Thursday, 9 July 2020

Generals Vazquez and Woll bedevil Texas - 1842…and the Vindication of Juan Sequin Zaragoza


Generals Vazquez and Woll bedevil Texas - 1842
…and the final vindication of Juan Sequin Zaragoza

     By 1842, a true hero of the Battle of San Jacinto, had to retire from Texas.   He had been regularly insulted by non-Mexican/Spanish newcomers, especially of German ancestry as well as Anglos and there had been hanky-panky in terms of some of the processing of his families' properties around Sequin.   That town, obviously, was part of the substance of Juan Sequin and his ancestry.  To this day, from Sequin to Floresville and Goliad, Texas one will find numerous people who can trace their ancestry to Juan Sequin, one way or the other.
     But great and strange things were going on between the Rio Grande and San Antonio.  In the Spring of 1842, General Vasquez rode up to San Antonio from Laredo, with between 700 and 900 effectives, almost all cavalry.   General Vasquez took over the city, "taxed" the inhabitants for feed, fodder, shodding by smiths, and supplies for his animals and soldiers, and returned to Laredo with only the feeblest of resistance by the Texians.

     Worse would come to the Texians later in the year.  General Adrian Woll, a Belgian military type who had arrived in Mexico during the 1820s and quickly "made grade" arriving at Brigadier rank in time to conduct an Army of Cavalry, Infantry, and considerable cannon up to San Antonio.   This was a late Summer event, and it occupied the Mexicans for about two weeks, before Woll gathered up his troops and returned to Matamoros.
     Sam Houston ordered his buddy, General Somervell, to pursue Woll and engage him…but not too roughly.   He wanted Woll, Vasquez, and scores of military officers from Monterrey to Matamoros, and Laredo to notice that the Somervell Expedition was not intended to be a punitive event.
    The Mexican Army officers would have liked nothing better than to destroy a Texian "punitive expedition".   But such was not to be.   Somervell proved to be an inept controller of untrained troops.   Frankly, about half of them were  vagabonds, adventurers, and slackersnot soldiers of any kind. Somervell was further held back by the stated preferences made by Samuel Houston that it would be preferable to not ignite a significant war-like atmosphere.   It was the old "show, but do not attack" military tactic.

     Actually, Col. Fisher and Col. Green took a path downriver from Laredo and Carrizales, and with 300 or so dubiously endowed "soldiers" went to a place named Mierjust a mile or so back from the Rio Bravo (Grande) and where the Rio Alamo makes conjunction with the Rio Bravo.   Mier was known to be a little jewel community with nice, well built homes and numerous processing mills, smithing masters, and a massive sheeps' wool packing and forwarding business.   Farming in the broadest banks of the Rio Alamo and Rio Bravo also provided a good source of produce and grains.
    The Texians had already sequestered and detained the mayor of the town as a bargaining chip, and the fight was on.   After twenty-four hours, though…the fight was over.  The Texians had been badly beaten by superior numbers, better commanders, and better execution.

     One of the Mexican Army's combatants at Mier handled reconnaissance at the beginning of hostilities. That combatant was a cavalry officer with experience in military matters, and who was somewhat familiar with the Texian methods of fighting.  It was, of course, Juan Seguin Zaragoza…recently Mayor of San Antonio, Texas for two different terms, member of the Congress of the Republic of Texas after the expulsion of Santa Anna and other great accomplishments as a Texian hero.

     We remember that it was Col. Seguin, as Charge d'Affairs (military) of San Antonio, immediately after his return from the Victory at San Jacinto, who   gave the Eulogy over the remains of certain identified officers and persons of importance who died in defence of the Alamo on 6 March 1836.  Further collections of remains were sought and found, there is considerable debate to this day about the whens and wheres…but we know that Seguin appealed to the Heavens thusly.  To wit;

Companions in Arms!!
These remains which we have the honour of carrying on our shoulders are those of the valiant heroes who died in the Alamo. Yes, my friends, they preferred to die a thousand times rather than submit themselves to the tyrant's yoke. What a brilliant example! Deserving of being noted in the pages of history. The spirit of liberty appears to be looking out from its elevated throne with its pleasing mien and point to us saying: "There are your brothers, Travis, Bowie, Crockett, and others whose valor places them in the rank of my heroes." Yes soldiers and fellow citizens, these are the worthy beings who, by the twists of fate, during the present campaign delivered their bodies to the ferocity of their enemies; who, barbarously treated as beasts, were bound by their feet and dragged to this spot, where they were reduced to ashes. The venerable remains of our worthy companions as witnesses, I invite you to declare to the entire world, "Texas shall be free and independent or we shall perish in glorious combat."

Colonel Juan N. Seguin
Commandant San Antonio, Bexar, Texas 
Army of the Republic of Texas

      Because of his own written testament and the understanding of his relatives, close and distant, they all knew that Juan wanted to join his compadres of the Texas Army after his death.   Finally in the early 1970s, Juan was brought back among his mates, and buried on the north side of the Guadalupe River in Sequin, Texas.  Now, he and all worthy Texians are happy, I am happy, and we commend these words to the worthy.

     The City of Seguin, Texas has placed a truly pleasant part on the north side of the near-downtown part of the town…not far from the famous rows of magnificent Victorian homes that provide another wondrous feature about Sequin as a community.  The stop at the Juan Sequin park and the various other attractions in and around the community make a couple of hours or two or three days of poking around more than normal, more than worthwhile.

We leave these matters to your own discretion.  We always like to hear from folks who take advantage of our recommendations, and you can easily reach us at