The following news release from the Texas Numismatic Association
reveals and explains the theme of the group's 2015 medal, to be
released at the convention May 29:
In 1835, a brief battle occurred in Gonzales, Texas, and although it
was not a major encounter and described as merely a skirmish, it
helped pave the way to Texas independence. There have been many
memorable battles in Texas, such as the valiant Battles of the Alamo,
San Jacinto, Goliad and many others. But one brief battle over a small
cannon is considered the first battle of the Texas Revolution and was
fought in Gonzales on October 2, 1835.
Four years earlier, in 1831, the colonists in Gonzales requested a
cannon from Mexican authorities for protection against repeated Indian
raids. The request was granted and a six-pound caliber cannon was
given to the colonists. During this period, the political situation in
Mexico began to deteriorate and resulted in widespread unrest. In
1835, Col. Domingo Ugartechea served as military commandant of Coahuila and Texas. He commanded the Centralist
Army at Presidio San Antonio de Béxar.
Col. Ugartechea observed that attitudes in Mexico toward the Texans
were tense. He also believed that the Texans and native Tejanos were
disrespectful toward the Centralist Government policies. Because of
the tensions between the Texans and the Centralist Government, he sent
Corporal Casimiro De Leon and five soldiers to Gonzales to retrieve
the cannon; however, the colonists refused to give up the cannon.
Then in late September, 1835, Ugartechea ordered Lt. Francisco de
Castañeda and one-hundred dragoons to request the return of the
cannon. He instructed Lt. Castañeda to avoid actions that would lead
to conflict. When Castañeda and his soldiers reached the Guadalupe
River opposite Gonzales, they found the crossing blocked by high water
and eighteen armed men from Gonzales. Castañeda had a dispatch for the
alcalde, Andrew Ponton, but the colonists said that he was out of
town, so Castañeda ordered his troops to set up camp near the crossing.
In the interim, the colonists sent couriers requesting assistance
from surrounding settlements. Soon the volunteer colonists numbered
one-hundred and forty, with more expected to arrive. The colonists
elected John Henry Moore as their commander and awarded him the rank
of Colonel. Joseph W. E. Wallace was also elected, as Lt.
Colonel. Upon learning that volunteers were arriving in Gonzales and
that his dragoons were now outnumbered, Lt. Castañeda moved his troops
further up the river. Col. Moore planned an early assault fearing that
Castañeda might receive reinforcements.
The Texans crossed the river and engaged the Centralists with a
surprise attack on the morning of October 2, 1835. Col. Moore’s men
flew a white flag made by Cynthia Burns and Evaline DeWitt that read
“Come and Take it.” It was a cotton cloth without a border and
depicted a single five point Lone Star above a cannon. Under the
cannon were the words “COME AND TAKE IT,” referring to the cannon.
Col. Moore’s men opened fire and the little cannon roared. This
incident marked a break between the Gonzales colonists and the
Centralist Government. This skirmish is considered to have been the
start of the Texas Revolution. Castañeda arranged for a cease-fire and
asked Moore why they were attacked. Moore replied that they were
fighting for the cannon and the Mexican constitution of 1824, which
had guaranteed rights for Texas but had since been replaced by Santa
Anna’s Centralist Government.
Castañeda stated that he was in complete agreement with the Texans’
politics but that he was given an order which he was obligated to
fulfill. Moore suggested that he defect, but Castañeda replied that
while he abhorred Santa Anna’s policies, he was obliged by honor to
comply with his duty as an officer and politely refused the offer.
Unable to negotiate a settlement, the cease fire order ended and the
The Texan rebels outnumbered the Centralist forces, so Castañeda
decided to withdraw his troops and return to San Antonio. In doing
so, he complied with the orders from Col. Ugartechea not to provoke a
major conflict in attempting to recover the little cannon. The brief
skirmish resulted in the death of one Mexican soldier. The only injury
reported by the colonists was a broken nose suffered when a man fell
off a horse.
The Battle of Gonzales is considered the first actual battle of the
Texas Revolution. It was the spark that ignited
the thrust for the Texas rebellion. Over the years, this conflict has
become known as the “Lexington of Texas.” The little cannon was not
surrendered to the Centralist forces, and has now earned a place in
the rich history of Texas as a symbol of Texas Freedom.
John Henry Moore was an army officer, a Mason, an Indian fighter, a
farmer and a cattle rancher. He died on December 2, 1880, and was
buried in the family cemetery north of La Grange.
Joseph W.E. Wallace served as a Union General, a Mason, a lawyer,
and a District Attorney. He died at Columbus on August 24, 1877. His
body was reinterred in the State Cemetery in 1955.
Texas patriots Moore and Wallace, as well as the little cannon that
roared and the volunteers at Gonzales, made a significant impact on
the vibrant history of Texas.
The fate of the little cannon is unclear. Some think the cannon was
buried and later recovered. Historian Thomas Ricks Lindley thinks the
cannon was taken to San Antonio, where it would have been used in the
Battle of the Alamo.
Today, the battle is re-enacted every October during the annual
“Come and Take It Days” celebration in Gonzales. It is important that
this little cannon be remembered for firing the first shot for Texas
Independence. This year marks the 180th anniversary of this historic event.
The obverse of the 2015 TNA medal features the six-pound caliber
cannon that fired the first shot for Texas Independence, as well as
the “COME AND TAKE IT” battle flag.
The reverse of the medal shows the official seal of the Texas
Numismatic Association. The medal was designed by TNA Medals Officer
Frank Galindo of San Antonio, Texas.
Single bronze medals are priced at $6.50 postpaid. Medal sets (one
bronze medal and one 1-ounce silver medal) are priced at $47.00 for
each set, plus $4.50 per set for postage and handling. If insurance is
requested, there is an additional cost of $2.50 per medal set.
Make checks or money orders payable to TNA. Orders may be placed by
contacting Frank Galindo, TNA Medals Officer, at P.O. Box
12217, San Antonio, TX 78212-0217. For questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.