“Finding Medina” weaves together the events surrounding the Battle of Medina with the modern-day search for the battlefield itself. Despite being the largest, bloodiest battle in Texas history, the Medina battlefield has eluded archaeologists for more than a century. By the end of this podcast series, we hope to change that.
Episode 12: Is this the Battlefield of Medina?
The trauma of 1813 stuck with Tejanos…and it emboldened them. What lessons did they draw from the Battle of Medina? What lessons should we draw today?
And at long last, we point our finger to the map and ask, “Is this the Battlefield of Medina?”
The Most Important Primary Account of the Battle of Medina
Sometime in the 1820's or 30's, an anonymous survivor of the Spanish Royalist occupation of San Antonio in 1813 wrote down his (or her?) memories of those tragic events. As far as I know, it is the only contemporary Spanish-language account of these events from the Republican perspective, and our friend Joe Arciniega joins us once again this episode to read it into the historical record.
Terror in Texas
(WARNING: This episode contains graphic language)
After defeating the Republican Army of the North at the Battle of Medina, Spanish Royalist General Joaquín de Arredondo entered San Antonio intent on teaching its citizens a lesson they would never forget. The subsequent Sack of Béxar, the execution of hundreds of Tejano men, and the imprisonment and assault of just as many Tejana women marked Texans for many generations to come…though not, perhaps, in the way that Arredondo intended.
The research team makes one last effort to high-grade the various leads they have compiled over the course of the previous year to map the battle site, based sol
The Battle of Medina Revisited
After a year of research and interviews, we sum up everything we’ve learned over the last year to recreate what happened on August 18, 1813, when 1,830 Spanish Royalists under the command of General Joaquín de Arredondo finally met up with the unbeaten 1,400 man Republican Army of the North twenty miles or so south of San Antonio.
Additionally, the battlefield search team attempts to validate the artifacts they have uncovered. The results are simultaneously disconcerting, exhilarating, and confusing.
Artifacts at Last
On August 4, 1813, after months of plotting, José Álvarez de Toledo personally arrived in San Antonio and overthrew Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara as commander-in-chief of the Republican Army of the North. Just as the Republicans found themselves more divided than ever, their most fearsome opponent to-date – Joaquín de Arredondo – began his march up the Laredo Road to challenge them.
At long, long last, our research team uncovers artifacts from the battle. Even better, we find cannonballs! And once we plot them on the map, a pattern begins to emerge…
The Battle of Alazán Creek
After the Republican victory at the Battle of Rosillo and Texans’ bold declaration of Independence in April of 1813, a Royalist commander from Veracruz decided to take charge of the situation. While he began assembling an army to reconquer Texas, he sent forth a force of 700 men to pin down the Republicans and reconnoiter their movements. In command of that force was the flip-flopping Colonel Ignacio Elizondo, whom our listeners may remember from his ambush and capture of Father Miguel Hidalgo. The Republicans didn’t let pass the opportunity to use Elizondo’s impulsiveness against him.
Back in the present, the search team uncovers our first body from the Battle of Medina.
Research for a class project led me to Brandon Seale's webpage. As a non-native Texan I had no knowledge of the Battle of Medina. The series is engaging. The material is well presented. I found myself involved with both the story of the battle and the search for the battle field. Brandon is passionate and deeply involved with the research. Highly recommended listening. Bonus: I had a question about one of Brandon Seale's sources for a paper I was working on, so I submitted an email to his website directly. He responded immediately with much appreciated assistance and guidance!
I keep trying to give Finding Medina a 5 star rating. But, I doesn’t seem to take. Hopefully, this review will.
I started listening to Finding Medina a few days ago and just couldn’t stop. It’s a thrill ride. A living history. An adventure. A journey of discovery for both the audience and the author. You’ll feel the grito in your gut and yearn for redemption for all those republicano slain, wherever their sun-kissed remains do lie. (*WARNING: You may also debate the merits of chocolate tamales with your wife and long for a lovely little hay farm).
Don’t get me wrong. For all it’s introspection, this is a real history, based on a sound methodology utilizing primary accounts. It’s just not dry, dull, or distant. The author has managed to make it interesting, immediate, and interpersonal. He invites us all to tag along on his Indiana Jones adventure.
So, do yourself a favor. Go on the hunt for Finding Medina.
Following my experience with New History of Old Texas -San Antonio, I delved into this podcast by Brandon Seale.
As the previous series, this one did not disappoint! He does highlight how such a seminal event in our history has been diminished to the point that we still cannot definitively point to a proven physical location of this battle.
I found it very telling of his commitment to historical discovery that he would personally invest in a parcel of land to hopefully discover the battlefield.
Brandon’s work, and that of his team has reinvigorated a discussion of the valiant forces that faced off against one another that fateful August day in 1813....