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GARZA FALCON, ALEJO DE LA

GARZA FALCÓN, ALEJO DE LA (ca. 1719–?). Alejo (Alexo) de la Garza Falcón was a scion of a family that was prominent in Nuevo León affairs in the seventeenth century and later contributed to the development of three other Spanish provinces: Coahuila, Nuevo Santander, and Texas. He is believed to have been born in Monterrey about 1719. Among his close relatives were Blas de la Garza Falcón, twice governor of Coahuila (1723–29 and 1733–36); Clemente de la Garza Falcón, governor of Coahuila from 1736 to 1739; Blas María de la Garza Falcón, founder of Camargo, Nuevo Santander; and Miguel de la Garza Falcón, who commanded Presidio de San Xavier in Texas. Garza Falcón was lieutenant of a portion of the garrison of the abandoned Presidio de San Sabá that was stationed at San Fernando de Austria Coahuila in 1769. This contingent was dispatched from El Cañón (the upper Nueces River mission settlement, near the sites of present-day Camp Wood and Montell) on temporary duty to protect San Fernando and neighboring settlements while the Coahuila military commandant Manuel Rodríguez conducted an extended Indian campaign toward La Junta de los Ríos and El Paso del Norte.qqv After the San Sabá presidio was permanently suppressed in 1770, the troops remained at San Fernando while the new line of presidios was being organized under the New Regulations for Presidios of 1772. Preliminary to establishing the new defense line, Hugo Oconór, commandant-inspector of the new Provincias Internas jurisdiction, attempted to drive the Mescalero Apaches north of the Rio Grande.

On May, 24, 1773, the Mescaleros struck back, killing seven cart drivers and taking several captives at San José, ten leagues southwest of San Fernando. The following day Lieutenant Garza Falcón, at the head of fifty men, was sent in pursuit, while additional troops were summoned from San Juan Bautista. The combined force, under overall command of Capt. Vicente Rodríguez of Presidio de San Juan Bautista crossed the Rio Grande and, in a predawn attack on June 6, struck the Mescaleros in their encampment near the mouth of the Pecos River. Garza Falcón with sixty men formed the center of the attack. A number of Apaches were killed or captured, three captives from San José were rescued, and 200 horses and mules-which the Indians had taken from various Coahuila settlements in five separate raids-were recovered.

Garza Falcón continued to play an active part in combatting the Apache menace in Coahuila until the former San Sabá garrison was sent to man Presidio de San Vicente. This new presidio overlooked San Vicente Ford, across the Rio Grande from the southern tip of what is now Big Bend National Park. With the new defense line in place, Oconór planned an extended campaign to drive the Apaches north of the Rio Grande once and for all. In the multipronged effort, organized in September 1775, Garza Falcón headed the San Vicente contingent in the force commanded by Coahuila governor Jacobo Ugarte y Loyolaqv. Ugarte's phase of the campaign, lasting several months, was largely a hollow exercise. After a futile attempt to find and engage amorphous hostile bands as far north as the abandoned San Sabá site (at the site of present-day Menard) and up the Pecos River into New Mexico, Garza Falcón led the campaign's final phase in late December 1775 and early January 1776 in the Devils River (Río de San Pedro) area.

On December 22 a small scouting patrol led by Ramón Marrufo had encountered a large Lipan Apache force on the Devil's River and lost three men before reinforcements arrived. On Christmas Day, Ugarte, encamped near the Devils River mouth, issued orders for Garza Falcón, with a hundred men, to pursue the offending hostiles. The Spanish troop set march down the Rio Grande to San Felipe Springs (at the site of modern Del Rio), then traveled north and west to return to the Devils River farther up. Garza Falcón, finding fresh Indian signs at the mouth of the Dry Devils River on January 1, spent the next several days in a futile effort to overtake the fleeing natives. The only result was the capture of a man and woman who were in flight from Manuel Muñoz's attack on the Lipillanes far to the west and seeking to join the Lipanes. Finding that the Lipanes had scattered among the hills toward the upper Nueces River, Garza Falcón called off the pursuit and proceeded to Presidio de Aguaverde in Coahuila to report to Ugarte.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Vito Alessio Robles, Coahuila y Texas en la época colonial (Mexico City: Editorial Cultura, 1938; 2d ed., Mexico City: Editorial Porrúa, 1978). Carlos E. Castañeda, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas (7 vols., Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1936–58; rpt., New York: Arno, 1976). Robert S. Weddle, "Campaigning in Texas, 1775," Texas Military History 6 (Winter 1967). Robert S. Weddle, San Juan Bautista: Gateway to Spanish Texas (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1968).

Robert S. Weddle

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Robert S. Weddle, "GARZA FALCON, ALEJO DE LA," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fgaae), accessed October 21, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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