Notes and Documents
An Indian Uprising in Camargo, 1812: A Military
Report by Captain Pedro Lopez Prietto
Translated and Edited by CLOTILDE P. GARCIA*
N THE EARLY STAGES OF THE MEXICAN INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT,
insurgents in the northern borderlands, some of whom were clergymen,
encouraged Indians to revolt against Spanish authority. With vague prom-
ises such as equality before the law, freedom from personal tribute, agrarian
reform, land distribution, and liberty to settle in villages, the rebels instigated
sporadic native uprisings. Characteristic of this development was the appeal
for Indian support by the curate Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, symbolic leader
of Mexican nationhood. Subsequent to his celebrated Grito de Dolores of
September 16, 181 o, Hidalgo sought Indian assistance by abolishing slavery
and tribute in New Spain. With subtle refinement, his adherents in the
opening months of the rebellion professed loyalty to Ferdinand VII and
Catholicism but not to a colonial government administered by peninsular
Spaniards. Mexican lawyer-historian Alfonso Teja Zabre summarized the
indigenous response to Hidalgo's revolt: "The Indians took the cry, and
joined Hidalgo, and they all went in search of weapons, some having taken
up lances, and others cutlasses and slings."'
With spontaneous rapidity, as the year 181 o gave way to 1811, Hidalgo's
rebellion spread northward into the borderlands. The province of Nuevo
Santander, situated between Nuevo Le6n and Texas, became rife with
dissension and suspicion. Along the banks of the Rio Grande, Hidalgo's
partisans circulated stories about the insurrection against Spanish rule.
In fact, some advocates of independence penetrated Indian mission settle-
ments and planted seeds of discord among the neophytes and royalist
*Clotilde P. Garcia, a regent of Del Mar College, is a physician and surgeon practicing
general medicine in Corpus Christi, Texas.
1Alfonso Teja Zabre, Guide to the History of Mexico: A Modern Interpretation
(Austin, I969), 34-36, 239 (quotation); Julio Zarate, La Guerra de Independencia,
Vol. III of Mexicot a travis de los siglos, edited by Vicente Riva Palacio (5 vols.;
Mexico City, Ig962), 185, 762-763; Juan N. Chavarri, Historia de la Guerra de Inde-
pendencia de Ir8o a 1821 (Mexico City, 1973), 37.
2Santos Guzman Treviiio, Compendio de historia de Tarnaulipas (Mexico City, 1963),
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 78, July 1974 - April, 1975. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117149/. Accessed March 9, 2014.