Domingo Ugartechea
Domingo de Ugartechea was a 19th century Mexican
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 Army officer for the Republic of Mexico.

Early years

He served for Joaquín de Arredondo in 1813. In June 1832 Ugartechea commanded 125 men at the fort at Velasco, Texas
Velasco, Texas
Velasco was a town in Texas, United States, that was later annexed by the city of Freeport. Founded in 1831, Velasco is situated on the east side of the Brazos River in southeast Texas. It is sixteen miles south of Angleton, Texas, and four miles from the Gulf of Mexico.The town's early history is...

; he attempted to employ his artillery to prevent rebelling Texas colonist under John Austin from taking cannon from Brazoria to Anahuac at the time of the Anahuac disturbances. Although defeated by the Texans in the eleven-hour Battle of Velasco
Battle of Velasco
The Battle of Velasco, fought June 25–26, 1832, was the first true military conflict between Mexico and settlers in Texas. It began when Texan insurgents attacked Fort Velasco, located in what was then Velasco and what is now the present day city of Freeport...

, Ugartechea was permitted to evacuate the fort. In 1835 Ugartechea was military commandant of Coahuila and Texas in command of the forces at San Antonio de Béxar Presidio, all the while struggling with deficiencies in funding, supplies, and manpower. Although 200 men appeared on his rolls, only half that number were in active service. His observations from this position in the spring of that year contributed to the hardening of attitudes in Mexico concerning Anglo-American abuse of land policies and of native Tejanos in the departments of Nacogdoches and Bexar. He also considered the Texans to be disrespectful toward the government and its leaders, writing in one letter: "Nothing is heard but God damn St. Anna
Antonio López de Santa Anna
Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón , often known as Santa Anna or López de Santa Anna, known as "the Napoleon of the West," was a Mexican political leader, general, and president who greatly influenced early Mexican and Spanish politics and government...

. God damn Ugartechea."

In mid-May 1835 Ugartechea worked through the political authorities to avoid armed conflict with the militiamen under Juan N. Seguín, who departed from the town of Bexar toward Monclova, Coahuila, to aid federalist Governor Agustín Viesca
Agustín Viesca
Agustín Viesca was a governor of the Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas in 1835. He was the brother of José María Viesca, also a governor of Coahuila y Tejas during 1827-1831....

. Only last-minute concessions from political chief José Ángel Navarro prevented a clash between the militia and Ugartechea's soldiers. Subsequently, Ugartechea received and passed on to Mexico many reports that the spirit of conciliation was growing in the summer of 1835 and that the greatest threat to a consensus favoring peace would be to bring more troops from Mexico to Texas. However, at the end of July Ugartechea expressed his opinion to his superior, Martín Perfecto de Cos
Martín Perfecto de Cos
Martín Perfecto de Cos was a 19th-century Mexican general. He was married to Lucinda López de Santa Anna, sister of Antonio López de Santa Anna.-Background:Cós was born in Vera Cruz in the year 1800, the son of an attorney...

, that reinforcements were still quite necessary. In this way Ugartechea both reflected and furthered the hardening of attitudes that brought about war.

In dealing with the people of Texas, Ugartechea continued to issue reassurances about the potential for peace if his arrest orders were carried out. Those whom he ordered the Texas authorities to detain and hold included representatives to the Coahuila
Coahuila, formally Coahuila de Zaragoza , officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Coahuila de Zaragoza is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico...

 legislature, leaders of the Anahuac expedition or rebellion of June 1835, and other opponents of centralism such as Lorenzo de Zavala
Lorenzo de Zavala
Manuel Lorenzo Justiniano de Zavala y Saenz was a 19th-century Mexican politician. He served as finance minister under President Vicente Guerrero. A colonizer and statesman, he was also the interim Vice President of the Republic of Texas, serving under interim President David G...

. During the course of the summer the units under his command grew to nearly 500 men, including about 200 cavalry on active duty. In September, reports circulated that Ugartechea intended to execute these arrests himself. Indeed, it was under his orders that Lt. Francisco de Castañeda went to Gonzales, Texas
Gonzales, Texas
Gonzales is a city in Gonzales County, Texas, United States. The population was 7,202 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Gonzales County.-Geography:Gonzales is located at...

, to secure a cannon from the hands of the Texans, leading to the battle
Battle of Gonzales
The Battle of Gonzales was the first military engagement of the Texas Revolution. It was fought near Gonzales, Texas, on October 2, 1835, between rebellious Texian settlers and a detachment of Mexican army troops....

 on October 2 that initiated hostilities in the Texas Revolution
Texas Revolution
The Texas Revolution or Texas War of Independence was an armed conflict between Mexico and settlers in the Texas portion of the Mexican state Coahuila y Tejas. The war lasted from October 2, 1835 to April 21, 1836...

. Ugartechea then urged peace but warned the Texans to surrender their arms or face a renewed advance from San Antonio.

Siege of San Antonio

During the loosely conducted siege of Bexar, Ugartechea at first remained with the forces in town. A unit of his cavalry engaged in reconnoitering around Cibolo Creek in mid-October. He then led a body of 275 infantry with two cannon from the town on the morning of October 28, precipitating the Battle of Concepción
Battle of Concepcion
The Battle of Concepción was fought on October 28, 1835 between Mexican troops under Colonel Domingo Ugartechea and Texian insurgents led by James Bowie and James Fannin. The 30-minute engagement, which historian J.R...

. Colonel Ugartechea commanded a unit of cavalry that slipped through the siege forces on November 12 and made its way in about ten days to the Rio Grande (Río Bravo)
Rio Grande
The Rio Grande is a river that flows from southwestern Colorado in the United States to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way it forms part of the Mexico – United States border. Its length varies as its course changes...

 to seek reinforcements. On November 26 he guided a force of 454 conscripts and 173 veteran troops from Laredo to relieve the centralist army under Cos at Bexar. Their arrival on 8 December actually increased the burden of supply on the centralist army and helped to precipitate its surrender on December 9 to the Texans.

Texas Revolution

Ugartechea returned to Laredo with Cos's forces. He came back to Texas with the Mexican army in 1836. In late March Ugartechea received command of the inexperienced troops left in reserve at Copano, Victoria, and Goliad, making his headquarters in the latter place, and having responsibility for reconstructing shelter for the garrison and activating fortifications. Following the Mexican retreat after the Battle of San Jacinto
Battle of San Jacinto
The Battle of San Jacinto, fought on April 21, 1836, in present-day Harris County, Texas, was the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution. Led by General Sam Houston, the Texian Army engaged and defeated General Antonio López de Santa Anna's Mexican forces in a fight that lasted just eighteen...

, Ugartechea went to Matamoros, Tamaulipas
Matamoros, Tamaulipas
Matamoros, officially known as Heroica Matamoros, is a city in the northeastern part of Tamaulipas, in the country of Mexico. It is located on the southern bank of the Rio Grande, directly across the border from Brownsville, Texas, in the United States. Matamoros is the second largest and second...

, where he reportedly helped initiate the policy of persuading Native Americans
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 to make war against the people of Texas. He continued to support the centralist cause, helping defeat a federalist uprising at Saltillo, Coahuila, from his post in Monterrey, Nuevo León, in February 1839. He was killed in defense of Saltillo on May 24, 1839.

Further reading

  • Hubert Howe Bancroft; History of the North Mexican States and Texas (2 vols., San Francisco: History Company, 1886, 1889).
  • Paul D. Lack, The Texas Revolutionary Experience: A Political and Social History (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1992).
  • Jeff Long, Duel of Eagles: The Mexican and U.S. Fight for the Alamo (New York: Morrow, 1990).
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