In October 1835, Santa Anna sent a Mexican commander and troops to take a cannon from the town of Gonzales. The Texans gathered fighting men from surrounding area. They dared the Mexican commander to "Come and Take It." The Mexican troops backed down, but the Texans charged the Mexicans, who quickly retreated.
Immediately after the Battle of Gonzales, the First Army of Texas Volunteers was organized with Stephen F. Austin in command. This army marched to San Antonio, where it gained a victory over Mexican General Cos. This was the beginning of the war of independence for Texas.
Men who were ready and willing to fight for their homes and the right to peace and independence formed the first militia forces of Texas. Men came from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and other U.S. states to join the fight for freedom and democracy. This was the beginning of the Texas National Guard.
One example of a unit that encouraged the Texans in their fight for independence was the New Orleans Greys. Thirty-three of them fell at the Battle of the Alamo and others were among Fannin's men at the Battle of Coleto. They flew a banner that said "God and Liberty." They supported the Texans and also fought at the Battle of San Jacinto.
Texas had no regular army, since it had just declared independence. The soldiers that beat the Mexicans and established the Republic of Texas were militia—volunteers who left their homes in order to fight for freedom and liberty and to protect their families.
Source: The Battle of Gonzales
Courtesy of Texas Military Forces Museum