The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 73, July 1969 - April, 1970 Page: 477
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Cotton on the Border, 1861-1865
quickly returned to status quo ante bellum. Bagdad again became a
dusty little village that attracted no particular attention. Matamoros,
which might have had as many as 30,000 inhabitants in March, 1865,
declined as well.
The Rio Grande trade had been essential to the war effort in the
Trans-Mississippi Department. John Warren Hunter recalled that cases
of Enfield rifles marked "Hollow ware," gun powder barrels labeled
"bean flour," and cargoes of percussion caps branded "canned goods"
were shipped into Texas in large quantities. General John S. Marma-
duke, in Little Rock, received a load of 4,000 Enfield rifles that had
been purchased in England, then shipped through Bagdad, Mata-
moros, and Brownsville before reaching Little Rock." Other items
such as dry goods, hardware, foodstuffs, tobacco, and liquor came in
through Matamoros. The South also tried to import other military
supplies and drugs.'" At the height of the conflict General Kirby Smith
admitted that the Rio Grande was the "only channel" through which
the Confederacy could obtain many necessities. The trade was so ex-
tensive that several influential members of President Lincoln's cabinet
advocated the conquest of Texas, primarily to disrupt the Mexican
trade. But the exchange flourished until the war ended and southern
ports were reopened."1
Perhaps one of the most lasting effects of the trade was the economic
prosperity that accompanied it and remained to become the basis of
financial empires on both sides of the river. Men in the cotton business
accumulated "vast and immense fortunes," wrote Hunter: in Texas,
Richard King, Charles Stillman, Mifflin Kenedy, and many others; on
the Mexican side of the border perhaps Patricio Milmo was the most
notable, but there were others. Merchants in Monterrey garnered prof-
its that became the economic foundation of present-day Monterrey,
the third largest city in Mexico and the financial capital of the north."'
6Hunter, "Fall of Brownsville," 7-8.
70Frank E. Vandiver (ed.), Confederate Blockade Running Through Bermuda, z861-
1865: Letters and Cargo Manifests (Austin, 1947), 110, 13o; Stuart L. Bernath, "Squall
Across the Atlantic: The Peterhof Episode," Journal of Southern History, XXXIV (Au-
gust, 1968), 382-383; Bee to Anderson, November 30, 1862, in O.R.A., Ser. I, XV, 882.
71Smith to John B. Magruder, July 27, 1863, in O.R.A., Ser. I, LIII, 885; Ludwell
H. Johnson, Red River Campaign: Politics and Cotton in the Civil War (Baltimore, 1958),
7'Hunter, "Fall of Brownsville," 5; Delaney, "Matamoros: Port For Texas," 486-487;
Horacio Gardufio Garcia, Nuevo Ledn, un ejemplo de proteccidn a la industria de
transformacidn (Mexico City, 1958), 40; Isidro Viscaya Canales, Los origenes re la in-
dustrializatidn de Monterrey (1867-1920) (Monterrey, 1969), xix.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 73, July 1969 - April, 1970, periodical, 1970; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117147/m1/523/: accessed October 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.