The Lost Battle of Medina
The only battle to involve over half of Texas’s population—Tejanos, Native Americans, Anglos, and former Spanish royalists alike—is one that has been all but forgotten by historians.
The Battle of Medina was fought on August 18, 1813, between 1,830 Spanish Royalists under the command of General Joaquin de Arredondo and 1,400 irregulars of the Republican Army of the North under the command of General Jose Alvarez de Toledo, Colonel Miguel Menchaca, and Major Henry Perry.
The two armies camped 4-6 miles apart from each other on the edges of the sandy, oak-filled Encinal de Medina (south of the Medina River) the night before the battle on or very near the Old Laredo Road.
A mounted Royalist scout force was first engaged by the Republicans waiting in ambush sometime mid-morning, giving away their initial position. The Republicans then pursued the outnumbered Royalist advance guard a short distance through sandy and waterless ground. After a few miles, they stumbled into the main force, and the general battle commenced.
The battle raged for 2-4 hours at very close range and ended in a total rout of the Republican Army and the deaths of more than 1,000 of its members, whose dead were strung out for several miles along the road to the Medina River and not interred until 1822.
Neither the exact location of the battlefield or the Republicans’ mass grave has been positively identified in modern times.
After a promising initial field season in February 2022, the AVAR will continue to conduct systematic metal detector surveys aimed at identifying patterns in artifact distribution that would indicate the site of the conflict.