The Gutierrez Magee Expedition,
the Green Flag Republic
and the Battle of Medina
August 18th is the anniversary of the Battle of Medina, 1813, the bloodiest battle on Texas soil, which marked the end of the Green Flag Republic, the first Republic of Texas. Here is the condensed version of this forgotten rebellion.
Intent on winning Texas independence from Spain, the Gutierrez Magee Expedition assembled 300 men in Natchitoches, then in French territory, crossed the Sabine on the Old Spanish Road, occupied the Stone Fort in Nacogdoches and then proceeded to Trinidad (present day Midway) on the Trinity River. There they learned that Spanish Royalist forces were waiting for them on the OSR at the Guadalupe River.
Magee, a former US Army officer, instead turned southwest and marched on La Bahia (present day Goliad). During a siege there, Magee would adopt the Green Flag of his native Ireland for the Army of the North he had formed from Indians, former Spanish loyalists, adventurers, freebooters, Americans and Texians. And there he would become mysteriously ill and die. Some think he was poisoned.
Gutierrez advanced the army, now numbering 1200, northwest up the Ox Cart road through present day Helena to San Antonio gaining victories at the Battles of Rosalis and Alazon. He declared independence from Spain for the Republic of Texas and wrote a constitution. Now in another intrigue, Gutierrez himself was ousted and replaced by Toledo.
Whereas Magee had created a cohesive fighting force, Toledo divided the army into its various ethnic groups and force marched them south 20 miles in the August heat to meet the Spanish. These two decisions ensured his downfall. The Spanish were waiting in prepared defensive positions. When the exhausted and demoralized rebels were within 40 paces, the Spanish opened fire.
More than a thousand rebels were killed. The Spanish left their bodies scattered on the blood soaked sands and chased retreating fighters to San Antonio where they slaughtered more than 300 of their family and supporters, then continued pursuing refugees all the way back to Trinidad. An historical marker east of Midway honors the fallen.
Fewer than 100 are believed to have survived and less than 20 are known by name. Two of them, Daniel McLean and John Sheridan, were the earliest pioneers to settle in Houston County. A marker in Augusta memorializes them.
There is no certainty as to the exact location of the Medina battlefield. Years after the battle, the bones were gathered and buried in a mass grave, which is yet to be located. There are two markers where the struggle may have occurred and a geologist has recently suggested a third location.
Below is a map of the Gutierrez Magee expedition route and the suspected locations of the Battle of Medina. Click on the link below the map for a larger, interactive map.
In 1841, Republic of Texas President Lamar sent the Texan Santa Fe Expedition Pioneers to welcome the residents of Santa Fe into the Republic of Texas. The Mexican Governor Armijo knew the people of Santa Fe would welcome the Texans, so he sent out his army to meet them, arrested the Texans, and marched them to Mexico City to be imprisoned. They never reached Santa Fe but the ill-fated expedition may have been a trip wire to the Mexican American War of 1846 that allowed the United States to achieve its Manifest Destiny and expand to the Pacific. Click on the link below the map for a larger, interactive map.
Texas Land Ceded to the United States
in the Compromise of 1850
Also Known as Occupied Texas
Part of the Republic of Texas from 1836 to 1845 and part of the State of Texas from 1846 to 1850, this map shows land ceded by Texas to the United States in the Compromise of 1850. Click on the link below the map for a larger, interactive map.