February 16 in San Antonio history…

On this day 150 years ago, a militia of 1,000 armed Texans, calling themselves “The Knights of the Golden Circle,” surrounded U.S. Gen. David E. Twiggs’s 160-man garrison at San Antonio, forcing the general to surrender. Union soldiers were allowed to leave the state carrying their arms, but $1.6 million of government property was left to be seized by the Confederacy. Texas took possession of the 20 military installations, 44 cannon, 1,900 muskets, 400 pistols, 2 magazines of ammunition, 500 wagons, and 950 horses. Twiggs’s unwillingness to fire upon Texans in the streets of their own cities was not appreciated in the North. What he viewed as an attempt to avoid bloodshed, most Unionists saw as a part of a Southern conspiracy for which Twiggs was mercilessly vilified. On March 1, 1861, Twiggs was dismissed from the Union Army by President Buchanan. Ten weeks later he was commissioned as a Major General in the Confederate Army and transferred to New Orleans to command the District of Louisiana. Twiggs retired shortly thereafter and died at age 72 near Augusta, Georgia on July 15, 1862.

You can read more about this herehere and here.

If this had not been a peaceful transfer, it would be known as the event that started the Civil War – right here in San Antonio.

A. J. Drossaerts (right) became the first archbishop of San Antonio at noon today.  In San Fernando Cathedral, crowded to the doors by the thousands, the wool band with four crosses was placed on his shoulders by Archbishop John W. Shaw of New Orleans.

“Project UFO,” a new series produced by Jack Webb (of “Dragnet” fame) and based on the Air Force’s Project Blue Book files, premieres on KMOL Channel 4 at 7:00 p.m.


Posted on February 16, 2015, in Texana and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I am curious as to your account this day in 1861. In previous years of 2012 and last year 2014, the same posting is listed as happening Feb. 18th.
    Is there something I’m missing here? The actual surrender did happen on the 16th didn’t it? Does the 18th date have other significance that I am missing?
    Thanks for the consideration.

  2. I was mistaken on the date in past years but the Feb. 16 seems to be the correct one.

  3. Thanks for your reply. From my own searching, which is very limited, it seems the 16th is in fact the date the militia did confront Gen. Twiggs and demand his surrender. I think he probably said yes but the actual order to surrender and leave the city happen two days later on the 18th.
    So it can be confusing of the two dates.

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