United States consul arrives in Matamoros
On this day in 1862, Maine native Leonard Pierce arrived in Matamoros, Mexico, to take up his post as United States consul. As the Civil War raged to the north, Matamoros became a center of Confederate commerce. Texans shipped cotton from the unblockaded port, while Unionist refugees fleeing Texas collected in the town. Pierce's principal responsibilities were the care of refugees from Confederate territory and the military enlistment of Union sympathizers. During his service he relocated about 700 refugees and sent about 300 men to enlist in the Union army. These men served in the First and Second Texas Cavalry regiments, which were eventually merged into the First Texas Volunteer Cavalry. After the war Pierce settled in Brownsville, Texas, where he died in 1872.