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Gutiérrez-Magee expedition squashed in bloodiest Texas battle

August
18
1813

On this day in 1813, the Spaniards defeated a would-be Texas republic in the bloodiest action ever fought on Texas soil. The battle of Medina ended the filibustering efforts of the Gutiérrez-Magee expedition. The expedition collided with the Spanish royalist army twenty miles south of San Antonio in an oak forest then called el Encinal de Medina. The republican force of 1,400 men was under the command of Gen. José Alvarez de Toledo y Dubois. The royalist army of some 1,830 men was commanded by Gen. Joaquín de Arredondo and included the young Lt. Antonio López de Santa Anna. On the morning of August 18, royalist scouts lured the republican army into an ambush. A four-hour slaughter ensued. Only 100 of the defeated republican army survived, whereas Arredondo lost only fifty-five men. The dead royalists were buried the next day on the way to San Antonio. The bodies of the fallen republicans were left to lie where they fell for nine years. The first governor of the Mexican state of Texas ordered a detachment of soldiers to gather the bones and give them an honorable burial under an oak tree growing on the battlefield.

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