One Snively, styling himself a Colonel, organized, in North Texas, early in May, 1843, a force of about one hundred and seventy-five men for the purpose of preying on the Mexicans engaged in the Santa Fe trade. Texas and Mexico were then at war, and the purpose of Snively would have been justified had he molested only the Mexicans. He arrived on the Arkansas in May, and was soon joined by Warfield and his company, who had recently lost their horses to the Mexicans by a stampede. Snively came upon a party of Mexicans south of the Arkansas sand hills, and in the skirmish which ensued eighteen Mexicans were killed; and five of the wounded died later. The force of Snively sustained no casualties. The surviving Mexicans fled in the direction of their own country, finding their scalawag Governor, Armijo, encamped with a strong force at Cold Spring. That ferocious sheep thief waited for nothing, but broke into a mad rout for Santa Fe.
After his encounter with the Mexicans, the force of Snively fell off, seventy-five men leaving for Texas in a body. Soon after this the caravan of traders from Missouri appeared upon the Trail. But they were under escort of Captain P. St. George Cooke, who had a command of two hundred United States Dragoons. Snively was on the south side of the Arkansas about ten miles below the “Caches.” Upon the arrival of Captain Cooke Snively crossed the river to meet him, and was informed that he must surrender his arms. This he avoided by a trick, turning over the antiquated and harmless fusils taken from the Mexicans in the recent skirmish.
The action of Captain Cooke demoralized Snively’s forces. Many of his men returned directly to Texas. And when Captain Cooke retraced his steps to Fort Leavenworth he carried about forty of the Texans with him as captives. Something like sixty of Snively’s force soon elected Warfield as their commander and pursued the caravan of traders, then well on their way beyond the Cimarron. At the Point of Rocks, twenty miles east of the Canadian, they abandoned the pursuit, and went back to Texas. And the interference of the Texans with the Santa Fe trade was at an end. Santa Anna, then President of Mexico, issued a decree on the 7th of August, 1843, closing the port of New Mexico to all commerce. That decree was superseded by the order of March 31, 1844. And ninety wagons carrying goods valued at two hundred thousand dollars, taken out by nearly two hundred men, found their way from Missouri to Santa Fe the following summer.