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The Texas Revolution to the Seventh State of the Confederacy by Dr. Richard Lee Montgomery

The Texas Revolution to the Seventh State of the Confederacy
Dr. Richard Lee Montgomery

Here are some highlights in history that you might remember about Texas. It would be in January of 1823, Stephen Fuller Austin received a grant from the Mexican government, with a recommendation from General Don Anastasio Bustamante to begin colonization 1 in the region of the
Brazos River. The new Constitution of 1824 gave Mexico a republican form of government. 2 However, this new constitution failed to define the rights of the states within the republic, including Texas. On April 6, 1830, relations between the Texans and Mexico, reached a new low when Mexico forbid further emigration into Texas, by settlers from the United States. 3

From her book entitled Texas, published in 1836, Mary Austin Holley gives us a fuller picture of what is happening. It says, “The Mexican government have at last discovered that the enterprising people who were induced to remove to Texas by certain promises and guaranties, have by their labors given value to Texas and its lands. An attempt is therefore now made to take them from us and to annul all those guaranties, and we are ungrateful because we are not sufficiently ‘docile’ [agreeable] to submit to this usurpation and injustice as the ‘docile’ [agreeable] Mexicans have in other parts of the nation.” 4 Point is, the Mexican government is not keeping their word.

On June 26 1832, the first casualties in Texas’ relations with Mexico happened. It is called the Battle of Velasco. After several days of fighting, the Mexican soldiers of one-hundred and twenty five,  under Colonel Domingo de Ugartechea [oo-ghar-te-KEY -a] were forced to surrender.

On September 28, 1835,  “The first blow was struck in the cause of Liberty on the 28th at Gonzales, the Lexington of Texas. Ugartechea [oo-ghar-te-KEY-a], the military commandant of Bexar, sent a demand to the Gonzales for the delivery of a brass six pounder which he had learned was deposited in their town. They returned for answer that the gun originally belonged to the king of Spain, but had been captured and now belonged to Republican Mexico—that they held it as the property of the confederation, but did not recognise any right or title in centralists to lay claim to it. On this answer being reported to Ugartchea, he ordered out a detachment to take the gun by force. The detachment marched immediately and attacked Gonzales, but were bravely met, repulsed and compelled to retreat without having gained their object.” Thus begins the revolution. 6

“On the 9th of this month [October, 1835] the town of Goliad, an old Spanish town containing a Mexican garrison commanded by Col. Francisco Sandoval was attacked by a company of Texans 52 strong, under Capt. [George] Collinsworth, and captured. The place was taken in thirty minutes by storm at the hour of midnight. The fruits of this enterprise, 21 prisoners, 1 colonel commandant, 1 captain, 2 lieutenants and 19 privates. A considerable quantity of arms, 2 brass field pieces, 300 stand of muskets and ten thousand dollars worth of public stores fell into the hands of the victors. 
The  Mexicans lost 3 killed and 7 wounded, the Texans had 1 man wounded.” 7 In the same month on the 28th – James [Jim] Bowie, James [Walker] Fannin and 90 Texans defeated 450 Mexicans at the Battle of Concepcion – near San Antonio. It was said that it
“was one of the most brilliant achievements of the war.” 8 “On the 5th, [Saturday] Col. Milam with a party of 300 volunteers made an assault upon the town of Bexar. ... On Tuesday the brave Milam who was the leader of the expedition received a rifle ball and fell in the cause of Liberty, to rise no more. ... On Wednesday night Col. Ugartechea effected an entrance into the Alamo with a reinforcement of about 300 men.
The Black Flag was raised by Gen. Cos, who fought with a desperation worthy of a better cause, but in vain. The unconquerable Texans with their equally brave auxiliaries from the United States, were not to be dislodged, and the battle raged with tremendous fury, adding however, fresh courage and hopes to the Texans every minute, while terror and despair were fastening upon the enemy. At length dismayed and disheartened with the contest, instead of the Black Flag, the vain emblem of their savage cruelty, they were compelled to raise the signal of submission.” 9

Then – “In the fall and winter of 1835 this city, then occupied by Mexican troops under the command of General Cos, was besieged by a body of Texians, composed mostly of volunteers and militia. After some time, on the 5th of December, the city was assaulted and taken by the troops of Colonel Milam, who fell in the engagement. The enemy fled across the creek and took possession
of the Alamo. Here, though reinforced by a considerable body of troops, after several days of severe fighting, General Cos surrendered the fortress and all its contents to General [Edward] Burleson, an officer of militia commanding the volunteer forces of Texas. Thus the strongest post of the Mexicans in Texas fell into the hands of the troops of the new republic.” 10 Three months later, “The first day of March came on, and the Convention assembled in the Town of Washington. Richard Ellis was chosen President of the body. On the second day of its session, a Declaration of Independence was adopted, and by the 17th of March a National Constitution was framed and signed.” 11

A series of events ensued in 1836 – On March 6, Texans under Colonel William Barrett Travis were overwhelmed by the Mexican Army after a two-week siege at the Battle of the Alamo in San Antonio. 

On March 10, Sam Houston abandoned Gonzales in a general retreat eastward, to avoid the invading Mexican Army. On March 27, James Fannin and nearly 400 Texans were executed by the Mexicans at the Goliad Massacre under orders of Santa Anna. Finally,
on April 21, 1836, the Texans under Sam Houston routed the Mexican forces of Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto. Thus,  independence was won in one of the most decisive battles in American History.

Having walked through Texas History, my desire has been to establish the reason/s or the
causes why revolution was the outcome or why it was their reaction to the Mexican government. The Mexican government and the ruthless dictatorship of Santa Anna is central here. For the Texans, it was about state's right and the Mexican government, well it sought to be a strong centralized government, meaning that the authority and responsibility of governing, rests completely with a small group, at the highest level of government.

Remember, I stated earlier that Stephen F. Austin received a grant from the Mexican government in 1823 because they were encouraging immigration into Texas, in order to help settle the Texas Mexican State.  Many U. S. settlers made the journey, including the original Stephen F. Austin group. Then in 1830, the President of Mexico, Anastasio Bustamante implemented several changes in the law to discourage immigration from the United States into Texas because the United States settlers were outnumbering the Mexican born settlers.

Listed are some of these changes brought on by President Bustamante in 1830:  

1) Settlers were denied freedom of religion and were required to join the Catholic Church. 

2) Further immigration from the United States was prohibited 

3) Property taxes were imposed. 

4) Tariffs were imposed on goods from the United States. 

5) A prohibition against slavery was imposed. 

6) Mexican criminals were given the choice of prison or serving in the Mexican Army in Texas. 

7) Texas was combined with the Mexican State of Coahuila [ko-'we-lä] – and the capital moved 500 miles south from  Saltillo [sahl-tee-yaw] to Monclova. 

And then to top it off, when Stephen F. Austin went to Mexico to protest and petition for changes, Austin was jailed. The nucellus for the movement of the revolution was that the Texans did not want to be ruled by tyranny, so liberty was their goal objective and justifiable cause. These are the primary reasons why the Southern states seceded from the Union.

Jumping a head just a bit, on December 29, 1845, United States President James Knox Polk followed through on a campaign platform promising to annex Texas, and signed legislation making Texas the 28th state of the United States. One of President Polk's first official acts, was to order General Zachary Taylor to proceed to the Rio Grande.

It was on April 25, 1846, the Mexican-American War ignited as a result of disputes over claims to the Texas boundaries. The outcome of the war, however, fixed the Texas southern boundary at the Rio Grande River, not the Neuces River at Corpus Christi. Now, important to the subject matter is that out of the Mexican-American War came future leaders for the

In the Northern Campaign of the Mexican-American War, one of President Polk's first official acts, was to order General Taylor to proceed to the Rio Grande in order to defend it, as the western boundary of the United States. In his book The Real Jefferson Davis, Landon Knight gives us this narrative of Jeff Davis, “Soon after war was declared, he received notice of his election as colonel of the First Mississippi Regiment, and early in June resigned his seat in Congress and accepted that office. President Polk, learning of his resignation, sent for Mr. Davis and offered him an appointment as brigadier-general. There is no doubt that he greatly coveted that office, but such, even at that time, was his attachment to the doctrine of state rights, that, frankly
informing the President of his conviction that such appointments were the prerogatives of the states, he declined the offer. Hastening to New Orleans, Colonel Davis joined his regiment, and at once inaugurated that course of training and discipline which, in a few months, made of it a model of efficiency.” 12

Also, in the book, The Life of Major General Zachary Taylor by Henry Montgomery writes, “Not long after, the anticipated information of the acceptance of the conditions offered to Texas by the United States was received by General Taylor, and on the following day he left New Orleans, with a portion of his troops, and on the 25th of July arrived at St. Joseph's Island. In the early part of August, he took up his position at Corpus Christi, on the west side of the Neuces,
and near its mouth, where he remained until the 8th day of March, 1846.” 13 It would be “on the 8th of March the army began to move to the Rio Grande, and on the 28th the American flag was planted, fortifications were completed, and guns placed in battery opposite Matamoras.” 14 What followed were victories at Fort Brown, the Battle of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma. 

Yes, we know that Davis would become the Commander in Chief of the Confederacy, but at this point, he was serving under General Taylor. But there were others who served under Taylor and would later became Generals, serving under President Jefferson Davis of the Confederate States. 

Men like Braxton Bragg who entered the army as Second Lieutenant 15 and left as Lieutenant Colonel. Daniel Harvey Hill entered as a Second Lieutenant and then left as a Major. 16 Lafayette McLaws entered as a Lieutenant. 17 Samuel Gibbs French entered as a Second Lieutenant and left as a Captain. 18 Certainly not least in this mix was Barnard Elliott Bee who entered as a Second Lieutenant and left as a First Lieutenant.

In the Southern Campaign of the Mexican-American War, two men
that quickly comes to mind are,  Captain Robert Edward Lee who became the Commanding General of the Army of Northern Virginia and second, Lieutenant Thomas Jonathan Jackson, who became Lee’s right arm as a Brigadier General on
the field of battle.

But there were many others in the Southern Campaign: Captain P. G. T. Beauregard, Captain Joseph Eggleston Johnston, Captain Richard Stoddart Ewell, Major William
Joseph Hardee,  Major John Bankhead Magruder, First Lieutenant Earl Van Dorn, Captain George Edward Pickett – to name just a few. 

Just a fun side-note: If you will indulge me as I digress with this question. Do you know where the first Lone Star State Fair was? In May of 1852, the first Star State Fair was in Corpus Christi. Seven years later, Dallas would become its home.

Back to the issue. According to his memorandum-book, we learn that on March 6, 1856, Colonel Robert E. Lee wrote that he “Reached San Antonio at five p. m., and took up my quarters with Mrs. P., in the Plaza. March 7th. Commenced preparations for journey to Fort Mason. March 21st. Left at ten a.m., for Fort Mason. March 25th. Arrived at Fort
Mason eleven a.m., twenty miles from our camp; reported my arrival to Colonel A. S. Johnston. March 27th. Received orders from Colonel Johnston to repair to Camp Cooper, and assume command of the first and fifth squadrons of the regiment there stationed. April 9th, 1856. Reached Camp Cooper [Throckmorton County, 46 miles NE of Abilene], situated in the Comanche Reserve, on the Clear Fork of the Brazos, thirty-five miles from its mouth, about two miles above the Indian Agency.” 19

“IN the autumn of 1859, Colonel Lee was recalled to Washington, and there ordered to take part in the ‘John Brown War,’ as it was termed. In Colonel Lee's ‘Memorandum-Book’ the fact is thus noted: ‘17th Oct, 1859. Received orders from the Secretary of War, in person to repair in evening train to Harper's Ferry.’ Reached Harper's Ferry at 11 p.m ‘Posted the Marines in the U. S. Armory....’ Waited until daylight, as a number of citizens were held as hostages, whose lives were threatened. Tuesday, about sunrise, with twelve marines under Lieut. Green, broke in the door of the engine house, secured the insurgents, and released the prisoners unhurt. All the insurgents killed or mortally wounded, but four, John Brown, Stevens, Coppie, and Shields.” 20

Again we learn from Lee’s memorandum-book: “February 9th, 1860. Received general orders, No. 2, from the Headquarters of the Army assigning me to duty according to my Brevet rank, and directing me to assume the command of the Department of Texas. ... February 19th. Reached San Antonio, and took lodgings with
Mrs. P., in the Plaza. February 20th. Assumed command of Department of Texas. ... December 22d. Reached Ft. Mason. ... The last entries made in this memorandum-book are as follows: ‘February 15th, 1861. Relinquished command of the regiment, Second Cavalry, and in compliance with Department Special Orders No. 16, took my departure from Fort Mason and commenced my journey to Washington City, to report to the Commander-in-chief. ... 16th. Reached San Antonio. 22d. Arrived at Indianola. ... 25th. Reached New Orleans. March 1st. Arrived in Alexandria; took a carriage and reached Arlington.’” 21

Colonel Lee came home to Virginia because of the election of Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, as president of the United States. Lee’s fears, like most other Southerners, was the Republican control of the executive branch.  Secession was the talk in Texas, as well in the rest of the South. The fear that the rights and liberties of the American people were about to be put on the chopping block. A storm was brewing.

Even with Sam Houston opposing secession, he had no fond feelings directed at Abraham Lincoln. 22 On February 1, 1861, the Texas Secession Convention approves an ordinance, withdrawing Texas from Union. The action is ratified by the voters on February 23 in a referendum vote. “The vote stood almost three to one for secession. A committee was sent to tell the governor that by the will of the people Texas was again ‘a free sovereign and independent State’ and the 16th the day appointed for all State officers to take oath to the Confederate government or vacate their offices. ‘With two or three exceptions, every secessionist in that convention’ wished Houston to remain in office. Mr. Williams tells us that, ‘when the day came to take the oath, the presiding officer of the convention called three times, Sam Houston, Sam Houston, Sam Houston! He did not answer, he did not come.’” 23

Here is a fuller picture of Sam Houston with this narrative, “Although opposing secession, he firmly advocates the defense of
the South against invasion by the Federal troops, and says that he is willing to enter the Texas ranks. In his San Jacinto suit he reviews, at Galveston, the Texas regiment in which his son, Sam Houston, Jr., has enlisted, and is cheered. ... July 26, 1863, Sam Houston dies in his bed at the family home, in Huntsville, Texas, aged 70 years. His last words are: ‘Texas! Texas!’ and ‘Margaret,’ the name of his wife. He died beloved and respected by state and country. To his eldest son, Lieutenant Sam
Houston, Jr., he bequeathed the ‘sword of San Jacinto.’” 24

Another fuller picture of Sam Houston, again with a narrative, secession for Texas is official on March 2. On March 16, Sam Houston resigns as governor in protest against secession. “Even his dearly beloved son Sam was a secessionist” 25 We are told that Houston “was unable to control the politics of his own household, and he saw his oldest son, Sam, not yet of age, a lieutenant in the rebel army...” 26

“On the 18th day of that month Governor Houston left his official chair. This was the end of his public career. He retired to the privacy of his home in Walker county, where he died in July, 1863.” 27

Bottom line, Texas becomes the Seventh State of the Confederate States of America. In “The Convention in 1861, sent the following delegates to the Convention at Montgomery, Alabama: John H. Reagan, Lewis T. Wigfall, John Hemphill, William S. Oldham, John Gregg, and William B. Ochiltree. Lewis T. Wigfall and William S. Oldham represented 

Texas in the Senate: and during the Confederacy, the following gentlemen represented Texas in the House: John A. Wilcox, C. C. Herbert, Peter W. Gray, B. F. Sexton, M. D. Graham, William B. Wright, A. M. Branch, John R. Baylor, S. H. Morgan, Stephen H. Darden, and A. P. Wiley.” 28

All in all, 60,000 to 70,000 Texans served in the Confederate Army 29 and Texas regiments fought in every major battle throughout the war. Some men were veterans of the Mexican–American War and a few had served in the Texas Revolution. Texas furnished the Confederacy with 45 regiments of cavalry – 23 regiments of infantry – 12 battalions of cavalry – 4 battalions of infantry – 5 regiments of heavy artillery – and 30 batteries of light artillery.

While the State of Texas had been spared the devastation seen in much of the South, it paid a dear price for those who served the Confederacy. Of the 60,000 to 70,000 Texans, more than 10 percent of the state’s population, who served in the Confederate military, an estimated of 24,000 died. Thousands more came home with life-altering wounds, from missing arms or legs – to blindness. Countless others suffered from the psychological trauma they had endured, a condition that more than a century later would come to be called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. A home for Confederate veterans in Austin, opened in 1886, with money raised by the Daughters of the Confederacy.

According to the Texas Almanac, “The last survivor of the war was Mississippi-born Walter Williams. He came to Texas at age 14 and served under Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood. Williams died at age 117 in 1959 and is buried in Franklin in Robertson County.” 30 Even then governor of Texas, Price Daniel stated, “This is the end of an era in American history, Williams has passed over the river to rest in the shade of the trees with the hundreds of soldiers in Blue and Gray who went before him.”31 Aside from the thousands of lives lost and economic and social upheaval, this war changed the Texas map. Of Texas’ 254 counties, there are counties named after Confederate veterans:
Ector County, General Mathew Duncan Ector
Foard County, Major Robert L. Foard
Gray County, Peter W. Gray, Confederate House of Representatives 
Gregg County, General John B. Gregg
Hemphill County, John Hemphill, Confederate House of Representative
Hood County, General John Bell Hood.

Jeff Davis County - President Jefferson Davis
Johnson County - Colonel Middleton Tate Johnson
Lee County - General Robert Edward Lee
Lubbock County - Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Saltus Lubbock
Ochiltree County - Colonel William Beck Ochiltree
Oldham County - Williamson Simpson Oldham, Confederate Senator

Randall County, General Horace Randall
Reeves County, Colonel George Robertson Reeves
Reagan County, John Henninger Reagan, Confederate Postmaster
Scurry County, General William Read Scurry
Starr County, James Harper Starr, Confederate Postal Agent
Stevens County - Vice President Alexander Hamilton Stephens

Stonewall County, General Thomas Jonathan (Stonewall) Jackson
Sutton County, Colonel John Schuyler Sutton
Terrell County, General Alexander Watkins Terrell
Terry County - Colonel Benjamin Franklin Terry
Tom Green County, General Thomas Green

Upton County, Generals John Cunningham Upton and brother William E. Upton
Val Verde County, Named to commemorate a battle which involved Texas Confederate Forces (the Sibley Expedition)
Winkler County, Colonel Clinton McKamy Winkler
Young County, Colonel William Cocke Young

Ten out of the tens of thousands of Texans, who served in the military during the war, would become governors of Texas:

Colonel Edward Clark (1861) 14th Texas Infantry
Colonel Frances Richard Lubbock (1861-1863) Aide-de-camp to Jefferson Davis
Captain James Webb Throckmorton (1866-1867) 6th Texas Cavalry
Captain Richard Coke (1874-1876) 15th Texas Infantry
Colonel Richard Bennett Hubbard, Jr (1876-1879) 22nd Texas Infantry

Colonel Oran Milo Roberts (1879-1883) 11th Texas Infantry
Lieutenant Colonel John Ireland (1883-1887) 8th Texas Infantry
Brigadier General Lawrence Sullivan Ross (1887-1891) Ross's Brigade
Major Joseph Draper Sayers (1899-1903) 5th Texas Cavalry
Sergeant Samuel Willis Tucker Lanham (1903-1907) 3rd South Carolina Infantry

These are just a few events that in some semblance, illustrates “The Texas Revolution to the Seventh State of the Confederacy.” Issues of importance for these Texicans or Texians was fairness, liberty and justice. From the tyranny or oppressive government of Santa Anna, to the tyranny or oppressive government of the United States, these were the motivations that brought on revolution and secession, from the land of Tejas. It was about obedience to the government’s constitution – it was about citizens who could live under fair laws. And it was tyranny
that provoked these citizens to fight for liberty and justice. From the leadership of Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston, to that of Jefferson Davis, may we continue to fight for these same kind of ideas in the rule of government.


1  Eugene C. Baker, Life Of Stephen F. Austin, Founder Of Texas, 1793-1836 (Nashville: Cokesbury Press, 1925), 42.

2  Henry Stuart Foote, Texas and the Texans, Volume 1 (Philadelphia: Thomas, Cowperthwait & Company, 1841), 102.

3  Jerry Henry Brown, History of Texas From 1685 to 1892, Volume 1 (St. Louis: L. E. Danieli Publisher, 1893), 211.

4  Mary Austin Holley, Texas (Austin: The Steck Company, 1836), 273.

5  Mary Austin Holley, Texas (Austin: The Steck Company, 1836), 324.

6  Mary Austin Holley, Texas (Austin: The Steck Company, 1836), 335.

7  Mary Austin Holley, Texas (Austin: The Steck Company, 1836), 336.

8  Mary Austin Holley, Texas (Austin: The Steck Company, 1836), 338.

9  Mary Austin Holley, Texas (Austin: The Steck Company, 1836), 341-342.

10  A. B. Lawrence, A History Of Texas or the Emigrant's Guide to the New Republic, by a Resident Emigrant (New York: Nafis & Cornish, 1845), 219.

11  Henry Stuart Foote, Texas and the Texans, Volume 2 (Philadelphia: Thomas, Cowperthwait & Company, 1841), 200.

12  Landon Knight, The Real Jefferson Davis (Battle Creek: The Pilgrim Magazine Company, 1904), 41-42.

13  H. Montgomery, The Life of Major General Zachary Taylor (Auburn, N. Y.: J. C. Derby & Company, Publishers, 1847), 64.

14  Tom Owen, The Taylor Anecdote Book (New York: D. Appleton & Company, 1848), 11.

15  General Taylor and His Staff (Philadelphia: Grigg, Elliott & Company, 1848), 253.

16  A. C. Avery, Memorial Address on Life and Character of Lieutenant General D. H. Hill, May 10, 1893 (Raleigh: Edwards & Broughton, Printers, 1893), 6-7.

17  William J. Northern, Men of Mark in Georgia, Volume 3 (Atlanta: A. B. Caldwell, 1910), 238.

18  Samuel G. French, Two Wars: An Autobiography of General Samuel G. French (Nashville: Confederate Veterans, 1901), 94.

19  Emily V. Mason, Popular life of Gen. Robert Edward Lee (Baltimore: John Murphy & Company, 1872), 53.

20  Emily V. Mason, Popular life of Gen. Robert Edward Lee (Baltimore: John Murphy & Company, 1872), 65.

21  Emily V. Mason, Popular life of Gen. Robert Edward Lee (Baltimore: John Murphy & Company, 1872), 70-71.

22  Henry Bruce, Life of General Houston, 1793-1863 (New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1891), 203.

23  Sarah Barnwell Elliott, The Beacon Biographies: Sam Houston (Boston: Small Maynard Company, 1900), 138.

24  Edwin L. Sabin, With Sam Houston In Texas (Philadelphia: L. P. Lippincott Company, 1916), 26.

25  Henry Bruce, Life of General Houston, 1793-1863 (New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1891), 205.

26  Henry Bruce, Life of General Houston, 1793-1863 (New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1891), 212.

27  D. W. C. Baker, Texas Scrap-Book (New York: A. S. Barnes & Company, 1875), 257.

28  Homer S. Thrall, A Pictorial History of Texas: From the Earliest Visits of European Adventurers, to A. D. 1879 (St. Louis: N. D. Thompson & Company, 1879), 408.

29   Kenneth W. Howell, The Seventh Star of the Confederacy (Denton, Texas: University of North Texas Press, 2009), 25.

30  Elizabeth Cruce Alvarez, Robert Plocheck, Texas Almanac 2012–2013 (Texas A&M University Press, 2011), 16.

31  Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, Volumes 47-48 (1959), 19.


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