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    Tampico Expedition: Jose Antonio Mexia Autograph Letter Signed to "Captn. J. M. Allen of the Compy. of Federation." Two pages, 8" x 9.75", December 12, 1835, Columbia [Texas]. In this letter written soon after the return of the Tampico Expedition, General Mexia discharges Captain John Allen from under his command and places him under Colonel John Freeman Pettus, who was on his way to battle the Mexican Army at Bexar.

    In 1834, Santa Anna replaced the Mexican Constitution of 1824 with his own dictatorial regime, launching a revolutionary reaction. As a Federalist, Mexican General Jose Antonio Mexia opposed Santa Anna's power grab; subsequently, Santa Anna exiled him. Mexia fled to New Orleans where he, along with George Fisher, planned a revolt against the dictator. They began to raise men and resources in October 1835, choosing as their target Tampico, a city on the Gulf of Mexico which had been the site of a major Spanish defeat by Santa Anna in 1829. With the blessing of Texas' leaders, Mexia was chosen to lead the expedition's 150 volunteers, which would rely on aid from federalist supporters in and near Tampico. The expedition sailed from New Orleans on November 6, 1835.

    The campaign was beset by disasters: the expedition's schooner ran aground before reaching Tampico; the Tampican federalist supporters revolted before Mexia arrived; and fresh Mexican troops arrived more quickly than expected. When Mexia's expedition finally attacked the city on November 15, they were defeated. Mexia, Allen, and the other survivors retreated to the Texas coast near Columbia, Texas, leaving behind thirty-one members of the expedition as prisoners. Shortly after arriving, word arrived to Mexia that fresh Texas troops were needed at Bexar. Placing Captain Allen under Colonel Pettus, who was on his way to Bexar, Mexia flatteringly writes, "Compelled by peculiar circumstances in which I am placed, to separate myself from you, and from the company which you have so worthyly [sic] commanded and directed under my orders, I deem it my duty to manifest you, and I hereby do it, that it has been highly satisfactory to me, to have seen the pains you have taken, and the efforts made by you to second me in every thing which could be useful to the Service, in the difficult circumstances in which we have seen ourselves. Surrounded on all sides by dangers, scarcity, and misery of all kind, your support in service has been a firm column upon which I have repond [?] with confidence. I never shall forget neither your disinterestedness, your good disposition, nor the respect I owe to you, as the only, perhaps, who knew how to appreciate my sentiments, my sacrifices and the patriotism by which I am animated. From this date you are under the orders of Colonel [John Freeman] Pettus Company of the Provisional Government, from whom you will receive the necessary aid to take up your line of march to the Camp of our forces, as we have already agreed upon. I hope to have the satisfaction of joining there my fate with my Companions of my expedition, provided the provisional Governt. should deem it expedient so to do. I repeat, that in leaving you and the individuals of your Company I feel the deepest Sensation, and regret only that I could do no more for men, who from the best motives of disinterestedness have suffered with me, scarcity, nakedness, and privations of all kind. Be pleased to make these sentiments known to the worthy members of your Company and to accept my most cordial farewell." Two days after this letter was written, the imprisoned expedition members, still in Tampico, were executed.

    Mexia (1800-1839) Held various lower-rank Mexican government jobs in the early 1820s; in the late 1820s, he entered the Mexican Army, rising to brigadier general in 1832. John Allen (?-1847) arrived in Texas in 1830 as a veteran of the U.S. Navy. After the Tampico Expedition, he volunteered in the Texas revolutionary army, eventually serving under General Sam Houston at the Battle of San Jacinto. Later, he was given command of the Texas privateer, the Terrible. In 1839, Allen was elected the first mayor of Galveston. This discharge letter was part of a scrapbook, likely begun by W. L. Rodman in 1872, which contained other important early Texas letters and documents. The document has smoothed folds; separation occurs along most of the central horizontal fold. Toned paper, with very few light stains. Very good condition.


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    Auction Dates
    November, 2009
    21st Saturday
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