Domingo Ugartechea

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Domingo de Ugartechea (died 24 May 1839) was a 19th century Mexican Army officer for the Republic of Mexico.



Early years

He served for Joaquín de Arredondo in 1813. In June 1832 Ugartechea commanded 125 men at the fort at Velasco, Texas; he attempted to employ his artillery to prevent rebelling Texas colonist under John Austin from taking cannon from Brazoria to Anahuac at the time of the Anahuac disturbances. Although defeated by the Texans in the eleven-hour Battle of Velasco, Ugartechea was permitted to evacuate the fort. In 1835 Ugartechea was military commandant of Coahuila and Texas in command of the forces at San Antonio de Béxar Presidio, all the while struggling with deficiencies in funding, supplies, and manpower. Although 200 men appeared on his rolls, only half that number were in active service. His observations from this position in the spring of that year contributed to the hardening of attitudes in Mexico concerning Anglo-American abuse of land policies and of native Tejanos in the departments of Nacogdoches and Bexar. He also considered the Texans to be disrespectful toward the government and its leaders, writing in one letter: "Nothing is heard but God damn St. Anna. God damn Ugartechea."

In mid-May 1835 Ugartechea worked through the political authorities to avoid armed conflict with the militiamen under Juan N. Seguín, who departed from the town of Bexar toward Monclova, Coahuila, to aid federalist Governor Agustín Viesca. Only last-minute concessions from political chief José Ángel Navarro prevented a clash between the militia and Ugartechea's soldiers. Subsequently, Ugartechea received and passed on to Mexico many reports that the spirit of conciliation was growing in the summer of 1835 and that the greatest threat to a consensus favoring peace would be to bring more troops from Mexico to Texas. However, at the end of July Ugartechea expressed his opinion to his superior, Martín Perfecto de Cos, that reinforcements were still quite necessary. In this way Ugartechea both reflected and furthered the hardening of attitudes that brought about war.

In dealing with the people of Texas, Ugartechea continued to issue reassurances about the potential for peace if his arrest orders were carried out. Those whom he ordered the Texas authorities to detain and hold included representatives to the Coahuila legislature, leaders of the Anahuac expedition or rebellion of June 1835, and other opponents of centralism such as Lorenzo de Zavala. During the course of the summer the units under his command grew to nearly 500 men, including about 200 cavalry on active duty. In September, reports circulated that Ugartechea intended to execute these arrests himself. Indeed, it was under his orders that Lt. Francisco de Castañeda went to Gonzales, Texas, to secure a cannon from the hands of the Texans, leading to the battle on October 2 that initiated hostilities in the Texas Revolution. Ugartechea then urged peace but warned the Texans to surrender their arms or face a renewed advance from San Antonio.

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