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    [John S. "Rip" Ford] and [Cortina War]. U.S. Major Samuel P. Heintzelman Autograph Letter Signed to Rip Ford. One page, 8" x 10", "Headquarters Brownsville Expedition, Fort Brown, Texas, February 4, 1860." In early December 1859, Major Samuel Heintzelman and his Federal troops arrived in the lower Rio Grande Valley in response to hostile activities led by Juan Cortina. Cortina, accusing the Anglos of seizing land belonging to Mexican Texans, had been leading poor Mexicans in a series of raids against Anglo Texans near Brownsville. On December 27, Major Heintzelman, in command of Texas Rangers companies under Rip Ford, encountered Cortina's force at the Battle of Rio Grande City on December 27, decisively defeating him. Cortina retreated south across the Mexican border, but remained a constant threat. When Heintzelman wrote this letter, Ford was in command of a new Texas Ranger unit, Company "A," Rio Grande Squadron, which had formed only days earlier on January 20, 1860. Cortina's next move was an attack on the steamboat J. B. Ranchero at La Bolsa Bend, just below Rio Grande City, on February 4. The steamer's commander, Captain John Martin, notified Captain Rip Ford of the attack immediately, telling him that the steamer had $200,000 worth of property on board. Ford then notified his commander, Major Heintzelman, who, in this letter, directs Captain Ford and his Texas Rangers to protect the boat, but also to bring "no injury" to the Mexican inhabitants. In full as written:

    "Your letter of this date, informing me of the attack on the boat, and the firing upon your men, is received. Capt. Stoneman's[?] company has in[?] this reached the boat, and will co-operate with you in protecting it on to way down. It is of the utmost importance that, you preserve the most rigid discipline amongst your troops, and, that, no injury, that can be avoided, be done to the inhabitants or their property. Do not allow yourself to be drawn from the river, but confine your operations strictly to the protection of the boat. I will communicate with Gen. Garcia, the Mexican Commandant, and should he, in accordance with his instructions, furnish a force to co-operate in dispersing these bands of marauders, I will inform you."

    Ford and his Rangers obliged Captain Martin's request by crossing the river into Mexico. Cortina and his men fled further south. The steamboat, owned by Mifflin Kenedy and Richard King, safely made its journey to Brownsville. Lined paper; age toned. Written and signed in bold ink.


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     I am, Sir, very respectfully

     

     



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    Auction Dates
    September, 2013
    21st Saturday
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