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Los Diablos Tejanos

Randy Bond - 24Nov11 8:04AM

I am currently reading about the Mexican American War of 1846-1848 and was stunned to read about the actions carried out against the Mexican population by the Texas Rangers. I really appreciate the fact that Bill's sets on American history present it warts and all so that when he does the Civil War there is a slave auction set to remind us what divided the nation leading to the bloody conflict of 1861-1865. Thus the Hocker Mexican American sets include the Texas Rangers as part of the American invasion force. An important impetus (especially for the South) behind the Mexican-American War was the desire to add territory for the expansion of cotton which at this time was the nation's main export and economic revenue source. This would also mean the expansion of slavery into the area as well.

Here is a brief discussion of the role played by the Texas Rangers in the Mexican War:

"No history of the U.S. conquest of Mexico is complete without an account of the atrocities committed by the notorious Texas Ranger companies, dubbed Los Diablos Tejanos by the Mexicans they terrorized. These paramilitary gangs conducted a campaign of death and destruction in the Mexican countryside which left a legacy of hate that survives to this day. The vast majority of the 700 Rangers who volunteered for service in Mexico were jobless desperados from the Texas frontier who would do anything for money. They were recruited and led by Texans who were seeking revenge for what they considered wrongs committed by Mexicans at the Alamo, Goliad, Santa Fe, and Mier.

Los Diablos killed and pillaged indiscriminately. Armed with the latest rifles and revolvers, and wielding vicious Bowie knives, the Rangers operated beyond the control of the U.S. Army from the day they reported for duty. Dispatched as scouts in northern Mexico by General Taylor, the Texas mercenaries roamed the countryside, raiding villages, plundering farms, and shooting or hanging unarmed Mexican citizens.

On July 9, 1846, George Gordon Meade, a young army officer who, like Grant and Lee, served as a general during the U.S. Civil War, wrote a scathing report on Ranger misconduct in his area of responsibility:
They have killed five or six innocent people walking in the street, for no other object than their own amusement.... They rob and steal the cattle and corn of the poor farmers, and in fact act more like a body of hostile Indians than civilized Whites. Their officers have no command or control over them.

The Corpus Christi Company of Texas Rangers under the command of "Mustang" Gray, the man who murdered Agapito De Léon at Victoria, was among the worst of Los Diablos. Dr. S. Compton Smith, an outspoken critic of the Texas Rangers, was unsparing in his denunciation of Gray and his company:
Texas Rangers... were mostly made up of adventurers and vagabonds.... The gang of miscreants under the leadership of Mustang Gray were of this description. This party, in cold-blood, murdered almost the entire male population of the rancho of Guadalupe, where not a single weapon, offensive or defensive, could be found! Their only object was plunder!

When General Taylor learned of the massacre at the rancho Guadalupe and other atrocities committed by the Rangers, he tried to rein in the Texas volunteers by threatening to arrest all 700 of them. The Rangers, to a man, ignored the general, and he backed off. After all, the reign of terror conducted by Los Diablos Tejanos against the Mexican people helped paralyze resistance to the invasion and aided in the conquest of Mexico."

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