Tag Archives: Callahan Raid

Today in Texas History – July 5

From the Annals of the Border Raids –  In 1855, Governor Elisha Pease authorized  Captain James Callahan to lead a party of Texas Rangers across the Rio Grande into Mexico purportedly to punish Apaches who were raiding Texas and hiding out in Mexico.  It appears more likely that the Callahan Expedition  was an attempt to recapture runaway slaves (primarily Black Seminoles) who had escaped to Mexico and obtained permission to settle there. Governor Santiago Vidaurri of Nuevo León y Coahuila had earlier rebuffed a more peaceful attempt by an emissary sent by slave owners and fearing the worst had ordered his troops to prepare for invasion. Callahan crossed into Mexico in early October and engaged the allied Seminole and Mexican forces.  A side attack was staged under the command of William R. Henry in an attempt to seize the Black Seminole women and children.  But Henry was ambushed and the entire expedition was forced to retreat to Piedras Negras.  But there they faced a large contingent of Mexican Regular Army troops supported by the Seminoles.  Callahan torched the town in retribution before skedaddling back to Texas with cover from American troops on the north side of the Rio Grande. In 1876 the Claims Commission settled claims originating from the expedition, awarding 150 Mexican citizens a total of $50,000 in damages.

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