Friday, June 8, 2012

A visit to Monument Hill

Back in the winter of 1842 an expedition party made up of Texas soldiers crossed the Nueces River into what was then Mexico. Despite orders to leave and return to Texas, the raiders attacked the town of Mier. Outnumbered the men surrendered to the superior Mexican forces.

The men were taken prisoner and sentenced to death. The execution order was later withdrawn and the men were taken to the Mexican town of Salado where they were imprisoned. In February 1843 the Texans escaped, but their freedom was short-lived as 176 of the men were recaptured a week later.

Santa Anna ordered the men killed but the governor nixed the execution. After much hand-wringing it was decided that one man in ten would be sent to his death. That death lottery is known as the Black Bean Episode.

The Texans were ordered to draw a bean from a bag. If a man drew a white bean his life was spared. If, on the other hand, he drew a black bean, the executioner awaited.

A few months earlier, on September 11, 1842, an army of 1,600 Mexican soldiers entered Texas and captured the city of San Antonio. Six days later a group of 53 Texas volunteers from Fayette County went into battle against 1,000 Mexican troops. The Texans were all killed in what is known as the Dawson Massacre.

A mile south of La Grange is Monument Hill which stands as a memorial to the Fayette County men who died outside San Antonio and for those who died in the Black Bean Episode. The bodies of all but one of the men were repatriated and buried on Texas soil - and that is where they lie today, overlooking the Colorado River.

The monument erected in 1936 to commemorate those who died in Salado.

The final resting place for all but one of the Texans.

The view of the Colorado River from behind the monument.

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