Heritage, Volume 13, Number 4, Fall 1995 Page: 10
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The "Army of Occupation" at Corpus Christi
By Steven R. Butler
uring its entire nine-year existence
as an independent republic,
Texas was considered
by Mexico to be an errant province controlled
by a rebel government. In the spring
of 1845, when the Congress of the United
States offered the Texians terms of annexation,
Mexico promptly broke off diplomatic
relations with the U.S., threatening
war if annexation became a fact. As a
result, following acceptance of the U.S.
offer at a convention held in Austin onJuly
4, troops under command of BrigadierGeneral
Zachary Taylor at FortJesup, Louisiana,
were ordered to take up a defensive
position on the Texas frontier.
Sailing from New Orleans, the soldiers
arrived off St. Joseph's (San Jose) Island on
July 25. The next morning they went ashore,
raising the U.S. flag over Texas soil for the
first time (although it was not yet officially
Within a few days General Taylor began
to move his "Army of Occupation" by
steamboat from St. Joseph's Island to a site
just south of the mouth of the Nueces
River. The first troops reached "Camp
Marcy" (named for the U.S. Secretary of
War) on July 31.
The site Taylor selected was a strip of
coastal plain located below a high bluff
overlooking the bay from which a nearby
settlement took its name- Corpus Christi.
On August 1 one of Taylor's officers, Captain
William S. Henry of the 3rd Infantry,
hiked to the top of the bluff where he got
his first good look at Texas. Overcome by
emotion, he later declared: "...the view
that burst upon us was magnificent in the
extreme...[and] made one exclaim, in the
enthusiasm of the moment, 'It is God's
favored land - the Eden of America."'
Captain Henry was also favorably impressed
with Henry Lawrence Kinney, the
founder of Corpus Christi. Remarking upon
his "ready wit, generosity, indomitable courage,
and perseverance," the captain noted
that these qualities had been useful to
Kinney in "many perplexing situations".
But Kinney was not universally admired.
The 3rd Infantry's Lt.-Col. Ethan Allen
Hitchcock declared, "Kinney seems to have
a government of his own here," adding that
the trader,whose loyalties were questionable,
was "an object of suspicion to both
Texans and Mexicans". Yet Kinney was a
great help to the "Army of Occupation",
10 HERITAGE *FALL 1995
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 13, Number 4, Fall 1995, periodical, Autumn 1995; Austin, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45411/m1/10/: accessed March 20, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.