Sunday, July 01, 2012
Battle of Medina, August 18, 2012 - 199th Anniversary of the Bloodiest Battle in Texas History
Everyone will then retire to Pleasanton, Texas, for lunch on your own, and then reconvene at the Pleasanton Church of Christ located at 1003 North Main Street for an air-conditioned history seminar from 1:00 p.m. to approximately 3:30 p.m. in the church meeting hall. The Atascosa County Historical Commission members will graciously provide us with refreshments in the afternoon at the church during the symposium again this year. The afternoon history seminar will present the latest research on the Gutierrez-Magee Expedition, which began 200 years ago this year, and the last battle of the Expedition, the Battle of Medina. Several speakers will be featured, including Robert Thonhoff, KSJ, the award winning author of several books, Richard G. Santos, author of 37 books, over 3,000 articles and dozens of documentaries and former instructor at Our Lady of the Lake University, Trinity University and School of Aero Space Medicine; Al McGraw, Archeological Studies Program for TxDOT will also speak on various facets of this historic era, Dan Arellano, author and historian and Tom Green promoter of the event. These are all great speakers and historians, so you don’t want to miss this symposium. The Military History Coordinator for the State Historical Commission, Mr. William McWhorter is also planning to attend, as is Caddo Chief Davis, who will say a few words of wisdom.
To reach the site for the 10:00 a.m. outdoor ceremony, proceed south from San Antonio on Highway 281 some 15 miles from the intersection of Loop 410 South and Highway 281, to the community of Espey, Texas, at the intersection of U.S. 281 and FM 536; then turn right (west) onto the Old Pleasanton Road, and then left onto Bruce Road where signs will direct you to the ceremony. For additional details, contact Tom Green, at (281) 922-1118, or Cell Phone (832) 687-3474. Wear a hat and comfortable shoes and bring water and a lawn chair that will not easily sink into the “sugar sand!”
The Battle of Medina was between the Republican Army of the North consisting of approximately a 1,400 men, called the Gutierrez-Magee Expedition by historians, and a Royal Spanish Army commanded by General Joaquin de Arredondo consisting of approximately 1,800 men. The Republican Army of the North was truly a diverse group, consisting of Tejanos, Native Americans, and adventurers from the U.S.A. along with at least one African-American named Thomas. This was at a time in history when only about 2,000 people lived in San Antonio, called San Fernando de Bexar at the time. At least 5 Patriots of the American Revolution were involved in the Gutierrez-Magee Expedition, and at least one of these Patriots, Peter Sides, fought and died in the Battle of Medina. Peter Sides is one of over 50 Patriots of the American Revolution believed to have been buried in Texas. Direct descendants of Peter Sides are eligible for membership in both the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution and The Sons and Daughters of The Republic of Texas. Some of the descendants of Peter Sides will be in attendance for the re-dedication of a Sons of the American Revolution Patriot Grave Marker. A Grave Marker will also be re-dedicated by the Sons of the Republic of Texas for Benjamin Allen, as descendants of all the approximately 3,200 men who fought on both sides of this battle are possibly eligible for membership in the SRT and the DRT. One of our objectives is to honor the many other participants on both sides of this battle, which is the land battle with the largest loss of life in Texas history. Toward that end, descendants of the Spanish solders, Native Americans and the native Tejano participants have also been invited to attend this annual commemorative ceremony.
Earlier in the expedition the Royal Spanish Army surrounded the Republican Army of the North for approximately four months at the La Bahia Presidio near present day Goliad, Texas. This is believed to have been one of the longest sieges in American military history, and is the reason the La Bahia Presidio flies the Emerald Green flag of the Republican Army of the North as one of the nine flags flown at La Bahia.
Prior to the August 18, 1813 Battle of Medina, the Gutierrez-Magee Expedition formed the Republican Army of the North, and won all the preceding battles and declared Texas free from Spain, including a battle at Nacogdoches, a four month siege of the Presidio La Bahia, the Battle of Rosillo, and the Battle of Alazan. On April 6, 1813, Bernardo Gutierrez de Lara, and his junta, wrote and signed the First Texas Declaration of Independence. On April 17, 1813, the junta and Governor-Elect Bernardo Gutierrez approved the First Constitution of Texas in present day San Antonio. A ceremony is held each year in San Antonio commemorating these events. Come join us and learn more about this all but forgotten part of our history.
Special thanks to contributor Ron W. Brown, P.E. for providing the information in this email.