The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 33, July 1929 - April, 1930 Page: 55
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An Anonymous Description of New Mexico, 1818
and noted that the great distance of New Mexico from the United
States settlements and the presence of Spanish traders on the
alert to detect intrigues among the frontier tribes also offered
considerable protection to that province.21 In Mexico, Venadito
turned over the information to Juan Sociat, Sub-Inspector of
Engineers of New Spain, for an expert opinion on the question
of fortifications. To the viceroy in October, 1819, Sociat pointed
out that the details Melgares furnished were too meagre to be
of use. The governor had included neither a map or a state-
ment of the charater of the country, nor the type of fortifica-
tions he judged proper for defense or the kind of garrison neces-
sary. Furthermore, since no plans of that frontier were in Mex-
ico City to give the direction of the water-shed of streams and
ranges of mountains, Sociat suggested that the viceroy request a
map of the terrain of the places to be fortified. In each, Sociat
noted, there should be indicated the nature of the land, whether
open, mountainous, plain-like, broken, if there were cliffs, defiles,
rivers or torrents, which would serve equally as an obstacle to
the enemy and a defense for the fortification, whether artillery
must be taken to the point or infantry only, and in either case,
the garrison each ought to have.22
However, soon after the Sub-Inspector had thus reported to
Venadito, news from New Mexico of an attack on the Sangre de
Cristo fort hastened viceregal action. Melgares' letter, dated
October 18, carried the details that five out of a reconnaisance
party of six men had been killed near the fort by a band of one
hundred men dressed as Indians who next attacked the post it-
self. The valiant ensign Don Jos6 Antonio Valenzuela, repulsed
the charge with his small force but was unable to make a sally.
Commenting on the incident, Melgares stated that though he did
not believe the assault to be by the bandits of General Infante
Venjamin OFallen he had, nevertheless, sent three hundred
paisanos armed to re-enforce the fort and punish any hostile In-
dians in the vicinity.28 Conde, however, who forwarded the gov-
21Conde to Venadito, Durango 19 de Junio de 1819, No. 279. Afio de
1819. Providencias . . . para que se fortifiquen . . . Nuevo Mexico,
2"Sociat to Venadito, Mexico 9 de Octubre de 1819. Afio de 1819. Provi-
dencias . . . para que se fortifiquen . . . Nuevo Mexico, if. 187-188.
2"Melgares to Conde, Santa Fe 18 de Octubre de 1819, No. 274. Novi-
embre de 1819. Providencias . . . sobre . . . Nuevo Mexico, f. 225.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 33, July 1929 - April, 1930, periodical, 1930; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101090/m1/63/: accessed July 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.