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Magee, Augustus William (1789–1813)

Robert Bruce Blake Biography Entry

Augustus William Magee, army officer, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1789. After graduating third in his class from the United States Military Academy, on January 23, 1809, he served under Gen. James Wilkinson in an artillery regiment stationed at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and later transferred to Fort Jessup near Natchitoches. Magee, credited with being one of the best informed young officers in the United States Army, was recommended by his commanding officer for a promotion that was eventually refused by higher authorities. Meanwhile Magee did good work in keeping down the freebooters of the Neutral Ground, working with the authorities in Nacogdoches to that end. He made the acquaintance of Peter Samuel Davenport and later of José Bernardo Maximiliano Gutiérrez de Lara, and the three were soon laying plans for an invasion of Texas. Magee, smarting over his failure to be promoted, resigned from the United States Army on June 22, 1812, and immediately began recruiting the force later known as the Gutiérrez-Magee Expedition. Magee left Natchitoches on August 2, 1812, crossed the Sabine River on August 8, was joined by Gutiérrez two days later, and with the loot of Juan José Manuel Vicente Zambrano's convoy, entered Nacogdoches on August 12. About the middle of September the force occupied Trinidad on the Trinity River, where Magee became seriously ill, either with consumption or malarial fever, but he remained in actual command of the expedition until his death on February 6, 1813, at the presidio of Nuestra Señora de Loreto.

Julia Kathryn Garrett, "Dr. John Sibley and the Louisiana-Texas Frontier, 1803–1914," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 45–49 (January 1942-April 1946). Julia Kathryn Garrett, Green Flag Over Texas: A Story of the Last Years of Spain in Texas (Austin: Pemberton Press, 1939). Harry McCorry Henderson, "The Magee-Gutiérrez Expedition," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 55 (July 1951). Henderson K. Yoakum, History of Texas from Its First Settlement in 1685 to Its Annexation to the United States in 1846 (2 vols., New York: Redfield, 1855).

Time Periods:

  • Spanish Texas

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

Robert Bruce Blake, “Magee, Augustus William,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed April 11, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 1, 1995

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: