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Texas | Columns | All Things Historical

DISTURBANCE OF 1832

by Archie P. McDonald
Archie McDonald Ph.D.
Late in the spring of 1832, Colonel Jose de las Piedras, commander of Mexican forces stationed in Nacogdoches, learned of a "disturbance" in Anahuac involving Texian colonists and his counterpart in command there, Juan (John) Davis Bradburn, an American in Mexican military service.

Piedras and Bradburn were part of the command known as the Northern Provinces, and the new centrist government of Mexico questioned the loyalty of the Americans flooding into Texas. Through the Law of April 6, 1830, the Mexican congress ended American immigration and imposed other hardships of colonists already in Texas.

Piedras learned that Bradburn had arrested two "trouble makers," William B. Travis and Patrick Jack, and that armed men had massed to force their release. He rode to Anahuac and learned that the Americans had Bradburn¹s men outnumbered. To stop a battle, Piedras fired Bradburn and ordered Travis and Jack released.

Once more in Nacogdoches, Piedras tried to avoid another disturbance, but his method of doing so precipitated the very thing he sought to avoid: he ordered men in the area to surrender their guns. Doubtless few of the Mexicans could have recited the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution about the "right to keep and bear arms," and in any case the Constitution did not apply in Mexican Texas. But they knew the amendment's spirit, and their guns were necessary for self defense and for hunting, so they brought them to town Piedras' policy.

Most of the Texians involved in the Battle of Nacogdoches came from Ayish Bayou settlements. They massed on Pine Hill, on the edge of town, and elected James W. Bullock their commander. They approached Piedras' strongholds in the Old Stone Fort and another structure located diagonally across the town square known as the Red House. Both buildings were fired upon but held throughout the remainder of the day.

Under cover of night, Piedras led his men west, but they were overtaken the next day at the Angelina River and after another skirmish Piedras surrendered. Piedras and other officers were returned to Nacogdoches, and later conducted to Velasco and released; his men were marched to San Antonio by James Bowie, who had arrived shortly after the battle, and also released.

Their departure meant the end to a Mexican military presence in East Texas. It also meant that Texians were one step closer to declaring their independence from Mexico.


All Things Historical >
April 6-12, 2003 column
A syndicated column in over 40 East Texas newspapers
This column is provided as a public service by the East Texas Historical Association. Archie P. McDonald is director of the Association and author of more than 20 books on Texas.
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