2021 marked the 160th anniversary of the beginning of the American Civil War. Here we bring together a number of sources especially related to the Civil War in Texas, and, specifically, San Antonio.
The Civil War nearly began in San Antonio.. General David Twiggs was in command of the U.S. Army forces of the Texas Department, having taken over from Robert E. Lee the previous year. He had written to Washington on January 18, saying, “After secession, I know not what will be done. I know one thing, and that is, I will never fire on American citizens.” On February 16, just 15 days after Texas votes to secede from the Union at the State Secession Convention in Austin, members of the Committee for Public Safety, a group of secessionist volunteers led by Ben McCulloch, demand the surrender of all Federal property in San Antonio. Twiggs surrenders to the mob. Troops are allowed to leave with only their horses, their firearms and their lives.
“It is the first time in the annals of our country, that a general of the United States Army has conspired with a revolutionary committee to overthrow and supplant Executive Authority, which it was his duty to sustain and defend,” declared Gov. Houston a month later.
“Surrender of ex-General Twiggs, late of the United States Army, to the Texan troops in Military Plaza, San Antonio, Texas, February 16, 1861.” Harper’s Weekly, March 23, 1861.