THE MEXICAN INVASION OF 1842
Although the Texas Army scored a stunning defeat against Santa Anna's army at the battle of San Jacinto after the fall of the Alamo and Goliad, the Texians were still a long way from being gaining acceptance of their independence by Mexico.
This is the history of that turbulent period during the short life of the Republic of Texas.
With the failure of both sides to honor the treaties of Velasco, were violated by both parties. The friction between Texas and the Mexican government was not resolved until the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo which ended the Mexican-American War and Texas was no longer a republic but a state of the United States.
THE MEXICAN INVASION OF 1842
During the early days of the Republic of Texas, there was constant tension over the possibility of a Mexican invansion. Then in January of 1842, General Mariano Arista issued a statement from Monterrey telling the Texans that it was hopeless for them to continue their struggle for independence and promising amnesty and protection to all who remained neutral during his planned invasion.
The Mexican army invaded Texas and by early March of 1842, the Mexican army occupied Goliad, Refugio, and Victoria. This caused a panic in San Antonio and the Texas army retreated leaving San Antonio unprotected and soon occupied by the Mexican army.
On March 10, President Sam Houston declared a national emergency and ordered the republic archives to be moved to Houston, but the people of Austin refused to let the records go resulting in the Archive War. (SEE Republic of Texas Archive War in 1842).
President Houston then called out the Texas militia (under Alexander Somervell) on the 15th of March 1842 to fight the invaders but by now, the Mexican Army had already retreated toward Mexico. A major result of the March raid into Texas caused widespread panic in the western settlements of the Republic of Texas as they realized thir vunerability to the Mexican army.
The young Republic of Texas was strapped for cash so President Houston
made an appeal to the United States for money and volunteers.
An army was raised but not funded and the army was dismissed by June of 1842.
On September 11, 1842, Mexican Gen. Adrián Woll, with a force of 1,200 Mexicans, recaptured San Antonio. In a few days, over 200 Texan volunteers gathered on Cibolo Creek above Seguin and marched to Salado Creek about six miles northeast of San Antonio. On September 18, Caldwell who was in charge of the Texas troops, sent Hays and a company of scouts to draw the Mexicans into a fight which was known as the battle of Salado Creek. While the battle of Salado Creek was raging, Capt. Nicholas M. Dawson approached from the east with a company of fifty-three men. These men were attacked a mile and a half from the scene of the battle and killed in what came to be known as the Dawson Massacre.
The Mier Expedition
Mexican Gen. Woll drew his Mexican army back to San Antonio and then hastely retreated to Mexico pursued by the smaller Texas force.However, the Texans returned to San Antonio without engaging the Mexican troops and joined up with a larger force that became known as the Mier expedition.
The Mier Expedition of approximately 300 men elected William S. Fisher as their commander and moved down the Rio Grande opposite the Mexican town of Mier.
Mier Expedition on the Rio Grande
Fisher and the Texan forces crossed the river on December 23, 1842 and occupied the town of Mier without opposition. They vacated later that day, after the town leaders promised to deliver supplies to the Texan camp.
This action was twarted by Mexican General Pedro Ampudia and his troops who prevented the attempted delivery of supplies. The Texans then re-entered Mier on Christmas day and heavy fighting broke out.
Although the Texans were outnumbered by ten to one, they make a good account of themselves killing over 600 mexican troops and wounding another 200 while suffering only 31 men killed or wounded.
Then the texans ran out of rations and soon agreed to a surrender.
The Texas prisoners were held in the town of Matamoros and then moved to Mexico City. During the forced march, the captured Texan escaped but all but three were recaptured before they could get back to Texas.
The Black Bean Episode
The recaptured Texans were sentenced to death by Mexican dictator Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna but the order was later reduced to 10% of the men to be executed determined by lottery. In the lottery, which came to be known as the Black Bean Episode, 17 of the Texas prisioners who drew black beans from a jar were blindfolded and shot.
In 1848 the bodies of the men executed in the Black Bean Episode were returned from Mexico and were buried in La Grange, Texas.
List of Texans That Drew Black Beans
The 17 Texans that drew black beans were executed at dusk on March 25, 1843. They included the following Texans:
John L. Cash
James Decatur Cocke
William Mosby Eastland-Captain of Company B was the first of the Texans to draw a fatal black bean and the only officer of the expedition to do so.
Edward E. Este
Robert Holmes Durham
Thomas L. Jones
James M. Ogden
William N. Rowan
Ames L. Shepherd (Survived the firing squad by pretending to be dead, escaped, and was re-captured and shot)
James Nash Torrey
Martin Carroll Wing
The bodies of the Texans executed by during the Black Bean episode were recovered during the Mexican War and returned to Texas in 1848 for burial at Monument Hill near La Grange, beside the victims of the Dawson Massacre of 1842.
Mier Expedition Survivors
Most of the remaining prisoners were marched to Mexico City, where they spent the summer of 1843 making road repairs. In September, they were transferred to Perote Prison, a highly secure stone fortress East of Mexico City. Here, they either died, escaped, or remained until the last of the group was released on September 14, 1844.
Archie P. McDonald, Travis (Austin: Jenkins, 1976). William Barret Travis, Diary, ed. Robert E. Davis (Waco: Texian Press, 1966). Amelia W. Williams, A Critical Study of the Siege of the Alamo and of the Personnel of Its Defenders (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas, 1931; rpt., Southwestern Historical Quarterly 36 [April 1933], 37 [July, October 1933, January, April 1934).
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