Prelude to the Texas Revolution
Forerunner of CIA Type Activities?
Who Was Sam Houston, really? You won't find (really) in text books.
New Orleans, January 9, 1815. The day after the end of the battle of New Orleans, the last battle of the war of 1812, the future winds of revolution in Texas to the West stirred in the thoughts of men.
The planned projects of two innovative minds came to success here. Two men had just completed individual feats, thought to be impossible or at least improbable, that brought great changes to America and the World.
Town of Brownsville, on a river, a distant river some 2,200 miles up-river from New Orleans was the beginning of a precedence setting steamboat trip by a vessel of a name to remain famous on vessels in the future. The "Enterprise", designed and funded by investors of Brownsville, PA, up-stream from Pittsburgh on the Monongahela river.
Enterprise was seventy feet long by fifteen feet wide with twin high pressure steam engines and boilers. Displacement about fifty tons. This design was cutting edge technology that quadrupled torque and power to propel the Enterprise and similar designs in the future.
After hasty emergency preparations the Enterprise departed Pittsburgh late in December, 1814 as the lead United States supply vessel of a total of nine boats loaded with mounts, cannon, powder, balls, munitions, arms and passengers to reinforce General Jackson's U.S. Army of the South to defend against England's attempted U.S. invasion at New Orleans.
He was not in the Battle of New Orleans, late December 1814 to January 8, 1815 because of previous battle wounds but, his boss, General Jackson was. Read on about early CIA type activities.
History claims, although too late for support for the battle, this was the first steamboat to open steamboat commerce and communications for the entire length of the Mississippi / Ohio rivers, from Brownsville, PA, up-stream of Pittsburgh to New Orleans and back. Captain Henry Miller Shreve's development of the high pressure steam powered side wheeler river boat impressed General Jackson.
This new rapid transport and communications availability would further influence the General's thoughts for expansion that he began after President Thomas Jefferson completed the Louisiana Purchase some eleven years earlier in 1803.
Winds to the West
After several trips to and from Natchez retrieving and towing the other non-powered keel type supply boats to New Orleans, Jackson ordered Captain Shreve to transport 250 U.S. troops to Alexandria, LA to support and control our Louisiana Purchase Red River and Sabine River borders with New Spain.
Shreve accomplished this by taking the Enterprise up the Mississippi, West through the short Old River to the confluence of the Red and Atchafalaya rivers and up the Red to the falls close to Alexandria.
General Jackson was a motivator and leader of men. He always took note of the abilities, skills and potential of exceptional men around him. No doubt he put Captain Henry Miller Shreve in a special category as he had others such as General John Coffee, Colonel John Williams, heroes of the battle of Horseshoe Bend in Alabama, March of 1814.
That battle pitted the British allied upper Red Stick Creek Indians against United States allied lower Red Stick Creek Indians.
One of Jackson's favorites in his category of exceptional men was his subordinate, Lt. Sam Houston, who had distinguished himself in earlier battles. Houston, age 23, was recuperating from Horseshoe Bend battle wounds, including a serious arrow wound to the shoulder that plagued him for many years. He was not able to participate in the New Orleans fracas.
There is much written about Sam Houston after the New Orleans events. Houston ended up back in Tennessee studying Law, practicing Law as Attorney General in Nashville and being groomed to run for Congress by General Jackson as Jackson ran for president.
Houston was elected to the House of Representatives and served two two year terms. Jackson was one of four running for president. Jackson had the most popular and electoral votes but there was no majority. The House of Representatives, with Jackson enemy Henry Clay as Speaker, elected John Quincy Adams President in 1824.
Events. A year before this presidential election, after thirteen years of revolution, Mexico won independence from Spain and became the Republic of Mexico. Now, with nine years of explosive growth of Captain Shreve's proven high pressure twin engine riverboat technology, communication and heavy transport of freight on all tributaries of the Mississippi river was at the front of any and all military planning in the United States.
The Adams election was a setback for General Jackson and his political machine. This political upset stalled the General's plans, later known as the Jacksonian Plan, for at least four years until the next presidential election.
However, during this four years Jackson rallied supporters and planned well. No doubt a portion of his plans were to expand and take for the United States all territory West and South to the Pacific Ocean and the isthmus of Columbia (Panama.).
Adams was not a popular President. General Jackson was popular all over the USA and the World. Jackson's group was rushed into office. Houston had resigned from the House, ran and was elected Governor of Tennessee. The year - - 1828.
Do ya recon from election to inauguration, Jackson, Houston and the exuberant Jackson machine, with some stimulation from something brought to lips, may have turned thoughts Southwest to the future winds of expansion, revolution and conquest in Texas? And, perhaps after stepping into the Whitehouse as Commander in Chief, U.S. resources could be available to develop expansion plans to covertly take Texas, Mexico and farther.
After less than a year in office Houston's marriage soon fell apart and most likely was annulled. In 1829, sometime after inauguration Houston resigned as Governor, left Tennessee to begin the mysterious grey years that became fodder for a lot of speculation from 1829 through his arrival in Nacogdoches, Texas in 1832.
Now, 14 years after General Jackson winning of the Battle of New Orleans and Captain Shreve and the Enterprise winning the battle of the Mississippi and tributaries. River steamboats, small and large by the hundreds now plied all the rivers in the United States providing rapid communication and commerce.
Sam Houston, utilizing modern steamboat travel went up-river on the Arkansas River to Northwest Arkansas and renewed his close contact with the Cherokee Indians. He married a Cherokee woman, Tiana Rodgers, in 1830, and began representing the Cherokee Nation and other Native Americans in Washington D.C. in Indian affairs.
His four years in the House of Representatives served him well. Sam Houston was a tall man with presence in colorful and beautifully crafted buckskin Indian attire addressing Congress and Government officials.
OK. Sam Houston, Experienced orator, Lawyer, Prosecutor, Indian fighter, traveler and Politician, tutored and groomed by General Andrew Jackson, the man now with the power of the United States military at hand. Great qualifying attributes for carrying out America's expansion plans.
During the Sam Houston grey years, 1829 to 1832 Lawyer shingle hanging in Nacogdoches, Texas, Houston was traveling all over the United States by riverboat in his own name recruiting mercenaries for a future project in Texas.
Covert funds provided by the Government allowed Houston the assets to travel Up and down major communications rivers such as, the Cumberland, Tennessee, Ohio, Mississippi, Missouri, White, Arkansas, Red and tributaries. His name still resides in historical documents and records from Inns and Hotels of the period. Well, hell, - - - -what go-ahead guy would not take advantage of the promise of adventure, land, fame and wealth from this ex Congressman, ex Governor and Tennessee war hero that's so close to extremely popular President Andrew Jackson.
Strategy. Since the war of 1812, much of General Jackson's military planning and strategy has been absorbed by Jackson's closely held war comrades. Seems Houston was one of Jackson's star pupils and was free to travel with credentials as a famous Indians Representative.
After a couple of years of traveling everywhere, Houston and Jackson certainly knew a war in Texas would require hundreds or thousands of tons of war supplies to be shipped to any Texas battle areas. Uhhhh - - - - there is no inland riverboat travel into Texas for the big riverboats required for such military supplies.
The only inland water travel into Texas is the Big Cypress Bayou that begins far into East Texas, flows past the town of Jefferson, forms the big natural Caddo Lake and flows on to the Red where Shreveport is today. Major steamboat travel up this waterway is blocked by the Great Raft logjam above Natchitoches, LA.
As Sam Houston was heading to Nacogdoches with his group in 1832 the Army Corps of Engineers was contracting with Captain Henry Miller Shreve to start in 1833 with his new technology Snag Boats clearing the Great Raft on Red River so heavy steamboat traffic could get hundreds or thousands of tons of war materials to Jefferson, Texas.
United States history, certainly current in military minds at the time, had archived the war strategy of the Naval blockade so well applied by the British in the Gulf of Mexico during previous wars.
History also reminded these military minds that for several hundred years Spain built some of the largest sailing ships in the World in the Bay of Acapulco to ply Spain's Orient trade routes to Manila in the Philippines and back. These ships were the giant Spanish Galleons that brought trade riches to Spain from the Orient to Acapulco and on to Mexico City, Vera Cruz, Havana and on to Spain in smaller Spanish Galleons.
President Jackson was prudent in developing the inland river steamboat route to Jefferson just in case Mexico, since becoming independent from Spain in 1823, had vigorously pursued and built a strong Navy. If so, such a Naval military force could cause real problems with expansion plans.
The Great Red River Raft. As Shreve's Snag Boats were blasting, sawing and cutting away at this formidable obstacle that had been blocking and backing up major water flow for unknown hundreds of years, two facts caused Houston and Jackson to move smartly ahead with the Texas project.
Mexico did not have a Navy. The Great Raft, thought to be about eighty river miles in length, was actually almost twice that many river miles of blockage. The go-ahead Jacksonians could not wait.
Andrew Jackson was an expansionist and planed to expand the USA all the way to the Pacific ocean and South to include central America. Just a few years after Jackson died another elected from Tennessee, James Polk, a Jacksonian about the same age as Sam Houston, was elected and pursued Jackson's policy of expansion, defeated Mexico and expanded the USA to include what was to become all the states West of Jefferson's Louisiana purchase.
Jackson was the father of Texas and all of the Western states.
This prelude assembled by Bob Hutchinson from many documents, research, personal experiences on the rivers and waterways of the States mentioned below as a representation of the events of the go-ahead adventurers to expand the United States South and West. The mystery of the Sam Houston grey years, 1829 resigning as Governor of Tennessee until hanging the Lawyer shingle in Nacogdoches in 1832 is revealed.
Bob Hutchinson was born in McKinney, Texas, grew up in Shreveport running the Red, the Mississippi and all of the tributaries in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, and Arkansas, plus all the rivers and bayous in East and Southeast Texas, all by canoe or powerboat and sometime by airplane. Bob Hutchinson is president and founder of the Wireless Industry Association 1986.
Louisiana Purchase. Next to the Lewis and Clark expedition, President Thomas Jefferson considered the 1806 Freeman - Custis Red River expedition to be of great importance also to define the new United States border with New Spain. After 1823, the border with the Republic of Mexico.
This expedition documented the great major waters backed up in Northwest Louisiana and Northeast New Spain by the Great Red River Raft.