Alexander Somervell to Sam Houston, March 31, 1842
General Rafael Vsquez invaded San Antonio in March 1842. Mayor Juan Seguín and most of the Hispanic population of the city evacuated the city during the invasion, leading Anglos to suspect Seguín of being in league with the invaders. In this letter to President Sam Houston, General Alexander Somervell proposes a scheme by which Seguín could redeem himself by acting as a go-between with Mexican General Mariano Arista. The plan fizzled and a few weeks later, on April 18, Seguín resigned as mayor and fled with his family in fear of his life. Six months later, he would return to Texas, this time as part of another force of Mexican invaders.
Somervell went on to lead a punitive expedition against Mexico for these raids in December 1842. The expedition proved a fiasco. Conceived more as a political gesture than as a well-planned military invasion, the campaign fell apart, and Somervell ordered his men to return home to Texas. Many of the men refused and continued on to Mexico to take part in what became the notorious Mier expedition. As for Somervell, he returned home to become a customs collector and one of the developers of the town of Saluria along the Texas coast. In 1854, he was found dead, his body lashed to the timbers of a capsized boat in which he had been traveling with a large sum of money.
Alexander Somervell to Sam Houston, March 31, 1842, A.J. Houston Collection, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Page last modified: August 31, 2011