Tag Archives: Octaviano Zapata

Today in Texas History – September 1

From the Annals of the Civil War –  In 1863,  Major Santos Benavides led 79 men in the Thirty-third Texas Cavalry across the Rio Grande in pursuit of the bandit Octaviano Zapata.  Zapata had been an associate of Juan Cortina.  During the Civil War he was recruited by Union forces to aid them in military action in south Texas seeking to prevent the Confederacy from exporting cotton to Matamoros.  Zapata’s raids also kept Rebel forces occupied in Texas.  Zapata’s force often flew the American flag during their raids – leading Texans to refer to the group as the “First Regiment of Union Troops.” The Cavalry caught up to Zapata near Mier, Tamaulipas the following day.  The confrontation ended with Zapata and 9 others were dead.  The remnants of the bandit gang dispersed.

Photo of Santos Benavides from http://www.forttours.com