News: San Antonio de Bexar — Oct. 28, 1835 “THE BATTLE OF CONCEPCIÓN”
KTVC – Your Source for all your Texas Revolutionary News, At approximately 9:30am. Thank you for joining us.
KTVC is just learning that, at this hour, what is now being called "The Battle of Concepción" has just recently ended with a Texian Victory. The entire battle only lasted about 30 minutes.
According to our sources on the scene the Mexican Army suffered 90 casualties and the Texian forces only had one fatality and one injury.
For more on this breaking revolutionary story we take you to our correspondent on the scene – Joseph James.
Thank you Elizabeth. This morning, four companies of Texian and Tejano Volunteers, led by James Bowie and James Fannin, successfully repelled 3 infantry charges by the Mexican Army at mission Concepción, just 2 miles from downtown San Antonio.
Also, this morning, I witnessed firsthand, a cool, calm confident leader, Colonel James Bowie, personally inspire and forge a brilliant defense victory. Now I know why the Texians and Tejanos respect and follow this man.
So we can better understand what transpired today and it’s significance, we have to go back a couple of weeks.
Just after I joined the Texians as a journalist correspondent, on October 13, I travelled with a newly created Texian Army under Stephen F. Austin. Austin’s objective at that time was to go to the States richest, biggest, most influential and most strategic point, San Antonio de Bexar.
There he planned to engage the Mexican Army garrisoned there led by General Perfecto Cos, Santa Anna’s brother in law, and run them out of Texas.
When General Cos learned that Austin was on his way and nearing the edge of the city he ordered Mexican troops to secure the city. No one was allowed to enter or leave the city under penalty of death. Guards were posted everywhere.
Now - San Antonio was officially under Martial Law.
On Austin’s march between the Cibolo and the Salado, the famous Jim Bowie joined the army. Bowie was a prominent citizen of San Antonio and he had married a daughter of Vice-Governor Veramendi. But he was still a patriotic American, and when war arose he did not hesitate in casting his lot with the struggling Texans.
At the Salado quite a number of recruits came in, namely, including Deaf Smith swelling our ranks to about seven hundred men - all insisting for a fight.
Orders were now issued to move forward, and at noon on the 27th of October, the force went into temporary camp at Mission Espada, on the San Antonio River, and about ten miles below town.
That evening Stephen F. Austin asked James Bowie if he could somehow get a message past the military blockades and get word to Juan Seguin and the Tejano Volunteer Company who were caught inside the city and ask them to join the Texians.
History remembers that somehow, Bowie did get a message through, and somehow, the fighting Tejanos of the Tejano Volunteer Company, broke through the blockade, and met up with Austin, Bowie and the Texians at Mission La Espada.
That night, during a war council, Austin ordered, Colonel Bowie and Captain Fannin, along with 90 volunteers, the mission of scouting for a closer, more suitable location for the Texian Army to advance to. Austin orders also stressed that; after you find the location, get back immediately.
Right after Bowie received his orders he met with Juan Seguin as said, “I’m gonna need you and the Tejanos.” Seguin knew what he meant.
It is a known fact that no one knew the area, especially after dark, like the Tejanos.
The scouting group left Mission Espada at noon and headed north following the San Antonio River. San Antonio was founded on Missions, five to be exact and all located along the San Antonio River.
The Missions, from north to south are San Antonio de Valero, Mission Concepcion, Mission San Jose, Mission San Juan and finally, Mission La Espada.
The scouting party stopped at Missions San Juan and San Jose but it wasn’t until that evening that they reached Mission Concepción and decided this would be the suitable and best defendable location for their forces to advance to.
At this point, Bowie and Fannin’s order was to return immediately back to Mission Espada so the entire Texian Army could advance. But, Bowie and Fannin instead made a decision to send a Tejano runner to Austin to show them the way.
When the Tejano arrived, Austin lost it, kicked the dirt and shouted, “The next man to disobey my orders will be court-martialed immediately!”
When the Texian forces were divided between Mission La Espada and Mission Concepción, General Cos found out and decided to act and attack the forces led by Bowie and Fannin that had now dug-in at Mission Concepción.
This mission provided an ideal defensive position for the rebels. Five hundred yards west of the mission, the San Antonio River curved in a small horseshoe shape, with the two sides of the river's curve approximately 100 yards apart.
According to historian Alwyn Barr, "trees shaded both sides of the broad river bottom which lay about six feet below the level of the rolling prairie nearby".
Pickets were stationed around the area and in the mission tower, which offered greater visibility.
Coincidentally, just like the morning of the skirmish at Gonzales earlier this month, the day of this battle opened - with heavy fog.
October 28, at 6:00 a.m., Colonel Ugartechea left The Alamo with 275 Mexican soldiers and 2 cannons.
The heavy fog delayed their approach, and the Mexican soldiers did not reach Concepción until 7:30 or 8:00 a.m.
Because of the fog the Texian sentries did not see the Mexican Army until a Mexican cavalry scout fired at Texian picket Henry Karnes; after returning fire, Karnes ran back to his company, frustrated because, as he put it, "Boys, the scoundrels have shot off my powder horn".
Bowie ordered the Texians and the Tejanos to take their pre-planned defensive position in the gully, firing from its edge when given the command before dropping the 6 feet down to the river level to reload.
As the remaining Texian sentries hurried to join the main body of Texian soldiers, Pen Jarvis was struck by a Mexican bullet and fell down the riverbank. The bullet hit a knife Jarvis had slipped through the front of his belt, and he suffered only bruises.
And now, the stage is set for us to witness, the first military engagement of the Texas Revolution that occurred on a foggy morning on October 28, 1835, right here, at Mission Concepción.
Four Mexican companies of attacking Mexicans supported by two canons near the front and center are in position and ready. The fighting Texians and Tejanos who are using the drop in the gully and the trees as cover, are also ready to engage.
The time has come for the Mexican Army to attack and for the Texian Army to repel the attack.
As the sun rose, the fog lifted revealing a force of some four or five hundred Mexicans, who now rushed up and began a furious attack, pouring a continuous fire. It was almost like a solid sheet of flame.
For many of the Texians and Tejanos this would be their first taste of real war and it was a nerve-trying experience. During the battle you could hear Colonel Bowie, urging the boys to be cool, stay calm and focused. And, waste no powder, waste no musket balls, but shoot to hit.
Three times the Mexican Army attacked and, three times, the Texian and Tejanos repelled the attacks. The Mexicans were mostly shooting over the heads of the Texians, and the Texians with their long rifles, were connecting with each shot killing and wounding many Mexican troops.
The Texians and Tejanos were amazing sharp shooters and very effective with each shot. The Mexican Army never got close. They were repelled with extreme prejudice. The Mexican Army was taking heavy losses and the troops were losing their nerve to participate in any further aggressive actions against the Texian and Tejano patriots.
In the end, the Texians would outshoot and out perform the Mexicans and cause them to retreat, literally run back to San Antonio and the safety of the Alamo fortress as fast as their feet and horses could get them there.
As they were running away, Bowie led a charge after them capturing their cannons and turning them on the retreating forces.
William B. Travis, who was part of the Texian Cavalry arrived just in time, like in the movies, and chased the Mexican Army back to San Antonio.
And, just like that, The Battle of Concepción, was over.
Stephen F. Austin arrived 30 minutes later to once again unite his forces and now is planning his next move in this Texas Revolution.
This is your KTVC war correspondent reporting from Mission Concepción south San Antonio, Joseph James – back to you Elizabeth.
Thank you for your report Joseph on the Battle of Concepción that proved to be another victory for the Texians and Tejanos during this Texas revolution.
Remember, Stay with KTVC as we bring you all the “Up to the Moment Breaking Texas Revolutionary News” as it happens. We'll keep you posted as these revolutionary events develop.
• ThoughtCo, The Battle of Concepcion of the Texas Revolution. By Christopher Minster, Updated June 13, 2019.
• Concepcion, Battle Of, By Alwyn Barr, Texans in Revolt: The Battle for San Antonio, 1835 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990).
• TSHA Texas State Historical Association.
• The Battle of Concepción, Wikipedia.
• The Battle of Concepción, Son of the South Blog.
This San Antonio de Béxar Militia
engaged in almost all Texas revolutionary battles and skirmishes between October 1835 and April 1836.
Somehow, history forgot about the Tejano Volunteer Company. 184 Years later,..it’s like it never existed.
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Join us here in our efforts to bring awareness, after all these years, to our young men from San Antonio de Béxar who fought and served in our Texas Revolution!