Friday, October 3, 2014

The Battle of Gonzales 2 October 1835

The Battle of Gonzales was fought near Gonzales, Texas, on 2 October 1835, between Texian settlers and a detachment of Mexican army troops. It was the first battle of the Texas War for Independence.  The majority of the Texians were Scots-Irish who had moved to Texas from Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama.

In 1831, Mexican authorities gave the settlers of Gonzales a small cannon to help protect them from frequent Comanche raids. During the ensuing four years, the political situation in Mexico deteriorated and in 1835 several states, including Texas, revolted.  Colonel Domingo de Ugartechea, the commander of all Mexican troops in Texas, requested the return of the cannon.

Design of the original Gozales flag

This request was refused and Ugartechea sent 100 dragoons to retrieve the cannon. The soldiers neared Gonzales on 29 September. The colonists negotiated with the Mexican troops but also sent messengers to request help from nearby communities. Within two days, up to 140 Texians gathered in Gonzales. On 1 October 1835, the Texian militia voted to fight rather than surrender their cannon.  The Texian militia was led by John Henry Moore, originally of Rome, Tennessee, who had settled in Texas in 1818.  Mexican soldiers opened fire as Texians approached their camp in the early hours of October 2.  The two sides exchanged fire for several hours, after which the Mexican troops retreated.

The skirmish marked a clear break between the colonists and the Mexican government and is considered to have been the start of the Texas Revolution. News of the skirmish spread throughout the United States, where it was often referred to as the "Lexington of Texas".

Modern version of the Gozales flag, still in use

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