On this day in 1817, Francisco Xavier Mina and his men set sail from Galveston, with the intent of driving the forces of Spanish king Ferdinand VII from Mexico. The revolutionary Mina was in cahoots with Louis Michel Aury and Henry Perry. His expeditionary force, which comprised eight ships and 235 men, reached the mouth of the Santander River on April 11. Mina soon captured Soto la Marina, Tamaulipas, and led his troops to a series of minor victories, but was defeated and captured at Venadito on October 27. He was taken to Mexico City and executed with twenty-five companions at Fort San Gregorio on November 11. He was twenty-eight years old at the time of his death.
On this day in 1886, one of the biggest gun battles in the history of the American West broke out on the day after a city election in Laredo. In 1884 two political factions in Laredo and Webb counties designated themselves as Botas and Guaraches. The Botas ("Boots"), led by Raymond Martin and José María Rodríguez, were essentially the "wealthy" class, although they drew much support from the less fortunate. The reform club, which adopted the slogan Guaraches ("Sandals") to symbolize the lower class, included Santos Benavides and, later, Darío Gonzales. In the city election of 1886, the Guaraches won only two seats on the Laredo city council. In their celebration the following day, the Botas paraded the streets of Laredo promising to bury a Guarache in effigy. After the Guaraches attacked the Bota parade, as many as 250 men became involved in the fighting at one time or another. It took two companies of the Sixteenth United States Infantry and one company of the Eighth Cavalry to restore peace. Although the official number of dead in what was called the Laredo Election Riot was placed at sixteen, unofficial reports placed the number as high as thirty, with as many as forty-five wounded.
On this day in 1913, Sam Rayburn took the oath of office as a member of the United States House of Representatives. He became majority leader in 1937 and was elected speaker of the House in 1940, a post he held in Democratically controlled legislatures until his death in 1961. Rayburn helped negotiate the Roosevelt-Garner ticket in 1932 and loyally supported the New Deal. As chairman of the Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee in the 1930s he oversaw legislation that established the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission. During World War II he helped ensure the legislative base and financial support for the war effort, and in the 1950s he worked closely with Senate majority leader Lyndon Johnson. Rayburn served in the House for more than forty-eight years.