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Episode 35 The Republic and Relations With The Tribes
Episode 35 – The Republic and Relations With The Tribes Before I get started, I want to introduce y’all to a set of books called ‘the Music is Murder saga’. These novels by Heather O’Brien, follow the lives and loves of the O’Conners, the Grants, and the Lockhardts. Something—or someone—ties these three families together and you’ll be caught up in the drama of their situations. The books are set in the world of Rock ‘n’ roll and you’ll be hooked from page one. The 1st book you’ll want is Lockhardt Sound, and as someone who has worked in the music industry, let me tell you, the story could and does happen. Check out her site, booksbyheather.com, you won’t be disappointed. As her site says, long live rock ‘n’ roll. When I wrapped up the last episode, I had begun talking about how Republic President Sam Houston had wanted to establish better relationships with the Indians of Texas. Today I’m going to dive deeper into that whole concept and try to get a better understanding of the relationship between the Anglos and the Native tribes. It was very messy, and it became very bloody. Again, I have to bring up the thought, that based on the morality of today, what happened back then is today considered genocide. I’m not going to try and justify what took place. It doesn’t do any good to get angry over the actions that took place, it might serve as a warning of what can, and in many places, still does happen to others. Before I go into the relationships in 1836 and beyond, I want to go back over some of the history of the native people prior to this time. Remember, how in early episodes I talked about how when the Spanish arrived in Texas there were multiple groups or tribes of indigenous people in all parts of Texas. Now I’m not going to go back 10,000 years ago and talk about the Clovis people, there are several excellent books out there that discuss the people and how they evolved, and it does make for fascinating reading. I want to start with those who were here when the first Spanish explorers bumped into Texas. November 6, 1528, is the day when the lives of the native peoples of what is now Texas began to change, and not for the better. That was the day when the Karankawas met Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca and the remnants of his crew on Galveston Island. At that time, the Karankawas were one of many tribes or bands of native people who lived in Texas. The Karankawas were a hunter gatherer group who lived mostly on the Texas coast. They were hunter-gatherers, and they necessarily lived a somewhat nomadic life because they had to travel to find food. There were approximately 5 bands that are historically associated with them, one such group were the Cocos who lived the furthest east between Galveston Island and the Colorado River. They were the group that de Vaca’s band of survivors lived with. And that proved to be a disaster for the Cocos, because Cholera hit and killed nearly half of their band. These groups were the first to encounter the Spanish and the first to suffer from those encounters. The native people’s simply were not equipped to handle the germs and diseases that the Europeans brought with them. Another group that suffered from their encounter with the Europeans where the Caddos. Around 1500, the Caddos had already built a complex political system that consisted of alliances between different bands and tribes. In addition to their lands in Texas, they were also located in the Great Plains, Eastern Woodlands, and present-day Arizona and New Mexico. They had built extensive trading networks where they exported salt, pottery, and wood for making bows, and they imported seashells, copper, and flint. It was natural that once the French and Spanish merchants arrived in Texas and the surrounding areas, that the Caddo’s would trade with them as well and that began their downfall. As with the Karankawas the Europeans brought new diseases that had devastated the people.
Nov 29, 2023
Episode 34 The New Republic and Sam Houston becomes President.
Episode 34 - The New Republic and Sam Houston becomes President. The program is brought to you by Digital Media Publishers Ashby Navis & Tennyson. Download our audiobooks at Spotify, TuneIn, Apple, Google, Barnes and Noble, and stores around the world. Visit AshbyNavis.com for more information. As I’ve talked about, the early Anglo settlers in Texas primarily came from the South. This means that they brought many of their southern traditions and biases with them. Now even though the term Manifest Destiny, wasn’t actually coined until 1845, the idea that formed it, which is that the United States was destined by God, to expand its control and to spread democracy and capitalism across the entire North American continent was part of what built Texas. The Louisiana Purchase in 1803 was an example of the United States trying to expand, to fulfill what many thought was destiny. Texas was also seen as being part of that fulfillment, now one of the byproducts of that concept, was how it affected any person who was non-white. I have already spoken a little about the animosity between the Anglo newcomers and the Mexicans who had lived in Texas for decades and also about how the real native Texans, that is, the indigenous tribes had been changed and decimated. Well, this new republic would have an even more dramatic effect on both of those populations. The Republic had been born and by July Interim President Burnet and his cabinet began shifting responsibilities. The ad interim president called an election for the first Monday in September to set up a government under the constitution. The voters were asked to (1) approve the constitution, (2) authorize Congress to amend the constitution, (3) elect a president, other officers, and members of Congress, and (4) express their views on annexation to the United States. So far so good, but as with everything about Texas, it was not all peaches and cream. The choice of a president especially was a concern. Henry Smith, the governor of the provisional government, was most likely the first to announce his candidacy for the office. Stephen F. Austin (who many now consider to be the father of Texas) also entered the race, but he had accumulated enemies because of the land speculations of his business associate Samuel May Williams and, remember this was in the time when it was difficult to communicate with others, many newcomers to Texas didn’t really know Austin. Some of the newcomers thought he had been too slow to support independence. Finally, just eleven days before the election, Sam Houston became an active candidate. On election day, It was determined that Houston won by a landslide, with 5,119 votes, Smith 743, and Austin 587. Remember Mirabeau Lamar, the "keenest blade" at San Jacinto, he was elected vice president. Lamar becoming vice president will play a major role in the future, especially when it comes to relations with both the Mexican and Native tribes. I’ll talk about that in the next episode, anyway... Houston benefited from strong support from the army and from those who believed that his election would ensure internal stability and because of his reputation, help Texas receive recognition from various world powers and, probably more important, help Texas get annexed by the United States. Remember, most of the Anglos in Texas at that time weren’t really interested in being their own country. Yes, they wanted independence from Mexico, but they also wanted to be part of the United States. Houston was expected to stand firm against Mexico and while waiting for the United States to act seek recognition of Texas independence from Mexico. The people voted overwhelmingly to accept the constitution and to seek annexation, but they denied Congress the power of amendment. And actually to this day, the legislature cannot amend the State’s constitution, it can only be done by a vote of the citizens. On October 22, before a joint session of the Texas Congress,
Nov 14, 2023
Episode 33 Independence and a Republic is born (sort of)
Episode 33 Independence and a Republic is born (sort of) Welcome to the Hidden History of Texas. I’m your host Hank Wilson and this is Episode 33 - Independence and a Republic is born (sort of) The program is brought to you by Digital Media Publishers Ashby Navis & Tennyson. Download our audiobooks at Spotify, TuneIn, Apple, Google, Barnes and Noble, and stores around the world. Visit AshbyNavis.com for more information. Time to start discussing the actual founding of what was to be known as the Republic of Texas. While it is true that most Anglo Texans and many of the Mexican Texans believed that Texas began working to become a nation after the victory over Santa Anna at San Jacinto, the reality is quite different. In earlier episodes, I talked about the various declarations that had been passed during the 1830s. The actual convention that was to declare that Texas was independent began in March, prior to the falling of the Alamo. The convention was held at Washington-on-the-Brazos on March 1, 1836, and it was very different from the Consultation or any of the pervious gatherings. There were 41 delegates present and another 59 people who periodically stopped by or attended the meetings. An interesting fact about the makeup of the convention is that two delegates (José Francisco Ruiz and José Antonio Navarro of Bexar) were native Texans, one (Lorenzo de Zavala) had actually been born in Mexico. Of the rest of the delegates only 10 had been living in Texas before 1835. The majority were late arrivals who came from either the United States, or from Europe. While about 2/3 of the delegates were not yet forty, several of them already had political experience. For example, Samuel P. Carson of Pecan Point served in the North Carolina Legislature and Robert Potter of Nacogdoches in the U.S. House of Representatives. On March 1 George C. Childress, who had returned from a visit with President Jackson in Tennessee, presented a resolution calling for independence. It was quickly adopted, and Childress was appointed to lead a committee of five in drafting a final declaration of independence. Childress must have been expecting this because when the committee met that evening, he pulled out a statement he had brought from Tennessee. That document followed the outline and contained the main features of the United States Declaration of Independence. On March 2nd, the delegates unanimously adopted his suggested declaration. After 58 members signed the document the Republic of Texas was unofficially born. Upon receiving the news about the fall of the Alamo and that Santa Anna’s army was marching eastward, the convention hastily adopted a constitution, signed it, and elected an interim government: David G. Burnet, was elected president; Lorenzo de Zavala, vice president; Samuel P. Carson, secretary of state; Thomas J. Rusk, secretary of war; Bailey Hardeman, secretary of the treasury; Robert Potter, secretary of the navy; and David Thomas, attorney general. Immediately after this the delegates fled Washington-on-the-Brazos and headed towards Galveston Island. Upon hearing of Houston’s victory at San Jacinto they quickly headed to the San Jacinto battlefield and began negotiations to end the war. At Velasco on May 14, they had Santa Anna sign two treaties, one public and one secret. The public treaty ended hostilities and restored private property. Texan and Mexican prisoners were to be released, and Mexican troops would retire beyond the Rio Grande. The secret treaty included the provision that Santa Anna was to be taken to Veracruz and released. In return for this, Santa Anna agreed to seek Mexican government approval of both treaties and to negotiate a permanent treaty that acknowledged Texas independence and recognized its boundary as the Rio Grande. Texans demanded that Santa Anna should be put to death, but on June 4, the dictator, his secretary Ramón Martínez Caro, and Col. Juan N.
Nov 2, 2023
Episode 32 – The Goliad Massacre
The Goliad Massacre Welcome to Episode 32 of the Hidden History of Texas. This one is slightly out of sequence. It’s about the Goliad Massacre. The Alamo has fallen, and Santa Anna is moving through Texas and that brings me to what has been known historically as the Goliad Massacre. While not as well known today, at least outside of Texas and among historians, at the time it is virtually impossible to measure how much support was generated for the cause against Mexico both within Texas and in the United States. One thing is certain, without a doubt, the news of the massacre contributed to the Texan victory at the battle of San Jacinto and helped in sustaining the independence of the Republic of Texas. While Texans and Americans were horrified and angered by the execution of those in James W. Fannin, Jr.'s command, there was precedent for the massacre itself. Additionally, the order of the exterminations by Santa Anna, was permitted by Mexican law. Since this is the case, any discussion of the massacre must take the events and legislation that preceded it into consideration. We must remember that one of the major concerns of Santa Anna was that the colonists would receive help from the United States. His order to treat the colonists and those who resisted as pirates was first tested after November 15, 1835, when Gen. José Antonio Mexía attacked Tampico and three companies who were from New Orleans. One company, which had poor leadership, immediately broke ranks and half of them, along with some wounded were captured by Santa Anna's forces the next day. Twenty-eight of the men were tried as pirates, convicted, and, on December 14, 1835, shot. Almost a month passed before they were executed, and this gave Santa Anna more than enough time to see the reaction from the United States, over Americans being executed. When there was no immediate reaction from New Orleans, Santa Anna felt he was within his rights to do so. This lead him to believe that he had found an effective deterrent to any American support or aid for Texas. Santa Anna then asked the Mexican Congress for an official decree which directed that all foreigners taken in arms against the government should be treated as pirates and shot. He received that degree in December of 1835. His main army took no prisoners; and Gen. José de Urrea, commander of Santa Anna's right wing was responsible for carrying out those orders. Urrea’s first prisoners were survivors of Francis W. Johnson's party, captured near San Patricio on February 27, 1836. According to a report from Reuben M. Potter, Urrea "was not blood thirsty and when not overruled by orders of a superior, or stirred by irritation, was disposed to treat prisoners with lenity." The general reported to Santa Anna that he held the San Patricio fighters as prisoners, Santa Anna ordered him to carry out the decree of December 30. Urrea complied, issuing the order to shoot both the prisoners and prisoners from the battle of Agua Dulce Creek. Urrea though, had no stomach for such actions, and took advantage of the protests of Father Thomas J. Malloy, who was the priest of the Irish colonists, to send the prisoners to Matamoros. He asked Santa Anna to forgive him and essentially washed his hands of the prisoners fate. However, Urrea was faced with the same dilemma in Refugio on March 15, 1836. This time 33 Americans had been captured in the fighting at Nuestra Señora del Refugio Mission, with most of them coming from Capt. Amon B. King's company. When King and his men burned local ranchos and shot eight Mexicans who were sitting around a campfire this action inflamed their enemies who wanted revenge. Urrea satisfied both his conscience and those around by executing King and fourteen of his men, while "setting at liberty all who were colonists or Mexicans." He faced a more complicated on March 20 after James W. Fannin's surrendered at the battle of Coleto.
Oct 26, 2023
Episode 31 – The Runaway Scrape, the Battle of San Jacinto, and Independence
Episode 31 -The Runaway Scrape, the Battle of San Jacinto, and Independence It's the spring of 1836 and the Alamo has fallen, folks are scared, and many people have no idea what’s going to happen. As a result, what has become known as the Runaway Scrape is taking shape. But what was the Runaway Scrape and why isn’t it talked about? Many Texans aren’t exactly proud of the Runaway Scrape, because it was created by the Texas settlers who fled from their homes when Santa Anna began his drive into Texas starting in February of 1836. Now looking back in time, you can’t really blame the settlers for leaving, after all Santa Anna was determined to crush any semblance of independence or revolution. If you look at a map of Texas it’s easy to see the first communities that were affected. Those where those who were in the south central portions of the state. This area centered around San Patricio, Refugio, and San Antonio. Those folks actually began to leave in mid January of 1836 when they heard that the Mexican army was gathering on the Rio Grande. Things intensified once Sam Houston arrived in Gonzales on March 11 and learned about the fall of the Alamo. At that time he decided to retreat inland and east towards the Colorado River, and he ordered all local inhabitants to accompany him. Houston sent riders out from Gonzales to spread the news of the fall of the Alamo. Of course, upon hearing this news and knowing there was nothing between themselves and Santa Anna’s troops, people began to leave everything and make their way to safety. As a result, this became an extremely large scale evacuation and the temporary capital Washington-on-the-Brazos was deserted by March 17. By April 1 Richmond and settlements on both sides of the Brazos river were evacuated. As Houston continued to retreat eastward towards the Sabine River he left every settlement between the Colorado and the Brazos defenseless. For their own safety, those settlers began making their way toward Louisiana or Galveston Island. East Texas areas of Nacogdoches and San Augustine ended up abandoned just before April 13. One of the facts that often goes unreported about the flight was how because of the panic there was little or no preparation. There was also significant fear not only because of the Mexican army but also by the frontier Indians. The refugees traveled by any type of transportation they could find, or they walked. They experienced diseases, the weather was cold, wet, and many of them suffered from a lack of food. Added to the discomforts of travel and their fear were all kinds of diseases, intensified by cold, rain, and hunger. Many of them died and those who did were buried where they fell. The evacuation continued up to and until they received news of Houston’s victory in the battle of San Jacinto. The battle of San Jacinto was the final battle of the Texas Revolution. Due to Sam Houston’s constant movement to the East, many Texans thought it would never take place. The army left Gonzales on March 13, 1836, crossed the Colorado River on the 17th, and then pitched camp near present day Columbus on the 20th. During the march Houston had been trying to recruit volunteers and with reinforcements from other groups, the army increased its about 1,200. While this was an improvement, scouts reported that there was close to 1325 Mexican troops west of the Colorado. Then on the 25th, they learned that Fannin had been defeated and his men slaughtered in Goliad. and at that point many of the men left to go join their families on the Runaway Scrape. Houston was not deterred and led his troops to San Felipe de Austin by the 28th and by the 30th they arrived at the Jared E. Groce plantation on the Brazos River. At this time, interim President David G. Burnet ordered Houston to stop his retreat; Secretary of War Thomas J. Rusk urged him to be more decisive in his defense of Texas. Meanwhile Santa Anna decided to take control of the Texas coast and ...
Oct 10, 2023
Episode 30 The Alamo
In this episode, I discuss perhaps the most famous of all battles, the Alamo. In previous episodes, I’ve discussed the battles that took place Gonzales, Goliad (La Bahia), and the Siege of Bexar (or San Antonio) which took place from October through December of 1835. I’ve discussed a group of Texans who were very important in the revolution, the Tejanos, the Mexican Texans. Now it’s time to look at the actual battle of the Alamo. Before I get too much into the actual story, I need to mention that there have been at least 8 movies made about the alamo, with the 1st being produced in 1915. It was a silent movie called Martyrs of the Alamo and it was produced by D.W. Griffith. Now, let’s be honest and fair. Most of the movies about the battle of the Alamo are nonsense. The first of them, the one by D.W. Griffith was total garbage. Griffith, whose contributions to the movie industry cannot be denied, was a well-known white supremacist whose movies all reflected that. Now the 2004 version is probably the most accurate of the movies made about the battle, but even it took what we call literary license with the events that took place, especially in the use of dialogue. So what really happened? One thing that the movies do get correct is there were some big-name folks who fought there. One of them was David Crockett, from Tennessee, (by the way his actual fiddle is in the Witte Museum in San Antonio, and I once had a chance to hear it played during a recording session that took place in the Alamo Chapel). On different sides of the battle were two men who had once been friends adventurer James Bowie, and Mexican president Antonio López de Santa Anna. For a large number of Americans and almost all Texans, the battle for the Alamo has become a symbol of patriotic sacrifice and bravery. The men and women who were in the battle were indeed brave and as I mentioned in the beginning, the traditional popular novels, stage plays, and motion pictures, obscure the actual historical event. To understand the reality of the battle, we have to look at why San Antonio and the Alamo itself was strategic. Remember how in December 1835 a Federalist army of Texan (or Texian, as they were called) immigrants, American volunteers, and their Tejano allies had captured San Antonio from the Mexican Army, or the Centralist forces that were there during the siege of Bexar. As I said in the episode about the Siege of Bexar after the victory, a majority of the Texan volunteers of the "Army of the People" left service and returned to their families. Even though the siege itself was over many members of the provisional government feared the Centralists would mount a spring offensive. The main issue with that is there were only two main roads leading into Texas from the interior of Mexico. The first was the Atascosito Road, which stretched from Matamoros on the Rio Grande northward through San Patricio, Goliad, Victoria, and finally into the heart of Austin's colony. The second was the Old San Antonio Road, a Camino real that crossed the Rio Grande at Paso de Francia (the San Antonio Crossing) and wound northeastward through San Antonio de Béxar, Bastrop, Nacogdoches, San Augustine, and across the Sabine River into Louisiana. Each of these roads were blocked by forts. Presidio La Bahía at Goliad and the Alamo at San Antonio. Each spot served almost like an early warning system, ready to alert the Texas settlements of any enemy advance. The Bexar garrison, or the Alamo was commanded by James Clinton Neill. While James Walker Fannin, Jr., took over the forces at Goliad. Many of the settlers had returned to home and that meant that some newly arrived American volunteers made up a majority of the troops at Goliad and Bexar. Both Neill and Fannin were determined to stall the Centralists on the frontier and not let them easily move inland, but they were not delusional. Without speedy reinforcements,
Sep 25, 2023
Episode 29 Los Tejanos
Episode 29 (Los Tejanos) In Today's episode I want to discuss Los Tejanos. In previous episodes, I’ve discussed the battles that took place Gonzales, Goliad (La Bahia), and the Siege of Bexar (or San Antonio) which took place from October through December of 1835. After the siege of Bexar Texans are in control of San Antonio. Today before I delve too deeply into the actual battle, I want to talk about a segment of the Texas population that played a very important role in the revolution, los Tejanos. Who are the Tejanos? Simply put they are Mexican Texans; they are the descendants of the Spanish who first colonized Mexico and then moved north into Texas. Through this period they were Mexican citizens. And just as it was among the Mexicans living South of the Rio Grande, there were those who supported the strong central government of San Anna and those who opposed it. They wanted more autonomy for what was then known as the Mexican state of Texas. In that respect, they were very much like the Anglos who were very early settlers. Those very early Anglo settlers were quite different from the ones who flooded in during the 1830s. The majority of these later Anglos came from the deep south and they held the same prejudices as most of those in the south. Regardless of that, and I will talk more about the divide between the races and ethnic groups in later episodes, both the siege and battle of the Alamo involved a considerable number of Tejanos. They served as defenders, couriers, and noncombatants. In fact, the vast majority of survivors of the final assault in the early morning hours of March 6, 1836, were Tejanos. There were some Tejanos who participated in the events of the siege and final assault as people loyal to the federal government, either as government officials or members of the Mexican military. There is no way to give an exact number of Tejano defenders, in spite of folklore and Hollywood, there is also no way to give an exact number of Anglo defenders. Why is this? Because there no battle muster rolls and casualty lists, therefore, historians have had to rely on a wide variety of sources to arrive at some idea of a total number of defenders. The problem is exacerbated in the case of Tejanos, because some sources completely dismiss them. An example of this is, William Barret Travis’s letter of March 3 to the president of the Convention of 1836, in which Travis stated that the citizens of San Antonio were all enemies, except for the ones who entered the Alamo with the Texians, and that there were only three “Mexicans” in the fort with him. However, after examining the available reliable information, scholars have compiled a much longer list of Tejano participants. This includes events beginning with the arrival of the Mexican army on February 23, 1836, through the final assault on March 6, 1836. In fact, Juan N. Seguín, the senior Tejano military officer, and who the city of Seguin is named after, entered the Alamo with other defenders on February 23. This troop included, approximately fifteen men, most of whom left sometime after Seguín himself was sent out as a courier on February 25. Also entering the Alamo on the first day were Carlos Espalier, Gregorio (José María) Esparza, and Brígido Guerrero, the latter a Mexican army deserter who, like Espalier, appears to have been among James Bowie’s men rather than part of Seguín’s command. Along with Espalier and Esparza, the other Tejano defenders recognized as having died in the final assault include Juan Abamillo, Juan Antonio Badillo, Antonio Fuentes, José Toribio Losoya, Andrés Nava, and Damacio Jiménez (Ximenes), whose death in the final assault was only discovered in 1986. San Antonio resident Pablo Díaz, who would have been twenty years old at the time of the battle, claimed in a 1906 newspaper interview that he saw the body of one other Tejano defender, a man he identified simply as Cervantes.
Sep 10, 2023
The Siege of Bexar
Today iI take a closer look at the Siege of Bexar. We’re still in 1835 and I’m taking a closer look at each of the early battles skirmishes that took place as the year comes to a close. In previous episodes, I’ve discussed the battles that took place Gonzales and Goliad (La Bahia) It was in Goliad that we first met General Cos, who would play a significant role in the next skirmish I want to talk about. The Siege of Bexar (or San Antonio) which took place from October through December of 1835. Without a doubt the siege of Bexar (San Antonio) was the first major campaign of the Texas Revolution. A group of Texan volunteers laid siege to the Mexican army that was headquartered in San Antonio de Béxar. After Texans drove off Mexican troops at Gonzales on October 2, the Texan army gathering outside of San Antonio grew to 300 men. To bring unity to the group they elected Stephen F. Austin commander. On October 12 they advanced closer to San Antonio, where Gen. Martín Perfecto de Cos recently (remember our old friend from Goliad) had concentrated a Mexican force of around 650 men. He fortified the town plazas west of the San Antonio River and he also fortified the Alamo, which lay east of the river. In mid-October the Texans, now with a force numbering 400 men, camped along Salado Creek east of San Antonio. In this group were legendary names such as James Bowie and Tejano leader Juan N. Seguín. Seguin brought with him a company of Mexican Texans who fought on the side of the settlers. In late October Bowie and James W. Fannin, Jr., led an advance to the missions below San Antonio, while Cos brought in 100 reinforcement men. On October 25 the Texans had a debate over strategy. Sam Houston, who had come from the Consultation government, urged delay for training and for cannons to bombard the fortifications. However, the desire of Austin and others who wanted to continue efforts at capturing San Antonio won the day. On October 27, from another of the missions around the San Antonio area, San Francisco de la Espada Mission, Austin sent Bowie and Fannin forward Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña Mission with ninety men. Their task was to locate a position nearer the town of San Antonio that would be suitable for an army encampment. It was there on the morning of the 28th that the Texans scouting party was attacked by a force of 275 men lead by Col. Domingo de Ugartechea. The Texans took a position along the bank of the San Antonio River from where they were able to drive off the assault. In doing so, they inflicted over fifty casualties on the Mexican force and captured a cannon. General Cos took up more defensive positions in San Antonio and the Alamo, and the Texans established camps on the river above and below the town. The Texans army grew to about 600 with reinforcements from East Texas that were led by Thomas J. Rusk. For the next several days Texas and Mexican cavalry skirmished from time to time as the Texans scouted to capture Mexican supplies and to warn of any reinforcements for Cos. Finally, on November 8, Travis led a force that captured 300 Mexican mules and horses grazing beyond the Medina River. On the 12th, Ugartechea left San Antonio with a small cavalry force to direct the march of reinforcements from below the Rio Grande. Austin sent cavalry to intercept him, but the Mexican troops evaded them. With the weather changing and becoming colder and without adequate supplies both armies began to suffer morale problems. When three companies with over a hundred men arrived from the United States in mid-November, Austin again planned an attack. Officers still expressed doubts, however, and it was called off. Austin then left to assume diplomatic duties in the United States. The Texas troops selected Edward Burleson as their new leader. On November 26, Erastus (Deaf) Smith reported approaching Mexican cavalry and Burleson sent troops to cut them off.
Sep 4, 2023
Episode 27 (Battle of Goliad)
We’re still in 1835 and I’m taking a closer look at each of the early battles skirmishes that took place as the year comes to a close and today it's the Battle of Goliad. In my last episode I discussed what happened in Gonzales, Texas, almost simultaneously trouble was brewing in Goliad. That battle was not limited to one settlement, it encompassed several of the towns in and around the area and it is where we first meet General Cos of the Mexican Army. What could possibly be so important about a settlement, that quite frankly most people have never heard of, that it deserves special mention? Before 1829, Goliad was called La Bahía, and it occupied a place on the main route from the Gulf of Mexico to San Antonio de Béxar. About the same times as San Antonio was established the Mexicans also established Copano (El Cópano), on Aransas Bay and it served as the principal port of entry into Texas. These three points, San Antonio, La Bahia (Goliad), and Copano were the key to control of South Texas. La Bahía had incredible strategic importance since it guarded the supply line from the coast to the principal city of San Antonio. The roots of the Goliad Campaign of 1835 lay in Santa Anna's emergence in 1834 as president of Mexico and leader of the movement to establish the authority of a supreme central government. This clashed with the increasingly independent thinking in Texas arising in part from its distance from the central government in Mexico City and from its proximity to the United States. Santa Anna was determined to suppress any movements that were in favor of maintaining federalism and opposing his presidency. Santa Ana ordered his brother-in-law, General Cos, to Texas in September to investigate the refusal of citizens at Anahuac to pay duties to the central government, I’ve talked about the Anahuac Disturbances in episode 20 and it’s on the website, so I won’t go into detail here. Cos's goal was to proceed to San Antonio and ultimately San Felipe de Austin via Goliad with an army of 500 men. Their purpose was to reinforce Col. Domingo de Ugartechea and chastise the citizens of Texas for their attitude. This plan was well known in Texas, for many citizens had family in the interior and business connections there. The influential John J. Linn of Guadalupe Victoria warned as early as July 1835 that Cos would land at Copano. In July at La Bahía presidio, Col. Nicolás Condelle (or Conde), who had been sent to secure Goliad and Copano for Cos's projected expedition, arrested the alcalde, stripped the town of its arms, pressed citizens into service, and quartered soldiers in their homes. These activities caused several clashes to take place and increased the tension. General Cos landed at Copano about September 20. James Power, empresario of the Power and Hewetson colony and Cos's friend, sought out the general, who cordially informed the empresario of his orders to "repress with strong arm all those who, forgetting their duties to the nation which has adopted them as her children, are pushing forward with a desire to live at their own option without subjection to the laws." Power then warned the inland colonies that Cos had arrived and had marched to reinforce the government garrisons at Refugio, Goliad, and San Antonio, and would ultimately arrive at San Felipe de Austin. Cos left Refugio on October 1 and entered Goliad the next day with an honor guard of thirty, followed, as rapidly as it could be landed, by the infantry battalion which numbered more than 400. Cos dispatched Capt. Manuel Sabriego, a commander of local rancheros, and about twenty-five men to Guadalupe Victoria to seize a cannon and arrest José M. J. Carbajal, though, like the incident at Gonzales, the attempt was unsuccessful. Alcalde Plácido Benavides led the militia of Victoria against surrendering either the cannon or Carbajal. Cos departed from Goliad on October 5 with his honor guard and a battalion and marched unmolest...
Aug 24, 2023
Hidden History of Texas Episode 26 – The Battle of Gonzales
Welcome to the Hidden History of Texas Episode 26. Texas made it to the end of 1835 and in a couple of months in 1836 things finally come to a head and independence is gained. Before the two big battles of 1836, the Battle of the Alamo and San Jacinto, there were skirmishes and battles that took place during the closing months of 1835. The battles are October 2, 1835, Battle of Gonzales , October 28, 1835, the Battle of Goliad, October 28, 1835, the Battle of Concepcion, and then on December 11, 1835, the Siege of Bexar begins. I want to take a look at each of these early battles a little closer. Let’s start in Gonzales, Texas. Gonzales is one of those early settlements made up of fiercely independent people. They were also, mostly Anglos and they didn’t have any particular allegiance to Mexico. In 1831, the colonists had been given a small cannon to help in their defense against raids by the Apache and Comanche. When the government decided it was time to take the cannon back, the colonists refused to give it up. When Domingo de Ugartechea, military commander in Texas, received word from the Mexican Government that the American colonists had to surrender the cannon he dispatched Francisco de Castañeda and 100 dragoons to retrieve it. Now understand that Ugartechea realized that the way feelings were running between the Texans and Santa Anna 's Centralist government, it wouldn’t take much to ignite hostilities. So he told Castañeda that if it was necessary he could use force, but to avoid open conflict if possible.... Sorry, but if you want to know how this turns out, you have to listen to the rest of the podcast. Come on now, it's only about 8-9 minutes long ---thanks If you want more information on Texas History, visit the Texas State Historical Association. I also have two audiobooks on the Hidden History of Texas one which deals with the 1500s to about 1820, and the other one 1820s to 1830s. You can find the books pretty much wherever you download or listen to audiobooks. Links to all the stores are on my publishers website https://ashbynavis.com.