The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 17, July 1913 - April, 1914 Page: 26
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
of so many Spanish troops at New Orleans. While they re-
mained he was unwilling to weaken the meagre American force
there by sending detachments to the outlying posts in lower
On April 15, Lieutenant William Bowmar reported that he had
taken possession of the post on the "Ouachita"' (Fort Mir6 on the
"Washita," to adopt the later spelling). This post was the cen-
ter of a string of settlements twenty-eight miles long on that
river. The neighboring population composed of some 450 settlers
-Irish, French-Canadians, Santo Domingans, and Americans-
seemed to be pleased with the transfer, but Robin, who was then
present, criticized the policy of the American government in ap-
pointing so young a man for this responsible post. But when
Hunter and Dunbar visited the region, nine months later, they
spoke very favorably of the rule maintained by this young officer.0
The frontier post of Natchitoches was the gateway to Texas and
the Interior Provinces beyond, and for this reason possessed an im-
portance second only to New Orleans and St. Louis. A report of
October 31, 1803, states that thirty-two Spanish troops formed its
guard.1 This insignificant force readily yielded the post to an
American contingent (barely twice their own) under the command
of Captain Edwin Turner. At 11 o'clock, April 20, 1804, the
French tri-color replaced the Spanish flag, and an hour later the
Stars and Stripes followed.12 The former garrison then retired to
Nacogdoches, the only remaining monument in Eastern Texas of
the Spaniard's missionary and contraband effort. Later they were
joined by the dragoons that had formerly been stationed at New
Orleans. These troops, combined with the garrison already exist-
ing at that point, formed for the Spaniards a modest force wholly
inadequate to the demands aroused by their jealous fears of the
Americans. On the other hand the equally unfounded apprehen-
sions of the latter unduly magnified the modest resources of their
'Claiborne to Madison, May 14, 1804, Ibid., No. 6988.
"Cox, Early Exploration of Louisiana, 48; Robin, Voyages dans l'In-
terieur de la Louisiana, II, 384; Bowmar to Claiborne, April 15, 1804,
Parker, No. 6989. In Hamersley, Complete Army Register, p. 51, a "James
Bomer" is given as first lieutenant in the Second Regiment.
"'Report of Josh Joaquin Ugarte, MSS., Bexar Archives.
12Turner to Claiborne, May 1, 1804. Claiborne Correspondence, II.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 17, July 1913 - April, 1914, periodical, 1914; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101061/m1/30/: accessed December 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.