Texas army. Neill came from Sam Houston. Neill later leant that about 200 men of his garrison had been recreated by Dr. James Grant and Frank W. Johnson for an expedition on the Metamoros. Apart from taking Neill’s men, Grant and Johnson acquired a lot of equipments and clothing for Neill’s men. This weakened the insurgent capability to protect Baxar incase the Centralist came back.
The third phase was witnessed from January 1836 to February 1836. Attention shifted to Matamoros expedition. General council and Smith both tried to take charge of the movement. Smith first took control and then he let James Bowie take charge of the expedition. At first Johnson declined to accept the task but he later accepted it. By then the expedition already had three commanders, Fannin, Johnson and Bowie. Fannin weakened the movement but did not cause it to die. Houston and Smith made some effort to strengthen the revolt which was already in chaos. Many insurgents wanted a complete disintegration with Mexico unlike before the desired for rebuilding of the 1824 constitution. Hence the movement strength increased.
The fourth phase occurred in 1836 between the month of February and April. The Centralist came back to Texas and got the insurgents separated and not ready. General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna commanded the Centralist troops to San Antonio de Bexar. His main focus was to hold the political strong holds and to teach garrison a lesson. The other group led by General Urrea marched to Matamoros. March 6 1835 saw the defeat of Baxter. Before the end of April 21, Houston ambushed San Jacinto (Centralist camp) but Santa Anna managed to escape. The war in San Jacinto stopped the Centralist campaign to regain Texas (Spaw, 1990, 34).
Mcenteer James; Deep in the Heart: The Texas Tendency in American Politics, Pragmer, Texas, 2004, pp.13
Rathjen W. Fredrick; The Texas Panhandle Frontier, Texas Tech University Press, Texas, 1998, pp.10, 16
Spaw McDonald Pasty; The Texas Senate, Texas A & M University Press, Texas, 1990, pp.34.