The Texas NavySam Houston to Colonels Macomb, Wharton, and Huston, December 30, 1835

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The Port of Copano

Copano was a small port about thirty miles north of present-day Corpus Christi. In spite of its seeming insignificance, Copano assumed strategic importance during the Texas Revolution. In September 1835, General Martín Perfecto de Cos landed his army in Copano before proceeding to Goliad and Bexar.

Later in the fall, Sam Houston, the new commander-in-chief for Texas rebel forces, ordered Copano to be seized and held by the Texans. The port changed hands again in the course of the war, but Mexico finally withdrew in May 1836. In the summer of 1836, a troop of mounted rangers seized three ships in Copano Bay full of supplies for the Mexican army, and earned the nickname "Horse Marines."

Copano thrived during the Civil War as a refuge for Confederate blockade runners. After the war, lack of fresh water and access for railroads doomed the tiny port, and by the 1880s Copano had been abandoned.

Sam Houston orders armed vessels to Copano, 1835Head Quarters
Washington 18th Dec 1835


              In directing the shipment of provisions to any
port should the vessel you plan on which they are placed
be sufficiently armed you will direct them to proceed to
Copano—so that in the event of that place not being in
our possession—she may be enabled to return to Matagorda.

              Should she not be armed you will direct your shipments
to Matagorda.

            This Order extends only to provisions—& the
Commander in Chief feels confident that that [sic] the utmost
dispatch will be used in procuring & shipping the articles


Sam Houstonbr /> Comr in Chief

  To       Col Macomb
            Col Wharton
            Col Huston


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Sam Houston to Colonels Macomb, Wharton, and Huston, December 30, 1835. Andrew Jackson Houston Collection #171, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Page last modified: June 25, 2019