Monday, January 16, 2017

The Gutiérrez-Magee Expedition, 1812-1813

On August 8, 1812, an army of approximately 130 men, mostly Americans, crossed the Sabine River into the Spanish province of Texas under a green flag and a lofty name, the Republican Army of the North, to make common cause with the revolutionary movement in New Spain. The Gutiérrez-Magee Expedition, the largest of all American private military incursions in Spanish territory, dramatically wrested parts of Texas from the clutches of Spanish royalists for nearly a year before collapsing amid recriminations and a royalist counteroffensive. 

One year after the army first set foot on Texas soil, a Spanish army under General Joaquín de Arredondo crushed the rebels at the decisive Battle of Medina on August 18, 1813, restoring royalist control in the province for another eight years. The revolt, begun by an American volunteer invasion force and completed by a mixed, but mostly native Mexican army, failed in its objective to republicanize Texas. Nonetheless, the war and aftermath ultimately sealed the fate of Spanish, and eventually Mexican, Texas. If an American demographic conquest was still uncertain before 1812, it became inevitable afterwards. 

My Gutiérrez-Magee Expedition page will feature some of my original research into the expedition that I conducted for my master's thesis, Origins and Motivations of the Gutiérrez-Magee Filibusters. Departing from the well-worn path of chronology of the expedition, I focused specifically on the men who made it up. Historians heretofore have ignored these men on the ground with musket in hand, but a careful analysis of these men tells us much about the inspiration for the expedition that nearly succeeded in freeing Texas from Spanish authority.

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