The Tampico Expedition


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The "Mary Jane" Expedition to Tampico

[Happened After: Raising War Revenue]

Soon After the Texans captured San Antonio and the Alamo (December 1835), they  received the news of the unfortunate result of an expedition fitted out at New Orleans against Tampico. It was gotten up under the auspices of General Mexia, one of the republican officers in Mexico, who abandoned Santa Anna when the latter declared for the centralists. Mexia advised the expedition, and declared the capture of Tampico the most fatal blow that could be given to the operations of Santa Anna against Texas. Some liberal contributions had been given to the cause by persons in New Orleans ; the schooner "Mary Jane" was chartered, and on the 6th of November, 1835, she sailed for Tampico, having on board some one hundred and thirty men. Two thirds of these were Americans, the others mostly French and Germans. There is little doubt that most of the men were deceived as to their destination, but supposed they were sailing to Texas as emigrants. The vessel proceeded on her voyage until the 12th, when it was made known to those not in the secret that there was on board the craft a general with his staff, whose design was to act in concert with the Texans, and he desired them to join him. The land being then in sight, and the vessel standing in, it was announced that they were before Tampico. Through the instrumentality of Captain Hawkins, an aid to Mexia, some were induced to join him. The schooner was taken in tow by a steamboat, but they soon ran aground, when, night coming on, they found the water breaking over the vessel. They succeeded, however, in getting to the shore, on which they all safely landed that night and the following morning. The fort at the bar, after a slight conflict, surrendered to Mexia, and his command were then occupied in drying their clothing. On Sunday evening, the 15th, arms were placed in the hands of the passengers. It was expected that the Mexicans would rally in large numbers around the standard of Mexia, but in this they were greatly deceived. The cry of "Viva Santa Anna, y mueron los estrangeros !" was alone heard in the streets. Their main dependence was upon this expected native force ; but only fifty Mexicans joined them. So, being thus disappointed, they failed in their enterprise. General Mexia and a portion of his small force escaped in a vessel to the Brazos. Thirty-one were captured, of whom three died in the hospital ; the remaining twenty-eight were condemned by a court-martial, and shot at Tampico, on the 14th of December following. [See Next: Texas Naval Battle]




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