José Joaquín de Arredondo
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José Joaquín de Arredondo y Mioño (1768–1837) was a nineteenth-century Spanish and Mexican soldier who served during the last two decades of Spanish rule in New Spain. He was military commandant of the Texas province during the first Texas revolutions against Spanish rule.
Joaquín de Arredondo was born in Barcelona, Spain, in 1768 to Nicolás Antonio de Arredondo y Pelegrín and Josefa Roso de Mioño. His father at one time was a Governor of Cuba and a Viceroy of Buenos Aires.
Arredondo entered the Royal Spanish Guards as a cadet in 1787 and was sent for service in New Spain. In 1810 he was promoted to the rank of colonel and given the command of the infantry regiment of Vera Cruz. In 1811 he was made military commandant of Huasteca and governor of Nuevo Santander. Arredondo took a rigid interpretation of the Laws of War regarding guerrillas, partisans, and insurgents. He applied his rigid rules of warfare in proactive campaigns in Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla's and the criollos revolts in 1811 and 1813, taking part of Ignacio Elizondo's plot to capture Miguel Hidalgo. Arredondo was rewarded for his actions in suppressing the revolutionaries by being appointed as commandant of the eastern division of the Provincias Internas (comprised by the provinces of Coahuila, Texas, Nuevo Santander and the New Kingdom of León), the region had a predominantly criollo royalist population, and the independence movement would not be supported by a majority of the population in those provinces until late 1810s, after Servando Teresa de Mier's impulse toward the independence.
As part of the New Kingdom of León, the area of Texas then called Tejas was a primary frontier bulwark against the large-scale marauding attacks of hostile Indian nations such as the Apaches, and Comanches. Because of the long-term hostility between Indian and European in the area, unlike other parts of New Spain, much of the New Kingdom of León and Tejas were made up of a population almost wholly in European origin. Additionally, the area of Tejas as the most frontline area of the Kingdom to the Indian tribes and the growing American nation, was open to American settlement by Spanish authorities desirous of having the hardy, industrious, and martial characteristics of Americans. Thus, while the southern areas of the New Kingdom of León remained primarily Spanish and royalists, the northern areas were primarily Anglo and ambivalent of either the revolution or the royal cause. However this neutrality quickly changed with the spread of independence fervor amongst the Spanish criollo population following the brutal suppression tactics of Spanish authorities and the threat of further absolutism in the province.
First Texas Rebellion
In 1811, idealist and Nuevo Santander blacksmith, Don Jose Bernardo Maximiliano Gutierrez de Lara became dedicated to the Hidalgo Independence movement. With his substantial contacts in the region and militancy he quickly received the rank of Lt. Colonel in Hidalgo's Army of the Americas and traveled to Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia, to enlist aid for his personal goals in the movement, in Texas. In Washington and Philadelphia, he met Caribbean adventurer José Álvarez de Toledo y Dubois, who was a wanted man by Spanish authorities, in Texas. Both on his exit and return trip, through the Neutral Ground, on the Texas-Louisiana border, he received sympathy and encouragement by numerous factions, interested in Texas. In Natchitoches, which had a long-standing predominantly American settlement, Gutiérrez laid plans to invade the rest of Texas from the east. He enjoined another adventurer and former US Army Lieutenant, Augustus William Magee, to carry out the mission in the field. William Shaler, an American consul to Havana, Europe and Algiers and writer, also supported the two. It is believed[by whom?] that Shaler was likely a member of the still little known early American Secret intelligence service sometimes called Executive agents. In turn, it is likely[according to whom?], he had recruited Gutiérrez and Magee and had the blessing of the American government, as high as, Secretary of State James Monroe, however, the official US stance after the invasion was disapproval.
From their headquarters, in the Neutral Ground, Gutiérrez and Magee openly advertised and assembled recruits, from Louisiana and Texas, with impunity for the Republican Army of the North and adopted the emerald green flag, possibly because of Bostonite Magee's Irish background. Gutiérrez-Magee Expedition volunteers were offered forty dollars a month and a league of to-be-captured land. From San Antonio, Texas governor, Manuel María de Salcedo followed the developments, through his intelligence network and intensively tried to enlist more aid, from his superiors and comrades in arms, south of the Rio Grande, to prepare for invasion and limit distribution of rebel propaganda. Governor Manuel Salcedo was continuously treated arrogantly, by his distal and protocol-oriented bureaucratic uncle and Commandant Nemesio Salcedo.
On 12 August 1812, the Republican Army of the North, of about 150 men, crossed the Sabine River and took Nacogdoches. without resistance. Royalist Capt. Montero was unable to recruit a single civilian minuteman for the cause, as the majority of the province erupted into support of the fledgling independence movement. Indeed, as he retreated toward San Antonio, numerous members of his army and residents of East Texas joined the invaders. By late fall the Republican Army of the North controlled the area between the Sabine and Guadalupe Rivers.
After receiving reinforcements and conducting negotiations, Salcedo and Lt. Governor Muñoz de Echavarria deployed along the Guadalupe River east of San Antonio to meet the invading Republican Army. Learning of this, Gutiérrez and Magee turned south down the Guadalupe River valley, proceeded to La Bahia where they took control without much resistance, but where soon after, Gov. Salcedo began a prolonged siege of the Presidio La Bahia, where the rebels were grouped. Neither could budge the other and the stalemate was tying up meager forces on both sides.
Following several weeks of attrition warfare, stalemate, and negotiations, Col. Magee died under mysterious circumstances, probably related to Gutierrez, who didn't trust him. Meanwhile, Gov. Salcedo and Col. Simon Herrera had lifted the siege and returned to San Antonio, causing a further loss of confidence, amongst the royalists and more defections. Meanwhile, the main Republican army, now under the commanded by Virginian Col. Samuel Kemper, who took over after Magee's death, and buttressed by more recruits, from the Neutral Ground and coastal Lipan and Tonkawa Indians, had moved along the San Antonio River, toward San Antonio, where they defeated Col. Herrera's royalist forces, at Salado Creek, also called Battle of Rosillo Creek, or the Battle of Salado Creek. When the Republican Army moved toward San Antonio, Gov. Salcedo composed a twelve point plan of honorable surrender and delivered it to Col. Gutiérrez, who was camped at Mission Concepcion.
However, the generous surrender was flouted by Guttierrez, when he ordered the execution of Royalist Gov. Salcedo. Col. Herrera and several other officers, while they dined with several of the Anglo-Tejano and American officers. Gutierrez then released all rebel prisoners, formed a provisional government, as governor, organized a tribunal, which found Salcedo and Herrera guilty of treason against the Hidalgo movement and condemned them to death. Anglo officers protested the decision and seemingly convinced self-appointed Governor and Generalissimo of the Republic, Gutiérrez, to spare them and send them to prison in southern Mexico or exile in Louisiana. Instead, the prisoners were placed under the escort of Mexican rebel Capt. Antonio Delgado, who executed, mutilated and stole the belongings of Gov. Salcedo, Herrera and 12 others, leaving them lying at the site, without burial. Delgado returned to San Antonio, boasting and joking of their butchery, which was announced publicly on military plaza.
This atrocity quickly sickened most of the Anglo-Tejano and American forces, supporting the independence movement. All of the Anglo officers and recruits were horrified, by the events and a party rushed to the execution site and provided the victims with Christian burial. Subsequently, most of the Anglo-Tejano and American officers immediately left the cause and returned to eastern Texas, Louisiana and further points east. Although some returned, Samuel Kemper, James Gaines, Warren D.C. Hall and many others took furloughs, to recover, and regroup, from the shock of the executions. Nonetheless, the pleadings of Col. Miguel Menchaca and other Mexican leaders persuaded many to stay and continue to help the cause of Mexican independence, through influence of the independent State of Texas, under the Republican Army of the North, which now initiated its plans, for full scale independence and prepared to meet a counter-offensive, from the south.
On 6 Apr 1813, Gutiérrez declared the province of Texas independent of Spain and introduced the first Constitution of Texas, which was more Centralist than Republican. This only further demoralized the remaining Anglo-Tejano and American volunteers, who provided the backbone of the army. Meanwhile, to the south, outrage for the execution of Salcedo and Herrera, caused neutral criollo forces to join loyalist troops.
Simultaneously, to meet the threat of the recently separated province, the Spanish crown appointed General José Joaquín de Arredondo to command of the Eastern and Western Divisions, of the Provincias Internas. He quickly re-organized the royalist forces, appointed new officers, drilled his troops, and awaited for additional supplies, while planning for a vast application of his counter-insurgency tactics. However, the anger of the royalist criollos, toward the Gutierrez regime, was such that many wished quick and violent retribution, by marching toward San Antonio, to capture and execute the first "President and Protector of Texas."
Consequently, in June, a one-time rebel, repelled by the revolutionary's behavior and now royalist, Lt. Col. Ignacio Elizondo organized a volunteer regime of criollos. Against orders, he marched his force toward San Antonio to engage the Republican Army. On 16 June, the Republican Army, under Anglo-Tejano Henry Perry[disambiguation needed], met and routed Elizondo's forces, which lost 400 men killed and many prisoners, at the Battle of Alazan Creek outside San Antonio. He retreated to the Rio Grande, where he was reprimanded by, but joined forces with, Gen. Joaquin Arredondo.
Meanwhile, the high-handed methods of Gutierrez, the mistreatment of the Spanish loyalists, the anti-Republican policies of the Gutierrez regime, had resulted in a total loss of confidence in President Gutierrez amongst the Anglo-Tejano and American community. On 4 Aug 1813, President Gutiérrez was deposed by these elements who installed chief propagandist, formal naval officer and member of the Spanish Cortes from Santo Domingo, José Álvarez de Toledo y Dubois.
With the Texas government paralyzed by these events, Arredondo launched his campaign on 18 August 1813. With his army, buttressed by criollos, provoked by the senseless slayings of Salcedo and his company, Arredondo now had about 1,800 troops. He immediately left for San Antonio de Bexar, with the firm intention of applying his rigid concepts of counter-insurgency warfare, on the entire Tejano population. Heavily supplied for a long campaign, his army marched forth.
Battle of Medina
The rapidity of Arredondo's campaign caught the Texans by surprise. Under José Álvarez de Toledo y Dubois the Texans hastily grouped their army and met Arredondo in the four-hour-long Battle of Medina. The Spanish Army completely destroyed the 1,300-man Republican Army of the North. Less than 100 Republican soldiers escaped, several hundred were captured, and the remainder killed. Arredondo summarily gathered the names of the captured men, executed the rank and file, torched the officers for further information, and then executed them. He then quickly gathered the families of the Texan soldiers and publicly executed them in the plaza of San Antonio. He then had their corpse or parts of their bodies, hung in trees. No effort was made to bury the remains of the Republican Army's dead, and the remains lay on the battlefield for nine years. For the next year he pursued the remaining leaders, including the civilian leadership of the Texas Republic, sparing few, and destroying all of the farms, buildings, and mills of the province except for a few located in San Antonio and newly built citadels such as near Goliad. The approximately 2,500 men killed in the Republican Army's campaign, exceeded the total number of Texans killed during the entire Texas Revolution twenty-three years later in 1836, and the death or expulsion of at least 15,000 other Anglo-Tejano and American settlers effectively ethnically cleansed and genocided the entire province.
After his victories and ethnic cleansing Texas province, he appointed Cristóbal Domínguez as interim governor. After completing his assignment in Texas, he returned south to Monterrey. He subsequently crushed the filibustering expedition of Francisco Javier Mina by overrunning his defenses at the village of Soto la Marina in October 1817. He remained the primary military commander of the Coahuila and Texas area for the next several years.
Resettlement of Texas
The utter crushing of the Texas province however, had removed the primary obstacle to the marauding Indian nations further north. Between 1817 and 1821, expeditions of Comanche and Apache Indians numbering several thousand penetrated deep into the provinces further south of Texas. Ravaged by the war of Independence and the subsequent Indian raids, the Kingdom of León fell backward in wealth and population, and along with the rest of Mexico essentially entered into a period of intense depression and anarchy.
Consequently, on January 17, 1821 General Arredondo approved the petition of Moses Austin to bring three hundred settlers within an area of 211,000 acres (854 km2) in Texas. They were required to convert to Catholicism and provide arms and men in defending the routes into Mexico further south. Later, this settlements were further expanded helping to usher in additional waves of settlement of Americans from the United States into northern Mexico he wondered about the many bones and burned out buildings of the province, leaving them with the heavy impression of Spanish and Mexican venality and ruthlessness which later helped instigate another independence movement despite the fearful consequences.
When Mexico achieved independence from Spain he endorsed the Plan of Iguala and swore allegiance to the Republic of Mexico on July 3, 1821. Arredondo surrendered his command and went into retirement in Havana, Cuba. Arredondo died in 1837 shortly after Texas had successfully gained its independence.
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