Lipantitlan, Battle Of

By: Keith Guthrie

Type: General Entry

Published: March 1, 1995

Updated: June 18, 2020

The battle of Lipantitlán occurred on November 4, 1835, on the east bank of the Nueces River three miles above San Patricio in San Patricio County, directly across from Fort Lipantitlán. A Texas force of around seventy men under Adjutant Ira J. Westover engaged a Mexican force of about ninety men under Capt. Nicolás Rodríguez. The Texans scored an important victory. Adjutant Westover was placed in command of about thirty-five men who left Goliad on October 30 headed for Fort Lipantitlán. In Refugio they were joined by at least fourteen settlers, and by the time the expedition reached the Nueces River it probably numbered from sixty to seventy. Included in the force were James Kerr, John J. Linn, James Power, Augustus H. Jones, George Sutherland, and Hugh McDonald Frazer, each an elected delegate to the Consultation who had forgone the honor to take part in the expedition to battle the Mexicans at Lipantitlán. Traveling by a route south of the regular road from San Patricio-Lipantitlán to Goliad, Westover's force reached a ranch about five miles below San Patricio, where they learned that the enemy had moved out on the road to Refugio to intercept the Texans. With this intelligence, Westover pushed his men and crossed the Nueces on November 3 in a canoe, and after posting guards at river fords they moved to within seventy or eighty yards of the fort, planning to wait until morning to attack. Shortly two citizens from San Patricio were intercepted on their way to the fort. One of the men, James O'Riley, volunteered to go to the fort and see if the Mexican soldiers would surrender on condition of being set at liberty on parole. The terms were accepted, and the Texans took over the fort, where there were two cannons (one reported to be property of John McMullen and James McGloin and taken away by Mexican soldiers) and twenty-one men, including five prisoners, four Irishmen and one Englishmen from San Patricio, and some Texans who were there by choice.

Westover's men remained at the fort until about 3 P.M. on November 4, when they began recrossing the river in a canoe. During the crossing the main Mexican force appeared. Six Texans kept watch on the Mexicans as about half of the Texans made the crossing and took up positions below the river bank in a skirt of trees facing the enemy. The Texan volunteers made excellent use of their positions, and in an engagement that lasted thirty-two minutes, twenty-eight Mexicans were killed, including Lt. Marcellino García, second in command, who was mortally wounded and died two days later at San Patricio. The Texans suffered only one casualty, when a rifle ball cut off three of the fingers on William Bracken's right hand. Also wounded in the battle were three Irishmen-the judge, alcalde, and sheriff of San Patricio-who fought with the Mexicans. A team had been ordered the day before from San Patricio to move the two cannons captured in the fort, but shortly after the battle a cold rain swept the field, and the Texans elected to dump the cannons in the river rather than risk the Mexicans' mounting another attack while they attempted to move the artillery. A camp was proposed at the edge of the prairie but finally the Texans moved downstream to San Patricio, where they were treated like heroes. Westover and his men remained in San Patricio for two days before they rounded up their captured horses and returned to Refugio. On the way the command overtook Governor Agustín Viesca and a group of Mexican dignitaries and escorted them to Refugio. Despite the victory, controversy followed Westover, who had been under direct orders from Dimmitt not to grant paroles and to capture or kill Sabriego and Moya. As it was, Captain Rodríguez and a major portion of the garrison were not taken prisoner, and Sabriego and Moya were not in the fort at the time. Shortly, the Mexicans were again occupying the fort.

Eugene C. Barker, ed., The Austin Papers (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1924–28). William Campbell Binkley, ed., Official Correspondence of the Texan Revolution, 1835–1836 (2 vols., New York: Appleton-Century, 1936). Corpus Christi Caller-Times, January 18, 1959. Charles Adams Gulick, Jr., Harriet Smither, et al., eds., The Papers of Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar (6 vols., Austin: Texas State Library, 1920–27; rpt., Austin: Pemberton Press, 1968). Hobart Huson, Captain Philip Dimmitt's Commandancy of Goliad, 1835–1836 (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1974). Hobart Huson, Refugio: A Comprehensive History of Refugio County from Aboriginal Times to 1953 (2 vols., Woodsboro, Texas: Rooke Foundation, 1953, 1955). John H. Jenkins, ed., The Papers of the Texas Revolution, 1835–1836 (10 vols., Austin: Presidial Press, 1973). John J. Linn, Reminiscences of Fifty Years in Texas (New York: Sadlier, 1883; 2d ed., Austin: Steck, 1935; rpt., Austin: State House, 1986).

Time Periods:

  • Mexican Texas
  • Texas Revolution

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

Keith Guthrie, “Lipantitlan, Battle Of,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 23, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

March 1, 1995
June 18, 2020

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