Facts on the Battle of Santa Gertrudis

The following story about the Battle of Santa Gertrudis was written by Don Ernesto Garza Sáenz, cronista or historian of Cd. Camargo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, in his book, "Segundas Cronicas De Camargo". I have translated the story with permission by Don Ernesto. Santa Gertrudis is a few miles outside of Cd. Camargo, Tamaulipas.

Once more we meet here at this place known as the Ebony Mesa, before this monument that honors our heroes that fought on June 16, 1866 in defense of our country.

It has been centuries that the Spartan mothers would tell their sons when they went off to war: "Come back with your shield or on it".

It looks like this same phrase was received by the soldiers, under the command of General Escobedo on the 16th of June 1866, in combat on the hills of Santa Gertrudis, when they destroyed the Imperialist Army that was under the command of General Feliciano Olvera.

The attack of the imperial forces was not improvised, it was a well planned battle. It was fought body to body. The soldiers of the republic, within one hour of battle, destroyed their enemies.

This military action resulted in 368 dead enemies and 1,001 prisoners. Furthermore a convoy comprised of 200 carts that carried merchandise and supplies to the city of Monterrey, Nuevo León was decommissioned.

It was lamentable the order given to execute one of the prisoners, Colonel Iglesias, of the Imperialist Army.

With the pardon of their lives by General Escobedo the 1,000 prisoners, in gratification for his benevolence, embraced with enthusiasm the cause of the Republic by joining the army of the north.

It is undeniable that the triumph at the Battle of Santa Gertrudis consolidated the Republican Government of President don Benito Juárez.

Eight days after the defeat suffered by the Imperialists at Santa Gertrudis, we see how General don Tomás Mejia surrendered the port of Matamoros to General Juan José De La Garza, keeping the northeast of Tamaulipas in power of the Republic.

It was the custom houses of Matamoros and Camargo, considered in that epoch important ports, and now controlled by the Government of the Republic, that started to proportion cash revenue to the government of President Juárez.

Everyone knows the importance of the triumph of the Battle of Santa Gertrudis. We are conscience that we were one of the pillars that upheld the just cause of the Republic and that we contributed to the disappearance of the second ephemeral Imperial. Nevertheless, the sons of Camargo have always lamented the oversight that our federal government has had to declare June 16, 1866 a national holiday.

I'm going to permit myself to read the names of each one of the integrants of the Camargo Squadron that pertained to the Canales Brigade, everyone originally from this population.

General Servando Canales Molano
Comandante Macedonio Rodriguez Garza
Capitán Primero Julián García
Capitán Primero Pedro Díaz
Capitán Primero Esteban García
Capitán Segundo Regino Ramón
Capitán Segundo Macedonio Recio
Capitán Segundo Diego Valle
Teniente Marcelo Sáenz
Teniente Rafael Garza Moreno
Alférez Félix Garza
Alférez Pedro Elenos
Alférez Gaspar Canales
Alférez Rafael Rodriguez
Alférez Isidro Canales
Sargento Primero Jesús Peña
Sargento Primero Pioquinto Medina
Soldado Santiago Rodriguez
Soldado Manuel Salazar
Soldado Baltazar Reyna
Soldado Bruno Infante
Soldado Pablo Garza
Soldado Luciano Molina
Soldado Calixto Acevedo
Soldado Homógono Garza
Soldado Cosme Juárez
Soldado Pedro Rodríguez
Soldado Candelario Sáenz
Soldado Manuel Garza
Soldado Martin Jaime
Soldado Andrés Delgadillo
Soldado Antonio Garza
Soldado Guillermo Flores
Soldado Eutimio Villarreal
Soldado Servando Morin
Soldado Martin Vargas
Soldado José Ma. Villarreal
Teniente Jesús Alegria de Guerrero, Tamp.
Teniente José Ma. González Benavides

We have been able to conserve the names of these valiant patriots who participated in the Battle of Santa Gertrudis thanks to the desire and care that Colonel Dionisio Rodriguez Garza, son of the hero of our town, Commandant of the Camargo Squadron, don Macedonio Rodriguez Garza, had.

Note: We thank don Ernesto for giving us permission to publish this story as it is one that is not well known in the Mexican much less the U.S. history books.

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