Tejano History

Gutierrez-Magee Expedition

Tejanos |

       GUTIÉRREZ-MAGEE EXPEDITION. The Gutiérrez-Magee or Magee-Gutiérrez expedition of 1812–13 was an early filibustering expedition against Spanish Texas. The expedition took place against the background of growing unrest in Mexico against Spanish rule. In January 1811 a former militia captain named Juan Bautista de las Casas, inspired by the Diez y Seis revolt in Guanajuato, led an insurrectionist movement against the royalists in San Antonio, seizing Governor Manuel María de Salcedo and his military staff. In March royalists staged a successful countercoup, captured Casas, and executed him (see CASAS REVOLT). In December 1811 an envoy of the rebels, José Bernardo Gutiérrez de Laraqv, traveled to Washington, D.C., in the hope of securing United States support for the antiroyalist cause. Conferences with American officials brought only vague promises of aid, but Gutiérrez was led to believe that the United States would not hinder the organization of the expedition against Texas. After discussing his plans with José Álvarez de Toledo y Dubois, Gutiérrez sailed for New Orleans with a letter of introduction to Governor William C. C. Claiborne, who introduced him to William Shaler, a consular officer seeking to enter New Spain as an observer for President James Monroe. Shaler became the principal adviser of the expedition. Many adventurers, some of whom hoped to win Texas for the United States, assembled at or near Natchitoches, Louisiana, to form the nucleus of an invading army. Shaler enlisted the aid of Lt, Augustus W. Magee and helped Gutiérrez send propaganda into New Spain. Crossing the Sabine with some 130 men on August 8, 1812, Magee scattered royalist frontier detachments and entered Nacogdoches on August 12. American and Mexican recruits, attracted by possibilities of booty and encouraged by merchants of Natchitoches, increased Magee's strength to about 300 men when he marched against Santísima Trinidad de Salcedo on September 13. Governor Salcedo concentrated his forces on the Guadalupe River to protect San Antonio, but Magee changed the direction of his attack and entered La Bahía (present Goliad) on November 7 with almost no opposition. Salcedo, pursuing the invaders with fewer than 200 men, laid siege to La Bahía on November 13. When reinforcements increased this force to about 800, Magee asked for terms of surrender. Salcedo's offer was so unsatisfactory that the filibusters decided to fight. Before any decisive action had taken place, Magee died on February 6, 1813, and Samuel Kemper succeeded to the command.


Full article on the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas Online

   Courtesy of the Texas State Historical Association.