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Texas Independence Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

Gonzales: First Shot Monuments Historic District


First Shot Monuments Historic District

In October 1835, the rising tension between the Mexican government and Texian settlers exploded into violence – and it happened near this spot. Like a slowly simmering fire, General Santa Anna’s distrust of the Texian settlers is growing. In Gonzales, a small town of Texian settlers, sits a cannon – the property of the Mexican government. Among people who can no longer be trusted. Santa Anna deploys 100 soldiers - to retrieve the cannon. And teach these settlers a lesson. The soldiers arrive at a river crossing, seven miles west of town, but can’t cross the flooded banks of the Guadalupe River. They make camp - and wait.

Yet all the while, American settlers from surrounding towns are pouring into Gonzales. The Mexican leader, Lt. Castañeda, wants to avoid a fight. He meets with the Texian commander, John Henry Moore. A remarkable exchange takes place. Moore says they aren’t rebels – but loyal Mexican citizens. Santa Anna is the criminal, he’s shredded the Constitution and become a dictator. Castañeda nods – and admits that he too, is opposed to the general. "Then join us!" Moore says. "We can fight together, against Santa Anna." Castañeda replies, “I do not agree with my general. But I’m a professional soldier - and it is my duty to follow orders.” With that, the two men return to their camps on opposite banks. From the Texian side, a hand-sewn flag is raised. A cannon - and in bold letters: “Come and Take It”. And then, that very cannon… opens fire. Castañeda soon orders a retreat. The Battle of Gonzales is over. It was only a brief fight - but everything had changed. What had merely been a political disagreement – now exploded into violence.  

One hundred years after that skirmish – now known as the Battle of Gonzales – this monument was dedicated here, to remember the first shot in the battle for Texas Independence. The sculptor, Waldine Tauch, was a Texan woman from Ballinger who studied under the prolific Italian sculptor Pompeo Coppini in San Antonio. 


Location

  • 4049 TX-97
  • Gonzales, Texas
  • 78629

Hours

  • Daily, dawn to dusk


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