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MENCHACA, MIGUEL

MENCHACA, MIGUEL (1771–1813). Although there has been much confusion about his identity, it seems that Miguel Menchaca was the son of Joaquín and Juana (Delgado) Menchaca. If so, his father and Luis Antonio Menchaca were brothers, and Miguel was a first cousin to José Menchacaqv, a professional soldier with whom he has often been mistaken. The Bexar Archives confirm that it was the "retired captain" José who led José Bernardo Gutiérrez de Laraqv to Natchitoches in July 1811, not Miguel. Menchaca was also a soldier, at one time stationed at the Nacogdoches garrison as an alferez. On March 19, 1812, warrants were issued for the arrest of Menchaca and Juan Galván, who had deserted their posts. The following August they were said to be distributing the seditious literature of Gutiérrez at Bexar. On March 29, 1813, Menchaca fought in the victorious insurgent entry to Bexar known as the battle of Rosillo, commanding the Mexican contingent with distinction. According to José Antonio Navarro, it was Menchaca who talked many of the horrified American auxiliaries into staying after the brutal murder of Governor Manuel de Salcedoqv and his officers. When Lt. Col. Ignacio Elizondo's Royalist troops were defeated on the Arroyo Alazán near San Fernando de Béxar, Menchaca led the Tejano troops of the insurgent army into battle. For his gallant service Gutiérrez made him a colonel, on June 29, 1813. As Gen. Joaquín de Arredondo marched north to crush the rebellion, a price of 1,000 pesos was offered for Menchaca's head. After Gutiérrez was deposed, Menchaca fomented discontent among rebel troops at Bexar, steadfastly maintaining that the new commander, José Álvarez de Toledo, was a gachupín (a European-born Spaniard) and therefore an enemy of the revolution. Nonetheless, Menchaca was in charge of the Mexican division at the battle of Medina. When he fell during the fighting, the insurgent line broke. Arredondo's report of the battle says that among the slain "rabble" was found the body of Colonel Menchaca. The Memoirs of Antonio Menchaca, however, state that Miguel Menchaca managed to escape the battlefield but died of his wounds below Bexar on Calaveras Creek.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Bexar Archives, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. José Antonio Navarro, Apuntes históricos interesantes de San Antonio de Béxar (San Antonio: Siemering, 1869). Ted Schwarz and Robert H. Thonhoff, Forgotten Battlefield of the First Texas Revolution: The Battle of Medina (Austin: Eakin Press, 1985).

Jack Jackson

Citation

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

Jack Jackson, "MENCHACA, MIGUEL," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fme15), accessed April 20, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.