in the spring of 1832, Colonel Jose de las Piedras, commander of Mexican
forces stationed in Nacogdoches,
learned of a "disturbance" in Anahuac
involving Texian colonists and his counterpart in command there, Juan
(John) Davis Bradburn, an American in Mexican military service.
Piedras and Bradburn were part of the command known as the Northern
Provinces, and the new centrist government of Mexico questioned the
loyalty of the Americans flooding into Texas.
Through the Law of April 6, 1830, the Mexican congress ended American
immigration and imposed other hardships of colonists already in Texas.
Piedras learned that Bradburn had arrested two "trouble makers," William
B. Travis and Patrick Jack, and that armed men had massed to force
their release. He rode to Anahuac
and learned that the Americans had Bradburn¹s men outnumbered. To
stop a battle, Piedras fired Bradburn and ordered Travis and Jack
Once more in Nacogdoches,
Piedras tried to avoid another disturbance, but his method of doing
so precipitated the very thing he sought to avoid: he ordered men
in the area to surrender their guns. Doubtless few of the Mexicans
could have recited the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution
about the "right to keep and bear arms," and in any case the Constitution
did not apply in Mexican Texas. But they knew the amendment's spirit,
and their guns were necessary for self defense and for hunting, so
they brought them to town Piedras' policy.
Most of the Texians involved in the Battle of Nacogdoches came
from Ayish Bayou settlements. They massed on Pine Hill, on the edge
of town, and elected James W. Bullock their commander. They approached
Piedras' strongholds in the Old
Stone Fort and another structure located diagonally across the
town square known as the Red House. Both buildings were fired upon
but held throughout the remainder of the day.
Under cover of night, Piedras led his men west, but they were overtaken
the next day at the Angelina River and after another skirmish Piedras
surrendered. Piedras and other officers were returned to Nacogdoches,
and later conducted to Velasco
and released; his men were marched to San
Antonio by James Bowie, who had arrived shortly after the battle,
and also released.
Their departure meant the end to a Mexican military presence in East
Texas. It also meant that Texians were one step closer to declaring
their independence from Mexico.
Things Historical April
6-12, 2003 column
A syndicated column in over 40 East Texas newspapers
This column is provided as a public service by the East Texas Historical
Association. Archie P. McDonald is director of the Association and
author of more than 20 books on Texas.
by Archie P. McDonald - Order Here