GOD & TEXAS: Battle of Medina


Early Texas suffered much warfare. Most people remember the battles at the Alamo, Goliad, and San Jacinto. But there were two less known clashes where major atrocities occurred that still cause good people to grieve.


In 1813, Texas was ruled by Spain. The Royal army employed a “scorched earth” approach to the destruction of their enemies, and they were feared and hated by Texas residents.


In an effort to overthrow Spain, a rag-tag army of about 1,000 soldiers, known as the Republican Army of the North, was formed. It was composed of expatriates from the United States, disgruntled Tejanos (Mexicans born in Texas), and Native Americans. They grumbled among themselves, and distrusted their leaders, but were valiant fighters.


In March 1813, after a series of unexpected victories, the Republicans made a surprise attack on San Antonio, which was under the command of Spanish Governor Manuel María de Salcedo. For an unknown reason, that encounter became known as the Battle of Rosillo.


Overwhelmed, Salcedo accepted the Republicans' promise of safe retreat if he would lay down his arms. However, after his surrender, the Republicans reneged on their pledge and mercilessly slaughtered over 2,000 Royal soldiers including Salcedo.


In June of 1813, desiring to avenge the cruelty inflicted at San Antonio, and to secure Texas for Spain, Royalist General Jose Joaquín de Arredondo y Mioño formed an army of about 4,000 soldiers. He set up his camp in an area six miles south of the Medina River with the intention of luring the Republicans into a trap.


The Republicans were discontentedly under the command of Gen. Jose Alvarez de Toledo y Dubois, a Cuban-born revolutionary. Against Toledo’s orders and under the Green Flag, the Republicans attacked the Royalists only to fall into the snare of a better military strategy. Fewer than 100 of the Republican army survived the fight. With fiendish delight, the Royalists butchered the wounded and those who tried to escape. The lifeless bodies of a thousand soldiers were left decomposing in the elements.


Even worse, Arredondo then attacked San Antonio, killing every man suspected of favoring the Republicans. Then they captured 500 of the wives and older daughters of the slain Republican army, and forced them to make food for the Royalists army, while physically abusing them at will. The imprisoned women could hear their now abandoned young children crying and begging for food on the streets. Tradition says that Dolorosa Street, which means grief or sorrow, was so named in remembrance of the horror of 1813.


All of this was deplorable warfare. Ecclesiastes 3:8 NLT states that there is, “A time for war and a time for peace.” However, as much as possible, man should rise above uncivilized butchery to live in accordance with the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 5:9 NLT, “God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.”


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