|Siege of Fort Texas|
|Part of Mexican–American War|
Major Jacob Brown with his sword, commanding the defenders of Fort Texas, one of which is holding a sign stating, "Death or Victory".
|Commanders and leaders|
Pedro de Ampudia
|500|| 1,600 |
14 artillery pieces
|Casualties and losses|
| 2 killed|
| 2 killed|
3 prisoners wounded
The Siege of Fort Texas marked the beginning of active campaigning by the armies of the United States and Mexico during the Mexican–American War. The battle is sometimes called The Siege of Fort Brown, but this is not entirely accurate—the name Fort Brown was taken from Major Jacob Brown, who was one of the two Americans killed during the engagement. Major Jacob Brown should not to be confused with the War of 1812 General Jacob Brown.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the eleventh most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.
The Mexican–American War, also known in the United States as the Mexican War and in Mexico as the American intervention in Mexico, was an armed conflict between the United States of America and the United Mexican States (Mexico) from 1846 to 1848. It followed in the wake of the 1845 American annexation of the independent Republic of Texas. The unstable Mexican caudillo leadership of President/General Antonio López de Santa Anna still considered Texas to be its northeastern province and never recognized the Republic of Texas, which had seceded a decade earlier. In 1845, newly elected U.S. President James K. Polk sent troops to the disputed area and a diplomatic mission to Mexico. After Mexican forces attacked American forces, Polk cited this in his request that Congress declare war.
On 28 March 1846, the Army of Occupation under the command of General Zachary Taylor reached the north bank of the Rio Grande and he ordered Captain Joseph K. Mansfield to construct of an earthen star fortress for 800 men named "Fort Texas". 40 The fort was garrisoned by 500 men under Major Jacob Brown, including the 7th Infantry, Capt. Allen Lowd's four 18-pounders, and Lt. Braxton Bragg's field battery. :49:
Zachary Taylor was the 12th president of the United States, serving from March 1849 until his death in July 1850. Taylor previously was a career officer in the United States Army, rose to the rank of major general and became a national hero as a result of his victories in the Mexican–American War. As a result, he won election to the White House despite his vague political beliefs. His top priority as president was preserving the Union, but he died sixteen months into his term, before making any progress on the status of slavery, which had been inflaming tensions in Congress.
The Rio Grande is one of the principal rivers in the southwest United States and northern Mexico. The Rio Grande begins in south-central Colorado in the United States and flows to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way, it forms part of the Mexico–United States border. According to the International Boundary and Water Commission, its total length was 1,896 miles (3,051 km) in the late 1980s, though course shifts occasionally result in length changes. Depending on how it is measured, the Rio Grande is either the fourth- or fifth-longest river system in North America.
Joseph King Fenno Mansfield was a career United States Army officer, civil engineer, and a Union general in the American Civil War, mortally wounded at the Battle of Antietam.
General Francisco Mejia's 2000 men erected fortifications for his twenty pieces of artillery, an earthwork for 800 men upstream at the Las Anacuitas ferry crossing called Fort Paredes, and two redoubts about 800 yards from Taylor's camp placing it in a crossfire. 40 The largest cannon was a 12-pounder. :40:
A redoubt is a fort or fort system usually consisting of an enclosed defensive emplacement outside a larger fort, usually relying on earthworks, although some are constructed of stone or brick. It is meant to protect soldiers outside the main defensive line and can be a permanent structure or a hastily constructed temporary fortification. The word means "a place of retreat". Redoubts were a component of the military strategies of most European empires during the colonial era, especially in the outer works of Vauban-style fortresses made popular during the 17th century, although the concept of redoubts has existed since medieval times. A redoubt differs from a redan in that the redan is open in the rear, whereas the redoubt was considered an enclosed work.
A crossfire is a military term for the siting of weapons so that their arcs of fire overlap. This tactic came to prominence in World War I.
Following the Thornton Affair, Mexican forces under General Mariano Arista crossed the Rio Grande and then lay siege to the fort, 49 after realizing Taylor had taken most of his forces to Fort Polk on Point Isabel to protect his supply depot on 1 May. :50:
The Thornton Affair, also known as the Thornton Skirmish, Thornton's Defeat, or Rancho Carricitos was a battle in 1846 between the military forces of the United States and Mexico twenty miles west upriver from Zachary Taylor's camp along the Rio Grande. The much larger Mexican force defeated the Americans in the opening of hostilities, and was the primary justification for U.S. President James K. Polk's call to Congress to declare war.
José Mariano Martín Buenaventura Ignacio Nepomuceno García de Arista Nuez was a noted veteran of many of Mexico's nineteenth-century wars. He served as president of Mexico from 15 January 1851 to 6 January 1853.
At daylight on 3 May 1846, Mexican forces started the bombardment of Fort Texas, but were silenced by the American response, although the Mexican artillery down the river was more successful. 50 Lowd attempted to set fire to Matamoros with "hot shot". :50 Mexican fire stopped at 7:30 PM, the American's at 11 PM. :50 On 4 May, Mexican guns and a mortar were placed on the northern bank of the Rio Grande and on 5 May General Pedro de Ampudia arrived with 1,230 men and four guns. :50 Since Ampudia's artillery was too light to breach the earthworks and the infantry disinclined to make an assault, the siege continued until 9 May with General Antonio Canales Rosillo's irregular cavalry astride the Point Isabel road preventing supplies from reaching the fort. :50:
Matamoros, officially known as Heroica Matamoros, is a city in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas. It is located on the southern bank of the Rio Grande, directly across the border from Brownsville, Texas, in the United States. Matamoros is the second largest city in the state of Tamaulipas. As of 2016, Matamoros had a population of 520,367. In addition, the Matamoros–Brownsville Metropolitan Area has a population of 1,387,985, making it the 4th largest metropolitan area on the Mexico–US border. Matamoros is the 39th largest city in Mexico and anchors the second largest metropolitan area in Tamaulipas.
Heated shot or hot shot is round shot that is heated before firing from muzzle-loading cannons, for the purpose of setting fire to enemy warships, buildings, or equipment. The use of hot shot dates back centuries and only ceased when vessels armored with iron replaced wooden warships in the world's navies. It was a powerful weapon against wooden warships, where fire was always a hazard. Its use was mainly confined to shore batteries and forts, due to the need for a special furnace to heat the shot, and their use from a ship was in fact against Royal Navy regulations because they were so dangerous, although the American ship USS Constitution had a shot furnace installed for hot shot to be fired from her carronades. The French Romaine-class frigates originally also featured the device, but they proved impractical, dangerous to the ships themselves, and were later discarded.
A mortar is usually a simple, lightweight, man portable, muzzle-loaded weapon, consisting of a smooth-bore metal tube fixed to a base plate with a lightweight bipod mount and a sight. They launch explosive shells in high-arcing ballistic trajectories. Mortars are typically used as indirect fire weapons for close fire support with a variety of ammunition.
Captain Edgar S. Hawkins took command of Fort Texas when Major Brown was mortally wounded on 6 May at ten o'clock. 50 When Arista demanded the fort's surrender at 4:30 that afternoon, Hawkins responded with "My interpreter is not skilled in your language but if I understand you correctly...I must respectfully decline to surrender." :52:
As soon as it became clear Taylor was leaving Fort Polk, Arista moved his army from his camp at Tanques del Ramiereno to block Taylor's path leading to the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma. 52:
Though the confrontation at Fort Texas lasted six days, with periods of heavy cannon fire, casualties were remarkably low. Only two U.S. soldiers died in the bombardment. Major Brown was struck in the leg by a cannonball on May 6 and survived for several days only to die on May 9, just hours before the siege ended.Despite his wound, Major Brown had helped maintain troop morale throughout the siege, thus contributing to the success of the defense of the Fort. Mexican leaders reported two killed and two wounded from American artillery fire during the siege. The effect of artillery fire on the civilian population of Matamoros is unknown. Laundress and cook Sarah Borginnes, who refused to take shelter during the siege but instead provided food and coffee to the American troops, was named "Heroine of Fort Brown" by the American newspapers.
The Battle of Palo Alto was the first major battle of the Mexican–American War and was fought on May 8, 1846, on disputed ground five miles (8 km) from the modern-day city of Brownsville, Texas. A force of some 3,700 Mexican troops – most of the Army of The North – led by General Mariano Arista engaged a force of approximately 2,300 United States troops – the Army of Occupation led by General Zachary Taylor.
At the Battle of Resaca de la Palma, one of the early engagements of the Mexican–American War, United States General Zachary Taylor engaged the retreating forces of the Mexican Ejército del Norte under General Mariano Arista on May 9, 1846. United States troops were victorious and forced the Mexicans out of Texas.
In the Battle of Monterrey during the Mexican–American War, General Pedro de Ampudia and the Mexican Army of the North was defeated by the Army of Occupation, a force of United States Regulars, Volunteers and Texas Rangers under the command of General Zachary Taylor.
Pedro Nolasco Martín José María de la Candelaria Francisco Javier Ampudia y Grimarest was born in Havana, Cuba, and served Mexico as a Northern army officer for most of his life. At various points he was the governor of Tabasco, Yucatán, and Nuevo León. He also served a short term as Secretary of National Defense under President Benito Juárez.
The Battle of Buena Vista, also known as the Battle of Angostura, saw the United States Army use artillery to repulse the much larger Mexican Army in the Mexican–American War. Buena Vista, a village in the state of Coahuila, is seven miles (12 km) south of Saltillo, in Mexico.
Fort Brown was a military post of the United States Army in Cameron County, Texas during the later half of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century. Established in 1846, it was the first United States Army military outpost of the recently annexed state. Confederate Army troops stationed there saw action during the American Civil War. In the early 20th century, it was garrisoned in relation to military activity over border conflicts with Mexico. Surviving elements of the fort were designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1960.
Juan Nepomuceno Cortina Goseacochea, also known by his nicknames Cheno Cortina, the Red Robber of the Rio Grande and the Rio Grande Robin Hood, was a Mexican rancher, politician, military leader, outlaw and folk hero. He was an important caudillo, military general and regional leader, who effectively controlled the Mexican state of Tamaulipas as governor. In borderlands history he is known for leading a paramilitary mounted Mexican Militia in the failed Cortina Wars. The "Wars" were raids targeting Anglo-American civilians whose settlement Cortina opposed near the several leagues of land granted to his wealthy family on both sides of the Rio Grande. Anglo families began immigrating to the Lower Rio Grande Valley after the Mexican Army was defeated by the Anglo-Mexican rebels of the Mexican State of Tejas, in the Texas Revolution.
Samuel B. Ringgold was an artillery officer in the United States Army who was noted for several military innovations which caused him to be called the "Father of Modern Artillery." He was also, according to some records, the first U.S. officer to fall in the Mexican–American War, perishing from wounds received at the Battle of Palo Alto.
The following are synopsis of the campaigns of the Mexican–American War (1846—1848).
Antonio Canales Rosillo was a 19th-century Mexican politician, surveyor, and military officer.
Charles Augustus May (1818–1864) was an American officer of the United States Army who served in the Mexican War and other campaigns over a 25-year career. He is best known for successfully leading a cavalry charge against Mexican artillery at the Battle of Resaca de la Palma.
Sarah A. Bowman was an American innkeeper, restaurateur, and madam. Nicknamed "The Great Western", she gained fame, and the title "Heroine of Fort Brown", as a camp follower of Zachary Taylor's army during the Mexican–American War. Following the war she operated an inn in Franklin, Texas before settling near Arizona City. Over the course of her life she was married multiple times, often without legal record or the blessing of a priest, and was known at various times by the names Boginnis, Bourdette, Bourget, Bourjette, Borginnis, Davis, Bowman, and possibly Foyle.
In 1845, the Republic of Texas was annexed to the United States of America, becoming the 28th U.S. state. Border disputes between the new state and Mexico, which had never recognized Texas independence and still considered the area a renegade Mexican state, led to the Mexican–American War (1846–1848). When the war concluded, Mexico relinquished its claim on Texas, as well as other regions in what is now the southwestern United States. Texas' annexation as a state that tolerated slavery had caused tension in the United States among slave states and those that did not allow slavery. The tension was partially defused with the Compromise of 1850, in which Texas ceded some of its territory to the federal government to become non-slave-owning areas but gained El Paso
The Army of Occupation was the name of the U.S. Army commanded by Zachary Taylor during the Mexican–American War.
The Battle of Brownsville took place on November 2-6, 1863 during the American Civil War. It was a successful effort on behalf of the Union Army to disrupt Confederate blockade runners along the Gulf Coast in Texas. The Union assault precipitated the capture of Matamoros by a force of Mexican patriots, led by exiled officers living in Brownsville.
The Battle of La Ebonal was fought in December 1859 near Brownsville, Texas during the First Cortina War. Following the Brownsville Raid, on September 28, and a few skirmishes with the Texas Rangers, rebel leader Juan Cortina led his small army into the hills outside of town and dug in near a series of cattle ranches. The United States Army responded by sending an expedition into the area, under the command of Major Samuel P. Heintzelman, with orders to pacify all resistance. A minor battle began on December 13, at a ranch called La Ebonal, and continued for a few hours as the Americans routed and then pursued the retreating Cortinistas.
The Nueces Strip or Wild Horse Desert is the area of south Texas between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande. The Republic of Texas claimed the Rio Grande as its southern border; Mexico claimed the Nueces River. The area between the two rivers became known as the Nueces Strip. Both countries invaded it, but neither controlled it nor settled it.
Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site Act of 1991, Public Law 102-304, is a federal law, enacted on June 23, 1992, that established the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Site. Located in the lower Rio Grande Valley, north of modern Brownsville, Texas, the site was the location of the first battle of the Mexican–American War (1846–1848), on May 8, 1846. At the time of its establishment in 1992, Palo Alto was the first unit of the National Park Service to commemorate the Mexican–American War, a controversial conflict that ended with the American occupation of Mexico City and the cessation to the United States of Mexican lands in modern California and New Mexico. Palo alto is also known for tu ama cooking