Revolutions and the Weapons that Won Them Artillery of Early Mexico

Date
2023
Authors
Lanham, Kolby D.
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Abstract

If you sat a handful of Texans down and asked them to tell you the early history of Texas, they would likely begin their story with the Texas Revolution, as many Texans see this as the origin story of our state. Their story would be one of struggle, independence, and a fight between good and evil. The evil referenced in the story would be the Mexican army, not single individuals or commanding officers but the entirety of the force from Santa Anna down to the lowest ranking foot soldier. What would likely be glossed over or omitted entirely is that the Mexican army was a professional army trained and initially outfitted by the Spanish government. The story of the Mexican army, from its founding to its role in the Texas Revolution is nearly always overlooked in favor of the Anglo telling of the story. The reality is that the two stories go hand in hand and the story of early Texas cannot be accurately told without discussing Mexico's armed forces. The Mexican army of the 1830s was in some ways more advanced than that of its northern neighbor the United States, as its troops were well trained and equipped with some of the most advanced weaponry of the period. These facts are often overlooked, presumably because names like David Crockett, James Bowie, and Sam Houston have dominated the traditional telling of the story of the Texas Revolution. The soldiers in the Mexican army served with distinction during the Texas Revolution. Mexican troops were normal men with families and loved ones, who sent them to the far reaches of Texas knowing there was a good chance they would never be seen again. These soldiers were sent out by their government not to rape and pillage the Texas countryside but to suppress a revolution. The upper ranks of the Mexican army consisted of a hardened senior enlisted body and a battle tested officer corps. Many of these men had served with distinction under the Spanish flag, some of them lived in Texas and farmed and worked cattle with many of the Texans they later faced on the field of battle. This body of work will focus on the efforts of Spain, and later Mexico, to properly equip the Texas frontier with artillery and separate fact from fiction and truth from legend. The holistic story of early Mexico and Texas does not need embellishment or tall tales, the real story is fascinating enough on its own. We need not demonize the Mexican army for their role in the Texas Revolution, there is nothing to gain from it and doing so takes us away from a more balanced perspective. Instead, we will focus on the Mexican army and the movement of its artillery in Texas before, during, and after the Texas Revolution. This thesis will also track the final resting place of many of the artillery pieces used by the Mexican army, as many of these weapons are still held in museums and private collections. The story of the artillery in Texas has fascinated the general public and historians since the last shots of the Revolution were fired. While this deadly weaponry no longer sits in the forts and fields of Revolutionary Texas, it continues to occupy the thoughts and imaginations of generations of Texans.

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Keywords
Texas Revolution, Mexican army, Mexico, Battle
Citation
Department
History