Friday, October 2, 2009

The Battle of Gonzales, Texas

Today is the anniversary of the "Lexington of the West", the battle of Gonzales in 1835, the first formal exchange of hostilities of the War for Texas Independence. Tensions had been growing for some time and things became particularly heated when the dictator of Mexico, Generalissimo Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna (the turncoat who had betrayed and deposed the Mexican Emperor) garrisoned Texas with an army of convict-soldiers led by his brother-in-law General Martin Perfecto de Cos. Hostilities were set when Colonel Domingo de Ugartechea dispatched 100 dragoons under Francisco de Castaneda to confiscate the canon at Gonzales which had been given to the settlers to fend off Indian attacks. The small canon suddenly gained great symbolic significance and the Texans decided to draw the line at Gonzales and refuse to allow the government to disarm them. Colonel John H. Moore led about 140 militiamen with their canon to confront the Mexican dragoons and flew a defiant flag bearing a lone star, an image of the canon and the phrase, "Come and Take It".

A barking dog startled the Mexican soldiers who opened fire on the Texans but the Mexicans were confused by a thick fog which prevented them from knowing where or how numerous their enemies were. Moore had earlier tried to negotiate with the Mexican captain, informing him that they no longer recognized the authority of the regime of Santa Anna but remained loyal to the Mexican constitution of 1824 which Santa Anna had tore up when he assumed dictatorial power. After a short, sharp skirmish the Mexicans withdrew back to San Antonio. Only one Mexican was killed and one Texan wounded but it was the start of a war that would change the face of North America and determine the future of the entire American southwest.

9 comments:

  1. Would that Texas had remained independent! Granted, most Texans, being descended from, and greatly influenced by, Americans were died in the wool Republicans, who lived under the Monarchy of Interdide more out or a sense of need for the resources he provided than any devotion to Monarchy, and likely would never have develop a Texan throne, it would have been better than the mechanations odf Santa Anna, who failed, or of the Americans, whose dupliucity paid off.

    We will still regard the Texas Republic and all its Autonomy, though!

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  2. The first colonies came to Texas under the empire but were in the midst of establishment when Iturbide was overthrown. It's also interesting that the two factions that emerged in the Republic of Texas (never had parties) were the pro-US faction and the other that was often called the "Texian Empire" faction. Texas also threatened the US with joining the British Empire if they continued to drag their feet on annexation. Personally, of the two factions, the Houston-US faction and the Lamar-independence faction, I would have been solidly with President Lamar.

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  3. I may have misread my history but I was under the impression that Texas did not actually want to merge with the US by and large.I realise there was a movement to, but to my studies I was under the impression that this was the minority view. Am I mistaken?

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  4. I'd like to say that was so, but afraid not. From the very outset there were two camps that the population fell into; pro-US and pro-independence. Houston led the US group, Mirabeau Bonaparte Lamar led the pro-TX group. With money tight, Mexico still threatening war (even attacking on occasion) most everyone was looking to align with some other power and the US was most likely. The US went back & forth on the issue depending on who was in office and finally the idea of joining or aligning with Britain was floated as a way to frighten the US into action as the last thing they wanted was Great Britain on their northern and southern borders. They finally acted, Texas voted on it, annexation happened and the Mexican-American War was the result. That being said, it did not take long for the romance with the US to wear off. Little more than a decade later the public voted overwhelmingly to leave the Union (Texas was the only state or maybe one of only 2 -can't remember- to put secession up for popular vote) and we all know how that ended.

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  5. I see. Thanks for the extra info. I suppose everythign really is bigger in Texas, including memories of past desires for independance being larger than in reality.

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  6. why did mexico want the cannon back so badly???

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  7. Because Texas was on the verge of rebellion and they didn't want it used against them. They were trying to confiscate all heavy weapons that were not under government control.

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  8. COME AND TAKE IT!!

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  9. The Founding Fathers in their writings stated,
    and I paraphrase: "joining the union is voluntary as is leaving it. If it were not so, then the states would be no better off then they had been under British rule."
    That said, the Civil War was an unconstitutional war basically driven to protect the power of the federal government.
    So much for "Honest Abe". To really know Lincoln go to Lincoln - Douglas fourth debate
    on the internet.

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