Rendezvous at the Alamo: Highlights in the Lives of Bowie, Crockett, and Travis

By Virgil E. Baugh | Go to book overview

chapter 7
Nacogdoches and After

IT IS not my purpose either to expatiate upon the causes of the Texas Revolution or to relate any events of that Revolution that did not involve James Bowie. The Revolution broke out on October 2, 1835, with the Battle of Gonzales. All preceding battles therefore belong to the pre-Revolution period. Bowie took no part in the two earliest military actions, which occurred at Anahuac on July 2, 1832, and at Velasco on July 27, 1882.1 But he did participate in the Battle of Nacogdoches, the main action of which took place on August 2, 1832.

Of several Mexican garrisons located in Coahuila and Texas was one at Nacogdoches, under command of Col. Jose de las Piedras, who was not far behind Col. Juan Bradburn, former commandant at Anahuac, in tyranny over the colonists. He was a Monarchist who had not declared himself in favor of the Constitution of 1824, viewed by the colonists as a bulwark of their liberties although it was far from being an ideal document. At that time Santa Anna, as head of the Republican Party, also pretended to support it, but the citizens did not know then that he was a Monarchist wolf in Republican sheep's clothing. Piedras was at least honest in his contempt for democracy.

In any event, the civil authorities at Nacogdoches thought that Piedras ought to be forced to declare himself. With the concurrence of the civil governments of certain neighboring towns, they therefore decided to force the issue: he must either come out for the Constitution of 1824 or fight. Yoakum's account of the succeeding events, in which Bowie played a prominent though disputed role, is as follows:

Accordingly, the troops from these settlements concentrated on the

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