Major Jacob Brown, at Fort Texas opposite Matamoros, Mexico, to Captain W. W. S. Bliss, Assistant Adjutant General at Point Isabel. Dispatch communicating the start of a Mexican siege and artillery bombardment of Fort Texas.

Head-Quarters, Fort Texas,
May 4, 1846.

Sir: - I have the honor to report that on the morning of the 3rd instant the enemy's batteries opened on us at 5 o'clock. The firing commenced at the small sand bag fort, and was continued with seven guns. Our batteries were immediately manned, and a strong fire kept upon it from our batteries of eighteen and six-pounders until the firing ceased from it; this battery ceased firing in thirty minutes after our batteries opened upon it, two of the guns of the enemy supposed to have been dismounted.

The enemy then commenced firing from the lower fort and mortar battery. One mortar only observed, which was removed from the sand-bag fort, from whence the first shell was thrown; this fire was kept up briskly; and although the shot were generally well aimed, they did us no harm.

After this removal of the guns of the enemy from the sand-bag fort, I ordered a deliberate fire from Captain Lowd's battery on their guns and the town, ordering the consulate flags to be respected. My men were sent to work at 7 o'clock on the unfinished curtain and gateway, which was completed at 9 p.m. Although the fire of the enemy was kept up with little cessation until half-past 7, there was but one casualty, a sergeant of company "B, 7th infantry," killed. At half-past 9 I ordered Captain Lowd to throw hot shot into the town; the attempt was made, but the shot could not be sufficiently heated to effect my object, to fire the town.

Finding that our six-pounders effected little the enemy's guns, owing to the distance, and wishing to husband our men and means, I ordered the fire to cease and the guns posted to repel an assault from the rear. The enemy's fire was then concentrated on Captain Lowd's battery, but doing no harm, although the embrasures were frequently struck. Our 18-pounders were fired deliberately and effectually until about 10 o'clock, when, finding that the enemy could do us no harm, I ordered the firing to cease, as it was impossible to silence the enemy's mortar, and from this we were only in danger; at this time, 10 o'clock, the enemy's fire was suspended temporarily, but recommenced, and continued at intervals until 12 o'clock at night. It is believed that during this period the enemy fired twelve or fifteen shot. Between two and three o'clock this morning Captain Walker came in, and left here about 4; shortly after reveillé he returned. At 5 o'clock this morning the firing was recommenced by the enemy, continued for about twelve or fifteen shots, and kept up at long intervals; one shell at 11 o'clock, one at 12, one howitz and shell at 5 - all ineffectual. We are constantly on the alert, and I cannot speak too highly of the efficiency of the officers and men of my command. Our defences are continued daily, and, when necessity requires, at night.

I am, sir, respectfully, your most obedient servant,

J. BROWN,
Major 7th Infantry, commanding.

Return to U.S.-Mexican War Documents

Permission is granted to reproduce this page provided the information it contains is used for private, non-profit purposes.

Citation: Steven R. Butler, ed. A Documentary History of the Mexican War (Richardson, Texas: Descendants of Mexican War Veterans, 1995), p. 57.