Augustus William Magee: An Integral Part of Texas History

2021-05-05 09:46:42
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Augustus William Magee is a renowned Texas hero. He was born in 1789 in Boston Massachusetts. On January 23 1809, he graduated from the United States Military Academy in the third position and immediately started his service under Gen. James Wilkinson. He was first stationed at Baton Rouge, Louisiana in an artillery regiment station. Later he was transferred to a place near Natchitoches called Fort Jessup. McGee was credited as one of the best-informed young U.S. army officers and thus recommended for promotion by his commanding officer. However, the higher authorities refused this request.

Nonetheless, Magee did a commendable job of quelling out the outlaws, filibusters and smugglers in the neutral ground working hand in hand with authorities at Nacogdoches. He first made acquaintances with Peter Samuel Davenport and later with Jose Bernardo Maximiliano Gutierrez de Lara. With this collaboration, the three officers started planning on how to invade Texas. On June 22, 1812, Magee resigned basing his decision on the failure to be promoted and started recruiting a force known as Gutierrez-Magee Expedition (Walker 235). Around mid-September in 1812, the army occupied Trinidad. Unfortunately, Magee became very ill, but he remained in actual command of the whole expedition until February 6, 1813, when he died at Presidio of Nuestra Senora de Loreto.

Augustus Magee influenced Texas history with his abilities to organize a revolution against the Spanish colonizers sourcing from American soil, declaring the independence of the northern republic, and keeping command even on his deathbed. After resigning from the US Army, Magee considered Gutierrez's proposal of joining in the Mexican war to independence an invasion against the Spanish colonizers from the American soil. Before leaving, Natchitoches Colonel Magee recruited more than 130 soldiers who agreed to follow him on his expedition and on 8th August 1812 they crossed the Sabine (Walker 238). With his vast experience in the United States Army, Augustus Magee was placed as the commanding officer of the Gutierrez-Magee expedition. Notably, the Gutierrez-Magee force marks a fascinating point in the history of Texas and the whole of southwest Texas.

The two officers embarked on a mission that Father Miguel Hidalgo had sent Gutierrez to execute of gathering and assembling supporters who could start a revolution that was meant to attain the independence of Texas. Therefore, Magee and Gutierrez in a bid to keep the filibuster movement on the move assembled and organized a group of Anglo-Americans, Indians, Tejanos, reputable adventurers, and former slaves. The entire troop was composed of recruits from Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and the adventurers from the neutral ground. For the pair to send information throughout Texas, they managed to print the first newspaper in Texas known as Gaceta de Teja all in the cause of gaining support from the Texan people. In 1812, with their assorted army, the pair proceeded to march into Spanish Texas. Here, they easily occupied Nacogdoches and in command of Augustus Magee, they declared the independence of the Northern Republic from their Spanish colonizers (Walker 245). In mid-September under the command of Augustus, the troop occupied Santisima Trinidad de Salcedo along the Trinity River where Magee became ill from either malaria infection or poisoning. Later the pair marched to the presidio of La Bahia near Goliad. At Goliad, they were besieged and attacked by the Spanish army force under Governor Manuel Salcedo. Due to his weakened state, Augustus Magee could not fight back efficiently. Unfortunately, he was killed in the attack. Nonetheless, Magee remained the commanding officer to his death despite the long illness he experienced. Samuel Kemper replaced him.

Work Cited

Walker, Henry P. "William McLane's Narrative of the Magee-Gutierrez Expedition, 1812-1813."

The Southwestern Historical Quarterly 66.2 (1962): 234-251.

 

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