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Presidio commander resumes post after arrest


On this day in 1769, Capt. Rafael Martínez Pacheco resumed his post as commander of San Agustín de Ahumada Presidio (El Orcoquisac) on the lower Trinity River. He had originally been appointed commander in 1763 and had maintained cordial relations with the Franciscans and the Indians, but the soldiers regarded his command as cruel and arrogant. All but five soldiers deserted by August 28, 1764, and fled to Natchitoches. Governor Ángel de Martos y Navarrete then ordered Lt. Marcos Ruiz and twenty men to El Orcoquisac to arrest Martínez, but the commander and a handful of supporters barricaded themselves within his quarters and refused to surrender. After three days of unsuccessful negotiations, Ruiz and his men set fire to the presidio; Martínez escaped through a secret passage and fled to San Antonio. Ruiz served briefly as commander before his arrest on charges of burning a royal presidio. Hugo Oconór came to San Antonio in 1765 to investigate the matter, cleared Martínez of responsibility for the trouble, and restored him to his post. After the abandonment of San Agustín de Ahumada in 1770, Martínez became commandant of Nuestra Señora de Loreto Presidio at La Bahía and, later, governor ad interim of Texas.

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