Balerio, Cecilio (ca. 1796–1868)

By: Frank Wagner

Type: Biography

Published: November 1, 1994

Cecilio Balerio, rancher and soldier, whose birthdate was recorded both as May 12, 1796, and as May 12, 1800, was born at or near Mier, Tamaulipas, Mexico, the son of Juana María Valero. He operated a small horse and mule trade at Corpus Christi during the 1850s. At the beginning of the Civil War he and his family chose to remain loyal to the United States. He was engaged by Edmund J. Davis to attack the Confederate cotton trains between Corpus Christi and the lower Rio Grande valley. His men were supplied with gold coin, munitions, and clothing from United States Navy vessels standing off Padre Island. Balerio's son Juan was captured when he made a visit to Corpus Christi in March 1864. Maj. Mat Nolan coerced the son into leading about eighty men to the Balerio encampment at Los Patricios, a place said to be about fifty miles southwest of Banquete. At the final moment before the ambush was sprung early on the morning of March 13, 1864, while the Balerio company were sleeping, Juan shouted an alarm. The surprised guerrillas grouped themselves, "charged and fought most gallantly, and could only be repulsed after a desperate fight at cost of much blood and property," according to Nolan's account. The bodies of five of Balerio's men were found, along with a document indicating that Col. John L. Haynes was on the march to reinforce the guerrilla band. Balerio may have had another hidden encampment with about forty men at another location. He and Juan returned to Mier after the end of the conflict. For Balerio's services to the United States, Governor E. J. Davis awarded his heirs a quarter section of land in 1870. A corrido recalling the salient features of the skirmish at Los Patricios was still a part of oral tradition in South Texas as late as 1950 (see CORRIDOS).

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (Washington: GPO, 1880–1901).
  • Peoples
  • Mexican Americans
  • Military

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

Frank Wagner, “Balerio, Cecilio,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 28, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994

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