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New Orleans and the Texas Revolution

By Edward L. Miller; Foreword by Archie P. McDonald

Publication Year: 2004

One of the least known but most important battles of the Texas Revolution occurred not with arms but with words, not in Texas but in New Orleans. In the fall of 1835, Creole mercantile houses that backed the Mexican Federalists in their opposition to Santa Anna essentially lost the fight for Texas to the Americans of the Faubourg St. Marie. As a result, New Orleans capital, some $250,000 in loans, and New Orleans men and arms—two companies known as the New Orleans Greys—went to support the upstart Texians in their battle against Santa Anna. Author Edward L. Miller has delved into previously unused or overlooked papers housed in New Orleans to reconstruct a chain of events that set the Crescent City in many ways at the center of the Texian fight for independence. Not only did New Orleans business interests send money and men to Texas in exchange for promises of land, but they also provided newspaper coverage that set the scene for later American annexation of the young republic. In New Orleans and the Texas Revolution, Miller follows other historians in arguing that Texian leaders recognized the importance of securing financial and popular support from New Orleans. He has gone beyond others, though, in exploring the details of the organizing efforts there and the motives of the pro-Texian forces. On October 13, 1835, a powerful group of financiers and businessmen met at Banks Arcade and formed the Committee on Texas Affairs. Miller deftly mines the long-ignored documentation of this meeting and the group that grew out of it, to raise significant questions. He also carefully documents the military efforts based in New Orleans, from the disastrous Tampico Expedition to the formation of two companies of New Orleans Greys and their tragic fates at the Alamo and Goliad. Whatever their motives, Miller argues, Texas became a life-long preoccupation for many who attended that crucial meeting at Banks Arcade. And the history of Texas was changed because of that preoccupation.

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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table of contents

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pp. vii-

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foreword

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pp. ix-x

During the statewide sesquicentennial commemoration in 1986, the annual meeting of the Texas State Historical Association featured eclectic sessions that celebrated aspects of Texas’s varied culture over the 150 years since its separation from Mexico. I remember leading the singing of “Texas,Our Texas” at an elaborate birthday party that included a gigantic birthday cake with ...

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acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

Little could I imagine how important my involvement in historical reenacting would be in the writing of this book. The genesis for this work started with a simple effort—as a reenactor—to determine the image of the uniform of the New Orleans Greys and eventually the details of the lives of these men. My search ultimately led me to more intriguing discoveries as I stumbled upon ...

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introduction

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pp. 3-5

History is full of ironies. In December, 1835, John K.West, president of the Louisiana State Marine and Fire Insurance Company in New Orleans, along with a host of other insurance company presidents, issued a protest to New Orleans District Attorney Henry Carleton urging him to stop the arming of the Texian schooner Brutus by Texian agents.Their concern was that the schooner ...

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1. New Orleans in 1835

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pp. 6-18

In 1835 the editor of the New Orleans Bee proclaimed, “That New Orleans will rival New York in a few years,we have every reason to conclude from great facilities of intercourse and trade every year—almost [every] month— becoming developed.There is very little doubt of the New Orleans and Nashville railroad being completed in 3 or 4 years; and that will open a direct ...

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2. Anfictiones

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pp. 19-36

As editors Jerome Bayon of the New Orleans Bee and J. C. Pendergast of the Louisiana Advertiser waged a media war against the Louisiana Native American Association and John Gibson’s True American, the former vice-president of Mexico,Valentín Gómez Farías, his wife, a daughter, three sons, and one elderly servant were leaving their home in Mexico City. After nearly a year-long journey ...

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3. Nacogdoches Land Men

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pp. 37-55

Nacogdoches merchants Adolphus Sterne and Albert Emanuel landed in New Orleans in September, 1835, with the hope of selling some of their Red River lands and other tracts they owned between the Neches and the Sabine Rivers.1 The deteriorating situation in Texas precipitated drastic measures on the part of individuals like Sterne and Emanuel. Relying on past family connections ...

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4. The Big Men

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pp. 56-70

With life experiences already beyond his years, twenty-year-old Ambrose Cowperthwaite Fulton arrived in New Orleans in late 1831. Born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, he left his parent’s farm in 1827 to work as an assistant to a Philadelphia builder.1 Two years later he became a sailor, traveling along the Atlantic seaboard shipping routes. On one voyage in August, 1829, from ...

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5. Immigrant Soldiers

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pp. 71-84

Many of the men who had volunteered the night before at Banks’s Arcade met the next morning at 7:00 a.m. at Customhouse Square.The New Orleans Customhouse had become an eyesore. The yellow-stuccoed building, which represented the commercial center of the city, was surrounded by a motley array of buildings enclosed in a walled compound. In May, 1835, Jerome Bayon ...

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6. Disaster At Tampico

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pp. 85-107

General José Antonio Mexía had watched anxiously while his own plans of invading Tampico were overshadowed by the organizing and equipping of the New Orleans volunteers.1 Mexía’s and Fisher’s appearance at the Banks’s Arcade meeting on October 13 earned merely a footnote in New Orleans committee secretary James Ramage’s letter to Stephen F.Austin on October 21.Yet, Ramage’s ...

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7. San Antonio de B

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pp. 108-128

On November 21, after the disastrous defeat at Tampico, General Mexía’s men continued to languish at the fort near the mouth of the Pánuco River.On the same day, Captain Robert Morris’s company of the New Orleans Greys finally arrived in San Antonio de Béxar, with Captain Breece’s company a few days behind. The company commanders reported to General Austin at his ...

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8. The Texas Agency in New Orleans

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pp. 129-151

On New Year’s eve, the residents of New Orleans ushered in the year 1836 with the usual fanfare. Children gleefully lit firecrackers in the streets, local militia units displayed their expertise in the public squares by moonlight, and people scurried about, attending the city’s numerous dancing parties.The next day, January 1, the Bee broke the unofficial news that San Antonio de Béxar had ...

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9. A New Government, Military Tragedy and Triumph, and the Texas Navy

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pp. 152-176

The Texian constitutional convention at Washington-on-the-Brazos convened on March 1, 1836.The weather was bitter cold, and the delegates huddled in the makeshift hall with their cigars and whiskey and made themselves as comfortable as possible. Following parliamentary procedure, the delegates established a quorum necessary to convene. Richard Ellis, a former delegate to the ...

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10. Confusion and the Clash of the Texas Agencies at New Orleans

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pp. 177-202

Financial difficulties continued to vex agents William Bryan and Edward Hall. Bryan wrote to the Texian government that the appointment of special agents had made their job exceedingly difficult. On February 26 he leveled specific criticism against Charles H.Hawkins, captain of the Independence. The Texian commissioners had given Hawkins total control of disbursements ...

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Epilogue

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pp. 203-210

New Orleans was the major commercial center on the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico, and it was also a launching point for revolutionary causes in the region throughout most of the nineteenth century. Beginning with the Hidalgo revolution in Mexico against Spain in the early 1800s and continuing with the Texas revolution in 1835 and 1836,New Orleans would continue to be ...

Notes

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pp. 211-254

Bibliography

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pp. 255-270

Index

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pp. 271-275


E-ISBN-13: 9781603446457
E-ISBN-10: 1603446451
Print-ISBN-13: 9781585443581
Print-ISBN-10: 1585443581

Page Count: 312
Illustrations: 5 b&w photos. 1 map.
Publication Year: 2004

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Subject Headings

  • Texas -- History -- Revolution, 1835-1836.
  • New Orleans (La.) -- History, Military -- 19th century.
  • New Orleans (La.) -- Politics and government -- 19th century.
  • Texas -- History -- Revolution, 1835-1836 -- Finance.
  • New Orleans (La.) -- Economic conditions -- 19th century.
  • Capitalists and financiers -- Louisiana -- New Orleans -- History -- 19th century.
  • Businessmen -- Louisiana -- New Orleans -- History -- 19th century.
  • Texas -- Politics and government -- 1835-1836.
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