Tejano cavalry long forgotten - Brownsville Herald: Letters To The Editor

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Tejano cavalry long forgotten

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Posted: Friday, May 10, 2019 11:22 pm

Editor:

Texas history has long forgotten Capt. Juan Seguin’s Tejano vaqueros in the Texas War for Independence. During the siege of Bexar (San Antonio), Seguin’s Tejanos helped capture 300 Mexican wild horses (mustangs) for the Texas cavalry, but Deaf Smith and Lt. Col. William Travis got the credit.

After the fall of the Alamo, Texas Gen. Sam Houston decided to retreat from Mexican Gen. Santa Anna’s army in the Runaway Scrape, but whom would Houston chose to be his army’s rear action guard against the elite Mexican cavalry?

Capts. Jesse Billingsley, Mosely Baker and Henry Karnes were all good choices with their experience against the Mexican infantry, but his best choice was Capt. Seguin’s Tejano vaqueros, who were riding horses and roping cattle for their livelihood.

The Mexican cavalry was their profession and was considered the tip of the spear for the Mexican army, because only the best horsemen were considered for this special fighting force. With their metal helmets and breastplates, the Mexican cavalry would look and fight like medieval knights, with their 7-foot lances with their sharp

metal tips and small banners.

Houston*s deepest fears were realized when advanced units of the Mexican cavalry attacked on the south side of Brazos River at San Felipe, but Seguin’s Tejanos, on the north side, did not allow the Mexican cavalry to cross the river with an exchange of gunfire.

On April 21, 1836, at the Battle of San Jacinto, Gen. Houston, fearing friendly fire against his Tejano vaqueros, had his best horsemen march on foot against Gen. Santa Anna’s army. But the Mexican cavalrymen were not on their horses either because at the time of the battle, the horses were being rested and watered.

Although the question of who were the best horsemen, the Tejano vaqueros or the Mexican cavalry, was never answered because there was never a direct confrontation on their horses, Capt. Seguin’s Tejanos had two victories over the Mexican cavalry, at the skirmish at San Felipe and at the Battle of San Jacinto.

Seguin’s Tejanos were the eyes and ears of Gen. Houston’s army and played an important part against the Mexican cavalry in winning Texas independence, but Texas history has long forgotten these Texas heroes and their rightful place in Texas history.

Jack Ayoub

Harlingen

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