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.