Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    [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.

    More Information:



     I am, Sir, very respectfully



    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2013
    21st Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 562

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 18 days left to consign to the 2020 March 29 Vintage Guitars & Musical Instruments Musical Instruments Signature Auction - Dallas!

    Learn about consigning with us

    Heritage has gone above and beyond my expectations in handling all of my transactions in a thoroughly professional manner. I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone worldwide for the exemplary auction and valuation services they provide.
    Richard H.,
    Corsicana, TX
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 December 14 Historic Flags of World War II Signature Auction - Dallas
    2019 December 14 Historic Flags of World War II Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $1,022,424