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    A Mier Expedition Survivor is Discharged

    [Mier Expedition]. William Fisher Discharge Signed for Texas Ranger Israel Canfield. One page, 8.75" x 8", n. p., February 16, 1844. First Sergeant Canfield, a member of the disastrous Mier Expedition, received this discharge, twice signed by Colonel William S. Fisher and 2nd Lieutenant A. H. Lee, about nineteen days before he was liberated. In part as written:

    "Know all men by these presents that the bearer Israel Canfield was enrolled in Capt. Ewin Camerons Company on the 19 day of October one thousand eight hundred and forty two. The Said Israel Canfield, has faithfully performed his duty as 1st Sergant up to the present date, and is hereby honorably discharged from the Service of the Republic of Texas. . . . We do hereby certify that the within named Israel Canfield was enrolled as a Mounted ranger and furnished his own horse, arms, equipments."

    Colonel William Fisher, a veteran of the Battle of San Jacinto, served as war secretary for the Republic of Texas from 1836-1837. In the fall of 1842, he, along with Ewen Cameron and Israel Canfield, joined the Somervell Expedition. (Captain Ewen Cameron commanded a company of Texas Ranger spies before he joined the expedition.) When the Somervell Expedition was abandoned, Fisher was chosen by those who refused to abandon the expedition. The resulting Mier Expedition-a disaster-contained the 308 Texas raiders who refused to abort their raid into Mexico in search of plunder.

    Subsequently, the group crossed the Rio Grande and entered Mier on December 23, 1842. After engaging a much larger Mexican force in battle three days later, the Texans surrendered. Threatened with death, the Texans were marched to Mexico City, but before they arrived, they unsuccessfully tried to escape in February 1843. As punishment, the Mexican government ordered that every tenth man be executed. Seventeen were blindfolded and then shot, a tragic incident known as the Black Bean Episode. (Although former Texas Ranger Ewen Cameron did not draw a black bean, he was later executed for attempting to escape.) The remaining prisoners, including Fisher and Canfield, performed forced labor before they were finally sent to Perote Prison in September 1843. Over the next year, many prisoners escaped, died, or were released. Canfield left the prison on March 7, 1844. In September 1844, the final prisoner was released. Few of these scarce discharges exist today. Docketing on the verso.

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    September, 2013
    21st Saturday
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