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The Long expedition, named for its leader, James Long, was an early attempt by Anglo-Americans to wrest Texas from Spain. The expedition, was mounted by a militia from Natchez, Mississippi, who were opposed to the boundary of the Louisiana Purchase. The expedition attracted recruits with a promise of a league of Texas land to every soldier. An advance force of 120 men, led by Eli Harris, crossed the Sabine River on June 8, 1819, and went on to Nacogdoches, Texas where Long, arrived on June 21. Citizens of Nacogdoches met to organize a provisional government with Long as its chief. On June 23, this "government" declared the independence of Texas. By the middle of July, Long had more than 300 men under his command. Lack of supplies caused Long to scatter his men in an attempt to live off the country. At the end of September, the Spanish Governor sent more than 500 men to drive Long out of Texas. A month later the American settlers were out of East Texas.

Long escaped capture by fleeing to New Orleans. Undeterred by the failure of his first expedition, he joined forces with José Félix Trespalacios, who was organizing an expedition in New Orleans to support the Mexican liberals. Long established his headquarters at Point Bolivar. At Point Bolivar, in April 1820, Long attempted to reorganize his forces. With the aid of Ben Milam, and others, Long revitalized the Supreme Council. He later broke with Milam, and the expedition led an uncertain existence until September 19, 1821, when Long and fifty-two men sailed to capture La Bahía. The town fell easily on October 4, but four days later, Long was forced to surrender. Long was taken prisoner and sent to Mexico City, where about six months later he was shot and killed by a guard.